Let’s Bring ’em Back: Games deserving of the remastered treatment
I am clearly coming off of a DuckTales Remastered high. What can I say? I liked the game. Classic level design and tight controls are what make games worth revisiting again and again. I am normally an advocate of new, original content, but solid games should always be revisited and kept in the public gaming consciousness. After all, these are the games that inspired today’s designers. Only by looking back can we really, truly see what makes games great.
So, I want more. Here are some games, in no particular order, that deserve to be remastered:
The Guardian Legend
Too many people missed out on this NES adventure/shoot-em-up hybrid. Those of us who played it remember it fondly. It’s not often you play a game that’s half The Legend of Zelda and half Gradius. In the game, you play as the Guardian, the last remaining transforming robot whose mission is to destroy the planet Naju before it reaches, and of course destroys, the Earth. You alternate between vertical scrolling stages in which you fight bosses and “open world”-like stages in which you traverse in your humanoid form. In the humanoid stages, you get to buy upgrades and try to figure out how to unlock the next corridor. A remastered version could do something about the lacking story, perhaps by letting the Guardian find each of her destroyed comrades instead of just notes left behind. The exploration stages could use a new control scheme, probably the ability to fire in directions other than that in which you’re walking – like Smash TV controls. But the soundtrack should not go too changed. That bouncy music gives the game the personality that so many of us remember.
When the first Pokemon game was released in America, I was just outside of the appropriate age range for the series. Considering the highly addictive nature of “Gotta catch ’em all!” and the lesser stated “Gotta buy ’em all!” slogan that should accompany the collectible card game, I’m pretty sure I dodged a bullet. But then there was a kiosk in Toys ‘R’ Us featuring Pokemon Snap. The game play is totally different from the rest of the series – different from most games in general. While you can interact with the creatures, the main point of the game is to observe and try to take the best photos possible. I didn’t come to own this game until my mid-20’s, and I do not regret ordering it. It’s such a peaceful and pleasant game. Not only that, it actually feels like there’s a real world that’s being explored. One has to wonder why Nintendo hasn’t commissioned a sequel. Did this game not do well? If Nintendo won’t make an expanded remake of this game (with twice as many stages and pocket monsters), then they should at least re-explore the concept with a brand new world. I envision a cell-shaded game in which you are whisked away to worlds full of mythological creatures, such as gnomes and faeries. But I am quite content with taking more pictures of pokemon.
I’m always content with taking pictures of pokemon.
For those of you who doubt the power of this game, check out the episode of Co-optitude in which it was featured (language NSFW):
River City Ransom
Technically, this was already done with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a game that aims to be so much like River City Ransom that it fails to have much of a personality itself. Still, River City Ransom deserves a brand new game, probably in similar vein to Double Dragon Neon and less similar to its enhanced remake on the GameBoy Advance. The game doesn’t have to do much more than just be a fun, short beat-em-up.
Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers
This is a no-brainer considering DuckTales Remastered. The one thing that CnDRR has over the other game is that it’s a two-player co-operative game. I kind of loath living in an era of separate screen experiences. This would be great to bring back the shared screen experience, especially if it involves a parent and child’s scheming together against bosses.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
I know that Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was released only a few years back, but it was terrible. While keeping the original soundtrack, they changed the style of the graphics, and not for the better. Gone were the vibrant colors of the arcade and the SNES and in came the ugly, muddy colors of modern gaming. There was also maybe a bit too much voice. It was cute when the turtles would yell “Cowabunga!” in unison at the end of every level, but four turtles yelling it at slightly different times comes across as more noisy than anything else. And I don’t think the ability to attack in eight directions added anything to the game. A good remake of the game would keep the vibrant colors, remix the soundtrack (providing the option to play with the original, of course), and keep the game play exactly the same or enhance it in such a way that any additions would seem reasonable and seamless. Eight directions of attack sounds like it could produce more moves, such as enemies thrown into the background if you attack them from above and enemies thrown at the screen when attacked from below.
Y’know what? If a darker palette must be involved somehow, give me the option to play through the game remixed with the new Nickelodeon characters. It’ll take some futzing around to make things work out, since Baxter Stockman is not a fly (but at least he’s still black) and there is no one singular Krang. (Krang Prime would obviously take the roll of Krang in the game…but he’s a few several times larger.) I would buy that in a second.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
This is somehow the most ignored game in the Legend of Zelda series. Say what you will about the Philips CD-I games, but at least you’re saying something about them. Zelda II was a really great game that serves as the predecessor for the game play of Ocarina of Time. That’s not to say that there weren’t any problems with Zelda II. The game suffers a bit from what most games back then suffered – obtuseness. It was easy to get lost and not know where you are supposed to go in later dungeons. And the bosses are very hard. A remastered version of this game would probably feature a map of sorts and more forgiving boss battles. Tweak the overworld theme, though. I like the tune, but I think it might benefit from not being on an 8-bit sound processor.
I am aware that Capcom attempted to reboot both the original and X series as Mega Man: Powered Up and Maverick Hunter X respectively. I am also aware that the games failed. They failed because they were released only on the Sony PSP, a portable gaming system that never really had legs. It’s proof that Capcom doesn’t know how to sell games to its fans.
What both series need is a remastering that releases all of the games (1 – 10 for the original series and X – X8 for the other) in a consistent art and music styling. The original series is tricky because the Powered-Up art style was a bit too cutesy, but the stylings of 7 and 8 weren’t so hot either. 8-bit is perfect, but that’s hardly remastered.
I also wouldn’t mind if they hired the Megas to do the music.
The X series is simple. Remake the series in the style of X8 but with an emphasis on making the music a bit more metal-like. Then completely overhaul X6 and X7 to make them games that people would enjoy playing.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon and Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam
Given the popularity of the latest versions of the Gundam Vs. series in Japanese arcades, they should return to the original two games with all of their bags of tricks. These games are still fun, but they are comparitively slow and jerky. The idea of a Mobile Suit Gundam game is to make the player feel like an ace pilot on the level of Amuro, Char, Kamille, etc. You just don’t feel that way in these games, mostly because you can’t feel cool about slowly turning your mobile suit so that the shield attached to its arm starts taking some of the enemy bullets…because you can’t just make your mobile suit raise its shield.
I would especially enjoy a return to the campaign modes in both games. Federation vs. Zeon had players explore the One Year War as a ground level grunt, piloting the cheapest and most expendable mobile suits before earning (or happening into) the better ones. However, the more damaged they get in a battle, no matter if you win, the longer they stay out of commission as they get repaired. In the harder difficulty, destoryed mobile suits don’t come back. Campaign mode in Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam explored the time line of the two wars from the perspective of almost every character involved in the wars, and events could be changed in order to make the ending better or worse (or wholly change the story of Zeta Gundam). A remastered version could animate the endings, provide even more fun audio as characters interact…and then break the timeline with the addition of mobile suits that came into play long after Zeta Gundam aired in the 80’s.
I’d be happy with a non-remastered release of the game if they could just get the rights to use the two original opening themes, though… Using Richie Kotzen’s versions is somewhat acceptable, too, but not the same.
Kabuki Quantum Fighter
No one remembers this game. It was a great action-platformer in which your main line of attack is whipping your hair all around. Absurdity taken seriously has a place in this world, too.