We begin the list with an underdog game, Sword of Vermilion, by Yu Suzuki and his Sega AM2 team. Overly ambitious as ever, Suzuki tried to incorporate various camera angles and interfaces in order for the game to be a fresh graphical and gameplay specimen; he achieved the graphics part fairly well, the gameplay on the other hand, was a dud or at the very least, dud-ish. The game is as mentioned, viewed from different viewpoint, be it top-down (when you are in town), first-person (when you leave town and explore, either the world or a dungeon), side-view isometric (when you are in a random battle) or a traditional RPG side viewpoint, as in the Lunars or Pier Solar (for boss fights and boss fights only). There are inherent problems with each viewpoint, aside from top-down (first-person is hard to navigate and determine where you are going in addition to the dungeons being pitch black, isometric has poor hit detection in battles and the boss battles have you not using magic at all), which can seriously hinder the gameplay of the game as a whole. Sadly, these are the only flaws of the game, as the graphics are beautiful (this was the RPG being pushed in Sega's, "does what Nintendon't," ads), the soundtrack is brilliantly composed by Hiroshi Miyauchi, the cartridge was a 5 meg cart (nothing brilliant in hindsight, though for 1989 it was the biggest around) and even had battery backup!
Why it would be a good candidate for a reboot is due to the ideas and other elements, which, aside from the gameplay are excellent and brilliantly executed, thus some overhauls in order to perfect the gameplay would make this a solid title from top to bottom. Instead of splitting up the viewpoints for each area of gameplay, it would be wise to keep them all in one style; a 3D, behind the player (following camera) viewpoint would be ideal for exploration and a 3D or even isometric viewpoint for battles would be welcome, as these two styles are commonly seen in RPGs from the fifth generation and on. As well, changing the game to a turn-based RPG or a purely action RPG would also mend the problems that exist. While sales of the title would probably not be overly grand (hence its placement at the bottom of this list), there is a good chance that if Sword of Vermilion was modernised on a current-gen console, with updated gameplay controls and interfaces, it would be a great choice for a Sega reboot.
Check Your Spelling! Kind of...: Though any developer can spin things whichever way they choose, the spelling of Vermilion is in fact one of two versions of spelling the word. The alternative spelling, Vermillion, is seemingly used strictly with the naming of certain cities and towns, as all of the "Vermillions," in the United States are spelled as so, while the fictional Pokémon city of Vermilion, is spelled as such (as well, Vermilion is the colour attained from the mineral Cinnabar. Go figure). Gotta love the English language!
I first stumbled upon this little title as "Tranquilizer Gun," a basically identical game that was a secret game in the Dreamcast title, Dynamite Cop. Essentially, the point of Safari Hunting is to walk around, shoot various animals that you see (ranging from snakes to elephants and even lions) and bring them back to your jeep/truck/whatever for points. It is a stupidly simple concept, almost to the point of being arguably the most mundane gameplay mechanic in history, after shooting a weapon in Galaga or Galaxian. It was released in arcades as well, along with the SG-1000, where it was a slightly more popular title, as opposed to its limited run on the much less widespread, fledgling Sega console. The game had an interesting quirk in that your jeep/whatever has a fuel gauge that constantly depletes as time goes on, thus the game only had a finite time limit in order to collect enough animals to progress far enough; let's just call it early videogame era jitters as games had the potential to be extremely buggy at the time.
Safari Hunting is a prime candidate for a reboot however, in that never before has there been a serious African-themed hunting game created before (in today's world, to have a game where you poach animals would be shot down by any developer almost immediately, I am sure, hence the slight changing to a hunting game as opposed to a poaching game). While there have been safari-based titles, such as Sega's own Jambo! Safari for the Arcade (an animal rescue game) or Rhino Studio's Afrika (a photojournalism themed game that takes place in Africa), there has not been a safari-based hunting title. With the popularity of North American-themed hunting games (albeit in North America strictly), I believe that there would be space for a reboot of a hunting game in Africa. Safari Hunting would be a fine choice indeed.
Humble Beginnings: The SG-1000 has actually been home to a few of Sega's first big titles, such as Congo Bongo, Flicky, Yamato, Dragon Wang (known more for the jokes associated with its name than the game itself) and Yuji Naka's first title with Sega, Girl's Garden.
Ehehe!! Back in 1991, a game was released by Sega to smaller fanfare than normal, not due to its gameplay, which was top-notch, but rather due to the fact that it wasn't heavily advertised or pushed; that game was none other than Bonanza Brothers. Starring the titular brothers, Mobo and Robo, the game was spent stealthily moving around, shooting the cops and SWAT team members if you're spotted and collecting the various treasures littered throughout the levels. Along the way, you need to avoid the enemies and use your environment to your advantage, such as ziplines, trampolines and the stairs. The ever-so tricky stairs scattered throughout each level could make or break your playthrough, depending on how quickly you could get to them and thwart enemies that were following you. The game also looked good and sounded great, adding to the fun, albeit goofy tone that the game set out from the words "Press Start."
Why would Bonanza Brothers be a perfect candidate for a reboot? You could redo everything in 3D: instead of the platforming, side-scrolling game the Bonanza Brothers is, it could be redone in the form of a "follow," 3D camera style. Most stealth games or games that heavily use stealth tactics have been made since the dawn of 3D gaming (MGS, of course, Headhunter, etc.) while Bonanza Brothers was made in the early 1990's when 3D was not at its peak. As well, the characters have a ton of, well, character and are very interesting in terms of look and art-style that would translate well to modern gaming. A final reason are the locations where Bonanza Brothers takes place; collecting treasure in a casino, store or private home is one thing, however with the economy acting like a roller coaster in the past twenty years, it would be interesting to see the Mobo and Robo collect treasure in an athlete's home, an oil company's office building or even the White House, again retaining the goofy tone of the original game. There are many possibilities to choose from and Bonanza Brothers fits many of them.
I'm Mobo, who the Hell are you?? I'm Robo, who the Hell are you??: As one of the classic Sega IPs, Mobo and Robo were brought back into the spotlight of sorts, with the release of Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. They are also one of the better vehicles in the game, with a good top speed, a good turbo boost and a super fun+ effective all-star move.
#7: Ristar (GEN)
The game that time has forgotten. Sonic Team's ace up their sleeve was always to release a platforming title to rave reviews, from NiGHTS Into Dreams, to Burning Rangers, to Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg or simply all of the Sonic the Hedgehog titles, platforming was seemingly Sonic Team's forte; Ristar is no exception. Starring a young star, the titular character had to defeat Kaiser Greedy the space pirate, in order to save the universe (Japanese version story) or to rescue his father (the English version story). Ristar borrowed many elements from platformers of the time (Sonic, Dynamite Headdy, among others) to make a brand new game, despite running on the same engine that Sonic the Hedgehog ran on. The brand new whole ended up becoming a game where not only the character would run at a high speed but also be able to use one of the eight limbs Ristar infact has, to throw, grab or attack an enemy. The innovative use of ledges was also a main part of the game as virtually any ledge could be grabbed on to a la Abe's Oddysee-type ledge use. The game was received very well by fans and publications alike, as the game consistently scored in the 7/10s or high (usually higher).
As far as reboots go, Sega and videogame fans in general have been calling for at least a sequel, let alone a full-on reboot, for over a decade now. As the general gaming public is unaware of Ristar however, it would be perfect as a reboot as it would give old gamers and new gamers a chance to become acquainted with the game and its star (no pun intended), instead of relying on the first game, regardless of its brilliance and quality. A Ristar reboot would fit as a 3D platformer in the vein of Rayman 2 (arguably the greatest 3D platformer in game history), with its cutesy, differently coloured worlds and graphics that are esoteric, though not esoteric enough to turn off gamers. A modern, more "dark," story could also be used to add a bit of an edge to Ristar, unless it would not be necessary. Timing of a reboot such as this would be vital however, as Ristar itself was released in the beginning of 1995, when the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn were steadily gaining momentum (especially the Playstation) and 2D graphics were becoming a thing of the past. This resulted in the game falling by the wayside, hence why the general gaming public is unaware of its existence. Not to worry though, as if a Ristar reboot was indeed created, surely Sega wouldn't make the same mistake twice, would they?
These are NOT the Developers you are looking for: Even though this was a Sonic Team game, Yuji Naka was in fact NOT involved with the creation of it. Even though he came up with some original concepts to the Ristar character (back when he was conceived as a Rabbit), Akira Nishino was the man behind Ristar's final creation.
A shooter hits the list at number 6, Fantasy Zone is the game starring everyone's favourite sentient ship, Opa-Opa! Fantasy Zone is one of Sega's most beloved franchises and Opa-Opa himself was the unofficial mascot for Sega for a number of years. The game was a shoot-'em-up that featured fantastically cute enemies, pastel colours aplenty and bizarre upgrades such as bigger wings and anvils which were actually bombs; Fantasy Zone is a cute-'em-up at its finest. The core gameplay was that of a shooter for the first two games and the final three games in the series, however the third title was actually a Pac-Mac-esque game titled Fantasy Zone: The Maze. The final title in the series, Super Fantasy Zone for the Genesis, was essentially an sequel to the first title and it is clearly the best game in the series, both from an aesthetic and gameplay point of view, however the first title is the most remembered and revered game in the series.
While the latest official release of a cute-'em-up, according to Giantbomb, was 2011, it is not so long ago that there isn't a market for cute-'em-ups in gaming today, thus a reboot of Fantasy Zone could still conceivably occur. With the decline in popularity in the past decade or so for horizontal shooters, a reboot of the Fantasy Zone series could change the game into a vertical shooter, though that seems unlikely. Also, a more mature-looking game in the vein of Deathsmiles would assuredly be welcomed by the gaming public and would probably cause the game to reach an even bigger audience than if it remained too cutesy. Opa-Opa as a character is still relatively popular however as, like the Bonanza Brothers, he was featured in Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing and he was the only character with three all-star special moves, whereas every other character was restricted to strictly one all-star move. With that kind of preferential treatment (of course, I'm speaking in jest), could another Fantasy Zone game be on the horizon?
A hassle, but fun nonetheless!: A short, mini-version of what appears to be the first Fantasy Zone, is available to play on Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf for the Genesis as an Easter egg. Simply hit 100 shots without sinking the ball into the hole and you will be prompted with a game over screen, followed by said mini-version of Fantasy Zone. This was in fact, my first exposure to the Fantasy Zone series in my life.
#5: Comix Zone (GEN)
We come to a game, probably the only game on the list, which I absolutely suck at! While it is true that Comix Zone is a game that can be absolutely tough as nails, it was a brilliant piece of software back in 1995 when it was released and it still a marvel in 2013, especially taking into account what console it is on. You play the role of Sketch Turner, a comic book artist and musician that has drawn a world known as the "Comix Zone," (<_<) where aliens are attempting to overthrow the New World Empire. The main villain that Sketch has drawn, Mortus, escapes one night and traps Sketch within the comic itself. He must make it to the final pages and right what has gone wrong, an interesting storyline to say the least. Created by the Sega Technical Institute (known for Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Sonic Spinball and Kid Chameleon, among others), the game was a graphical masterpiece, with a fantastic soundtrack and superb gameplay, even if it was a little bit on the difficult side. It was a game that many in North America knew and loved though it did not receive much exposure in the East, as well like Ristar, it was released rather late in the Genesis' lifetime thus many were not exposed to the game as they were too busy with their Playstations and Saturns.
This is a title that many fans have been clamoring for a reboot or sequel, as there was enough in place for the game to be great, though it could have used a bit of seasoning. A reboot would probably in my opinion, keep the game in 2D but with much sharper, updated graphics (maybe cell-shading?). As comic books are no longer at the popularity they used to be at, possibly the setting could be changed from a comic book to a graphic novel (essentially the same thing, I know) or into a Japanese manga instead. As music played such a large role in the game as well, it would be fitting to include modern artists from the same genres as the first title, in order to keep it modern. Although many would not be thrilled at the thought of a pet rat, it too could be replaced with a similar animal that won't, you know, threaten to take a bit out of you. Regardless, Comix Zone is a title and premise that a developer could do a lot with.
Copycat?: In the fourth season of the Canadian Horror/Mystery show, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?," (a brilliant show by the way), an episode has an aspiring comic book artist accidentally bring a villain into the real world and he must enter the comic book himself to fight and defeat the villain, known as the "Ghastly Grinner." While in the show they do not travel back and forth via lightning, they use microwaves!
A second straight Sonic Team game that time forgot, only more so in the case of Burning Rangers as it was released when its console life was essentially over! Burning Rangers was a highly unique game that had a winning formula for the platforming genre. Essentially, you play the part of two new recruits to the Burning Rangers (read: futuristic, cool firefighters) who put out fires, collect crystals for protection (no, not THOSE crystals Spencer Pratt!) and rescue civilians that are trapped by said fires. The game had many unique touches to it, such as a jetpack that would enable you to travel for an indefinite period of time, either over fires or to reach higher ledges (not unlike Vectorman's boosters), as well as the ability to communicate with your base for updates and info on the map and where civilians were located, a feature never before seen in a platformer. The premise is simple; control the fire situation enough so that it did not exceed a specific level and do not get hit if you are not in possession of a crystal. Sounds simple but in reality, the game is much more difficult than it seems, especially if you take into account the fact that you must rescue civilians.
A reboot would be more than fitting for Burning Rangers as, like Bonanza Brothers, the possibilities of revamping the game into something completely new, while using the same formula, are virtually endless. For starters, aside from Brave Firefighters for the Arcade and Firefighters FD for the PS2, there have not been too many stellar firefighting videogames made, thus there is a lot open to interpretation when doing a reboot such as this. A graphical update wouldn't hurt, as while the graphics of Burning Rangers are not bad, they are far from great. Slightly tighter controls could also be an option, as things did not flow as easily as they could. Another innovative feature that could be updated in a reboot is the emailing system once a civilian is rescued; the civilians you rescue will communicate with you via email after they are saved, depending on how quickly you rescued them. Instead of a mere email, it could evolve into a video chat of sorts, as well the communication with your base could be done in real time, as it is done in Binary Domain, via a headset. There is a lot that could be done in a Burning Rangers reboot and many fans have been waiting for a sequel of sorts to this game as well. Who'd've thought that Sonic Team would be that popular outside of the Sonic series...
2 little notes: It has been noted that the silhouette of the Burning Rangers, with their jetpack, would resemble an angel, a sort of psychological reasoning for when civilians would be rescued. As well, this was another platforming title made by Sonic Team, where Yuji Naka was not involved with any game creation, though he was lead producer on the project.
This game was expected to be on the list, surely you knew that! Streets of Rage was Sega's answer to Capcom's Final Fight (which I actually prefer to Streets of Rage, big time), a long, big-sprite beat-'em-up that had great characters, a great story and very good gameplay. Axel Stone was Sega's answer to Cody Travers, complete with a plain white t-shirt and light blue jeans, you could see that the envy was probably large. The first game was a solid 7/10-8/10 game that caught the eye of many a gamer, while the second vaulted the score to 9/10+ and the third game, clearly the best in my opinion, pushed it to a near perfect score. Introducing a multitude of new characters as the series went on, everything got bigger and better, the stories became more complex and the fanbase couldn't stop growing. Then inexplicably, the series just stopped; no announcements, no news, no plans for a new game. After failed attempts to acquire Fighting Force from Core Design (which was only partly complete), Sega AM7 (Team Shinobi) announced that it would be working on a Streets of Rage 4 for the Dreamcast... which never came to fruition, which has made the game one of the most demanded among Sega fans since the announcement of the cancellation.
Of all the games on the list thus far, Streets of Rage would benefit most from a reboot, as the third game, while better than the more loved second game, left a poor taste in Western players' mouths, as their versions were more difficult and unbalanced than the Japanese version (known as "Bare Knuckle III);" a fresh start to the series would be just what the doctor ordered. In order to keep it different enough from Sega's other brilliant beat-'em-up series at the moment, the Yakuza series, A Streets of Rage reboot would have to take place in a ruined city, akin to the first game, where there is abundant chaos and the big bad sits behind the scenes, orchestrating his moves (unlike Yakuza, which takes place in a bustling burgh of Tokyo and where there are multiple big bads with multiple motives). As well, keeping a North American flavour to the style of dress and aesthetic in the game would enable it to stand out from Yakuza's shadow and thus satisfy the fans.
"Oh no, Beta!": While Streets of Rage 4 was never completed or released, a beta (or images of a beta) is/are floating around somewhere on the net, you just have to find it!
If anyone reading this list knows me, they know I am a major fan of the Alex Kidd series and that I am supper bummed that there hasn't been a new game in the series since a year after my birth. Alex Kidd (and Segagaga does a brilliant job of telling you) was once Sega's mascot, top property and most popular character, along with Opa-Opa. After his first and only Genesis outing, in my opinion the best game of the series, he appeared in one more game and was not seen again until the aforementioned Segagaga, then Sega All-Stars Tennis in 2008. Miracle world is where the Kidd "made his bones," as it was a large game with a reasonable learning curve and memorable everything from gameplay to graphics and the awesome soundtrack; Alex Kidd was no Mario but he was good enough to compete with him. The game is memorable mainly for its quirky gameplay, such as playing rock, paper, scissors (Janken) to progress in the game from the mid-way point and on. While the "Enchanted Castle," played very similarly, along with a nearly identical soundtrack, none of the other 4 games he appeared in were like Miracle World and as such, they are considered worse games than the original (a notion that I agree with wholeheartedly).
A return to the gameplay style in Miracle World would be suitable in my eyes for a reboot, as well a jump into the 3D world, abandoning his 2D past. With the platformer market being dominated still by Mario and Sonic (thankfully) games as of late, a character such as Alex Kidd throwing his hat into the ring, should fit in seamlessly. An Alex Kidd reboot could also be a tie-in somehow with his inclusion in the next Sega All-Stars title, whichever title it may be; he is a character in Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, however that title was released late last year thus the hope for a tie-in would be almost redundant. Still, the possibility of an Alex Kidd reboot is not out of the cards, as his creator Kotaro Hayashia is still alive, kicking and making video games; anything is possible in this day and age.
Localisation bites... literally!: As the Western world is not too familiar with onigiri (the triangular-shaped Japanese rice-balls/cakes), Alex Kidd's favourite food, some later versions of Miracle World had Alex chomping on a hamburger as opposed to the much healthier (and better tasting) Japanese snack.
What can you say about a game that was brilliantly crafted from the bottom up? A game that is a completely new and opposite genre than its prequels, but works? A game that was criminally under-distributed and thus not known by the masses? You do not say anything, instead you are thankful that such a title exists and that you have played through the masterpiece. Panzer Dragoon Saga is a game that is so well made, only one game every 3 years or more comes along that can match it. Back in 1998, Sega had essentially packed it in where the Saturn was concerned and decided to release whatever titles they had left to release, in limited print runs; funnily enough, Burning Rangers was also one of these final titles. As a result, few were able to witness the greatness of such titles as the aforementioned Burning Rangers, Magic Knight Rayearth, World Series Baseball '98 (a fantastic baseball game) and Panzer Dragoon Saga. Had the Saturn not been canned however, the world may still have not known about Panzer Dragoon Saga, as the incredibly inferior (in my opinion) Final Fantasy 7 was released just 6 months or so prior, thus the masses were enamoured with it over many other games, Saga included. Fan demand has always been rather high for this title, as there was never a true sequel released in the same genre (Panzer Dragoon Oorta was released for the Xbox). Fan polls in the Official Dreamcast Magazine for "what games are you wishing for," consistently listed "Panzer Dragoon Saga 2," as a game that was wanted.
So what kind of game is Panzer Dragoon Saga? Gamefaqs will tell you that it is a console-style RPG, which it is, no question about it. However, it is a completely unique game for one reason and one reason only; its battle system. Now the Grandia titles also had completely unique battle systems and they too were absolutely brilliant games, but Panzer Dragoon Saga's battle system is just so different, nothing can compare to it. You can hang around on your dragon in four different zones around your enemy; each zone is either a safe zone (little to no damage will befall you), a neutral zone (where normal damage occurs) or a danger zone (where major damage is dealt). These zones are constantly changing, thus every single battle will play out differently than the last and you will WANT to battle constantly. Its just so refreshing and makes grinding not tedious in the slightest. Oh yeah, and the graphics, soundtrack, story are all absolutely brilliant, there is just one downfall and that is in the replayability department; after the game is beaten in under 20 hours, there is not much else to accomplish, sadly.
What is written above is a completely perfect storm for a reboot in my eyes, as there is little to improve upon, aside from adding a certain amount of length to the game. Furthermore, as this is the third game in the series and the canon, it is not too far along in the story as to restarting the story in a reboot would make the game completely different, especially considering the prior two games are not super heavy in terms of story (though there are brilliant connections between the three games). Essentially, a graphics overhaul, update to the soundtrack and lengthening of the game would be all that is necessary for a reboot of the series, as the gameplay still stands up today; trust me, there is nothing quite like flying on your dragon, around a massive airship, while avoiding a danger zone and letting loose a massive attack to crush your enemy. There is nothing like it.
Reboot would be nice, except for one little problem...: While a reboot would be fantastic, giving exposure to this fantastic series and possibly giving Sega an always-needed revenue bump, the original source code to the game was lost soon after release, thus we may never even see a digital copy for the big three's consoles in our lifetime either :(.
Some Honourable Mentions include:
Shining Force 3- (Saturn): Probably more deserving than other games in the list, however I wanted to get in a couple of different console's games.
Toe Jam and Earl- (Genesis): While a Sega property, not a Sega-developed game.
Vectorman- (Genesis): Same as above.
Alien Storm- (Genesis): Not THAT good of a game, thus not really deserving of a reboot.
Wonderboy- (Sega Master System): Also not a Sega-developed series, despite being a Sega property.
Shenmue- (Dreamcast): Why reboot a game that doesn't need it?
As usual, thanks are in order. Thanks to DetroitDJ and BlueGunstarHero for getting my (somewhat) creative juices flowing again, as well thanks to Vyse_Skies for his poll on the Dreamcast boards, asking for what we felt would have been the best choice for a Sega franchise reboot! Going through that list again, many of these titles are games that I grew up playing or that are close to my heart (I mean, I have a large Sega tattoo on my leg with 4 of the leading characters of games on this list) and these are all games that I could see modern iterations be developed, though the chances of that happening are slim to nil; if we haven't gotten even an HD version of Shenmues 1 or 2, there is seemingly no chance of a game being rebooted by Sega from this list. Still, one can always dream and hope that Sega will answer the fans' call one time, one day. If you have any feedback or questions, comments, corrections, etc., head on over to the top 10 board and have your voice heard! As always though, be nice, please? Peace!
List by Truck_1_0_1_ (05/13/2013)
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