Next week, we’ll be getting something that we’ve been wanting for a loooooooong time – a 16-bit style Sonic game that channels the classic Sega Genesis days. Yep, we’re just days away from the release of Sonic Mania, the glorious return to the classic side-scrolling days of the series. Granted, we’re still getting Sonic Forces later this year as well, but for now, we can indulge in the kind of 16-bit goodness that we’ve been yearning for all these years.
And that got us thinking – why should Sega stop now when it comes to revitalizing 16-bit franchises for a new generation to enjoy? The publisher has an arsenal of old-school classics that could use a new game in their lexicon, and we know avid fans just wouldn’t get enough of them.
So here are some suggestions of franchises that can make a comeback with new games. Hopefully, Sega’s listening – and will finally give us that Streets of Rage 4 that we’ve been wanting for an eternity…
We haven’t seen Sega’s 16-bit ball-based hero in some time. There was a PlayStation 2 project that was in the works with some kind of bastardized redesign, but that went the day of the dodo, thankfully. But now it’s time for Sega to bring back this transforming soldier back for a new adventure, one filled with dangerous boss encounters, neat little visual effects, a fun soundtrack and, most importantly, some new transforming abilities, so we can see just how much he’s evolved over the years. If you don’t believe us when we say how much fun this series is, just go play the first two Vectorman games on the Sega Genesis. You’ll thank us later.
Why do we bring up this little star hero? Well, besides the fact that he just joined the Sega Forever program on mobile devices today (and you can play his game for free), Ristar stands as one of the best platformers from the 16-bit era, with just the right level of challenge and adorable graphics and music that really stood out from some of the other average games on the Genesis. A sequel would hit the spot, with even bigger levels to explore, fun new features to play around with, and, of course, that charming 16-bit style presentation that makes us feel like it’s the mid-90’s all over again. Oh, and they have to bring back the “Du-di-da!” theme again. You can check out the video below and see how catchy it is.
Even though a PlayStation 2 follow-up was released years after the Genesis era – and it was a pretty good game – there’s something about Joe Musashi’s original 16-bit adventures that are magical. If you didn’t get hooked on his antics when The Revenge of Shinobi came out, then you were probably playing Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master or the spin-off Shadow Dancer instead. Whatever the case, we’d love to see Joe back in action, with a stellar 16-bit style adventure filled with action, exciting boss encounters, and stylish moves that only he can pull off – like that mid-air flip where he pelts everyone on the ground with shurikens. Or, hey, ninja magic!
Okay, this may be a long shot, especially considering that the Phantasy Star team has been hard at work on its Online adventures in Japan and isn’t really about traditional role-playing game design anymore. Still, think about it. A classic 16-bit style adventure with the kind of characterization we’ve come to expect from the older games in the series, combined with beautiful visuals, a fluid story that will draw players back into the universe, and incredible gameplay that immerse them in magical spells and tactics for hours on end. We’ve seen a lot of new RPG’s enter the fray, but a return to old-school Phantasy Star is just the thing Sega needs – especially after the mixed reception of that latest Valkyria game.
We’ll take a new Beyond Oasis as well, as long as Yuzo Koshiro does the soundtrack.
Streets of Rage
To be honest, this was a tie-up between Streets of Rage and Golden Axe for a while. On the one hand, the Golden Axe games are a bit one-note in terms of combat, but still fun. On the other, there was…well, Streets of Rage 3. But if we had to choose just one to come back, it’s all about the Rage. Streets of Rage 1 and 2 were such defining games for the Genesis era, giving us the Final Fight experience we truly deserved, but with Sega’s original design – along with those Koshiro soundtracks. Plus, the game’s totally awesome with two players, as you can take turns pummeling bad guys, and then challenge one another to see who rules the Streets. We definitely need a new game in this saga – but, again, more like 2 and less like 3, okay?