9 Forgotten Classic Games That Deserve a New Entry
Sometimes a game company will strike gold with a brand new franchise, taking the world of gaming by storm. Sometimes they’ll make a series of it, with new games being released regularly. But other times, a developer will make one or two successful games in a series, and then it’ll sit there stagnant for years and years, with no sequel in sight, despite fans clamoring for a new entry.
Perhaps the game was a cult classic that had a small, but dedicated, fanbase or perhaps the game was once a major series with several entries, only to mysteriously disappear without a trace. Whatever the case, here are nine games that haven’t had a new entry in at least a decade (remakes and ports aside) that I think need to be brought back!
#9—Ristar (Last New Release: 1995)
As one of the last games developed by Sonic Team for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, the game pushed the system’s graphical, sound and gameplay capabilities to their limit. Taking the role of the titular Ristar, players would navigate side-scrolling stages, grabbing foes and other objects with Ristar’s stretchy arms and headbutting them into oblivion. The game is considered one of the best on the console, but other than a port to the Game Gear and PC, Ristar hasn’t starred in a game since his first adventure. As of late, Sega has taken a strong interest in remastering and reviving some of their dormant franchises, so perhaps Ristar has a chance of coming back someday.
#8—Gunstar Heroes (Last New Release: 2005)
Developed by Treasure, Gunstar Heroes is an extremely fast-paced and chaotic run & gun action game series initially released for the Genesis/Mega Drive in 1993, with a sequel on the Game Boy Advance over a decade later in 2005… and then… nothing. Even though it already took an excruciatingly long 12 years for the sequel to manifest, it has been a full 14 years since that long-awaited sequel came out.
The original is often heralded as one of the best games of the 16-bit era, and the sequel isn’t considered too shabby either. But despite all of the critical acclaim the series has had in its brief two game run, we haven’t seen anything from the Gunstar Heroes universe since 2005, other than ports of the original game. These ports have been largely successful, so perhaps we’ll see a new game eventually! I certainly hope so.
#7—Ganbare Goemon (Last New Release: 2005 for Japan, 1998 for USA/Europe)
The Ganbare Goemon series (known outside of Japan as Mystical Ninja, usually) is a bit of an oddity. Rarely do you see a big name developer completely drop a popular franchise that has had as many games as Goemon has, but despite having more than 20 games under its belt, Konami hasn’t released a single Ganbare Goemon game since 2005 – and even earlier if you only count those that were released internationally.
In these primarily action-adventure games, players take on the role of Goemon, and oftentimes a few of his friends, battling against whatever bizarre threat happens to be facing Japan at the moment. The series was once one of Konami’s biggest and most popular, with Goemon serving as one of their chief mascot characters for years, but for whatever reason, Konami just… stopped making them. There hasn’t been a new game, or even so much as a port of old games in years. The games are quite fun for the most part, and I think that Konami should either give us a new Goemon game, or sell the IP off to another developer who will.
#6—Klonoa (Last New Release: 2005 (2002 in Japan, not including the 2009 remake of the first game)
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a very simple game, yet one brilliant in its execution. The titular Klonoa runs about side-scrolling stages and can grab enemies, and either throw them at other foes, or bounce off them to jump to greater heights. This simple yet effective gameplay system, combined with fantastic level design, cemented Klonoa as one of the Playstation’s best platformers.
Following this initial game were a few sequels and spinoffs, most of which were well-received. In 2002, Japan got Klonoa: Dream Champ Tournament, which didn’t release in the west until 2005 for some reason, and then… that was it. So depending on who you ask, Klonoa hasn’t starred in his own game for 14 to 17 years, though he has made several cameo appearances in various other Namco games since then. Of course, there was a remake of the first game released in 2009, but that doesn’t really count as a new game, and that’s still 10 years ago. Why did Namco abandon one of their most promising new IPs of the late 90s/early 2000s? Hopefully we’ll see him again soon as more than just a cameo in some other Namco game.
#5—Primal Rage (Last New Release: 1994)
When Street Fighter II released in 1991, it was a worldwide gaming phenomenon that spawned countless imitators wanting to bank on the success of the new “fighting game” genre that Street Fighter had pioneered–one of which was 1992’s Mortal Kombat, which in turn spawned its own gallery of imitations, which were more focused on showcasing semi-realistic (for the time) blood and gore, along with the fighting game action. 1994’s Primal Rage was one of such imitators.
Primal Rage is a very strange case. Only one game was released, and the second planned game was canceled before release (though one arcade cabinet of a fairly complete copy exists), but there was a huge merchandising and marketing campaign behind it, with a full line of toys and everything. The game was pretty well received, and was arguably one of the best gore-fests inspired by Mortal Kombat, but for whatever reason, the franchise never produced any sequels (and the design of Primal Rage II was… questionable), despite being, you know, about giant dinosaurs and primates ripping each other apart.
With the resurgence of the popularity in fighting games over the last several years, I think now would be a great time to bring back Primal Rage, rebooted completely, with all of the original characters, as well as new ones. Maybe we could get Godzilla or the Megazord from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers as guest characters? A man can dream…
#4—Elite Beat Agents/Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan (Last New Release: 2007)
Now, I know this game isn’t quite as retro as the other entries on this list, but hear me out. The first Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan game was released in Japan in 2005, with an American re-imagining called Elite Beat Agents released in 2006, followed by a sequel to the original game in 2007. All three of these are absolutely superb rhythm games, released in only the span of three years. All three of them completely knocked it out of the park in charm, style, and quality gameplay. And then the developers, iNiS, were bought out by Microsoft and proceeded to release nothing of note since then.
However, you might be thinking that the screenshot above looks a bit familiar. Why, it looks very similar to the free PC rhythm game called Osu! This is because Osu was actually directly inspired by EBA/Ouendan, and was outright intended to simulate the gameplay of these games on PC. The funny thing is, the vast majority of Osu players have never even heard of EBA/Ouendan, as it has completely eclipsed them in popularity, with the originals fading into obscurity, despite how fantastic they are.
The original developers have stated in the past that they would definitely be interested in bringing EBA/Ouendan back, perhaps for the Nintendo Switch, and I think that they should absolutely do that! Those of us who played the original games long before Osu have been dying for a sequel for over a decade, and I would love to see it happen.
#3—F-Zero (Last New Release: 2004)
Despite what some of you might understandably think, Mario Kart isn’t Nintendo’s only racing IP, and Captain Falcon is actually from a video game other than Super Smash Bros.. The F-Zero franchise had a strong run of incredibly good racing games between 1991 and 2005, but for reasons unknown, the series has been on hiatus since then.
Though the F-Zero series has seen lots of representation in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, with Captain Falcon being a playable character since its inception, and several F-Zero themed stages throughout its lifespan, Nintendo has been totally silent on why the series hasn’t had a single new game in nearly 15 years. It really is quite strange, since Nintendo seems all too keen on popping out as many sequels to its popular franchises as possible, but for whatever reason, F-Zero hasn’t been getting any of that love like Mario, Zelda, Kirby, and many of their other popular series have. Even though many other Nintendo franchises that had been almost or completely abandoned for years, such as Metroid and Kid Icarus, have been able to get new games in the last several years, F-Zero is still nowhere to be found. What gives, Nintendo?
#2—Darkstalkers (Last New Release: 1998)
The Darkstalkers series (known in Japan as Vampire) was, for a period of time between 1994 and 1998, one of Capcom’s headline fighting games, alongside Street Fighter. With three games released in just four years, as well as an anime, American cartoon and tons of merchandising, it seemed like Capcom was in it for the long haul, and that it might just stand right alongside Street Fighter for years to come. And then, as you might have guessed, that didn’t happen.
In fact, Darkstalkers characters have appeared in more fighting games that aren’t Darkstalkers games, than there have been actual Darkstalkers games. Sure, there have been a few ports and compilations of the games over the years, but there hasn’t been a single brand new game in the series since 1998. It’s really strange too, since these games are still popular enough to be played competitively to this day, and it has some of the most beloved characters that Capcom has ever made. There was a teaser released some years back, implying that a sequel was in development, but nothing ever manifested from it. Then again, considering how Capcom has managed to botch every single fighting game they’ve released in the last several years… Maybe it’s better that we don’t get a new Darkstalkers game…
#1—Banjo-Kazooie (Last New Release: 2008)
In 1998, Rare beat Nintendo at their own game, making a bigger, better platformer than the Nintendo 64’s flagship game, Super Mario 64. Certainly, Mario 64 is an incredible game in its own right, but Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie took everything to the next level. Where Super Mario 64 set the gold standard for 3D platformers, Banjo-Kazooie took everything that made it great and refined it to perfection, and it has remained one of the greatest 3D platformers ever released to this day.
In 2000, Rare followed this up with Banjo-Tooie, a game not quite as good as its predecessor, but still fantastic all the same. There was even a teaser at the end of the game for a planned sequel, called Banjo-Threeie, but that game never came to be. Some time passed, Rare was bought out by Microsoft, and didn’t release a new mainline Banjo game for eight long years. What fans eventually got was Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which was, shall we say… not very well received.
The games have been ported to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but other than that, Banjo has been pretty quiet for the last decade. That is, until recently, when Nintendo announced that Banjo and Kazooie would be teaming up once again to battle it out in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate later this year! Many fans (myself included) rejoiced at this announcement, and while it really is fantastic news… What we really want is a brand new Banjo game! A brand new game, built upon the mechanics of the first two games, that truly does the series’ legacy justice. I mean, some of the former Rare developers did end up making a game heavily inspired by Banjo-Kazooie, called Yooka-Laylee, but… It just wasn’t the same. But now, I feel that there is actually a chance at seeing a new Banjo game, and hopefully Rare, Nintendo and Microsoft can work together and make our dreams come true!