With Activision’s very well-received Goldeneye remake currently doing extremely reasonable business on the Nintendo Wii, and with Namco Bandai’s stellar-looking Splatterhouse revamp sitting on the immediate horizon, now seems like the perfect time to take a look at some old classics that haven’t yet been selected for a shiny new HD refit, but more than deserve to be.
5. Freedom Fighters by IO Interactive (2003)
It was very easy to let Freedom Fighters pass you by when it was first released, and too many people did precisely that. The forgettable title and generic sleeve art certainly didn’t help its chances, but oddly enough, seeing it in action did it no real favours either. What made Freedom Fighters so compelling was the simple but compulsive squad-based angle of the gameplay, and this wasn’t easily conveyed. The (offline) multiplayer options were terrific, and it could still become something of a minor classic if online play were to be introduced.
4. The World Is Not Enough by Eurocom (2000)
Another title that was unjustly ignored on its maiden release, but one that has consequently spawned its own very small (but vocal) cult following. TWINE was seen at the time as a poor man’s Goldeneye. It obviously wasn’t fresh and the multiplayer wasn’t as polished, but this is one of gaming’s all time great rip-offs, and some of its best moments – like the breathless Cold Reception level – actually stand toe-to-toe with the best bits of Rare’s seminal juggernaut. It doesn’t deserve the same lavish attention that Goldeneye has recently received, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be forgotten either. TWINE fans weren’t surprised when the Goldeneye remake turned out as well as it did: it was developed by many of the same TWINE team.
3. Frequency by Harmonix (2002)
Before you were required to own your own body weight in plastic peripherals in order to enjoy most of their terrific wares, Harmonix were restricted to crafting games that needed nothing more exciting than a simple old Dualshock controller in order to play. Although sequel Amplitude brought a compelling online multiplayer component to the party, the emphasis on poppier tunes cut away some of Frequency’s appealing rawness, and thus it’s the original game that earns a nomination here. Another sequel would work, but because of the exemplary tracklisting, a simple HD redux would be more than enough.
2. Blast Corps by Rare (1997)
Blast Corps needs to be remade not only because it was a downright superb game that nowhere near enough people ever experienced, but also because it was a thoroughly unique proposition that for some bizarre reason, has never directly influenced anything else. The bright and jolly toy-town in which it was set was charming but never twee (and a bit of a joy to spend time in) but the ingenious nature of the puzzles – most of which culminated in the loud destruction of one or more nondescript buildings – always made it stand apart. As with some of the games on this list (or all of them, in fact) we’d be happy to simply see the original game ported to the current generation of HD consoles. But it’s a sequel that we’re really after, if only to see this kind of rampant carnage at its visual best.
1. Killer Instinct by Rare (1995)
Another Rare game, and for some, the greatest 2D fighter of all time. The fact that Killer Instinct’s lustre hasn’t dimmed in all these years might be a testament to how ahead of its time it was; but it also might just be yet another sign of an ageing fanbase’s insatiable nostalgia. One thing that we do know is that the original SNES port of the stunning arcade original was one of the best games on the system, and if you can still get your mitts on it, it continues to sparkle even today. Rare have been teasing KI: 3 for the best part of a decade, and enough is finally enough. Without wishing to sound like a broken record, we’d be more than happy with a souped-up port of the original…. And how hard can that really be?