Remember Alf? He's back, in LP form! Let's Play Alf on the Sega Master System

screenshot
actionadventure
#1

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Originally, I was going to do this as a thing in the Ni no Kuni 2 LP if I didn’t finish it before April 1st. I did finish it (until the site wiped half the final update but it still counts) but I had all of these screenshots lying around so I said what the hell, why not?

Alf is… it’s kind of like Ni no Kuni 2 in that it’s completely incomprehensible and probably should’ve wound up buried in a remote landfill in Arizona. The game itself isn’t particularly long - the longplays.org video on YouTube is like twelve and a half minutes.

You might ask why I’m doing a 2D platformer in screenshot form. You might also ask why I did this on an emulator despite the fact that I own a Genesis and a flashcart that allows it to play Master System games. The answer is that this game is total bullshit that should never for any reason be attempted on real hardware.

I’m not going to make an index for this, because it’s only going to be maybe four updates long. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

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There’s no “start” button on the Master System, so pressing Button 1 will take us to this screen with absolutely no warning that the game has actually started. As you can see, Alf has no jumping animation.

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We can climb up onto the roof and try to activate the hover platform, but…

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It’s out of gas. There’s no actual story here - as far as I can tell (and having watched a non-zero amount of Alf episodes) it doesn’t follow the story of the show at all. Alf crash-lands and has to fix his ship to go back to space. That’s about it.

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There’s no indication of where we have to go, but if we go left, Alf winds up in a kitchen with a cat and a closed refrigerator.

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We need this cat. Unlike most items in this game, we can collect the cat simply by jumping on it. We now have the cat, 200 points, and a stock of four extra Alfs because the show’s budget ran out at four spare Alfs.

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It’s not immediately obvious since it does nothing on most screens, but Button 2 is the “action button”. We can press it once in front of the fridge and Alf will open it. This is absolutely crucial to progressing…

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…What? By the way, getting the salami requires a second button press. I have several questions about this. One: who the hell buys an entire salami like that? Two: How does Alf know it works on bats? You know, I don’t know if I want to know the answer to that second one.

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Now, you might ask where the hell there’s going to be bats in a suburban neighborhood. We could try the attic… or we could try this second nondescript door out of three.

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Nothing much here… just a rat. We’ll be fine-

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Or not.

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Instead, we need to press the action button to release the cat we picked up earlier, which kills the rat off. Maybe we can go get that poison or the mop or something.

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The light switch is that purple line hanging down from the ceiling. Alf has to jump to be able to pull it.

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Yep, nevermind that these people have a light at the bottom of the stairs (on a pull-chain, no less), they also have a secret cave entrance in their basement.

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As soon as we go left, Alf will instinctively pull out and wield the salami.

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Hitting the action button causes Alf to swing the salami about this far. This will kill anything in a very small area in front of him that extends vertically from his neck to his legs or so. Despite the animation, the salami will not touch anything coming at Alf from above. I question its usefulness against the bats.

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We need to jump up onto the platform here, because if we don’t we get stuck in a narrow corridor with that rat (who can and will evade the salami) and eventually wind up at that bottomless pit you can see in the pic above.

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We then get forced into a very narrow corridor anyway, this time with groups of two bats flying at us infinitely from the left side of the screen. This took me probably a good twenty savestates to get past. It is that annoying.

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You know you’re getting to the end when the floor starts changing.

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Oh, Alf. You’re the only one who laughs at your horrible, horrible jokes. By the way, the board we crossed to get here disappeared when we touched the shed.

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We could keep going left, but the thing we need the gold nugget for is back in town - to the right. Thankfully, we can use the shed as a platform.

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Of course, now we have a new problem. The bats, having decided that simply coming at us in a narrow corridor that makes them impossible to avoid wasn’t bad enough, decide to come at us from both directions. This causes MASSIVE amounts of slowdown.

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The drop out of bat hell is particularly bad because there are rats that spawn from about where that rat is in the pic. You have to either kill the bat behind you and move forward just enough that the rats stop spawning or do a near-frame-perfect jump.

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Near the entrance, we get another dick move from the developers of Alf. See how that bat in front of Alf is all folded up? That’s the state it goes into once you hit it with the salami. That particular bat takes about a second to fall through the platform, and it can still kill you while it is in that animation.

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To the right of the room with the three doors is this room, which tends to spawn these slow-moving guys with jazz hands.

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They just kinda slowly walk at you, doing the jazz hands thing. It’s usually easier to despawn them by leaving the room and coming back if they’re in your way.

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Outside, we can see a jazz hands man in full-on jazz hands mode. The streets are particularly deadly because the people on bikes will spawn at random spots on the street. You can use the sidewalk, but jazz hands men spawn up there.

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Three screens of this bullshit later…

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And we find the only building in this town that’s open - the general store. It’s possible for the game to spawn a jazz hands in front of the door, but we got lucky… this time.

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The store will accept our gold nugget as $50 (we don’t have to actually sell it) so we’ll use that to buy the key. The fish is a trap item - if you get it, I don’t think there’s any way you can progress.

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Several screens of bullshit later, we’re back at the three doors room. We’re looking for an item that is going to spawn in one of three locations.

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This room is one of them. That door in the back will only open with a key, but the item we need wasn’t in it.

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The third door has two more closets like that one, and one of these will have the item if the first one doesn’t.

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Got it. Also, I’m pretty sure Alf wearing a swimsuit is considered a crime against humanity. So, what are we going to do with a swimsuit, you ask?

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Back in this room, we can use the key we bought to open the door in the back.

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The problem is that the game likes to spawn jazz hands from the right side of the screen, so I had to despawn him and go through the door.

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Yes, there’s a random lake in the back of this house with absolutely nothing to stop people jumping in. However, Alf (for some reason) won’t go in without the swimsuit.

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Once we jump into the lake, the game changes to a weird sidescroller thing where Alf has to swim downward. That bar on the left is an air meter.

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The scuba divers on this map are a major pain in the ass. They can track Alf from off-screen and fire harpoons as soon as he gets in front of them.

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This one in particular is bad because if you try to go down the left side of the screen, he’ll block the path. Scuba divers (as well as the cats) will also kill you on contact.

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Past the third diver is what appears to be a juvenile xenomorph in the sand. The teal area there will refill Alf’s air meter to full if he touches it.

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What’s this? That’s one of the two things we came here to get.

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You know, I wasn’t a huge fan of Las Vegas when I went, but the guy in a bootleg Pikachu costume who stood outside my hotel on the Strip and vaped weed was probably more entertaining than this game.

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The next area is more open, which allows us to bypass the divers more easily. You know, why is it that Alf even needed this swimsuit to go in the water when he’s naked normally?

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There’s another air bubble here, but it’s actually faster (and easier) to take the death assuming you can get down here with lives to spare… once we get the second item, that is.

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By the way, the divers will automatically turn to follow you.

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All the way down on the floor of the lake is… a giant clam? What is this, Dark Souls?

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Probably toss it into the trash, just like you got tossed the second it turned 1990. I had to look online to verify that, by the way, and as it turns out Warner Brothers tried to reboot Alf in 2018. They had to give up because no one wanted to air it.

For the record, I spammed savestates and didn’t take the death.

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Once out of the lake, we have to backtrack to where we started the game.

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To the right of the starting point is this screen. This is where you wind up if you keep going left from the house.

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In roughly the same place as where the General Store was on the other side is the Five and Dime. I got unlucky and had the game spawn a jazzhands right in front of the door, so I had to manipulate him a bit.

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We now have $300. For some reason, the game makes us sell the pearl, but we need to go back to the General Store anyway and can sell it there. The Five and Dime has a lantern and… an Alf Book? What the hell is an Alf Book? Does it let Alf cast dark magic or something? Let’s buy that shit.

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Naturally, Alf was a Sega kid. So, when do I get the dark magics?

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Oh, god dammit! Fuck you, Alf! I’m glad your ass probably got sold to some kind of weird fetishist who uses you like Deadpool uses that unicorn!

Anyway, we’re almost at the halfway mark. Next time, we’ll… probably finish the game. Probably?

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#2

God I love how completely mean buying the book is in this game, especially considering that this is just an adventure game without the saving.

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#3

One single, solitary “HA”

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#4

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One theoretical game restart averted by the use of savestates later and we’re back at the Five and Dime. We want to get the lantern here and then head back to the General Store.

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Here, we sell the pearl for an extra hundred dollars. The only item we actually need here is the ladder (we can buy the fish too if we want) but let’s see what happens if we buy the costume…

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The costume turns Alf into some kind of horrible Alf-Yoshi hybrid. Also, there are… apparently zombie dogs straight out of Resident Evil that run down the sidewalk if you sit on this screen for too long. The costume disappears if you get hit, and if you lose it there’s no way to finish the game.

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I got the ladder and the fish just for swag value. Now, you’d think we’d be going to some new destination, but no. We’re going back to the bat caves. But first, let’s pretend we went all the way back into the bat caves to the shed where we found the gold nugget.

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The game won’t give you any indication of what you’re supposed to do unless you jump facefirst into the pit.

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If you have the ladder though, it’s… somehow already laid out across the hole when Alf gets there.

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Beyond the first shed is - actually, it’s a carbon copy of the bat caves up to this point.

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At the end is another shed, not surprising given that this area is basically copied and pasted. The fuel pellet is the second to last item in the game. Now clearly, all we have to do is keep going left and we’ll be out of the caves in no time.

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Or not. There’s an invisible wall right here, so we need to go all the way back through both layers of the cave. The only reason I can think of that the developers would make you do this is that they did not want people finishing this game.

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Either that, or they wanted to sell strategy guides for a game no one was likely to buy, because there’s actually a cheat that allows you to skip straight to the final section of the game. Since no one wants to see the entire bat caves a third time, let’s restart the game here (since we already have the fuel pellet) and do some cheating. Looking back, I wish Ni no Kuni 2 had a cheat like this.

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Here we are back at the start of the game.

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We want to go into the kitchen like we did the first time, only this time we want to grab the salami before grabbing the cat.

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Now, we go back to the kid’s room where the swimsuit could possibly be…

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Here, we need to pause the game. This can be a little tricky if you’re trying it on real hardware because the pause button was on the Master System itself, not on the controller.

However, I don’t own a physical Master System. What I have is a Model 1 Genesis/Mega Drive, which can play Master System games through a piece of hardware called the Power Base Converter. The PBC has the pause button on it - though some of the third-party clones released in the 90s apparently did not.

…But I don’t own a PBC either. What I have is an Everdrive - if you’re using one of those, it’s the little black button on the top of the cartridge assuming you didn’t get the X3 model.

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Once the game is paused, hold Up and Left on the pad and hit Button 1, then Button 2. If you’re using a Genesis controller it’s A and B instead. I’m starting to feel like that guy who makes videos on how to crash Paper Mario.

This will give you the swimsuit, fuel pellet, and the pearl, which is all you actually need to finish the game. I also tested to see if you could go back and get the pirate treasure and pearl again, but…

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The game straight-up disables them both.

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Now that we have the fuel pellet, we can start up Alf’s space scooter and get off the planet.

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The game will send Alf flying upward (in a cutscene that you can’t control) and then hands over control to you without any warning. Going off the bottom of the screen here is a death, even though it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

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Holding the jump button makes Alf fly upward at a pretty slow pace. Interestingly, Metal Slug 3 pretty much had this as its ending sequence. Did Nazca/SNK steal from Alf? Post your theories in the thread.

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The first sky sequence is relatively easy - there are jets that will fly by, but they’re slow and you can stop holding the jump button to fall and avoid them.

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Oh no, we’ve entered a gradient field!

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The fact that there are jets flying as low as maybe 50 feet over the houses here and as high as the edge of space is just… man, what the shit?

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Anyway, we’re now in space. Alf can breathe in space. I mean, technically he’s an inanimate object but whatever.

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A bit higher, and we reach this thing. This is the space station, and is also a checkpoint.

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If we had continued from the original run, we’d also have the lantern and the key we could sell to buy the spacesuit. Instead, we’ll just trade the pearl for it.

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Alf has now successfully painted himself purple.

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This part of space is where shit gets real bad. You see, Alf has all the maneuverability of a rock, and as soon as we go past the space station, vertically falling comets start to drop. These are WAY harder to avoid than the jets were.

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As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also UFOs that go from side to side. Which side they come from is random, as is WHEN they come. If you get one in a bad position, there’s no way to avoid it… and dying sends you all the way back to the space station.

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This section takes a good two or three minutes to complete. The trick is to stay right about here. The meteors won’t fall on this section of the screen and you have enough time to dodge the UFOs provided that they don’t come from the right side while you’re in a bad position.

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At the top of space is the moon, and with the meteors and UFOs still coming, you have to think quickly to figure out what to do. I got here on stream without using any savestates whatsoever and died because I couldn’t figure it out right away.

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What you have to do is… go into the moon’s mouth. Which contains a spaceship repair kit. I don’t know how that’s supposed to be an intuitive thing. By the way, it’s EXTREMELY easy to not see this text box unless you fall into the mouth rather than fly upward into it, because holding the jump button will skip the text in a single frame.

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The game then immediately goes into this screen.

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Our score would be higher if we hadn’t cheated, but who cares? It’s over.

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