Racing into the past
Vintage modes are an increasingly prevalent fixture in modern sports games. F1 2013 is getting classic races and cars of the '80s and '90s, complete with retro TV filters. FIFA has long-since had classic teams. NHL '14 is even getting a NHL '04 anniversary mode, harking back to the style and gameplay of the 20-year-old 16-bit game.
So we got wondering why it should be only sports games. Why can't other genres get antiquated historical modes too? Our answer? There is no reason. So we started working out how to reverse-engineer the tropes and gameplay of a few of our favourite shooters, fighters and action games using aged tech and game rules. Here's what we came up with.
How it works: It's pretty much the same as Halo is now, except that all sci-fi weaponry is outlawed and all jet packs and jump pads are replaced with conveniently placed trampolines. Oh, and shields don't recharge, mainly because you don't have any. Armour is thicker to compensate, meaning that those (specially reinforced) trampolines are a must if you want to get anywhere fast.
Metal Gear Solid
How it works: With the inner-ear codec a technological impossibility, Snake is forced to carry around a 1940s field radio back pack at all times. That won't at all help his stealthing abilities, but let's face it, what use was the codec anyway? Its ability to mask the sound of incoming transmissions was surely completely undermined the instant Snake opened his mouth to reply. Not only would every guard in earshot hear him, they'd probably deem him a standard-issue bus station schizophrenic, wittering on to himself about AIs and the philosophy of war all day. It's better this way, all things considered.
How it works: With no high-powered military technology with which to force back the tides of Hell, Doom Guy has to repel evil the old fashioned way. With a bible, some rosary beads, and the awesome power of prayer.
How it works: With matter-warping, geometry-troubling portal technology a distant dream, Chell just gets a great big drill.
How it works: Queensberry rules all the way, and you can only pick Dudley. With the world's various martial arts all thus far undiscovered, you have to fight the only way the Empire knew how: Fists, moustaches, bare knuckles and a whole lot of that awkwardly camp, raised-forearm posing.
How it works: The karts are replaced with Penny Farthings. In true Nintendo fashion, you now have to accelerate by holding a Wii remote in each hand and pumping as if cycling. Given the unwieldy nature of the bicycle, the controllers' gyroscopes also enforce strictly balanced poise at all times. You get a turbo start if you actually manage to get on the thing without falling over. And you betcha there's a hilarious minigame for that. A really, really long, hilarious minigame.
How it works: With no sci-fi technology available, the Gravity Gun is switched out for a slingshot. You can still fire pretty much any object you can find, but if you want to use anything bigger than a basketball as ammunition, you need to enlist Gordon's skills as a physicist and build an impromptu trebuchet, operating around authentically calculated Havok Physics principles.
How it works: Instead of modern military firepower, helicopters and laser scopes, vintage-mode Battlefield takes a refreshing step into the past, demanding that the player use only the authentic weapon and vehicle-set provided by World War II. It will probably be set some time around 1942 or 1943.
Oh hang on a minute...
Any more retro remakes?
So those are our suggestions. How about yours? Any ideas of how to retrofit existing games with retro gameplay? Let us know.
And while you're here, why not check out some of our similar stuff? Try The Top 7 Retro modes and cheats we want to see return (opens in new tab) and If old-school game heroes invaded current-gen games (opens in new tab).