I kind of fell in love with the amazing HD remake of Super Mario 64's Bob-Omb Battlefield level. That stuff is fantastic, and not only because it shows an iconic level from a landmark game in glorious high-definition graphics for the world to see (and download!)
The most amazing about it is that he fixed the controls.
Remember playing Super Mario 64 back in the day? If not, here's a video. Why? Because I like embedding YouTube videos into my posts. Also, there's a good chance that a lot of you didn't touch the N64 for one reason or another, and while that hurts me, I can't really blame you for most of it:
Mario 64 was fun, wasn't it? It still is. But there are some very annoying issues with the game that have only recently been a problem. It's not even the game's fault. The problem is us: We've moved on. We're used to modern cameras in our 3D platformers. Any Metal Gear-style fixed camera angles or weird trigger or button-based movement seems off because we're used to using the right stick to control a camera. Mario 64 didn't have that: You swapped between a couple of pre-set angles with the c-buttons on the N64's crazy controller, and even then there were situations where none of the angles worked. This new Unity-based HD Mario level fixes that, and I'd love to see more if it from the creator. Let's see a whole re-make of the game!
There are a ton of games that share Mario 64's fate, unfortunately: A lot of games out there were great in the day, but due to their controls or the console they were based on, they haven't aged particularly well. Either that, or a glitch or poor production screwed up what could otherwise have been an ultimate classic. They're good games that were once great, and they could benefit infinitely from an HD upgrade. Why not? It seems like every developer in the world is doing these sort of re-releases already. Why not check some of these out?
Mega Man Legends (Playstation 1)
Let's face it: Mega Man is kind of screwed right now. Save for an amazing appearance in the new Super Smash Bros and some nice eShop re-releases, we've seen hide nor hair of The Blue Bomber for some time.
Mega Man Legends was a hell of a departure from the original Mega Man series, as well as the Mega Man X games. Instead of being a 2D platformer that made you want to tear your hair out but continue playing because it wasn't the game's fault that you sucked at it, Mega Man Legends was a 3D action-adventure game that just made you want to tear your hair out.
It's a really nice game once you get past the terrible voice acting, the boxy and kinda-bland visuals, and the controls that weren't really that great. There was still a really cool story to tell, and it's worth it to trek through the bad parts to see the good.
But why bother with that when you can re-make it?
This needs a 3DS or Vita re-release with HD visuals. Not just a port of the original game, but something that could allow for smoother camera control, or perhaps an update of the voice-acting. This game needs to have the visuals smoothed out so they don't look as dated or make you fell as boxed-in. Most of the game's flaws are based around hardware limitations (The PS1 controller, the PS1's limited visual memory. The PS1's, uh... bad luck with voice acting for western releases...), so why not give it another shot? The story's there. Capcom wouldn't necessarily need to change anything around on the creative front.
Rocket: Robot On Wheels (Nintendo 64)
Rocket: Robot On Wheels is a very underrated game by a pre-Sly Cooper and pre-InFamous Sucker Punch Productions. This game definitely has a lot more of a cartoony appearance than SP's later works, which is kind of interesting considering they made the first three Sly Cooper games which would have made amazing animated movies. Rocket has a lot of the hallmarks of the late-1990s 3D platformer: Collecting tickets to move the plot along to other levels, which are based around distinct environments that are completely separate from one-another, and a hub world where all of these worlds are linked to. Think something like Banjo-Kazooie or Mario 64, and you'll get the idea. The biggest difference is that Rocket is based around physics puzzles.
Yes, physics puzzles. On the Nintendo 64.
Why in the HELL has Sucker Punch not capitalized on this? With modern Source or Havok physics engines, this game would be infinitely more playable. Think of the stuff that could happen! It would probably make the game a lot easier to re-make, too, since I'm sure that Sucker Punch needed to hard-code a proprietary physics engine into the game. With modern stuff like Source or Unreal, realistic physics are now commonplace, and it would make Rocket a fantastic downloadable title for the Playstation 4.
Space Station Silicon Valley (Nintendo 64)
Another fantastic N64 game, this time from DMA Design, before they were called Rockstar North and before Grand Theft Auto III made them a household name for all the right and wrong reasons. This colorful N64 game actually has a lot in common with the GTA series: You play as a microchip that can inhabit the bodies of robot animals that have been killed; mostly by you, you heartless bastard.
Each animal has a distinct gameplay style, and every one of them has some sort of use, from flight (emperor penguin), to speed (fox), to floating around and going "baa" (sheep). You'll need to swap between animals to solve certain puzzles and beat levels. It's a fun time for all, except for those poor dead robot animals. You monster.
There's one huge issue with the game, though: It's unwinnable. One of the items in a later level is glitched so you aren't able to collect it, forever leaving you to be unable to 100% the game.
In the immortal words of Wolverine: "Unacceptable!"
Rockstar North should definitely do a new version of this for modern consoles, if only to fix that one little mistake. The game had some awesome visuals and music, and those cartoony animal designs are just begging to be done in glorious 1080p. Space Station Silicon Valley is a game that didn't really get a ton of press when it came out, so chances of a re-make are pretty low. But, hey, if Rocket Knight could get a new release, I'd say that anything is possible...
Battle Wheels (Atari Lynx)
This is a really obscure one, I know. Atari Lynx coverage is few and far between in some parts of the world (or all of them). It's a shame, because this system was really cool. It had left-handed support right out of the box, and the games were a step above those seen on the Game Gear and some of the lower-quality Game Boy releases. The Lynx even had sprite-scaling and really cool primitive 3D, which made games like Xybots and STUN Runner look close to their arcade counterparts.
Battle Wheels is a game that is very much an anomaly in the Lynx library, in that it isn't an arcade port or available on any other console. Even stuff like Blue Lightning had a port on the Atari Jaguar CD.
Battle Wheels plays like a mix between Twisted Metal and Wolfenstein 3D: It's first-person vehicular combat with a very cool Mad Max-style setting. You load up your car with awesome weaponry and armor, and you go out into the dust storm and proceed to kick ass. It's a fun time. You don't even need a car: You can go out on foot and steal someone else's ride, though you're a sitting duck for other cars to wreck your fragile crouton-and-jello body when you're outside of a vehicle.
It even has multiplayer, for the both of you out there who own an Atari Lynx and this game. Deathmatches a-plenty!
The game's biggest problem? It's on the Atari Goddamn Lynx. The only way it could have been more obscure is if it was an NTSC release on the Commodore Amiga. This game is way, way too good to just be on the Lynx. We need a PC version with online multiplayer! Hell, they could even do some pseudo-retro visuals like Super Indie Karts (video by Nekobun, former DTOID Twitch streamer. Check his stuff out!).
A modern version of Battle Wheels would be really neat. Twisted Metal with on-foot action, a la Mechassault 2? Hell yeah!
Batman: Vengeance (Nintendo Gamecube / Microsoft Xbox / Playstation 2)
I mentioned this game briefly in my article about video game launch titles, but it bears repeating: Batman Vengeance is a good game. It has a lot of flaws, but most of those could be fixed in the hands of the right developer. Like, uh... Rocksteady?.
Imagine, if you will, if Rocksteady developed a Batman game based on Batman: The Animated Series, of which this game is technically a part of (It's technically a part of The New Batman Adventures, since BTAS had a subtly different set of character designs, but since Warner Bros puts them together, so will I).
If you're a fan of video games and animation, you might have gotten a little excited there.
There's a reason for that: a Batman Animated game from the developers who made Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and the upcoming Arkham Knight would be AMAZING. Think of the atmosphere! The voice acting! The awesome narrative. Hell, Rocksteady could take the plot of Vengeance wholecloth and make something amazing out of it: Level breaks would be replaced by open-world segments, the combat would be completely overhauled (But still eerily similar, I'd bet), but the plot works well, and the setpiece boss fights would fit right in with modern games. I'd be willing to wager that a lot of modern games have never even played Vengeance before, so all of this would be completely new to them. You'd probably have a lot less complaining than you'd think.
A Rocksteady-developed remake of Batman: Vengeance would be awesome. It will never happen, of course, since Vengeance was originally developed by Ubisoft Montreal, but I can dream, dammit!
I can dream.