Old school video games have a certain charm to them; be it the classic gameplay or the retro music, many of them have stood the test of time and have continued to expand in the new millennium. Others, however, were just as good, but never reached the levels of Mario or Sonic. Here is a list of some old school classic games that need to come back ASAP.
Very few video games in the ’90s let you play as the bad guys. You’d almost always the hero who would have to save a planet, a princess or both. In Bonanza Brothers, you played as two thieves who sneak into high-security buildings and steal valuables. Technically, the story for the American version was retooled to make it seem not so immoral, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are shooting at security guards and stealing merchandise. However, unlike other games where you have a gun, you can only immobilize the guards for a few seconds once they are hit. The trick with Bonanza Brothers is to be somewhat stealthy in avoiding guards because one hit from them and you lose a life. Why this game isn’t remade yet is beyond me. Replaying it now, it feels like a fast-paced Metal Gear Solid or Hitman. This gem should be remade if nothing else to give Metal Gear Solid a run for its money. Maybe with some competition we won’t have to sit through anymore agonizingly long cutscenes like in MGS4.
The Civilization franchise is still going strong, yet there are no plans to resurrect its critically acclaimed spin-off game, Alpha Centauri. The game was very similar to Civilization in gameplay. A large chunk of the human race is sent off to colonize a planet near Alpha Centauri when the ship malfunctions, mistakes were made and the remaining humans split into different factions bound by different ideological principles. From there, you could build your own civilization that could master vast projects from human cloning to missiles that will put a hole in the planet. The atmosphere had an eerie science fiction tone, the graphics were incredible for a turn-based strategy and there are lots of interesting ways to go about playing and winning. It even had a add-on sequel with a completely different line-up of factions including an alien race. The game was a critical success, received many awards and is regarded as a staple classic in the PC gaming community. Yet 2K seems to have little interest in bringing back this title nor does its creator Sid Meier (at least, he isn’t chomping at the bit to bring it back). You can’t even get the game to play on current operating systems. Come on, 2K! At least give us an updated version.
Some of the most successful adventure games just happened to be based in comedy such as the Monkey Island series and Sam & Max. While those games continue on with new sequels, Space Quest still lies dead. Similar to King’s Quest, Space Quest was a humorous tale of a hapless janitor who must save the world from whatever weird alien menace trying to destroy the universe. This was almost like the Futurama of adventure games with tons of science fiction and video game jokes strung throughout. The dialogue and plot of all these games are as humorous as they are well-written. The game went on to have six sequels, two of which had voice-acting. With warm critical responses and cult-status, it seems odd that Space Quest wouldn’t justify a reboot. I used to think it was because people don’t play adventure games anymore, but the new Monkey Island and Sam & Max games have proven the opposite.
Microsoft games, pre X-box, mostly involved simulations (Flight Simulator) or educational programs (Encarta). Then came Fury3, a futuristic 3D aircraft shooter, which was something totally different all together. The interface and gameplay bares a similarity to the game Descent, but Fury3 was all about speed. For 1995, the 3D graphics are pretty low-res, but damned if they didn’t move furiously on a 486 processor with Windows 95. You would fight huge robotic enemies, bombard installations and dive into an underground base and destroy it from the core. Back in 1995, NOTHING felt more bad-ass than this game. Fury3 would later receive 2 expansion packs, but never progressed beyond that. And with barely any information about the game online, a remake seems highly unlikely especially since Microsoft is focusing all their gaming resources on the Kinect. Maybe it’s time to re-introduce the flight joystick to console gamers to gear them more towards awesome flight combat games like Fury3.
Streets of Rage
If you want to talk beat-em-up games, Streets of Rage is the king. You play as a gang of do-gooders who have to beat up punks leftover from the 1980s to save the city…or something. There is a plot to these games, but, honestly, I never gave a crap about them. All I wanted to do was whack mohawk-styled freaks with a pipe and Streets of Rage gave it to me. With each game came new characters to choose from. Streets of Rage 3 was the best in that you could play as an Asian robot dude and, if you play one of the boss battles correctly, a kangaroo boxer. Now would be a perfect time to remake a classic beat-em-up like this one. I don’t care if the opponents are rejects from the 1990s and ride Segways. Just give me back that awesome feeling I felt playing this as a kid.
The absurdity of playing as a worm with a special suit and a ridiculous gun was what made Earthworm Jim one of the most-memorable side-scrollers of the 90s. You’d fight murderous crows, booger monsters, useless cows, evil fish in bowls and other strange opponents. The levels were vastly different from any other side-scroller ranging from snot-bungie jumping to navigating through a cave living as a newt with game shows in between. Although EJ has maintained a cult status over the years thanks to a cartoon series, it sadly didn’t translate into 3D with a lackluster game on the Nintendo 64. I can only hope that someday enough people will be willing to love this groovy little insect to warrant a remake.
ToeJam & Earl
I remember ToeJam & Earl being an awesome game, but as a kid I found it very hard to explain. The title characters are aliens of the planet Funkatron who get into trouble with humans. In the first game, they crash their ship on Earth and must reassemble it by avoiding bizarre Earth obstacles like hamsters and chickens. In the sequel, the humans invade their planet must be captured in small jars to be sent back to their planet. You could also gain points through beat-boxing. There was a third installment on the XBox, but it paled in comparison to its predocessors. Though ToeJam & Earl’s theme of a planet based on surreal hip-hop is dated by today’s standards, that’s exactly why it deserves a remake. Imagine TJ&E coming to Earth to display their hip-hop skill only to be fought by gangster rap. Imagine them schooling ‘gang-bangers’ with their alien beat-boxing. Dammit, I don’t want to imagine anymore; I want a new ToeJam & Earl game.
As a 90s kid, gross was golden. Ren & Stimpy were seen as the cartoon kings and Nickelodeon’s Gak product was all the rage. Boogerman was a game that truly pushed the envelope for gross and low-brow humor. As a kid, this was the height of creativity. You would play as a janitor who must save the Earth from Dimension X Crement as the title character. Boogerman flings his boogers at enemies, burps in their faces and launches farts at them as well. He must travel through disgusting lands of snot to stop the evil bosses of this dimension. Boogerman became popular enough to cross-over with Earthworm Jim and Clay Fighter, yet there has never been a sequel. Are we really that high-brow of a society now that bodily function based humor like Boogerman is to be shunned? All I’m saying is that if the writers of Meet the Spartans continue to get work, Boogerman deserves a remake.
When it comes to real-time strategy, Homeworld revolutionized the genre. It was the first game of its kind to take place in a 3D space environment where units could move in any direction and be viewed from multiple angles. It also had incredible graphics for the time with massive motherships and slick fighters. Did I mention the game also features a bad-ass soundtrack by the band Yes? Homeworld’s critical praise lead to an expansion pack and a sequel, but didn’t develop further past 2002. Granted, many RTS space games have been released since with games like X3 and Sins of a Solar Empire. And while those games are fun in their own right, they still don’t hold a candle to Homeworld. The setting, the gameplay, the music, the atmosphere; ALL of it still holds up today, which is why Homeworld deserves a remake.
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