The ongoing question of whether or not remakes/remasters are a good thing is irrelevant; the sales speak for themselves, as does the public clamouring for beloved titles of yore. If you want to look at it from an objective standpoint, they generally sell; the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy being a focal point of this recent trend.
The genuine outpouring of raw, physical emotion that some of these games bring out in people, it’s exactly that. Raw. Visceral. The pure nostalgia trip that your brain goes through thinking about these classics that, even as I type this and as you read this, you’re thinking about right now.
Who doesn’t want that rush of serotonin, coursing through their body as you reimagine those delicate pixels that gave you good times back in the day? So, if it’s done right, why wouldn’t you want that now?
So it’s my privilege of presenting to you a few select games that I’d like to give me my juicy fill of addictive, biological positivity. I generally hear the same names thrown around with regards to remakes, so my selections may not conform to public opinion. So read on and satisfy your curiosity.
In no particular order…
#1 – Tombi 1 + 2
Two bizarre adventures that border on the weird and wonderful.
A story of a feral, young child that clearly hasn’t had a conventional upbringing; hence his unusual appearance and his tendency to run on all fours. His violent pink hair that could seamlessly blend in with Aurora Borealis and teeth that could cut through glass are things that make Tombi immediately distinguishable.
Our first foray into this mysterious universe sees our hero’s sacred necklace go missing due to a skirmish with evil pigs. It’s one of those ideas that seems born of a random plot generator on Google. Whilst the premise sometimes favours the inane, it’s just too unique for me to care.
The stuff of nightmares…
One second you’re in a forest of laughing and crying flowers, the next you’re in a Dwarf Forest stacked to the rafters with leaves to bobsled down on your jungle-arse. The level designers must’ve been on a good ‘trip’ when they brainstormed ideas for this game as no two places feel the same. Each location batters you with an array of different colour palettes and equally fitting music.
Due in part to the story, each level has an interesting duality hidden behind it in that when you’ve bested one of the evil pig bosses, the curse is removed; changing the music and scenery to something more uplifting.
Although the sales for it weren’t anything special, it did just enough to warrant a squeal, sorry sequel. Think I might need some oinkment for that slip-up.
Tombi 2 on what worked the first time around by adding lots more quests and things to do e.g mine cart sections, nut collecting for squirrels and bird-washing amongst other unusual mini-games. Instead of a necklace this time, it was Tombi’s girlfriend. I’m still waiting for the prequel where we get to see how in gods name this twisted, candyfloss looking vampire-Tarzan, that can’t speak, got a girlfriend. He’s probably happy for her to pig out at buffets I’m guessing.
Whoopee Camp added an additional dimension to the gameplay to allow for more inventive platforming, along with different outfits offering different abilities.
Two games that were well-recieved but poorly purchased. Still, if they were given the ol’ spit shine, a decent bit of marketing with social media, then it’d be great to revisit these forgotten gems.
#2 – Driver
IF…and that’s an Andre The Giant-sized if, you managed to get past the infamous ‘tutorial’ for this game, then you’ll have been able to appreciate just how awesome and influential this game was.
On the flip side, most people perhaps didn’t have the opportunity to explore the splendor of Driver. The baby steps of the game literally tried to sever your feet, such was the sharpness of the difficulty spike it placed before you. It was intended to grind your gears, get you so angry that you’d furiously go into work and earn a suspension, maybe even become an alco-hydraulic…
If anyone says the cleared this on their first-ever go, then you are duly obliged to poke them in their eyes. It is sacrilege to lie about something so profound.
But with perseverance comes reward, if you reached mission two, well, it didn’t actually get much easier to be honest. This was a hard game and made you earn your racing stripes. But it was worth it.
Taking the reigns of Tanner, an undercover cop, your vigilante duties took you all over America from Miami to San Francisco, to LA to the Big Apple itself. The story wasn’t much to balk at, it was the meat of the missions really where you wanted to sink your omnivorous mouth chompers into.
With the help of some oil-slick physics, the cars handled very well. It was a hybrid arcade-sim system with the ticker pointing towards the arcade side of things a bit more. Speeding around a corner felt great, perfectly dissecting two passive vehicles gave you your action hero rush, and the high-speed chase scenario never grew old. Even more so as the soundtrack is belting out some funky 70’s style cheesiness that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Starksy and Hutch.
The missions were paced quite well, and with tight accompanying gameplay to boot, your experience rarely felt tainted or a chore. Whether it was standard A-to-B journeys, tailing a vehicle smashing cars up or chasing/being chased by the police.
Some of the sequels left a lot to be desired for the franchise, but the original is still one of the better driving games even to this day.
#3 – Gex 3D
Gex is another one of those attempts to mould a company mascot that can hopefully topple the dominance of icons such as Mario and Sonic. The latter are still going strong today, whereas Gex inexplicably didn’t even see the next generation of consoles.
Why inexplicably you ask? Because when you’ve got a game as good as this, you have to wonder why it didn’t get a PS2 entry.
It was a highly satirical platformer with pop culture references about anything you can possibly think of. Gex is brilliantly voiced by Leslie Phillips CBE, and his lines are oozing with personality and buckets of charisma.
Admittedly, the controls were a bit wonky at times and the platforming was a teeny bit dodgy, but nevertheless, it was another highly imaginative game. It parodies Godzilla and Looney Tunes amongst other things whilst remaining self-aware.
Each level had multiple remotes to collect by finding all the specific collectibles for that level or even getting to the end of the level, which usually ended up being a tricky gauntlet; but it was rewarding.
A charming protagonist, a well-written script rife with humour, lots of variety in the levels and enemies etc.
One of many bonus rounds in the game.
I’d be ecstatic if this got the remake treatment.
#4 – Time Crisis
A genre-defining game if ever there was one
Was it the first to feature light-guns? Nope. The ever-popular Duck Hunt gets a huge pat on the back for that, as does Sega’s Virtua Cop. But the introduction of Time Crisis packaged with the revolutionary G-Con and gun pedal was quite something.
No longer did you have to cry real tears as the arcade machine gleefully swallowed up your hard-earned money. Now you could bring the experience home; still crying thanks to the last stage. *cries in nostalgia*
It was a successful game with a fun story, addictive gameplay and spawned numerous sequels due to its accessibility.
However, the genre did die out as the years went by. We began to move past its initial 1995 arcade release and subsequent 1997 home console debut. On-rails shooters were being phased out as they weren’t ‘cool’ anymore.
- I see what they mean. You were at home, firing a plastic gun at a TV screen, cursing your ‘broken’ gun for causing you to run out of credits.
- I was 1. Do I regret it? Hell no! It was frickin awesome. I was firing a plastic gun at intangible terrorists for crying out loud! How is that not cool!?
This…THIS guy chewed up my credits for fun with his f*****g knives…
Regardless, times change. But, in my eyes, they’ve changed again.
Pointing our square eyes toward the hot topic of virtual reality; one of the key selling points of VR has been the real-intimate nature of the gameplay. Now when you consider that lots of VR games are commonly on-rails shooters/rollercoaster games; you have to think it’s not a question of if, but when.
The reintegration of Time Crisis into the gaming world is now a real possibility. Boyd rumours of so many games being brought back into existence, who’s to say a developer won’t do this for an arcade classic? Just remake the original game, maybe with Time Crisis 2 thrown in for good measure, and you have a chance to cash-in. If it’s successful, then howdy partner, we got us a rootin-tootin franchise to be rebootin.
With a headset on and a controller in each hand, we could be hearing “ACTION” sooner rather than later.
#5 – Crash Bash
For my money, this is one of the most underrated games of all-time; merely for the ungodly amount of hours, myself and my best friend, have sunk into this unexpected barrel of laughs and frustration.
Whenever anyone thinks of the Playstation 1 era Crash games, Crash Bash is generally considered to be the lowest rung of the ladder. It was the only one not to be made by the legendary Naughty Dog, but that does not detract from the quality of the game by any means.
Everything still feels true to the Crash Bandicoot universe, the roster is comprised of previous entries into the franchise; with the addition of a new creation, a cross-breed monkey/kangaroo by the name of Rilla Roo.
The layout is identical to Crash: Warped with its intimate warp rooms divided up into different levels. Each level generally is a mini-game i.e The first four warp rooms each have a level dedicated to the characters being locked on top of a painfully adorable polar bear that you need to use to charge other players off of the arena.
No two levels are the same. One polar level is constantly tiliting, mean you have to skillfully negotiate the ever-changing landscape, whilst remaining on high alert for incoming threats all around you. In later levels, you’ll play the same kind of battle, but with subtle variations that change the dynamic of the gameplay.
You’ve got tank battles, frantic pogo encounter in which you need to bank points after soaking the level in your respective colour. Popping balloons, boss battles and a whole host of other mini-games makes for a good evening, or 600.
The main adventure mode is a simple concept of Good vs Evil. Aku-Aku vs Uka-Uka. You need to claim the trophy for each level, which you can do by being victorious in a best of 5 format.
When you do clear each level, you then unlock the gem challenge which is usually winning a single round in either a vastly reduced amount of time, or by reaching a greatly handicapped total before your opponents. Furthermore, there’s also a crystal challenge for each level too. It’s just a pre-set parameter you need to overcome; and some of them are fiendishly difficult, as in, soaking your eyeballs in bleach frustrating. I’m onto my fifth pair now.
Later in the journey, you can then fight for relics which involves beating the arena champions for the stage, but you’ll need to do it either 2 or 3 times in-a-row, depending on if it’s the Gold or Sapphire relic you want to add to your spiffing collection.
You should find it difficult to get bored with this game, especially if you battle the games head-on with a partner. It’s your best bet if you have any intention of getting everything in the game, hence the frustration part I alluded to earlier.
Or if you want to chill a bit more, you can play these games in a relaxed party mode against the AI or with friends.
I appreciate that Crash Team Racing would be remade first ahead of Crash Bash, but if someone could see it my way and prioritise this, then I’d be an eternally grateful Bandicoot.
Till part 2…
What games do YOU want to see remade?
– Andy.H. –
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