If there’s one fundamental truth about video games, it’s that smash hits tend to leave a lasting impression.
Since players often share their company for weeks, months and sometimes years on end, these titles’ faces become as familiar and welcome as those of any friend. It’s no surprise, then, that from “Castlevania” to “Mortal Kombat,” many series are making a comeback.
Of course, fans can always replay classics via online services such as the iPhone App Store, PlayStation Network, Xbox 360’s Game Room and the Wii’s Virtual Console.
But a number of new retail and downloadable outings actually promise to go one step further and rewrite gaming history by year’s end. Each of these remakes or reboots lets you not just relive your misspent youth but revisit familiar faces in entirely new contexts.
Whether you’re a former arcade rat or a slave to the Super Nintendo, all should prove equal parts fresh and familiar.
Below are just a few examples of retro gaming franchises making high-profile reappearances shortly, all of which should soon have thumbs happily waggling and eyes misty with déjà vu.
“NBA Jam” (Electronic Arts, Wii) — The arcade basketball game that single-handedly brought our GPA to its knees, this two-on-two baller picks up where its predecessors left off, offering more gravity-defying dunks and gleeful, rule-violating blocks.
New features include boss battles, motion control support, secrets galore and a modern-day roster of huge-headed celeb athletes to pit against one another in smack-talking multiplayer showdowns. Don’t be surprised if your former college roommate calls, wanting a rematch.
“Splatterhouse” (Namco, PlayStation 3/Xbox 360) — Notable at the time for their level of gore and horrific imagery, the 1988 cult classic arcade game and subsequent TurboGrafx-16 and Sega Genesis versions now seem quaint by today’s standards.
Adding more bloodshed (including gruesome finishing moves), greater freedom of movement and a spine-tingling shock horror aesthetic, the modern-day version introduces more combat moves and a high-definition makeover. Still, the plot remains a throwback, as skull mask-wearing hero Rick attempts to save his kidnapped girlfriend from a legion of grotesqueries.
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