Yeah, we want that old song chiming through your head as we take a moment to remember the series we’ve lost to other platforms– be it console, handheld or even downloadable– that we’d like to see reimagined, sequelized or prequelized on a current Nintendo machine. Does one of us really want the return of numbered-sequel Final Fantasies? How about a non-gimmicky, true console Castlevania title? Or something even darker and less expected: Bubsy, when will we get another Bubsy game?!
Two franchises that immediately spring to mind are Banjo-Kazooie and Soulcalibur. Banjo-Kazooie was a fun, vibrant platformer which felt completely natural on N64 alongside the likes of Donkey Kong 64 and Mario 64. I came across some Jinjo fan art awhile back and all the memories came flooding back; “jiggy” puzzle pieces, Banjo’s goofy guffaw and Kazooie’s pecking caw. And who could forget “Grunty” Gruntilda, the wicked witch, or Mumbo the witch doctor? A 3D platformer sequel on Wii would be sweet, but so would a 2D adventure on DS! I’d probably even settle for a port of the original on either.
And then, the soul still burns! I’ve been a Soulcalibur fan since the Dreamcast days. Lately, though, Nintendo consoles haven’t seen much love from the series by way of a traditional fighter. Where’s the love, Namco? Granted, Link was somewhat broken in the GameCube iteration, but I don’t care so much about the exclusive characters as just going toe-to-toe with some friends. Wii seems most in-line with that play philosophy, plus, Soulcalibur is one of the more accessible fighters out there, with a wide variety of combos for veterans which aren’t so complex that the new player can’t pull off a few accidentally. They could even bundle the game with a Classic Controller Pro– I’d buy it!
Honestly, I’m having a hard time thinking of franchises that have left the Nintendo fold for two main reasons: one, I own all the current-gen consoles, so I have access to everything outside of PC exclusives; and two, most series that have jumped ship either don’t interest me anymore or have really dropped in quality.
Probably the biggest franchise most people immediately think of are the main Final Fantasy entries, and these games fall into the category of decreasing quality. I am in the camp of folks who believe Final Fantasy VI was the best in the series and every entry since has been worse than the one before. I’m not saying any of those games necessarily suck, but they have changed significantly and few of those changes have been positive in my book.
As for other franchises, Paul mentioned the Banjo-Kazooie games but, to be honest, I always looked at the series like a mediocre Mario impersonator and Rare’s recent track record really hasn’t made me miss them. However, if Rare could get its stuff together, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to Perfect Dark with Wii controls. Castelvania came up in the intro, but that franchise has been thriving on GBA and DS for the past decade, so I really couldn’t care less whether or not they brought it back to Wii, especially when you look at the upcoming 360 and PS3 attempt and realize it appears to be little more than God of War or Devil May Cry with a whip.
Final Fantasy and Metal Gear obviously deserve top recognition for franchises that bailed on Nintendo. I’m not too heartbroken by the loss of Snake, but I’d be lying to say that the Final Fantasy switch didn’t faze me. I remember falling to my knees and shouting “No!” like Darth Vader after watching the amazing Final Fantasy VII commercial end with the PlayStation logo.
There’s also the one ninja who rules them all. No, not Jackie Chan. I’m talking about Ryu Hayabusa, the main protagonist of the Ninja Gaiden series. The first three titles were amazing, difficult games for NES. I’ll never forget how cool it was to see Ryu cling to walls and flip over enemies in the late ’80s. Thus, I was rather distraught after his comeback was an Xbox-exclusive.
Finally, I must admit to missing a franchise that I haven’t even played. You see, the Burnout series may not have been exclusive to the Big N, but the first couple of games arrived on GameCube. After hearing about how fantastic Burnout Paradise is from almost every single gamer in the world, I’m pretty bummed we don’t have one on Wii.
The first series I’d like to see return to a Nintendo console is obvious — Resident Evil. Since the series re-defining, Game of the Year-winning masterpiece that was Resident Evil 4, the franchise has fled for allegedly greener pastures. We’re still getting the spinoffs on Nintendo machines, but I want a main series entry for the Wii or its successor, especially with the way Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition worked out.
One series I’d also like to see come back is R.C Pro-Am. I admittedly have no idea whether Nintendo or Rare owns the rights to the property, but it was a blast to play back in the 1980s, and I think the top-down racing would make a great purchase as a downloadable WiiWare or DSiWare title, especially if they could work in online racing.
I would love to start off by mentioning a game series that may not have been lost to another console, but it’s one that hasn’t been around for awhile. That game series (and character) is Gex. I absolutely loved Gex 64, and I really believe that Gex fits best on Nintendo consoles and handhelds. Remember his one liners? They were awesome, pretty funny and entertaining.
As for games that have moved on to other consoles, I would love the usual games like the main, numbered versions of the Final Fantasy series. But with the crap that is Final Fantasy XIII, I may have to pass. Also, I’d love it if Capcom and Nintendo got a deal going again with Resident Evil. The side games are decent and great for revisiting stories from the past, but I want the new games, too! RE5 may have been the worst game in the series to date, but I believe it would have fared much better with Wii controls. Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I get without the games that have left Nintendo’s side, and I say their loss.
I don’t see any reason to mention a true Final Fantasy, Ninja Gaiden, Soulcalibur or Metal Gear. As long as Nintendo’s platform isn’t as powerful as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, none of those titles will hit Nintendo’s console. That being said, Nintendo doesn’t have only one console on the market. While Wii doesn’t get third party hardcore titles, the DS gets plenty of them. Whether a remake of a classic Final Fantasy or an impressive new Castlevania, the DS is really the place to look for a series to make a comeback. Not only that, but since Microsoft doesn’t have a portable console, the DS is my only hope of another true Banjo-Kazooie title.
Yes, like Paul, I am a huge Banjo-Kazooie fan. I never saw the series as a poor competitor to Mario, but rather as another fantastic platforming choice for Nintendo fans who were looking for a game with great gameplay, music and humor. The Banjo series has some extremely memorable music, and every game in the series has been fantastic, save Nuts and Bolts and Pilot.
The last time Nintendo fans saw Banjo and Kazooie was on the Game Boy Advance. Grunty’s Revenge was what you would expect from Rare: a great platformer that pushed the limits of what the GBA could do. The graphics were top-notch, and so was the music. The characters even made the random grunts and squeaks while talking, as they did in their Nintendo 64 outings. To me, it is one of the best GBA games ever made. Banjo-Kazooie is a series that not only needs to be revived, but it needs to be revived on a Nintendo handheld. Let’s change all the characters back to the way they used to look, and get back to great platforming. Got that Rare?
I also have to agree that I really miss the Banjo-Kazooie series on Nintendo’s consoles. I was amazed by the news that Rare, one of Nintendo’s best supporters from the N64 days, had been sold to Microsoft. Thankfully history has vindicated Nintendo’s decision, as the developer has not crafted a stellar, must-buy game since leaving the Nintendo front.
The other games I really want to see come back to Nintendo’s consoles are ones that haven’t really been seen on any console since the SNES days; I’m talking about the Capcom Disney games. Duck Tales, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse: these were all fantastic games that proved that licensed games didn’t have to suck. I don’t even know how they would be re-imagined in this day and age, but I do know I’d love to see a retro-revival, a la Mega Man 9 or the Rebirth series. Disney, Capcom: get on that, will ya?
Really, I would be fine seeing Rareware’s N64 titles rereleased on Virtual Console. I know it’s highly unlikely that we would see Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day or either of the first Banjo-Kazooie titles, but I don’t see why Donkey Kong 64 has yet to be released. Some of my fondest memories from the N64 era are of playing that lovely title in my basement with my best friend every weekend.
Discussion of Rareware’s glorious time as a developer of titles for N64 leads up to the game I would most wish to see a sequel to; and, given that it is intensely unlikely to see the sequel released on Wii, I am hoping for DS or would even purchase an Xbox 360 if it indeed were made: a sequel to Jet Force Gemini. JFG is one of the most underrated titles for the system and was overlooked at its release since it was timed a month before DK64‘s launch. Plus, its unique style made it hard to relate with. Nevertheless, the title was hard as nails and truly Homeric, spanning an entire universe, including three distinct characters with their own strengths and weaknesses, a killer story and an ‘Ants as Pants’ cheat to boot. To see a sequel on Wii would be ideal, but given Rareware’s current status, also impossible. Thus, DS would be awesome; 3DS even more so, giving depth into the ant-killing glory that it would be. If a sequel were made, I would be one happy gamer.
M. Noah Ward
It’s sad I actually remembered Bubsy up in the intro. Bubsy?! Wow. Honestly, I don’t mind that cheesy Sonic-Mario hybrid wannabe staying in the past. As for the games I’d like to see again on a Nintendo console– well, most of them are showing up on other machines. Resident Evil, Final Fantasy and Castlevania (real Castlevania, not Shônen fighting) were all system sellers for me before. And their migration on to other platforms dramatically ended my pure-Nintendo loyalty and I bought other gaming systems (for shame!) so I could keep playing the sequels.
Yet how wonderful would it be to have those games all on one Nintendo platform? That’d be just like the golden days of the SNES. Perhaps that’s living in the past. And as James said, Castlevania still thirves on Nintendo handhelds, and those are wonderful. FFXIII wasn’t all that hot, and, well, truthfully, I enjoyed RE5 (isn’t RE3 the worst in the series), but RE5 was definitely no RE4. So perhaps my nostalgia’s just getting the best of me.
Last, in addition to Soulcalibur, I want more fighters on Wii! There’s no Street Figher IV for us, and no Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Fortunately, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a killer exclusive, but I fear that’s the last great, exclusive fighter we’ll see on Wii this generation. Prove me wrong, Tournament of Legends?
Did you get all nostalgic with us? Were we off the mark? Did we forget your favorite title? Or were we psychic enough to name your full wishlist? Tell us what you think in our forums, send us a tweet, or leave a comment below.