10 Retro Games & Series I'm Waiting For Remakes
Retro games of the 80s and 90. Memories of my childhood
Many game series continue to have releases for new consoles and systems. For example, the 30 year old Metal Gear series just had another episode released. Unfortunately, far more games and series from the 80s and 90s were abandoned, usually because the developers terminated business, or because they chose to focus on other projects. Here are 10 retro games and series I enjoyed in those golden years, which I'm really hoping for remakes. Sadly, the way things are going, I probably wouldn't get my wish for most of them.
Note: This list is a mix of PC and console titles.
1. Getsu Fuuma Den
Konami is my favourite game developer, and many of its franchises are alive and active. Curiously, however, this hit from the 80s never saw an English release or sequel. That despite there being so much potential in the game. A lone samurai wandering around 4 hellish islands? Equipped with various oh-so-Japanese weapons like a magical taiko drum? This would be Far Cry 3 in mythological Japanese setting, if made today. I do wish Konami stops referencing Fūma in so many titles, and just work on developing a long-awaited sequel. We Fuuma fans have been waiting for so long.
2. Fudo Myoo Den
This earned a rather dour reputation in the western markets, because the English version, Demon Sword, was terrible. The Japanese release though, was an immersion in Japanese mythology and culture. All bosses were based on classical Japanese mythology archetypes, with some drawn directly from Noh drama. There was also a pretty kick-ass soundtrack, particularly the boss theme. Together with Getsu Fūma Den, this game established my lifelong love for Japanese culture. I would truly love to see the bosses and stages remade with today's superior tech. Heck, I still hum the boss theme, whenever I feel particularly heroic.
3. The Laura Bow Series
There were two Laura Bow murder mystery games published by Sierra On-line. Both left deep imprints on me. (LOL) I remember cringing at the PC nightly, jumping each time sometime ghastly happened, or when I was killed in a most ridiculous way. I also kept replaying till I nabbed the (g*d-d*mned) murderers, because despite the technological limitations of retro games then, Sierra managed to inject an amazing deal of interactivity and game play variations. In short, I'm longing to be reacquainted with the intrepid Ms Bow in another classic whodunit. The quality of graphics we have nowadays, I might finally be sent scampering from the PC in fear.
4. The Space Quest Series
I might be biased in my preferences when it comes to retro games, but I doubt few can debate with me that Sierra On-line was one of the top developers in the 80s and 90s. Its various Quests series could be considered the predecessors of current open-world gaming concepts. No discussion of the subject can be completed without mentioning Sierra.
Space Quest was one of these legendary series. It was a humorous mix of space opera, exploration and galactic saving, with stylish art (by retro standards) bring the story to life. Why did I pick Space Quest instead of the other Quests? Well, King's Quest already has a remake. Police Quest and Quest for Glory, well, we have quite a bit of similar titles nowadays. Space Quest, on the other hand, feels to have so much more potential, particularly when it comes to exploration. It would also be great to again have a space title that doesn't involve any serious universe saving. The summary, move aside, Master Chief and Shepard. One does not save galaxies by weapons and armour suits. You do so by bungling your way through traps.
I played Sorcerian on the PC in 1989, and I remember it fondly for three things. Its rather strange blend of platforming and RPG, its extremely catchy soundtrack. And the kick of having a tail of companions trailing behind me as I bounced across the screen. In subsequent years, Falcom did release some sequels for Sorcerian, and there's currently one for the iOs system, but overall, most of these felt like rehashes of the original title. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how a remake of Sorcerian would turn out to be. Chances are, it would probably be an insipid mirror of other JRPG titles like the Tales series. Still, I have such great memories of this game and its music, I'm happy for anything. Just the name of it alone would be enough to encourage me to snap up the pre-release.
6. Hiryū no Ken Series
Hiryū no Ken (飛龍の拳) was a series of fighting games developed by Culture Brain, with releases up to the Nintendo 64 era. What made this series memorable for me was how the developer experimented with platforming and RPG elements in several episodes. The result was clunky, admittedly, even for the standard of retro games. But it was a bold step towards an enthralling anime-like world, rich with mythos, where your average MMA fighter could be the avatar of a Tibetan demon or the shape-shifted form of a god. With today's gaming technology, a truly unusual open-world, fighting experience could be possible with some careful planning. I sense great potential for a MMORPG too. And of course, there's that melancholic opening theme. One of the best I've heard on the NES system.
7. Leisure Suit Larry Series
This was what naughty boys and girls played in the 80s and 90s! One of the most "notorious" retro games produced by Sierra On-line, you get to control a middle-age loser or sex babe, and you mosey around town looking for ... sex.
Or what you hope to be sex. Most of the time, you end up in hilarious situations. (Don't frolic on the beach; you might catch a case of crabs) The various episodes thrived on corny humour, with an emphasis on wordplay, and plenty of times it could be quite challenging too to figure out the puzzles. Of all the retro games in this list, LSL is the only one that has any realistic chance of remakes. Already, a "reloaded" version was released in 2013. I'm waiting with crossed fingers for the rest to come. I'm also keenly awaiting the return of Larry's soulmate, Passionate Patti. She still has much to accomplish in her never-ending quest for pulsating pectorals.
8. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Another naughty, notti title from the early 90s. One glimpse at the box art and you'd know why. A mixture of survival horror, exploration and crafting, this one has you wandering around a spooky castle, trying to save Cassandra Peterson's famous witchy persona from horrid death. Truth be told, while the game won accolades, I found it somewhat stiff, and the horror elements were predictable after a while. But this was about Elvira. A gorgeous B-movie icon that has unfortunately been somewhat forgotten. Please, bring her back in full 3D glory. Yes. 3D. Hair and spiders and all. And of course, ahem, those legendary b**bs.
9. Altered Destiny
Back then, almost all shops promoted this adventuring title by Accolade as a copy of Sierra On-line's many Quests titles. In many ways, it was, and as I remembered it, also not as polished as other similar retro games. It was also incredibly difficult, with the gaming logic and pathway at times impossible to figure out. (I never did complete it) Over time though, my hazy memories of the bizarre locations and characters morphed into nostalgic fascination. I'd love to have another go at this retro title. And this time, I'd have the whole online world of hints and FAQs to help me through those alien landscapes and quirky conversations. aRRaRRa, you wouldn't survive that easily again.
10. Phantasie Series
The oldest in this list of retro games, Phantasie I was my very first RPG game on the PC. By today's standard, this classic from Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) is a rather run of the mill western medieval RPG. But who knows what some thoughtful touches could bring? With current series like Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls mostly opting for action-based fighting, it would also be interesting, refreshing even, to revert to a turn-based gameplay. Plus, I do want to be re-introduced to the main villain, Nikademus. That name has stuck in my head since the mid 80s. How could one not be fascinated by a name like that?