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Archive for February 1st, 2010


Alex Kidd in Shinobi World: Now on Virtual Console!

A unique and whimsical platforming classic, Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is now available on Virtual Console!

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (Virtual Console)

As one would expect, this game mixes two iconic SEGA characters — the incomparable Alex Kidd invades the deadly world of Joe Musashi, and its something like an explosion of SEGA platforming mythology, with a few sly digs at old-school gaming rivals thrown in to boot. It’s a tremendously clever game, really, and each level is a kind of parody/homage to the Shinobi originals, but with clever twists: the boss of the first stage, Ken-Oh in the original game, was during development of this game set up to be a parody of a certain plumbing-themed platform hero. This was changed on release of the game, but the boss itself retains the look, and he suspiciously shrinks in size and power after being damaged.

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (Virtual Console)

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World isn’t just a parody of rival companies, though; it skews SEGA’s own mythology with a kind of cartoon glee that makes me think of the alternate-universe classic Segagaga. The second boss of the game — based on a helicopter boss from the original Shinobi — is actually a keen parody of a different Shinobi boss, Mandara, but one who launches tiny Opa-Opas, the official SEGA mascot pre-Sonic.

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (Virtual Console)

The game is a great deal of clever platforming, with a keen ability thrown in that allows Alex Kidd to climb lamp posts or any other pole that happens to be around, spin around wildly, and then launch himself through multiple screens of enemies. The music for the game is pretty incredibly as well — it’s a remixed soundtrack of the original Shinobi, and the originial Shinobi music just happens to be some of my very favorite music from this entire era of games.

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World came out in 1990, at a time when the Genesis was starting is reign but clever platformers (even including the unique Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog) were still showing up on SEGA’s 8-bit system. I’m always thrilled to see games from the Master System show up on Virtual Console, which seems to have made an excellent home for these 8-bit games for a while now. I spent my childhood arguing the merits of the SEGA Master System, and anything that gives people a glimpse into this slice of gaming history is pretty awesome in my book.

Check out this great game when you get a chance!