The aging and maturity of video games as a medium has lead to some unfortunate consequences. One of these, perhaps drawn from the film industry, is the spate of remakes that has overtaken the game market over the last few years. It hasn't been as bad as the remakeorama trend in cinema, but developers have recognized the value in releasing the same thing they already made and making more money off it. Below, a roundup of some remakes of classic games released for XBLA recently, some fantastic, others as bad as Tim Burton's Willy Wonka remake.
It would be challenging to mess up Super Street Fighter 2, but Capcom has created a worthwhile purchase. The graphics are completely redone in 1080p HD, and they look spectacular with the exception of Blanka, who looks like some kind of mirror-mirror-Bizzaro-Blanka. Kudos to Capcom for not trying to make the game 3D, but using HD technology to make the 2D style of the original game as pretty as possible. However many versions of Street Fighter you may already own, this is the ultimate version of the best game in the series, and worth buying.
This is just the Nintendo version of Contra on the Xbox. The graphics haven't been touched up, and look as terrible as everything else in SD looks on an HDTV. The controls don't work as well as they did on NES, and everything about this experience is worse than it was in the original version, right down to the ugly flames that fill the unused portions of the screen. I have two copies of the NES Contra catridge, and I will stick with them in the future.
The original Rush'n Attack was not a particuarly well loved or successful game. Its recent sequel/remake Ex-Patriot is not very successful either. It's a side-scrolling Metroidvania beat-'em-up, but doesn't have either the combat or platforming chops to live up to that lineage. Attacking enemies is clunky and unsatisfying. The AI is moronic, unable to locate you when you duck into a doorway right in front of them. Most of the graphics are pretty ugly, especially the animations, which are very unnatural. The crouching looks particularly bad. A thin skein of plot does little to tie the simplistic platforming about and boring fights together, leaving one with little reason to keep playing the game. Avoid it.
ORounding out our NES platformer lineup is Bionic Commando: Rearmed. The original NES game is a classic, but also an example of a game that does not hold up in the harsh light of modernity. It is a platformer where you cannot jump. Jumping is replaced by swinging between ledges with a grappling arm, which is not as fun as it sounds. Frustrating is a better word. The remake is much too faithful to the original game. Instead of fixing its problems with the knowledge gained in 30 years of subsequent game development, the people who made this game just gussyed up the original with some mediocre graphics and pushed it out, hoping pure nostalgia would make it fun. It doesn't. I'm as nostalgic as any gamer. My Atari 2600 is in perfect working order. This still has no appeal for me, and I struggle to imagine who would find it appealing.