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I can't see why Keith Courage in Alpha Zones has yet to appear on the Virtual Console. It's boring, sure -- but it's not like there aren't any clunkers already available for download. At least give Wii owners a chance to see one of the reasons the Turbo stumbled. If you have a real-deal TurboGrafx-16 in your collection, you likely already own this middling platformer. But if you are strangely without it, don't pay very much for it should you add it to your library. It's just such a mediocre experience.
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)
Alles in allem bin ich jedoch von WATARU sehr enttäuscht, denn den Spieler erwartet nur ein eher durchschnittliches, wenn auch technisch gutes Hüpf- und Kletterspiel, was vor allem an der Einfallslosigkeit der Programmierer liegt. Zu wenig „eigene“ Ideen, zu wenig Action machen WATARU bald zu einem Trauerspiel, einem billigen Abklatsch von Hits wie Son Son II.
Now do this seven times, and you have Keith Courage in Alpha Zones, the zones likely being the areas below the Earth's surface... I think. But it's not the greatest game to showcase a new console. The gameplay doesn't shout "innovative" or even, at times, "on par with what came out on seemingly inferior consoles this year". The graphics are definitely a step above the rival NES and Sega Master System, but they still don't show off how awesome owning a Turbo-Grafx 16 should be. The music is shrill at times and just downright boring at others. Keith Courage in Alpha Zones is generic. Horribly generic. Perhaps the Japanese version had some character (and an anime series to draw from), but the localization team sucked the personality out of the game and left only its shell. We can't blame Turbo-Grafx 16's complete American desecration on Keith Courage alone, but it certainly didn't help the console move off the shelves.
All Game Guide
Keith Courage in Alpha Zones puts players in the title role as he runs, jumps on platforms, and battles an odd assortment of monsters (including elongated skulls and giant gun creatures) with his sword. The action is divided into two sections: the Overworld and the Underworld, both of which are flawed. The Overworld has shops in which players can purchase health and enhanced weaponry (bombs and a longer sword), but the going is slow and tedious. The action heats up (and speeds up) in the Underworld as Keith dons his battlemech-like Nova Suit and fights bosses and other creatures, but cheap deaths (enemies push you into instantly fatal red spikes) and repetition mar the experience. The graphics are repetitive as well. Keith Courage has a generous health replacement system and unlimited continues, helping mask the game's prohibitive difficulty level and unbalanced gameplay, but there's no masking the fact that this was a poor choice for a pack-in title with the TurboGrafx-16 system.
Keith Courage in Alpha Zones may seem tough at first, but once you figure out the underworlds and bosses, it’s a snap. This is a game which would rather overwhelm you than challenge you. If you see Keith Courage in Alpha Zones, there’s no shame in being Keith Coward and running away from it.
The Video Game Critic
The collision detection isn't so hot, but this often works to you advantage as you can sometimes whack things with your sword that should be out of reach. The underground areas are so repetitive that I thought I was going in circles when I really wasn't. Keith Courage is awfully generic and seriously lacking in the fun department. The designers tried to piece together a lot of disjoint ideas, resulting in an awkward mess. You get unlimited continues, but it's unlikely you'll want to use them.