In an era of online gaming and marketplace streaming, many titles from the golden era of 16-bit gaming have found new life on current generation consoles. Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Curse is the perfect example of this new trend, with its re-rendered pixels, HD 3d backgrounds, and complex character models, the Wonder Boy series has found a way to make a splash in the river bank that is the modern video game market. But this former icon of the Sega company isn’t the only character to be swept aside in a world of First Person Shooters and annual sports franchises. Here just a few of the many games that are long awaiting an HD remastering for the contemporary gaming market.
Chrono Trigger (1995)
It seems almost impossible to not think of the Super Nintendo’s heyday without remembering Square soft as the penultimate powerhouse in the JRPG genre. Chrono Trigger hit the nail on the head years before Final Fantasy VII was even in development. It is almost baffling now to think that Chrono Trigger never truly received a sequel, not counting the disappointment that was Chrono Cross, nor a remake for that matter. All fans received over the years was the direct-to-port version of the above-mentioned title on the original Playstation which, excluding the excessive load screens, was an honest to decent attempt at recapturing the glory days of the 16-bit Role Playing experience. But no true re-imagining has surfaced on any console of this generation, a true shame considering this masterpiece in time traveling narration was unleashed onto the markets over twenty years ago.
The Legend of Zelda (1986)
What else could be said about Link’s first romp through Hyrule on the original Nintendo Entertainment System except that it was truly a masterpiece for its time. But Nintendo devotee’s and Legend of Zelda enthusiasts alike have always wondered what it would be like to roam the hills of Hyrule or take a raft across the sea to a dungeon hidden far away without the limitations of 8-bit hardware. With the Switch currently dominating the video game market, it might be time for Miamoto to consider dusting off his earlier work and giving them a fresh coat of paint for Nintendo’s new console. Windwaker and Twilight Princess were a nice attempt, but ultimately unnecessary when considering the plethora of titles in the Zelda franchise. But with Arms, 1-2 Switch, and Splatoon 2 deemed as the must have upcoming titles on the Switch, Zelda fanboys shouldn’t hold their breath for a remake of what was the template for all things great in the world of the Action-Adventure genre.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
Besides Halo, Star Wars Knights of the old Republic (KOTOR) was the killer app on the original Xbox. Every Star Wars fan, including George Lucas himself, said that the above-mentioned game was on par with the films themselves in terms of both story and depth. But this series failed to continue on after the much-maligned sequel back in 2004 dubiously titled KOTOR 2 The Sith Lords, and thus has remained in limbo for over a decade. Sure there has been glimpses of so-called “actual game footage” leaking all over the internet but the fact of the matter is neither Bioware or Lucas Arts have shown any true interest in reviving the series. KOTOR proved that the world of Star Wars could expand far beyond the family drama of the Skywalkers to the galaxy that is much greater in scope than anything ever seen in any other franchise. Much like the original Mass Effect Trilogy, Knights of the Old Republic had all the makings of a concise and finite three piece story arc. With Revan as its main character, gamers alike wanted an ending that was befitting a protagonist of his depth. But with The Old Republic online giving viewers a disingenuous finale to this character, fans of Revan know the extent of which they were robbed of seeing him swing his purple lightsaber with all the glory befitting a true Jedi warrior.
Shining Force 3 (1998)
With the Sega Saturn making its last stand in the final days of the 32-bit era, Shining Force 3 proved that a great story line with believable characters is what truly makes a great Role Playing experience. Fans in North America were gypped in a way, considering we only got one piece of the entire puzzle that made up Shining Force 3’s entire campaign mode. The main story, broken up into 3 scenarios, was told from various character perspectives which showed brilliantly the tragedies of war in a world dominated by nefarious Kings and despotic regimes. Stateside we only received the first entry in the story line, where Lord Synbios’ campaign is the central focus. As the Nintendo Switch looks for games to add to its library, it seems that Shining Force 3 Complete would be an excellent title for the system’s Virtual Console. Shining Force was sadly the last tactical style RPG for the franchise, and its just begging for a true upgrade that is worthy and on par with such High Definition offerings as Resident Evil or Valkyria Chronicles.
Streets of Rage Series (1991-1994)
Sega Genesis’ greatest beat em up hands down, Streets of Rage had a graphical style and musical soundtrack that gave even River City Ransom a run for its money. With the trilogy wrapping up at the end of the Sega Genesis’ life span, it’s a shame that the last entry was released way back in 1994. With Double Dragon making a pseudo Renaissance on modern consoles, what beat em’ up fan wouldn’t want to see Axel, Blaze, and Adam take on the mean streets of Metro City just one more time in 1080 P glory. The soundtrack was as pulsating as the action on screen, every punch, drop kick, and flailing power punch sent street punks flying off screen to a murderous roar. Although Adam hasn’t been a playable character since the first entry in the series, seeing him join up with his two original compatriots without the uselessness of his predecessors, such as the boxing Kangaroo and the Wrestler, would fit perfectly on the Xbox live Arcade’s virtual library of games. Today’s generation lacks the beat em up gems of olden times, and with Call of Duty losing grip on the First Person Shooter market, it seems now is the perfect time for companies like Retro Studios to bring back the titan of gaming that once was the beat em’ up genre.
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