2009 is here, and it seems that this year could be the year of the sequel. Many older and less obvious remakes or new games are being released during the next 12 months, but why? Have video game designers seen the success of people like Take That and want to jump on that bandwagon? Or is the credit crunch stifling creativity. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that retro gamers are looking nostalgically at the revival of a few franchises that are seeing the light of day in 2009. But which one should you look for? Retro Garden has your run down of some of the games you could be playing in 2009.
5. Duke Nukem Forever (PC – Possibly)
“It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I’m all out of gum. Hold on whilst I search for some more” is a quote borrowed from the game’s hero – Duke Nukem, and may explain why this game is taking so ruddy long to make. It’s a bit of a joke this game, it started life out in 1999, following the phenomenal success of the previous game – Duke Nukem 3D. This game has been a licence to print money, which featured a more satirical, wisecracking badass hero in a Doom like setting, however there’s beer, the ability to urinate, dog mess and an abundance of pornography, hookers and some of the nastiest scum of the universe. This game was a success, and DNF has had their appetite whet for a while now.
However, the game remained in development hell for a number of years, following early screenshots, and nothing seems to be happening, with the development team creating CGI screenshots every 8 months or so, before releasing them into the wild. The last ones were released earlier this month, and it does look pretty good. However, will it be worth the wait? Or will the game that has had a longer development cycle than both the world wars be more flaccid than Duke’s “Nukem” following the film “Sister Act III”? This year…maybe…will tell.
4. Diablo 3 (PC/Mac – Unknown Release Date)
One game with a slightly shorter development cycle is Diablo 3. The third game in Blizzard Entertainments hack and slash RPG was announced quite surprisingly last summer. Like the previous two games, this will feature a story mode with set missions, as well as random dungeons & missions, and a engrossing multiplayer.
Twenty years after the events of Diablo II, once again the world’s in danger from the underworld lead by the dark lord Diablo. Nothing is known about the classes, but you can be sure that a magical character, a warrior, a mixture of the above and at least one scantily clad woman will be playable. Blizzard seem to be spending their time making the game playable on at the very least average PC’s, and no further details are known. However, for fans of the first two games, this could be well worth adding to the list.
3. Great Giana Sisters (Nintendo DS – June 2009)
Probably the most surprising game on the list (more on this next week), Great Giana Sisters achieved a bit of cult history in the late 1980’s, and is quite saught after amongst retro game makers. Basically the game – if you couldn’t tell from the title, was a piss take of Super Mario Brothers games, with very similar gameplay, powerups and enemies. Nintendo didn’t take too kindly to this, and sent the publishers of the C64 and Amiga games a cease & desist, and the game never saw much of the light of day.
Now, 21 years later after it was pulled from the shelves, The Great Giana Sisters is now making it’s official debut….on the Nintendo DS. Yes, it’s not quite The Super Mario Brothers, it’s more of a action adventure than a platformer, but it maintains the original powerups and gameplay styles. Maybe it should be called Great Giana World? Or Great Giana Earth? If it plays half as good as the original, which was as quarter as well as the game it was based on, we could have another fun little platform game for the Nintendo DS.
2. Punch Out Wii (Wii – Summer 2009)
Coming out in the summer of 2009, Punch Out Wii seems to based more on the original Punch Out, rather than the Super Nintendo. It seems to be a logical step up from Wii Boxing, and the motion controls that the revolutionary console brings.
Very little is known about the game at the moment, the game is a rather attractive cartoon/cel shaded graphics, but again, very little is known. King Hippo, Glass Joe & Von Kaiser have been announced or are viewable in trailers, and there appears to be similar style gameplay to previous games. Only time will tell if it’s worth getting, but fingers crossed it will be, particularly if they include characters from Super Punch Out. Come on Nintendo, I want to batter Narcis Prince again!
1. Street Fighter IV (Xbox/PC/PS3 – February 2009)
Yes, number 1 of my list of top 5 retro gaming releases for 2009 will be the fourth saga in the Street Fighter series. They’ve taken it 3D, yet left as many of the gameplay mechanics 2D. The other important 2 is “Street Fighter II” – The game takes place in the Street Fighter canon sometime around the end of the “Alpha” tournaments and before the “II” tournaments. Therefore, the 12 characters from Street Fighter 2, Cammy & Fei Long from Super Street Fighter, and Gen, Sakura, Dan & Rose from Street Fighter Alpha make their appearance.
There are new characters, one of them is Gouken – the mystical fighter from Street Fighter history who trained Ryu & Ken – as well as 5 completely new characters (at time of writing). The game takes a more traditional view of Street Fighter combat, with more similarities with Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo than any other game, you have one level super combos, the classic roster and less of the tricks that Street Fighter 3 added. There are new tricks including Ultra Combos (like Super Combos, but used when you’re in trouble, not when you’re dominating) and Focus Attacks (like counter moves). But it hopes to be a more balanced Street Fighter, only with flashier graphics.
Worringly nobody from Street Fighter 3 has made the cut. I would like to see at least one (please let it be Alex) character to make it to Street Fighter VI, but it is looking ever unlikely. Nevertheless, this game looks pretty solid, and probably the most anticipated game for Retro Game fans in 2009. Will it live upto it’s hype? Only time will tell, but if I may stick my head out, I’ll say yes.
What are you looking forward to next year?