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Top 10 Retro Platformer Remakes

So… I had a huge virus on my computer that destroyed all my pictures, files, documents, and so much more. Therefore, my planned list of the best explosives experts had to be delayed.

Instead I took a quick Twitter poll for suggestions for a quick list I could write in just one weekend. The winner was the top 10 retro remakes. These are the games that are remakes of old retro games. This might be breaking the “retro rule” of this site, but the line is blurry… so let’s do it anyway.

Also because there are SO many remakes/reboots I decided to only count platformers for this list.


10.) Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth

This game has quite a history. It’s part of the ReBirth series on the Wii which also features Contra ReBirth (which is at an honorary spot on this list), and Gradius ReBirth. The game itself is a remake of Castlevania: Adventure for the Gameboy and it follows Christopher Belmont who is an ancestor of Simon Belmont from the original NES game.

Like all Castlevania games, this one is very unforgiving. Unfortunately it also doesn’t add anything to the Castlevania formula. A good game, but just an average Castlevania game.


9.) Blaster Master: Overdrive

Blaster Master is one of my favorite games on the NES. The original game follows Jason as he dives down a hole searching for his pet frog. He instead finds a tank named S.O.P.H.I.A. that is used to hunt down radioactive mutants.

The remake on the Nintendo Wii follows Alex as he battles mutated radioactive animals on Earth with the help of S.O.P.H.I.A. Once again. This reboot is pretty faithful to the original while improving a few things. The original game is easy to get lost without a walkthrough but the wiimake helps alleviate that.

Unfortunately the game is lacking in two major aspects. First of all the controls, especially the controls in some of the top-down parts are absolutely atrocious. Secondly, the game is just lacking the charm of the original.


8.) Castle of Illusion

Castle of Illusion is a PSN and XBLA remake of the original Sega Genesis game.

The plot of this game is very simple. Mickey must traverse the Castle of Illusion to save Minnie from an evil Witch that wants to steal her beauty. Common video game plot 101.

The reason this game isn’t any higher on this list is that the remake is just so meh. The original game had terrific levels, controls, animation, music, and so much more. The remake didn’t add anything… but instead took away the good controls and fluid response.


7.) Rocket Knight

This game is not a remake but is instead technically a sequel of the original Sparkster series on the SNES and Sega Genesis.

Rocket Knight is about an opossum with a jetpack strapped to his back and sword in his paw. The new game on PSN and XBLA is no different. In this sequel, Rocket Knight is facing off against an army of pigs, wolves, and his nemesis, Axel Gear.

The game is quite fun and an honorable recreation of the original series. Game reviewers often criticized it for a high price point, but nowadays you can get it for real low cheap. One of the only other complaints is the mismatched difficulty. You can breeze through one section, get demolished by the next, then breeze through it again. Fans of the original series, don’t miss this game.


6.) Strider

What’s better than a ninja?

A damn cyber ninja with robo-animals at his command!

Strider for PC, PSN, and XBLA isn’t exactly a remake of the original Genesis game. Instead its basically a juxtaposition of all Striders from the manga to the older games, all in one game.

I’m conflicted about this game, which is probably why it’s not any higher on this list. On one hand I adore this game for the excellent combat, the updated graphics, the bosses, and especially the sense of exploration.

Then again, I really dislike the music and sound n this game compared to the amazing soundtrack of the original game. I also dislike the way Strider controls. I know I’m in a huge minority here, as everyone loves this Strider remake…. to me, it’s just okay.


5.) Kirby Super Star Ultra/Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World

So I decided to couple these two games together since they’re similar in design.

Kirby Super Star Ultra for the Nintendo DS is a rare compilation remake. The game is an enhanced remake of Kirby Super Star for the SNES.

The original Kirby Super Star is a fantastic game. It’s a compilation of mini-games and other Kirby-related games. The DS remake is the same as the SNES game but with superior graphics, music, FMV cutscenes, and even more games.

Who doesn’t know about the Mario All Stars Pack? It was a SNES compilation of every NES/Famicom Super Mario Bros game. The pack included Super Mario Bros 1-3, and the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros 2 known as the Lost Levels. This pack was later rereleased to include all those games plus Super Mario World.

All these games had updated graphics, music, and mid-game saving. It was a great deal and a ton of fun.


4.) DuckTales: Remastered

I’m a huge fan of the original DuckTales game on the NES. It’s why I traded Retro Rob from The Retro Hunters my copy of General Chaos on the Genesis for his copy of this game. That’s why I really enjoyed DuckTales: Remastered.

The game was remade for Wii U, PSN, XBLA, and pretty much everywhere and it’s a great love letter to the original game and the cartoon. The music by Jake Kaufman is especially appealing as the soundtrack consists of updated NES tunes. The game is a nostalgic trip back in time… but it’s not perfect.

The cutscenes in the game and it’s “story” are annoying to skip and ruin the flow of the game. They’re almost enough to ruin the fun sometimes as you play a bit watch a cutscene, then another, then play, then cutscene. Maybe you’ll get uninterrupted play time, but it’s not likely.


3.) Bionic Commando Rearmed

When I first started this list, this game was closer to the number 10 spot. Then I remembered how awesome the Bionic Commando remakes are.

The original Bionic Commando for the NES was a hidden gem. In it you controlled a groovy looking commando who didn’t have the ability to jump, but instead had an epic grappling hook that could help him traverse the area, attack enemies, and get barrels.

The remakes for PC, XBLA, PSN, and more do everything a proper remake should. It left the nostalgia of the original, but added so much more. Of course there’s better graphics and music, but the remake also gives you local multiplayer to team up with a friend and grapple and swing all over the place.

The best thing the about the remake is that is had a sequel with more powers, more levels, more music, tight controls, and just a ton of fun.


2.) Metroid: Zero Mission

This is what a remake or an enhanced copy is supposed to do. It’s supposed to stay true to the original charm of the source material, but it’s supposed to improve previous faults with the original game.

Metroid: Zero Mission is an enhanced remake of the original NES Metroid game. It was released for the GBA and did so much right. While the original Metroid game was fun, it was also frustrating. There was a clear lack of direction and unfair difficulty when just trying to explore.

Zero Mission fixed that by streamlining the entire game. You can play through the game in a linear fashion and not get lost, or sequence break the whole thing. Besides that the game featured upgraded graphics that make the game resemble Metroid: Fusion or Super Metroid and better graphics. There are new enemies, more powerups, more areas, and it features the original game in it.

The best thing this game added was a section where you play as a weakened Zero Suit Samus, sneaking around with only a stun pistol and your quick reflexes.


1.) A Boy and His Blob

This fantastic game for the Wii is a remake of the NES original, A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia. The game is a puzzle platformer and my favorite remake.

This game takes everything about the original and makes it perfect. The NES game had a confusing layout and was unforgiving. If you made a simple mistake you wound up lost, dead, or unable to beat the game. It was some of the charm, but was also highly annoying. This wiimake is forgiving. That’s not to say the game isn’t tough. It holds your hand for the first few levels but ramps up in difficulty with precise jellybeaning. Not to mention the bonus rooms can be a truly difficult yet rewarding experience.

The game isn’t perfect with somewhat annoying controls at times, and also occasionally Blob will do whatever the hell he wants, but it makes up for it in charm.

The game has outstanding graphics and music that turn this from a game to a work of art. It’s serene and calm when it needs to be and hellishly tense when it needs to be. The game is just charming with cute enemies, protagonists, and an adorable tone overall.

Plus you can hug Blob!