Nintendo HD Part 1 – A Return to Rare
Giving games the HD treatment is not a new concept. In fact, companies have been doing it for years, and will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Not only is it an opportunity for developers to make more money, but it is also an opportunity for fans to relive some of the best games that are, more than likely, unavailable for them presently. For myself, I have pushed through remakes of Banjo-Kazooie (N64) on the Xbox 360, Monkey Island (PC) on my iPad, and most recently, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (Gamecube) on my Wii U. All these titles have been worth playing a second time, and many more, equally worthy games, sit around waiting for their own HD treatment. Because of a struggling Wii U, Nintendo is the most likely of the big three to go this route.
Picking specific Nintendo titles to remake is difficult. GamesReviews own Mat Growcott explain that when compiling a list such as this, I might as well say, “Give the HD treatment to every Zelda, every Mario, and every Metroid.” And that would only be the beginning. How about a remake of all the Starfox titles, as well as every Kirby game that was ever released. That being said, go into this as a list of titles that I desire to see on the Wii U or 3DS – or future consoles – rather than a list of games I expect to get remade.
The Era that was Rare – Pun intended.
Once upon a time, Rare exclusively made games for Nintendo, and were even given two of Nintendo’s marque characters to work with: Donkey Kong and Star Fox. During the N64 era, one third party developer stood above the rest when it came to developing games; this type of production value from a third party has never really been seen again on Nintendo platforms. Rare was the company responsible for highly rated games such as Golden Eye (1997), Banjo-Kazooie (1998), Diddy Kong Racing (1999), Donkey Kong 64 (1999), Perfect Dark (2000), Banjo-Tooie (2000), Conker’s Bad Furday (2001), and Star Fox Adventures (2002). In 2002, Rare was purchased by Microsoft; they continued to develop and re-released titles on Nintendo handheld devices, but published on console exclusively for Microsoft.
When looking at the list of games outlined above, every true Nintendo fan would gladly take any of those. The issue is that many of these characters are creations of Rare – Banjo and Kazooie, Conker, and many of the characters from Diddy Kong Racing – and therefore will never find their way to the Wii U. This is incredibly disappointing since some of my most favorite games on N64 came from Rare. There are two games that could potentially make a reappearance on Wii U, and those are the two I will focus on.
Resurgence of Star Fox
After years of pleading -and in some cases perhaps begging – Nintendo is bringing Star Fox to the Wii U. Although it was the Star Fox I was expecting, it is not the title I hoped for. Many people remember Star Fox as the space shooter, but for myself, I remember Star Fox as a 3D action adventure game. It took Star Fox out of his spaceship and onto the ground, wielding a staff for a weapon.
What made Star Fox on the Gamecube so attractive to myself was because it wasn’t Mario and it wasn’t Zelda. After playing through Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, I was tired of playing the same, albeit amazing, games. Star Fox was entirely different, with a wide variety of interesting characters, a new world that wasn’t Hyrule or the Mushroom Kingdom. It was exciting, it was fun to play, and it just worked. Unfortunately, that was the last 3D, primarily on foot adventure, Star Fox ever took; he slowly disappeared into obscurity from that moment forward, only popping up in a few releases on Nintendo handhelds.
Unlike Donkey Kong, where the characters are all owned by Nintendo, the origins of many of the Star Fox Adventures characters if relatively unknown. We know for sure that Star Fox is the property of Nintendo, but whether the supporting cast is seems to be a mystery. If Nintendo does in fact own the characters in that amazing Gamecube title, the chance of it happening are just a notch above unlikely. This one is definitely a personal wish, rather than a wide spread desire from gamers as a whole.
The Fans Want DK 64
Donkey Kong 64 can never be re-released on the Wii U because it was developed by Rare and they own it. This is the general belief on the Internet, but it is far from a fact. Nintendo commissioned Rare to create Donkey Kong 64 for them, and therefore, everything within the game technically belongs to Nintendo, not Microsoft as so many individuals wrongly assume. Even those who understand that Donkey Kong is a Nintendo property, still hold to the belief that some legal issue prohibits Nintendo from doing a Donkey Kong 64 remake.
The only thing that would need to be taken out of Donkey Kong 64 would be Rare’s logo, which can be found on numerous crates and on the Golden Bananas. Aside from that, Nintendo is free to remake Donkey Kong 64 if they wish.
Donkey Kong 64 would be an excellent game to remake, although I’m torn on where I hope it would land. Part of me wants the game to be also with me in my pocket, making a remake on the 3DS the better option; however, I feel that part of the enjoyment I got out of Donkey Kong 64 was the battle mode. After completing the single player story line, the only reason that cartridge ever stayed in my N64 was because I would play it for hours on end with friends. This would make the Wii U a better home for the game.
Donkey Kong fans have enjoyed the games that Nintendo continues to roll out; however, a third installment of the newly rediscovered Donkey Kong Country series may not go over as well as the previous two. If I had it my way, I would remake Donkey Kong 64 to give fans a break from what could potentially become a tiresome Donkey Kong Country series.
More to come.
This was only an introduction and brief look at a few Rare games that could reappear on either the Wii U or 3DS. Throughout the summer – which looks to be a slow one for Nintendo – I will continue to look and argue the merits for a number of other games to receive the HD treatment. While very few of these will ever get a legitimate remake, a few of them most definitely will.
Hit me up in twitter (@adamroffel) if you have a title you think Nintendo should consider remaking, and I will be sure to look at it at some point throughout the summer. Until then, keep it at gamesreviews.com for future articles in this series.