Here we are in 2015 still finding ourselves being onslaught by a wave of quality 3D classics from SEGA and the emulation gurus over at M2. These guys are wizards when it comes to making old games look, sound, and play like the real thing, and they are doing an exceptional job on these Nintendo 3DS ports with the likes of Streets of Rage 2 and Gunstar Heroes.
And yet, there are still plenty of gaping holes in SEGA’s classic library that will probably never be filled. M2’s love of arcade style action doesn’t carry over into everything SEGA has ever made, and plenty of lesser known games are bound to be overlooked for the conversion they so well deserve. With that in mind, the amount of work put into converting even short action games like Gunstar Heroes is staggering, seemingly making a full on RPG appear to be impossible. One can dream though, am I right?
Here are five classics we are hoping get the “criterion” 3D treatment these other excellent releases have gotten.
Shining Force II
Like I mentioned before, M2’s love of arcade action has left RPG fans kind of on the outside looking in. Granted, the Genesis and arcade libraries don’t exactly play the genre up well, but SEGA’s history with JRPGs runs a lot deeper than you think. Phantasy Star is a bit too challenging and would need more tweaking beyond a 3D conversion to justify a release, but Shining Force II is sill a marvelous and eternally enjoyable game that could just absorb modern day audiences.
And let’s not kid ourselves. We don’t play these 3D Classics for the 3D. We play them for the chance to take classic favorites on the go. However, I might like to play Shining Force II in 3D seeing how the battles play out. If you’ve never seen a Shining Force game in action, a player controlled character in the foreground attacks an enemy controlled character in the background. It screams to be converted into 3D, and it’s one of the few RPGs I can genuinely think of that would benefit.
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
Another cult-classic from Shining Force II development studio, Climax Entertainment. This one is not a strategy RPG but more of an action RPG. I never played it during the Genesis days, but it’s always been an attractive game for me to go back and explore because many of its creators left the studio to form Matrix Software, whose first game was an all time favorite of mine called Alundra.
Here, 3D would serve more purpose than a cosmetic curiosity and could genuinely help the gameplay. Landstalker is infamous for its isometric level design and brutally confusing platforming. Watch that video above to see what I mean. Nothing is where it seems in this game because the awkward camera angle creates the faux-3D effect that destroys any sense of depth perception. Some actual 3D could help save a lot of needless pitfalls.
No long-winded justifications for how 3D could help improve this marvelous little game. I just want to see how Ristar plays in 3D, and I want to take it with my everywhere I go on my Nintendo 3DS. Is that so much to ask?
3D seems a little pointless for this charming cult-platformer. Ristar’s sprite already practically bursts from the colorful backgrounds with the graphical prowess Sonic Team was known for back in the SEGA Genesis days. To see him actually jump off the screen through the Nintendo 3DS’ technology and the classic technique of sprite layers and parallax scrolling would be a neat comparison though.
Since we just got Gunstar Heroes, it’s time to start day dreaming about the next Treasure classic. No, I don’t mean Stretch Panic. I mean from its SEGA Genesis days. Beyond Gunstar, the two obvious choices are Dynamite Headdy and Alien Soldier, and since we just did Ristar, we have no need for a straight up platformer like Headdy. Alien Soldier it is!
Dark Souls fans will feel right at home playing this one on their Nintendo 3DS. Treasure pulled out all the stops for this challenging boss rush experience with gorgeous sprites and a brutal difficulty curve. Again, 3D would be more of a mere curiosity here rather than a gameplay improving addition, but with all the action going on at once on this game’s screen, it’s big enough of a curiosity to make me want it to come true.
Don’t get me wrong, this last spot could easily go to another Genesis classic. However, it is easy to forget that this entire idea began with SEGA’s pre-console arcade days, and it would be a shame not to mention one from then. And with that, I think Quartet is an obvious choice.
This forgotten SEGA gem isn’t a tenth as intense at Alien Soldier seen above, but it does benefit from up to four-player co-op. Knowing M2’s love of tweaking systems and working in extravagances like those, it would push the Nintendo 3DS’ inter-connectivity to make its port the defining version of the game. Plus, the 3D effects are pretty obvious and would be relatively simple to work in.