Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
If you own a Sega console then the essential platform games are Zillion, Quartet, Wonderboy and Alex Kidd. Sega has seen the great success of these games and produced sequels for three out of the four above.
The latest sequel to fall into my sweaty palms is Alex Kidd: the Lost Stars.
The original Alex Kidd was a great game, The Lost Stars (128K) is a worthy follow up with far better graphics tunes, playability and depth.
There are 14 stages to complete with you trying to recover the Miracle Ball by getting through ail 14 planets and their dangers.
When you start you are faced with an alien in the centre of the screen and the words 'find the miracle ball' are uttered (very clear digitised speech).
You run along a left to right scrolling backdrop and have to get to the exit at the end of the planet before your time runs out. You can collect fire power, extra leap strength and bonus time as you go along by touching pods which drift down the screen. You can also pick up treasure and money along the way.
Planet one has you in the country, you have to jump over a dog spitting letters out (B O W W O W!) there are also trampoline blocks to spring you higher, walking playing card, floating baby chiclcs, an overhead tramline you can hold on to but watch out for the trains!
Planet two has you in a big factory with metal presses, moving platforms, holes in the floor, piston blocks which try to crush you, tarzan ropes and electric bolts which give you a real charge.
Planet three is a forest, there are hanging multi-coloured platforms (some of the most colourful graphics I have ever seen in a game) and loads of nasties to avoid. Planet four has you underwater facing spitting octopus, puffy fish, low flying anchors, shell fish and an obstacle course of twisted metal strips.