There’s a trend going on in game-land at the moment. No, it’s not everybody investing most of their lives into Black Ops, nor is it the plethora of casual games that are plaguing the game shelves. This trend is, of course, the decision by many gaming companies to look back to the past for ideas for their latest games, dusting off ancient mascots that have been left in a cupboard for years on end and giving them a little bit of 21st century polish. A few may say it is lazy, going back to the past, but I disagree. Classic franchises such as Sonic, Donkey Kong and Kirby have all recently been given the comeback treatment, and each of their latest adventures has been met with good to extremely good critical acclaim. With this in mind I’m listing ten franchises I would love to see make a return, as spending years in a cupboard really can’t be good for any mascots’ health. Read on and see which franchises I have chosen to join the current trend of retro-revitalization.
1: Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Conker may look like a cute squirrel you’d expect in any typical platforming game, but in reality he was far from just a cutesy mascot. Conker instead was foul mouthed, drank, scaled mountains made of excrement and ground up his vampiric relative in a big grinder. Originally for the Nintendo 64, Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a unique take on the platformer franchise that made the game world more adult. It was an absolutely hilarious game from start to finish filled with interesting locales and fun challenges. I mean, who can ever forget the Great and Mighty Poo?
There has already been a remake of this game for the original Xbox, but what I’m wanting is instead a direct sequel. I believe there’s a significant market for a platforming game that’s ‘different’ and I really think a new story starring Conker really could be a superb gaming experience.
Oh Rare, what did you do? You took one of the most revered platformers of all time and tried to revitalise it. Just one thing went wrong though, you took out everything that made the original games great and instead made a game about making vehicles. This wasn’t the Banjo we know and love and have waited years upon years for. Yes, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was, to me, one of the biggest gaming disappointments in recent memory. I remember feeling great joy when I heard about the return of Banjo, but as soon as I heard about the rather stupid implementation of vehicular elements my joyous bubble burst and I fell down to the ground painfully. I still bought the game though at a reduced price, but it was every bit as bad as I feared.
Banjo and Kazooie don’t deserve this neglect. They deserve to star in a wonderful High Definition remake or sequel to their classic adventures, wandering around the world around Spiral Mountain and battling the wicked rhyming witch Gruntilda into submission in the progress, collecting Jiggies, solving multi-level trekking puzzles and upgrading their abilities. Vehicles don’t belong with Banjo, and I for one am clamouring to see another game from this old mascot that is as good as he deserves.
3: Jak and Daxter
Naughty Dog, long before they were working on Uncharted, worked instead on a platform/shooter hybrid named Jak and Daxter. It arrived at exactly the same time as Ratchet and Clank, the two games going head to head year after year, both critically acclaimed. Jak and Daxter was a superb, witty and fun game that had so many things to do and for me it is one of the best Playstation 2 franchises I had the honour of playing. After the third in the series, Jak and Daxter took somewhat or a back-seat for a while, realising a couple of spin offs and ‘The Lost Frontier’ for PSP.
This franchise however really needs the modern home console treatment. I would absolutely love to return to Jak’s world sometime soon, if only to hear more of the witty lines that spew forth from Daxter’s mouth at regular intervals. The series was always of a stellar quality so it would be a hard act to follow, but if Ratchet and Clank can do it, so can Jak and Daxter.
4: Chrono Trigger
One of the most beloved and critically acclaimed RPG’s of all time, the original SNES outing of Chrono Trigger was an excellent time-travelling adventure that boasted huge amounts of content, a dynamic (at the time) battle system and an engaging and interesting storyline that spanned history, the present and the future in the name of saving the universe. The soundtrack was also of a stellar quality and ‘Corridors of Time’ is often listed as a favourite in video game soundtrack lists.
Now is the perfect time for a remake of Chrono. This game would be absolutely amazing with next-gen graphics and voice acting, bringing the world to life like never before. If you asked any RPG fanatic this game would probably be on their list of desired remakes, probably at the top, or just nudged down slightly by the desire for a Final Fantasy 7 remake.
5: Half Life
Gordon, where have you gone? Everybody’s favourite mute has been missing for a while now, leaving us devoid of crowbar and physic gun action for quite some time. It’s without a doubt that the next entry in the Half Life franchise is in development, but its been so long since we had any information about it that it really will have to deliver the goods when it finally arrives.
Come on Valve, open up and give us some information. Will it be Half Life 3 or Half Life 2: Episode 3? Who knows. Until Valve decide to be nice we’re all just going to have to guess, but I’m really looking forward to the next entry in Mr Freeman’s adventure.