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Originals

Originals

5 classic games with awful sequels (and the modern devs who could fix them)

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3) Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

Prince of Persia Sands of Time

Why the original was great

It paved the way for many of today’s platformers, tossed in a thematically relevant time-rewind mechanic, and offered up a simple but charming story. It’s one of those perfect packages that shrugs off the majority of criticism because it feels complete. When you talk about games as works of art, Sands of Time will always have a place in the conversation.

Why the sequel wasn’t

Warrior Within was a vast departure from Sands of Time, turning the prince into a grim-dark brooder and throwing out artistic integrity for a drop-tuned metal soundtrack. Sure it cleaned up a few gameplay issues, but it was an aesthetic mess that betrayed just about everything people loved about Sands of Time. Credit is due for trying something different, but the game still stands as one of the most misguided sequels ever.

Prince of Persia Warrior Within

Who could fix it

thatgamecompany, developers of Flower and Journey, are masters of games that feel like artful, complete packages. Sure, their games are shorter and simpler than Sands of Time, but you’d never worry about them making a game that wasted your time or betrayed its ideas. That, and they have some mighty fine sand technology that would fit well with the Persia setting.

4) ToeJam & Earl

Toe Jam and Earl

Why the original was great

With light-hearted humor, an amazing soundtrack, and roguelike gameplay that was way ahead of its time, ToeJam & Earl is one of the few 16-bit games that seems to get better with age. The variety of enemies and randomly generated items keep the game fun no matter how many times you play it.

Why the sequel wasn’t

The original ToeJam & Earl is a top-down game with randomly generated environments. The sequel, in an attempt to appeal to the mascot platformer crowd, became a side-scroller, and a bad one at that. It betrayed the entire premise of the original, and not in that love/hate way Zelda II did. It’s pretty much just terrible.

Toe Jam and Earl 2

Who could fix it

When I think of laugh-out-loud humor and excellent cartoon art, few developers come to mind more quickly than Double Fine. With games like Brutal Legend, Iron Brigade, and Costume Quest, they’ve already proven again and again that they can make games in smaller genres with plenty of depth. I can’t even imagine the brilliant writing they’d pull off, but I can’t help thinking it would be full of goofy references to the 90s.

5) Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D

Why the original was great

Duke Nukem 3D took the Doom formula and packed it full of tastelessness and goofy gimmicks. Duke Nukem spouted one-liners while tipping strippers and then fired rockets at aliens in grimy alleyways. The world was full of weird interactive buttons, playable pool tables, and more. The sleazy, boys’ club humor may not hold up today, but just like Doom, the gameplay is still sharp.

Why the sequel wasn’t

Duke Nukem Forever isn’t the worst game ever, but it might be the most disappointing. Over a decade of development resulted in a game that would have been neat in 2001, but today it’s simply a derivative mess. Even those who appreciated the humor of the original game found most of DNF’s jokes gross. The impregnated twins scene was quite possibly one of the lowest points in video game storytelling.

Duke Nukem Forever

Who could fix it

Ultra-violence, dark humor, depravity, fast and refined gameplay -- one recent game managed to accomplish all of these things while remaining smart and modern. That game was Hotline Miami, and if any developer could recapture Duke for a new generation, it’s Dennaton Games. Duke Nukem doesn’t work as he was nor does he work as an antiquated parody of himself, but I can’t help but see parallels between Duke Nukem 3D and Hotline Miami. If anyone could reinvent Duke and make him brilliant again, it’s Dennaton.

Do you have a dream team in mind to save a fallen franchise? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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Tags: Perfect Dark Zero, Duke Nukem Forever, Prince of Persia, Toejam and Earl, Nights

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