14 forgotten franchises we want back

Jumping Flash!

Why we want it back: Yes, this series comes from a time when 3D console gaming was still finding its legs, but bear with us kids, Jumping Flash still has something special to share with you. Remember how much you dug Super Mario Galaxy? Now imagine doing all of that inventive craziness in first-person, playing as a robot rabbit capable of hopping to stratospheric heights untold! Affection runs strong for the proud few early PlayStation adopters who reveled in the dizzying bliss of this puzzley POV platformer and its high time Robbit was promoted from launch-era obscurity and bottle rocketed back into the here and now.

Above: You’re looking down… those white things are you feet 

Sure, the original games are a little slow by today’s standards, but if Mirror’s Edge showed us anything it’s that there are a jillion other aspects of interactivity to experience in first-person beyond just firing an automatic weapon. Besides, some of us are tired of jogging through corridors on dystopian space colonies and war torn battlefields. Why does every FPAnything have to be so goddamned “gritty” anyway?

How we’d like to see it return: We can already see Sonic (Colors) getting the gist of what Mario’s known all along. You don’t need to bother contextualize varying levels with well designed enemies because it frees developers from having to do anything other than design inspired, colorful environments packed with non linear challenges people will remember forever.

A minor resurgence, maybe, but we haven’t really seen it pulled off with HD in mind. Not only is PSN a no-brainer, Sony practically owes it to Jumping Flash for moving its first console when the name “PlayStation” meant zilch.

Mutant League

Why we want it back: Because we miss hyper-violent sports games, especially those with goblins, aliens and multicolored skeletons running the plays instead of Drafty McRoster Update. Mutant League Football came from EA, so the underlying running and passing game was on par with Madden of the day, just contained in a bloody, humorously gritty wrapper. This concept is a fuggin’ gold mine, yet somehow ran dry after just football and hockey.

Above: But they promised us basketball! 

Above: C’mon! You know they’re going to tear shit up! 

How we’d like to see it return: Use the guts of Madden 12 to build a viciously violent Mutant League Football sequel, complete with team name and player in-jokes and murderous audibles. The more ridiculous the act (ref killing, tossing dynamite, arming the ball with a bomb etc) the better, and crank the gore up to “Stupid.” If done right, EA could have another franchise to milk – but we’d hope they’d let it breathe instead of condemning it to annual releases. We love the idea, but don’t need it every single year.

The Lost Vikings

Why we want it back: Action/puzzle titles scratch a very particular kind of itch. You get the satisfaction of killing bad guys along with completing mind-bending riddles, so there’s literally something for everyone. Games like Braid, Limbo and Portal have brought the style back big time, so we’d love to see Blizzard revive its trio of specially powered Vikings for another round of puzzles. The first game was brilliantly devious while retaining a sense of humor about how ridiculous the entire scenario was, plus had some of the best SNES music of its time. More please.

Above: Apparently it’s impossible to find a video of The Lost Vikings gameplay without someone babbling over it like an idiot. Instead, here’s The Cars’ hit single “Who’s Gonna Drive You Home”

How we’d like to see it return: The whole bit was each Viking had a special role – Erik could jump and break walls with his helmet, Baleog could attack with arrows and a sword, and Olaf could defend and float with his giant shield. So, make the new game three player co-op and drop us into a series of increasingly challenging puzzle rooms that require constant teamwork. Obviously we’d need a single-player option as well, as this concept works just as well alone. Maybe the primary game would be solo, with special multiplayer dungeons added as well? Blizzard keeps referencing these guys in WoW and Starcraft, so it clearly hasn’t forgotten them – just ignored, which is kinda worse.

What about you? What long-lost series would you love to see return with a current-gen makeover? Let us know in the comments!

Sep 24, 2010

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  • Dabenguin - September 24, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    Hehe Battletoads
  • db1331 - September 24, 2010 7:32 p.m.

    Wow. I can't even tell you how many hours I spent playing so many of these games. Battletoads, Strider, Shinobi, Mutant League Hockey, and mainly Wizards and Warriors. Any remakes or reboots of those games would have my immediate attention. I would also be more than happy to play a new Aero the Acrobat or James Pond.
  • Wazzle - September 24, 2010 7:33 p.m.

    It seems all of my favorite old school games are on this list. I played the dicks out of pretty much all of these and would kill for a new one of any of them. Hurrrhhh Durrrrhhh toof poosie.
  • Tygerclaws - September 24, 2010 7:34 p.m.

    More Soul Reaver? A return to actual storytelling in games? Yes, please.
  • Triplzer0 - September 24, 2010 7:38 p.m.

    Yes please make an awesome Star Wars space sim. Battlefront II kinda did it, but I felt like it was missing something.
  • PanzerDSS - September 24, 2010 7:38 p.m.

    I was going to go apeshit if Panzer Dragoon wasn't on here. I think the ultimate lesson is: SEGA has no one making decisions or programming there anymore. They can't port, they can't develop, they can barely even keep up. They'd be better off being sold to a company who knows how to sell video games. It pains me to write that, but they are just so terrible at everything now.
  • Moondoggie1157 - September 24, 2010 7:55 p.m.

    I agree Panzer... I have always been a lover of sega, but lately they have been nothing but an embarrassment.
  • Clovin64 - September 24, 2010 8:08 p.m.

    Killer Instinct? That was my first beat em up ever! I think I was about 6 at the time. Riptor was my favourite because I loved dinosaurs when I was a wee lad. I would love a fully fledged remake for Soul Reaver on the PS3/360, and that opening movie still gives me chills. Also, Raziel is the sexiest man in games. Raziel FTW. Also, where the hell is Dino Crisis? Stick it on this list!
  • OriginalJonty - September 24, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    Excellent List. How about some Medievil?
  • garnsr - September 24, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    I always liked the NES Strider best. It was a cool action/adventure sort of game, like Bionic Commando or Simon's Quest, with a cool sword called a cypher. Good stuff.
  • GwaR - September 24, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    RC PRO AM! Whoa, this whole sentence = RPM, Rock n’ Roll Racing, Super Off-Road, Micro Machines. I loved them all and had all but forgotten about all of them until this article. I can't believe no one has done a modern update of these classics. They were universally fun and the best ones were tightly balanced. They even allowed upgrades to your ride -perfect template for a modern update. Nice job GR! Also, I'll second Colony Wars and Tie Fighter, or any space combat game with a plot. They all seemed to die out in the 90s, which is shame when you think what they could do with a Freespace or a Wing Commander now. Lastly, I'd point out that Trine is kind of a spiritual successor to Lost Vikings. Trine is more combat-y and isn't nearly as hard, but it's the same kind of idea. Just saying...
  • GwaR - September 24, 2010 8:12 p.m.

    Also, add Dungeon Keeper to the list. I haven't seen another game like it since Evil Genius -which was largely overlooked.
  • TheCaptainAwesome - September 24, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    BETRAYAL, where is my beloved Conker if I may ask?
  • xXxBLACKHALOxXx - September 24, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    RC Pro Am Rocked So Did Battletoads I Remember When It Was Battletoads and Double Dragon For The SNES lol
  • db1331 - September 24, 2010 8:25 p.m.

    Let me add that I would also love a new Pirates of Dark Water game.
  • FoxdenRacing - September 24, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    I'm disappointed that a few others didn't make the list: Starseige Tribes ---------------- The granddaddy of class-based FPS, the multiplayer-only Tribes was a bit barebones [3 classes, and 3 loadouts for each, and 3 vehicles] even for its day, but the sheer number of tactical options it provided made it a simplistic masterpiece. To lay traps and sensors, or use living scouts? Load up an assault vehicle or spread out? Tribes kept the then-everywhere rocket jumping via its disc launcher and added in a second must-know movement tactic: skiiing. Using only a jetpack and the jump button, slide down one hillside, jet up another, and rocket into the sky motocross style...up one hill, down the next; a good skier could keep pace with vehicles, making the perfect escort. How I'd like to see it: A full-on sequel that takes advantage of modern hardware. 32-man rooms, a half-dozen vehicles with unique purposes, add in the multitude of options of Tribes 2 or even Tribes 1's Havok mod, keep the exaggerated weapons, and keep the gore to a minimum; it could provide the springboard to create 'Classic FPS' as its own genre. Screw realism! Descent or Descent: Freespace ----------------------------- A game not for the faint of heart or slow of reflexes, the world of Descent had a simple premise: a computer virus drives mining robots to violence, and only a tiny space-fighter could fit in the narrow caverns to take them down. What it did was redefine freedom of movement in FPS games, combining the rotation of a fighter jet with the linear movement of an FPS; players could move or rotate on any axis: forward/back, up/down, strafe left/right, as well as yaw, pitch, roll...and did I mention a nitro-style boost? It also introduced the world to tri-chording...the difficult movement technique of sliding on a diagonal, boosting, and moving upwards to greatly increase one's speed, from the days before all movement was normalized to 100%. Combine the best Ace Combat and any FPS have to offer, double the awesome, and that's Descent. Descent Freespace: Taking the technology (and movement mechanics) of Descent into the realm of open-air space battles, Freespace threw Descent players into the unfamiliar realm of wide-open space battles; and boy did it have a sense of scale. Players ran fighters, bombers, interceptors, and 'utility' craft against one another, and occasionally against bigger fish, all while non-military targets scrambled for cover and capital ships tens of miles long blasted each other from the stars. Crafty players would use not only the flak cannons but also the massive plasma beams shot from capship to capship to destroy pursuers, and crazy bomber pilots would ride the beam to line up a shot against the plasma cannons themselves, dropping bombs right down the barrel. Players did this all while managing shield distribution and energy balance...offensive power, defensive power, or booster strength could all be boosted at the expense of the others. How I'd like to see them: Full on modern updates. Keep the classic weapons, maybe add one or two new ones for 'interesting' factor. Introduce an F-Zero GX style shipbuilder in addition to classic machines, all with custom loadouts and Chromehounds-style custom camo. Otherwise, leave the respective formulas (frantic, high-speed, close-quarters dogfights and equally frantic massive space battles that'd make George Lucas have p**is envy) alone. F-Zero Visited more recently than the others, F-Zero pushed the limits of human reaction times...and that was to survive on easy. A brutally difficult game through and through with insanely fast frame rates, vertigo-inducing labyrinthine tracks, boosters that weakened the car with each use, and narrow spaces...all while 30-40 machines fought over the top some it was more frustrating than Ninja Gaiden II [modern, not classic]. To others, it was old-school arcade-style racing heaven. How I'd like to see it remade: A straight-up sequel to F-Zero GX. Any FPS in Quake/Unreal Tournament's vein: ------------------------------------ Bring back a rocket-jumping, health-and-armor grabbing, dozen-weapon game where there was no 'good' and 'bad' weapon, only 'right time' and 'wrong time' to use them, and see just how long today's foul-mouthed, tea-bagging, squeaky-voiced, spoiled-on-realism kids last against an entire generation of gamers that still have the skills, but nowhere to use 'em. The entire car combat genre: ---------------------------- Twisted Metal is nice, but tries far too hard to be dark; the fun-vs-grit ratio hit the perfect balance with TM2. Bring back the days where blowing cars apart was fun (or funny), not brutal. The entire beat-em-up / hack'n'slash genre: ------------------------------------------- DMC1 was awesome, and Dead Rising was massive, but we really haven't had a good-all-around, multiplayer-having one since Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. There's so much potential there!
  • yagirlfriendsfavoriterapper - September 24, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Streets of Rage HD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nuff said.
  • Dreddie - September 24, 2010 8:49 p.m.

    I would go nuts over a next chapter in Soul Reaver. I was so addicted to that story.
  • Montag - September 24, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    Interstate 76 How many games had a poetry button?
  • Redeater - September 24, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    I was SO dissapointed with Strider for the NES. For some reason I had it in my head that Strider and Willow would be exactly like their arcade versions with slightly worse graphics. A new Battletoads game would be fun. Maybe on xbla WITHOUT those terrible racing levels.

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