Every time the games industry makes an advancement of any kind, it appears as though gamers love little more than to look back on some of their favourite bygone titles and wonder exactly what they’d be like if they were remastered on the newest platforms. It’s always fun to think about, and sometimes we actually get our wish. To celebrate exactly that, with Vicarious Visions bringing the original three Crash Bandicoot titles to PlayStation 4 in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy later this year, the entire Doublejump staff sat down to discuss the one title or series of titles they would love to see remastered for current-generation gaming hardware.
Abir: The Elite Beat Agents/Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan Series
Time and time again, Nintendo has borne the responsibility of selling its systems’ unique features by creating games that take advantage of them, most notably with Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64’s analog stick and Wii Sports for the Wii’s motion controls. However, with Elite Beat Agents, developer iNiS made the best case for the Nintendo DS’s unique stylus-based touchscreen.
In the game, which is a Western reimagining of the studio’s earlier Japanese rhythm title, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, the titular agents help people with their (often ridiculous) problems through the power of dance. You do this by tapping on the bottom screen in time with a song, and how well you perform determines how well each person’s story pans out. Short story vignettes play out on the top screen while you carefully tap on circles, drag beach balls on paths, and spin a giant wheel to popular songs such as Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi, Village People’s Y.M.C.A., and David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. All of this may sound crazy when read out loud, but trust me when I say that it all makes sense in-game. Like any great skill-based game, you’ll be replaying missions to beat your own high scores and reach an elite S rank in each of them.
While the 3DS’s Rhythm Paradise Megamix scratches some of the toe-tapping itch that Elite Beat Agents did more than a decade ago, the former’s one-two button gameplay seems very simple compared to the latter’s tapping, swinging, and spinning stylus movements. Elite Beat Agents is a fantastic example of how the interactive nature of video games cannot be replicated by any other medium. INiS carved unique experiences that deserve to be played on modern systems, but, alas, it seems as though this agent may never hear Commander Kahn exclaim “Agents are.. GO!!” again.
Alex: The Spyro the Dragon trilogy
Just about every PlayStation fan would have to have lost their minds upon learning that the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy was getting the remaster treatment — I know I did. The series’ overwhelming success not only helped in kickstarting Naughty Dog’s run as a prominent video game developer, but also aided in keeping the first PlayStation console both relevant and successful. That loveable bandicoot has long been overdue for a return to the spotlight — and I’m beyond keen to get my hands on the N. Sane Trilogy later this year — but he’s far from being the only one from his generation that deserves such treatment.
Spyro the Dragon is just as much of a household name, arriving two years after Crash Bandicoot’s debut on PlayStation. Created by another reasonably-new developer at the time, Insomniac Games, the Spyro trilogy quickly broke my habit of jumping rapidly between games. As with the Crash series, Spyro’s first installment had a few mechanical flaws that occasionally tested my patience, but this patience was rewarded with two rather outstanding sequels, both of which surpassed their predecessors in the variety of fun challenges to complete and gorgeous worlds to explore.
What’s more, the Spyro series was an absolute joy for a young completionist. Gathering every dragon egg, gem, orb and talisman (along with any other hidden secrets) was a genuinely fun process, and was quite rewarding in each installment by offering more fun challenges in the end-game. It’s a process that has stood the test of time, too, with certain challenges still giving me headaches for all the best reasons during each and every replay. As such, seeing Spyro make a triumphant return in high-definition would be an absolute treat.
It has truly pained me to see my favourite purple dragon held in the vile prison known as Skylanders; I would not wish such anguish on my greatest of enemies. I can only hope that a deal can eventually be reached with Skylanders publisher Activision to bring the original Spyro games back to life, but only time will tell, I suppose…
Gex is a name that will either ring the bells of joy or no bells at all. Created by Crystal Dynamics for the original PlayStation and the Nintendo 64, the Gex trilogy was made to compete with the likes of Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario by doing things a little differently; unfortunately, those differences dampened the trilogy just as much as they set it apart.
Gex was a suave, cheeky, and charming little gecko that bounced, licked, and tail-whipped iis way to the top, and would stop at nothing to take down his robotic reptile nemesis, Rez. The first game, released in 1994, was a fun little side-scroller with high-scores and hub worlds that also introduced the idea of sticking to the ceiling in a side-scroller, which was really quite cool. The trilogy took place inside the Media Dimension, a setting that lent itself to the kinds of crazy levels — which would see players traversing outer space, cemeteries, a cartoon world and a Chinatown, just to name a few — that made the series so wonderful.
The proceeding games, which were released in 1998 and 1999, stuck to the Media Dimension quarrel with Rez — each one keeping to the insane levels (in one of the sequels you become Godzilla, if that alone doesn’t convince that this needs a remake, then you need a remake!). The sequels came with one major difference, however: Gex became three-dimensional, taking our wise-cracking, tail-cracking, back-cracking hero into our dimension.
Gex is one of the most memorable games of my childhood that very few people played — but there is one thing about Gex that always bothered me… Deeply. There are three different voice actors for the PAL versions of the three games. Three voice actors, three games. It’s still a deep, sexy voice but they’re all different and it still bothers me. If the games do get remastered, I’d love to hear the title character voiced by Leslie Phillips, who voiced him in the PAL version of Gex: Enter the Gecko.
Cav: The X-Wing/TIE Fighter series
If there’s ever been an example of a company inexplicably squandering a surefire moneymaker, it’s Disney’s ongoing refusal to remaster the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series.
Seriously, there must be some serious rights issues at play that would hold this back. I mean, there’d have to be a small army of amphetamine-crazed berzerker lawyers laying siege Helms Deep-style to the House of Mouse to ensure that the biggest no-brainer in the history of game remasters hasn’t yet happened. And yet, somehow, these games have remained untouched by modern tech no matter how much gamers and Star Wars fans have clamoured to have them.
Let’s put aside the extremely valid marketing reasons why remastering these games would be a very lucrative idea: the resurgence of Star Wars and the positive buzz generated by the excellent space battle sequence in Rogue One. Hell, let’s even put aside the recent resurgence in space sims. These games are crying out for a remaster because they’re among the best Star Wars games ever made (maybe even the best, depending on your stance on Knights of the Old Republic). No other games at the time had succeeded in delivering as pure a Star Wars experience as this series, with varied and challenging mission design and involved but accessible flight mechanics giving a sense of depth still rare to licensed games, even other Star Wars games. While titles like Rogue Squadron were all about the pew-pew, the X-Wing series brought a tactical, sim-styled edge that made intelligent, tactical flying just as crucial as the speed of your trigger finger.
Tearing through space in close-quarters dogfights, desperately trying to balance your blasters, shields and engines while keeping the enemy in your sights had all the frantic energy of the movies’ space battles, Clever use of wingmen and NPCs also created the sense of being a small if important part of a much bigger battle, a huge improvement on the generally lonely atmosphere of flight sims up to this point. The fact that you were playing a nameless pilot, instead of the main heroes and villains you normally had to play as in games, gave the conflict a more tangible sense of reality that stays with you. Starting with the (old canon) leadup to the Battle of Yavin in X-Wing to the Battle of Endor in the final instalment, X-Wing Alliance, the series provided the chance to put your personal stamp on events spanning the entire original trilogy.
Though the Empire-centric second game, TIE Fighter, is objectively the best of the series, all of these games are classics by anyone’s metric. While the series received welcome digital re-releases a couple of years back through GOG and Steam, seeing these games in a modern engine with physics and particle effects up the wazoo, and controls optimized for modern joysticks, would be downright amazing. These games were so good, so damned good, that they made me want to be an X-Wing pilot when I grew up, and I was 21 years old at the time. That’s the kind of joy that should be available everywhere.
Cesar: Twisted Metal
It has been more than four years since the last Twisted Metal iteration and over 22 years since the original game launched on PlayStation and PC in 1995. Despite having significant lore behind each character/vehicle and a loyal fan base, Twisted Metal shifted from developer to developer, with four different teams working on it thus far (SingleTrac, Sony Interactive Studios, Incognito Entertainment and Eat Sleep Play). Twisted Metal has never really found a home to cement its legacy in the vehicular combat genre. The Burnout series, on the other hand, has become perhaps the most popular game within that genre, largely due to the stability that it found with just the one developer (Criterion Games).
A Twisted Metal remake in the near future would no doubt see an online vehicular destruction multiplayer game mode rivalled only by the Burnout series. As with Mario Kart, Twisted Metal could give you a certain satisfaction when you managed to destroy opposing cars, even if you didn’t technically win the “race” (that’s implying that people actually gave a damn about the racing aspect).
While the 2012 remake had some hype behind it, it never transpired into much and didn’t take the series back to its former glory. A cult classic, even making an Easter egg appearance in Rocket League (you can unlock Sweet Tooth), Twisted Metal deserves a permanent developer that can dedicate the time and effort required to take the series, re-make it and re-market it to destruction-hungry gamers.
Twisted Metal did very well in an age where online multiplayer wasn’t much of a thought. Combine that grit and destruction with online maps catering for more than 10 players at a time, a ranked mode and a dedicated team working on the game constantly, and it has the potential to at least dip its feet into e-sports and finally, just maybe, hit the XBOX. With that being said, it IS the longest running franchise in PlayStation history… so that might be an issue.
Emily: The Darkness
Let’s set the scene: whenever I sat down to play The Darkness, my heart rate would increase and the hair on the back of my neck would stand, especially when I’d hear the bells and high notes of its disturbingly beautiful soundtrack. This game has an oddly and profoundly disturbing effect on me whenever I think about it, let alone play it — could you imagine if its graphics were enhanced, allowing you to rip the hearts straight out of people’s bodies in high-definition?!
The Darkness is a first-person shooter developed by Starbreeze Studios and released on the PlayStation 3 in 2007. The player takes control of Jackie Estacado, who is possessed by the titular ancient demonic force on his 21st birthday after having been marked for assassination by his Mafia boss, “Uncle” Paulie Franchetti. After trying to free himself from its grasp, Jackie harnesses power of the Darkness (which is voiced by Faith No More’s Mike Patton and takes the form of two really fucking creepy-looking heads with sharp teeth) to exact his revenge on Paulie like only a demonically-possessed dude can — by killing him and his entire mob. Adding to the game’s really intense, really wonderful scare factor is the fact that the Darkness can only be summoned in — you guessed it — the dark, and so Jackie’s entire plan takes place at night, when everything is automatically at least twice as creepy.
Although the game was praised for its storytelling, it was also criticised for the weakness of its physics engine and some rather-annoying problems with its artificial intelligence. As a result, it’s not among the best-known games in the world; a remaster would do The Darkness a world of good, undoubtedly bringing improvements to the game’s graphics and AI and giving a whole new generation of gamers the chance to enter that grimy, thick atmosphere once again, get the same goosebumps I’m getting as I type this… And tear people’s hearts out, because that was as fun as it was brutal.
Jake: Altered Beast
Altered Beast is one of the staples of a childhood spent sitting around the kitchen table with my father and a revolving door of family and friends, gazing lovingly — and for many, many hours — at the tiny CRT television that played host to Dad’s SEGA Mega Drive, a console that I cherish to this very day. I still quote some of the games we played on that little marvel with anyone who was around to play them with me, and I’m still very much okay with admitting that I hardly played any Nintendo titles growing up because I had that SEGA Mega Drive in the house with me; I’m a Mega Drive kid, and I’m damn proud of it.
Up until I was five, there was something about the side-scrolling beat-em-up that scared the absolute fucking shit out of me. Seriously, if people needed me out of the room until further notice, they only needed to let me hear “WISE FWOM YOUR GWAVE” — a line that now sends me into fits of laughter — and I’d be out of there before you could laugh at how afraid I was. Once I got over that legitimately irrational fear, I joined the brigade of family and friends who just couldn’t get through the five stages of Hell that Neff so gleefully put between our nameless hero and Zeus’ captive daughter, Athena. As with everyone else, I found new and more entertaining ways to fuck it up at the crucial moment, right up until I became the first person in my family and friendship circle to successfully rescue Athena from the city of Dis.
Sure, Altered Beast had its fair share of shitty accolades and bad reviews, and it’s far from being the best video game of all time, but running through various fields of Hell and the fiends they had to offer, collecting Spirit Balls until you could transform into a monster such as the above-pictured werewolf and beat the shit out whatever wacky-as-fuck monster Neff decided to turn into at the end of each level was just… Fun. It was a damn fun way to pass the time with family and friends, it’s still a damn fun way to pass some time, and I would love to see it remastered if only for the absolute joy it would bring me and so many members of my family. POWER UP!
Note: I’m well aware that there was an Altered Beast released on PlayStation 2; that wasn’t a remaster, it was a “modern take” on the title.
Natalie: The Harry Potter series
The nostalgia never fails to kick in when I think back on my introductory years to gaming, specifically in regards to my experience with the Harry Potter series that had so promptly and fiercely taken the world by storm, inadvertently claiming my heart and soul for life (Horcrux alert!). As a young child, I had taken solace and comfort from J.K Rowling’s fictional creation that preached the values of friendship, love, and belonging — and I unashamedly admit that I still do. I have been obsessed with Harry Potter’s world since the moment I finished reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in two days, as a bright-eyed six-year-old — the novel that spurred my love for reading. It went without question that I would absolutely find myself sucked into the video game adaptations that were to be released over the coming years, falling ever deeper into this enchanted universe of magical creatures, spell-binding chaos, and the complexity of a ‘good vs. evil’ war.
It was late 2002 when Electronic Arts released Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — my personal favourite instalment in the series — on a variety of platforms, however my heart belonged to the shiny new PlayStation 2 sitting in my living room that I had been gifted the previous Christmas. Mine. Not my brother’s, as he would have you incorrectly think. I remember when I first gently and ever so carefully placed the disc in the tray and watched to see if the startup screen would appear, or display the error that had plagued my seven-year-old self for months. After a few moments, it worked. It loaded, and to put it as eloquently as possible, I lost my shit.
The video games, along with the saga itself of books and films, have given me a lifetime of memories and experiences that I will always smile fondly on. They incited a passion for gaming that has further evolved into a fascination with fantasy MMORPGs, and I truly believe that the Harry Potter games would totally kick ass if remastered. Although they’re already fantastic for their time, I can’t help but imagine what they would be like in 2017. From the graphics, to the gameplay, from the voice acting to the mission formats and the difficulty levels, I would love to see what could be a brilliant, out-of-this-world regeneration for the Harry Potter game series.
Rhys: The Rayman Trilogy
There is something oddly charming about the original three Rayman games. I remember playing them as a child, being fond of the quirky style and fairy-tale like world. Although the series has gone on to see moderate success with Rayman Origins and even Rayman Legends, it would be wonderful to see the original trilogy return with modernised graphics and physics; perhaps even a revised and extended story.
I can only imagine how beautiful Rayman’s quirky world would look in modern HD (or even 4K) graphics, especially with the current generation’s reliance on lighting and particle effects, can only bring more of the excitement and mind-blowing nostalgia that I felt when we all got our first look at the Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy. If Activision can make Crash Bandicoot relevant again, I know that Ubisoft can do the same with the original Rayman games.
Considering that Rayman 3 was one of the first games I played (and completed) on the PlayStation 2, I would absolutely love to play the whole trilogy over and over again with the updated systems. Although they’re still fun and relevant today, I feel that these three Rayman titles are severely underrated due to the success of Origins and Legends (which are great titles on their own, of course); as a gamer who grew up playing the originals — and being disturbed by the Cave of Bad Dreams levels — for countless hours, I’d really love to see them remastered, and I’d probably be at a midnight launch, too. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Globox as an unlockable character in Rayman 3, just for the laughs!
With so very many games out there and so few staff members to cover them all (especially since we’re only allowed to cover one each), we’re sure our readers have plenty of ideas we didn’t think of, so we’re going to open the floor! Head on over to this post on our official Facebook page and let up know what game you’d most like to see remastered, and you’ll be in the running to win a $10 PSN, Steam or Xbox Live credit voucher!