Worth Playing vol. 5: The Remake Rendition

Ken HD ComparisonThe remake.
It’s been around for years and it has become more common for a developer or publisher to remake or re-release their titles for a new generation to play and enjoy. Many of these games are vanilla ports of their original versions but there are a few that I can say are better than their originals. Needless to say these games are worth your time and will leave you feeling both excited and nostalgic.

Pokemon Leaf Green CoverGame: Pokemon Fire Red & Pokemon Leaf Green
Genre: RPG
System: GBA
Price: ~$20

One can argue that each new entry in the Pokemon series is nothing more than a re-release of the previous game with a few extra bells and whistles, but Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green are actually remakes of the first games in the series. With updated graphics to take advantage of the GBA’s power, presenting all of your favorite Pokemon in glorious 32-bit graphics. Every Pokemon game is addictive and fun and Fire Red/Leaf Green are no exception. These are perfect games for fans of the series to relive their earliest Pokemon experience while still getting something new.

Why you should play it:
– It’s a remake of the very first Pokemon game
What better way to relive your childhood memories of being like Ash Ketchum?
– You can find a Pidgey early in the game and never worry about having any other Pokemon again because Pidgey is all you need.

Guardian Heroes GameplayGame: Guardian Heroes
Genre: Side Scrolling Beat-em up
System: Xbox Live Arcade
Price: $10

One of the Sega Saturn’s finest and hardest games to find made it’s way to the Xbox Live Arcade with updated visuals and online multiplayer! Guardian Heroes is one of the better beat-em ups out there thanks to it’s branching paths, four-player mayhem, and easy yet satisfying gameplay. Purists will enjoy the inclusion of the original graphics while newcomers will like the HD overhaul of the sprites. I thought the game was great, and having friends sit down with you and hack away at all things that move is good fun .Seeing as the Saturn version usually pulls in over $100 per copy this is likely the best and only way to play the game.

Why you should play it:
It’s one of the genre’s most well regarded games
– Online multiplayer makes the game way better on the Xbox 360
– Multiple paths to take ensure you’ll be playing through the game more than a handful of times

Super Mario All-Stars TitleGame: Super Mario All-Stars
Genre: Platformer
System: SNES, Wii
Price: $20 (SNES); $45 (Wii)

Yeah, I’m counting it as a remake. Super Mario All-Stars collects Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario Bros 3, and Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels. Each game was a faithful port of their NES counterpart except with enhanced visuals. One cool addition was the ability to save your game on the cart. You might scoff at the inclusion of a save, but hey, it allowed a lot of people to finally beat the games! Also worth nothing is that The Lost Levels is the true sequel to Super Mario Bros but it was never released in America until AllStars. The extra levels are way harder than the first Mario but just as fun.

Why you should play it:
– It’s Mario in his prime and with a visual update
All of these games are classics and should be experienced by every gamer (even SMB2)
Super Mario Bros 3 alone makes the package worth it

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix TitleGame: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
Genre: Fighting
System: PSN, XBLA
Price: $15 (PSN, XBLA)

Seeing as there are more than  a handful or remakes and re-releases of Capcom’s classic fighter you might wonder why you should buy this latest version over the others. The improvements and tweaks present in HD Remix are astounding: obviously there’s the visual update, but there’s also balancing adjustments, new audio, online multiplayer, rankings, and dozens of options to change up the experience just a bit. You can even use the original balancing of gameplay to kick ass as Ryu all over again. HD Remix blends brand new elements into the cherished game while retaining everything hardcore fans of the series demand. Even with these changes it hasn’t stopped me from getting destroyed online.

Why you should play it:
Street Fighter II is one of the greatest fighting games ever made
– Loads of adjustable options to make the game fit your preferences to a T
It’s (hopefully) the final version of the classic game

Pokemon HeartGold CoverGame: Pokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver
Genre: RPG
System: DS
Price: ~$35

Nintendo has sort of fallen into a habit of re-releasing Pokemon games on their newest platform. Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver are remakes of the Game Boy Color’s followup to the original Pokemon Red & Blue. In the DS version there are numerous enhancements, including updated visuals, minigames you can play with your Pokemon by using the touchscreen, and of course connectivity with the PokeWalker peripheral. The little PokeBall shaped add-on acted like a side-game itself, allowing you to transfer one Pokemon to the PokeWalker. Once inside the device your Pokemon gains points as you walk, can battle Pokemon (some that can only be found via the PokeWalker), and can link up with other PokeWalkers to transfer items! It was a neat gimmick that’s unique to this one game, and if you’re fanatical about your pocket monsters this is a cool toy.

Why you should play it:
The PokeWalker is a cool device for mega-fans of the series
– A wholly worthy followup to the phenomenal original games
– You can eventually catch a Pidgey

Super Castlevania IV CoverGame: Super Castlevania IV
Genre: Action/Adventure
System: SNES, Wii
Price: ~$40 (SNES), $10 (Wii Virtual Console)

The Castlevania series has been around since the NES era and has since spread out onto just about every console and portable device out there. There are many games in the haunting series that are considered the best and one that pops up time and time again is Super Castlevania IV on the Super Nintendo. A remake of the original NES game, Super Castlevania IV implemented new whip mechanics, harder levels, improved graphics taking full advantage of the SNES’ capabilities, and a chilling soundtrack that still rocks today. Though there’s a lot of distance between this and the original, Super Castlevania IV is a remake of the original and a great game in it’s own right. It’s totally worthy of being on this list and is one of the SNES’ (and Virtual Console’s) best games.

Why you should play it:
– A killer soundtrack that makes whipping skeletons and vampires strangely delightful
Every detail of the first game gets reworked in this one, making for a much better experience
– You can swing across gaps with the Vampire Killer whip. What more do you need?

Final Fantasy IV The Complete Collection CoverGame: Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection
Genre: RPG
System: PSP
Price: ~$15

Much like Castlevania, the Final Fantasy series has been around for a long time and has many great titles under that familiar RPG moniker. While you can debate endlessly which game is the best in the series, a usual contender is always Final Fantasy IV. Originally released in North America on the SNES as Final Fantasy II, the PSP remake one ups the earlier DS remake in terms of content. While the DS remake had updated graphics and some new DS-only features using the touchscreen, The Complete Collection includes the extra game Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (previously available as a downloadable game) as well as the exclusive Prelude chapters. The PSP game even retains the beautiful CG scenes from the DS version. Tack on new characters, remixed music, and an art gallery and The Complete Collection is indeed the most complete version of this classic RPG.

Why you should play it:
– It is the most complete version of the game, featuring every bit of content and story in the FFIV universe
– Even though it’s a port of the original, the gameplay and story hold up so well
FFIV is regarded as one of the best in the series, and rightfully so

GBA Final Fantasy GamesGame: Final Fantasy I&II: Dawn of Souls; Final Fantasy IV Advance; Final Fantasy V Advance; Final Fantasy VI Advance
Genre: RPG
System: Game Boy Advance
Price: ~$15 (I&II), ~$10 (FFIV), ~$20 (FFV), ~$30 (FFVI)

I group all of these games together because they are all the same type of remake. FFI and FFII were originally released on the NES, and FFIV, FFV, and FFVI were originally released on the SNES. But each of these games received a facelift in visuals, as well as completely new content in I&II, better translations from the original Japanese, and renaming of spells to their more familiar current names. As a set, the GBA Final Fantasy’s are some of the handheld’s best titles, even though they’re all remakes. The SNES era of FF is assuredly one of the best, so being able to take each of those games with you where ever you go is a huge plus.

Why you should play them:
– It’s some of the best Final Fantasy’s in your pocket!
They’re relatively cheap to pick up
– They look better, sound better, and have more content than their original counterparts: everything a remake should have

Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening DX CoverGame: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
Genre: Adventure
System: Game Boy Color, 3DS
Price: ~$30 (GBC), $6 (3DS Virtual Console)

As Link took his first steps on the original Game Boy many gamers were wishing one thing: that the little elf boy was in color. Nintendo answered those wishes and more five years later with the release of Link’s Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color. A port of the original game and then some, Link’s Awakening DX was in color, featured an entirely new dungeon, and gave the hero a new item to use. It doesn’t sound like much compared to other games on the list, but the element of color added so much to the game that playing the original version is totally obsolete. This is further evidenced by Nintendo deciding to release DX as a celebration title to download on the new 3DS system instead of the original.

Why you should play it:
– It’s Link’s very first handheld adventure and a fun adventure that rivals his console exploits
– The game is notably funnier than the past games and even includes cameos by Mario, Peach, and a Chain Chomp
The 3DS downloadable version is one of the best titles to download on the Virtual Console

Mega Man Powered Up CoverGame: Mega Man: Powered Up
Genre: Action
System: PSP
Price: ~$15

The greatest video game character of all time also happens to star in one of, if not, the greatest video game remake out there. Mega Man: Powered Up for the PSP is a complete reimagining of the first game in the historical series. A brand new cute art style, two additional Robot Masters, adjustable difficulty, the ability to play as Proto Man and all the Robot Masters, challenge levels, and a level editor gave the Blue Bomber a lot to work with. Capcom made an enhanced remake of Mega Man X around the time this game was released but that game was nearly as polished and unique as this. Powered Up is, in my opinion, the best example of how a developer should remake a game.

Why you should play it:
A completely new experience compared to the first
The ability to play as the Robot Masters for the first time
– A perfect blend of new, old, and customizable features.



I've been writing about video games for years and playing them even longer. You'll find me playing all types of games, old and new. Mega Man III is greater than Mega Man II.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. John

    I’m actually playing LeafGreen off and on in the hopes of moving the Pokemon into a newer game, in part of a larger plan. All of the mainline Pokemon are pretty great and the remakes are no exception. I wonder if Ruby/Sapphire will be remade after X/Y?

    1. jsicktheslick

      It’s next in line, isn’t it? Right after Gold and Silver… hmmm. I wonder if Nintendo will actually continue the tradition of re-releasing older games on newer platforms. I wish they’d just focus on making a better Pokemon game.

      1. John

        I’m there with you. I have a very specific notion about the direction they should take the series, and Black and White/Black 2 and White 2 didn’t quite do what I wanted.

  2. Eric @ The Warning Sign

    Good picks! I am also fond of the Star Ocean remakes for the PSP. I only played the SO2 remake a little bit, but I was happy to finally be able to play SO1 for the first time (with some cool anime cutscenes, at that).

    1. jsicktheslick

      I was tempted to put the Star Ocean remakes on the PSP on the list here, especially the first since it’s the only US released version of that game. But I decided against it, as I felt these were a bit better. Still though, Star Ocean 2 is such a good RPG!

  3. omarbanzai

    Nice choices!
    BTW, I’m considering getting the Castlevania; The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP. Did you happen to try it already? If so, what did you think of it?

    1. jsicktheslick

      I actually haven’t played Dracula X Chronicles although I REALLY want too. That’s a great remake as well, and it has a port of Symphony of the Night. I thought of including that game on the list as well, but felt Super Castlevania IV was a better title to highlight as a lot of gamers might not know it as a remake.

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