Remasters and/or Remakes have something of a suspicious aroma about them. While it’s exciting for another excuse to drop into our lap to play games long cherished from our childhood on newer and more accessible machines (although the attribute of modern consoles being “accessible” could be brought into disrepute).
Yet in this digital package of youth-infused glee there is often an ulterior motive at work; mere ports and low effort games can be shipped out with an “HD” addendum to their name and thrown out the door.
Games like the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and even the first great remake collection, that being Super Mario All-Stars, show how these types of games should be done.
Here are some of the games that deserve a modern-day rendition.
TimeSplitters Collection – TimeSplitters 1, 2, and Future Perfect
Starting with one of the more obvious and vocally championed remasters, people are crying out for Free Radical Designs’ trio of games to get some kind of remaster or reboot on modern day technology, and it’s easy to see why.
Many of the guys and girls at Free Radical were former employees of storied developers Rare(ware), leaving shortly before their acquisition by Microsoft and ending their fruitful second-party developer relationship with Nintendo. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense why the TimeSplitters games are so good.
The tight controls, the levels of customisation, the amazing multiplayer and challenge modes, and the single player campaign isn’t to be sniffed at either; all of this adds up when the studio alumni worked on games like Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark, both of which are landmark titles in the First-Person Shooter genre and for the Nintendo 64.
Getting just one of the games would be a victory in it’s own right, but bundling all of the games together in one delectable package for a competitive price?
Where do I sign?
The Adventures of Lara – Tomb Raider 1, 2, 3, and The Last Revelation
Lara Croft has undergone many remasters and reboots in the last few years, with her likeness being redesigned in both film and video game form to varying degrees of success. Within her homeland of video games, she seems to have found her footing at the very least with her latest titles of Rise and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, covering her rewritten origins and growing into the fearless adventurer we know and love her as.
Now call me old fashion, but I had more of a penchant for the original Lara Croft character. Granted she is the Lara I grew up with so there is the unintentional yet inevitable stigmatism of nostalgia embedded within her, but I always found her sarcastic one-liners and dry sense of humor to allow her to have a much more grounded quality and also allowed her to stand out and stand strong in an industry where (at the time) most playable characters were men/male.
So I for one would rejoice at the chance to play through the original quadrilogy of games again. Upgrading the graphics would be a no-brainer as I’m quite sure there were only about seventeen polygons in all four games altogether, but the most drastic notion to address would be the awkward and sluggish controls.
I understand that they were something of an axiom for the early Tomb Raider games that gave them an almost endearing quality, but playing the more modern titles like Legend, Underworld, and the reboot all blatantly show why this should change if a remaster is to be undertaken.
The Elder Scrolls Anthology – Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim
The Fallout Anthology exists (in its own atomic bomb case no less), so it makes logical sense for Bethesda to bundle the fantasy sister series in perhaps some kind of Daedric Artifact case or a box that resembles the world-eater Alduin.
Most of the world only knows the Elder Scrolls from Oblivion and Skyrim as they came into the mainstream consciousness when they were released on consoles after departing from a PC only audience from their first two games, and a limited crowd for Morrowind on the original Xbox.
Being that the first two games were released for MS-DOS, there’s a huge opportunity to bring those adventures into the realm that we know can and has been achieved by the likes of Oblivion and Skyrim.
Bethesda, for all their flaws, make a world that’s teeming with characters and an endless list of things to do. This is especially noticeable in their Elder Scrolls Online release for those who prefer a multiplayer experience, where ways to farm ESO gold and polish your Elder Scrolls character seemingly never end. Adding the old school Elder Scrolls into that mix can only be a good thing.
Mario Sports Collection – Mario Golf, Tennis, and Strikers
There’s a reason that there are no real “bad” Mario games. Speaking strictly within the main canon of games of course, discounting titles from way back when Nintendo were more liberal with their licensing of the Italian mushroom stomper and when every man and his dog wanted a piece of the video game market back in the early 1990’s.
Super Mario’s bread and butter games of platforming around the Mushroom Kingdom and thwarting Bowser’s plans all come with the seal of quality that you expect from the red-garbed tradesman, but his spin-off titles come with just as much panache as his other games.
Normally I’d be bundling the Mario Party series in with this, but Nintendo seem to be one step ahead of me with a remaster/remake of sorts with the announcement of Mario Party Superstars featuring old content from past Mario Party games.
With Nintendo having one eye on games from the days of yore, I’d love to see them do a Mario Sports Collection featuring his outings on the fairway, onto the tennis courts, and donning his cleats and hitting the pitch.
Both the Mario Golf and Tennis games were sublime in their accessibility and their replayability, not to mention the time it would take to master all facets of the games, especially in the original Mario Golf and its Gamecube sequel Toadstool Tour.
Mario Strikers is much more low key than its club and racket wielding brethren, but it is by no means any less of a game. All of them would fit snugly into the Switch’s library.
F-Zero Infinite – F-Zero, F-Zero X, F-Zero GP Legend, and F-Zero GX
I’m letting my own bias bleed into the choices here, but it makes me eternally sad that Nintendo refuses to show any love towards one of the greatest racing series ever made. I’m surprised that Captain Falcon managed to maintain his Smash Bros roster status since they’re that cold towards the futuristic racer.
F-Zero has the lifeblood of high-octane racing flowing through its veins, paving the way for other series like Wipeout on the PlayStation to become just as popular. All the games sport a phenomenal soundtrack, whether it’s the 16bit nostalgia of the Super NIntendo original or the Japanese-influenced rock and techno beats of the Gamecube’s GX, F-Zero portrays and translates the pure adrenaline state of speed like no other racing game.
The track design present in each game only gets more and more intricate and beautifully designed, but never overwhelming or convoluted, testing the player’s skill and track knowledge to mould them through a baptism of fire into one of the greatest racers in the galaxy.
Springfield’s Finest – The Simpsons Hit & Run and The Simpsons Game
Next to a remaster of Free Radical’s TimeSplitters, the most popular game fans are gesticulating their pitchforks and braziers at developers for is the legendary Simpsons Hit & Run, released back in 2003.
While I don’t want to tread over old ground too much as I find myself constantly writing about my fondness for The Simpsons Hit & Run, but anyone who’s played it knows of the surprisingly deep content found within the game, the world inundated with jokes and gags referencing the show, along with vehicles, costumes, and collectibles that all serenade the heart of any Simpsons fan.
While just getting a straight up remaster of TSH&R would be amazing, they may as well sell it as a collection with the collect-a-thon platformer of The Simpsons Game to sweeten the deal to a sickly degree. While not as adorned in the memory as much as its predecessor, there was still a good game lying at the heart of TSG, and a graphical face-lift would do it wonders.