Make with the sequels

By Gus Bode

It seems like movies and video games are becoming more and more related these days. Instead of just having games based on movies, we now have directors taking time out of their schedules to oversee aspects of game development. So far, this really hasn’t affected either industry exceptionally well, with “Enter the Matrix” being a prime example of tons of talent going to waste.

But a more important trend both media share is the glut of sequels or established franchises that are coming out. More and more companies won’t risk doing something new so they can cash in on a name that everyone already knows. Nintendo is a huge proprietor of this idea. This year alone, we’ll see sequels to “Mario Golf” and “F-Zero,” not to mention the new “Zelda,” “Mario” and “Metroid” we’ve already received. Each of these games will be good, sure, but how many more old series can stay alive and kicking?

Yes, Nintendo’s secret weapon that jumped ship for Microsoft. When Rare “defected,” the big N’s reaction wasn’t exactly one of concern. Many thought it would be the deathblow to the GameCube, losing such a prestigious developer to the enemy. Well, in all truth, Rare hasn’t produced one truly outstanding game in years. Several nice tries (“Jet Force Gemini,” “Star Fox Adventures”) came and went with little fanfare, not to mention the output of new games has been about one a year.

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Quite a long wait for a so-so game from a legendary company, eh? So if Rare’s new ideas aren’t adding up to snuff, it should jump on this sequel bandwagon and dig up “Wizards and Warriors,” a classic series that ruled the old NES.

The games revolved around the knight Kuros, a savior with little back-story or motive. Players guide Kuros through forests, caves and mountains while searching for keys and hints to progress. After several levels you finally face the evil wizard Malkil, who has captured the princess!

While not the most innovative idea, the games were time well spent. The final installment really changed things up, letting Kuros learn the ways of the thief and wizard in addition to his impressive knightly fighting skills. New armor and weapons could be bought, and the boss battles were always a good time.

With the power of modern consoles, Kuros’ world could be brought to life like never before. He could start out as a bare bones fighter with no armor and a small dagger (as he did in “Ironsword,” the Fabio-empowered “Wizards and Warriors 2”), and slowly become the badass, battle-hardened brawler he was meant to be as the game progresses.

The original publisher of the series would benefit from this resurgence as well. Acclaim hasn’t really put anything out for quite some time that has made people stand up and take notice. Well, notice in a good way, as “Turok:Evolution” sure did grab some attention last year, but for all the wrong reasons.

So enough with “Turok,” Acclaim. No one’s really excited about another so-so first person shooter. It’s time Acclaim and Rare joined the club and dug up an old favorite. Innovation is always welcome, but if their past few games are any indication, maybe they should stick with what they’ve got. And if they could sweet talk Fabio into gracing the cover of this new game, then we’d really have something special.

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