All of the HD remakes hitting consoles these days have got us thinking. What classic games from our past would we most like to see reborn in HD as downloadable titles? After much deliberation we’ve come up with five games we’d be happy to spend $15 on. Read on as we kick things off with Master Higgins and his journey through Adventure Island!
Adventure Island 1-3 (NES)
Master Higgins’ girlfriend-rescuing, dino-riding, fruit-grabbing 8-bit romp through the prehistoric, tropical land of Adventure Island is long past due for an HD remake. As one of the classic gems from the NES era, a lot of the gameplay still holds up today and with a fresh coat of paint and maybe a few slight tweaks you’d have a mighty fine homage to side-scrolling games of yesteryear!
It’s a pretty big leap from 8-bit graphics, but with the right artistic direction, you can take all of the original bright, solid colors and large sprites to make a whole new universe of life. I’d like to keep much of the charm, but now in HD, this should be a visual explosion of vibrant hues coupled with a bunch of animations in every character and level. Secondly, lets bring it a little forward by opening up a huge world map with varied, themed levels and maybe a slight RPG mechanic based around the types of food you eat. It’s also important to retain the heart of the gameplay by expanding it to be a nice ’2 and 1/2D’ side-scroller- think ’Return to Donkey Kong Country on the Wii. Actually, that would be the perfect title for the new game – ’Return to Adventure Island’!
A groundbreaking 16-bit (and eventually 64-bit) claymation game that appears to have fizzled since the cartridge era, Clayfighter could again revolutionize fighting games with an HD re-release. With the current 2D fighter renaissance ushered in by Street Fighter IV, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, and BlazBlue, Clayfighter would be right at home as a polished, nostalgic download. To really up sell the offering; bundle together the first two SNES games, toss in some modern-day upgrades (online multiplayer being at the top of the list), and balance out the speed of the game so kids today don’t get bored while waiting for Helga to jump, and you have a really compelling $15 release. Just think about it – a match between Bad Mr. Frosty and Taffy could look like some kind of messed up and amazing Wallace and Gromit outtake.
River City Ransom (NES)
This is more of a sentimental pick for me. I love the game and still play it today, now that it’s available as a Wii download. However, the real reason it’s here is because I played this with my brothers and the multiplayer aspect is something I always pay attention to when looking for a game – I don’t think there will ever be enough of it.
Unlike similar titles, where you could only pick up weapons as you lay out streetwise thugs for their dirt nap, River City Ransom let you walk into shops to purchase food and books that increased your characters stats and gave them abilities like Grand Slam, Stone Hands and Dragon Feet, adding a sort of RPG aspect to whole experience. With fresh visuals, a more robust character customization system and online co-op, it could be a standout XBLA or PSN game. Saving Cyndi from The Generic Dudes and The Squids would be as addictive ever, and River City Ransom HD would instantly have me shoving money in my Xbox or PS3.
Rock ’n Roll Racing (SNES, Sega Genesis)
As a youngster I spent hours walking up and down the game aisle at Video Watch. I could have literally stood there all day if my mom let me, but for some strange reason I always left with the same rental, Rock ’n Roll Racing. It was an obsession. It didn’t matter how many times I beat it (or how many times my brothers beat me), I just couldn’t get enough. The game was eventually ported to GameBoy Advance in 2003, but it didn’t bring anything new with it, visuals or otherwise. I remember hearing rumors of the title’s return to consoles a few years ago, but it sadly never happened.
To this day I still dream of whipping around New Mojave as Snake Sanders while my hovercraft radio blasts shoddy instrumental versions of Bad to the Bone, Paranoid and Highway Star. The music was fun, the gameplay was addicting and Blizzard (Silicon & Synapse back then) didn’t take it too seriously — looking back, that’s probably what made the game so great. I wouldn’t hesitate to lay down $15 for a HD remake as long as the original soundtrack was intact and 4-person online multiplayer was an option.
X-Men (Sega Genesis)
SEGA’s side-scrolling beat-em-up was one of the company’s slickest titles during their Genesis heyday–it stands up there with Jurassic Park and World of Illusion, two other games that really pushed the boundaries of the Genesis hardware, delivering fluid character movement in bright, vibrant worlds. If you don’t remember, this is the one where the secret to winning was to always pick Nightcrawler? Oh, and it had that clever/dumb Mojoverse level where you had to press the Reset button on your console to complete the mission (that might not work out so well on modern consoles)?
For all that, X-Men still looks great to this day, featuring nicely-animated characters and a perfect articulation of each X-Man’s abilities. But if we’re going to go the HD remake route, why not throw in some bells and whistles, right? Obviously, the game’s two-player co-op should also be available online, for starters. Plus, the roster of four characters (Wolverine, Gambit, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler) could stand to be bumped up a bit with some other students and teachers from the Xavier Academy.
If you could have one of you favorite classic games updated with HD visuals which would it be? Hit the comments section and share your thoughts!