Top 10 Game Series That Need To Come Back

Franchises That Deserve Another Shot

The video game industry contains thousands of ‘intellectual properties’. Different series bring different experiences and add variety to the hobby we love so much. However, for each new series born an existing one is put on the backburner. So today, Back To The Gaming presents a list of the top 10 game series that need to come back.

10. Ice Climber

Japanese boxart for the first and only game of the Ice Climber series.
Japanese box-art for Ice Climber.

Ice Climber is a game that came out in 1985. For many, its existence is only known and remembered for its main characters, Popo and Nana, showing up in the roster for Super Smash Bros. Melee. Playing as the two sparked an interest not only for them, but also the game they came from.

As an early adopter of the 3DS, I was given a selection of games through Nintendo’s ambassador program. Ice Climber was one of the games and even today I think it’s an enjoyable little platformer. It still remains curious that the series only has one game.

Bringing back Ice Climber would provide Nintendo the chance to experiment with new gameplay ideas. Popo and Nana are already easily recognizable thanks to their inclusion in the Super Smash Bros. series. The Kid Icarus series was just as obscure and in a similar situation. Despite that, Nintendo bought the series back with Kid Icarus: Uprising, helmed by Masahiro Sakurai. Maybe Nintendo could enlist his help again for Ice Climbers. A two player 3D platformer where you and a friend can take control of Popo and Nana could be a interesting concept.

9. Golden Axe

American artwork for Golden Axe II, which is the second game in the Golden Axe series.
North American artwork for Golden Axe II.

Before Sega released Streets of Rage, they created a beat-’em-up called Golden Axe. Originally released for arcades, it was ported to the Sega Genesis. While I’m a fan of the series, I feel like it hasn’t aged as well as Streets of Rage nor did it receive the same effort and polish. Despite this, the series is still a personal favorite, and still has some untapped potential.

The series features well designed characters, a fantasy setting, and a rather deep lore. The series’ three primary heroes have interesting backstories, especially for a beat-’em-up. I think its about time for Ax Battler, Tyrus Flare, and Gilius Thunderhead to fight against the Death Adder and his army once again. Based on the success of the long awaited Streets of Rage 4, I have no doubt that there could be new life in Golden Axe too.

8. Bloody Roar

Promotional art for Bloody Roar 4; the fourth game in the Bloody Roar series.
Promotional art for Bloody Roar 4.

Bloody Roar is a very unappreciated and criminally underrated fighting game developed by Hudson Soft. I was lured in by the roster’s ability to transform into animals. These beast forms aren’t just a visual aesthetic, but also give the characters access to health regeneration, more attacks, and special moves. This encourages players to utilize their form for the right situation.

A recent playthrough of Bloody Roar II enhanced my perspective of the series. Now I am able to really appreciate the game’s mechanics as well as realize some of its problems. Damage scaling is pretty much non existent and, in the right hands, characters are capable of dealing stupid amounts of damage. I recently branched out from the PlayStation titles and moved on to later entries such as Bloody Roar: Primal Fury. Even playing the game in 2020, I was honestly shocked at its polish and quality.

If Bloody Roar can return, it can bring along new mechanics and characters. If done right it can bring a sense of freshness to 3D fighting games, which currently only consist of Tekken, Soul Calibur, and Dead or Alive. With Hudson Soft no longer in business, the rights to the series currently belong to Konami. Fighting games are as popular as they’ve ever been right now, so bringing Bloody Roar back could be a smart move for the company.

7. Ristar

Artwork for Ristar; the first and only game in the series.
Artwork for Ristar

Even though it isn’t higher on this list, Ristar is the game that is most deserving of another shot. Originally an unused concept for Sonic the Hedgehog, Ristar only has one game to its name. It’s a shame, because Ristar is extremely good; so good that it’s one of my favorite platformers ever. The game focuses on Ristar’s ability to extend his arms, which he can use to grab onto enemies, and help him traverse the levels. The game’s pace is pretty slow, but the level design is top notch. I’d argue that Ristar is even better than Sonic’s first two entries, only falling short to Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

The game never got the recognition it deserved, due to being released at the end of the Sega Genesis’ life. I didn’t even know the game existed until its inclusion in Sonic Mega Collection as an unlockable. The game received good reception, and I feel that Ristar deviates enough from the Sonic series to be great in its own right. Sega needs to look into a sequel — even if it’s a digital only release. Seeing Ristar as a flag man in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed felt like a slap in the face; the character is more than worthy to be part of the race.

6. Dino Crisis

The title screen for the first game in the Dino Crisis series.
Title Screen of Dino Crisis.

In retrospect, I feel like the Dino Crisis series was doomed from the start. Despite being a creation from the same mind that brought us Resident Evil, Dino Crisis was destined to be in its shadow. I think the first Dino Crisis is a excellent game, but suffered due to bad timing. The game released a year after Resident Evil 2, which remains the best selling title of the franchise’s classic games. By that time, Resident Evil had established itself as the definitive survival-horror experience. Dino Crisis was even packaged with a demo of Resident Evil 3 to further incentivize purchase. As a result, the series was seen as nothing more than “Resident Evil, but with dinosaurs”.

While the statement holds some truth, it also takes away from Shinji Mikami’s original vision for the series. Mikami marketed the game as “panic-horror” and wanted to build a more complex enemy artificial intelligence. In contrast to Resident Evil‘s zombies, the raptors in Dino Crisis are smarter, more agile, and unrelenting. Despite being a common enemy, they can open doors and follow Regina (the game’s protagonist) from room to room. They are far more savage in nature and their presence is felt during every encounter. This especially holds true if they get a hold of Regina, who they will violently thrash and ragdoll around.

While the game did receive good reception, Mikami felt like his original vision for the series wasn’t realized. Both him and Capcom seemingly gave up on that vision, since both Dino Crisis 2 and Dino Crisis 3 would be made into action games. My hope would be for Mikami to revisit Dino Crisis in the same vein as he did with the Resident Evil remake back in 2002. Sadly, this is highly unlikely since the rights to Dino Crisis remain with Capcom and Mikami is no longer with the company. Still, Capcom managed to develop well received remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 despite his absence. With both graphics and A.I improving vastly since the days of the PlayStation, a reboot of Dino Crisis shouldn’t be anything short of bone-chilling.

5. The Last Story

Official artwork for The Last Story.
Official artwork for The Last Story.

The Last Story was the game that led me to support Operation Rainfall back in the Wii era. Beginning during the end of the console’s life cycle, Operation Rainfall pushed for Xenoblade Chronicles, Pandora’s Tower, and The Last Story to be released in North America. Directed by the creator of Final Fantasy, The Last Story is one of the most engaging JRPGs I’ve played. The game’s combat system is a unique blend, combining real-time combat, stealth, and cover-based mechanics . Even though I completed it late, I related to the game’s story and appreciated its lessons.

The story revolves around Zeal and his group of mercenaries. Zeal carries plenty of dreams and aspirations during the start of the game. However, when he achieves them he realizes that they aren’t what he’d thought they would be. The game shows that your friends can carry some evil motives and that your enemies can be just as human as you. By the end of the game, I not only cared for Zeal, but all of his companions.

I’m not sure what the Mistwalker Corporation is up to nowadays, but I think they should consider a sequel to The Last Story. The gameplay stands out from any other JRPG I’ve played, and can be be improved further with a future instalment. However, I do think it will be challenging to come up with a new story since the characters in the first game had definitive conclusions. I think the sequel should feature new characters with the original characters featuring minor roles or mentions. Hopefully Mistwalker can collaborate with Nintendo or Xseed again to make a follow up to this underrated gem.

4. Mega Man Legends

Artwork for Mega Man Legends 2.
Artwork for Mega Man Legends 2.

Still to this day, Mega Man Legends is my favorite incarnation of Mega Man. Despite purchasing the Nintendo 64 port on a whim, it turned out to be everything I wanted it to be. Instead of platforming on a 2D plane, Legends has players exploring the 3D realm as Mega Man Volnutt. With guidance from Roll and Barrell Caskett, players must battle countless Reaverbots, hunt for treasure, and fight off the comedic Bonne family.

I’m sure I don’t have to talk too much about the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3. Capcom’s decision to end the project was a blow for many. Fortunately for fans, Capcom seems to be reevaluating their handling of the Blue Bomber in general. With the release of Mega Man 11, the Mega Man X collection, and the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection the character is slowly being brought back into the fold. It’s possible that Capcom just might reconsider their stance on Mega Man Legends.

3. Viewtiful Joe

Official artwork for Viewtiful Joe.
Official artwork for Viewtiful Joe.

If I could choose one IP for Capcom to bring back it would be Viewtiful Joe. I still remember playing the game on a GameCube demo disc, and immediately taking a liking to the game. The reason for this was probably due to the game’s inspiration. The main character of Viewtiful Joe is based off popular Japanese superhero shows such as Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. Stock footage from both of these shows would be used to create American shows such as the Masked Rider and Power Rangers.

Not only did the game appeal to me aesthetically, but gameplay-wise as well. Viewtiful Joe is a flashy, but technical beat-’em-up. Upon transforming, Joe has access to VFX powers for the player to use. With these abilities, Joe can slow down time, move at mach speed, or zoom in the camera to add damage to his attacks. Joe’s powers are not only for fighting enemies, but also solving puzzles as well. These mechanics brought a refreshing experience to a genre which I thought, at the time, had grown repetitive.

I would love to see a Viewtiful Joe 3. After all, the first game did promise fans that the world would be in jeopardy a total of three times. We already fought off the first two threats in the first two games, and it’s about time we tackle the third. I know that Clover Studios is no longer around, but some of its members went on to make PlatinumGames. There’s a possibility that Capcom can partner up with PlatinumGames, and give the series its proper conclusion.

2. Virtua Fighter

Virtua Fighter Artwork
Promotional Artwork for Virtua Fighter

I previously expressed my desire for Virtua Fighter to comeback in a past article. Virtua Fighter is a fighting game that pretty much paved the way for 3D fighters such as Tekken, and Dead or Alive. With every main-line entry, the series never abandoned its realistic depiction of Martial Arts. There are no fireballs, devil genes, or enchanted weapons in Virtua Fighter; just practitioners of different styles fighting it out. With the sole exception of a cybernetic android, this is the most grounded fighting game series ever made.

If Sega ever decides to make a Virtua Fighter 6, they should expand on Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. Use rollback netcode to provide players with the best online experience possible. Add about two more fighters to represent two styles of martial arts that have never been available in the series before. Take advantage of the upcoming new hardware and make the game available for PC. With a whole new generation getting into fighting games, and a host of new potential features, now is the chance for Sega to draw attention to the Virtua Fighter series.

1. F-Zero

F-Zero Box Art
Box-art for F-Zero.

The number one game series that I feel needs to come back is F-Zero. Even the very first entry in the series is a blast to play, and F-Zero would get even better with each passing generation, seeing releases on the Nintendo 64, Gameboy Advance, and GameCube. While F-Zero X remains my favorite due to the heavy metal inspired soundtrack, F-Zero GX is arguably the best game in the series.

Since F-Zero is one of my favorite Nintendo franchises, its absence is confusing to me. The first game not only showed off the Super Nintendo’s capabilities, it established its own sub-genre. With its inception, Nintendo made an exhilarating racing game that requires skill, and track memorization. The game’s influence is still present today, inspiring games such as Burnout and Fast RMX. Even the game’s protagonist Captain Falcon is a popular member of the Super Smash Bros. series.

However, I feel as though Captain Falcon has become more synonymous with Super Smash Bros., than the very series he represents. There is still so much more F-Zero can achieve. The series has never even had an entry featuring online multiplayer. Imagine a F-Zero sporting online races, high-definition visuals, and a track creator where you can upload your own tracks. Bring back the vehicle creation from F-Zero GX, and even give the ability to make customizable avatars to race with.

There’s no better time for the franchise to return. The Nintendo Switch has broken records, and has a huge install base. A F-Zero entry on the Switch can bring back old fans, while simultaneously introducing a new generation to the series.

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I enjoy video games, martial arts, and great food.

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