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The Nintendo GameCube era was a time of experimentation for Nintendo. It was during this time that we got games like F-Zero GX via a collaboration with Sega, Metroid Prime and Eternal Darkness. All of these are classic games still loved by players, but there is one game that Nintendo published for the GameCube that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Geist was developed by n-Space, who were under contract with Nintendo at the time. The game went through a period of development hell and was delayed numerous times, as well as undergoing numerous revisions. What started out as a horror themed sci-fi FPS eventually became a first person horror adventure that was a bit of a disjointed mess. The game had some great ideas, such as possessing characters in order to interact with the world, but it was badly handled and was a deeply unsatisfactory experience. The thing is, some of the great ideas the game had, have been used by other games since in some form or another, including Prey to an extent, and these were handled extremely well.

Geist’s problems can be attributed to the horrible development cycle it had, and if given a new developer with a proven track record for success, the game could be rebooted and given a fresh start. There is new tech available today for game design, people are thinking outside the box, and the game’s ideas can be made into a truly epic sci-fi horror game.

But what developer/studio could revive the IP in a successful way, and that Nintendo could trust? The answer is for Nintendo to look inward, as they have the perfect studio to work on it. Retro Studios works best on games that have a western focus/appeal more to the west, and if they are not working on Metroid or Donley Kong, this would be a perfect new project for them to handle. They have the pedigree for amazing sci-fi games and are masters of intricate game design. Moreover, they have the Nintendo design philosophy down pat and can be trusted to deliver a true polished game. People were skeptical about Metroid Prime at first but it is regarded as one of the best games ever made. Their Donkey Kong games are some of the best platformers ever made and have great attention to detail to the extent that they won people over, when they were upset at the idea of Retro working on that series.

Retro could make Geist their big epic project for the Switch and create a new experience for fans. It could be what the original was supposed to be, but on a bigger scale. Moreover, Nintendo is now more open to these kind of games and given the reception many of these games have, it would be amazing for Nintendo to have one of their own, designed in-house, with a top tier developer behind it. Geist had some amazing ideas that weren’t used properly and Retro Studios is the ideal studio to take this IP and turn it into a success.

 

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The late 80’s and early 90’s were a great time for gaming. There was so much innovation an experimentation, as well as many attempts to cash in on big name properties. These were often a mixed bag, with most licensed games for the NES not being particularly good. One company that did produce great licensed games was Sunsoft, who produced the amazing Batman NES games and Gremlins 2. They almost produced a Superman game as well, but the license was revoked, and while Sunsoft tried to salvage the project as Sunman, it was ultimately cancelled.

Another would be licensed game from them would have been The Terminator on NES. It was well into production when the licensed was pulled for reasons that are still not clear but are heavily speculated on. Unlike Sunman, this game was able to be saved. It was rebranded, given a new story and named Journey to Silius. The game, while not super well known today, became a cult classic for its amazing music, its tough as nails gameplay, and its fun atmosphere.  There is also the fact that there was a lot of leftover elements of Terminator in the game, both in the code and the music, as well as some of the enemies.

Journey To Silius has not gotten a lot of attention in recent times, except from retro fans. That is something I feel needs to change, as the game could be awesome as a modern game. I don’t mean a big 3D  game but a small scale 2D revival along the lines of Blaster Master Zero from Inti Creates ( another Sunsoft game, and in fact, Journey to Silius takes place in the same universe as Blaster Master). There is so much that can be done with the game. Expanded levels, high quality visuals, taking the best parts of the original game that made it fun and bringing it over and so on. In the original game, the first level had attacks coming from the background into the foreground, and this could be one element redone to make the game still challenging. There could be a proper ending and post game content unlike the original game, where it just restarted without much difference.

This is a property that should not be left in the past. With the right tweaks, it could be an even better platformer with the ngatives removed and the story expanded on and moved past its origins.

Plus the music would be amazing, considering how good the original music was.

Blaster Master Zero was proof this can be done, and I hope it one day happens.

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Okay, this time on Games That Should Be Revived, I  am tackling a game from Nintendo/HAL Laboratory that most don’t remember and flew mostly under the radar. I do not think it even got a virtual console release.Arcana, known in Japan as Card Master: Rimsalia no Fuuin, was a card based RPG dungeon crawler released in 1992. It took a lot of influence from the Wizardry games and games like Shining In The Darkness, Dungeon Master and more,. It also had has a detailed story with a unique twist on the gameplay. The game had a look where all the characters and enemies were represented by cards. Cards were also used in combat at times, but they were not the only part of the game.

The game had numerous issues such as pacing and poor use of the combat that it had, as well as an unforgiving difficulty. This is a shame because it had a lot of potential. In addition to the aforementioned influences,  many people I have spoken to about this game have stated that it actually reminded them of Arena, the first game in The Elder Scrolls series. Obviously they are two different styles of RPGs and Arena came out years later on more powerful tech, but people have found some comparisons. They commented that it reminded them of Arena in terms of immersion and atmosphere, if not in actual gameplay. They felt the dame feeling of being drawn in to a great experience, but feel more could have been done with Arcana.

I feel Arcana has a lot of potential to actually be a big series for Nintendo/HAL Laboratory. I do not mean as big as Mario or Zelda, but it could be a very serviceable mid tier series for the publisher. Dungeon Crawler RPGs have seen a big resurgence in recent years, and the game having a unique story and enough of its own identity, with a setup that is entirely its own, Arcana could stand out well among games today. There have been some similar games since, but I would like to see what Nintendo/HAL Laboratory can do with the IP in the modern day,

Obviously there would need to be changes done to it, but the series could be revived as an RPG with a strong dungeon crawler focus but with more emphasis on the overworld as well. Or it could well follow the pattern of Diablo and the Rougelikes but with its own spin on the genre to keep its identity intact. The point I am making is that Arcana was written off far too soon. Nintendo and HAL Laboratory should really consider bringing this game back because it could stand out well for Nintendo today. A title like this would do especially well on the Switch, since the immersion can be had on the go or at home and feel seamless.

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Neo Geo games are now available on the Nintendo Switch worldwide and many are enthusiastic to play Metal Slug 3 and King of fighters 98 on the system. But there is another game that is far more noteworthy than those.

Also having come out on the Switch is Waku Waku 7. This is one of the most unusual and off beat fighting games ever made, The characters are parodies of other games, of anime, manga, comics and of movies, both Japanese and western made, such as shotoclones, sword fighters and anime action girls. It is hard to explain but this is one of the most awesome fighting games you can play. Easy to learn but difficult to master, this is just fun to play and enjoy.

The game had a western release in arcades….but not on the home console scene. It only received home console releases in Japan. That is why this release is so notable, this is one of the first times western players will get to play this. And to be honest, this is a game everyone needs to try.

The fighting is great as mentioned earlier, the visuals are excellent and while blurry on Switch, Hamster is patching the Arcade Archive series to fix that. It has that look that games like Street Fighter III and Darkstalkers had ( one character is a parody of a Darkstalkers character in fact), while still being in the SNK style, which still looks amazing today. And the music is absolutely fantastic. It is a great soundtrack for a fighting game and extremely energetic, and really gets you into the fight.

With great characters, a ridiculous yet decent plot that works, and fun gameplay, I cannot understand why this game languished in obscurity for so long. It has now received an arcade perfect port on the Switch and I have had a great time with it. I would love to see a modern sequel that continues the story and adds to the parodies.  As I mentioned earlier, this is a very significant release for the game, and I am hoping it sells well enough that there will be interest for a new game. That would be the best case scenario here. If you have a Nintendo Switch, I implore you to get this game.

See a trailer below to see what kind of game this is!

 

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Pro Wrestling was a game Nintendo made for the NES. It was a wrestling game (obviously) and was surprisingly a lot of fun. Unique fun characters. a sense of humor and  a general charm about it, it was something that stood out in the early days of the NES.  Lately I have been thinking that with WWE games not coming to Nintendo systems lately, the arrival of the Switch seems to be a great chance for Nintendo to revive this game.

Wrestling games  have a lot of appeal but WWE games taking up most of the genre, at Least in North America. In Japan there is more variety, but those games never get released here. I feel there is room for new games that offer something different to the player. To give an example of what I mean, the Ultimate Muscle game on the GameCube was a fantastic anime wrestling game based on a fantastic anime about wrestling, and I feel that is the perfect style for a reboot.  NES Pro Wrestling just felt like an Anime game with its characters and setting , so giving the game a complete anime feel would be very fitting. Of course, a new title is needed, since pro Wrestling is too generic a title. The title should reflect some sort of zaniness, since this would be more cartoonish than say a WWE game ( I really keep going back to that don’t I). The original characters from the NES game were great and if paired with some new ones that are even more creative, this would be a great cast. Nintendo is great at creating wacky characters, for example Starman from the NES game, so creating some new ones for a wrestling game is right up Nintendo’s alley.

The Switch is being designed as a multiplayer system, and wrestling games are the ideal multiplayer games. A wrestling game made for the Switch just sounds like a match made in heaven, and Nintendo already has the perfect developer to make this.  Next Level Games has shown they can create action games and cartoonish games ( and cartoonish sports action games), but at one point they proposed a games that was a Mario game that involved wrestling. It went against Nintendo’s vision for Mario, but for a Pro Wrestling reboot, it sounds like a good fit. This could be a good way to give Nintendo a genre their systems have become sadly deprived of,  and at the same time, keep their unique Nintendo feel in with it.