Luke has been playing video games and reading comic books since childhood. He's a bearded family man in plaid.
In the late '90s and early 2000s, going to Blockbuster Video on a Friday night was the highlight of my week. Finding a new game to rent and playing all weekend was me living my best life as a teenager. Now that I'm in my 30s with a full-time job and a family, my time spent gaming has become more valuable because of its scarcity. No longer do I want to spend all weekend dying in Sekiro or getting my teeth knocked out in Injustice 2.
But one of the great things about being a gamer in this modern age is the ability to relive my video game past loves in an updated and remastered experience. There are big bucks in nostalgia and gaming studios would be wise to invest in some of these titles. This list is in no particular order, but each title is near and dear to my digital heart.
1. Mark of Kri
The Mark of Kri is a brutal and beautiful game about a hero named Rau. This game has the classic archetype of the hero story; Rau has a mentor, a wise animal companion, an ultimate evil to destroy, and a spunky sister who is the polar opposite of the stoic main character.
One of the great aspects of this game is the art style that the creators used. There's flowing, bright colors and a dynamic art style for the characters that would remind the player of something out of a Disney animated feature like Lilo & Stitch or Tarzan. The opening scenes for each level is a time lapsed drawing masterfully sketched, inked, and painted by these amazing artists.
Another aspect of the game that sets this one apart from every other sword-swinging hack and slash is the way Mark of Kri utilized the Dualshock 2 controller. Using the left stick, the player highlights the enemies and designates an individual button that when pressed will make Rau attack them specifically. No other game to my knowledge used this system of combat. It reminds me of what the Arkham series did with their combat system, having the players direct Batman using the stick to choose their victim. I can only imagine what a modern system could do with the amazing visuals and fun combat of this game that lives in my little gamer heart.
2. Red Dead Revolver
The original western Grand Theft Auto was very different from the more modern versions that have been released this decade. It wasn't an open world game. You played as a bunch of different characters, like an English professional duelist or a Buffalo Soldier. Red Dead Revolver was broken into levels, each with different challenges and sometimes over-the-top bosses. One challenge that I remember in particular is getting only headshots while playing, and it was always satisfying because their hats would pop off.
Where this game shined where its sequels are lacking is the dueling mechanic. It utilized the thumbsticks in what became a very natural motion and I became an absolute master at it.
Now there were some issues with this game. There was no customization or horseback riding, which is a major feature of the Red Dead Redemption series. Being limited to playing one level or "stage" at a time now seems very dated as well. But I have such fond memories of playing this game and just completely ruining my friends and brothers' days when it came to multiplayer that I hope that Red Dead Revolver gets a new coat of paint and a fresh remaster.
3. 007: Agent Under Fire
So this is an obscure one to consider but it is a personal favorite of mine. Agent Under Fire was a stand-alone game that was not based on any Bond movie and did not feature any actor that played Bond in the past. This Bond was an amalgam of Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore. This game had it all; grappling hooks, car chases, great multiplayer gameplay, and you could lower the gravity and jump shooting rockets at your friends. It was a silly game that didn't take itself seriously, the kind of first-person shooter that is rarely seen on the modern consoles these days, but I would snatch up a remastered version in a hot second.
007: Agent Under Fire had one of the best multiplayer game modes that I've ever experienced. It was called "VIP" and the players had different tasks to accomplish to win the game. It was set a train station and a man with a silver briefcase would step out of the train, walk around for a few minutes and then get on the next train. One player's job is to take out that man, the other player's mission is to protect him. Both players have the same sniper rifle, only one life per round, placed on opposite sides of each other and what ensued was hands-down my favorite multiplayer mode to this day. It took focus, creativity, and patience to win this game and I have not found its equal. And this game came out in 2001.
This game was so much fun. You play as Marvel Comic's anti-hero and you spend the entire game punishing bad guys with anything that you can find. While playing I killed someone by smashing their head by repeatedly closing a window on their head until it came off. Another time I held a crook in a zoo close enough to the rhino paddock for it to stab him with its horn. That aspect of the game was to extract information from your enemies in creative ways and it was so very, very cool. There were ways to take out your enemy, simply called "executions" and it had a wide assortment of ways to dispatch the bad guys. There was one move in particular where you would throw your shotgun or rifle at an enemy, they would catch it, and then the Punisher would stab them in the face with a knife. You could dual wield pump action shotgun, kick doors in, and feed baddies to piranhas. The possibilities for violence are endless and this game needs a remaster!
There are so many games that deserve honorable mentions, like Kingdoms of Amalur, Republic Commandos, and NBA Street. What are some of your favorites games from days past?