7 Franchises Needing a Revival
We get it; old games look good when given the HD treatment. But I have a bone to pick… we’ve already played them!
I’m not about to discredit the merit of a solid HD remake because reliving a solid piece of gaming history, or experiencing it for the very first time in glorious HD, certainly beats a sharp stick in the eye. However, it seems that over the course of the past year or so plenty of companies have simply been focusing on rehashing the past and trying to make a quick buck. It started to seem like HD remakes were being announced every other week and more often than not they ended up being titles that gamers loved but not the ones they truly wanted. I.E. Final Fantasy VII.
Therefore, let’s turn this ship around and see if we can’t make 2012 the year of deserving sequels. Below is a list of games, many considered masterpieces while others got overshadowed, that are more than deserving of a modern sequel. I’m not talking about a simple HD remake here. What we need is a true sequel built from the ground up on the current consoles that revives these franchises while at the same time maintaining the quality and appeal that made these games so great in their time.
Any self-respecting gamer who grew up during the golden age of the PS2 is sure to have dumped hundreds, if not thousands of hours into the insanely addicting TimeSplitters series. With storylines as absurd as the characters within, this series championed the concept of failing to take oneself seriously and did so with such grave and style that few have come close to achieving the success seen over the course of three TimeSplitters titles.
As games progressed and players began to desire a more compelling narrative, Future Perfect churned out what I still consider to be one of the most entertaining and harebrained plots ever seen from an FPS. But the series always remained at its core a multiplayer experience chock full of gigantic murderous ducks, deranged gingerbread men, robotic fish bowls, hillbilly cacti, meandering stuffed deer heads, robotic chimps, a giant tool belt wearing hand aptly named Handyman, and a wide assortment of henchmen all hell bent on achieving one goal: to rack up the most kills.
For a generation of gamers so concerned about the inclusion of solid multiplayer, TimeSplitters’ simple formula and addicting gameplay would be the breath of fresh air the FPS community so desperately needs right now.
The fall of proper dungeon crawling can more than likely be attributed to the rise one series: The Elder Scrolls. Long before we had endless expanses of wilderness and village upon village to plunder, we were stuck adhering to a linear path through a series of predefined or randomly generated dungeons with nothing to do but wad through waves of undead. To the modern gamer who has long since been enlightened by the wonders of open-world sandbox gaming, a watered down, bird’s eye view of the action may seem like a step in the wrong direction, but that’s where Baldur’s Gate comes in.
In the event that you haven’t heard of the legendary Baldur’s Gate series I will make a very generic comparison: it’s like Diablo wherein you take your warrior through a linear plot and beat the snot out of whatever happens to get in your way, pack your inventory to the gills with 80 variations of the same sword, and return to town to turn a quick buck before doing it all over again. However, the Baldur’s Gate series featured some of the most engaging and exciting narratives coupled with incredibly varied gameplay that truly has yet to be replicated on PC and console alike; with the closest probably being Champions of Norrath – another series more than worthy of a revival.
Two console versions, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2, went largely overlooked in, but may just be the last great dungeon crawlers to ever grace a console. We’ve seen many attempts to replicate the awe and wonder of the Baldur’s Gate series since, but even then proper dungeon crawlers are so few and far between, with even fewer even worthy of noting, that it’s no wonder the genre has all but fallen off the collective radar of the gaming community.
The mysterious castled city of Baldur’s Gate is bound to hold more tales within. We are ready to don our dungeon crawling gear and take to the caves. Set us loose.
One of the first true RPGs of the PS2 era subsequently spawned a sequel that has to this day remained my favorite game of all time: Dark Cloud 2. Sideways glances and a confused “huh?” are not uncommon when I mention that title as it also went largely unnoticed by the mainstream gaming community. However, that doesn’t mean that this title was or is undeserving of a revival.
The series consists of spending what can very possibly be upwards of a hundred hours spelunking through randomly generated dungeons hunting for objects to aid in the rebuilding of the world that has mysteriously been consumed and its inhabitants vaporized. A solid mix of active time dungeon crawling mashed together with an addicting Simcity style village building simulator has resulted in a series that is far more addicting than it may sound.
In fact, many people may say that we have technically seen Dark Cloud 3 in the form of White Knight Chronicles, which is true as that title is eerily similar in style and execution to its obvious inspiration, but that doesn’t make it a true sequel.
Good old stitch lips. I vividly remember Oddworld singlehandedly being the game that sold me on the original Playstation. From the moment I saw the game I knew it had to have it for one reason and one reason only: to fart on people.
Few games since have been able to match the level of wit and humor seen in the original Oddworld titles, which makes the series derailment and eventual cancellation an even harder pill to swallow. Abe deserves to have the rest of his story told as original planned from the outset. No more of these offshoots that introduce alternate characters who push Abe to the back burner.
A true 2D side scrolling adventure with the polish and shine capable on today’s systems would be more than enough for Abe to get his point across. Because after all, who better to shove scarabs and paramites off cliffs while possessing cyborg arachnids and leading fellow mudokens to the meat grinder than a clumsy, farting, mute mudoken named Abe?
Parappa the Rappa
Forget Rock Band. Tell Guitar Hero to get stuffed. And what’s this Band Hero? Tell it to get lost. The original humor infused music game is prepped, primed, and ready for a comeback.
Parappa the Rapper, an adorable little puppy dog, gave up the comfy life and apparently turned to the streets and taken up a life of well-intended, practical rapping. This series is bursting at the seams with music that still manages to make its way into my random humming tune rotation from time to time such as the lyrical genius and karate house guru Master Onion. Although his self defense lessons may be less than practical in real life, his catchy tune remains one of the longest standing songs ever to be stuck in my head.
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The Kinect would be a prime target for this as no instruments are really needed and the amount of Master Onion lackeys that would spawnI would pay to any sum of money to see the collection of Master Onion lackeys that spawn as a result… or perhaps even become one myself.
This game has to be seen to be believed. Why a sequel, or at the very least an HD remake, was never made is something that to this day still befuddles me. For as flooded as the market is with generic platforming titles, one as unique and original as Psychonauts suffered from something as simple as poor marketing and lack of attention.
Raz, an aspiring mental invader, manages to break into a summer camp for kids with special powers who all somehow manage to be as dumb as humanly possible before setting off on the most insanely confusing and mind bending adventure of all time.
Tim Schafer, quite possibly the Tim Burton of video games, is a hero to me as his game showed me that originality and entertainment can take the form of something as overused as the platforming genre.
Thanks in part to levels filled with emotional baggage and figments of imagination to collect, Psychonauts provided an experience full of characters that still stand as some of the most fleshed out and interesting in gaming history: see Dogen
It’s really hard to explain just how entertaining this title is, but the Milkman level ranks right up there in the highest echelon of gaming levels. So Tim, if you are reading this, the only person who can do your masterpiece any justice is yourself… in the form of a sequel.
Crash Bandicoot – As told by Dan Curtis
Ah, Crash. Mad as a box of frogs with a maddening disease, Crash Bandicoot was a bright orange, blue-trouser wearing marsupial with a strange penchant for collecting masks, spinning/jumping on boxes, navigating warp rooms, collecting crystals and gems and generally saving the world from a lunatic called N. Cortex.
Back in his heyday, Crash was the mascot of the Playstation brand; long before Nathan Drake had even finished his tricky pubescent phase where he developed stunning acne and had a wobbly voice, Crash was starring in adventure after adventure, navigating countless levels and foiling Cortex’s plans at every step.
Alas, time rapidly caught up with Crash, and his adventures, ever since Wrath of Cortex, have gone steadily downhill into a pile of reasonably fetid sludge. The time is ripe for a Crash revival!