Last year Activision released the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy to tremendous success and now, based on critical reception at least, they’re looking to do a repeat of that with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. It felt in many ways that the video game industry had moved beyond the likes of Crash and Spyro – even their respective developers would abandon them in the PlayStation 2 era – but the way players have been embracing Activision’s recent collections show that there’s a large market who want nothing more than to relive the games that put a huge smile on their face once upon a time with a modern visual overhaul.
Here’s a list of ten other franchises that could benefit from the HD Remaster treatment.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile for the original PlayStation was beloved by critics and those who played it, but it’s not the most well-known classic from the PlayStation era though it would get at least one sequel and several handheld spin-offs. Door to Phantomile would get a remake for the Wii, but that system was one where most games not developed by Nintendo were sent to die. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a beautiful, 2.5-D side-scroller that is a joy to play and has a story that will bring you to tears. Klonoa’s first adventure, along with its direct sequel would make for a great package to be reimagined for a new generation of players, provided it arrived on the correct platform.
9) MYSTICAL NINJA STARRING GOEMON
While the Nintendo 64 faithful were waiting patiently for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Konami offered them Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon in 1997 to make the wait that much easier. While nowhere near as polished as Nintendo’s beloved series, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon on the N64 was a game very much in that style – you even got a hookshot equivalent – where you explored towns and sought out dungeons that needed to be navigated. Where Mystical Ninja stands out from the Zelda series is in its use of humor: don’t expect Link to pilot a giant robot that has dreams of being an actor complete with their own intro theme.
Mystical Ninja is a game that was a little too weird for its time that would perhaps work better now given that anime and Japanese culture is far less niche than it was in the late 90’s. Its sequel, Goemon’s Great Adventure which was less a Zelda game and more a return to the series 2-D roots on the SNES would make a great companion piece to go along with it as both were largely ignored when they were new.
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory was released on the PlayStation 2, but it very much is a game that has its roots in first generation 3-D titles like Crash and Spyro. You’re placed in a series of hub worlds that serve as access points to the levels you have to complete, and when you complete them, you then have to challenge the boss of that area. Designed as a 3-D answer to Capcom’s Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, Maximo and its only sequel, Maximo vs. Army of Zin, were very challenging games but unlike Arthur’s adventures in the arcade, they’re never unfair, and with enough practice, you can see both games to their conclusion and you’ll very much want to.
Both Maximo games have tight controls, a wonderful soundtrack and a horror theme but filtered through a stylish, cartoon lens. Ghosts to Glory was an early hit in the PS2 era, eventually joining the Greatest Hits line of games, however its sequel fared far worse and we never got a third adventure starring Maximo. Capcom has remastered other titles from the sixth generation of consoles, and the Maximo adventures should be up there with the series they should revisit again.
7) SONIC ADVENTURE
Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog series has gone through its ups and downs since leaving the Sega Genesis, but an undeniable success for the long running franchise was last year’s Sonic Mania. Developed by fans intimate with Sonic, Mania was a game that managed to recapture the feeling people had when playing as Sonic for the first time in the 16-bit era by revisiting some of the franchise’s most iconic stages. Now that Sega has put Sonic’s 2-D future back on track, it’s time to do the same with 3-D and what better way than by revisiting the sub-series that started it off for better or for worse: Sonic Adventure.
Sonic Adventure was a hit on the Sega Dreamcast, but it and its sequel are far from games that have aged well. By reimagining the series, Sega could look back on their early take on Sonic in 3-D and somewhat smooth out the rough patches of the Adventure titles as best they can with new visuals, a script and much better voice work. Sonic Adventure sold well and has since been re-released on numerous other machines and if a remake was handled right, Sega could have a Crash and Spyro level hit on their hands.
6) MEGA MAN LEGENDS
The ambition of Capcom’s Mega Man Legends games was much greater than the humble hardware they were developed for. In a way, Legends did cel-shaded visuals before they become popular in the generation that would come after it, and because of its unique look in the way its characters, enemies and world is designed, it’s a series of games from the original PlayStation that have aged better than a lot of other games on the console.
It’s easy to envision all of the Mega Man Legends games with the modern day design sensibilities that Activision’s studios have done with both their Crash and Spyro trilogies and also with a modernized control scheme. Mega Man Legends deserves far better than it ever got, and it’s hard to imagine a simple rerelease showing players who have never experienced it before how special it is, which is why a remake would be the perfect way to revitalize the series in a way that it would finally see a conclusion.
5) APE ESCAPE
When people think 3-D platformers on the original PlayStation, their minds tend to think about Crash and Spyro, but one of the most innovative games in the genre on the system that is beginning to be forgotten is Ape Escape. In Ape Escape you’re tasked with recapturing apes that have gained enhanced intelligence and are wreaking havoc across time. Ape Escape’s biggest innovation for its time was how it used the then new Dualshock controller, mainly, its second analog stick.
The various tools you used to recapture the escaped primates were used on the second analog stick like having to use a net. Because of its reliance on the second analog stick, Ape Escape has never really saw a re-release as it couldn’t be played or transferred to the PSP. A remake of Ape Escape was built for the PSP, however it never controlled as elegantly because of its lack of a second analog input. Ape Escape was once an important PlayStation franchise, and it could be once again if remade for current machines in the same way that MediEvil will be next year.
4) NEVERSOFT’S SPIDER-MAN
Marvel and Sony have become pretty close partners this year following the release of Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man, and what better way to keep the momentum going until the inevitable sequel than with a re-imaging of the 3-D Spider-Man game that started it all. Years before Spider-Man 2 (2004) and long before Rocksteady’s Arkham series, Neversoft’s Spider-Man was the game that showed how to do comic book games right in 3-D. Due to licensing issues – Activision once held the exclusive rights to Spider-Man – Spider-Man (2000) has never been, or probably never will be, rereleased, and a way to celebrate its importance in both Marvel and Spider-Man’s video game legacy would be to remake it, along with its not as well regarded but still enjoyable sequel, Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro.
Though clearly not as advanced as what you would play now, Spider-Man (2000) has all great ingredients of a great Spider-Man game from a true to the source material story, terrific voice work, a diverse cast of villains and plenty of costumes to unlock. What hasn’t aged as well are some of its systems, mainly its non-existent camera controls and boring combat. Such things could be fixed in a ground-up remake and given the desire for superhero content in today’s climate, there’s no doubt this project wouldn’t be a success.
3) DONKEY KONG COUNTRY
On the SNES, Rare’s Donkey Kong Country games once impressed because of their graphics that were built on the same computers that were used to make the special effects of Terminator 2. Things are much different now, and visually, the Donkey Kong Country trilogy has not aged gracefully. The more recent Donkey Kong Country games developed by Retro Studios: Donkey Kong Country Returns and the wonderful Tropical Freeze have a visual identity that matches what Rare was trying to do in the mid-‘90’-s.
If Nintendo were to take the classic Donkey Kong Country games and marry them with Retro’s engine to sell the trilogy in one package, it would not only be a best-seller for sure, but it would also give Rare’s original games a longer lasting legacy. Those games still control well and are fun to play, but don’t even measure up to Super Mario World in terms of how well their visuals hold up. Nintendo has not been shy about giving games a second life on the Switch, so why not remake one of the most popular trilogies in their catalog?
2) SLY 2: BAND OF THIEVES
One of the best games on the PlayStation 4 was a remake of the original Ratchet and Clank. It was mostly the same as the first game in the series, but with a colorful art-style that leapt off the screen and offered enough new to keep even fans that had played the original to death engaged. Another PS2 era game that Sony should give this treatment to is the brilliant Sly 2: Band of Thieves.
The first game in the Sly Cooper franchise was a very good game, but it was in its first sequel that the series really found its stride. The debut title in the franchise played out level by level, however the sequel leaned far more into the thief theme and did so wonderfully. You’re given open-world playgrounds to explore as either Sly Cooper or his partners Murry and Bentley where the goal is to complete missions that essentially are gathering intel for a heist. Once all missions are complete, your team then executes on their plan, and while you’re playing as a cartoon raccoon, you get the same feeling as watching the final minutes of a great heist film. Sly 2 was already a very attractive game, using the cel-shading technique to great effect in its visuals, and that could only get better on a console like the PlayStation 4.
Microsoft has been fighting an uphill battle this generation, and in the past few years they’ve managed to make the Xbox brand incredibly attractive again after a rough launch. What Microsoft needs is exclusive titles, and while their new teams are busy making them, a remake of 1998’s Banjo-Kazooie built with today’s visuals could not only fill out their first part line up, but also show them that a proper Banjo-Kazooie 3 would be worth investing in.
Like it is with Crash and Spyro, players who played Banjo-Kazooie when they were young have a lot of nostalgia for it. After seeing how Vicarious Visions and Toys for Bob built upon the worlds created by Naughty Dog and Insomniac, someone at Microsoft has to think that a largely untouched Banjo-Kazooie remake – or compilation with Banjo-Tooie – would be a huge money maker for them. Players are hungry for a new Banjo-Kazooie title, as seen by the Kickstarter success of Yooka-Laylee, and this would be a good way to win over fans trust and even sell some Xbox consoles. As evidenced by Killer Instinct and the announcement of a new Battletoads, Rare seems to be fine with others working on their IP, so if they don’t have the resources to remake Banjo-Kazooie, I’m sure Microsoft will find a team that could.
Are there any classic franchises you would like to see get the Crash and Spyro trilogy treatment? Feel that some games should be higher or left alone? Let us know on social media!