We’re proud of the PSN, it’s a great service and some of the recent games have been great fun, especially when you get the full game for £7 and not just the demo. But is the grass greener on the other side? Is there, say, 10 games we’d really want to see on our Thursday Store updates? Of course there are, otherwise this would be have been a rubbish article. Let’s begin:
Duke Nukem 3D
When everyone had their eyes firmly fixed on id’s Quake, along came Duke with his steel toe-capped boots and shook the FPS world out of its dark damp corridors and into the ‘real’ world of Los Angeles. An utterly unmissable title on the PC (and various consoles) in the 90s, the XBLA version is almost identical, controls well and provides a solid trip into nostalgia; some of the level design is still brilliant and would be unique on the PSN.
Pac-Man Championship Edition
Yes it’s Pac-Man, but the special Championship Edition version is a breathtaking revamp of the classic gobble-em-up with stunning visuals and some wildy addictive competitive modes. Sure, the XBLA version has been out ages and the novelty has worn off, but a fresh release on the PSN would create a real stir with the game mechanics being purely score-based. We can only imagine what the Trophies would be.
Just out, and again another remake, but this trip into Bydo territory stands out from the PS1 download we already have by virtue of the wonderful 3D lick of paint. Tap ‘Y’ at any time and the flat retro sprites burst into life with all-new super-shiny polygonal models running at 60fps. A box of neat graphical tweaks round off the overhaul, and R-Type (and its sequel) still stand tall in terms of level design and a smooth difficulty curve.
Probably Rare’s finest moment on the N64 after Goldeneye, this Mario-esque platformer won this author’s heart the first time around and is just as wonderful in 2009. Bundled with pre-orders of the disappointing Nuts and Bolts, this XBLA revamp has sharper graphics, a better framerate and tighter controls, but still retains the wicked humour, massive open worlds and classic Rare touches. The PSN needs a decent platformer, and this would be perfect.
Rez, my favourite Dreamcast (and by extension, PS2) game in existence. I’ve written many an article on this game, but suffice to say that Rez stands tall amongst everything else on the Arcade by providing a subtle challenge and addictive score attack modes but keeping the same pounding soundtrack keeping everything flowing. The new features are thin on the ground, but Rez HD doesn’t need gimmicks, it’s a stunning game.
Portal: Still Alive
Sure, we’ve got (the butchered) Orange Box on the PS3, but to be able to just quickly fire up Portal and dive into one of the many challenges, not to mention a rack of entirely new levels, is a godsend on the 360. Load times are massively reduced, the visuals are a touch crisper and the Still Alive portion, although slightly over-priced, still offers a fair amount of challenge. And you don’t have to put up with Team Fortress, of course.
There’s probably a very good reason we don’t have Tetris on the PSN Store, although I’m not aware of what that reason actually is – perhaps it’s licensed elsewhere, but it needn’t be this ‘Splash’ iteration, any old multiplayer version of Tetris would be more than welcome, even if it’s a bundled game in with some other classics and not even touched visually. Instead we have to make do with slightly worryingly detailed ‘clones’ on LittleBigPlanet.
We do have vertical shooters on the PSN, but none match up to the beautiful simplicity of Ikaruga. A Dreamcast (and Gamecube) title that has been graciously granted an extra life on the Arcade, Ikaruga’s subtle black/white mechanics help elevate the game above the raft of similar shoot-em-ups. If you’ve not played Ikaruga then a PSN version would be the ideal time to start, let’s hope the rumours we heard a bit ago turn out to be true.
The ‘Refuelled’ bit is naff and over-complicated, but the ‘Retro’ mode is pure ZX Spectrum brilliance. If Rare have created a Spectrum emulator here they should license it out to other developers – I’d happily pay 400 space-bucks for some 48k classics. Naturally Sony’s videogame history doesn’t go back as far as 1982, but neither does Microsoft’s – it’s just that they had the balls to pick up on such a simple idea and roll with it.
Sensible World Of Soccer
And, of course, we couldn’t forget this Amiga masterpiece. The graphical changes are slight, and welcome, and the core gameplay remains the same – nothing beats a post-pub gaming session of Sensible Soccer (apart from Singstar, of course) and this with a few mates and some quality beer is my idea of heaven. Simple controls, simple visuals, but a genre-defining footy game that would probably sit better on PlayStation 3 anyway. Sign the petition!