Posted by: Dalibor Dimovski | October 31, 2008

Top 10 Retro Sequels We’d Love to See

I, like many a gamer lately, have fallen in love with the retro revivals taking place.  Megaman 9.  Space Invaders Extreme.  Pac-Man CE.  Bionic Commando Rearmed.  Heck, even new downloadable games on XBLA, PSN, and WiiWare are using retro-themed gameplay mechanics and graphic cues to feed off of the epidemic.   The pixel-perfect jumps, 16×16 blocks conveying full emotion, and palette-swaps were all what made these games special.

With that in mind, I’ve plowed together a list of 10 game franchises that need retro revivals and sequels, utilizing these old-school cues in various ways.  The list is comprised of several games that I grew up playing, loving, and cherishing.  Suggestions were also made from my visitors to MakLink.

With that brief introduction, let’s have a go.

#10 (The Real) Mortal Kombat 4

Yes, yes, I know there was already an MK 4.  However that’s also when the series went 3D on us.  The first 3 games had some kind of incredible charm that was based in its mostly horrible green-screen graphics.  Even Johnny Cage’s silly eyeglass portrait was acceptable.  The few frames of motion and buckets of blood were all it took to entice lines upon lines of stacked quarters to magically appear from morning to close in all arcades.  Knowing Mortal Kombat II’s finishing moves made you a superstar.  Knowing that there were Bablities made you a hero.  And knowing how to count frames (and the seconds in between) made you a legend.  The modern MK games are pretty, but they’ll never be gloriously stop-motion.

Read on for the rest!

#9 Donkey Kong (3?  Jr 2?  CE?)

With the resurgence in popularity of Donkey Kong, thanks to the epic “King of Kong” film, and the return of Pac Man, Space Invaders, and Galaga, the “pre”-8bit games of the early 80s have become the norm to remake.  Why, then, hasn’t Nintendo remade the original DK?  The Donkey Kong Country games were fun, but were not DONKEY KONG.  Barrels, ladders, platforms and ropes:  these are the only ingredients needed to make a successful DK game.  A modern sequel should employ the same principle that PacMan: CE was based on: don’t mess with the gameplay, just add a dynamic mechanic to the game and a fresh layer of paint (but not too much).  Possibly a multiplayer option, with one player as Mario Jumpman and the other as DK, hurling endless barrels past a barely legible princess.

#8 Kung Fu

Kumg Fu was probably one of the first real action games early gamers played.  Run left, run right, punch, kick.   Guys throw knives at you with awkward animations.  And, that’s pretty much it.  Although the genre has survived, most action games now utilize fancy 3D engines (Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden Black) to do the same thing that this game did with two buttons and a little elbow grease.  I would love to see this game get minimal graphic update treatment, with leaderboards and “endless waves of zombie ninjas” skill levels thrown in.

#7 Super Mario Bros 4

I loved every Mario game growing up… When each one was released, it was an epic event.  To this day, I still remember my mind being blown when I watched “The Wizard” and it’s pseudo-debut of Super Mario 3.  Even Super Mario World was a fantastic, atmospheric game.  Since then, Nintendo has all but forgotten its Mario roots.  Now, New Super Mario Bros is an incredible game, but it doesn’t have that same feeling.  SMB was all about the perfect jumps, the multitude of secrets, the “incredible” graphics for an 8-bit system, and the ability to get groups of friends together to tackle levels.  Remember handing the gamepad around when you died or completed a level?  Remember beating SMB 3 about four hundred times each summer for 4 years?  That’s what makes a great Mario game.  So, with a legit 4th Mario game done up in 8-bit style that feeling can come back:  New Mario suits.  Level warps.  Secrets to getting endless 1UPs.  And of course, the hated Hammer Bros.

#6 Final Fantasy VII – 16-Bit

Everyone cries for an updated FF7 game for the PS3 or 360.  However, Final Fantasy saw some of its greatest adventures on the 16-bit screen.  Personally, a game as epic as FF7 with FFVI-era graphics would be a real treat.  The story-telling in many moder RPGs tends to take a back seat to graphic presentation.  Remaking this game might actually make the story more cohesive.  (Image from the abandoned 8-Bit fan remake)

#5 Crystalis 2

Crystalis was one of those games of the NES days that was nearly perfect.  A Zelda clone with sci-fi overtones, built into a forward-thinking RPG.  The game received a remake on the GB Color, but a true sequel is yet to be born.  And come to think of it: 16 bits is all this game would need to be an incredible and deep RPG.

#4 King’s Quest 9

Back in the 80s, there was one king (no pun intended) of adventure games:  Sierra.  Their flagship title, King’s Quest, spun 7 sequels… Each progressively worse.  Arguably, the first 3 games in the series received great reception from the critics, and it wasn’t until the move to better graphics processors that the series began to fall apart.  So much so, that Sierra has all but killed it off.  Now, there are countless fan remakes of King’s Quest (and Space Quest, Guest for Glory, and Police Quest) games but nothing that is canon or captures the naivety of the original trilogy.  While Sierra drips to death (thanks to the merger of Activision and Vivendi) only one thing can make the pain go away:  King’s Quest 9.  And if there is ever a time for a great game to break new ground, it could be KQ9… especially if released on its perfect platform:  the iPhone.

#3 Sonic The Hedgehog 4

This one should be a no-brainer.  Sonic the Hedgehog fans (are there any, really?) have been craving a TRUE Sonic sequel.  Face it: the 3D Sonic games have been (for the most part) completely horrible.  They never manage to capture the speed of the original games, and are now populated with a cast of unlikeable characters.  The upcoming “Sonic Unleashed” has potential, with a few pseudo 2D/3D levels, but is already getting some fans riled up.  A new 2D Sonic game with upped graphics would be a blast (processor) to play.  There is currently a fan remake of Sonic 2 in HD being made, which could whet our appetite for a real SEGA sequel.  Image courtesy Alchemist Defined.

#2 Legend of Zelda: Adventure of Link 2

This was the Zelda that everyone forgot: a side-scrolling RPG with an overworld full of dungeons, towns, and magic spells.  Zelda II created a departure from the first game, that was never repeated.  The closest thing to a sequel would be to play the single-player Super Smash Bros Brawl campaign’s side-scrolling levels with Link.  A nice, high-def version (well, maybe just a “nice-def” version since the Wii can’t do HD) would be a blast to play, especially if it had the high quality of animation found in the recently released Wario Land: Shake It.  The Legend of Zelda badly needs a fresh approach, and perhaps going to the past as inspiration could be the answer.

#1 Super Smash Brothers Retro

Super Smash Bros for the various Nintendo systems does a great job of giving fan service to us.  The recent Brawl even added two non-Nintendo characters, Sonic & Snake.  Fans instantly began clambering for more character additions, such as Mega Man or Simon Belmont.  Now, imagine taking all those characters in their original 8-bit/16-bit formats and dropping them into a 2D fighting arena, with retro sounds in tow.  This would make for a great special reward on the same disk as the next Smash Bros, or perhaps as a downloadable, where characters can be added weekly/monthly via DLC.

Fans would have heart attacks, rioting in the streets would ensue, and dogs and cats would live together, get married, get divorced, and appear on Talk Soup.

Come on, Nintendo…  if Capcom can do it with MM9, you can surely do it with Super Smash Bros Retro!

Honorable Mentions

I thought I would list a few more that didn’t quite make the top ten, but would be welcome additions to the gaming line-up.

  • Baseball Stars (and even Base Wars, the all-robot version)
  • Maniac Mansion
  • River City Ransom
  • Super Metroid 2
  • Final Fantasy IV – 2 (more than just episodic cell phone games, dammit!)

Did I miss one?  Feel free to list in the comments.



  1. Super Smash Bros Retro would make a great Flash game. Someone should get on that 😀

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