Monday 11 April 2011

Games Deserving Of HD Remakes

With the recent glut of arcade remakes, and in particular the news that Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica are to be given the HD remake treatment later this year, here are some of E14’s favourite games that deserve to be given the HD treatment.

Grim Fandango

Grim Fandango, released in 1998 was a PC adventure game developed by Lucasarts. The game Tim Schafer, one of the creative minds behind the early Monkey Island games as well as the founder of Double Fine Productions, who made Psychonauts and BrĂ¼tal Legend. Basically, it’s safe to say that he’s a pretty funny guy capable of making very funny games.

One of the great things about Grim Fandango was not just that it was an adventure game of the style that has recently enjoyed a resurgence (although that was one really good thing about it). One thing that was completely new was the control scheme, as this was the first Lucasarts adventure game to be controlled with keyboard movement rather than mouse control. However, by far the best thing about it was the style of the game. With nods to classic movies like Casablanca mixed with Mexican stylings and folklore (with the visual style in particular a nod to the Day of the Dead ‘calaca’ figures), the game positively oozed style. In particular, the characters were phenomenal. Manny Calavera, the game’s protagonist, was especially likeable, melancholy while at the same time not even approaching emo.

One of my personal favourite things about this game was that experiencing it at a younger age than I am now, I was struck by how ‘lived in’ the world felt. When you finished a chapter, a year would pass before the next chapter would begin, and you’d see Manny’s character progress further and further as the game went on. For instance, from Year 1 to Year 2, you see Manny go from sweeping the floor in a small port city, only to find a year later that he has become a complete local legend, with his own nightclub and everything.

The game was a tremendous success critically, but sold poorly despite this. However, Grim Fandango retains a cult following in the same vein as the Sam and Max series, which went on to have its own remake series in recent years, so there’s no reason why something along the same lines couldn’t happen. Unfortunately, Schafer is sometimes reluctant to work on old franchises, so a sequel is unlikely. Still, there were those Monkey Island remakes, so one can dream...

San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing

San Francisco Rush was an arcade game that got the remake treatment in the form of a version for the Nintendo 64. The game takes the form of a super-arcadey racing sim, back from before the days when you had to choose from hundreds of real cars and perform on real tracks. These were the good old days when all you needed to do when choosing a car was to choose a vague shape and pretty colour, and you’d be away.

Most satisfying of all things in the game was not just the choice of tracks and cars, not just the speed of all the cars but the fact that the cars would explode at any more than a slight knock. Unless of course, you found yourself getting knocked a fair few times, in which case you would more than likely explode. Granted, it would only set you back a few seconds on the course, but there was nothing more frustrating than getting right towards the end of the race only to overshoot the last corner and explode into thin air, losing you valuable seconds which would then cost you the race. At the same time, that was part of the fun, especially with the game’s 2-player competitive mode.

With games like Burnout proving that people still love a bit of the crashy-crashy when it comes to their racing games, this would be a perfect time to bring out an HD remake of San Francisco Rush, particularly as the arcade platforms seem to lack that killer racing game which would be the one to own for everyone. To be fair, in most other genres you’re able to find something that stands out as a great example of the style, from Castle Crashers to Deathspank. In racing, however, it has to be said that there is precious little. San Francisco Rush would fill that void nicely, having a racing element to entice the serious racers while at the same time satisfying the explosion-happy Burnout-style fans.

Arkham Horror

Out of left field, I realise, but bear with me. Not only do I think this game could totally work on digital platforms, I think that it could become the most important board game adaptation on gaming consoles in the history of time and so on and all that. The model we have in place nowadays works completely in terms of support post-release as well. Allow me elaboration time.

As a video gamer primarily, I have to say that there are few games that have drawn me in as much as games of Arkham Horror. The game is so intuitive that it really feels like you're playing a game against a human player even though you're just reading cards from a deck. The board game model has proven not only to work on digital media, but also in the case of Magic: The Gathering, Carcassonne and so on, they've proven to have quite a healthy following (though in the case of Carcassonne, I must say I can't see the appeal). I even found myself jumping for joy (not literally, I'm fairly lazy) when they released the Yu-Gi-Oh! game on Xbox Live.

So the main qualm of any game that gets released is the frequency of title updates, in that pretty much every time I play my Playstation 3, some sort of software update is available for one of my games or the system itself. Often, the games don't really reflect those changes and the practical effect they've had upon the code. However, in the case of a game adaptation of Arkham Horror, these title updates could reflect rule changes as Fantasy Flight works on making your arsehole as raw as it can with every game that gets played.

"Rule Change: Weapons now do no damage. Damage can only be obtained by singing 'Oklahoma' from the top of the Science Building dressed as Captain Planet."

Also, the modern day model of gaming is heavily emphasised on downloadable content and expansion packs. What has a ton of expansion packs, to the point where it puts me off buying Brad anything Arkham Horror-related for birthdays or Christmas? The answer is obvious. So with the strong platforms of Xbox Live and Playstation Network, the developers could add their expansion packs to the marketplace at a fee, and users could download them and install them fairly easily. What's more, achievements and trophies could easily be added into additional downloads.

Words: Rob Wade


Momentum Pictures, have announced that the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of The Woman in Black will be released in UK cinemas on 10 February 2012.

Based on the classic ghost story, The Woman in Black tells the tale of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House.

Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town’s tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been dying under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.

The Woman in Black also stars Ciaran Hinds (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and Janet McTeer, was adapted from Susan Hill’s novel for the screen by Jane Goldman (Kick Ass) and directed by James Watkins.

For more information visit and


Slasher veteran Steve Miner’s (Lake Placid) classic 1980s fantasy-horror Warlock makes its DVD debut courtesy of Second Sight.

Julian Sands (Naked Lunch) plays the suavely malevolent warlock in this supernatural action-adventure, with Brit stalwart Richard E. Grant (Withnail & I) as his witch-finder enemy.

A sinister 17th century warlock summons satanic intervention to escape a death sentence and finds himself transported 300 years into the future, arriving in modern-day Los Angeles, in the apartment of a young waitress (Lori Singer – Footloose). His quest is to find the scattered remains of the ‘Grand Grimoire’, the Devil’s bible containing the true name of god and with it the power to destroy mankind. Following in hot pursuit is the witch-finder who brought him to trial and must now hunt him down once more.

Sands and Grant give superbly matched performances as the enigmatic, battling adversaries in this action-packed fantasy which has gained cult status since its release and is finally available on DVD on 18 April 2011.

Thanks to our friends at Second Sight, we've got two copies of Warlock on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Monday 18th April, making sure to put "Warlock" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Warlock" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Warlock is available from Monday 18th April, priced £15.99.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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