List-O-Rama: Top Five Game Franchises That Need Sequels

Day off equals time for another list!  I've been enjoying lots of videos about nostalgic gaming lately, and it made me think that there's a bunch of franchises that I'd love to see get a new entry.  I don't mean another brown & grim "reimagining" - I mean a proper revival.  Some are existing series that have strayed far from their old format, and some just sort of vanished.  There's some series that I would welcome another entry in even though I think they've reached a good end point (i.e. the Mother series), and there are some that I haven't played enough to really judge beyond a single game (such as, I've played Chrono Trigger but not Chrono Cross, so I can't weigh in on it at all).  Others I'm not sure I'd want another game but I would like to see the characters again (such as wanting to see Liddell as DLC for a Disgaea game but not necessarily wanting a sequel to A Witch's Tale - although I'd happily play it if it showed up).  So these are franchises I played in my youth, even relative recent youth, that have either vanished or turned into something else that I'd like to see return to their roots.

5.) Eternal Champions/Fighting Vipers:  These were two Sega fighting game series that were shut down around the time of the Saturn's mid-life due to an executive decision to concentrate on Virtua Fighter as their premiere fighting game.  That's fine - Virtua Fighter is an excellent series.  But these were both unique series that could've stood on their own and wouldn't eat into VF's audience.  Eternal Champions is a game made by Sega of America with a very comic book-y style, an interesting hook (all the players are capable of changing the world for the better but only one can be revived), and gory end moves that would shame Mortal Kombat.  The characters were interesting & creatively designed, and the universe of the game was pretty clever, too.  I think the punishing nature of the CPU (which was just cheap), the first game being designed for the awful Activator peripheral, and the second being on the Sega CD kind of doomed it to obscurity.  Fighting Vipers, meanwhile, was an arcade game and a 3D fighter in the style of VF.  Its hook was that all the characters had a sort of armor, and it could be knocked off to make different limbs or their torsos easier to damage.  What's more, there were moves built entirely around slamming characters into walls - no ring-outs here.  Characters ranged from a kid in skater gear to a fetish lady to a bear (my personal favorite was Grace the rollerblader).  But unless you had a Saturn, odds are you either stumbled on it randomly in an arcade (like me) or never played it at all.  Both were very different from Virtua Fighter, and it'd be neat to see what they'd look like with updated game engines.

4.) Rival Schools:  Another fighting game series, this one was from Capcom and was structured around the students at different themed schools (one for sports, one for delinquents, one for foreigners, etc.) fighting to stop the takeover of their schools (or, in some cases, advance it) by a sinister conspiracy.  It's a tag-team fighting game, where the characters can perform different attacks in pairs or even as a trio.  One of the more unique elements of it is that the first player campaigns advance the story with light novel-esque scenes, so you get a lot more characterization and plot than you normally get from fighting games.  A few characters have popped up in Capcom's crossover games, but this is another one that would do well on modern consoles.  Think about how much fun a three-on-three fighting game would be with online versus capability.

3.) Old-School Phantasy Star:  I've played & enjoyed mobile versions of the post-PSO Phantasy Star games for PSP & DS, but I've always enjoyed the more JRPG-structured entries from the Genesis era a lot more (especially III & IV).  If there was a game done in the new style or using the character archetypes from PSO onward but with the old-school play style, I'd be super excited.  Just don't do what II did and take all the decisions out of my hand; I like JRPGs because I like the strategy, dammit.

2.) Golden Sun:  Probably the second most forgotten-about Nintendo franchise after Mother, and at least Mother has protagonists that were playable in Smash Brothers beyond assists.  Starting late in the life of the GBA & being largely forgotten since then, this series had a game on the DS that vastly expanded & changed its universe, and even worse, it ended on a massive cliffhanger.  Even if it's just to wrap up the series, I'd like to see Nintendo put out one more entry.  It's an enjoyable, surprisingly deep JRPG that has plenty of action-RPG puzzle solving mixed in and surprisingly complex job/summon systems.  It really doesn't deserve the sort of dismissal the franchise has received.

1.) Darkstalkers:  My absolute favorite fighting game franchise.  It pisses me off so much that Capcom has allowed it to languish in obscurity outside of the occasional Morrigan cameo in a crossover fighting game.  Again, we have a fighting game series with a unique, colorful plotline and absolutely fabulous character designs.  An evil zombie metal rocker?  A mafia assassin who looks & acts like Little Red Riding Hood?  An ancient Mayan robot that guards the orphaned son the archaeologists who found him?  A Chinese-style zombie with sleeves full of weapons?  Add them to well-designed standard monster archetypes, and it's just a wonderful game.  The first time I played the last entry in the series was in an arcade; I selected BB Hood on a lark, and my laugh of disbelief at how ridiculous she was (she's the assassin) made the attendant laugh & earned me a free play.  It has a loyal following among Capcom fans & fighting game enthusiasts, but that doesn't change the fact that there's been no new game since the PS1 era.

So yeah, those are the games I'd love to see revived from franchise limbo.  As you can see, I have my genre preferences, and unfortunately, they're genres that are becoming more "fringe".  But as Double Dragon Neon has shown, you can revive a moribund genre (in that case, beat-em-ups) if you just put enough time, talent, effort, care, and respect into it.

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