Beyond Good and Evil

Some games of yesteryear were just ahead of their time. And considering how many remasters and remakes we’ve seen in recent years, these fresh takes on older games make up a sizable portion of the video games I play each year. Although I do love new experiences, it’s hard to say no to a better version of either an already great game, or a second chance to make a good game better — not to mention that a large portion of current video-game enthusiasts might not have been born when some of these titles originally released, and, in some instances, getting your hands on an original copy of these old titles might be a Herculean feat.

So I thought I would take a moment to wax poetically about some of my favorites from a bygone era and whip up a list of games I would love to see remakes of — and if not a remake, at least a simple remaster or even just a re-release would ultimately suffice.

This list is in no particular order, but if any of these games receives a remake, I will be first in line to get a copy.

Scarface: The World Is Yours

Scarface: The World Is Yours

Developed by Radical Entertainment, Scarface: The World Is Yours was a 2006 open-world game set in the Scarface universe. Although at first glance, Scarface seemed like yet another GTA clone (albeit one with a movie tie-in), Scarface actually had some really cool gameplay elements all its own with a decent pedigree all around. Penned by David McKenna, the scribe of American History X and Blow, the script was no slouch. 

Set after the perceived demise of Tony Montana at the end of the 1983 Scarface film, the player is tasked with rising from the ashes and rebuilding Tony’s drug dealing enterprise. Along the way, you’ll dabble in business fronts and take over territory, with some of the actors from the film reprising their roles for the game. And although Al Pacino wasn’t one of those actors, he did allow for his visage to be used for Tony’s model.

So much more than a simple GTA clone, Scarface managed to put its own stamp on a genre that’s pretty darn hard to leave a mark on (unless your name is Rockstar Games).

I would love a full-on remake, but I’d settle for a remaster — or, at the very least, availability on modern digital storefronts.

Beyond Good & Evil

Beyond Good and Evil

Even though there is a sequel — or prequel? — in production, it strikes me as similar in name but few other ways. And that alone doesn’t mean that Beyond Good & Evil 2 would inherently be bad (assuming my assessment is indeed correct). But I think it would need to be truly incredible to top the damn-near perfect original.

So to see a full-fledged remake of the original Beyond Good & Evil would go a long way toward introducing a new audience of players to this world, considering there is currently an almost-two-decade gap between the original and whatever this follow-up is — and keep in mind, this sequel (or prequel) doesn’t have even the loosest of release windows at this point.

And I can hear you protesting. “But Julian,” you’re saying, “there was a remaster of Beyond Good & Evil already.” And you’re correct. But that came out in 2011, more than a decade ago. That’s two full gaming generations in the past at this point, and modern hardware could really make this thing shine.

Freedom Fighters

Freedom Fighters

I am currently attempting a replay of the original Freedom Fighters, although instead of playing it on a PS2 (as I did when it came out), this time I’m playing it on PC. And to be honest, given the gulf between that older console and my gaming rig, the PC version already feels like a remaster by default. But to see this game remade with modern sensibilities would be absolutely incredible.

A lot of people forget about Freedom Fighters — or perhaps they never knew it existed in the first place. And there’s a reason for that: This is one of the only other games IO Interactive cranked out within its long resume of Hitman titles, other than two Kane and Lynch games and Mini Ninjas (which were all solid games in their own rights). And since it’s a mostly forgotten game that came out way back in 2003, there are plenty of people that might not have even owned — let alone played — a game on a PS2 or GameCube at this point.

Man, am I that old?

I.Q.: Intelligent Qube

Ah, Intelligent Qube, a PSOne classic. I think this might be the only game from that generation that I would highly recommend that doesn’t have Tony Hawk in the title.

Intelligent Qube is a deceptively simple-seeming puzzle game that can become quite maddening the more you play. Basically, you are a tiny man-like figure on a various floating platforms separated into equal-sized square-shaped grid patterns. At the start of each round, a rolling block of cubes makes its way from one end to the other, slowly forcing you closer and closer to a bottomless pit. In order to survive, you must destroy certain blocks while avoiding others, using a deletion technique that can be coupled with multiplier cubes (which can also trigger deletions).

There was a spiritual successor for the PSP called PQ: Practical Intelligence Quotient that made use more of spatial puzzles rather than the cube-and-grid-based puzzles of I.Q. Although fun and challenging, it didn’t quite recapture the magic of that first game. There was also a sequel called I.Q. Remix+: Intelligent Qube, but it honestly wasn’t great.

And if you ask me, that means a remake is long, long overdue.

Manhunt

Manhunt

One of Rockstar Games’ most controversial releases, Manhunt is still a shocking trip down Brutal Lane. But while it would be easy to write it off as shock schlock, Manhunt had a lot of interesting ideas and some truly unique elements, all while asking the player exactly how much violence was too much violence for them.

Sure, there were some issues with the gameplay and pacing, but those could be easily remedied just by implementing some modern game-design. touches. Then again, seeing Manhunt presented with Red Dead Redemption 2 levels of realism might be too much, even for the most hardened gaming enthusiasts. I would suggest a more stylized art style that strayed a bit from realism, very much mirroring the original’s approach to design.

I would love a remake of this, but I’d settle for a simple remaster.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher’s Bay

nicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher’s Bay

The granddaddy of games starring Vin Diesel, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher’s Bay does exactly what the title promises: it chronicles Richard Riddick’s fabled escape from Butcher’s Bay supermax prison.

The movie Pitch Black served as a back-door introduction to the Riddick character, but the character was expanded upon in the 2004 movie The Chronicles of Riddick. The Butcher’s Bay game was a way to keep the Riddick hype train rolling.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher’s Bay was a first-person game for the original Xbox, and it starred the likeness and voice of Vin Diesel. In it, you were tasked with all manner of jobs that edged you closer to realizing your plan for escape. This setup also allowed you to interact with a menagerie of other characters whom you could do smaller jobs for, though these were mostly just standalone side quests.

Butcher’s Bay was included with the sequel game, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, where it was originally slated to be a remake of the original title, though it pretty much just ended up being a simple remaster — but a good one, in my opinion. This puts it in a weird spot on this list, since it technically already was remastered (much like Beyond Good & Evil). But I’d argue that a full-on modern remake could see it in better shape than the originals while also making it available for modern players. Then again, who knows what licensing hurdles stand in the way of this one?

I would love a remake, but would settle for a remaster of the remaster. In fact, I wouldn’t say no to the original remaster landing on modern digital storefronts.

Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu’s Dororo

In my book, Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu’s Dororo is one of the best third-person hack-‘n-slash titles of its generation. I only happened upon this gem because back then, GameStop stores were actually places you could comfortably spend time browsing while striking up conversation with the clerks. In doing so, you could discover games that might otherwise go unnoticed, like B-caliber games that now are buried amongst the dreck on digital storefronts. 

Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu’s Dororo is based on the long-running Dororo manga series, which was created by Tezuka Osamu. I have not read the manga at all, and I wasn’t at all familiar with any of this backstory when I originally bought the game. But really, it made no difference, because the game is frickin’ amazing. It completely stands on its own. 

The basic premise (covered in a more recent live-action movie), is that 48 fiends each steal a body part from a baby named Hyakkimaru, who is raised by a dude that basically builds him new versions of as many of those missing parts that he can so the boy can continue to live and ultimately seek vengeance. And so, as you find and kill a fiend, you get a part of your body back, which in some cases can boost your HP or add other game-changing effects. For example, the game starts out in black and white, but when you get your eyes back, it suddenly turns to full-color.

It’s a really cool sword-and-gun-based action title with some unique and grotesque enemy designs. There is a power gauge mechanic that allows you to fill up a meter through combat that, once triggered, prompts a minigame that requires you to input random button configurations in order to dole out a ton of damage — if you can complete the sequence without error, that damage can be massive.

In case you couldn’t tell, this is the one entry on this list I would sacrifice all the others for. If you still have a PS2, Blood Will Tell is worth seeking out, although the price has skyrocketed in recent years and it could set you back a few hundred bucks.

And that means we really need to see a remake, or even just a presence on modern digital storefronts.

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Charles
Charles
5 months ago

Umm… how about Condemned?

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