Holy shit, it’s insane to think how old the gaming industry is. If you only look at it from the point of view as from when Atari launched the first real successful console, the Atari 2600, then it is still 46 years ago. But the industry obviously dates back way before Atari was even around. Arguably going back to the 1950s or perhaps the 40s, depending on what source you wish to believe. It gets very complicated and grey the further back it all goes.
However, even if we just look at the games industry since 1977, then it is mind blowing how far things have come. And I don’t mean just the terms of power and what we expect from the games themselves. I’m talking about the companies running the show. While yes, in North America it’s always been a big corporate industry, over here in Europe it began life through bedroom coders and remained mainly that way for a decade. Now it’s several trillion dollar businesses trying to outspend each other in buying as much of the games industry as possible.
If we forget all of that for a moment, there is something else that’s also of importance, and that’s how many big games have seemingly vanished from the scene over the past forty plus years. I would love to see some of these names make a proper come back. I know there’s been some spiritual successors, but some aren’t that great due to a lack of budget or just because, they are crap.
So with this in mind, I thought I’d write this article on some of the franchises I would love to see make a comeback. But not one with micro transactions or loot boxes. And none of that always online bullshit either. Just a solid game with no corporate strings attached to increase the vaults of money their shareholders own.
I first played Road Rash on the Amiga 600, so I didn’t realise at the time it was a Mega Drive port. To be fair, it’s actually a real good port. And nowadays thanks to the Amiga 500 Mini, you can play it with additional ram if you wish to which speeds up the game to something more in line with the Mega Drive or perhaps faster.
The thing is, Road Rash is still a great game. Okay the Mega Drive sequel is better, especially as it has two player. But the foundations are the same. You drive through various terrains on bikes you can upgrade to help beat faster and faster opponents. But while you race you not only have to deal with oncoming traffic, or the obstacles on the side of the road which you can crash into during turns. You can punch and kick the other racers and then can punch back. Sometimes they have a weapon and if you are lucky, you can steal that too. And trust me, if a copper come for you, smacking them with a weapon may just help you.
The 3DO got a full on remake treatment from EA which was then ported to the PS1 which was also just called Road Rash. I dunno if they are, but I assume the track layouts are the same even though the terrains aren’t.
Weirdly however, EA mishandled the 3D sequels of Road Rash once it made jump from the Mega Drive and the series saw ever decreasing reviews and sales until it was eventually dropped. We haven’t seen an official reboot to this day which, when you consider the amount of times EA has tried to give Need For Speed, a Road Rash reboot should be a no brainer. Someone at EA needs to wake up and remember this franchise exists and give it the treatment it deserves.
Another EA franchise that has disappeared after two highly successful entries. Again, I played Syndicate on the Amiga back in the day but I did also have Syndicate Wars on the PS1. I don’t know why EA never pushed for more games, unless it’s because they totally screwed over Bullfrog upon purchasing it.
I know there was a reboot back during the late Xbox 360/PS3 generation, but that was nothing to do with the original games other than using the same name. And guess what? No one bought it. Syndicate isn’t a FPS title. They were top down strategy games. I guess in EA’s world, those genres don’t bring in the mega bucks like FPS does. Although, the reboot failed to manage that so maybe it says more about EA than the genres themselves.
This one is certainly going to only be for a niche audience who are old enough to remember the ZX Spectrum/C64 etc era and from Europe. Dizzy, despite the slow start, became one of the biggest selling franchises during this period. Unfortunately it also suffered from lack of innovation or quality come the 16-bit generation and the last game to release undersold which caused Codemasters to discontinue the series.
Dizzy had other problems, which would have been impossible to address should it have made it as far as the PS1 console. How would Dizzy work in a 3D environment? It wouldn’t. Most games didn’t translate well to the polygon era and unfortunately 2D was seen as dated and obsolete. We know this because Castlevania: Symphony of the Night did so poorly over here, it was pulled from store shelves after a few weeks.
Times have changed however and 2D is now back in a big way. Retro nostalgia is also back and we keep seeing niche franchises make that come back. Zool just got a new title/remake and although utter crap, Putty Squad did a few years back. In fact, remember when Codemasters did a whole new Micro Machines for the PS4/Xbox One? Alright, we did get a new ZX Spectrum Dizzy game from The Oliver Twins recently, but I’d love to see the franchise come back in a big way. That new entry is still trapped on a system that unless you own a ZX Spectrum Next, needs to played on an emulator.
About a decade ago, maybe even longer, The Oliver Twins launched a website with a teaser trailer for a new proposed Dizzy game. The trailer showed Dizzy in a 3D environment. How that would work, I have no idea. It would have hit the same problems that most 2D franchises had making the jump. But it’s probably the nearest we ever got to something tangible for a proper comeback.
A lot of the games in the Goemon franchise never made it to the West, but the one I remember the most was The Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon for the N64. It was a full open 3D world much like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time only this has awesome songs. In fact, that intro song is so catchy, it gets stuck my head every time I hear it.
Unfortunately this was the only 3D game in the franchise as the follow up for the N64 went back to a 2D perspective and the 3D game being developed for the PS2 was cancelled for reasons unknown. Konami hasn’t done anything with this franchise in years and I think a new game would be amazing. Just keep the song from The Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon.
To be fair, Konami haven’t done much with anything of late and when they have, it’s been a total butchered attempt. So perhaps outsource it.