The Five Greatest Old School Video Games

Everyone bangs on about Goldeneye on the N64, but here are five games equally deserving of a remake
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Everyone bangs on about Goldeneye on the N64, but here are five games equally deserving of a remake

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This was a tough choice, having spent a great deal of my childhood and teenage years inside with my eyes fixed on a grainy TV screen, but I’ve narrowed it down to the top five games which need to be re-released.

Flimbo’s Quest

Flimbo’s Quest, featuring theme music sweet enough to rot your teeth.

In the mid 90s my cousin’s Commodore 64 was a source of constant fascination. My sister and I would constantly beg to be allowed to borrow it. When my cousin finally gave in and let us keep it, it was all but knackered. By then a PS1 was on the horizon and we weren’t so bothered, but I mourned long and hard for the loss of Flimbo’s Quest.

If you’re not familiar with him, Flimbo is an absolute don. Forget Solid Snake, forget Lara Croft. Tell Crash Bandicoot and Spyro to take a walk. Flimbo is where it’s at. The plot is pretty straight forward. An evil scientist kidnap’s Flimbo’s dame, Pearly, sending Flimbo on a series of quests to collect scrolls for his wizard pal. The wizard needs these scrolls to send Flimbo through to the next level where he’ll presumably rescue Pearly. I’m not sure about this, as the console broke before I ever reached the final level, which is just one of many reasons why it needs to come out this year, for Xbox.

Syphon Filter 2

In game footage. Note the Academy-level acting and almost TOO realistic graphics.

They’ve released various sequels to Syphon Filter since the original trilogy ended in 2001, but Syphon Filter 2 is undoubtedly the best. This was another game I didn’t have, but borrowed as often as I could from my friend. The titular Syphon Filter refers to a disease that a group of wrong ‘uns are intent upon releasing on the world. Cue Gabe Logan, leader of the CBDC, to come in and clean the situation up.

The game spans the world, from the Colorado Rockies to Siberia to China as Gabe and co fight against a changing roster of bad guys. What sets the game apart from generic shooters is the mix of action and stealth; it’s really up to you how you play it, and some missions require stealth over explosions. The multi-strand plot is also a bit slicker than the average, with intelligent reasons for why each development takes place. There’s also a killer two-player mode which helped pass many, many Saturday afternoons.

Sony have made a few of the other games in the series (including SP3) available to download from the PSN Store but there’s no Syphon Filter 2, as of yet, so let’s have a proper HD makeover and get it out on consoles soon.

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Lego Racers

For your own sanity, wear earplugs when watching this video

When I closed my eyes on the night of my tenth birthday, all I could see were brightly coloured cars, zipping around even more garish tracks whilst firing cannons and grappling hooks at each other. Accompanying these visuals was a repetitive soundtrack written by someone with a permanent grin. It had been a good birthday.

It might not be as good as later games like Crash Team Racing  but if you grew up with lego sets (and let’s face it, if you didn’t you should call ChildLine) then this is the game for you. All the classic (and by this I mean 90s) Lego sets are in here. There’s one level based around the pirate with the eye patch, peg leg and ginger beard, one level based around knights and witches and one level based in space.

It’s impossible to take this game seriously, but at the same time, it’s incredibly frustrating when what should be the simplest of races ends with you getting blown up and coming in 6th place.

Time Splitters: Future Perfect

This one stayed with me until uni where many two player sessions would last until dawn. It’s the game that built on the game that really got this multiplayer business right. Where Time Splitters 2 was brilliant, Time Splitters 3 was brillianter (I know this isn’t a word, but I was playing Playstation instead of going to lectures, so F you).

The plot revolves around a slapheaded good guy (a bit like a more camp Vin Disel) travelling through time in order to stop these complete dickhead aliens getting their claws on the timecrystals and royally buggering up the human race.

The game takes all the best parts of other games and mashes them together with its tongue wedged in its cheek and it’s great fun. One minute you’re in a 1970s Bond-esque den of villianary, and the next you’re being attacked by zombies in a haunted mansion.

Croc: Legend Of The Gobbos

In a world of Crash Bandicoots, Spyros, Jak and Daxters and Ratchet and Clanks, this little green fellow often gets overlooked. It’s standard platform fare. The big evil (Baron Dante) kidnaps Croc’s adoptive family of Gobbos and Croc sets out for revenge, like a more-lovable Liam Neeson. Cue brightly coloured gems, lava, ice, numerous badguys, big bosses and brilliant sound effects. The graphics were just shit enough to create a real strong other-worldly vibe and levels like Dante’s castle used to put the wind right up me.

Spyro the dragon comes in a close second, but Croc is the dude who needs the remake, just so we can see him smashing boxes open with his arse again.