Some Classic Games Kickstarter Need Not Revive

As studios continue to plunder the archives of our fond gaming memories for franchises to restore, but only if you’ll stump up the nostalgia-cash via Kickstarter, I’ve put my mind to thinking of a few games I remember loving in the past. That should never be revived. Because they were probably awful.

Fury Of The Furries

I remember the advertising for this game more than I remember playing it. Gosh, it was everywhere. If by “everywhere” you understand “in the magazines John read in 1993”. Possibly the best thing about this puzzle platformer is that your character was from a race called the Tinies, and not the Furries. In American it was called Pac-In-Time, and the Furries/Tinies were replaced with Pac-Man! What?!

I guess I always thought it was more a game about M&Ms. Why didn’t those crazy Americanists change it to M&Ms?

If you said to me, “Hey, there’s a Kickstarter to revive Fury Of The Furries!” I’d be like, “Wow, that sounds…” and then catch myself. But I’d still look at it. I’d look at how it was trying to encapsulate the changing nature of the Tiny to perform different tasks by instead having him be a hideously mutated freak with multiple personalities, struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic landscape where the only remaining currency is the colour brown.

Fire & Ice

I never had a Megadrive. Nor a SNES. They were far too expensive a present to ask for. We had an Atari ST, shared by the family. My cousin had a Megadrive, and I would play Sonic on it at his house on the very occasional times we would go over. Paul Pybus had a Megadrive too, and I’d sometimes play it at his house too. But there was no Sonic for the Atari ST. There were, in fact, very few fast-paced platformers for the grey wheezing beast at all. And then Fire & Ice came along. It was on my Christmas list, so hotly anticipated, and I imagine, played in complete denial of what a banal and painfully slow game it was. I think it was perhaps weeks before I was able to admit to myself that it just wasn’t that good really.

Fire & Ice starred a blue coyote, see. Totally different to a blue hedgehog. And he threw ice and fire or something. I think its ultimate undoing was incessantly frustrating slippy-slidey-ice-world sections, which was fairly inevitable with the title I suppose. Oh, and that the art looks like the stuff this kid called Gareth used to draw in his exercise books at middle school, which I thought was the coolest until I’d realised he’d copied it out of the Usbourne Guide To Cartoons.

The Sentinel

I have similar memories of The Sentinel (The Sentry in the States) as I do of ITV’s adaptation of Chocky – pure terror. Both occupy a space in my mind usually reserved for storing half-remembered nightmares. Neither ever made clear sense to me (I was six for Chocky, eight for The Sentinel). I think of both with a strange sense of dread.

It was created by Geoff “Grand Prix” Crammond, and I’m somewhat relieved to read as an adult that it was as incomprehensible as I remember. I’d try to explain what you’re meant to do, but I fear I’d be absorbed into some sort of terrifying vortex.

Honestly, I’m a bit surprised we haven’t already seen a Kickstarter to see this come back. Most people who were around and gaming in the mid-80s seem to remember it, which would seemingly assure the nostalgia-bucks would come flying. And Geoff Crammond’s low profile of the last decade or show makes him a shoe-in for lots of attention with a comeback (although, in fairness, this would far more likely be for a racing game). Still, I’d not back it. THE SENTINEL WOULD BLOODY STARE AT ME.

Impossible Mission II

Oh I would find this one so hard to resist. Really, I only ever played Impossible Mission 2, and I absolutely never ever figured out what on Earth I was supposed to be doing with the tapes. I just loved that incredible forward somersault jump and the thrill of dodging the patterns of those so wonderfully designed enemies. The green grabby hands on caterpillar tracks, the blue robots with the twinkling light, those red dog/dragon things that would open their eyes as you walked past. Gosh, few games are as evocative to look at for me now. I played it so, so much, and yet never had any idea what I was supposed to be doing. I’d gather the numbers from the vaults, I’d pick up the cassettes, and then eventually I’d die.

I know it didn’t get great reviews at the time, and that clearly it wasn’t very effective at communicating its goals, but still, I adored it. I’m struggling really hard to convince myself I wouldn’t back a revival, because if it was faithful I’d likely see it with its flaws as an adult, and if it weren’t, it’d probably be an FPS set on a space station with zombies. But you know, I think with this one, I’d crumble.

Limbo Of The Lost

I would totally back that Kickstarter.

Big thanks to MobyGames from whom I nicked the screenshots.

This post was created for and made possible by the RPS Supporter Program. Thanks for your funding!

85 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Skabooga says:

    Part of me has always wanted to see remakes or sequels of games that were originally terrible, or at least, not great. For a game like Half-Life, everything was so well done, it’s really hard to make any improvements, and any follow-ups will live in its shadow. And even if a worthy successor like Half-Life 2 is made, well, you’re just setting yourself up for failure down the line because you’ve incorporated new ideas and raised expectations that much higher.

    But a bad game sets the bar so low, a follow-up almost can’t help but be a better game and make better use of the original concept.

    What I’m saying is, I want to see a Limbo of the Lost remake or sequel. “The kingggggggggg of Limboooooooooooooooooo!”

    • LogicalDash says:

      So how about a Bloodnet Kickstarter?

      • April March says:

        *fist pump*

      • ShadyGuy says:

        I’ve never played Bloodnet, but the premise of playing a vampire rpg in a cyberpunk setting really appeals to me. So even if the original wasn’t good I’d be interested in playing a remake or reimagining.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Limbo of the Lost remake with scenes from Skyrim this time!!

    • Cinek says:

      For a game like Half-Life, everything was so well done, it’s really hard to make any improvements” – Half Life: Source and recently Black Mesa beg to differ.

  2. aleander says:

    I’ll just leave this here: link to en.wikipedia.org (and some freeware clones, too!)

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Sentinel Returns had the most nightmarish level-select mechanism I’ve ever seen.

      • GWOP says:

        Ah, yes, injecting that breathing, pulsating organic… thing.

        Also quite lovely was the game soundtrack, composed by none other than John Carpenter.

  3. caff says:

    Ugh, Sentinel. My dad used to play that. All I can remember is trying to hide from a partially visible tree trunk up a hill. Or look at it. I have no idea.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Alfy says:

    There has been remakes of Sentinels, mostly free. There are even versions for ios/Android. The main problem with a remake is that the game is pretty dry compared to nowadays fare, but improving on it whilst keeping its elegance is a challenge.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Yeah, I think that’s not a problem unique to Sentinel. I mean, look at e.g. Carrier Command, beyond the godawful AI the remake was strongly criticized for repetition. Or the numerous Populous clones, most of your time is spent flattening the land to make more people.

      • LexW1 says:

        The Carrier Command remake was terrible because it was terrible, not because it’s impossible to remake Carrier Command without fucking it up.

        Hostile Waters already showed how you remake Carrier Command and not fuck it up. Seriously, as a devotee of the original Carrier Command at the time (I even finished it!), back on the Atari ST, when I got Hostile Waters, despite the “It’s good not great” reviews, it had absolutely everything I actually enjoyed from Carrier Command (making stuff, controlling it directly and indirectly, taking places over, etc. etc.), PLUS a bunch of other good stuff (choosing which personality chips to use in which vehicles was really cool), and it skipped over the extreme repetition, which the new Carrier Command engaged with.

        I should also point out that Hostile Waters had an awesome plot written (surprisingly, as he sometimes sucks) by Warren Ellis – one that, by today’s standards, was amazingly risky, with actual characters and stuff (I still remember the chip people’s personalities), whereas the newer CC just had utter, total drivel for a plot, which I (or most RPS posters, and certainly all RPS writers) could have vastly improved upon (both in the plot and the actual writing), horrible generic characters, and so on.

        So yeah, you can modernise Carrier Command just fine. Just don’t try to replicate the original only with a dumb-as-fuck plot stuck on it.

        • GWOP says:

          Hostile Waters had so much character. Though I can’t fathom how you can be surprised at Warren Ellis writing a good story.

          • LexW1 says:

            I love most of his stuff, but Ellis often teeters on the edge of writing self-indulgent nonsense, and occasionally falls over. Combine that with writing for computer game not necessarily translating to/from other kinds of writing, and it was a risk!

            But yeah, it was great.

    • Mr_Blastman says:

      The Sentinel was awesome.

      • Cederic says:

        Yes, but very limited. Definitely a game of its era, and I wouldn’t buy a remake now despite really enjoying the original.

  5. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Fury of the Furries was a pretty good platformer in the vein of that old Blizzard game (i.e.: you can select up to four different tinies each with a different special ability). Also, the music rocked. So, yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily need a Kickstarter, just a HD remake or some such.

    • Shazbut says:

      Wasn’t it one of the first games to feature a grappling hook as well?

    • The First Door says:

      I remember that game being really clever, with some rather nice little puzzles. Plus it had rudimentary physics and water stuff to play with, didn’t it? I definitely remember a puzzle where a boulder was released and would crush you unless you solved something quick enough. And one where you had to fill up something with water to escape?

      What I don’t remember, however, was the name of the amazing Breakout style game on the 5-in-1 disc I got it on. It had different shaped paddles, all sorts of fun block types, and a roulette-wheel boss, if I remember correctly. Anyone have any idea what that was called?

  6. Wowbagger says:

    Atari ST games worth remaking in my opinion:

    Magic lamp
    Thundercats
    Grandpa and the quest for the holy vest
    Thrust
    Magic pockets
    GODS.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      Procedural Marble Madness would be pretty incredible. Optionally in whatever your favourite VR format is. Maybe someone has already attempted this (haven’t heard of it). It seems like a bit of a no-brainer, anyway.

    • LexW1 says:

      Magic lamp? For the ST? Do you mean Black Lamp? That was pretty good as platformers went.

      People used to remake Thrust pretty often. PixelJunk Shooter is basically a Thrust remake (the first one – the second one is more Metroidvania-y, iirc).

      Bloody Thundercats is giving me flashbacks. I’d managed to forget that game.

  7. April March says:

    This article just made me want to play Mission Impossible 64.

  8. Bfox says:

    When I read “fire and ice” I could only think of;
    link to mobygames.com

  9. ActionJim says:

    Can we get a Jill of the Jungle remake already though?

  10. Maxheadroom says:

    I was with you up till Mission Impossible, a remake of that might not suck

    (actually scratch that. Anyone remember Impossible Mission 2025?)

    • KDR_11k says:

      There’s also a DS version with apparently improved graphics.

      • TrentTech says:

        I bought the DS port of Impossible Mission for my wife as it was one of her favourite games of all time on the spectrum (or maybe it was the commodore?), she even more recently had one of those multigame joystick things you plug into the tv with it on and played it to death repeatedly, she bosses the game like nobody’s business.

        Anyway, the DS version has two modes: modern, which has updated graphics and refined gameplay; and classic which is pretty much identical to the original. I have it on very good authority that it’s an extremely faithful port and the additions in the modern version are good.

  11. Freud says:

    I think Spin Dizzy would work very well today with proper scrolling and gamepad.

    • Zetetik says:

      :O
      Wow! That’s exactly what I was thinking!
      I’d LOVE to see a new “Spin Dizzy” game! (perhaps with some proceedural elements included, as mentioned above for “Marble Madness”)

      Also glad to see someone else was freaked out by “Chocky” as well as me – An invisible telepathic alien getting into a boys head…Brrrr! (wasn’t it ‘inside’ some kind of tarnished ‘metal flower’ that had attached itself to the wall of a barn at the bottom of his parents garden?)- Man that shit was spooky! a genuinely unnerving ‘Kids’ show!

      • iainl says:

        I would very, very happily go for a HD remake of Spindizzy Worlds, please. I loved the Amiga version, but my save got corrupted somehow near the end, and I never dared go back.

  12. marceloabr says:

    Please, anyone ever heard about Zenith, a Sentinel clone?

    • Jay Load says:

      I’ve played Zenith! It’s awesome, but suffers from the one fatal flaw of any modern remake – being too quick. To preserve the tension of The Sentinel as it was designed you NEED the painfully slow movement. The John Carpenter-enhanced thing (geddit?) made this mistake as well.

      ZX Spectrum version is STILL the best version, but then I would say that…

  13. PostieDoc says:

    My sympathy for having an ST and not an Amiga.

    • caff says:

      But the ST had MIDI! Wow, this is like being a teenager again.

      • caff says:

        No but seriously, the ST was a bit shit compared to the Amiga.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      It’s a shame that John will be forever tarred as an uncool idiot for having an ST rather than an Amiga, but those are the rules (of the playground).

    • Jay Load says:

      Screw you guys, the ATARI ST was awesome.

      • ansionnach says:

        I had neither (had a 386 PC), although I really wanted an Amiga. Funny how things turn out…

        Strongest memory I have of watching one friend play on his ST (wasn’t much for sharing) was the noise it made instead of “Get ready!” when you died in Space Harrier. Was something like “Yack-Yack-Yack!”. We tried to work out Carrier Command once… but couldn’t. I really liked Bomb Jack (and it’s still great). Same goes for Space Harrier but the arcade version you could play on the Dreamcast is much better. It plays really well with the mouse – the degree of control you have is fantastic and it’s almost like a different game (easier to stay alive).

      • Zetetik says:

        :O
        SPECTRUM TRAITOR!!

        (may all your keys turn to rubber!) :P

  14. iambecomex says:

    Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Never had a clue what was going on, what I was doing, what the connection was to the band, nothing. Child me was baffled. A remake might clear things up, or at least try for a purposely baffling Antichamber-style approach.

    • Menthalion says:

      It took me 30 years for Wikipedia to come along and discover that you could never score more than 99% on Frankie Goes To Hollywood. We quit the game after ages looking for that last percent, and we never even tried enter the Pleasure Dome with a mere 99.

  15. vorador says:

    I never played any of those and i’m happier that way. Everytime i read about sentinel it must be the stuff of nightmares.

    Limbo of the Lost…oh man i remember that one. Making a remake would probably cost more than Activision paid for King, just to pay for all the stolen game assets.

  16. rexx.sabotage says:

    But John, that’s a screenshot of Oblivion you posted…

    what … the… hell?!?

    Alright, I guess it comes as no surprise that a few temporal paradoxes would be had in the making of a proper sequel to Frog Fractions

    • johntheemo says:

      At the risk of over-explaining the joke, I think it’s because Limbo of the Lost stole art assets from other games, so if they remade it it would do the same thing, hence the screenshot of Oblivion.

      I didn’t get the joke so I had to look it up, so sorry if you actually got it and you were just pretending you didn’t for dramatic effect.

  17. RuySan says:

    Fire and ice was actually quite good, but there was no way for you to know it, when you were playing on an Atari ST, instead of an Amiga. Sorry ;), I know it’s time to stop making fun of Atari owners

  18. Shazbut says:

    Fire and Ice is a perfect example for me too. Very fond and nostalgic memories but the game may well be awful.

  19. fish99 says:

    The Sentinel was a fine game in it’s day. It also fit in 64k of ram, had full 3D environments and had 10,000 procedurally generated levels. I’ve no problem with someone saying it wouldn’t translate to modern tastes, but it’s a little mean to just call it awful.

    • Jay Load says:

      It was Procedural waaaay before that became sexy. :) I recall some dude actually completed most of them too, publishing the list in one of the magazines of the time. Went on for pages and pages….

  20. BadCatWillum says:

    Anyone else remember early Konami MSX racer Antarctic Adventure? Barring a compelling global warming related mechanism I think we can safely leave that one in the past. But I could get behind a remake of their shooter Knightmare.

  21. Spacewalk says:

    It’s okay John, us Megadrive owners may have had Sonic but we also had Socket which is a game like Sonic only you played as a duck with an extension cord stuck up his arse.

  22. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Sentinel – it was even fine on the Spectrum at the time, the shitty Spectrum! The only reason it shouldn’t be kickstarted is that it’s difficult to improve it much, and it is slow paced.

    It might be worth bringing back IM2, but it does need a lot of changes. For modern audiences (frankly even at the time) it had the disadvantage of being easy to fail – due to the loss of time every time the player died, the fiddlyness of reconstructing audio loops and repetitive gameplay. Add more puzzles, remove the time limit except in ‘hardcore mode’, and have a few more room types and it might fly.

  23. Jason Moyer says:

    Wasn’t Mission Impossible II re-made for the Wii? I seem to remember seeing it in a bargain bin somewhere.

  24. Cvnk says:

    Sentinel is one of those games I’ve always had fond memories of but when I think about it I probably only played it for a few hours total. I may have beaten or a couple of times but I think it was always something I planned on returning to but never did thanks to more exciting alternatives. Sort of like some Paradox games.

  25. Pantalaimon says:

    Ah, Fire and Ice is still evocative of aching childhood disappointment all these years later.

  26. Raoul Duke says:

    “Classic” games.

  27. King in Winter says:

    Ooh Sentinel. I don’t know how it would measure up today, but I recall enjoying the original. Only, my version was (cough) pirate so it took some trial and error to actually understand what the game mechanics were. In short, the Sentinel at the center of the field slowly rotates around and reduces everything it faces down to one energy unit. The Player on the other hand must gather energy from around the field, make copies of itself and jump into those, which is the only way to move around the field and avoid the Sentinel’s gaze. Ultimately you must gain high enough ground to oust the Sentinel, then move to next field.

  28. Ejia says:

    So you’re saying Myst needs to be kickstarted for a modern version with VR support?

    • Cinek says:

      Myst wouldn’t be that great with VR.

      Riven on the other hand… now that would be jaw-dropping.

  29. benkc says:

    For a brief moment I thought you were about to badmouth Fire ‘n Ice. Nope, completely different game.

  30. quietone says:

    I demand the following to be remade with the corresponding enhancements, where such apply:

    – Project Space Station (C64)
    – Trashman (ZX Spectrum)
    – Capitalism Plus/II (PC)
    – Mail Order Monsters (C64)

  31. wondermoth says:

    The great thing about The Sentinel was that it made a virtue of slowness.The length of time it took to redraw the screen whenever you moved created the terror.

    You can’t recreate that. I haven’t played any of the remakes for more than a few minutes; what’s the point? They’re either artifically terrifying, or not terrifying at all.

    The Sentinel will remain perfect, in my momory; a game designed to make a virtue out of the limitations of the hardware it was running on. YOU KIDS WILL NEVER KNOW TRUE FEAR

  32. Greg says:

    The first Impossible Mission was just as incomprehensible to me. The jumping and platforming was amazing though. I also loved the yell the dude made when he fell down a pit…

  33. DevilishEggs says:

    One thing I miss is shovelware collections where you would buy 50 Classic Wargames for $19.99, and only one or two would be worth playing. But the feeling you got at the store. Can we bring that back? Oh wait, Steam.

  34. Babymech says:

    “I played it so, so much, and yet never had any idea what I was supposed to be doing.”

    Interesting. I never got very far in IM2, but chalked it up to being a child with absolutely no command of English, playing a pirated copy of the game with no manual. Guess the confusion was universal.

  35. big boy barry says:

    Stunt car racer please

    • Menthalion says:

      Oh wow, the handling of the car on these insane roller-coaster levels in that game was just perfect.

  36. Muzman says:

    Forget remaking Limbo of The Lost. We should call this gaming era The Limbo of the Lost.
    That was such a cutely naive piece of malfeasance by some old guys, remaking their own game without apparently paying much attention to the passage of time, back when hardly anyone made games let alone low budget ones. It’s actually charming in a lot of ways.

    These days on Steam however Jim Sterling reviews some game where everything is either stolen or ripped off wholesale seemingly every other day.

  37. ansionnach says:

    Been playing Castle Wolfenstein recently and I’ve found it pretty compelling. Not sure what they’d do if they remade it (or its sequel)… they might make it into some dumb action game with Nazis using future technology or something (286+ a necessity)…

    I like the PC version. Has CGA graphics but it’s a lot more playable (read: not terribly slow) compared to the 8-bit computer versions (Apple II, Atari 400/800 & C64).

    Might be nice to have a “proper” Castle Wolfenstein follow-up? No need for a kitchen sink full of bombastic pyrotechnics and occult wizardry – just a PoW scrounging resources and trying not to be caught in a fortress full of soldiers. Make the regular soldiers lethal and the special branch terrifying (always identify you regardless of disguise, need more than bullets to kill) and you’ve got a game. One wrong move anywhere and you’re dead or recaptured and it’s back to the start. If there must be a derivative hook for marketing it could fit the bill as an Alien: Isolation rip-off. Not that I’ve played it yet but from what I’ve read it doesn’t sound a million miles from Castle Wolfenstein. The new game could be called Caged and focus on the ferocity and clarity of thought that the survival instinct gives us (if an indie angle is needed). Do you regret killing that young soldier who quivered in fear while handing over his uniform? Was it just bad luck for him that he matched your build? Did you over-indulge on all the schnapps and sauerkraut you found while looking for the hidden war plans? Surely all those questions need answers (or something).

    • Zetetik says:

      I actually surprised myself in how much I enjoyed Machine Games Re-Jig of Wolfenstien (The New Order).

      Sure, it doesen’t feel like the classic FPS from 20 years back, but it does feel like an FPS from 10 years back (in the best possible way) – Definitely worth a Look-See!

      • ansionnach says:

        Thanks for the tip. I often only get around to playing games when they’re old and cheap but have heard a lot of good stuff about this one. I really liked Wolf3d back in the day but to be honest it really isn’t that good. It even got old fast past the shareware episode back in the day with its mazy levels (particularly the three prequel episodes that followed the Hitler assassination). Castle Wolfenstein, on the other hand is an immortal classic and still great fun to play right now.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Benratha says:

    Head over Heels/ Batman style platform fun from Spectrum 128K. Although I’d probably buy it. Especially if they called it a ‘Roguelike platformer’. Whatever happened to the guys from Ocean? I reckon they could get a Kickstarter going.

    • ansionnach says:

      Retrospec has done freeware versions of Batman, Head Over Heels and Wizball as well as other non-Ocean classics like Mutant Camels, Chuckie Egg, Jet Set Willy, Skool Daze, Knight Lore, Manic Miner and Llamas. Never played any of the originals myself so I can’t comment on the faithfulness of them but I played and enjoyed Jet Set Willy and Head Over Heels. The quality of their games is quite high.

      I remember Ocean as that company that churned out naff licensed games.

      • Premium User Badge

        Benratha says:

        I shall now be poring over the Retrospec catalogue….
        Maybe it was just John Ritman & Bernie Drummond that wrote the better stuff?

        • phlebas says:

          Some of Ocean’s licensed games were fab (Batman as already referenced, Robocop, The Great Escape, the game of Stallone’s Cobra being better than the film by all accounts) but there were some right clunkers too, yup. Mostly with Ocean’s stuff the license took top billing, and obviously it was the creators who made the bigger difference to the quality – Ritman/Drummond were exceptional in that their names were up front, and they were reliable.

      • Zetetik says:

        True about Ocean, but they did bring a few gems out amidst the dross (the more things change…)
        – you just had to keep your beak in a Sinclair User to find out which was which.

        • ansionnach says:

          Wasn’t really aware that they made many good games, although I had heard a lot of talk about Head Over Heels and RoboCop. Didn’t have any computer at all for most of primary school so listened to others talking about them. I’m surprised RoboCop was even available on the PC, but after a quick trip to youtube, it looks terribly jerky and unplayable next to the smoothness of the Spectrum version. Perhaps why I was surprised to hear it mentioned as a good game. RoboCop 3 famously had a 3d engine. Never played that one but it looked cool.