Alex Kidd DX
Image: Merge Games / Sega

Before Sonic came along and really gave Super Mario a run for his money, Sega relied on the talents of Alex Kidd, the company mascot during the Master System era.

Alex starred in a series of titles during the late '80s, including Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars and Alex Kidd in Shinobi World. While none of these could really hold a candle to the likes of Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES, Alex nonetheless carved out a receptive fanbase – so much so that he was even afforded a 16-bit outing, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle.

While Sonic arrived not long afterwards and became Sega's most successful mascot, Alex Kidd has endured and recently starred in a remake of his Master System debut, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX. To mark the character's 35th birthday (the Master System version of Miracle World launched on November 1st, 1986 in Japan), Merge Games – publisher of the aforementioned remake – has been sharing some information on exactly how it came to pass:

Merge Games had come to Sega’s attention by successfully distributing the retail version of the mega-hit Streets of Rage 4, in collaboration with DotEmu. It was this release that also gave the six-person dev team - Jankenteam, who were long-standing Alex Kidd fans - the impetus to come to Merge with and share their dream of remaking the game. The idea was to recreate, rebuild and modernise a deluxe version of the game whilst sticking faithfully to what fans had treasured about Alex Kidd for 30 years.

Following a visit to Sega’s HQ in Japan to license the long-dormant IP, Merge Games developed a complete strategy for full production, marketing and commercial success using the company’s deep expertise in creating bespoke routes to market, which put quality front and centre and exploited all available digital, retail and collectable opportunities.

The team were determined to faithfully include all the original content and levels and combined this with striking new art, improved boss fight systems and different modes. Extra levels were created to expand the lore of the original title to bring a fresh dimension to Alex Kidd in Miracle World. The game included a Retro Mode specifically to bring back the nostalgia from the Master System classic, allowing players to switch back to a recreated version of the original graphical style, to the new Boss Rush Mode which provides nonstop Rock Paper Scissors action, the DX version of Alex Kidd in Miracle World includes a wealth of extra content to expand on the original Master System version. Comprising an array of other updates such as improvements to combat, movement mechanics and new menu systems, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX adds a new level of fluidity to the original classic!

Merge has also revealed that this Christmas, the game is on track to have sold 200,000 copies since its launch in June.

Luke Keighran, Managing Director of Merge Games, had this to add:

It was a pleasure to work with Sega and Jankenteam reviving this retro classic. The success of Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX has given Merge a blueprint in this niche, and we intend to continue to drive that objective and look at other potential franchises we can resurrect.

Unfortunately, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX didn't quite tick all of the right boxes for us personally. We gave it a lukewarm 5/10 review back in June of this year, saying:

Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is not horrible by any means, and you might have fun with it until you run up against its irritating issues — unless you use infinite lives, in which case you'll finish the game in two hours, tops. If this was supposed to be Alex Kidd's big comeback, we're sad to say that we don't think we'll be seeing that Alex Kidd: High-Tech World remake any time soon.

What other retro games would you like to see revived? Let us know with a comment.