A reboot discards any previously established story and instead, reuses the same characters in a retold, reimagined, or redesigned storyline. Sometimes, you end up with a highly anticipated, but inexcusably sub-par game that never should’ve gotten past the drawing board. Whether it’s an honest attempt at rekindling a franchise’s popularity or a quick cash-grab by greedy executives, reboots probably aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. In this Top 10 list, the reboot occupying the #1 spot will be the most unnecessary, and the reboot occupying the #10 spot will be the least unnecessary. With that in mind, here are 10 Games that Didn’t Need a Reboot!
- System: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, OS X, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Terminal Reality
- Developer: Majesco Entertainment, Universal Interactive, VU Games, EA, Sony Computer Entertainment America
- Release Dates: October 15, 2002; JPN: August 26, 2004
BloodRayne is a vampire-heavy hack and slash that follows a woman named Rayne, who is a Dhampir, or half vampire. She is searching for her father, who disappeared some time ago; in her quest to discover his whereabouts, she has joined the Brimstone Society. The Brimstone Society is a clandestine group dedicated to being the guardians of humanity. Any supernatural threat including, but not limited to, vampires will be eliminated by their agents, Rayne being among their ranks. The major irony, of course, is that Rayne is half vampire herself- so essentially she is killing her kin to save her other kin. This situation melds well with the storyline, giving the game plenty of drama in all the right places and earning the respect of players and critics.
BloodRayne: Betrayal focuses more on weaving its own story in a seemingly non-canonical way, giving it the telltale signs of being a reboot. Oddly enough, BloodRayne’s reboot switches from a 3D action game to a 2D side-scroller. While this opens a new perspective to slaying vampires, it also uses a new control system, which can be clunky to some players. Betrayal might not be a huge offender when it comes to unnecessary reboots, but it certainly has its own faults.
9. Mega Man
- System: Nintendo Entertainment System
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- Release Dates: December 17, 1987
Mega Man, AKA Rock, is a robot created by Dr. Light to fight the forces of evil, who are controlled by his nemesis, Dr. Wily. Rife with ambition, Dr. Wily plans to take over the world with the help of his evil robot minions. It’s up to Mega Man to stop him and save the day, not to mention, the planet.
Back in 2013, a Kickstarter page was created to fund a reboot of the beloved, blue, robot dude. While Mighty No. 9 might not be a direct reboot of the Mega Man franchise, it’s generally agreed upon by most gamers to be a spiritual successor or unofficial reboot. It features a different protagonist, Beck, who looks suspiciously similar to Mega Man. Mighty No. 9 had more technical issues than you could shake a stick at when it was released and the frame rate suffered because of it. On top of that, it was lacking some oomph in the art and story departments. And unfortunately, it turned out to be less than "mighty," falling somewhere in "disappointment" territory. Disappointment No. 9 doesn't sound quite as catchy, though.
- System: Arcade
- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Sega-Gremlin, Sega
- Release Dates: October 23, 1981; JPN: June 5, 1981
Released in 1981, the arcade game Frogger featured a pixelated green frog as the main protagonist. While controlling Frogger, the player’s objective was to guide the little amphibian across levels that featured various obstacles like cars, moody turtles, snakes, alligators, etc. Another obstacle had many gamers rolling their eyes because despite the fact that Frogger is a frog (shocking, we know), he actually cannot touch water in the game due to his inability to swim. That may seem odd but, hey, it’s supposed to be an arcade game- not a biology lesson!
Have you heard about Frogger?! He’s back! And he’s back with the same type of levels, game mechanic, characters, cars, music…oh, wait, it’s basically the same damn game as before; except, this time, it’s in 3D! Even though the extra dimension in Frogger: He’s Back adds an interesting new element to the game, it still does practically nothing to actually change the way that the game is played, rendering it little more than a cool feature. At least this reboot didn’t give him some gritty, realistic take on his dramatic backstory. If you were hoping for that, just give it some time- they’re bound to get there eventually.
7. Conker’s Bad Fur Day
- System: N64
- Publisher: Rare
- Developer: Rare, THQ
- Release Dates: March 5, 2001; EU: April 6, 2001
Conker’s Bad Fur Day revolves around the alcoholic squirrel, Conker, while he embarks on a journey from the bar and back to his girlfriend, who is waiting for him at home. Life has different plans for Conker, though, and he gets a bit delayed by side quests, quirky acquaintances, and wads of cash. Overall, Conker’s Bad Fur Day is a great game with a less than family friendly sense of humor.
Conker: Live and Reloaded is technically a remake of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, but this time for Xbox Original. We know that this list is about game reboots, not remakes, but enough was changed in the remake to be considered a reboot. For instance, the multiplayer mode was drastically changed along with several minor changes to single player mode as well. These changes alone resulted in the “remake” being so poorly received by critics that it actually was scored lower than the original, despite having some of the same critics review both games.
6. Star Fox 64
- System: N64, iQue Player
- Publisher: Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release Dates: June 30, 1997; JPN: April 27, 1997
Many gamers hold this Nintendo 64 classic in the highest regard, and with good reason! Star Fox 64 had an eccentric cast of anthropomorphic creatures piloting Arwings throughout exciting missions and a storyline worth investing in. Back in 1997, this was a big deal, as video games were gaining more and more attention amongst the consumer population.
Star Fox Zero can basically be summed up as Star Fox 64 but with an annoying camera mechanic. Even though there are some semi-major changes, Star Fox Zero has most of the same levels, same characters, and even the plot is similar. It seems that the only difference between Star Fox Zero and the rest of the franchise is the Zero at the end of the title. Coincidently, that’s about as many fans as the reboot had. If you love classic Star Fox and hate reboots, do a Barrel Roll (away from this game)!
- System: Arcade
- Publisher: Namco
- Developer: Midway; JPN: Namco
- Release Dates: October 26, 1980; JPN: May 22, 1980
Since its release in 1980, Pac-man has become one of the most popular video games of all time; the iconic Pac-man character can be instantly recognized by just about everyone, even non-gamers. The gameplay is rather simple: move Pac-man through a maze, eating dots and fruit along the way. Avoid the multicolored ghosts that roam the maze until you can consume a power pellet, at which point, Pac-man is able to devour the ghosts. Pac-man has no real story that is referenced in the game, which is fine, because people play it for the simplicity. It’s just a shame that not everyone got the memo on that.
Have you ever wondered what this funny looking yellow blob does on his days off? Yeah, we haven’t either. But someone apparently had that thought back in 1994 because we somehow ended up with the confusing mess that is Pac-man 2: The New Adventures. It’s true to the title, at least: Pac-man 2 is full of new adventures, just not the ones that gamers wanted. When he isn’t chomping down on dots, Pac-man can be found at home, spending quality time with his Pac-family. Yes, you read that correctly and yes, that is why Pac-man 2 made it onto this list. The fact that Pac-man even got a backstory (let alone a whole family) is kind of ridiculous, considering that he is just a yellow sphere with eyes and a mouth. Even the opening of the game admitted that the player would just be helping Pac-man out in various hijinks and wacky adventures- talk about a forced plot! Some Pac-fans found this to be whimsical, but most people found that it kind of left an odd taste in their mouths.
- System: SNES
- Publisher: Beam Software
- Developer: Data East
- Release Dates: May 1, 1993; JPN: March 25, 1994
The original Shadowrun video game is a top-down, science fiction RPG. The plot consists of the main character tracking down information and becoming a mercenary. The environment has an odd mix of cyberpunk and magic that somehow complement each other. It was released in 1993 for the SNES and has since built itself a legacy as one of the best sci-fi video games of all time. Due to its critical acclaim, Shadowrun has evolved into a game series of 8 entries so far.
The rebooted version of Shadowrun, released in 2007, is a first person shooter. Long-time fans were notably upset that this new version had not kept to the spirit of the 1993 top-down. Despite having good graphics and gameplay, the story was not impressive by any means; and without that essential pillar, the game ended up being panned by both critics and Shadowrun fans.
3. Space Invaders
- System: Arcade
- Publisher: Taito
- Developer: Midway, Taito, Leisure & Allied Industries
- Release Dates: July 1978; JPN: June 1978
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Space Invaders. This wildly popular 1978 arcade game has loads of 8-bit charm that has held up well over the years. Like most classic arcade games, it has a minimalistic plot and relies mostly on its gameplay to entice patrons. You take control of a spaceship and defend Earth from aliens by shooting them and try to avoid letting them land any hits on your ship. It’s a lot harder than it sounds, as the enemy ships pose a health detriment if they touch you and their erratic movements make it hard to predict their flight paths.
Space Raiders is essentially the 2004 reboot of Space Invaders; however, this reboot changed the 2D format into a clunky, 3D shooter. Instead of your trusty spaceship, you now control a guy with a gun who shoots hordes of advancing aliens while standing in an alley or on a street. Keeping with Space Invaders’ game mechanic, you can only strafe from left to right and only shoot straight forward. The alien invaders, on the other hand, can move and shoot straight, as well as diagonally; this is undoubtedly due to some futuristic, alien warfighting technique honed to perfection over many centuries. The addition of a story and third dimension were highly unnecessary given the fact that on a foundational level, there’s really not a huge difference between the two games. It might be an interesting concept on paper, but that’s where it should’ve stayed.
2. Altered Beast
- System: Arcade
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Sega
- Release Dates: August 1988
The original Altered Beast is a bit of a hidden gem among classic arcade games. This beat ‘em up, side scroller’s story isn’t all that unique- basically it follows the same general plot of Super Mario Bros. The Ancient Greek setting is rather interesting, though, as it is rarely seen in arcade games. The story shows a dead centurion that is resurrected by Zeus (yes, that Zeus) and ordered to rescue Athena from a variety of enemies that have taken her hostage. The centurion hero literally punches and kicks demon-like monsters and undead creatures, collecting power-ups from certain dead enemies. With enough of these power-ups, he can transform into a powerful beast like a werewolf or weredragon.
How does one begin to describe the plot of the 2005 reboot of Altered Beast? If you thought resurrections by Ancient Greek gods made up an unbelievable premise, you haven’t heard anything yet! The new protagonist, Luke Caster, is a genetically altered cyborg whose genes have been artificially spliced with the DNA from multiple mythical beasts. This gives him the ability to morph into these creatures at will as long as he has a preprogrammed microchip with said creature’s genetically sequenced information on it. Do we even need to go into detail on why this reboot didn’t need to be made?
- System: PC-8801, PC-6001mkII, MZ-700, MZ-200, XI, FM-7, MSX, ZX Spectrum
- Publisher: Hudson Soft
- Developer: Hudson Soft, Sinclair Research, Mattel, Nintendo
- Release Dates: July 1983
While the original Bomberman’s story is pretty vague, the impact this game has had on video game history is not. It’s no understatement to call Bomberman one of the most commercially successful series of all time. The franchise has been rebooted, remade, and re-released too many times to count, and Bomberman himself has appeared in over 90 different video games to date. Not too shabby for the game that was supposed to be a tech demo only.
Gritty reboots are a bit of a cliché by now, but Bomberman: Act Zero really sets the bar for how ridiculous reboots can get for the sake of a little money. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Act Zero cinematics and gameplay, you absolutely need to check it out. Seriously, this article isn’t going anywhere- stop reading and search for it on YouTube because it will fill a void in your heart that you never even knew you had. Brimming with all the edginess of 2004, Bomberman: Act Zero straps you into a suit of power armor and drops you straight into a Death Race-like environment for a battle royale using (you guessed it) bombs! This over-the-top approach to a normally light-hearted arcade game is a prime example of when reboots go totally off the reservation.
In conclusion, these were 10 video games that didn’t need a reboot. It’s interesting to note that many of the reboots that made it onto this list were spawned from classic arcade games; something that those games all share is a simple premise. Simple doesn’t always mean bad, and sometimes it can even be the best part of a game. Likewise, reboots don’t always turn out sub-par, and some have even been better than the original games. Remember that it’s only because a reboot has the potential to taint a beloved franchise, that fans fear it.
Are there any other reboots that you think deserve to make it onto this list? Which one do you think sucked the hardest? Tell us in the comments section below!