As just about every gamer has noticed, the gaming market has been flooded with sequel upon sequel (Tony Hawk, anyone?) — many of which aren’t a great improvement over the last increment. You can’t blame the publishers too much as they wouldn’t be putting them out if gamers weren’t buying them in droves.
But wouldn’t it be nice if publishers would release sequels of games that have had one lone installment, but are both treasured by fans and could greatly utilize newer hardware? I’ve taken joy in creating a list of ten games that I believe could greatly benefit from an upgraded sequel. (Also see my list of Franchises That Actually NEED A Resurection)
Nights Into Dreams – Saturn
This title is an easy #1 pick for me. I cannot understand why a sequel was never produced for this high-flying platformer. It was one of the Saturn’s most successful titles (especially considering it was not a launch title) and popularized the “3D Controller“. It was developed by Sonic Team was a good enough game for fans to forgive Sega for not having a exclusive Sonic game on the Saturn. The hype surrounding a sequel would be huge as the many fans of the Sega classic have been waiting for such a game for about a decade.
Nights into Dreams had “long-term franchise” written all over it and fans have been begging for a sequel ever since. In the 32-bit era, Nights was a breathtaking game that had a 3D look and feel while remaining in a primarily 2D gameplay world.
While the Sonic titles never seemed the same after transitioning into 3D environments, Nights into Dreams would be not only fitting, but absolutely beautiful running on current or next-generation hardware. Nights took place in an imaginative world and today’s graphics processors could push those environments to their limits.
Update: The sequel for NiGHTS seems to be confirmed for the Nintendo Wii. Could this be what we all have been “Dreaming” of?
Beyond Good and Evil – PS2, Gamecube, XBox, PC
Possibly one the best games of 2004, Beyond Good and Evil featured a magical combination of action, animation, and storytelling that won it high regard among critics. The game represented high quality and production values when most other games on the market were either re-hashes of other successful games or just plain awful.
With all the unimaginitive plots in games today, a series like BG&E deserves to live on. Of course, it didn’t sell well in its first iteration, but much of the buzz about the game happened just a bit after stores started taking it off their shelves. Now that there is a healthier fan-base, a sequel might just flourish.
I started writing this piece about a week ago, but just recently there has been a rumor that UbiSoft is already developing a sequel for BG&E that will debut on the next-gen systems (XBox 360, PS3, and Revolution). Nothing has been confirmed by UbiSoft, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Full Review of Beyond Good and Evil
Guardian Heroes – Saturn
Developed by fan-favorite, Treasure, Guardian Heroes was late-blooming Saturn title that many people still haven’t discovered. Guardian Heroes is a beatemup with strong RPG elements. The game combined great 2D animation, a unique control scheme, and killer gameplay with the ability to level up and focus the skills that you choose.
While Guardian Heroes is one of my all-time favorite games, one of my biggest complaints is its jaggy graphics. While it was slick in its day with it’s scaling and zooming sprites, it shows its age a bit now. This could easily be remedied on today’s consoles with a Guilty Gear-like engine. (FYI: There was a Guardian Heroes game on the Gameboy Advance, but it was more of a watered-down port than a sequel — Treasure is capable of so much more).
Full Review of Guardian Reviews
Kid Icarus – NES
The main character in this beloved NES classic was a small boy with wings named Pit, on a quest to rescue his goddess Palutena and free Angel Land from the grasp of Medusa. The game was based on the Metroid engine and contained both side and vertical scrolling action sequences. However, Metroid received more of a fan base than Kid Icarus and Metroid went on to be one of the most dominant Nintendo franchises while Kid Icarus was left aside.
The game did spawn a Game Boy pseudo-sequel entitled Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, but over the 20 years since the original NES release only the long-forgotten rumors of a Super Famicom/Super NES follow-up and a Revolution and/or DS rumor in 2005 showed any hit of a true follow-up.
Full Review of Kid Icarus
Comix Zone – Genesis/Megadrive
This colorful beatemup was released near the end of the life of the Sega Genesis (and came in those cruddy cardboard boxes). Instead of featuring a character that simply walked down a city street and beat people up, Comix Zone had the game’s hero sucked into his own comic book creation and battle the villains within actual panels of comic book pages.
You can leap out of the page and back down into the next panel, perhaps even shortcut to the panels below. Add in the ability to rip loose chunks of the page itself to make deadly paper airplanes, or the power to punch an enemy through the ink boundaries of the panel and you have a fresh twist to the beatemup genre.
Comix Zone looked beautiful on the 16-bit Genesis, so I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be on even the PS2. Of course, this game would need to stay in 2D, but it could borrow heavily from Viewtiful Joe’s pseudo-2D movie world formula.
Full Review of Comix Zone
Chrono Trigger – SNES, Playstation
One of the best RPGs in the history of the world deserves a sequel — and I’m not talking about Chrono Cross (what some consider a spinoff at best). There have been numerous homebrew attempts at creating a sequel to Chrono Trigger and they have all been squashed by Square/Enix. (see here and here) While some may think that Chrono Cross is a fine sequel, this should show the developers that there is a large craving for this title.
Chrono Trigger is a top-of-the-line RPG that takes place across the entire fabric of time itself. The player is cast into a beautiful world and makes an attempt at electronic teleportation, which seemingly breaches the fabric of time, throwing a varied cast of beings into a complex effort to repair the threads of causality.
If you take a look at some of the newer PS2 RPGs like Dragon Quest VIII (or the overly-cinematic Final Fantasy series), you can imagine how a game like Chrono Trigger could translate into the next-gen console environment.
Full Review of Chrono Trigger
Skies of Arcadia – Dreamcast, Gamecube
While it may not be as good as Chrono Trigger, Skies of Arcadia is an RPG that has an interesting enough combination of a good battle system and unique setting that it deserves to live on. The game takes place in a world where instead of oceans there are seemingly endless stretches of air and sky. All of the continents simply float around, and air ships replace boats.
Vyse and Aika are two members of a noble band of pirates. During the looting and plundering they rescue a mysterious silver-haired girl by the name of Fina. The are then on their way to find the 4 moon crystals in order to prevent the Valuan Empire from obtaining their incredible power.
Skies of Arcadia manages to benefit from how heavily exploration is emphasized. Now that games like the Grand Theft Auto series and Spiderman 2 showed how to do more open-ended exploration, a Skies sequel could execute on those concepts. A sequel for the series was hinted at back in 2004, but we haven’t really heard anything since then.
Full Review of Skies of Arcadia
Sonic CD – Sega CD, PC, Gamecube (via Sonic Gems)
As I’ve mentioned twice in the last week, we need a real console Sonic game in 2D. Sonic CD is still, in my opinion the best Sonic game. Sonic 2 and 3 were incredible as well, but Sonic CD added an extra amount of depth and replayabilty when it added the time-travel feature. Which Sonic CDs time traveling wasn’t very complicated, it could be utilized in a sequel and beefed up a bit.
Sonic CD improved on the formula of the original Genesis/Megadrive Sonic games by adding an amazing collection of soundtracks and sound effects in addition to some extra eye candy. Bringing a 2D sequel to next-gen consoles would escalate that improvement many times over. I think it could be a real revolution if Sega would go through with it. I realize the Sonic Rush for the Nintendo DS is one of the best Sonic games yet, but we really need a heavy-duty 2D game on a full console.
I have to admit, however, that the name “Sonic CD 2” sounds really lame. Perhaps “Sonic 2D Blast”, as a tribute to the not-so-fun Genesis/Saturn game Sonic 3D Blast.
Full Review of Sonic CD
Grim Fandango – PC
One of the most heralded point-and-click adventures was Tim Schafer’s brilliant “Grim Fandango.” It had a mind-blowingly original premise wrapped in somewhat more traditional graphic-adventure-game trappings. Sales of the original disappointed, so I don’t really see a sequel emerging.
Of course, after his eventual success with Psychonauts, Schaffer might be up to the task of bringing Grim Fandango to a more modern gameplay method and platform.
American McGee’s Alice – PC
This Third Person Shooter was powered by the Quake III engine and was set years after Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Alice features an older, more cynical and macabre incarnation of Alice. The game is written in the spirit of Tim Burton’s gothic works.
Although the graphics aren’t spectacular, many of the levels are very clever and creative in design. Often, these designs inspire a world of chaos and wonder. There is even a level design that is similar to those hallways/house of mirrors found in circus attractions. The sound and music also adds much to the atmosphere.
While some may not have enjoyed the original Alice because of its shortcomings, that doesn’t mean that a new sequel couldn’t resolve those issues. Much like Nights in to Dreams, Alice would push the envelope of this imaginative world, if a sequel was made on cutting-edge hardware. I would also enjoy seeing a console version since I’m not a big PC gamer.
Full Review of Alice
Classic Franchises That Actually NEED A Resurection
Top Retro Games of 2005
Top 20 Games That Nobody Played – But You Should
Games That Pushed The Limits – Part 1
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