Hello, one and all, and welcome to the first of what I’m hoping will be a regular feature on the site: The (in no particular order) Top 5 List. While I will no doubt end up with a few of the more expected lists, such as favourite anime, manga, and so on, I wanted to start this off with something a little different: My Top 5 video games that need a HD remaster.
The thing is, remastering games is nothing new. Just look at the success of the Resident Evil Remake on the Nintendo GameCube. And, of course, in more recent times we’ve had everything from the NES classic, Ducktales, to the recently announced Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. If nothing else, this just proves that some games are simply too good to be left behind with aging technology.
Now, when I started compiling this list, I wanted to avoid some of the more obvious games. That being the case, I set down some rules for myself:
- I must avoid the big two from Sega and Nintendo. This means no Sonic or Mario games. The reason for this is that there are so many Sonic and Mario games available, and they have actually had one or two remastered to one degree or another.
- I can only pick one game per genre, though offshoot genres are allowable.
- I cannot pick a game that I’ve already covered in the In Desperate Need of Love series.
So, with that made clear, let’s get to the list.
Streets of Rage 2 (Sega Megadrive/Genesis 1992)
I think that most people who had Sega’s 16-Bit beauty will be familiar with this title, even if they didn’t play it. The game is a side scrolling beat ‘em up, and follows Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, Eddie ‘Skate’ Hunter and Max Thunder as they battle the minions of crime lord Mr. X in an attempt to save Adam Hunter, police officer and older brother of ‘Skate’. The game is incredibly fondly remembered, and it’s reappeared a number of times on various newer systems as part of the Megadrive/Genesis Collection. These versions do a good job of recapturing the original magic of the game, and even now, it’s so easy to pick up and play. Each of the four characters has different strengths and weaknesses, they each have different special moves, and the level design is among the best of the genre. While the rereleases are good fun, I can’t help but feel that a HD remaster would work wonders for this. What it would need would be reworked graphics and smoother animation, but with the gameplay left intact. It may not revive the genre, but it would certainly serve as a reminder why this type of game was once popular.
Sparkster (SNES 1994)
Two words: Steampunk. Opossum. What more reason could you want? Seriously though, this was a fun little franchise from Konami. While I was originally familiar with the character from the Megadrive, the SNES version is also pretty fun. Rather than run on from those originals though, the game adds a new move for the titular Sparkster (a short-distance rolling dash), and takes the story into a new continuity. In this case, Sparkster is on a mission to save Princess Flora. Flora has managed to get herself kidnapped by The Lioness and her horde of robots and yellow wolves. As I’m sure you all know, the best way to combat such a threat is with a marsupial armed with a jet pack, goggles and a sword. Oh, and he can hang from branches by his tail, which is cool. Sparkster may not be as fondly remembered as the likes of Sonic and Ducktales, but his games were always fun. The levels were big, the bosses were bigger, and you had the added bonus of getting a longer game if you played on a higher difficulty level. Sparkster is simple to pick up, and a fine example of an on-form Konami. That in itself is surely worth a look in?
Bust-A-Groove (Sony PlayStation 1998)
Simple, beat driven controls? Check. Keeping the dance game feel but throwing in a hybrid battle system? Check. Cast of colourful characters with unique styles and designs? Check. Bust-A-Groove was one of this simple yet addictive games that offered enough of a challenge to have a good shelf life. While the concept itself was great and the character designs are fun, the graphics could really use an overhaul, even if the dance moves themselves still look pretty good in action. With PaRappa The Rapper getting a remake, who’s to say that this couldn’t join it?
Project Zero (Sony PlayStation 2 2001)
Overwise known as Fatal Frame, the Project Zero series was a massive bag of ‘Oh crap! I’m scared!’ The game was set in 1986, and sees you play as a young Japanese lady caled Miku as she explores an abandoned mansion in search of her missing brother, Mafuya. Oh, and the mansion is haunted. Like, extremely haunted. And you’re only weapon is a camera. Yes, the mention of a weapon means that there is some action, but there are also puzzles to solve. The key to the game though is the creepy atmosphere that it creates, and all the little moments where you just catch something out of the corner of your eye. Juding by the way Resident Evil 7 looks, the time is ripe to start pushing some VR capable horror titles too. While the PS2 version switched ebtween first and third person views depending on whether you were using the camera, there is plenty of scope to make this a fully immersive experience like that. Of course, simply spruces the grpahics up would work wonders too.
Bloody Roar Primal Fury (Nintendo GameCube 2002)
I do love me a good fighting game, especially when it at least tries to do something different to the competitors. I mean, when you look back the genre, most people remember Street Fighter as the all-rounder, and Mortal Kombat as being there for the pure violence. Do they remember many others? Outside maybe Darkstalkers, no. Blood Roar though seems to ring a bell with a fair few people, and that’s likely due to the transformation mechanic. You see, in Bloody Roar, you can transform your fighters into powerful anthropomorphic beasts. For example, perennial lead, Yugo, is a wolf, while Alice is a rabbit, and so on. The game also featured some secret areas where, if you knocked someone off certain parts of stages, you’d be taken to a new stage. While multi-level arenas are fairly standard now, I don’t recall many others taking this approach at the time. Now, I will admit that this game does still look OK graphically given the era, but remastering it in HD would really do it no harm, especially when it comes to the transformed forms. Seeing the bristling hair and other little subtle touches like that would really give it an impressive feel.
So, there you have it. A short list of some of my nostalgic favourites that I would love to see get a new lease of life. How about you? Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments below.
Thanks for reading everybody, I’ll catch ya later!