Classic PlayStation franchises that deserve a comeback

An earlier version of this article was posted on this website in 2012.

If only...

There's a good chance that many of you reading this have yet to turn 20 years old. And you know what that means? You're younger than PlayStation. As of December 3rd, 2014 (hey, that's today!), Sony's PlayStation brand has been around for two decades, which is pretty incredible to think about. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Sony even unveiled a sleek new grey PS4 modeled after the original PS1's humble color scheme.

Seeing that juxtaposition of old and new in one console hit us with a tidal wave of nostalgia - a barrage of fond PlayStation memories flashing by like some kind of psychedelic Willy Wonka river tunnel. And even though we're happily enjoying the best PS4 games, there's now 20 years' worth of PlayStation franchises that are in dire need of a comeback. This isn't just a list of the best PSX games, either - we legitimately think that these classic series might stand a chance in the modern market. Well, most of them, anyway - but dammit, don't deny us our wildest dreams. Hey Sony: bring these games back for PS4 (or heck, even PS Vita), please!

Parasite Eve

There was a time when Square saw fit to make a body horror-themed action game set in New York City - and despite having almost nothing in common with the developer's fantasy-centric pedigree, Parasite Eve ended up being completely awesome. Aya Brea may not get the same mainstream recognition as Samus Aran or Lara Croft, but she's a stellar female protagonist, staying cool under extreme pressure where male leads would fear to tread. And hell, the series even aces the Bechdel Test, seeing as the badass villain Eve is constantly elucidating the ins and outs of horrific mutations before her bouts with Aya.

Despite a strong debut and two sequels, time seems to have forgotten Aya's modern-day adventures, and that's a damn shame. Given how slick Final Fantasy 15 is looking with its near-future setting, Square Enix should have no problem switching gears back to Parasite Eve. And can you imagine how gloriously gross those giant rat transformations and fetus-looking monsters would look on the PS4? We'd never be happier to have our stomachs turn inside out.

Dark Cloud

Level-5 has become one of the biggest developers around thanks to hits like Professor Layton, but the company earned many of its first fans as a contractor dev for Sony. The companys first full title was Dark Cloud, a Zelda-style adventure that was one of the earliest games of note for the PS2. Its cartoony graphics stood out, as did a clever weapon-leveling system and world-building mechanic, all of which gained a devoted collection of fans.

Those qualities only improved in to the PS2 sequel Dark Cloud 2 (a.k.a. Dark Chronicle), but then the series ended abruptly. Level-5 likely became too high-profile for a game the size of Dark Cloud, but its Sonys series, so they can continue it without Level-5 on the PS4. You could even hand it to the SCE Japan team. They could make something as good as Ico or at least something better than Knack.

Ape Escape

There was a time where Ape Escape was one of the biggest PlayStation brands due to its wonderful use of the then-new DualShock controller. Time hasnt been kind to the series, though, and while it had a few neat sequels, the most recent iterations of the monkey-chasing series have been poor minigame compilations and random spinoffs.

Now is the time for Ape Escape to come back and to live up to its full potential. Let the new-gen release be for the PS4's unique mix of inputs what the original was for the first DualShock. Though some releases have shown proper usage of each of the new system's features, were yet to see one that uses them all together without it feeling like a series of gimmicks. What better series to finally do it right than Ape Escape?

Tomba!

Before egg-stealing pigs became the villains of Angry Birds, they were running around causing trouble in Tomba! and its sequel, Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return. With crazy pink hair and tattered, green shorts, protagonist Tomba marched around his island home, defeating the pigs and saving his people. Though it's likely youll eventually be able to download Tomba to play on the PS4, getting a full, new release in the series would obviously be preferred.

It has been over ten years since a new Tomba game was seen - probably, in part, due to the closure of its developer after Tomba 2s release. Most of the people that worked on that game ended up going over to Access Games who, besides developing the criminally underappreciated Deadly Premonition, has also released a fair share of PSP and, more recently, Vita games. Are they close enough with Sony to rekindle this series for next-gen?

PaRappa the Rapper

The games industry is in desperate need of Chop Chop Master Onions sagacious guidance. The only rhythm games to successfully make rapping fun, the PaRappa series was like the videogame embodiment of positive, carefree '80s hip-hop. Looking like a Saturday morning cartoon and playing like a musical Simon Says, PaRappas world and its lovable denizens have been dearly missed since they last appeared on the PS2 back in 2002.

Given the success of tap-in-time-to-the-beat games like Rhythm Heaven, a PS4 version of PaRappas rhyme-spitting antics should make ample use of the touchscreen. Better yet, the controller's touchpad could mimic the finger-swiping motions of Elite Beat Agents or Theatrhythm Final Fantasy - if those relatively obscure games can make it, then theres no doubt PaRappas cult following would flock to an original PSN download for a new jam session. Remember: you gotta believe!

Dino Crisis

What the? A beloved, cult-classic Capcom franchise that seemingly died a horrible death!? Controlling with the same lovably-clunky maneuvering as Resident Evil, Dino Crisis female lead Regina was awesome as the star of gaming's only survival panic franchise. This Special Forces agent would be capable of clearing out Jurassic Park single-handedly, thanks to her familiarity with being stalked by vicious raptors and a gigantic Tyrannosaurus (who was much like RE3s nigh-unkillable Nemesis). Nobody remembers 2003s Dino Crisis 3, because much like Jason Vorhees, some survival horror elements just dont work in outer space.

With next-gen's flashy graphics and a focus on sound design (since we just spent all that money upgrading our sound system), a new Dino Crisis could make dinosaurs legitimately scary again. Better yet, Regina could switch her stance to mimic the intense behind-the-shoulder gunplay of RE4. Jeez, the more we think about it, the more depressed we are that this game will probably never happen. Prove us wrong, Capcom.

Bushido Blade

It might look like the poor mans Soulcalibur, but Bushido Blade and its 1998 sequel had heart. Though this one-on-one fighting game had similar weapon-centric duels to SC, there was something that made it entirely unique in the world of fighters: the total lack of a health bar. Sword swipes actually worked like real life - get stabbed in the wrong spot, and youre simply dead. Matches could be tense, lengthy standoffs or over in the blink of an eye, and the stages were ridiculously huge (by PSOne standards) if you were playing in story mode. Let us not speak of the less-than-stellar follow-ups like Kabuki Warriors and Kengo.

Bushido Blade was always best enjoyed when playing with friends, and a PS4 remake would have to take that into account. Perhaps some hectic - but still honorable - 4+ player combat could be implemented over PSN. Or, even better, an open world system where you customize your character and weapon before venturing into an online countryside, filled with player-controlled ronin looking to get their duel on. Get on it, Square Enix!

Jak and Daxter

No matter your stance on Jaks transformation from mute hero to goatee-sporting vagabond, theres no denying that the Jak and Daxter series was the source of some of the PS2s best platforming adventures. The colorful world, tight controls, and pleasantly-placed challenges combined the exciting exploration of Mario 64 with the offbeat cartoon flair of Naughty Dogs Crash Bandicoot. Its a wonder, then, that the pairing hasnt made the jump to modern consoles; the last time we saw this duo in an original game was 2009s barely-noticeable Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier.

Wed like to see the series resurface on PS4, with a tone akin to the first game. Open world games arent the cats pajamas anymore, putting more emphasis on focused, reflex-testing platform jumping would be much preferred to the faux-badass styling of Jak IIs GTA 4 Kidz setting. With the right approach and accessibility in a PS4 title, Jak and Daxter could regain the same renown as their console cousins Ratchet & Clank.

Jet Moto

Besides leaked art from a cancelled rebirth on the PlayStation 2, not much has been said about the Jet Moto series since Jet Moto 3 was released in 1999. This product placement-heavy early-generation racing dropped players onto the seats of futuristic hoverbikes which made use of magnetic grapples to zip around the otherwise unnavigable corners of the games levels. It was unorthodox to say the least, but provided plenty of fun to PlayStation owners in the late 90s, helping them cope with their systems lack of a Wave Race game.

The PS4 would allow for the Jet Moto series to come back in full force, going after both the niche crowd with fond memories of the series and gamers anxious for new titles. Magnetic grappling could be tied to the controller's touchpad to allow for more accuracy, and the analog sticks (remember, the original PlayStation didnt have them at first) would make a PS4 Jet Moto the most precise Jet Moto yet.