Retro video games are nearly as popular as modern AAA games. Whether it is because the original generation of video game players has reached adulthood and can freely purchase older games or because websites like GoG.com make these games available for pennies on the dollar, older games are surging in sales. All three major console makers have taken advantage of this by selling older games as digital downloads. Additionally, many companies are publishing remakes of old best selling games. The following are the top ten best remakes ever made.
10. Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories – There is something about Kingdom Hearts games and titles that make your head spin. The original GBA game featured graphics similar to those found in Final Fantasy Tactics. This PS2 remake gave it a complete makeover, changing the graphics to full 3D, nearly identical to those found in Kingdom Hearts II. Game play wasn’t changed, but the added beauty made it a much more pleasant play experience.
9. DuckTales: Remastered – The original was one of the best platformers ever released for the NES. The 2013 remake improved on everything. The graphics were cleaner, the levels were longer, the bosses were made more interesting, and the game even added some unlockable media content. If you loved the original, you will love this version even more.
8. Final Fantasy IV – The original was both genre defining and a system seller, making it impressive that later remakes would actually improve on the original. But, while these improvements were huge, they do meaningfully add to the game, including adding additional end game content. New equipment, new characters, new animation, and best of all, voiceovers and 3D rendered cut scenes make the GBA version even better than the original.
7. Counter-Strike: Source – The original Counter-Strike was a modded version of Half-Life. The game is generally considered the best pure skill multiplayer first person shooter game available. But, as technology improved, Counter-Strike remained the same. Counter-Strike: Source is a near perfect fan remake using the Valve created Source engine. The original game is intact, but the new version also adds additional features and functionality that simply makes the classic game even better.
6. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen – The DS version of the NES original only made a few changes. But one of those changes took a game that was already considered one of the best in its genre, and made it truly exceptional. During the 5th and final chapter of the game, in the original, you could only control your primary character and the other characters were AI controlled. This remake gave you full control of your entire party. It is a significant change that makes the game almost infinitely less frustrating.
5. The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker – The original Windwaker was a controversial game, in major part due to the cel shaded graphics it utilized. The new Wii U version still keeps mostly the same graphics, but they look nicer on the more modern, more powerful system. The upgrade that makes this remake particularly pleasant is that travel by boat has been made faster and the game now includes teleportation, removing one of the most frustrating parts of the original.
4. Punch Out! – This Wii version of the NES classic made two simple but excellent changes. The lesser of these changes was a graphical overhaul that made all of the classic Punch Out! boxers feel bigger, scarier, and more titanic. The greater change was adding motion controls to the game. You can use the traditional control scheme if you want, but actually moving to avoid hits makes it a much more exciting game overall.
3. Quest for Glory I: So You Want to Be a Hero – The original game had the classic pixilated graphics that can be found in most of the early Sierra games. But after the series proved successful, a VGA version was made. The crisp, colorful graphics of the VGA version were remarkable for the time and really made the game feel much more alive. Between the sardonic witticisms scattered throughout the game, the intricate plot, and the beautiful graphics, this became an instant classic.
2. Bionic Commando Rearmed – Released on PSN and XBLA, Bionic Commando Rearmed was a faithful remake of the original Bionic Commando for the NES. The graphics were fully updated, while still remaining 2D and a few items were tweaked. The biggest change, though, was the change from health orbs to a health bar. This simple tweak allowed for much more subtle damage variations in enemies and greatly reduced the initial difficulty curve.
1. The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition – The original was a cult classic with game play similar to old Sierra games like King’s Quest. But, Secret of Monkey Island stood apart due to bitingly witty and edgy comedy found throughout the game. The remake doesn’t change the content, but added modern graphics, an updated score, and most importantly, spectacular voice acting.