Alex Kidd The Lost Stars – Released 1988
“The stars have been taken from the skies of the planet Aries! Only one of royal blood can get them back… and that’s Alex Kidd! Join him in a journey beyond space, time and imagination to return the stars of Aries to the constellation”
Following the success of Alex Kidd in Miracle world (You can read my thoughts on that game in part 1) Sega wanted to capitalise on their new mascot with another game as quickly as possible. Alex Kidd The Lost Stars was an arcade game in Japan (released in 1986) and Sega decided to make this the sequel to Miracle World.
Now for me this is where I guess it must be tough for developers to decide on whether to make the sequel the same type of game as the successful first or make enough changes that it improves on the first. Well in this case Sega didn’t go with any of these options and chose to make a complete different game. In fact they just ported the arcade game onto the Sega Master System with some slight changes.
Alex Kidd The Lost Stars Japanese advertising
The Lost Stars is a much simpler game than the first in which Alex must find the twelve signs of the Zodiac and collect the miracle ball within each to defeat the villain Ziggurat. There are fourteen stages to the game in which Alex must collect six miracle balls and then defeat the end boss. Once this has be accomplished, Alex must complete these seven stages again but at a harder difficulty.
The Lost Stars has a simple play mechanic. Alex moves from left to right, jumping over enemies, objects and with collected power ups can shoot projectiles and jump higher.
Alex cannot touch anything without screaming…very annoying
At the top of the screen you have a life bar that also acts as a timer, this decreases as you progress through the level but can be topped up by collecting a power up. If Alex touches an enemy or falls to his death, life/time is taken away from his life bar. Loose all of your life/time and you loose a life.
Sorry Alex, lets try, try again..
I have to add that the games difficulty is really high too. So for younger players they may very well struggle early on in the game. Because of the varying enemy patterns and projectile speeds, Lost Stars requires timing and patience as well as a bit of good old trial and error. Alex’s jumping mechanism is also slightly odd. By pressing the jump button, Alex leaps amazingly high in and seems to float a little. This can take a bit of getting used to especially if you have just been playing Miracle World.
Find the Miracle Ball!
Each of the seven levels has a different theme from a toy world to a monster world. The enemies vary from “Oh i can see why that enemy features on this stage” to “Why did they put this in here and what even is it” (please see bottom of the blog 😃) which adds to my mixed feelings about the game. Within the levels you have some nice additions like being able to swing on a chain to cross platforms, jump onto quickly dropping moving platform and using balloons to cross large gaps.
Alex keeps swinging, Alex is gonna work it out
The music in Lost Stars fits with the colourful visuals of the game and has digitized voice at the start of each level. “Find the Miracle Ball” which is pretty impressive. The down side is for some reason Sega thought it would be a good idea to have Alex screaming “Ahhhhh” when he gets hit. This happens fairly frequently (if you’re as bad as me at Lost Stars) and that scream gets very annoying very quickly. Although the music will never be as catchy as Miracle World it does have its moments but you wont come away from the game humming any tunes.
Underwater stage colours are vibrant and the graphics well drawn
I may have sounded negative about Lost Stars so far but there are some good points to the game too. Visually the game is very impressive. A more cartoon style theme in comparison to Miracle World which works very well. Again i can see this appealing to younger players but as i mentioned above the difficulty level is very high. The animation on enemy characters is well executed and there are some nice touches when Alex swings on vines or grabs onto balloons.
Enemy animation executed well
Playing Lost Stars again over the last few days hasn’t really changed my opinion of the game as for me it will always live in the shadow of Miracle World, but Lost Stars isn’t a bad game, it could have just been so much more. In my opinion it was a gamble by Sega to release this as the next Alex Kidd game. It may have been easier to port an already created arcade game onto the Sega Master System but i still feel this started the decline of the new Sega Mascot.
Sega’s competition Nintendo released a sequel to its hugely successful Super Mario Bros. Nintendo had also decided to go a completely different direction with their game in the U.S and Europe but Super Mario Bros 2 was hugely successful. To this day, i still enjoying playing that game but unfortunately this cant be said for The Lost Stars. I feel that Sega’s gamble failed and would only be made worse by the next game Alex would star in.
To be continued…
Thanks again for reading and please take a look at our other articles on VGR2016.
I think this is what it looks like…really Sega? 😀