Sega Master System Angels
One of the first games I owned for the Sega Genesis was Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, a solid but unremarkable platformer that I nevertheless completed many, many times over, as it was one of only a handful of games I owned for the system for several years.
For me, Enchanted Castle is particularly memorable because of what happens when Alex collides with a deadly enemy or object. Instead of keeling over, exploding, or shrugging his shoulders before dropping out of sight — as I was used to seeing in NES games — Alex instead turns into an angel and floats skyward, eventually disappearing off the top of the screen.
The effect was jarring. The idea that a character I was controlling in a video game could actually die and proceed to the eternal hereafter because of my poor motor skills was more than a little concerning.
It wasn’t until years later that I picked up a Sega Master System and discovered that Alex did the same thing in Enchanted Castle‘s 8-bit predecessor, Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Soon I found out that this wasn’t just a peculiar trait unique to the Alex Kidd series — it was an honest-to-god theme carried across multiple Sega-developed games in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
What follows is a complete list of every Sega Master System title in which, upon death, an in-game character’s soul escapes from his or her body in the form of an angel.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Alf (yes, really)
[Notable not only because the gangsters turn into angels when you shoot them (maybe they’re not such bad guys after all?), but also…
…you can then shoot and kill the angels as they fly toward heaven, robbing them of their one shot at eternal salvation. Hardcore.]
Maze Hunter 3-D
Spy vs. Spy
Teddy Boy Blues
Wonder Boy in Monster Land
Wonder Boy in Monster World
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap