From Comix Zone to NiGHTS, SEGA could have some modern day classics on their hands by revisiting these long dead IP’s.
Yesterday, SEGA announced via their “Road to 2020” business presentation for the fiscal year end that they want to create “more global hits” with the “revival of major IP’s”. This is smart from SEGA. A quick scroll through their back catalogue reveals a rogues gallery of names that will be instantly recognisable to anyone who remembers the Megadrive or Dreamcast. Of course, this announcement set our hearts racing, or creative juices flowing and we set about to appease the “Gods of List Features” by listing 10 long-dead SEGA IP’s that deserve to rise from the dead.
1). Crazy Taxi
Let me guess – you just read the words “Crazy Taxi” and in your head you can now hear “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, YEH! (Commence guitar rift)”. Don’t worry, it’s the same for everyone.
Crazy Taxi was a revelation when it first landed in 1999. The bright art style, the smooth but chaotic game play and pop punk soundtrack made for an intoxicating mix. It took arcades and the home console market by storm, selling more than a million copies on the Dreamcast and PS2. Since then it has been ported to PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Gamecube and mobiles. Unfortunately, pseudo-sequel Emergency Mayhem tanked on the Wii and no new games have been mentioned since. NOW is the time for Crazy Taxi to return. There’s very few arcade racers hitting home consoles these days and with a visual spruce up and an updated soundtrack (keeping the Offspring of course), The Crazy Taxi might ride again.
2). Jet Set Radio
It has been 15 years since the last Jet Set Radio game, JSR Future, released on the Xbox. The series (which is was described by Eurogamer in 2012 as “still one of the most striking games you could play on a 360, or a PS3, or a PC”) was never a massive seller but won over critical acclaim (it took home the “Best Console Game” award at E3 2000) and has built up a cult following ever since. There’s a real thirst for a new Jet Set Radio with other projects attempting to emulate the style and feel of the game – Perhaps it’s time SEGA dusted off this franchise for a threequel.
3). House of the Dead
House of the Dead suffered from some of the same issues that Resident Evil has over the years. As the developers attempted to up their game with new iterations, so too did it get a bit… well… silly. For those of us who frequented Arcades in the late 90’s and early 00’s, House of the Dead is an instantly recognisable name. A VR Rail Shooter in the House of the Dead universe might be a fantastic way to reinvigorate this IP.
NiGHTS into Dreams is considered by many to be the best SEGA Saturn game ever made. The sequel NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams release for the Wii didn’t manage to reach the same levels of success but most critics laid their complaints at the motion control scheme of the Wii rather than the games design. It’s fair to say that the NiGHTS franchise has its fans and they’d love to see a third installment. Even designer Takashi Iizuka said in 2010 that he’d love to do a third game if SEGA ever decided to make one…
Now, the Shinobi IP isn’t technically “dead”. There have been several re-releases of these games in the past few years and there was even a new entry titled simply “Shinobi 3D” for the 3DS released in 2011. The fact is though that SEGA have not given the Shinobi IP the attention it deserves. Make it 3D, design it like a modern day Tenchu and it’s bound to sell a million copies.
6). Altered Beast
Back in the 80’s and 90’s, we didn’t really question why a Greek Warrior was transforming into a dragon, a bear or a golden werewolf. We just got on with the task at hand – killing undead beasts. These days, questions might be asked. If SEGA were to try and restore Altered Beast to its former glory, they’d have to have far more narrative to it. Make it 3D, maybe invest heavily in a large open world, go for an edgy Darksiders vibe.
7). Comix Zone
Comix Zone was simply a great premise. Playing through the panels of a comic book with branching paths should you explore was great. It’s a shame that the game became a little repetitive towards the end and seemed to abandon the obvious design ideas that theme brings to the table. SEGA could possibly make a pretty successful episodic game out of this, bouncing between themes and comic books to fight off evil.
8). Space Channel 5
If the success of Rez Infinite, the return Parappa The Rapper in HD and the announcement of Project Rap Rabbit tell you anything, it’s that there’s still a place in this world for good music/rhythm games. Space Channel 5 is one such good game. The basic mechanics of SC5 are still as fresh today as they were in 1999 and a threequel could be a moderate success for SEGA.
9). Golden Axe
SEGA attempted to revitalise (probably) their second most famous Mega Drive game, Golden Axe, back in 2008 with “Beast Rider”. Needless to say, it failed miserably. SEGA have left the Golden Axe IP well alone ever since (if you exclude the rumours of a TV show in the works). As there is currently a rise in the popularity and commercial success of side scrolling beat-’em-up’s, SEGA could take Golden Axe back to basics – simple mechanics and great co-op fun.
10). Streets of Rage
There’s a reason why games like Raging Justice, The TakeOver and the 30 or so other 90’s inspired side-scrolling brawlers exist. People want more Streets of Rage. It has been more than 20 years since SEGA last released a proper Streets of Rage game and with a decent enough budget and with the right team, SEGA could bring this IP back to life.