Every gaming franchise eventually grounds to a halt. It doesn’t matter how big or how popular it was, people move on. Given enough time, publishers decide to reboot old games for another shot with a hope the new version will capture the popularity the originals once did. Gamers will often remain loyal to their favourite series and give the new reboots a try.
But making a bad game in an old franchise is worse than making a bad game in a new series and gamers don’t quickly forget. So, we’re taking a look at five video game reboots that had potential but just didn’t work.
Bomberman Act: Zero
Bomberman was always one of those cute and light-hearted ideas. You control a little robot that makes its way through a maze by using bombs to clear enemies. Then Bomberman Act: Zero took the cute robot character, added in a dystopian future setting, and introduced ‘realistic’ graphics. Gameplay was basically the same map repeated with only varying colours to mark the difference.
Players who loved the original game did not react well to the change in pace and this game consequently faded into oblivion.
The original Shadowrun games were known for being cyberpunk RPG legends with superb stories and addictive gameplay. The player would frequently deck it out in gory shootouts and magic duels as they try to halt the progress of mega-corporations. Then, in 2007, Microsoft rebooted everything as a first-person shooter and things quickly fell apart.
The new Shadowrun game ignored everything RPG and was a competitive multiplayer similar to the Doom and Quake game series. But it didn’t just fail previous Shadowrun games – it also failed as a shooter. There was no statistic tracking or leaderboards and glitched servers made it difficult to find a match. The only thing really going for it was letting PC players fight Xbox ones. Sadly, it just wasn’t enough and the resulting fallout was so large that FASA Studios — the developers — actually went out of business.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Known as one of the most broken games ever, Sonic suffered problem after problem. The camera and controls didn’t work, loading screens were slow, and glitches broke the game. Simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, this game disregarded the continuity that fans had come to know and love about the game series.
Critics cited the plot as ridiculous and thought the story progression was bland. Even the kiss between new human character Princess Elise and Sonic had some calling Sega supportive of bestiality. As a result of the hatred of this game, most of the characters have never appeared in any Sonic games since. For example, Silver has only appeared as a minor or multiplayer-only character.
Like a lot of older games, Bionic Commando began as a simple and fun side-scroller on the NES. In that game, main character Ladd Spencer uses his bionic arm to fight against a Nazi-esque power. With the reboot happening over two decades later, Capcom decided to remodel the new game to appeal to a modern player.
The end product had a bland protagonist, terrible swinging mechanism, and atrocious level design. The player is actually told at one point that their metal arm is somehow their missing wife. Due to huge backlash from the gaming community, Capcom has kept this franchise at (bionic) arm’s length.
The original games had been fun and interesting and were based on a Native American heritage known as the Turok. The Turok guarded a barrier between Earth and the ‘Lost Land’ – a strange place filled with dinosaurs and aliens.
Turok was beloved by fans, but the 2008 reboot didn’t go down well. Weapons were more at home in Call of Duty and the stealth mechanics were unnecessary. Some of the levels seemed intentionally designed to be boring and uninspired. Worse still, the Turok was turned from a Native American to a generic grunt. Instead of a deep storyline about protecting two realms, the new Turok was dumped on an alien dinosaur planet. Coupled with a terrible checkpoint system and poor AI, this is another game best forgotten.