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Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.

The Alex Kidd & Co. Vintage Collection is a divided package of iconic Sega games that might not have found another way out. There’s Alex Kidd in Miracle World, The Revenge of Shinobi, and Super Hang-On. At face value, it’s as unlikely a combination as they come.

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Before Sega found out about gameplay, they created Alex Kidd. The little guy served as a fledgling mascot for the company, with a few games to his credit. The essential one, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, is represented. It works as a nostalgia piece for the Master System, to which Alex Kidd is inextricably tied.

Miracle World is largely a by-the-numbers platforming game of it’s time, with certain peculiarities laying the groundwork for quintessential Sega ideas to come. But it is so defined by what would follow and what’s there isn’t top notch. It’s aged roughly and while the inherent charm of hovering about in the Petit-Copter, watching Alex chow down on sushi, and rock-paper-scissors boss battles remain in-tact, the mechanics now feel archaic and it’s mostly a curiosity for anyone who’s never played a Master System and a known quantity for those who have.

Revenge of Shinobi is somewhat more divisive. It’s a very stiff and cumbersome kind of side-scroller and also shows age but is another essential component of Sega’s history. It makes good sense here, as Alex Kidd was first introduced in Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, and it’s nice Sega didn’t just compromise with Alex Kidd games, instead making use of a couple titles that might otherwise never find re-release.

More surprising is the inclusion of arcade classic Super Hang-On. It revels in high-adrenaline bike racing and the effect feels every bit as profound, as the bike takes into the turns, the nitro hits, and a swirling motorway weaves in and out, decorated with obstacles along the sides. It also makes the best use of the extra ‘trial’ modes featured as fresh challenge content in each. It’s one where the nostalgia snaps right back after playing it.

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Alex Kidd & Co. is a fine, if not uneven addition to Sega’s ongoing Vintage Collections. it finds the return of a couple brands which molded Sega into the company they are today and a retro arcade-centric racing game that’s been broadly overlooked with time. None of these warrant an immediate download alone but together they are worthwhile for the dedicated Sega fan. They act as a kind of sample of Sega’s infancy, their mature identity, and their ethos of speed, all tucked into a simple, disposable package, if not for any other reason than to justify these games being re-released.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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