The Musical Box #12: Katana Kidd

The Musical Box features 30 articles focusing on game music production and implementation. Edition #12: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

Five years before the first appearance of a famous blue hedgehog, Sega had another mascot: A boy that jumps like a monkey, fights like a martial artist, dresses in a yellow and red jumpsuit, and likes to eat onigiri. This boy is called Alex Kidd.

This lovable character was the protagonist in many famous games from the Master System era, including one of the best platformers of this console: Alex Kidd in Miracle World. This edition of The Musical Box is going to analyze an unusual, and perhaps the first, crossover in the games industry: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.

Game: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Released: 1990
Platform: Sega Master System
Developer: Sega
Composer: Tokuhiko Uwabo

The Set-Up

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is a parody of Shinobi, the classic arcade game from Sega. It’s basically an action/platformer game that features enemies, levels and gameplay from Shinobi, but with a cute aesthetic approach that is closer to the Alex Kidd franchise.

The soundtrack of this game is brilliantly done. The tunes were taken from Shinobi levels and were rearranged to fit this particular world. Shinobi is a serious, badass action game, and so is its soundtrack. In order to make these songs sound more like the Alex Kidd world, the composer rearranged the songs by raising the key and the BPM of the original tunes, among other techniques.

This results in rearrangements that sounds much happier, sometimes even childish, fitting perfectly in the world of Alex Kidd.

The Moments

Check out the video below to see a comparison of the original and rearranged songs.



The Impact

First of all, Alex Kidd in Shinobi is a great game and had a big impact in my childhood. I was a huge fan of the original Shinobi and the parody was completely unexpected. The game played superbly well, and I think it’s the best game in the Alex Kidd franchise.

The soundtrack was also an incredibly successful effort by composer Tokuhiko Uwabo. It’s always hard to create original songs based on pre-existing music and the results in Alex Kidd are refreshing, clever, fun and perfectly adapted to the experience.

Special thanks: Gilliard Lopes, Rafael Kuhnen, Fernando Secco, Sandro Tomasetti, and Rafael Martins (Sommastudio).

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