Blast from the past
In the case of video game heroes, you don't need to teach an old dog new tricks. As games have become ever more emotional and realistic, we can't help feeling that their protagonists have become a tad watered down. It's not that there's' anything wrong with the new guys. Far from it. It's just that the heroes of the '80s and '90s had a certain more 'direct' approach to getting things done.
That in mind, we got to thinking about how the game heroes of old would handle the various nuanced challenges of modern video games. Turns out they'd do quite well. Very well, in fact. Well, most of them, anyway.
Aero the Acrobat
Should appear in... Batman: Arkham City
Anything a Batman can do, an actual Bat can do better. Aero can run, jump, glide, dive attack, dive attack upwards, and unlike Batman, his wings are never going to fray after a long night's busting heads. In the original SNES and Mega Drive game, his mission objectives even included diving through mid-air hoops and smashing up arbitrary bits of the environment.
Consider the facts that his throwing stars are nothing if not proto-batarangs, he fights circus-themed enemies, and that he has an annoying, animal-named sidekick in the form of Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel and it's quite clear that the Arkham games are just one big rip-off of Aero's 1993 adventure.
Bill and Lance from Contra
Should appear in... Gears of War
The original Contra co-op gunbros would be a perfect fit for Gears of War. Okay, their starring appearance would bring the player cap back down to two, half of that of the recent games, but that's just as well. Even down on numbers, the appearance of Bill and Lance would make things horribly unfair on the Locust.
The simple fact is that fighting the COG has just not prepared the Grubs for these guys. Where the worst Marcus and crew could inflict was mid-range machine gun fire, slow-loading sniper shots, and the occasional burst of the Hammer of Dawn (when allowed to by the plot), Bill and Lance are a much more intimidating prospect. They can destroy an entire battlefield in seconds using the almighty Spread Gun. They've never hidden behind cover in their lives, despite going up against tougher odds than those of E-Day on a constant basis. Instead of waiting for a targeting satellite to align, their personal nukes mean they can take down a Berserker just by running up and hugging it. And who needs regenerating health when you have the Konami code?
Should appear in... Dead Space
Tactical dismemberment is a half-arsed solution compared to non-tactical evaporation of everything in the room into a fine red mist. Why shoot off a leg when you obliterate everything at the same time? And screw looking for power nodes to unlock treasure-filled rooms. Just keep pressing the action button along the walls and you'll find your way in no time.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Should appear in... Limbo
Giant spiders and physics puzzles are no hindrance when you can move at supersonic speeds. Also, few platforming protagonists are as well versed in dealing with cheap environmental hazards as Sonic. And those instant-death water traps later on would be no challenge at all as long as he could find a bubble in time. Pocket full of bubble wrap upon setting out, mission as good as completed. Job's a gud 'un.
Ryu Hayabua (NES version)
Should appear in... Modern, 3D Ninja Gaiden
Because there's no simpler way of evading enemy attacks and blending seamlessly into the shadows than actually being two dimensional.
Tyris Flare from Golden Axe
Should appear in... Skyrim
This one is a no-brainer. Tyris is a hardy warrior-type, equally skilled with blade or magic. Okay, so her skimpy '90s 'armour' might prove an issue in the snowy climes of Skyrim, but the region is no stranger to heroes in ridiculously inappropriate clothing. The main point though, is that those dragons would be a pushover for Ms. Flare.
You see being the fire-magic user of Golden Axe's roster, her top-level spell allows her to summon an actual dragon of her own to lay waste to all, via the magical medium of skin-melting halitosis. Forget Fus Ro Dah. As long as she has enough potions in tow she can just kick back and beat up a few dwarves for loot while her own scaly wingman does the work.
Bubsy the Bobcat
Should appear in... Hotline Miami
Okay, he'd be crap. We'll admit it. He's here for no other reason than that he already has an animal head and we want to see him busted against a wall until his entrails come out. After 21 years, he's still that annoying.
So that's our analysis of how the heroes of yesteryear would handle gaming in the modern climate. But are there any more you'd like to see party through current gaming like it's 1989? Let us know.
And while you're here, check out some of our related content. Try 2012: The year intelligent old-school gaming struck back and then maybe have a look at Video game characters' school report cards.