Friday Five: Five HD Remakes We Want To See on XBLA
Posted by Ken Barnes
We can dream, can't we?
Following on from our sister site Nintendo Life’s great article regarding the ten Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games that they want to see appear on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, and the news that the classic 16-bit game Flashback is getting a HD makeover, we thought we’d kick off our new regular weekly feature with a little list of our own.
So, for Pure Xbox’s first Friday Five, we’re counting down – in no particular order - the five HD remakes that we want to see make an appearance on Xbox Live Arcade sooner, rather than later.
The rumours have been flying. This has appeared on more “Coming Soon” lists than we care to recount, always to be removed a month or two later when no official confirmation ever arrived. This four-disc (well, three-disc if you don’t include the Shenmue Passport disc) epic from the mind of Yu Suzuki is probably why half of the people that still own a Dreamcast indeed do still own a Dreamcast. Driving forklift trucks around the docks, getting to bed on time, and collecting capsule toys may not sound like things you’d find in a thrilling videogame, but Shenmue presented gamers with one of the first believable interpretations of a living, breathing city, where all of these things were just a part of day-to-day life. At a production cost of some $47million, it was easily the most expensive game ever to be created at the time it was released, and it didn’t bring in anything like that much in terms of sales.
Surely, they could make some back by giving it a quick HD once-over and popping it up on Xbox Live for 1200MSP or so? We may be clutching at straws to find reasons for Sega to crack on and get this done, but don’t tell anyone.
So far in the last month or two, we’ve had announcements confirming that DuckTales Remastered and Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse would be getting HD makeovers. That’s a great, great start, but we feel that the videogame take on Disney’s excellent Aladdin movie is being overlooked somewhat. We’d like to throw the Mega Drive/Genesis edition into the hat – not the less endearing SNES edition. With fantastic animation, that beautiful colour palette, and platforming gameplay that rivalled the best of them, this could do some swift business if it was brought up to date.
It’s almost hard to believe that this game came out more than a decade ago, but when it did, it turned heads. A very early original Xbox title, Rallisport Challenge featured some incredibly smooth graphics for its day, as well as some action-packed gameplay that would keep even the keenest Need for Speed: Most Wanted player on their toes. Garnering high review scores across the board, the game spawned an equally as impressive sequel two years later in 2004, before the franchise was retired. Ice racing and Hillclimb events were on offer and gameplay took place in cars that whilst looking smooth and sleek, had an impressive feeling of heft about them. For our money – that feeling hasn’t been matched since in a rally game.
If you went into an arcade in the UK in the 90s, the chances are that within five minutes, you would have heard the “swoooooosh…..FOOTBALL CHAMP!” or “OH, FINE PLAY!” from this game’s attract mode booming throughout the place at least twice. Featuring only eight national teams, the game was memorable due to it being the first soccer game to introduce some of the theatrics of the sport to the mix. Punches, flying kicks, and shirt pulling were all available, but if the rotund referee spotted you, you’d soon be in hot water. Over the top features such as the “super shot” that occurred if you desperately needed a goal when the clock ticked down, and the super-loud voiceovers meant that this was one to remember. Re-released as part of the Taito Legends 2 compilation for the PS2 and original Xbox, this one needs to be brought into the 21st century, we think.
This was a toss-up between Euro Football Champ and the Neo-Geo’s excellent Super Sidekicks 2, but even though we’re mixing our sports metaphors, this one won by a nose.
Back before the first Guitar Hero had been released, decent music-based games were a little thin on the ground. Sure, you had your PaRappa The Rapper and Frequency, but if you wanted to win the girl of your dreams after taking advice from your talking dog, all the while fighting against alien forces and learning to play some sweet, sweet tunes using nothing but your analogue sticks, you were out of luck.
That is, until Gitaroo Man came along. Featuring some innovative “attack and defence” gameplay where you had to ward off your opponent’s notes before striking him or her down with a riff or two of your own, this game was truly underrated when it hit the shelves. Koei revived it for a half-hearted return in Gitaroo Man Lives! for the PSP back in 2006, but we want the original – complete with fresh graphics and the original outstanding soundtrack by COIL.
So, there are our five, but what about yours? If you could take any game from any platform and from any point in gaming history, give it a dose of HD goodness and re-release it on Xbox Live Arcade, what would you plump for? As always, let us know in the comments or in the forum!