Gone but not forgotten: some retro games are simply too good not to make an appearance on next generation games consoles
As we previously detailed, 2014 is set to see a whole raft of stunning, innovative games hit the world stage. From the beauty of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture to the adrenaline rush of Dying Light, it’s not going to be easy to choose what upcoming title gets the lion’s share of our attention.
But what about those games that aren’t getting an update or new release this year? The ones whose glory days are sadly in the past? Well, we feel there are certain games whose lasting impact on the video games industry and its legions of players is such that they deserve a reboot. And hell, even if the major publishers aren’t willing to dip into the past, sites like Kickstarter have proved that may not even be necessary.
So join us as we steer our way through our top 5 retro resurrections wishlist.
Perhaps not quite as retro as other games on this list, the TimeSplitters series became a shooter favourite in the early to mid 2000s. With its nods to James Bond classic GoldenEye, its wacky characters and zany storylines, the TimeSplitters franchise made its mark as a game that didn’t take itself too seriously. Its sheer fun kept you coming back for more, whether that was to retry its main story mode or blast some bots in one of its many hilariously fun game modes.
The series’ last instalment, Future Perfect, did not sell as well as the publishers had hoped, leading the franchise to be put on hold. Since that time, however, members of a fan-led Facebook group have, with permission from current rights holders Crytek UK, begun work on a reboot of the series titled TimeSplitters Rewind. It will feature remakes of multiplayer maps from all three TimeSplitters games, and is due to be released for free some time in 2014, the hope being that it will prompt the creation of an official TimeSplitters 4.
Let’s hope it’s a success. After all, those snowmen aren’t going to flamethrower themselves…
When you think of the Nintendo 64, some cherished titles immediately spring to mind: Super Mario 64, GoldenEye and, of course, Banjo Kazooie.
The original Banjo game enjoyed immense success and is considered a classic by fans and critics alike. Much like the TimeSplitters franchise, Banjo Kazooie was a game that didn’t take itself too seriously, with its yokelish bear and anthropomorphic vegetable enemies providing a laugh along with the challenges. And with the abandonment of the Stop ‘n’ Swop feature leaving many secret doors, eggs and ice keys lying around the maps, an unintentional air of mystery was brought to the game.
While sequel Banjo-Tooie continued strongly in this vein, 2008’s with Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, saw a significant departure from previous Banjo titles in terms of gameplay, with players needing to complete challenges by building vehicles and devices. Since then, Banjo has seemingly been on hiatus, although the original two games were ported to the Xbox Live arcade in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Despite this, the lasting popularity of the original two Banjo games means the series is surely due a revamp. The series features a ready-made iconic character set and loyal fanbase, and with the advent of a new generation of consoles, there are new opportunities to really drive the series forward. And though most of the original Rare team have since moved on to other projects, the dream of a new Banjo title has not died for many, this writer included.
Spyro the Dragon
Although Spyro has lived on in the Skylanders series, as well as having a large number of sequels and spin-offs released since the original game debuted in 1998, there hasn’t been a new Spyro game since 2008. That effort (The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon) received mixed reviews, nowhere near the fanfare that greeted the three titles in the original series.
As with Banjo Kazooie, Spyro’s famous name makes it ripe for a new instalment. It was clear from Dawn of the Dragon that the developers wanted to push it in bolder directions – it featured (semi-) free roaming, whilst the game was praised for its impressive graphics and effects. With the advent of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the time is perfect for this sort of development to be explored without the technological constraints that may have held previous attempts back.
The Spyro character clearly has life left in it yet – witness its success in Skylanders – and now is the time to restore it to its former glory.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
We’re continuing the Rare theme with Conker’s Bad Fur Day, a title that suffered disappointing sales but has gained a cult following thanks to its strong language and lewd humour. It featured a rude, crude and socially unacceptable squirrel, the eponymous Conker, who eventually does battle with a boss named the Great Mighty Poo.
The game was remade for the Xbox in 2005 as Conker: Live & Reloaded, but saw much of the comic irreverence and rudeness stripped away, leaving fans disappointed with the end result. If anything, this leaves it ripe for a proper update, not just a poorly executed remake. Conker’s offensiveness was, perversely, part of his charm, and we think many gamers are crying out for a game that has that mix of entertaining gameplay and irreverent bite. If the Grand Theft Auto games prove anything, it’s that being offensive is no barrier to success.
Crash Bandicoot has enjoyed a long and celebrated life, which saw the gurning orange marsupial battle his strangely (admirably, even) persistent nemesis Doctor Cortex for more than a decade. But this seemingly came to an end with 2008’s Crash: Mind over Mutant, the latest game in the platformer series to date (not including mobile games). Two cancelled games later – Crash Team Racing 2010 and Crash Landed – and the highly-popular franchise seemed consigned to history.
There have, however, been calls to resurrect the series, with Crash co-creator Andy Gavin telling Official PlayStation Magazine in May 2013: “Crash needs a total reboot. There’s an opportunity to reset the history, and go back to his creation story and the original conflict with Cortex.”
“In that context, you could reprise classic Crash 1 and 2’s settings and villains”, he continued. “It would make sense to use a more modern, free-roaming style. I would concentrate on Looney Tunes-esque animation and really addictive action.”
Although Activision community manager Dan Amrich states that there are currently no plans to revive the franchise at present, Activision later reportedly stated they are “exploring ways” to bring it back. A well done addition to the series, built for modern gamers and modern consoles, would be a mouth-watering prospect. Let’s hope it becomes a reality.
OK, so this may not be such a serious one. But just think of the attention it would grab! One of the most infamously, fiendishly difficult releases in gaming history making a comeback is something that would certainly get tongues waggling and fingers typing, not to mention controllers smashing…
But with its emphasis on co-operative gameplay and an almost legendary past, it’s a game that could really thrive in the present gaming world. The success of side-scrolling beat-em-up Castle Crashers shows that a game like Battletoads can succeed on modern consoles, and a download-only reboot is something we think could really make a name for itself.
Is there a retro game that you’d love to see get a facelift? Any series that needs to be brought to the next generation consoles? Share your thoughts in the comments below.