back to article Ten... remastered videogame classics

As the interest in this week's release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition shows, remakes of classic videogames are all the rage. Developers are dusting off canvasses and applying a fresh layer of high definition paint to the hits of yesteryear. Halo is not the end of it. There are plenty more remasters on the way to …

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  1. Benji Levens
    Gimp

    Silent Hill HD Collection

    Around the end of jan next year, Silent Hill 2 and 3 will appear on the PS3 and Xbox360, remastered in glorious Hi-Def.

    Surely these 2 promise to be the best remastered games ever, as they were bloody brilliant the first time round anyway.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    You know what I hate...

    ...the games that say, "PC" when what they really mean is, "Windows."

    None of this runs on Linux (without heartache and a lot of Wine) so I'm buying none of it.

    Heck, I'm happily running the original games on the original Xbox :-D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep

      Linux users do nothing but wine

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        Ahh...

        ...but we have good reason. No?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      HOW

      ...can people downvote this post and not provide any explanation? Wimps, the lot of them!

    3. Annihilator Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Flawed

      "PC" when they mean "Windows"? Not really, your "Linux" machine is a PC too, and that PC is capable of running those games. Not necessarily with your particular OS, but as a PC it is capable of it.

      It's the equivalent of having a roundup of "mobile device games" and showcasing DS, PSP, iOS and Android games. Hell, even a Tamagotchi would count.

      Developers write games primarily for Windows (and to an extent, Mac) because there's a greater market and environment for it. They know they have graphics cards with full blown drivers and that pretty much everything is compatible with each other. "Linux" is so wide and vague it's rather difficult to target, especially given that "Linux" refers only to the kernel, which can be ported across pretty much anywhere, including my current router (OpenWRT).

      A lot easier to say "PC" and mean "IBM PC Compatible".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Good points ... BUT ...

        ...UT 2004 did it. Came as one of the installation options on the DVD. It did need a soft link for the CD location, but that was all.

        I'm still playing it now; not only 'cause it is a great game (which would probably fall under the catagory of a classic according to the article!) but also it is accessible.

        It doesn't help Linux that the number of users aren't readiliy known. Number of downloads are seriously high, but it isn't clear in which environments they are being installed. However, in a conversation with someone from Logitech the other month (after my gaming mouse went ga-ga) they are certainly looking in to writing drivers for Linux. Whether they actually do or not, who knows, but it is a big enough subject for them to be looking in to it.

        To be honest, there are times when drivers and extra software get in the way. The gaming mouse has enough resolution control on the hardware to be just right, without extra control being needed. I also love my Logitech web cam that works on Linux with no "extra" drivers loaded ... which suits me fine because I then don't get all that fancy, face recognition stuff. My machine stays nice, light and clean. My Razor Larcosa keyboard also doesn't need extra drivers; the touch buttons to deal with volume control, etc. work just fine.

        I just want more pro games on Linux, but they just don't make them. And from where I'm sitting, especially after what has happened with UT2004, etc. ... they have no excuse other than they haven't done their homework on the customer base and are living on assumptions.

        1. Greg J Preece

          The original UT also had a Linux version, but UT3 does not, which I reckon is a bit harsh considering how nice they've been to us in the past.

          There was a Linux version of Steam in pre-release development, but it's never seen the light of day, probably due to publisher pressure, if I were to guess. If that ever got released, we might see some more Linux-compatible games appear.

          By-the-by, if you want another great set of games that run natively on Linux, the Penumbra/Amnesia games from Frictional have Linux support.

          1. serviceWithASmile
            Alert

            re: games on linux

            interesting to note that some older games would work on linux but not the new ones - thinking about it, this is perhaps due to general advances in graphical fidelity and such that have started to require much more complex and specific drivers and APIs (that aren't available on all platforms) than before. Once upon a time, 3d graphics just needed hardware capable of it, most of the 3d-ness was down to the game in question - now it's becoming the other way around with directX and such.

            Building on the shoulders of giants, etc - however Linux is a different giant than the giant most other people are standing on.

            The biggest real reason newer games aren't on Linux is, I suspect, the ridiculous cost involved in building for more than one platform - EA or whoever can justify porting their PS3 title to Xbox because they can reasonably assume to sell a good few million titles - and as any fule kno xbox secretly runs a stripped down XP so windows is not such an effort after that (although I wish they'd remember to change the 'press b to not die' prompts in QTEs).

            Point is, in order to release a modern 'AAA' grade game for linux, and deal with the inevitable support shitstorm that would no doubt ensue (current windows compatibility issues, which are not insignificant, doubled at the least), the developer would probably end up putting in a lot more effort for a lot less sales for that platform.

            It sucks but if it doesn't make good business sense, no businesses are going to do it.

            All that said, you should check out the humble bundle, can get some linuxy goodness for a fair price when they have a project on.

            http://www.humblebundle.com/

            Bootnote: I'd have loved to get TES5: Skyrim on Linux, but it's unstable enough on windows as it is, can't help but think one more platform would have been more than Bethesda could handle ;P

  3. Bakunin
    Windows

    Classics?

    Some nice games in there (and some fun memories) but am I the only one that's surprised stuff from four or five years ago is already in the classics? It's either indicative of a faster moving culture or I'm simply getting older.

    Where's my remastered HD version of Bruce Lee or Thing On a Spring form the C64 days? Now there's some "classics".

    *grumble* *grumble*

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Sir

      Two excellent titles

      +1

    2. Ian Stephenson
      Coffee/keyboard

      You swine!

      I can't get the music from "Thing on a Spring" out of my head now!

      fantastic game.

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      Do you remember...

      Do you remember "The Last Ninja Remix"?

      Yup, even on the C64 they were doing updates of classics. Nothing new under the sun....

  4. Ian Stephenson
    Holmes

    Might have to buy SoMI again.....

    It was fantastic years ago.

    But where is :

    System Shock,

    Day of the Tentacle

    Racing Destruction Set

    Alien Breed

    Worms

    Lemmings...

    the list is endless.

    think I need an old fogey icon...

    1. ph0b0s

      Console classics only

      I think you will find if your youth was spent playing game mainly on computers rather than consoles you will not get a look in as only game for previous gen of consoles are featured here....

    2. Greg J Preece

      Beneath a Steel Sky!

      That said, I think the old-timey pixel art and animation has its own charm that a HD remake would lack. There are very few modern releases with even a fraction of the atmosphere that some old pixel-drawn and well narrated PC classics have.

    3. B4PJS
      Thumb Up

      Worms

      Is available on the PS3 :)

      BTW ElReg, Where are the "Winning" or "Tigerblood" icons??

  5. ph0b0s

    1. Crysis = Facepalm.

    "Developers are dusting off canvasses and applying a fresh layer of high definition paint to the hits of yesteryear."

    "Crytek claims it performs better than it did on PCs all those years ago."

    No, no, no

    Look at this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcKLjgWl7tM), no really I'll wait and tell me that they have improved Crysis for consoles. It is great that this game is now available on consoles, but spinning it in any other way, than the developers having to cut out lots of the PC's visual fidelity to make it work, is just a lie.

    This whole article was about old games that have been remastered for modern systems and look better for it. Then you go and put as number one a port of a game that looks worse. Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot.

    You say it performs better. Well duh, it would have to have been highly optimised with a new engine to even stand a chance of working on consoles even with less fidelity than it had on the PC.

    For Crytek the port is good as they will get a good amount of sale from consoles larger base. The changes to the way it plays, with Crysis 2 style power management, being an improvement is debatable. Let's be honest though, many years after it's initial release Crysis and with a new engine and lot's of optimisation for the console versions, the PC version still looks the best. This is a port not a remaster.

    1. serviceWithASmile
      Mushroom

      re: console vs pc

      great vid, thanks for the link.

      also, I had the oppertunity to see the sequel on both xbox and pc - it was a similar difference to what you see in the vid. although I won't pretend I didn't run it on anything less than a 2nd gen i7 with a 3gb gt555m from an SSD just to get enough performance to up the graphics settings a little more....

      generally speaking, console games make sometimes big sacrifices to secure that all-important constant 30fps and keep it all running smoothly, even if those sacrifices involve removing most of the grass or only allowing 60 bulletholes or making bodies disappear after 30 seconds, etc.

      not to worry though, the next gen will be along shortly and we can all enjoy another sprint to the slightly further away graphical finish line, at which point crysis 1&2 can be remastered with higher graphics settings for consoles. and no I'm not pretending that I won't have a new laptop or graphics card by that point, just that atleast with hardware, consoles will always be playing catchup unless we hit some crazy moore-ian tipping point where console hardware starts advancing faster than pc hardware does.

      now I'm thinking about it, it's bloody terrifying.... it would be like xbox vs ps3 multiplied by the number of upgraded bits available for each.... NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  6. Greg J Preece

    Hmm, a dilemna. Do I track down a decent copy of the PC version of MGS2 for the superior controls, or go the PS3 route for the superior everything else... Also - are the MGS games the extended versions with more game and (proportionately) less movie?

    1. Shaun 1

      Apparently they are all the extended versions of the game

    2. theoutrider

      The controls for MGS2 on the PC are actually significantly worse than in the PS2 original. The PS2 version makes heavy use of pressure-sensitive buttons for various game features (holdups, etc), which of course are not supported at all by the PC port. In addition, the PC version had fairly significant performance and compatibility issues last time I checked.

      The PS3 re-releases are indeed the "extended" versions (Substance for 2, Subsistence for 3, which also means this includes emulated versions of the original MSX Metal Gear games). Mostly the tweaks are minor though, such as an improved camera system in 3 and similar shenanigans.

  7. Greg J Preece

    And another thing!

    Sega have got something to answer for with all these re-releases. The pricing of some of their re-hashes is a bit much. As an example, HOTD: Overkill recently made it to PS3, and they want £40 for the port! When Dead Space: Extraction made the same move, it cost £15. Even with the added content, that's a purchase I haven't managed to justify, especially as my previous PS3 purchase was Child of Eden @ £15 on release.

  8. Jedit
    FAIL

    "When the original Prince of Persia was released on PS2"?

    Obviously my eyes are failing me, and that meant to read "When the original Prince of Persia was released twenty years ago".

    1. jhml2011
      Happy

      Agreed - I played it on Gameboy and C64!

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Prince of Persia never made it to the C64 as far as I can recall. I too played it on the Gameboy.

  9. theoutrider

    PoP HD Collection

    It's worth noting that the Prince of Persia Trilogy release has significant sound issues. These were present in the original PS2 releases, but have gotten much worse on the PS3, to the point where dialogue and music more than occasionally are drowned out entirely by excessive reverb on sound effects. There are also problems with surround sound output, which only works on fairly specific PS3 audio settings.

    Nonetheless, particularly Sands of Time as the first part of the trilogy is well renowned for its storytelling and music, and justifiably so - even without a HD makeover, it has aged very well and is still worth playing even today.

  10. Sooty

    Zelda

    "The Ocarina of Time is undoubtedly the best Zelda game ever made"

    I challenge that assertion... the snes game 'a link to the past' is far superior'

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Original Prince Of Persia

    "When the original PoP was released on the PS2"

    The Original Prince Of Persia was released on PC, Amiga etc in 1989.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC

      I think it was last year, but "Prince of Persia classic" is also available on the PS3.

      And what I like best about it is that it doesn't try to overdo things. I played Prince of Persia on an VGA powered machine and although it looked (and felt) awesome it wasn't overdone.

      It was and is once again an awesome & addictive game.

    2. Tilman Ahr
      Coffee/keyboard

      IIIRC, the original release was on the Apple II, somewhat before the PC et al.-versions came out. Not sure about the timeframe, exactly, but I remember being fascinated by a website detailing the development of PoP (storyboards, interviews and diaries of the developer (yes, games tended to be developed by individuals or very small teams back then) about 1.5 years ago. Should be easy to find via Google.

      I'm always quite fascinated by how much in terms of gameplay and ... convincing, for a lack of better words, graphics could be fitted into memory smaller than the compressed splash-screen of a modern game, using CPUs slower than your average TV-remote sports nowadays...

      Icon because that's what my keyboard used to look like after a proper gaming session (usually around 0630h, when I was rudely reminded it was time to get ready for school)

  12. irish donkey
    Meh

    Tombraider Classics

    Why did they chose the worse of the TombRaider games to redo?

    I'm sure there is some technical reason but i would much rathered of seen a spruced up version of TombRaider 1, 2 and 3.

    Those are the classic ones not 5, 6 and 7.

    Agree with above. Silent Hill... That would look lovely, well not lovely , bloody, gory and outstandingly scary.

  13. Admiral Grace Hopper
    FAIL

    No Manic Miner?

  14. spiderwebby
    FAIL

    frames per minute

    Since when did 30fps become acceptable? and how can they get away with labelling that HD?!

    1. Ian Yates

      I believe the "HD" concept accepts a minimum frame-rate of 24fps since the "definition" part is strictly limited to resolution

    2. Sooty

      Not sure, but I remember all the settings tweaking of counterstrike to try and get it consistently over 100fps. Some of the really low end pc's had to settle for 60fps

      1. Zack Mollusc
        Meh

        60fps? Luxury!

        When I played counterstrike (and firearms) I was lucky to see 22 fps, sometimes it was 9fps.

        At least I had an excuse for being crap.

  15. Jamie Kitson

    CDs?

    Do Windows games still come on CD or can you download them now-a-days? I don't have a CD drive.

    1. ph0b0s

      steampowered.com/

      No need for CD's any more, unless you want them...

      1. MCG
        Meh

        Oh God Steam

        Steam is great! None of this old-timey business of simply launching a game and starting playing! Oh my no!

        First you have to wait for the Steam client to creak into life and then, if you're lucky (once you've closed the inevitable popup advertising a game you've never heard of) you can launch the game.

        Of course, if you're NOT lucky, Steam informs you that it's updating whatever game you fancied playing, and the updates creep in at such a low bitrate it's obviously going to take a sodding hour, so you wander off and make a cup of tea and get distracted by the TV and by the time you remember you fancied playing a game Steam is either still downloading at a snail's pace or it's time for bed....

    2. Jess--

      Most now are available through Steam etc.

      I have a dvd drive in my current machine and it wasnt until yesterday when I wanted to burn a disc that I realised I "borrowed" the sata cable from the drive almost a year ago.

      I don't think my next machine will have an optical drive at all (If I haven't needed one in almost a year I can put up with using the little usb drive I have for my old laptop)

  16. Stuart Elliott
    Thumb Down

    They're all well and good...

    ... but where's my remake of Bullfrog's Syndicate, or LucasArts X-Wing vs Tie Fighter ?

    1. WahWah
      Facepalm

      Careful what you wish for

      Syndicate's being remade as a rubbish FPS - http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/119/1197178p1.html?_cmpid=ign1392

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I take the Bullfrog Syndicate...

      and add Ultima VIII Pagan, Strike commander, and Wing commander II, that were bundled on one CD. It didn't even let you install Strike Commander in HDD because it was *too big* with 300 MB, when HDDs had 250MB.

      Ultima Pagan was hard as hell and would lock up every 15 minutes (crashing you to DOS), but the *lack* of plot if you never played other game in the series made it a curious game.

      Should I say that Strike Commander was a flight game with the F22 raptor (but you flew mostly a F16), made in the 80's? Yes, the raptor idea is that old.

      Syndicate was fun. Pop in 2 miniguns each agent, and click both mouse buttons together. Panic mode was fun. Or turn persuadertron on, and zombify the whole city, enemy agents included. Park in a busy corner, and let it rip (in non timed missions). 486DX had hard time doing this game.

      1. Darryl

        Syndicate was my favourite

        Even Syndicate Wars on the Playstation was pretty good.

      2. Tilman Ahr
        Coat

        strike commander from the eighties? No. Definitely not. Early-to-Mid nineties sounds more reasonable. Wikipedia sez 1993, and that sounds about right.

        Never played ultima pagan.

        Syndicate ran just fine on my well-built 386DX-40, though. Maybe you had an svga-card with a crappy vesa-BIOS? Not enough RAM?

        Those really were the days, IMHO.

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      "where's my remake of Bullfrog's Syndicate"

      It's in 1996: Syndicate Wars.

  17. 1Rafayal

    I would like to see some remastered versions of Mortal Kombat.

    I know that the recent game reboots the whole thing, but it would be kind of cool to see the original in some HD form or another.

    I suppose the only real barrier there would be down to the digitised graphics etc.

    It would also be nice to get some HD remakes from some classic Sega games, Streets Of Rage, Rolling Thunder spring to mind. As well as the eight bit Sonic games.

    Or, with all of this aside, maybe we could hope for some new, original titles to be developed?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The only real classic I saw there was....

    Monkey Island, which was a great game then, and the remake was very cool. Also allowed you to switch between old and new.

    However, I would get really excited if Lucasarts decide to return to Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle. Now THEY were classics and deserver a makeover that Monkey Island got.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Angel

    @Greg J Reece

    With the presence of Steam, I can no longer justify purchasing any game over £20 these days. I can't believe I have 10+ games that have so far easily given me 100+ hours of gameplay for the same price as MW3.

  20. J. Cook Silver badge
    Coat

    Um, the definition of 'classic'...

    at least in my mind, is something a bit older then 6 years, more like adding a 1 to the front of that- then we are in the right territory.

    *wanders off to get those darn kids off the lawn*

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PoP HD

    I bought the PoP (reboot) HD collection and to be honest, it put me off these HD collections. Unlike the work that's apparently gone into the Halo re-release that you recently reviewed, this doesn't seem to have upgraded the polygon models or lighting, and as others have said has significant audio issues which having played it originally on the Gamecube, I wasn't expecting. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad deal if you've never played PoP:Sands of Time, especially at the price it's going for at the moment, but if like me you've completed that game this doesn't add much especially if you're not interested in the sequels.

    The Team Ico Collection also apparently has issues that weren't present in the original games, although at least there they've gone to more of an effort than simply rendering the existing graphics in a higher resolution (and in widescreen too, lets not forget).

  22. Fred Mbogo
    Unhappy

    Sadly

    They won't release the Metal Gear HD and Silent Hill HD collections to PC. I won't buy a console ever again. $140 bucks to replace a laser? Bollocks to that!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The definition of classic

    In the fast-moving world of computer games, you can apply 'classic' to anything half-decent from last generation back (or 5 years ago, for PC gamers). The term applies to anything that wouldn't sell today but for their classic status - classic cars are too unreliable in the main, classic TV comedy almost always has a laugh track, classic computers can't play MW3 or anything approaching it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    M.U.L.E.

    I'm just waiting for Planet M.U.L.E. to release the Android port.

  25. Homer 1
    Coat

    Re: Classics?

    Right there with you pal.

    Monkey Island, certainly, but frankly the rest only qualify as ports (mainly for the benefit of PS3 owners, it seems).

    I can think of a helluva lot more qualified titles than this sorry bunch. How about remastering the Quake and Doom series for the PS3, for a start? How about the Unreal series? How about Lemmings and Populace? How about a decent version of Centipede (the XBox 360 version is excellent, but the PS3 version sucks badly). How about Manic Miner and the Ultimate series (Lunar Jetman, Atic Atac, etc.)? How about Gradius, or the laserdisc classic Mach3? How about David Braben's Elite?

    Some people have a weird notion of "classic". But then given the average age of gamers, I suppose anything older than 2007 probably seems ancient, since that's half a lifetime ago for them.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Nail on head, here.

      If you can remember playing Elite (I can, and I wasted hours on Frontier), then the assumption must be that you've moved on from videogames, now (my PS2 is slightly broken, and gathering dust).

      MW3, and what have you, seemed to be aimed at 13 year old boys, so "classic" would be whatever their older brothers used to play.

      Sad times.

  26. Stuart Halliday
    FAIL

    err how?

    How can these be classics? Surely the game needs to be over 20 years old to get in that category?

    Give me a decent modern 3D Elite or Sentinel from the BBC Micro era!

  27. Steven Davison
    Meh

    Hear Hear!

    @ Stuart Halliday - Yes, I agree... but Ian and David won't be able to agree on the rights for it, so it's never gonna happen... Elite 4 is still in development, apparently... longer than Duke Nukem:Forever maybe?.

  28. Tomato42
    Trollface

    Crisis

    >Crytek claims it performs better than it did on PCs all those years ago

    Yeah, because consoles developed so much during those past 4 years. Or have they actually made Crisis so optimized it can run on 8 year old PCs too?

  29. DJV Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I'm not into shoot-em-up style games but I wouldn't mind seeing revamped versions of the Myst series. I've still got an old PC running Windows 98 just for the originals.

  30. bobbles31
    Thumb Up

    One title that would REALLY suit a remake is...

    Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem from the Game Cube, I've not seen the sanity mechanic in any other game and it certainly drove me to near madness a couple of times.

  31. Sigmund Fraud

    I would like HD versions of

    1. System Shock 1 & 2

    2. Unreal Tournament (The descendants are not as fun as this one)

    3. Rainbow Six Rogue Spear - The best tactical shooter ever

  32. jungle_jim
    Pint

    i want a remake of interstate '76

    "never get out of the car"

    '82 was crap

  33. nederlander
    Megaphone

    Missed one..

    How is Another World not in this list??

    http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/

  34. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    With the PSOne's Tomb Raider too dated for an easy retouch?????

    Ummmm what do you call Anniversary then? It IS a remake of Tomb Raider (PSOne). Did you play the original? You know? the whole Natla thing......

  35. Powerlord
    Thumb Down

    No Metal Gear Solid 1 in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection?

    Disclaimer: I haven't played the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.

    From what I can tell, the Metal Gear Solid remakes are just updating the textures and adding widescreen support. That's why Metal Gear Solid 1 isn't being remade, because to do so, they'd have to redo the animations and character models, or get permission from Silicon Knights (and possibly Nintendo) to use The Twin Snakes instead.

  36. Loogie
    Mushroom

    Mega Lo Mania!

    Actually, any Sensible Software title - they did do a Sensi Soccer release on xbox arcade ( PS3 too maybe? )

    "We've nuked them!"

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