If Only These Games Existed... - ADAMMWOOLLEY Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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If Only These Games Existed...

Brace yourselves; I'm hiking my plaid pants back up to my chest. When I was a young lad (see, I told you), videogames were not the norm in my house. Even when I finally got a console that I was allowed to play on for more than a few minutes at the tender age of 6, I didn't exactly get to go to GameStop, Best Buy, or Amazon.com to check out the latest and greatest games because they didn't exist. My parents certainly weren't going to stay on top of the games released in those days, so I was a victim of circumstance when it came to what I played. My son on the other hand has an avid gamer (heck, I'm writing a gamer blog on GIO for crying out loud) for a father, and there is no shortage of places and websites to check out a massive assortment of games and related forms of entertainment.

This topic is one I've given some thought to in the past, but it wasn't until my son recently finished watching BeyBlade (perhaps you've heard of it) and then proceeded to play the videogame with the same name on my (basically his since he hogs it all the time) 3DS. Looking back on my childhood, I can remember finishing my cartoons and then playing with my action figures (don't worry, he has plenty of toys related to his cartoons as well), but I never got to play a videogame based on my favorite shows. Granted, some of these shows saw a release of a game or two, but never one that I got to play. And judging from the reviews of these games, I'm better off not having played them anyway. This, however, is very unsatisfying nonetheless.

Every generation believes their childhood entertainment was the best. My generation just happens to know it for a fact. If my son gets to have an assortment of games based on licenses of his favorite shows and characters, why is it that I don't have a collection of awesome games representing my childhood? This is an egregious oversight on the part of videogame developers and publishers. I'll save the think tanks at these companies the trouble, and tell them exactly what a golden opportunity they're missing out on. I want to bring my generation to this one. You won't find the shows that have seen several re-releases and remakes, as they have been beaten to death. With that said, here are the 5 games that should be made based off cartoon shows from the 80's (and not the more modern rip-offs) and the teams that should make it happen.

M.A.S.K. (1985-86)

What it offers: M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand [easy spelling Nazis]) is a taskforce with seemingly ordinary vehicles that can change into more sophisticated assault vehicles of both aerial and ground combat types, and they fight an evil criminal syndicate named V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem) that use super powered masks to cause strife in the world. Without a "big picture" goal such as world domination or destruction, the possibilities are endless with the types and amounts of missions that V.E.N.O.M. can entangle you in.

Make it happen: Let's see, we need someone who has a wealth of experience with open world games dealing with criminal organizations with a variety of missions. I don't know if you're thinking what I'm thinking, but my best fit would be Rockstar. With their success in working with the GTA series, I cannot possibly think of a better team to tackle a game as ambitious as this one would be. Incorporating vehicular combat is one thing, but making vehicles that can change from one type to another work well takes some serious "street cred." Rockstar definitely has it in spades, and I believe this game would be right up their alley. I had also considered Pandemic Studios (think Battlefront's use of ground and vehicular combat), but the lack of a title under their belt that had a heavy dose of open world game play with a variety of mission types gives me cause to believe that Rockstar would do a superior job.

Centurions (1986)

What it offers: What doesn't it offer?  Agents who have their own Exoframe Armor, an orbiting base of operations called Sky Vault, custom weapon systems that are beamed down from said base that attach to their Exoframes, and hordes of enemy "Doom Drones" led by the aptly named cyborgs Doc Terror and Hacker. When you consider all this, the fact that this cartoon never got the videogame treatment is mind blowing to me. The fact that this game would offer three playable characters with their own unique weapons systems is pretty awesome in and of itself, but the real gem of this game would be the possibility of 3 player co-op story mode. Multiplayer would be a blast, and the sky would be the limit as far as weapons systems and upgrades that could be earned as you rank up. In addition, the show also incorporated land, air, and sea battles. That diverse set of terrain would really up the ante on the amount of maps that could be used, as well as change up the strategies needed to be victorious in battle in all modes. Now that's "Power Xtreme!"

Make it happen: I think 343 Industries or Bungie would be the perfect fit. I know folks would balk at the Microsoft exclusivity that comes with 343 Industries, but these two studios were without a doubt the first to pop in my mind for one reason: their work on the Halo franchise. If I had a preference, it would be 343, but I wouldn't pass up a Centurions game made by Bungie. In fact, it would be a day one special edition purchase for me. This would be a perfect first person shooter, and either of these studios would be a great fit for what could be one of the best FPS games of the next generation of consoles. Tell me this is a bad idea. I dare you.

Spiral Zone (1987)

What it offers: This was an amazing cartoon, and sadly very short lived. A mad scientist (Dr. Brent) drops Zone Generators all over the world that produces a dark, mind controlling cloud turning the people trapped in these spiral shaped zones into an army of zombie like slaves. Only a diverse team of soldiers called Zone Riders with special Zone Bacteria resistant suits could enter the zones in order to try and destroy the Zone Generators and free the world from the control of the Overlord, Dr. Brent. There's a great variety of "stage boss" type villains in the Black Widows, who are Dr. Brent's henchmen/woman and can enter the zones due to the antidote they take. A tank with a giant laser cannon, smaller tanks operated by the Black Widows, and sweet armored motorcycles could also add some vehicular mayhem to the mix.

Make it happen: There is one team that I think could pull this off the way I would like to see it done. The dark theme of the show and animation style lends itself perfectly to this studio's strong suit. Platinum Games, you're it. Hear me out. If any of you has ever played Mad World, you know exactly what I'm talking about. For those that haven't, this team did an amazing job portraying a futuristic dystopia, and the art style and over-the-top game play would be an absolute match made in heaven for this license.  A little dark humor mixed in to the very serious tones of the original series would be refreshing addition, and Platinum Games has shown the ability to execute this with the precision of a skilled surgeon. The third-person camera angle would work very well for this type of combat style and setting as well.

ThunderCats (1985-89)

What it offers: Humanoid cats of varying species fighting an evil mummy (Mumm-Ra) and his band of not-so-merry mutants to help keep Third Earth (according to the back-story, our Earth in the future) safe and out of the clutches of Mumm-Ra, who tries to steal the Eye of Thundera from Lion-O's Sword of Omens. The ThunderCats boasts a great cast of characters, an awesome lair, weapons unique to each cat, and an array of amusing enemies to do battle with. There's a much deeper back-story to the show that is rarely visited in the cartoon that could be heavily expanded upon in a game. And let's not forget the fact that you get to hear one of the great battle cries in an 80's cartoon: "ThunderCats... ThunderCats... ThunderCats HO!!!"

Make it happen: I know this studio has rubbed some of you the wrong way fairly recently, but I can't help but think this would be the best fit. Bethesda does really great work in creating open-world experiences, as well as providing a healthy dose of optional back-story telling within their games. The Elder Scroll series has a wealth of interesting historical information floating around the game, and honestly some of the most impressive environments and musical accompaniment. Expanding upon exactly how Third Earth came to be and delving into Mumm-Ra's rise to power would make this fan's experience all the better, and it would even be pretty sweet to have "flashback" segments that allow you to experience certain events that shaped Third Earth. Although you wouldn't be able to customize your character in the vein of TES games, having a variety of characters to choose from with the ability to switch characters at the Cat's Lair could actually work to break up any monotony  that a gamer might feel after taking control of one character type for too long.

He-Man (1983-85)

What it offers: Are...you...kidding me? This show was my most favorite in the entire universe when I was a kid. Narcissism runs deep in children, and the fact that the main character and I shared the same first name was all I needed to go bananas over this cartoon. Then you throw in the fact that Prince Adam had a broadsword that magically turned him into the hulking barbarian He-Man and his normally cowardly tiger Cringer into the ferocious Battle Cat, and what more do you need? A sweet lair you say? Boom, Castle Grey Skull has you covered. You need an assorted cast of characters with different abilities? The show has a cast of characters with personalities and abilities too numerous to list in this blog. Does it have evil denizens that wish to do the people of Eternia (the fictional planet in the show) harm? Well, there's this evil warrior with no flesh on his head named Skeletor who has a small army of minions willing to do his bidding. So we have a hulking hero with a battle tiger that he can mount, magic, lazars, castles, dungeons, a dude with nothing but a skull on his shoulders, and more characters than you can shake out of a tree (I used to throw my He-Man action figures in a tree, so I just chuckled when I wrote that) and you have the recipe for a fantastic game.

Make it happen: Oh, if only I could convince BioWare to make a KOTOR/Jade Empire style He-Man RPG. With as many characters that they would have to work with boasting a massive assortment of abilities, combat styles, and weapons, this makes too much sense not to happen. Toss in some mounted battle with He-Man and Battle Cat, and you couldn't keep me from sinking massive amounts of my free time into this game. The fantasy/sci-fi setting of the show and the varying locations that Eternia has to offer would make for an epic gaming experience. But the one feature that would put this game heads and shoulders above the competition and add exponential replay value would be this: choosing either to play on the side of He-Man, or siding with his arch nemesis Skeletor (give me a second, I just blew my own mind). Both sides have plenty of potential for their own lengthy story arcs and missions, and would give gamers the choice of good or evil that BioWare does so well. This would be too good to be true, which is why it's not.

Well, has been a bitter sweet trip down memory lane for me. It was nice to revisit some of my favorite shows from my childhood, but it's a pretty big let-down that these games will never see store shelves (only the poorly done licensed games that are produced in an effort to lure unsuspecting fanboys/girls into wasting money). I've given my two cents on the subject, does anyone else have a different direction they could envision these licenses going? Do you have a favorite show that never got the videogame respect it deserves? Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this. Until next time!

 

 

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