Eurogamer Q&A: Video game necromancy
When people talk about their dream superpower, two suggestions usually dominate the conversation. On one hand you have the creepy pervs who would like invisibility and on the other, you have the ostentatious showoffs who would like to be able to fly.
Necromancy, however never really gets a look-in. Probably because it’s super dark, but I still think that’s a shame. Imagine being able to bring creatures back to life. You could spend some more time with the family dog that you had when you were 11 – before he managed to get into the chocolate cupboard. Or the cactus you had on your desk – y’know, the one that died because you didn’t water it enough and you’re kind of ashamed to admit that to anyone because who the hell manages to kill a cactus anyway and really if you can’t keep a cactus alive you probably shouldn’t have adopted that cat but it’s way too late because you’ve got a five kilogram bag of dry kitty bikkies on the way from Amazon and the litter tray is all set up already.
The superpower I REALLY want though is video game necromancy. I want to be able to revive dead franchises. Let’s get a Gregory Horror Show 2. Or a Jazz Jackrabbit 3. Screw it, where the hell is my modern-day Raw Danger?
I asked my colleagues what games they’d bring back from the dead if they could:
Tom Phillips, News Editor
Sorry Luigi, but Super Monkey Ball was the best launch title for the GameCube. Tilt the stage, roll your monkey, get them in the goal. Cue confetti and your monkey shooting up towards the next fiendish puzzle above.
The best bit of Super Monkey Ball, though, was its mini-games. Monkey Fight, a platform based punch-up with oversized boxing gloves, was fun. But really it was Monkey Target that was the star of the show. After rolling down an enormous ramp you then had to track wind speed and velocity as you glided down towards floating platforms out at sea. And then you had to land your monkey without them rolling off, aiming for specific areas of the platform which awarded particular sets of points. My friends and I got so good at Monkey Target we would add in extra challenges – like the need to briefly skim the water and soar up into the air again before landing, or else your score was void.
Sega, what happened to Super Monkey Ball? After an enjoyable sequel, the series switched art style and and was never as good. Game Boy Advance, DS, Wii, Vita and mobile versions followed, but none could capture the simplicity of that original entry. The last Monkey Ball game, Bounce, launched for iPhone and Android devices back in 2014. And what I’m trying to say is the Switch has been out two years now – where is Monkey Ball for that? With the ability to use gyro controls and on the go play perfect for its short levels, it’s past time Sega’s simians returned.
Christian Donlan, Features Editor
Impossible Mission towers over most of the other games I have played, a C64 classic that I mainly know from watching my older brother fail to complete it. It remains fixed in my mind an example of exactly the kind of thing that games should be: stylish, mysterious, and ultimately unknowable.
You’re a secret agent exploring an evil genius’ lair. He wants to blow up the world and you want to stop him. But he is already locked away in his control room, and so you have to sift through the objects in his empty house looking for the puzzle pieces that will eventually give you the code to bust through the final door and stop him in his tracks. The whole place is procedurally scrambled and filled with deadly robots. The clock is ticking. The game really does seem impossible.
God, this is ripe for a reboot, awful as that word is. The sense of being locked away, far from the rest of the world, deep underground in a place that is frightening and futuristic but also curiously domestic. Alongside killer robots and the floating ball from The Prisoner, you’re also surrounded by couches and drinks machines and old stack-stereos to search through for the code pieces. You have a cool wrist computer with which you can put everything together, and the precision platforming is balletic and exacting. In a way, I can’t believe people haven’t brought this back – it is so rich.
The sound effects! I will go to my grave hearing the sound of your feet on metal plating in Impossible Mission, hearin the chugging squeal of the elevators and the crackle and bubble of the evil genius technology that powers this strange haunted house. And when I die, I will scream the garbled, synthesised scream of all good secret agents who miss their footings and plummet off-screen for good.
Martin Robinson, Reviews Editor
Has it really been 11 years since the last proper TOCA game? I’d actually say it’s been even longer, seeing as the last one that properly did it for me was 1998’s TOCA 2 – and when I say really do it for me, I mean actually properly replicate the spectacle that is the British Touring Car Championship, one of the most consistently entertaining racing series in the world. Lord knows what developer Codemasters did to series’ head Alan Gow, but he’s been scared off video games ever since, and while we’ve had takes on touring cars in other games – Project Cars 2 has a good spin and features many of the circuits that make up the BTCC calendar, while RaceRoom has done a wonderful job with its WTCC, DTM and WTCR expansions – it’s not quite good enough for me.
I want nothing less than a proper recreation of Britain’s own redneck motorsport – a southern counties NASCAR as opposed the petrolhead’s sport of choice in America’s deep south, where Kent stands nobly in for North Carolina – a series that’s more rubbing than racing. I want a bit of Max Power edge to it all, and I want really bad drum and bass in the menus. I want Alain Menu. I want to knock the crap out of Jason Plato – who doesn’t? – and I want a tricked out Toyota Avensis to hoon around backwaters such as Croft and Rockingham. I really, really want a proper BTCC game – so please, will someone make it happen?
What game would you like to see brought forth from the grave? Let me know in the comments!