Alone In The Dark
Infrogames’ AITD was a ground-breaker in more than one way; not only was it one of the first two games to use polygonal characters in lieu of pre-rendered backgrounds and, according to Guinness World Records, the first 3D survival horror game. So what happened, AITD? The gaming business, unfortunately; a number of mediocre sequels, culminating in 2007’s “Alone in the Dark” which was so, so close to being a good game. It had innovative everything; controls, inventory management systems, a great setting (Central Park), an interesting story to tell (that got absolutely ruined by a totally, inescapably downer ending, and only gets topped in the downer-factor by Far Cry 2’s suicide-a-palooza), that was almost irretrievably hamstringed by inexcusable bugs. Did that thing even get reviewed by quality control? It was definitely a rushed title, probably a victim of Atari’s bankruptcy filing, pushed out the door too quickly and undoubtedly to the detriment of what could’ve been an all-time-great title. So what now; the last game ends in an apocalypse no matter what, so what’s their plan for a sequel? The only good answer here is to reboot. Keep the latest games’ gameplay style, but revisit the original’s Cthulu-plagued mansion, with updated graphics and a jacked-up horror factor, AITD could be set to be a modern classic.
Mega Man is a game based on a formula; 2D sidescroller gameplay with specialized bosses (Fire-Man, Blade-Man, Roto-Tiller-Man, etc.), and the plot? Good robot versus hundreds of bad robots. Ok, sure, fine; but let me throw this one at you, Capcom. The Mega Man series has been working this same formula for (are you ready for this, old-school gamers?) 23 years, with very little change in tone or style. There’ve maybe been a CCG-style game here and there, and the Mega Man X storyline was pretty cool, there was a 3D platformer in there somewhere, but I think we need a pretty radical reboot to keep The Blue Bomber relevant. What I propose, and throw whatever knives at me you like, is thus: a GTA-style open-world game, inspired by both Mega Man’s original plot and “Blade Runner.” Far in the future, Mega Man (or even go with the original Japanese name, Rock) could be an android created to hunt down rogue androids who’ve embarked on a robo-reign of terror; the player would roam about town, performing missions to dig up information on Dr. Wily, a rogue robot-scientist who one could think of as the Bin Laden of his day, using robots to commit terrorist acts across the city. That sounds like an interesting game to me, with a dark noir-ish plot and American sensibilities replacing Capcom’s endlessly non-sensical plotlines (I’m looking at you, reboot-ready-Resident-Evil) might make Mega Man amenable to the masses.
Sid Meier’s Pirates!
I solicited thoughts from the staff on this article, and Randy Kalista made the best argument for his nominee: I'd like to see a Mature-rated reboot of Sid Meier's Pirates! Admittedly, it would be foolhardy to cut the umbilical cord between 'whimsy' and Sid Meier, but even as a kid playing the 1987 version of Pirates!, I felt the epic sweep and scope of my actions on the Spanish Main far more than I did in the cartoonized 2004 version. That doesn't mean cut out the romantic idealism behind seagoing shanties like "the pirate's life for me!" The pirate's life just needs to be driven to even higher dramatic crests by showing how dirty, salty, scurvy-y, brothel-y, rat-y, deck swabee-y, cannon-y, drown-y, amputee-y, and stir crazy-y shipboard can be. When it's just a few board feet of lumber between you and a lung full of water, naval combat is no joke. Or when one of the first and only solutions to having your leg crushed from a cannon is to have that bad boy sawed off, then things get a bit more real. That's the kind of pirate's life for me.
That’s all folks! What are your thoughts? Did we miss something? Add a polite, thoughtful comment below; this is the internet, after all, the place for polite, thoughtful comments.
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