Falling On Deaf Ears – Games Dying to be Remade in HD

Every gamer worth his or her blistered thumbs carries inside a secret list.  This list, etched upon the beating heart, contains the games that gamer most deeply desires to see updated, remade, or expanded upon with a sequel.  The older the gamer, the longer the list as all the pleasures of the past are remembered wistfully and compared to the new tricks developers are pulling out of their game design bags.  So, what does our list look like?  We hacked and weeded until we came up with four deserving titles from four different systems.

The Guardian Legend (NES)

Until you’ve played it, there’s no way to understand just how perfectly this 8-bit Nintendo beast blends the action, adventure and SHMUP genres.  Cribbing the best bits from the likes of Mega Man, Metroid and R-Type, Compile worked out a design that simultaneously rubs out their flaws while enhancing their strengths.  In theory this should have resulted in an unplayable mess–instead we got The Guardian Legend.  It’s the story of Guardian, one of an elite breed of transforming cyborg women, sent to intercept the rogue asteroid Naju and divert it from its impending impact with Earth by any means necessary.  The only problem is Naju doesn’t want to be diverted, and every inhabitant of the overrun and ravaged planetoid will do everything within its power to stop her from completing her task.

Guardian is hardly defenseless though, and her ability to upgrade her standard blaster and energy shield coupled with the means to assimilate alien weaponry and use it against her aggressors makes her the kind of one-woman army Samus Aran could only dream of being.  When it comes to HD remakes, The Guardian Legend requires nothing more than prettier graphics and a more orchestral soundtrack to move it into the 21st century.  Consider how developers Housemarque and Capcom handled the HD remakes of Super Stardust and Street Fighter II and it’s obvious that games can look and sound gorgeous while retaining the great design of yesteryear.

So why is it unlikely we’ll ever see Guardian strutting her stuff on a next-gen console?  Because nobody knows who owns the rights.  US publisher Broderbund closed down their games division years ago,  and Japanese developer Compile shuttered their operations in 2003.  It’s not a complete impossibility, but given the length of time which has passed since TGL’s 1989 release without mention of the property, let’s just say you’re probably better off buying that Powerball ticket than loading up your hopes and dreams basket on this one.

Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

No, I didn’t leave out an ‘I’ up there.  Everybody always goes on and on about a FFVII remake, but compared to the recognition given to VI, the seventh entry in Square-Enix’s never-ending franchise has been given the royal treatment: the full-length Advent Children animated film, a sequel/epilogue in Dirge of Cerberus, the PSP release featuring both of the above plus a prequel in Crisis Core, a full-fledged re-release on the PSN, and even a snowboarding game for mobile devices.  Yes, FF7 might be the most-beloved title in the series, but it’s not the best.  That distinction belongs to FF6, and it’s about time it got an HD remake so it could stand up and compete more directly with its younger, more overhyped brother.

Square teased us with ‘what could be’ in this regard when it released Final Fantasy 5 and 6 on the Playstation as the Final Fantasy Anthology by including the opening and closing FMV sequences.  Stuff that could only be hinted at using the SNES’s limited graphical abilities suddenly exploded off the screen.  The best thing about this was that Final Fantasy 6 boasted one of the greatest stories ever told in an RPG, with more than a dozen vibrant, colorful and unique characters who all had their own reasons for abandoning their way of life to stand together and oppose an empire poised to devastate the planet through the reckless and unchecked acquisition of magic by a half-crazed general named Kefka.

Words cannot express why we long to see a complete Final Fantasy VI HD remake. Pictures, on the other hand, speak for themselves.  Here’s Terra in all her 16-bit, spritely glory from the 1994 original:

On the other hand, this is the Terra Square teased us all with in 1999:

I haven’t purchased a Final Fantasy title since 10; while the graphics get better and better, the characters and the stories get worse and worse.  FF6 HD on the other hand would be a day-one, full-cost, no-questions-asked, brand-new purchase for me and millions of other gamers who already know what a kick-ass story they’re getting and just want to see it receive the makeover it deserves.

Road Rash (GEN)

One of the most criminally neglected franchises currently festering in the bowels of EA’s bottomless filing cabinet of properties they’re never going to touch again is this oh-so-naughty bike racing combat simulator.  It’s difficult not to see the appeal in a game that lets you zoom through the countryside on a crotch rocket tricked out to the max while hitting people with baseball bats or lengths of chains, but it seems like Electronic Arts is determined to do just that since they haven’t released a Road Rash title in more than a decade unless you count the Game Boy Advance incarnation of Jailbreak.  Which we don’t.

Seriously, is it that difficult to publish a racing game with the looks of a Gran Turismo or Project Gotham featuring turbo boosts, lead pipes and tense skirmishes with a buddy or eleven over the Internet?  Who in his or her right mind wouldn’t want to see a project like this available for their system of choice?  How about instead of focusing on customizable cup sizes or locker room cams or whatever minor upgrades you’re going to introduce in the newest incarnation of Madden, you divert some of that programming talent to reviving the best bike-racing, tire-squealing, enemy-pancaking series on the planet in HD?

After all, we’re not talking about some random one-and-done title, we’re talking about a game with incarnations appearing across thirteen different consoles, portables and computer systems since its inception in 1991.  Pretty it up, give us online play, and make it a downloadable title for at least two of the three major systems and we’ll show you a ravenous fan base only too happy to line your pockets with filthy lucre.

Bushido Blade (PS1)

Today’s fighting games are all about pulling off extreme combinations interspersed with physically-impossible feats like fireballs, gravity-defying jumps, and people who can block full-strength sword strikes with nothing but their forearms.  That sort of thing is all well and good when it comes to comic book battles and kung fu film heroes, but isn’t it about time we brought some realism back to the fighting game genre and made weapons mean something?

We sure think so.  Revive the Bushido Blade franchise with a graphical overhaul that takes advantage of the massive storage and computing potential of modern-day systems.  Real fighters know hand-to-hand combat, especially where weapons are involved, generally ends in seconds as opposed to minutes, there’s no timer counting down to a draw, and your opponent doesn’t have a life bar hovering over his head.

The Mortal Kombats and Street Fighters of the world have their places, and we don’t want to see them go away.  But would it be too much to ask to get a nice heavy dose of reality injected back into the genre so it’s more MMA than WWE?  So how about it, Bergsala Lightweight―it’s been fourteen years since the last Bushido Blade.  We’re long overdue.

Each gamer’s list is different, each is unique, and each deserves its own voice.  This one is mine―won’t you share yours with us too?

By Modern Zorker

Achievement enthusiast, retro game collector, and bundle junkie. Check me out on Steam

One comment

  1. NA says:

    Find the owner(s) of The Guardian Legend and send me an email in return and so I can get in contact with them. Look it’s time for an upgrade.

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