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Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return

Author: Nick Banks
11-Nov-2017

Category: Opinion

The last two years of gaming have been an indulgent throwback for twenty somethings across the world. So far, we’ve witnessed the return of Wipeout, Ratchet & Clank and Crash Bandicoot. They’ve each been nothing less than fantastically faithful to the original vision. I’ve been nothing less than grateful. Yet, much work has yet to be done in the realms of reimagining golden oldies with modern tech. In no particular order, here’s a top ten list of games I think we’d all be happy to see return.

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return

The Return of The King

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - The Return of The King
Just to bring reality crashing home; The Return of The King released in cinemas a staggering fourteen years ago. Bonkers. EA’s game released just before the film and I think it’s safe to say we all loved it. While it was brief with very little in the way of levels, it was how we played them that had made the game so memorable. How many nights did you spend with friends battling away in the iconic scenes from the film? I lost count. We also loved the free form nature of the game after finishing it for the first time. Merry, Pippin and Faramir unlocked at the end and we could play any level we liked with them. You could also take any character you wanted to any scene, regardless of whether they were there in the film or not. I will never forget the height difference between Sam-Wise and Uruk-Hai meant every finisher move was a deadly stab to the crotch... Then there was that punishing challenge tower. 

TENCHU

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Tenchu
For many, the Tenchu universe was what introduced us to melee stealth gameplay. Personally, it was my first real exploration of a Japanese game world. Since then, I have adored all things Japanese so who knows? Maybe Tenchu is the reason why. Playing as a ninja, it was up to us to infiltrate castles, pagodas and dojos in order to eliminate a target. Tenchu was rewarding as a result of its insane levels of difficulty. Kunai throwing knives and kills from above had be orchestrated with sheer perfection. Getting spotted was tantamount to game over. Plus, if you’re a stealth perfectionist like me, it also meant you’d pause the game and restart the level. Just to scratch that Japanese itch, why not check out Ghost of Tsushima

Legacy of Kain Series

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Legacy of Kain
A smaller subset of gamers invested time into the struggle of the undead vampire, Raziel. But it was critically acclaimed and those who did play it will insist to this day just how special it was. It didn’t stop Eidos Interactive (later to be Crystal Dynamics) from creating three games in the Soul Reaver series and two games for Blood Omen, following the glory years of Kain. The idea of shifting between the real world and the realm of souls was like nothing we’d ever seen before. The quality of voice acting raised the bar for the rest of the games industry with its moody narrative, complimented by a great story of mystery and high fantasy vampire society. That was all thanks to none other than Amy Henning, the writer for the first three Uncharted games. Not to mention the super cool music… Just to get you right in the feels, here’s the intro cinematic to Soul Reaver.


A new title, presumably beginning an entirely new series called Dead Sun was on the way, slated to arrive on the last generation of consoles. Sadly, Dead Sun was cancelled. Still, I believe it is a fairly safe bet that gamers from all over would love to see the return of Nosgoth, a further exploration of its lore and the vampire overlords that rule it.  

Spyro The Dragon

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Spyro
Back when Spyro The Dragon first arrived in our living rooms, videogames had lower graphical fidelity. Textures were rougher, edges more jagged. But it didn’t matter. With Spyro’s wonderfully colourful world and delightful characters, the purple dragon stole the heart of our former selves. But it wasn’t just the pretty colours and snazzy sound effects that won us over. Spyro was incredibly fun and brought platforming to new heights with double jump and glide mechanics. Going through portal doors to different worlds would allow several developers to go on to create many more games. After the success of Crash Bandicoot’s return, surely this one is in the pipes? After all, the game has already been redesigned in the Unreal 4 engine, just to see what it would look like. This was done but a savvy fan but it remains a powerful nudge to the gaming powers that be to get cracking on a new Spyro project.


Army Men 

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Army Men
Around the time Army Men initially released, we had all been acquainted with Toy Story. A film that played wonderfully on the idea we had as kids that our toys would come to life. As such, Army Men’s timing was perfect. It was no mere third person shooter, either. It was hilariously written with likeable characters. Our heroes, the green soldiers would face off against the tan toy soldiers on several levels in a larger than life world. In case you missed it, you can grab yourself a spinoff game that released in 2015, called The Mean Greens. It’s based off Army Men and is exclusively multiplayer on PC.

Resident Evil 2

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Resident Evil 2

When Resident Evil first arrived, it became the face of horror on games consoles. Seconded very closely by Silent Hill. But Resident Evil brought with it such restrained scope. Players would puzzle their way through the mysterious mansion with now iconic characters of gaming, knowing all the while that this was the beginning of something massive. That scope finally opened up with Resident Evil 2 as players became acquainted with Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy. The mystery of Umbrella Corps and their true intentions continued to unfold as the two desperately fought for survival in Racoon City. 

We’ve already had a remaster of the original game, so it’s safe to assume Resident Evil 2 is next after Capcom’s successful sales figures on the original’s remaster. In a recent interview with Collider, series producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi said “a remade version of the game will be out by Capcom soon.”

Pandemonium

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Pandemonium

Like Spyro, Pandemonium confidently fell back on a colourful fairytale world that its players have not forgotten to this day. Fargus, the joker and Nikki unwittingly cast a spell that destroys their hometown in the land of Lyr. Following the successful format of the previous year’s Crash Bandicoot, Pandemonium placed players on a sidescrolling terrain where the camera would twist and follow dependant on player movement. Heck, it was the hottest new way to deliver games at the time. Pandemonium saw a release on a variety of platforms including the PlayStation, the PSP, Sega Saturn and even the long forgotten Nokia N-Gage. 

Medieval

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Medieval

Aside from the name, Medieval has fun history lesson to be learned. It was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Cambridge. That’s the same folks that brought us Primal. The Sony owned studio would later go on to become Geurilla Cambridge after Sony did a deal with Killzone creators, Geurilla Studios. Geurilla Cambridge’s latest title is RIGS for the PlayStation VR. Nice to see a studio live on for so long. 

Medieval was an interesting one from an aesthetic point of view. Its whacky main character and artsy world would be the main contributing factors adding to just how memorable it was. Yet, the undead spoof Halloween feel that came from it made it one of the first games to truly pull off horror satire. This gave it an Evil Dead kind of feel, showing the games industry that the time had come to start tackling new themes. 

Haven: Call of The King

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Haven

In many ways, Haven was ahead of its time when it released in 2002. Brought to us by Traveller’s Tales, who would later go on to create Sly Racoon, Haven was not afraid to experiment with new ideas, now that the new generation of consoles had arrived. For the first time, players could travel from planet to planet without load screens. They could use a variety of vehicles to get around the game world and gameplay was constantly kept fresh. On top of that, Haven had a great story to tell about the ambitions of a rejected king with a dark twist at the end that strongly implied a sequel would be on the way. But it never came.  


Darkwatch

Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Darkwatch

Imagine a roguish cowboy that one day gets bitten by a vampire and becomes a badass, hat wearing gunslinger that can summon undead horses from the ground - all set in the Wild West. Sound good? Of course it does and that’s what Darkwatch was. For some reason, not many played this game but imagine all of those things mixed in with DOOM style gameplay and epic train hijacking from horseback. Darkwatch added the great idea of sticking small axe heads onto the handles of weapons, all of which could be dual wielded and doubled up as very efficient limb removers. This one did not deserve to go by unnoticed and certainly needs to make a comeback. Read Dead 2 is on the way and Wild West culture is back in vogue so the timing couldn’t better.  
 

Special Mention - The Jak & Daxter Series
 
Top Ten Golden Oldies We’d Love To See Return - Jak & Daxter


When Jak & Daxter first arrived, it was clear that Naughty Dog had begun their ascent to truly high quality game design. Every aspect of Jak & Daxter was truly original. It’s collectables were no mere gems or coins. They were Precursor Orbs; objects with a back story of their own. Despite the playful and colourful nature of Jak’s world, it was clear that plenty could be learned about this wonderfully introduced series. And with each title that arrived, gamers knew something dramatically new was on the way. We went from simple platforming, to a massive open world city in Jak 2, to an even larger open world desert with vehicle combat in Jak 3 
 
Jak & Daxter was not just a game with great story, voice acting and gameplay. It was a series that genuinely innovated time and again. It also carefully grew up alongside its players, dealing with more mature tones as it proceeded. As long as everything goes to plan, an HD remaster of the entire Jak trilogy, along with racer, Jak X should be available on the PlayStation Store before the end of the year. 


Is your favourite game from a bygone age missing from this list? By all means, tell us all about in the comments below. Many more remakes and remasters need to be made!  
 
 


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