80’s Franchises That Deserve New Video Game Releases
I am an 80’s kid. There, I said it. When the 80’s came around I was well into my youth, and since I didn’t have an NES to depend on until about midway through it, I had to watch a lot of shows, both cartoons and live-action, to entertain myself. Needless to say, a lot of memories are sticking – especially now, as a lot of franchises are coming back for a new generation – and they’re bigger and, in some ways, a little more over-the-top than expected. (Looking at you, Transformers.)
Last week, I was delighted to review the awesome Voltron: Defender of the Universe game, which reminded me of the classic show of old while featuring some fresh shooting action. I thought…well, why can’t other franchises come back in the same manner? So, with that, I’m delving deep into my brain cavity to bring you eight (well, nine technically) 80’s franchise that deserve a relaunch as new video games, either downloadable or full on retail. C’mon, developers, make it happen – and more importantly, make ‘em GOOD.
Though not everyone was crazy about last year’s big-budget Hollywood remake (maybe it had something to do with “Rampage” Jackson being cast in Mr. T’s timeless role), we enjoyed its over-the-top frivolity and madcap action. Of course, nothing beats the original, with its crazy stunts and its terrific character personas – and not just Mr. T, we also mean Murdock, Hannibal and Face. With the show long gone, why can’t someone make a new action game featuring the ability to switch off between the characters and complete a number of mercenary missions? Oh, and we need van driving stages as well, thanks. I pity the fool that don’t let me wreck stuff with that van.
Before David Hasselhoff went off to a career that included judging singers, trying his luck with his own albums, and going off into drinking binges, he drove one of the coolest cars we could remember from the 80’s, KITT. Though Acclaim tried to do the franchise justice with its NES release, it came up just a bit short. So what better time than now to redo the game as a full-fledged, over-the-top arcade racer with stunts galore (turbo boost!) and plenty of objectives? Someone like Black Box or Criterion would be perfect for this franchise, and they could even get the guy who voiced KITT to come back and do some lines for pure nostalgia. We could involve Hasselhoff too…if someone could wake him, please.
Thunder…thunder…thundercats, HOOOOOOOO! The original 80’s cartoon is still fresh in our minds, even though we’re thoroughly enjoying Cartoon Network’s modern take on the legacy. Who would’ve thought that they could do it right?! That said, we need a new Thundercats game to fill our need of Liono action, something that would give us sight beyond sight. A third-person action game would do the trick, complete with Thundercat tank sequences and maybe even something where we could bother Snarf to no end. SNARF!
The Inspector has seen better times. After Hudson Soft pretty much made a joke out of the clumsy yet loyal police officer with a below-average SNES game (and Disney did even worse by making not one, but two movie blunders, one inexplicably featuring Matthew Broderick), the only good memory we have left of him is his charming animated show, featuring the voice of the late Don Adams. That said, we could use a new platformer for XBLA or PSN, one that makes specific use of his abilities and also includes plenty of laughs, like the show itself. I’m sure someone out there could easily fill that duty…unless Dr. Claw is stopping them somehow.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Any attempt at making a legitimate He-Man and the Masters of the Universe game thus far has been a joke, particularly on the Atari 2600. Hell, at this rate, all we have to turn to is the laughably bad (but still enjoyable – as a shot game) live-action movie, featuring Dolph Lundgren in the title role. That said, why can’t someone go and make a Golden Axe-style action game featuring the hero, alongside Man-At-Arms, Teela, and maybe even She-ra, as they battle the forces of Skeletor? This could easily be a great arcade brawler, along the same lines as the Simpsons Arcade and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. C’mon, do it. By the Power of Grayskull!
Not many people might’ve heard of Danger Mouse, but back in the 80’s, he was one of the primary reasons to watch Nickelodeon. The British hero worked alongside the ridiculously weak Penfold as he battled the evil Baron Greenback, a toad hellbent on ruling the world. This game would be perfect as a downloadable title, featuring 3-D driving sequences and plenty of great action with DM at the helm – and a few Penfold-driven mini-games wouldn’t be bad either, even if he’s not good for much. Ooh, crumbs!
At a time when folks were heavily into Transformers, MASK offered something a little bit different. The characters that drove the vehicles adorned masks that actually gave them special abilities, and the vehicles that they were driving could transform into alternate means of transportation, like a car turning into a jet. Wouldn’t that be ideal for a great action game, perhaps a co-op effort where the good guys could easily take on VENOM? The only other games we have are some pretty low-level ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 efforts, so yeah, we could use something new.
Disney Afternoon (DuckTales, Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers)
Finally, this is a call we’d like to place specifically to Capcom. Back in the 80’s, you guys made some of the best Disney-based games ever for the Nintendo Entertainment System, including the original DuckTales (as well as its sequel) and the two Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers games. That said, we’re due to see these titles again. We don’t necessarily need new ones, nor do we need HD remakes like what you’ve been producing as of late. We’ll simply take the old games back, working alongside friends with Chip and Dale or bouncing around with Scrooge McDuck on the moon. Surely something can be worked out with Disney – we’re betting they loved these games just as much as us, if not even more. BRING THEM BACK!