By Andrew Stokely
Nintendo franchises. You know them. You love them. You grew up with them. They have provided you with hours upon hours of fun, challenge, and, from time to time, feels. But what about those franchises that never gained proper fan base or ran into snafus when developing sequels? Who is there to speak up for them? Me. That’s who. So, I made this list dedicated to just a handful of those kinds of games that either never got the proper follow-up treatment the way Mario and Zelda did or just haven’t been heard from much in recent years. I also want to elaborate a little bit on why I think these games should come back.
I put this one low on the list since there are some details of a possible new Metroid game on the Wii U. However, they are largely speculative. Why? Well, I honestly think Nintendo’s being a little bit overly cautious about Metroid. I suspect that the delay in development is largely due to the mixed reviews and limited success of Other M, which came out five years ago this fall. It left a foul taste in people’s mouths with its clunky mix of first and third person action segments and a story line that reduced the badass Samus we’ve come to know and love over the course of the Prime trilogy to an order-following grunt. People seemed to focus on these elements above the clever puzzles or the much needed development as Samus as a character, but hey, different strokes for different folks. Is Nintendo currently working on a project to fix such complaints and putting the Prime trilogy on the E-Shop as a teaser? Only time, and possibly E3 2015 will tell.
4. Eternal Darkness
Back in the early 2000s, Nintendo seemed to be going through a bit of an identity crisis. Their being branded by the public at large as the kids’ console company that started with the SNES was apparently hitting them hard by the time the Gamecube came about. It evidently hit them hard enough to want to change their marketing approach a little bit by gaining rights to more mature titles such as Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil. Hell, a remake of the first RE game even came as an exclusive on the GC. But Nintendo still wanted something darker and more twisted to balance out all the Monkey Balls and Pikmins and Windwakers. Enter developer Silicon Knights and the fourth-wall breaking eerie descent into madness that is Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. It was a unique and welcome spin on the survival horror genre that followed a vast Lovecraftian narrative and even induced more than a few rage quits with some of its gimmicky tactics. Love the idea of a game messing with you IRL or not, you have to admit that it would be a fun thing to play around with for the current console generation.
3. Kid Icarus
It took almost twenty-five years for the NES classic to make the comeback it deserved. Kid Icarus Uprising was everything it needed to be: a lightning paced shooter with a great atmosphere, fun music, and witty dialogue from fun and memorable characters. With Pit as a fan favorite fighter in now two Super Smash Bros, it only seems fitting that they carry his world and mythos from the small screen to the big one. The only question is: how? After all, Uprising was supposed to be a Starfox title, and with a new Starfox game on the way later this year, does it really make sense to release two third person behind-the-back flying shooters? It’s possible to get away with given time and imagination, but perhaps Kid Icarus could also return to its roots as a platformer in two or three dimensions. Or hell, they could even make it an FPS if they really wanted to. The possibilities really are endless with this one.
This cult classic RPG series has been dormant for entirely too long. Since the release of Mother 2, known in the west as Earthbound in 1994, it has gained, slowly but surely, massive critical acclaim and fan praise. However, at the time of its arrival in the US it was largely panned by reviewers and dismissed as a mindless kids’ game. In fact, I would compare its overall themes and appearance and even overall reception to that of the Cartoon Network animated series, Adventure Time, but that’s another topic for another day. Unlike Adventure Time, however, the numbers weren’t there. Mother 3 never received an official Western translation or release, although there is a ROM floating around out there somewhere. Nintendo has, since Mother 3, put no further time or money or effort into serving another piece of the Mother pie besides offering Earthbound as a download on the Virtual console. Fans have thus taken the metaphorical baton and are currently working on Mother 4, which should become available some time this year. Unfortunately, it’s probably your best bet since Nintendo has had pretty much nothing to do with this series for quite some time. But, I don’t think an offical sequel is entirely out of the question either, espcially if we take the 3DS into account. A Wii U sequel is more than likely not something the minds of the higher-ups of the company have ever even conceived of, but it’s till fun to imagine and speculate.
Nintendo, I’m going to be talking to you now. Personally. Right here. Right now. Nintendo, it’s time. F-Zero needs a sequel and needs one more than any other series. Why? Well, for any number of reasons. Let me count the ways. One: It is a mature, adult oriented franchise that doesn’t have to go out of its way to be rude or crude or violent. Racing at speeds of over 1500 km/hr is awesome in and of its own right that doesn’t need any kind of mature embellishment. Two: It adds some variety to the current gaming landscape, mostly consisting of gritty, realistic science-fiction and fantasy titles or flashy, brightly-colored kids games. F-Zero, stylistically speaking, manages to strike a missing balance with its anime inspired aesthetics that show restraint unlike so many Role Playing Games of the last generation did. Three: It has an old-school challenge that few games these days can match: skill-based driving that centers on lightning-fast reflexes and course memorization, that utilizes a simple arcade-style interface. Four: F-Zero has a long legacy of being some of the most fun, difficult, best-looking, most definitive games of their respective consoles. The original was a tough-as-nails, polished tech-demo for the SNES’s Mode 7. The sequel added a feeling of speed and acceleration in a real third dimension. F-Zero GX took X to the next level in terms of style, graphics, speed, controls, content, and even story. I could go on listing reasons why a new F-Zero game is necessary. Okay, maybe that’s a bit strong, but I still these reasons and more (HD resolutions and higher frame rates among them) justify this series as needing a new game like no other, even on this list.