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Ten Franchises That Deserve A Revival

by Dan Ryckert on Jun 30, 2010 at 06:30 AM

To the surprise of many, Nintendo’s E3 press conference catered to the hardcore gamer demographic arguably moreso than Sony or Microsoft. While the HD big dogs were busy courting the casual market that Nintendo already has locked down, Miyamoto & Co. showed off several titles that reminded the jaded gaming press why they love the industry in the first place.

Zelda was no big surprise...everyone knew that a new Wii installment was coming, and it’s a series that never really dropped off anyone’s radar. However, the company later revealed a rapid-fire assortment of upcoming titles that reminded everyone not only of beloved characters, but also classic gameplay. Donkey Kong Country Returns looks like a gorgeous new entry in the wildly popular SNES sidescrolling series. Kirby’s Epic Yarn gives everyone’s favorite puff ball an entirely new visual style while still maintaining its addictive 2D gameplay. Pit’s return may not resemble the 2D gameplay of the original NES title, but Kid Icarus Returns had no trouble hitting the right nostalgia strings.

Considering the praise Nintendo has been receiving coming out of E3, it only makes sense that they (and third-party developers) keep up with this tradition of giving adult gamers more of what they loved as kids, while simultaneously introducing a new generation to the gameplay traditions that us older gamers know and love. It’s not just Nintendo, either...Mortal Kombat and Twisted Metal are both hugely successful series from the 90s that made waves with their E3 appearances. Take a look at our picks for other classic games that deserve a modern day revival:

Star Fox
A real Star Fox, mind you. Sure, you may have heard names like Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox Assault in the last decade, but they weren't the genuine article. In the opinion of many gamers, there have only been two "real" titles in the series: the original SNES title, and Star Fox 64. They represented what the series was all about - flying around in your sweet Arwing and shooting thousands of lasers at anything and everything you saw (unless it happened to be Falco, because he'd be a huge jerk about it). For some reason, Nintendo decided to abandon what made the series great by releasing several games were flight was a minor part of the game or barely present at all. We want a full-on Star Fox game, with almost exclusively Arwing-based levels. They can throw in a tank section or two, though...that train level in 64 was pretty sweet.

Road Rash
Why this series hasn't seen a new installment in the last ten years is a mystery. Racing games are well and good, but they'd clearly benefit from some more drive-by chain whippings. Road Rash featured high-speed motorcycle races in which contestants utilized baseball bats, chains, and even their bare knuckles in an effort to see the checkered flag first. It's a concept that was awesome in the 90s, and would still be awesome now.

When the Playstation 2 launched back in October of 2000, it didn't have many killer apps. Huge titles from big-name franchises like Gran Turismo, Twisted Metal, and Metal Gear Solid wouldn't be coming out until the next year, so the launch lineup was sparse. However, SSX stood out from the pack, delivering silky-smooth snowboarding gameplay in a stunning visual package. As solid as the original was, it was topped by its first two sequels (SSX Tricky and SSX3). The fourth entry in the series wasn't met with quite as much enthusiasm, but that's not stopping us from hoping for a current-gen return for the former king of the mountain.


Not seen since the mid-90s, Battletoads and its co-op friendly gameplay would be a fantastic candidate for an XBLA or PSN reboot. With downloadable titles like Castle Crashers seeing huge sales numbers, the adventures of these three unfortunately-named reptiles would be an almost certain success. The NES original looked fantastic given its 8-bit limitations, but imagine how great the series' cartoonish attacks and ridiculous animations would look in a true HD sequel. Just spare us the tunnel races.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Long before Dead Rising put ridiculous weapons to use against hordes of the undead, Zombies Ate My Neighbors armed you with silverware and soda can grenades. Like Battletoads, this 16-bit title benefited greatly from its humorous and quirky co-op gameplay. A full-on 3D sequel may not be the best idea (see Monster Madness: Battle For Suburbia), but it would be right at home on XBLA or PSN.

While there have been several games in recent years that bear the name Metroid, they've never been in the spirit of the original titles. Outside of 2002's Fusion and 2004's Zero Mission (a remake), the series has eschewed its 2D roots in favor of the first-person Prime series. Those games are fantastic, but it would still be a welcome return if the series introduced a new 2D installment. Last year's Shadow Complex proved that the gameplay style of Super Metroid still holds up, and it was met with critical praise and solid sales numbers. The upcoming Metroid: Other M may include segments reminiscent of the old titles, but we'd love to see a new Metroid that's all 2D, all the time.

2005's Stranger's Wrath was the last game to feature the Oddworld name. It received positive critical reaction, but its new protagonist and mixture of first- and third-person gameplay made it feel disconnected from the rest of the series. Both Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus were puzzle-based sidescrollers on the PSone, and we haven't seen a similar Oddworld title since. We'd welcome Abe (and his assortment of bodily noises) with open arms if he came back as we once knew him.

This series has already featured one delayed sequel (Strider 2 in 1999), and we'd love to see another. Imagine the sidescrolling insanity of the Metal Slug series, but replace grizzled soldiers with a badass ninja. That's Strider, and it's awesome. But of course, the above image of him taking on a robot gorilla already told you that.

Final Fight

A younger generation of gamers may recognize Guy and Cody from their inclusion in Super Street Fighter IV, but their earlier exploits featured them in the spotlight rather than being basic roster additions. Along with their way-too-buff-to-be-a-mayor buddy Haggar, they casually strode down the mean streets of Metro City, beating the holy hell out of any barrel that looked at them crooked. In addition, there were gangsters, hookers, dudes in wheelchairs, and Andre the Giant, but mostly barrels. It's one of many sidescrolling beat-em-ups we'd love to see return, but it's also one of the best.

Mutant League Football
If Mutant League Football wasn't an EA game, odds are good that we'd have seen a revival by now. After all, third parties were scrambling to think of ways to make football games ever since Madden became the only NFL game in town. All Pro Football and Blitz: The League didn't really catch on, and Backbreaker hasn't exactly been making waves. Mutant League Football is a no-brainer for a remake, given its insane arcade gameplay, violent traps (fire pits, land mines, exploding balls), and wicked sense of humor. Unfortunately, third parties don't currently have access to revive this potential hit thanks to EA holding onto the rights. As sad as it is, it doesn't look like we'll be murdering quarterbacks anytime in the near future.