Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is a 1989 platform game released for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. It was developed in-house by Sega as a competitor to the Nintendo Mario games, which were hugely popular at the time.
As anyone who’s played it will know: Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is not a patch on any Mario game (at least not the ones Nintendo made themselves). It doesn’t even come close to the NES Mario games, never mind Super Mario World on the SNES (which was released the following year). It does, however, have a certain charm to it, and should not be written-off as worthless.
The ‘feel’ of Alex, as he jumps, crawls, kicks and punches is way through the eleven different stages on the fictional planet of ‘Paperock’ is satisfying.
Opponents are cars or animals (including some dodgy-looking grey hedgehogs) and will kill Alex if they touch him. There are swampy surfaces where Alex will sink unless he keeps jumping, breakable blocks, and even vehicles that help Alex on certain levels. Specifically: a helicopter, a motorbike, and a pogo stick.
Boss battles in the game are via the “rock, paper, scissors” method and are known for being extremely difficult, though are easily beaten with emulator quicksaves…
Graphically, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is colourful and crisp, and it plays quite nicely, but it doesn’t have any of the detail or subtlety of a Mario game.