Reanimating the Dead: Fanboi Goes Retro
AVAST!! Monkey Island pirates in action. Image courtesy of www.complex.com
By Miles Bennette-Eaton, PQ Monthly
Sorry my lovely readers, no walking dead here; just four grand old games video games from days past that, given a bit of a facelift, could liven up our gaming future. Games today aren't what they used to be. Those of us that grew up playing games all remember the first time we sent Mario off to battle the evil Bowser and save the princess; or racing a speedy blue hedgehog across several levels of platforming bliss. Next generation consoles have started looking to the past in order to reap extra sales, breathing life back into some otherwise long dead titles like the Monkey Island series. So for your perusing pleasure I've compiled a little list of somewhat ancient games that this lowly blogger believes deserves a little rebirthing action.
It's the year 1990 and LucasArts (then known as Lucas Film Games) releases a grand fantasy adventure titled Loom. Players don the role of Bobbin Threadbare, a shunned member of the Guild of Weavers who reside on the island of Loom; named for the giant loom with which they weave â€œpatterns of influence into the very fabric of reality.â€ Wow fabric of reality, that's deep. It's Bobbin's 17thÂ birthday and a mysterious swan decides to visit the island. This swan turns out to be quite dastardly however and rampages through the island turning all the weavers into swans themselves. The flock all fly off leaving poor old Bobbin, still human, all by his lonesome. So rather than prancing around in his underwear a-la Tom Cruise, he gets down to business and sets off on a risky quest to follow the flock and find out just what the flock is going on here!
The gameplay in Loom was simple puzzle solving consisting of following around a little black cygnet and using your magical â€œdistaffâ€ to cast spells. Though somewhat dated now, back in its heyday Loom was actually pretty fantastic. No hacking or slashing, but the brainteasers were enough to keep all of us gamers occupied. Mr. Threadbare & Co. could use a bit of a facelift though, and it would be invigorating to once again traverse the realms of Loom, only this time with some newfangled graphics.
While LucasArts was busy with Loom, the Japanese company SNK was delivering arguably one to the greatest NES games ever. Set in a post-apocalyptic world on the verge of destruction, players take control of a nameless warrior awakened from a cryogenic sleep. While journeying to find out who you are, eventually you realize you just may be the key to the world's salvation. And no, this isn't a bad Mel Gibson movieâ€”Ryan Gosling would be so much better anyway.
Crystalis played more like a fast paced action game, but with elements of an RPG, such as gaining levels and upgrading your equipment. It also had an incredibly deep and enveloping story line involving a quest to gather elemental swords to defeat an evil warlord. I can only imagine what Crystalis could look and feel like now with modern graphics and the fantastic storytelling so prominent in games of today. Should SNK ever decided to bring back this much loved title, Final Fantasy's Square-Enix may want to prepare themselves for the possibility they may not keep that RPG corner on the market they've prized for so long.
Final Fantasy VI
Speaking of Final Fantasy, let's talk about what, in my opinion, is one of the greatest RPG epics ever created! Now many claim that title belongs to the pervasive FFVII, but I argue that FFVIâ€”released in the US as FFIII-- beats it out hands down.
FFVI may not have had the spiffy graphics its rival #7 had due to its release on Playstation 1, but it did push the boundaries of the Super Nintendo. A lush world populated by emotionally charged characters-- 14 of which were permanently playable-- made for one spectacular game. Each character had their own detailed background and a deep-rooted reason for despising the evil empire that served as the game's main antagonistic source. With their combined hatred our heroes set out to bring an end to corporate warmongering! Okay no corporate warmongering, but they did beat up that nasty empire. Stupid empire! All FFVI needs is a bit of Fenix Down, a fresh coat of modern-day-graphics-paint and it would be well on it's way to reasserting itself as a Super-RPG; complete with super-breath and heat vision! Not meant for children under 5 as it contains small parts, which may be swallowed. Then we can all be well on our way to some much needed Chocobo riding! So come on Square-Enix, succumb to the peer-pressure! You know you want to.
[Hey Jimmy, is that a stick of dynamite in your pocketâ€¦? Image courtesy of retro4ever.com] Last and certainly not least is the beloved Double Dragon! I mean do I even need to say anything? This series was, for lack of a better word, RADICAL! So radical in fact it spawned action figures, a cartoon series and even an awesomely-bad movie starring Scott Wolf as Billyâ€”the main protagonist. That's right I said Scott Wolf. Go ahead and judge me.
Hey Jimmy, is that a stick of dynamite in your pocketâ€¦? Image courtesy of retro4ever.com
Imagine tromping around a city, donned in blue leather, dolling out some pain to an army of bad-80s-thugs while you journey to save your kidnapped girlfriend from your maniacal red-leather clad brother, Jimmy. Okay maybe a bit of a costume update is in order, but still. There are plenty of Abobos and Lindas that need a good old fashioned pummeling, Billy style! I mean if Ninja Gaiden can do it, so can Double Dragon. And let's be reasonable here, Ryu Hayabusa's got nothing on Scott Wolf. So that's it, my short list of dead titles that desperately need a reboot. Who knows, perhaps if we all band together our combined voices will form to become the almighty Voltron! Or just bring back some of those games we so loved. So speak out, and let's hear what some of your favorite oldies might be.
Oh yeah, check out that titillating Scott Wolf action. Image courtesy of www.film.com
Miles Bennette-Eaton has been playing video games since one fateful day in kindergarten when his best friend threw a Nintendo controller at his head. Miles is a student at Portland State University pursuing the dream of one day founding a fabulous game developer of his very own.