Published on January 31st, 2013 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor
Editorial | Gaming Franchise’s that Time has Forgotten
We receive a plethora of sequels every year, whether we want them or not. Remember when Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero had annual releases? YUCK! Some franchises have seen their prime come and go. Some of these names haven’t been heard for a long time. These are the franchises that time has forgotten.
Missing in Action since: 1999, Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy, Game Boy Color
Why you should miss the franchise: Think of Earthworm Jim as the Duke Nukem of platforming games.
Instead of Duke being the focal point of the humor however, Earthworm Jim used the levels and situations to provide the comedy. Just the premise of a worm as the lead character was enough to get a chuckle, and levels like “Heck” and characters such as “Queen Slugforabutt” were just the icing on the comedic cake. Tight platforming, fun weapons and interesting sub-levels kept the freshness going.
The first two outings were available on Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo and Sega CD. Jim made his 3D debut on the Nintendo 64 with Earthworm Jim 3D, and while a solid game, didn’t quite capture the charm of the first two. The main problem was the transformation to 3D, which caused a few other franchises to fall flat on their face. After a forgettable outing on Game Boy Color, he then disappeared. Aside from a cameo in the Clayfighers series, Earthworm Jim hasn’t seen a full-fledged release since the N64 era, which is sad. I’m sure the HD versions of the original game were a great memory for older gamers who grew up with the series, and a great introduction to newcomers.
Still, I think there is a market for another Earthworm Jim game on a modern platform. As a handheld game, Earthworm Jim should be able to thrive with the 3D effects of the Nintendo 3DS and keeping the 2D platforming architecture, which is what the series was best at.
Missing in Action since: 2003, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Xbox
Why you should miss this franchise: Big-ass dragons are cool. Flying on them and battling is even cooler.
Panzer Dragoon was a staple franchise on the Sega Saturn. The third edition of the game turned into a cross between dragon flying/Action RPG and was phenomenal — arguably one of the best games on the system. SEGA always used the Saturn hardware to its fullest. The games had crisp beautiful graphics and excellent gameplay. The Xbox saw one ‘Dragoon title, and then it went out with a whimper to not be heard from again.
SEGA has teased fans with a race track in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, but a full-fledged revisit would be so much better.
Missing in Action since: 1994, Battletoads AKA Super Battletoads, Arcade
Why you should miss this franchise: Battletoads was basically Double Dragon on crack. A difficult, yet fun, side-scrolling beat’em’up with beautiful graphics, Battletoads was a must-own on the NES. The sequel was great, too. The series even had a cartoon in Canada, and looked to become a full-fledged powerhouse. Then, for some reason, it disappeared completely.
Rumblings of an HD-remake and inclusion in Double Dragon: Neon was heard (since the highly successful Battletoads & Double Dragon game on NES) but nothing came of it. No cameos, nothing. For such an iconic NES title, it seems strange that no one would try to do something with the Battletoads name, especially in the age of nostalgia being presented on Xbox LIVE, PlayStation Network and eShop fronts.
Missing in Action Since: 2008, ObscCure II,
Why you should miss this franchise: Do you like proper survival horror? Do you enjoy classic horror movies? Of course you do, everyone does.
ObsCure was scary, bloody and full of cheesy acting. The story following a group of high school students trying to rid their high school of the evil lurking inside. The sequel follows the survivors in college who are once again faced with the task of ridding the college of evil creatures. The story wasn’t great, but it’s not supposed to be. It was a love letter to ’80s horror films.
The gameplay was solid, looked well, and the musical score was some of the best original music that really set the dark atmosphere. With Silent Hill being the only real survival horror franchise still around, you would think a new version of ObsCure would be able to captivate the large audience that is tired of the action-based Resident Evil games of late.
Time may have forgotten these franchises, but I hope that gamers have not. What would you like to see rebuilt and showcased in 2013 and beyond?
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