Alex Kidd - The Lost Stars

  • Manufacturer: Sega

It's always a risky venture to release a sequel to a popular game. Because of the success of the first version, people may expect too much from the second, and as a result be disappointed. It's especially risky to release a sequel that isn't even in the same genre as the original - as is the case with Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars. Where the original game, Alex Kidd In Miracle World was a careful mix of arcade and adventure, The Lost Stars is pure arcade. This time around, Alex Kidd must recover the 12 stars that were stolen by an evil creature named Ziggarat. And it seems that this is not the first time that the stars have been stolen. Many years back, one of Alex's ancestors, Halifax Kidd, found himself faced with the same quest as Alex. Though Halifax managed to recover the lost stars, Ziggarat vowed to return and finish what he started. And so he does.

The lost stars are inside 12 Miracle Balls which have been hidden, two to a world. It's up to you, as Alex, to combat the many creatures that roam the six worlds, guarding the Miracle Balls.

As I said, this game is pure arcade action. Alex Kidd must run and leap across the surface of the six worlds, battling the many evil beasts that will try to stop him. Bonus tokens, some of which don't appear unless he jumps in just the right place, give Alex extra powers, such as high jump and shoot. There's also a bonus token that will add time to Alex's life meter. These time tokens are especially important because if Alex's clock runs out, he loses a life.

The graphics in The Lost Stars are interesting and original. One of my favorite animation sequences is a dog that spits out letters spelling "BOW WOW". The letters, as well as the dog, are, of course, deadly to Alex Kidd.

Although there are 12 levels of play in The Lost Stars, there are really only six different locations in which Alex can travel. When he finds the Miracle Ball in the sixth level, he begins over at the first location, but with a higher difficulty setting. This is one of the most disappointing aspects of the game, especially considering how many different locations there were in the original Alex Kidd. Players have the right to expect 12 unique worlds in which to play. Maybe Sega has some lazy artists. Maybe the game's development was behind schedule and so a shortcut was taken. Who knows?

Another disappointment for the avid video gamer is the ease with which the player can finish the game. My five-year-old managed to play through all 12 levels with only a few days' practice. This is due to an unlimited "Continue" feature, an engineering flaw that seriously limits the game's longevity.

In summary, Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars, although flawed, is a good arcade game with original and colorful graphics - a concept that the younger kids, particularly, will enjoy. However, the game may be a disappointment to fans of the original Alex Kidd adventure, who will expect (in the words of Monty Python) something completely different.

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