From Baldur’s Gate to Syphon Filter: 14 games that need a HD remake

Monday, 21 July 2014 15:16 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

All these HD remasters are making us pine for the classics that are no longer loved. Here’s 14 games we’d love to see remade for new-gen consoles.

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With each new console generation comes a bevy of new titles with shiny graphical upgrades and more particle effects than a sequined Miss America gown. But with each system iteration, we lose a little something: the ability to play our previously purchased titles on the pretty new box. Neither Sony nor Microsoft are fond of cross-gen compatibility.

The original PlayStation 3 was backwards compatible with the PS2 library, but successive models of PS3 added or removed various features, including backwards compatibility. Xbox 360 was backwards compatible with some original Xbox games, but not all: the list of supported titles varied by region.

Due to this, there are many games out there the current-generation of gamers missed out on. And those of us who were able to indulge in previous generation titles can’t seem to get them to look proper on our large, flat-screen TVs. Who wants to find an adapter for their PS2 or Xbox, hook it up to their big 52-inch LED TV and play a game which was created to display in 480i? No one.

So here’s a list of games we would particularly like to see re-released in glorious HD on the latest console to grace the top shelf of our entertainment systems. Some of these you may recall were listed in our feature on franchises overdue for a reboot.

Armed and Dangerous – PC, Xbox – 2003

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Released in 2003, the Planet Moon Studios-developed title was not only a really well made third-person action adventure game, but it was well funny too. Released by LucasArts, the shooter parodied other video games and films such as Star Wars and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also featured a stellar voice cast with actor Brian George (Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory) as the hero Roman, as well as prolific voice over artists Jeff Bennett, John Mariano, Pat Fraley, and Tony Jay.

The game was released on PC but most probably played it on the original Xbox before Microsoft made it backwards compatible with Xbox 360 in 2007.

Owners of current-generations systems PlayStation 4 and Xbox One shouldn’t be left out when it comes to such a fun and humorous game, and while it contains your typical shooter weaponry such as sniper rifles, machine guns and rocket launchers, it also contained all sorts of off-the-wall gadgets. The most memorable was the Land Shark Gun which the player would use to shoot a miniature shark into the earth. It would swim around in the ground and eat your enemies. It was rather awesome.

Unfortunately, a digital re-release may never happen, as the rights of the game were owned by LucasArts, and with Disney holding all IP from the firm, it’s doubtful the House of Mouse would devote resources to such a project. The only hope for such a thing to occur would be a licensing agreement with a third-party developer – eg. EA and Star Wars. If LucasArts even owned the IP to begin with: Bigpoint Games acquired Planet Moon staff in 2011, but the deal didn’t include the intellectual properties or other assets. Someone needs to find out who owns the IP and get to it.

The Simpsons: Hit and Run – PS3, GameCube, Xbox – 2003

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One of the most fun and frustrating racing games ever to grace the planet in one VG247 staffer’s opinion. A tongue in cheek take on Grand Theft Auto 3, the game saw Bart Simpson being abducted by what appears to be an alien tractor beam. Soon after, robotic wasps plague the city and Lisa Simpson takes it upon herself to find Bart using various clues presented in the game via missions. It all has to do with Buzz Cola being used as a mind-control beverage by aliens who wish to drive the yellow-folks mental for the reality show Foolish Earthlings. Series aliens Kang and Kodos play a role in this, but we don’t wish to give the entire plot away.

With most developers focusing today on authentic racing simulators, other than Nintendo, it’s high time gamers were given a racing game which mixes questing and timed driving missions again. Until that day comes, Activision needs to get Radical Entertainment on this pronto. With today’s tech, some of the minor flaws in the game could be rectified such as camera and odd AI issues. Plus, imagine the town of Springfield presented in HD glory with 60fps. That would be a lovely thing indeed.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance – PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA – 2001

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Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance was a great action RPG for folks unfamiliar with the PC series developed by Bioware. The Snowblind Studios developed title (PS2, XB only) had some of the best water effects in any game at the time, plus, they did a bang up job creating a nice twist on your typical isometric top-down dungeon crawler.

Set in the Forgotten Realms universe of Dungeon and Dragons 3rd Edition, a digital re-release would look smashing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and with the popularity of similar titles such as Diablo, Torchlight and the upcoming revamp of Gauntlet, it’s proof that the genre is still a viable product. Plus, if CD Projekt could be coerced into taking up development of the PC version again, all the better.

While the sequel from Black Isle Studios wasn’t on par with the original, the studio did a decent job and including both games could give players more incentive to purchase a digital re-release. An even bigger incentive? Toss in the GBA version developed by Destination Software as an Easter Egg.

Conker’s Bad Fur Day – Nintendo 64 (2001), Xbox (2005)

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Rare really went out with a bang when it released its last game for Ninetndo 64. Conker’s Bad Fur Day was the most fun anyone had playing a lecherous, foul-mouthed, drunken squirrel who was dealing with the absolute worst day of his life. Between the tongue in cheek nods at popular culture such as Saving Private Ryan, Conan the Barbarian and The Matrix, Conker also had quite a bit of immature and hilarious potty humor. Everyone knows the Great Mighty Poo song. Seriously. Everyone.

A digital HD upgrade for Xbox One would need to come with a caveat though – pretend Conker: Live & Reloaded never existed. Seriously. Save the multiplayer component from it and ditch the rest. Bring back the minor obscenities within the voice dialogue and cull the auto-targeting system. The later was not needed. It made things too easy. Keep the zoom if you like, but no more auto-target. Okay. Maybe make it an option, but don’ force it on us.

An additional goodie to add would be an extras DVD featuring Rare discussing development, the writing, showing content which didn’t make it into the original, and providing a look at assets from the canned sequel, Conker’s Other Bad Day. Microsoft owns Rare. They should totally get these guys doing something other than Kinect games. And before it is even brought up: No. We don’t want Kinect functionality in a Conker game. Don’t even broach the subject at the meeting.

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