Welcome back to my list of ten games/series that made their last appearance on the greatest system ever made and need sequels. Once again there is no particular order, just five SNES games with a description and how I envision a current-gen sequel working. And the mandatory intro paragraph, of course.
Wild Guns (Natsume, 1995)
Wild Guns belongs to a distinct but extremely rare genre. A combination of run and guns and rail shooters, Wild Guns has you controlling both a reticule and your character simultaneously, shooting enemies in the background while dodging their bullets. There are a handful of other games that use this concept (Cabal, Nam-1975), but Wild Guns is widely considered the best. Like Sunset Riders, Wild Guns takes place in the old west, but it isn’t just the bullets that have a futuristic feel. For reasons I’m not sure are ever explained, robots have invaded the 19th century western settings and it’s up to you to destroy all of them. Wild Guns actually has some features that are ahead of its time, letting you dodge roll and blow up most of the background objects. With intense but never cheap gameplay, it really is an overlooked classic.
The 2013 Version
The first instinct of many developers would probably be to make Wild Guns a traditional shooter. No, don’t even think about it. A modern Wild Guns needs to keep its identity, but the single screen levels could feel a little limiting on modern systems. Thankfully, there is one game that is essentially a perfect 3D translation of this rare genre: Sin and Punishment. Taking the same control scheme of moving both a character and reticule and having them run on rails through full 3D levels is exactly how a modern Wild Guns should work. This lends itself perfectly to the over the top action a game about robots attacking the old west deserves, the game practically programs itself!
Ninja Warriors (Natsume, 1994)
Another great game by Natsume (possibly the most underrated SNES publisher), Ninja Warriors could best be described as a hybrid of beat-em-ups and one on one fighters. You have the multiple enemies and scrolling levels of a beat-em-up, but you have the one plane movement of a fighter and the moves that come with that. This manages to solve some of the problems beat-em-ups have where the developer doesn’t seem to know how to balance three dimensional movement in a time when it was rare. The fighting feels more strategic, and like Wild Guns the core gameplay is very well balanced and has robots!
The 2013 Version
Ninja Warriors is pretty easy to translate into a modern game. Unlike Wild Guns, I think Ninja Warriors would work fine as the closest mainstream genre to it. The fast paced, combo heavy gameplay feels similar to modern 3D action games, and Ninja Warriors would work well as one. There really isn’t that much that has to be said, Ninja Warriors’ gameplay would translate nearly perfectly into a Devil May Cry style game. There isn’t even a need for a “keep the same tone” disclaimer, since action games seldom try to be overly realistic or serious anyway.
Skyblazer (Sony Imagesoft, 1994)
Skyblazer is an action platformer with the standard Engrish filled throwaway plot you’d expect from that era. The gameplay is solid and has a good amount of variety (auto-scrolling flight levels, mazes, a level where the walls are rotating in 3D) and bosses. In addition to your standard melee combat abilities you can climb walls and gain access to a number of spells as you progress through the game. A very good but not exceptional game, what makes Skyblazer stand out is that it’s a SNES game made by Sony, so it’s unlikely to ever appear anywhere else.
The 2013 Version
Since a sequel to Skyblazer would be Sony exclusive, it seems appropriate to use another Sony franchise as the template for it. Skyblazer’s setting and melee combat/platforming gameplay would fit perfectly into a God of War style game. Go ahead and make it darker and more violent, it’s not like anyone cares about the groundbreaking characters Sky and Old Man. With a larger emphasis on platforming and the mythology having a more eastern influence, Skyblazer could set itself apart enough from God of War to be a good addition to Sony’s first party lineup.
E.V.O.: Search for Eden (Enix, 1993)
I’m not sure if thinking E.V.O. was an educational simulation game was common or just me, but the game is actually an action-RPG/platformer hybrid. E.V.O. starts you out as a simplistic sea creature, and as you level up you evolve new forms and abilities from several options. The game also covers several eras, each with its own unique enemies and forms for you to choose from. With multiple endings and real-time sidescrolling combat and dungeons, E.V.O. was a very ambitious game for its time. While the combat and platforming is far from perfect, it’s functional enough to let you enjoy the addictive process of evolving your creature to easily kill and eat enemies that used to terrorize you.
The 2013 Version
This is another game where a modern version is easy to picture, but so is what made the game great being ruined. A modern E.V.O. would be tempted to turn into a full sim game, and that would ruin what made it special. E.V.O. should remain simple in its gameplay and leveling and keep the supernatural elements. A modern version should simply expand on it, imagine if it went from amoebas to space exploring humans. It would be important not to let ambition hurt the game Spore style, but as long as the combat remains real time, the evolution paths simple to manage, and the mystical story intact I think a modern E.V.O. could be amazing.
Demon’s Crest (Capcom, 1994)
You remember those red gargoyles from the Ghouls ‘N Ghosts series? Well they had their own spin-off series, and it’s actually better than the original. Unlike Arthur who only has one weapon at a time and the worst armor in the world, the gargoyle protagonist Firebrand has a variety of abilities and gains new one and improvements throughout all three of the Gargoyle’s Quest/Demon’s Crest games. Despite the RPG elements, the core of the series is still action platforming, and Demon’s Crest is definitely the best in the series. Don’t let that infamous week it had more returns than sales fool you, Demon’s Crest is one of Capcom’s best SNES games.
The 2013 Version
A projectile-based platformer, Demon’s Crest could be tricky to translate into 3D. I think the best bet would be a big genre combination like Darksiders. A Zelda style overworld and dungeon setup would fit well into the series, especially Demon’s Crest with its emphasis on multiple paths and different forms for Firebrand. The style of combat and platforming mix would be nearly impossible in 3D, so since this is my fantasy about a game that will never be made anyway let’s just make the dungeons 2D. A higher puzzle emphasis and less linearity within them (which means adding a map is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY, just in case I acquired reality warping powers without realizing it and this game gets made) would be a logical evolution for the series. Since we have a 3D overworld (even the SNES game had that, kind of), might as well use it for some gameplay and having rail shooter style air battles. This game might end up with negative sales again, but it sure would be awesome.
So there you have it, ten games that last appeared on SNES and need sequels. I’d like to make a few honorable mentions for Pocky and Rocky (had a sequel much later, but from what I’m told it was terrible), the Soulblazer trilogy (had an even more obscure fourth game on PS1), and Yoshi’s Safari (which just didn’t quite make the list). Will any of these games ever get actual sequels? Well, it’s not impossible, with the rise of lower budget downloadable games and the internet making nostalgia exponentially more powerful there’s always a chance. But until then, at least we still have these SNES classics.