The wrong games are being remade.
As fantastic as it is to see classic titles like Shadow of the Colossus receive proper remakes, the video game industry has a tendency to only remake titles that were pretty great – and very popular – to begin with.
While that makes sense from a business standpoint, it’s a shame that those nearly great and criminally overlooked titles of the past rarely receive the kind of modern-day upgrade that could help turn near-classics of the past into true masterpieces.
Since we here at Den of Geek sadly lack the resources and licenses necessary to release official remakes of such games, we instead submit for your approval these 20 games that truly deserve to be remade.
Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hands
If you thought naked Raiden cartwheeling his way through an LSD trip was as weird as a Hideo Kojima game can get…well, you’re probably right, but Boktai is still a weird Kojima game.
In Boktai, you play as a vampire hunter who must use the sun to defeat vampiric hordes. That sounds rather unremarkable until you realize that you have to use our sun to defeat vampires. The game utilized the Game Boy Advance’s light sensor to determine if the player was actually out in the sun – or using a powerful lamp – and would reward them with extra power if they were.
Boktai was a pretty good dungeon crawler even without the gimmick, but that light sensor aspect makes this a potentially game for the mobile app age.
Onimusha: Warlords was released during that awkward time when Capcom was still sticking with many Resident Evil conventions (static cameras, tank-like controls, backtrack-based puzzles) but hadn’t yet begun to implement Devil May Cry’s combo-based action gameplay.
As a result, Onimusha suffers slightly from being an action game that plays similarly to an old-school Resident Evil title. While that formula occasionally works in the game’s favor, it does result in some awkward gameplay moments.
The good news is that everything else about Onimusha: Warlords is a hit. Its samurai horror film setting remains unique, the game’s bosses are incredibly well designed, and even the game’s weird plot begins to grow on you.
The point is that all of Onimusha’s mechanical problems could easily be addressed by a remake considering that its intangible elements are still incredible.
In the early days of the Dreamcast when some of the system’s first owners were slowly getting tired of playing Soul Calibur all the time, they turned to a little game called ChuChu Rocket! for relief.
That may sound like a serious step-down in quality, but ChuChu Rocket! was actually a rather brilliant example of a digital board game that benefited from a revolutionary online multiplayer mode.
Even though playing online has lost much of its novelty since those simpler times, ChuChu Rocket! remains an incredibly entertaining party game. The mechanics – which involve leading a series of mice into goals – is the definition of brilliant simplicity while the included map maker added a ton of variety to the game’s competitive mode.
The biggest problem with ChuChu Rocket! is that not enough gamers got to experience it. A remake would certainly help address that issue.
The first time that you play Bushido Blade and instantly get one-shotted by a more experienced player who suddenly sports the world’s smuggest grin is one of those gaming moments that stays with you forever.
Bushido Blade is a 3D fighting game quite unlike any other 3D fighting game. Its unique weapon and body targeting systems not only let you kill a player in one hit – you know, like with real weapons – but also gave you the option to simply wound them instead or employ dirty tactics like throwing dirt in their eyes.
Actually, that last tactic could actually affect the flow of the game’s narrative as such moves would label you as a dishonorable warrior.
Bushido Blade was not a game for button mashers, but its truly unique mechanics would help ensure that a remake of the title would find a large modern-day audience.
In many ways, Blast Corps is a puzzle game. It’s just that it so happens to be a puzzle game about using giant machines to destroy every building that impedes the progress of a runaway nuclear payload.
Suffice to say, it ain’t Candy Crush.
As great as Blast Corps often was, its greatness was hindered by some incredibly difficult levels that weren’t always designed to be as challenging as they were in practice. Instead, it was the game’s iffy controls and a wonky camera that sometimes served as the title’s most notorious obstacles.
A remake of the game that retains Blast Corps brilliant concept, fantastic level design, and sense of achievement while removing the project’s less desirable design decisions would be a true gift to gaming.
Hunter: The Reckoning
If you’re the type of horror movie fan that was always more interested in the characters that hunt monsters than the monsters themselves, then Hunter: The Reckoning is a game designed for you.
Actually, it was designed for you and three of your friends. Hunter was a four-player co-op action game that thrusts players into worlds filled with various types of classic monsters – and a few surprises – then asked them to wipe all evil from the land.
What separates Hunter from games like Left 4 Dead is the title’s pure arcade action. Aside from the special skills of each character, victory in this game is achieved by firing as much ammunition as possible at every creature that comes your way.
Hunter’s blend of classic co-op action and horror movie style would still feel very welcome today.
Parasite Eve is a classic example of a tremendous concept hindered by sloppy execution.
So far as story and environment go, Parasite Eve is a masterpiece. The game sees you play an NYPD officer named Aya Brea who becomes mixed up in a truly strange story involving spontaneous combustion, science, and the supernatural. It’s some wonderfully weird stuff.
Unfortunately, Parasite Eve’s gameplay couldn’t quite live up to its narrative aspects. The game’s mix of real-time and turn-based combat was a fine concept but was far from refined.
Still, a developer wouldn’t exactly need to tear the game completely apart in order to make existing ideas work. Parasite Eve is the kind of kind of game that deserves a modern day makeover simply because those who know about it need more people to discuss it with.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is much more than a name that contains way too much punctuation for a game title; it also so happens to be one of the deepest single-player RPGs ever made.
Bloodlines’ gameplay is…ok. It’s certainly serviceable and sometimes better than serviceable. What really makes the game work, though, is its character building system and the title’s world.
The game forces you to make complex decisions that go well-beyond “Choice A” or “Choice B.” From playing warring clans against each other to determining how many humans you want to kill for dinner, Bloodlines is all about building your character through organic narrative decisions in ways that modern games still struggle to replicate.
Fans have been working to fix the game’s technical problems for years, but we’d love to see a proper remake.
One of the things that helped make the Game Boy a cultural sensation was its ability to reasonably emulate NES games. Much like the Switch is showing consumers now, people like to be able to take console-like experiences with them on the go.
1990’s Gargoyle’s Quest is an especially interesting example of that design style. Though not based on an NES game, Gargoyle’s Quest arguably contains more depth and content than the average NES action title. It’s blend of RPG mechanics, overhead exploration, and side-scrolling action is still impressive given the limitations of the Game Boy platform.
We eventually got a console Gargoyle’s Quest game – Gargoyle’s Quest II – but a modern remake of the original would be able to do quite a lot with current technology.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
The fact that Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy didn’t immediately become a universally beloved best-seller really speaks to just how many great games came out in 2004.
Even if Psi-Ops were “just” a run-and-gun action game, it would still be a very well done run-and-gun action game. However, Psi-Ops ups the ante quite a bit by introducing a variety of psychic powers that allow gamers to perform some fairly impressive in-game maneuvers.
Granted, some of Psi-Ops‘ “Wow Factor” can be attributed to the fact that the game’s telekinesis powers benefit greatly from the older Havok Engine, but the game arguably still feels better than the average shooter released today. We’re not sure who – if anyone – controls the rights to this property, but that studio may be sitting on a potential future franchise.
Mark of Kri
Mark of Kri is a bit different than the other games on this list in that it arguably still holds up from a gameplay and technological standpoint without a remake. Instead, our desire for a remake of this game stems entirely from the sad fact that not enough gamers got to play this masterpiece upon its 2002 release.
Mark of Kri’s art style, music, plot, and characters are all fantastic, but the star of the show is certainly the game’s combat system. Long before Arkham Asylum perfected the idea of multi-character brawling in a 3D setting, Mark of Kri helped pioneer a similar system that revolved around assigning a button to each enemy.
Despite certain gameplay familiarities, Mark of Kri has enough unique features to its name to ensure that a remake would leave its mark on the modern-day gaming scene.
At a time when Microsoft needed to prove to the gaming world that online console gaming was more than a gimmick, Day 1 Studio’s MechAssault went out and nearly single-handedly proved their point. Granted, certain MechAssault online features that blew people’s minds back in the day wouldn’t be nearly as impressive today (matchmaking, for instance), but the game has so much more to offer than just its online aspects.
MechAssault’s online and single-player modes both benefit greatly from the game’s intuitive action controls. We love a “realistic” mech sim as much as the next person, but there’s something to be said for a mech game that just lets you hop right in and start blowing stuff up with little learning required.
Given that MechAssault’s biggest issue is its laughably outdated graphics, a true remake of the game wouldn’t need to try hard to successfully revive this game for a new generation.
Illusion of Gaia
Much like EarthBound, the internet has helped Illusion of Gaia arguably become more famous now than it was upon its release. Unlike EarthBound, Illusion of Gaia still hasn’t received a proper re-release in quite some time.
Illusion of Gaia is a difficult game to explain. It is a grand adventure through a mythical setting that combines elements of Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda. In fact, we are quite certain that Illusion of Gaia would have become one of the most beloved games of all-time if it had shipped with the Zelda name.
Because it did not, a sadly small group of players got to experience Illusion of Gaia’s incredible blend of RPG and adventure mechanics. This is one of the SNES’s greatest adventures and it would still captivate audiences today if someone could secure the rights needed to remake it using current-gen technology.
Lost Odyssey – alongside Blue Dragon – was one of the JRPGs that Microsoft hoped would capture the attention of Japanese console gamers who had shown relatively little interest in purchasing an Xbox 360. Unfortunately, Western and Eastern gamers ended up mostly ignoring this Hironobu Sakaguchi (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy) designed game.
What a shame that is. While critics rightfully pointed out that Lost Odyssey’s faithfulness to old-school JRPG design is the source of its worst qualities, the game’s story and characters help make it one of the most intriguing JRPGs of the post-SNES era.
If someone were to remake this game and remove – or tone down – the game’s random battles while slapping on a fresh coat of graphical paint, they would be doing the gaming world a tremendous service by ensuring that Lost Odyssey finds the audience it should have found in 2008.
Due to the success of 2000’s Gladiator, game developers went through a brief infatuation with gladiator games during the mid-2000s. While titles like Shadow of Rome, Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance, and Colosseum: Road to Freedom are all noteworthy in their own right, it is Gladius that stands as the best gladiator game ever made.
Unlike other gladiator games, which primarily focused on arena combat, Gladius is a tactical role-playing game that utilizes a rock, paper, scissors-style combat system. Imagine if someone made a gladiator mod for X-Com: Enemy Unknown, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the game has to offer.
That comparison aside, there are few games that offer what Gladius did and even fewer that captured the gladiator atmosphere quite like this title. Best of all, a Gladius remake wouldn’t require much more than some improved graphics.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
At the risk of sounding greedy, the recent release of Metroid: Samus Returns has got us wondering when Nintendo is finally going to remake Link’s Awakening.
In many ways, Link’s Awakening is the “missing link” (pun proudly intended) between A Link to the Past and the N64 era of Zelda games. It retains many of the design elements that made A Link to the Past so notable but also incorporates certain world-design qualities that would define later Zelda games. Actually, co-creator Takashi Tezuka noted that his decision to start populating this and future Zelda games with mysterious characters can be attributed to his fascination with Twin Peaks.
Influences aside, Link’s Awakening is a truly special Zelda game in its own right. We’d be eternally grateful if Nintendo upgraded this title and re-released it for 3DS.
Let’s get this out of the way now: if you can’t stand trial and error gameplay, you will never be a fan of Stuntman. You play as a film stuntman who must complete a series of increasingly complex vehicle-based scenes. What makes that so complicated is the fact that you are never quite sure what move to make until you hear the director shout it out at you seconds before you need to react. Suffice it to say, this means you’ll be replaying the same levels over and over again.
That annoyance aside, Stuntman does an incredible job of making you feel like you are truly a film stuntman. From the fake trailers that incorporate your actual stunts that air at the end of each level to the excellent design of the stunts themselves, Stuntman is one of those games that provides you with a feeling you never knew you wanted from a game until you experience it.
Another sequel would be great, but a remake of the original would be even better.
Much like the movie it’s based on, the video game version of The Thing was more or less overlooked upon its release. As such, relatively few gamers – or fans of the film – got to experience the game’s brilliant interpretation of the movie’s most notable elements.
In The Thing, you are typically accompanied by a squad of NPC players who are needed to progress. The problem is that certain actions can make these NPCs believe you are infected, which leads to them to eventually turn on you. Even worse, some of them can actually become infected and try to kill you at random moments.
While The Thing’s action sequences sometimes suffers from some generic third-person combat, the constant tension that accompanies your every move is a feeling that few other single-player action titles have ever delivered.
At this point, we’re fairly certain that it’s time to give up wishing for a Crimson Skies sequel. Hey, 15 years without any real hints of such a thing tends to chip away at one’s optimism.
If that is the case, we’d gladly settle for a remake of the 2003 Xbox title that quickly stole the hearts of nearly everyone that played it with its excellent aerial combat, slick alternate history premise, and Indiana Jones vibes. Actually, a remake might be even better than a sequel as it’s highly unlikely a developer could ever make lightning strike twice in terms of what made Crimson Skies so special.
Sure, we’d like for the remake to trim some of the game’s iffy escort missions and repetitive side-quests, but given that so few people ever played Crimson Skies (it sold very poorly), a remake of this game might just perfect what is already a near-perfect gaming experience.
We’d say that Vagrant Story was ahead of its time, but that implies that we’ve received games since 2000 that have fully capitalized on the aspects that made Vagrant Story special.
Vagrant Story is a Square RPG quite unlike any other. There are very few NPCs, towns, or dialogue. Instead, there is a whole lot of dungeon crawling complimented by a real-time combat system which confounded many console gamers years ago. Those who took the time to learn Vagrant Story’s mechanics found that it’s incredible weapon modification system and epic – yet subtly told – story make it one of Square’s greatest RPGs ever.
There’s been some loose talk regarding a remake of this game for quite some time now, but we say that it’s time for Square Enix to recognize that a post-Dark Souls world is the perfect environment for this truly remarkable example of game design.