I know I haven’t written one of these since July, but I’ve been meaning to go back to it for some time now. In fact, part of the reason I had such a long hiatus in the first place was because the only thing I felt I could write was another one of these listicles, but I considered it in poor taste to do another one right after the first without anything to break up the monotony. So after kicking out two totally different articles last month, it’s time to climb back into the wishlist game. It isn’t pretty and it’s definitely self-serving, but hey, at this point, this is pretty much my blog. So what I say goes, right? I say it’s time to start begging for some more re-releases.
Once again, let’s go over the rules of these articles. First of all, I’m going to be looking at games from the 6th generation (that is, PlayStation 2, Gamecube and the original Xbox) and earlier. I’ve decided to focus on one company for each article, sticking to the North American regions (So don’t comment that something on these lists got re-released in Japan. I honestly don’t care.) I’ll also be discussing any potential improvements that could be made to these games, in cases where the games themselves would receive an HD re-release. To make things reasonable, I’ll also be avoiding games that saw re-releases on 7th generation and later consoles, via PlayStation Classics, Virtual Console or anything like that. Sure, more substantial re-releases than Sony’s and Nintendo’s emulations would be preferred, but it’s better than nothing.
This time, we’ll be looking at another one of my favorite companies of old. If the title didn’t give it away, we’ll be looking at Capcom. Surprisingly, Capcom’s actually done a pretty good job on the re-release front: we’ve even got an HD version of Resident Evil Zero coming up early next year. Sure, some of their stuff came off as lazy (I’m still kinda bummed that I had to leave all of the Street Fighter Alpha games, just because Capcom put out their inferior ports as PSone Classics, so they are technically available), but for the most part, they’ve done a pretty good job. It actually took me some time to come up with 10 games to put on this list, but I still managed it.
Red Earth (Arcade)
Number one on this list has been a long time coming. It’s the only game released on the Capcom Play-System 3 arcade hardware that didn’t receive a home port in any way, shape or form. Red Earth (or Warzard, as it’s known in Japan) was actually a pretty interesting take on the fighting game genre. Sure, it had the traditional 2-player versus mode, but the real unique part of the game was the single-player quest mode, which was a fairly robust story mode for a fighting game made in 1996. Each character has alternate endings based on various choices made in-game, not unlike Killer Instinct 2. The gameplay was interesting as well, mixing a well-designed Capcom fighting engine with various RPG elements such as the ability to level up your characters, which enhanced their abilities and even allowed them to learn new attacks. Characters could also obtain various items, including meals to replenish HP and elemental orbs that can be used to attack enemies. Red Earth even had a password system akin to that of Midway’s Gauntlet games from the mid-to-late 90s, allowing players to maintain their character’s progress, both in story and experience. Alas, the game’s been lost to the ages for the most part. Best we’ve seen were cameos in Pocket Fighter, SNK vs. Capcom: CHAOS and Capcom Fighting Evolution and a long-standing fan sentiment to fold Red Earth into the Darkstalkers universe.
Potential Improvements: Give this sucker the Darkstalkers Resurrection treatment. Filters, GGPO Netcode, unlockable art gallery, in-game achievements in addition to the standard ones, the works. Replacing the arcade original’s password system with a save function with several slots is the only real major change I’d make to the game’s base functionality. The only real problem would be choosing a game to go with it, but I’d honestly be willing to shell out $10-15 for an arcade-perfect port of Red Earth alone if it came with features like some of Capcom’s earlier re-releases.
Battle Circuit (Arcade)
Perhaps the most underrated of Capcom’s forays into the beat-‘em-up genre (I was always partial to Alien vs. Predator myself), Battle Circuit is basically a spiritual successor to Captain Commando with a much more robust engine, utilizing the same science fiction themes. Players can choose between 5 characters: Cyber Blue, a cyborg bounty hunter; Yellow Iris, an alien catgirl; Alien Green, a bipedal carnivorous plant; Pink Ostrich, exactly what it says on the tin & Captain Silver, a bounty hunter with a stretchy body and ice powers. The game also has beautiful 2D graphics, a comedic storyline and even the ability to purchase upgrades with collectable in-game currency, which can even be retained if you switch characters. You can buy things like upgrades to existing moves, brand new special moves, longer health meters and the ability to buy additional power-up stocks.
Potential Improvements: Give it the same treatment as Final Fight: Double Impact or Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. You know the drill: unlockables, GGPO drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, in-game achivements, Best of all, it’s even got a perfect companion game: Captain Commando. Then you’ve got a perfect Capcom sci-fi beat-‘em-up duology.
Project Justice (Arcade/Dreamcast)
Probably what I’d consider Capcom’s best attempt at a traditional 3D fighting game, Project Justice was the sequel to the cult classic Rival Schools: United by Fate. It improved on its predecessor in many ways while maintaining the original’s unique take on tag-team combat. Teams were expanded from 2 to 3 characters, allowing for an additional element of strategy with regards to both the game’s allowance of switching characters between rounds and when planning Team-Up Attacks (since you have 2 choices offered to you on a team instead of 1), as well as a new maneuver known as the “Party Up” technique, which involved all 3 party members.
Potential Improvements: Package both Project Justice and Rival Schools together and give them the Darkstalkers Resurrection treatment with solid netcode, unlockable art galleries and the in-game achievements system. At bare minimum, I’d be willing to accept a bare-bones re-release of the first game on the North American PlayStation Network, it’s already out in Japan.
Ring of Destruction – Slam Masters II (Arcade)
You’re probably sensing a pattern by now, and it’s no accident: many of the games on my list never received home ports in any way, shape or form, so re-releases are a good chance to make up for lost time. Case in point, here’s another game, Capcom’s second (and as of yet, final) foray into pro wrestling video games. Ring of Destruction played even more like Capcom’s standard fighting games than the original Slam Masters: unlike the original, opponents could only be defeated by depleting their health, the game didn’t utilize the wrestling setting as much as Saturday Night Slam Masters and the gameplay focused more of Street Fighteresque special moves over the original’s more traditional wrestling grabs. In spite of that, Ring of Destruction was still a well-designed fighting game, even if it abandoned most of what made the original Slam Masters so unique.
Potential Improvements: Same as the last three: GGPO netcode, unlockable art gallery and in-game achievements. The question is what the pack-in title should be. The original Saturday Night Slam Masters seems like an obvious choice, but frankly, I’d prefer the Japan-exclusive enhancement, Muscle Bomber Duo, which allowed for 2-on-2, 4-player action. Better yet, they could include all 3 for a complete package.
Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2 (Gamecube/PlayStation 2)
These two just baffle me. You’d think at least one of the Viewtiful Joe games would’ve been released as a PS2 Classic by now. The original Viewtiful Joe is my favorite of the so-called “Capcom Five”, the five games Capcom promised as Gamecube exclusives (but didn’t quite work out that way, for the most part). In the Viewtiful Joe games, you take control of Joe, a movie fanatic who gets sucked into the colorful Movieland and gains reality-warping superpowers as his alter ego, Viewtiful Joe (natch). Both games were cult classics and fans of the series still hold out hope for a true sequel: there was a spin-off game for the Nintendo DS and a Smash Bros.-clone based on the anime for the GameCube and PSP.
Potential Improvements: Give it the Okami HD treatment. Just upscale the graphics so that they don’t look blurry or pixelated on modern platforms with larger screen resolutions. Achievements would be a nice addition to both games, but not a necessity. Bundling both games into a combo pack would be ideal, but I’d be willing to buy each game separately.
MegaMan Legends 2 (PlayStation)
This one shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Fans were shocked when The Misadventures of Tron Bonne hit the North American PSN and surprised when the original MegaMan Legends hit as well. Now it’s time to finish the slate of re-releases. Rumors abounded that this game was already being primed for a re-release on PSN, but it turns out that the listing found was an old one marked “Disc Only”, so no confirmation as of yet.
Potential Improvements: Honestly, I’ve got nothing here. Frankly, this is probably the one case where I’d prefer this game be re-released unaltered as a PS1 Classic. HD ports would be appreciated, but without the other 2 games in the series, it seems rather pointless.
Cannon Spike (Arcade/Dreamcast)
Probably the most unorthodox game on this list, Cannon Spike was an interesting niche title released by Capcom late into the Dreamcast’s lifespan. Cannon Spike was effectively a beat-‘em-up/shoot-‘em-up hybrid where players were able to take control of such classic Capcom characters as Cammy White and Charlie Nash from Street Fighter, B.B. Hood from Darkstalkers, Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins and even Mega Man.
Potential Improvements: I’d definitely want enhanced graphics, simply for the sake of the higher resolutions found on modern consoles. Another addition I’d love to see would love to have would be online multiplayer. This would likely require a fair amount of work compared to Capcom’s usual remasters, mainly due to most of them utilizing the existing GGPO middleware, which was mostly designed for 2D fighting games.
19XX: The War Against Destiny/1944: The Loop Master (Arcade)
This one was honestly kind of a toss-up. I decided to look into which classic games in what I call the “19XX” series hadn’t received a proper re-release recently and these were the only two games that fit the bill. The 19XX games were effectively Capcom’s premier entries in the shoot-‘em-up genre and it’s a shame that the last two games from the arcade era have never really received their due attention in terms of home ports.
Potential Improvements: Ideally, I’d like for them to bundle these two games together with 1941: Counter Attack, a game last seen re-released on the PSP. After all, the other 19XX games have been re-released in the compilation Capcom Arcade Cabinet. Include online play, the in-game achievements system we’ve seen in other Capcom remasters and unlockable art and sound galleries.
Killer7 (Gamecube/PlayStation 2)
I’m actually kind of surprised that Capcom holds the rights to this one, but if they’re the ones making it impossible for Grasshopper Manufacture to make a sequel, then they’re probably within their rights to make with a re-release. Killer7 was a cult classic during the sixth generation and propelled Suda51 to the limelight he enjoyed throughout the seventh generation, with such games as the No More Heroes series, Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer is Dead.
Potential Improvements: I’d ideally like for this one to have an HD makeover, just like Okami did. On the other hand, we could have a Silent Hill HD fiasco on our hands when upscaling the game, due to its unique artstyle. Honestly, I’d welcome a PS2 Classics version, or better yet, a Virtual Console re-release if Nintendo ever decides to add GameCube to their repertoire.
Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (PlayStation 2)
Now I know what you’re probably thinking: Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is generally considered the weakest game in the entire franchise. Let’s face facts, it’s also the only one that has at least a snowflake’s chance in Hell of getting a re-release due to the lack of legal hoops due to likeness rights and all that good stuff. So if you’re like me and you want Onimusha 5…or 4…or however you count it, a re-release of this one is probably our best bet.
Potential Improvements: I’d honestly be just fine with a PS2 Classics release on this one. Set the bar low, so we’d be more likely to succeed and show Capcom that there’s still a demand for this series in a more substantial form than an Asia-exclusive browser-based simulation RPG.
A substantially larger amount of honorable mentions this time around: Maximo vs. Army of Zin, Tech Romancer, Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness and the NES version of Strider. Once again, a fairly good list, but as I said, there are some games that Capcom re-released unsatisfactorily, but since they are still obtainable (albeit not ideally), I’m afraid I had to let them go. Compared to the previous list, I think I had more fun writing this one than the Sega one, just simply because it was harder to find games that fulfilled my own criteria. I do love a good hunt.