Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle Review

Alex Kidd is a franchise that isn’t often mentioned today which, as you’ll find out, is probably for good reason. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is a 2D platforming side scroller developed by Sega in their 16 bit heyday as a sequel to Alex Kidd in Miracle World for the Master System and published on their MegaDrive/Genesis console in 1989. This being the Steam port available to buy individually or as part of the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis Classics bundle.

The game has a very simplistic plot in which Alex is in search of his father called King Thor and that’s literally all there is to it. The game is set on a planet call Paperock, which will become apparent why shortly, which you must make your way through as whilst collecting multiple items and vehicles by, yep you guessed it, playing rock, paper, scissors with opponents throughout the game’s eleven worlds.

It’s a single player adventure that starts as any platformer does by dropping you at the beginning of the first stage and sends you off on your merry way. The first stage being the one that you’ll be seeing often if you have the patience to play this game for long enough. Not much effort was made in the way of level design, it is very unimpressive as you’ll be seeing the same backgrounds, objects, and enemies more times than I even have the patience for. The levels themselves are also very short, you can finish this game in no time at all but it really doesn’t make you want to.

Control-wise it has a simple set up which is all you need for a platformer however the controls are very slippery and feel floaty. You can’t fully control Alex whilst he’s in the air and he slides around everywhere like everything’s coated in butter which can lead to you missing jumps and dying when you slide into enemies. You’ll find yourself dying from the game’s bad hit detection if you even attempt to use Alex’s flying kick, it almost seems random whether the hits connect or not.

The game features “boss battles” if you can even call them that. Being the means in which you collect the items you need in order to progress further in the game although there is no real fight involved as you simply play rock, paper, scissors to win them. The outcome of this is dictacted purely at random and if you lose, guess what, you die and start the level all over again, fun right?

Graphically the game isn’t particularly impressive and that’s not because of it’s age. It’s very simple and brightly coloured which you may think is to appeal to a younger audience however the contrast can be quite unappealing to look at. It’s not one of the MegaDrive’s better looking games I can tell you that much.

Being a product of it’s era, the difficulty is quite standard of a platforming game. You start the game off with two lives, if you die then you go back to the beginning of that stage you died on and if you lose all of your lives then you start the game over, simple. The problem however is that this is exacerbated by the game’s bad controls and less than great hit detection, remember how I said you’ll be seeing the first stage a lot? Well that’s why.

The culmination of all of this game’s bad points doesn’t leave much in the way of replay value, hell it barely even warrants a single playthrough to begin with if you feel you can make it through the chore of beating this game even once and in one sitting no less. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by modern gaming but even for it’s time it just isn’t impressive and dare I say fun when you’ve got better offerings to choose from. I’d give this game a 4/10 at best. Just play Sonic the Hedgehog instead.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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