A continuation of the article from Pierre-Yves yesterday, Hamza now shares his thoughts on the matter. We all have games that just resonated for us. Maybe they were part of a series that came to an end (when was the last proper Shining Force game?) or a single game that just never garnered even one follow-up title (I’m looking at you, Heavenly Sword). Here are a handful of other games we would make a case for.
In 1988, Wasteland was released to the MS-DOS to widespread critical acclaim. So influential was the game that it played an instrumental role in the development of the now-iconic Fallout series, which is considered the spiritual successor to Wasteland. In 2014 a sequel was announced, and in the following year the cleverly titled Wasteland 2 made its way to the PC. Among the key people who worked on it were Chris Avellone and Brian Fargo – two of the most notable personalities behind the first two Fallout games. If Wasteland could finally get a proper sequel nearly three decades later, then I think another game from the same era should also deserve similar respect and follow-up.
Release quietly in 1991 by a small Spanish company called Dinamic, Narco Police – also on the MS-DOS and Amiga – is a third-person rail shooter with roguelike elements. Imagine Atari Jaguar’s Alien vs. Predator but with the aesthetics of Fallout and a behind-the-back camera view. It was one of the last games developed by the company before wrapping up not too shortly after. As part of the Golden Era of Spanish Software (and yes, it really was a thing), Dinamic was primarily known for their “Moves” trilogy which comprised of Army Moves, Arctic Moves and Navy Moves. I’ve played the games, and while they’re of superior quality, it’s the obscure Narco Police that is the best from the bunch. The objective of the game is to infiltrate enemy hideouts and take out the baddies. It is a simple but extremely well done shooter that has the heart of an action film and soul of an arcade shooter. The gameplay consists of moving forward into the screen, taking out the bad guys and then choosing one from the two branching paths. The gameplay remains the same throughout but never becomes repetitive. The sprites are nice and the overall production (especially the use of dim, muted color palettes) is nothing to sneeze at.
Narco Police is a great DOS title that sadly never reached mainstream audience: in part due to the relatively obscure status of the developer, Dinamic. I thoroughly enjoyed the game for what it was worth and stands as one of the solid shooters on the platform. I believe a remake or sequel can be done very nicely and in an effective manner, given how we’ve had several examples of high profile run ‘n gun games that more or less follow a similar (albeit inconsistent) pattern: Crackdown, Saints Row, Army of Two, APB, Resistance et al. I can already imagine the hypothetical Narco Police 2 containing a nitty, gritty story about drug busts, kidnapping, assassinations, tough protagonist, secret organizations and a neat co-op feature a la Xybots. Given their penchant for churning out similar games, perhaps Deep Silver Volition or Insomniac Games can pick up the ball from here?
Beneath a Steel Sky
Beneath a Steel Sky (BASS) was the second game released by Revolution Software in 1994 and the one that propelled them to international spotlight (their first game, 1992’s Lure of the Temptress, mades ripples but failed to cause waves). With BASS, they quickly established themselves as a serious rival to Sierra and LucasArts – but it was not until 1996, with the release of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, that they truly became a household name as well as the new king on the throne, but I digress. BASS was a sleeper hit, its mature and complex story coupled with fine writing and the distinct art of Dave Gibbons (of Watchmen fame), made it an experience like no other. However, the game ultimately proved to be Wolfenstein 3D to Broken Sword’s Doom and thus, was quickly forgotten by everyone – even by the guys who made it in the first place!
But where Wolfie was followed by a less-than-stellar prequel and now has an admirable fanbase thanks to the multiple sequels released to varying degrees of success in the past couple of years, BASS got nothing. No sequel, no prequel, nothing: it was axed by the company in favor of Broken Sword. Charles Cecil, co-founder and director at Revolution Software, has often touched upon the subject of a potential BASS 2 in several interviews, but nothing has come out of it yet. In 2012 he said BASS 2 would finally enter production, but he has since later retracted his original comment. I say whenever you’re ready Revolution – but please replace the stiff-as-a-cardboard, dead-as-a-doornail, dumber-than-rocks Robert Forster with someone who has at-least a modicum of personality and charm. Also, don’t you dare try to improve on Joey. Thank you!
Racing games are all about realistic simulation these days, so it’s always a tremendous relief to see a crazy racer like Blur once in a while. A modern take on the kart racing sub-genre, Blur has impossible speeds, gorgeous graphics and sexy power-ups. It also has a story but it is the most weakest aspect of the game. There’s not much to say here except that if Blur 2 ever gets made, I want a much wider range of power-ups and a suped-up, cranked-out Citroen DS. There’s not too many games that carry this beauty of a machine, so it would be nice to see the DS admist a sea of projectiles, explosions, high jumps and fancy fireworks. One more thing: I want the hypothetical Blur 2 to have an awesome, throbbing soundtrack that should include the likes of Firework by Katy Perry, Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne and the entire Germfree Adolescents album by X-Ray Spex.
Further, how about the ability to customize your vehicle beyond just changing the color? I suggest looking at Rocket League for inspiration.
Although primarily known for their Earthworm Jim games and the classic third-person shooter MDK, Shiny Entertainment’s other efforts are just as equally memorable and stellar. Sacrifice, for instance, is a zany amalgamation of the quirky humor of the company and the quite-demanding RTS elements, creating an overall package that is at once enjoyable and a delight to play. Released to favorable response in 2000, this game was appreciated by journalists and gaming outlets at the time; but as time went by its admirers dispersed, and is now looked upon as a cult classic. Despite winning several awards and influencing future designers, Sacrifice failed to garner any real interest in a follow-up, and thus a sequel/prequel was never contemplated. Shiny went on to develop a few licensed-based games – all blunders – and then folded, closing yet another imaginative chapter of the video game industry and subsequently retiring one of the greatest game designers of all time: David Perry. To my knowledge, he hasn’t done anything since 2007. How about MDK 3, eh?
I really cannot think up of anything the sequel should contain because Sacrifice has got it right the first time around: it is perfect, original and wildly unique. The only way Sacrifice 2 can be any better if it has a much more tangible storyline, better combat system (perhaps like Nemesis?) and a wide array of objectives and power-ups. Not to say the existing game has less to do, but it does have its ’empty’ moments where, er, you don’t get to do much. About the voice-acting, Sacrifice has some of the greatest acting out there, seriously. So if possible, I want all of the original voice-actors to reprise their roles in the hypothetical Sacrifice 2 AND make room for Danny DeVito in there somewhere – because for the longest time I played Sacrifice thinking one of the Gods was voiced by him!
Article by Hamza