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.
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
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
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.
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
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.”
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
Special Mention – The Jak & Daxter Series
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!