Let’s face it; over the never-ending stretches of time from your gaming birth to right now, there have been many games that have been cast into the shadows that you may or may not have heard of from various websites or friends. To call them niche games would be a bit too out of place for these kinds of games weren’t readily available to everyone whether its because of localization problems or lack of interest, so a more appropriate term like "forgotten game" sounds a bit more suitable. With the DS and the PSP being the forefront of what should be termed "classic gaming rebirth", with titles like Front Mission, Castlevania Dracula X, and Final Fantasy (again) receiving a remake with lovely new features, there are just some games out there wandering in the silence waiting to come out and get the recognition they should have deserved. For all we know, that may just happen. It seems now-a-days that many developers are walking along the "remake" path looking to make an easy bang for their buck. Examples of this include Capcom’s beautiful upgrade ports of Mega Man X and Mega Man along with Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Ultimate Ghosts’n’Goblins; and considering how current gen console cost a lot to develop for, with little exception of the Nintendo Wii, what beter way to ring in cash than to resort to remakes!
Besides, it’d be nice if such classics were remade/upgraded. For most of us who grew up with gaming since its down, whether that be in the 70s, 80s, or early 90s, nostalgia is nice every now and then. Onward!
Terranigma [Tenchi Souzou in Japan]
Publisher: Enix [JPN], Nintendo [EU]
Released: 10/20/1995 [JPN], 12/19/1996 [EU]
Some of you may not be familiar with Terranigma while some of you may have already played the game via its official European release or by special means; but for many of those who’ve played Terranigma, this game alone holds a very special place in their hearts. Considered to be the finale in what fans have dubbed the "Soul trilogy", with Soul Blazer being the first game and Illusion of Gaia being the second game, Terranigma tells the epic tale of a boy named Ark who sets out to revitalize the outside world after opening a door within his hometown of Crysta that was never meant to be opened in the first place. The idea of revitalizing the outside world sounds a bit odd, but in every since its Biblical of what Noah was asked to do. Terranigma’s gameplay was highly similar to that of Illusion of Gaia where players could perform attacks dependent on whether Ark is running, walking, or jumping, and the game always kept a constant top-down view of the world. When walking on the main map, the map would appear in spherical form, alluding to the spherical shape of Earth.
Everything about Terranigma wreaks of supreme spirituality and philosophy, and its no wonder that a game like this holds a special place in many fan’s hearts. Of course should Enix, now Square-Enix, decide to bring this game back from the grave, perhaps they can grace us with enhanced remakes of Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia, all released on one UMD or DS cartrdige. Wouldn’t that be nice? If Castlevania: Dracula X can receive a nice PSP upgrade featuring its original PC-Engine (better known as Castlevania: Rondo of Blood) version and a straight port of Symphony of the Night with a much more coherent translation, why not do the same with Terranigma? Square-Enix can call it "The Soul Trilogy".
Radical Dreamers: Le Trésor Interdit (The Forbidden Treasure)
Publisher and Developer: Squaresoft
Released: 6/1/1996 via Satellaview add-on for Super Famicom
With the success of Hotel Dusk and the Phoenix Wright games, text-based adventure games seem to be an interesting genre to explore on the DS which provides complete user manipulation. One game that would be absolutely perfect for the DS and a must play for fans of the Chrono series would be the one title that never made it to the Western world at all yet did through special means; Radical Dreamers. Better known as the gap between Chrono Trigger and Cross Chross yet later revealed as taking place in a different reality in a Chrono Cross easter egg, Radical Dreamers tells the same tale Chrono Cross does with various exceptions. Serge, who has his own voice and is the narrator of the story, Kid, and Gil set out to Viper Manor to retrieve the Frozen Flame, an artifact capable of granting its user any wish. Along the way, they encounter monsters and learn a little more about the manor in detail until they finally confront Lynx, the same villain in Chrono Cross.The game’s use of text-based decisions is what adds to the novel feel of Radical Dreamers, and the music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda helps set the mood for every area the trio enters.
If Square-Enix does things in the same vein as Hotel Dusk and Phoenix Wright, Radical Dreamers could turn out to be one of the best text-based adventure games ever assuming everything from the original is maintained and character models are shown when characters are speaking to each other. Playing Radical Dreamers will help anyone confused about Chrono Cross better understand Chrono Cross and the connections the game shares with Chrono Trigger. Since Chrono Cross is not a true sequel to Chrono Trigger, but a stand alone entry in the Chrono series, it’s no wonder why many people disregarded Chrono Cross. With Masato Kato’s sudden return to Square-Enix as evidenced by his work as scenario writer on Seiken Densetsu 4 (aka Dawn of Mana in the USA) and Children of Mana, there may be some hope to bringing back this classic Satellaview game. As far as a true sequel is concerned; remember that though the U.S. trademark for Chrono Break was taken down a while back, the Japanese trademark for Chrono Break is still around…that sequel may seem some fruition. For now, though, let’s give avid Chrono fans, the ones who love the mysticism of the series a lot, the missing link in the Chrono series, Square-Enix.
Released: 7/19/1996 [JPN]
At the time, RPGs were very well known for their traditional turn-based gameplay. If any JRPGs should be considered as the progintors of the action RPG genre, they should be Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean, both released on the Super Famicom and the only two Super Famicom RPGs that contained 48 Megabites of compressed data, full of in-game voice taunts and exclamations. While Tales of Phantasia has received the remake treatment plenty of times (PSOne, GBA, and most recently PSP remakes) with new enhancements and an addition to the final battle, Star Ocean is the only RPG from back then that has not received such an acclaimed remake. Star Ocean’s gameplay is very similar to that of Star Ocean: The Second Story with the exception that everything takes place on a linear plane, much similar to Tales of Phantasia but with more freedom. Players could only take control of Ratix Farrance, the game’s main character, while all three other characters were A.I. controlled. The game’s story revolves around the spreading of a disease that turns people to stone as is evidenced by such events happening on Ratix’ home planet, Roak. The game, much like some RPGs of today, allows the player to let the story unfold based on Ratix’ associates with particular characters and what not. It would be nice if tri-Ace and Square-Enix brought this classic RPG back from the grave with a nice PSP port featuring new visuals, enhanced gameplay mechanics, animated/CG cinematics, the works really.
What other games can you think of that deserve a remake? Look forward to Pt. 2 :)