Alex Kidd in Miracle World (アレックスキッドのミラクルワールド Arekkusu Kiddo no Mirakuru Wārudo) is a platform game for the 8-bit Sega Master System video game console. It was first released in Japan on Saturday, November 1, 1986, and then was distributed to Europe, Australia and the United States in 1987. It was arguably the most widely known game in the Alex Kidd series, due to it being built into most Master System II consoles.
It is the first game in the Alex Kidd series created for this character, and the most popular of all Alex Kidd games.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is primarily a platform game, which also incorporates strategy and roleplaying. The player must finish levels and overcome obstacles and scenarios in a 2D atmosphere. Throughout the eleven stages of Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Alex Kidd faces many monsters, plus the three henchmen of Janken the Great, before facing Janken himself.
Alex Kidd is the only playable character in the game. His primary skill is punching, which he can use to attack enemies, break certain types of rocks to open blocks, and access new areas and collect money. Breaking or stepping on certain blocks releases a ghost that will try to kill Alex. The game requires more than the player's ability to accomplish specific phases. Any money Alex collects can be used to purchase items such as motorcycles and "Peticopters" (small pedal-powered helicopters). At the end of certain levels, Alex must face one of Janken's henchmen in a game of janken (rock, paper, scissors).
The game consists of 17 stages, some of them with a strong atmosphere that differs from the rest. At the end of some stages, Alex Kidd has to face a boss, some of whom he has to defeat by winning the best of three games of rock-paper-scissors (Janken in Japanese). To finish a stage, Alex Kidd has to grab a food object at the end of each stage. Alex can take only one hit before he dies. Alex Kidd in Miracle World does not have a battery save option or password system, meaning that when all of Alex's lives are gone the game is over. However, the game did have an undocumented "continue" feature, where the player could continue the game with three lives from the beginning of the level where Alex had died, by holding the up button and pressing the 2 button eight times during the GAME OVER screen. This feature would cost the player 400 Baums (the in-game currency).
The game was built directly into the Sega Master System II, enabling play right out of the box without the need to plug in any cartridge.
Many centuries ago, on the planet Aries (known as "Miracle World"), there lived a boy named Alex Kidd, for seven years alone on Mt. Eternal, where he studied and trained in the Shellcore technique, an ancient art that makes one strong enough to break rocks into pieces. One day, as he was leaving the mountain for his spiritual homeland, Alex encountered a dying man who told him that the peaceful city of Radaxian was in grave danger, and who gave Alex a map and a medallion.
After defeating Gooseka, Alex Kidd goes to the island of Saint Nurari. He discovers that he is the prince of Radaxian, but when he was younger, was kidnapped by an evil people. His hometown is now being ruled by the tyrant Janken the Great, the ruler over the planet Janbarik. Janken kidnapped the heir to the throne, Prince Egle (sometimes referred to as "Igul"), and his fiancée Princess Lora, and many of the citizens are turned to stone through Janken's magic.
Alex then sets out to stop the villain and his minions. In the way he discovers numerous magical artifacts and medallions that assist him progress in the adventure. When he goes to the Village of Namui, a man says that Alex's elder brother, Egle, is imprisoned in the Radaxian Castle. Then Alex goes to the castle, beating Chokkinna and Parplin on the way. In the castle, Alex rescues his brother who tells him he must find a Personal Letter to the Kingdom of Nibana in a room of the castle, to obtain the Moonlight Stone Medallion in the Kingdom of Nibana. Alex picks up the letter from the castle; to leave it, he must defeat Gooseka one last time.
Alex goes to the city where he defeats Chokkinna definitively. After that, he moves into the Kingdom of Nibana, where he speaks with the ruler High Stone. Alex learns that the Moonlight Stone Medallion has been stolen, but High Stone gives him the Hirotta Stone and begs him to find the Gold Crown in Cragg Lake. Alex goes to the castle of Janken, definitively defeating Parplin. In the castle is Janken, whom Alex must defeat to get the Moonlight Stone Medallion. Janken offers to surrender if Alex can defeat him in a game of janken, but when Alex does so, Janken goes back on his word and attacks Alex. A battle between them ensues, and Alex is victorious as Janken's magic backfires, transforming him into a statue. After that, Alex finds Princess Lora, who says Alex's mother Patricia is in good hands, and that Alex must obtain the Gold Crown in order to reverse the effects of Janken's magic and banish his forces. Alex leaves for the Cragg Lake, where, after deciphering the Hirotta Stone, finds the Gold Crown, ending the game.
After Alex takes the Gold Crown, the game explains that Alex restores peace to Radaxian, and that the people who were turned to stone by Janken have returned to normal. In the city, Egle is crowned King of Radaxian, and Alex Kidd is happy that he was able to use his martial art skills for the good of the citizens, although his next goal will be to find his disappeared father, King Thunder.
In 1984, Nintendo Japan launched the Famicom (known in the West as the NES) and a year later in the U.S. to great success, much of it due to the release of the video game Super Mario Bros., the first game created specifically for a home console.
Since Sega had failed to take 5% of the Japanese market, it was decided to rename and sell the "Mark III" in the West as the "Master System". More technically advanced than Nintendo's NES, the Master System never reached the same level of popularity in places like the U.S (selling only 125,000 MS consoles in four months compared to two million NES consoles), but in other markets such as Europe and Australia, the Master System's sales fared better. This was the situation when Alex Kidd in Miracle World was released. This game (along with Wonder Boy) was meant to be Sega's answer to Super Mario Bros., but until Naoto Ōshima created Sonic the Hedgehog (Yuji Naka and others), Sega was unable to compete with Shigeru Miyamoto's creation. Eventually Alex Kidd was dropped as the company's mascot, in favor of Sonic the Hedgehog.