Five Great Arcade Remakes

Donkey Kong Arcade remake

Arcade games are great, but with the power of modern consoles and personal computers, they’re even better when they’re remade with better graphics and new gameplay modes. Here’s a few high-quality arcade games made even higher quality when released for home play.

Metal Slug X (SNK, PlayStation)

An update of classic arcade side-scrolling shooter Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X fixed some gameplay flaws (it would notably slow down when too many animated sprites flooded the screen), added some difficulty (most levels have more enemies), remixed a lot of the music, and added new weapons. The core gameplay—Contra-style run and shoot—remained the same. While the Metal Slug series has not slowed down (there’s a Metal Slug 7, which has its own arcade remake, Metal Slug XX), it peaked early, and Metal Slug X clings onto the arcade-style difficulty (pretty damn hard) that the series later largely abandoned.

1942: Joint Strike (Capcom, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade)

While 1942: Joint Strike takes its name from 1942, the first of Capcom’s WWII-era top-down plane shooters, it incorporates elements from 1942, 1943, 1941, and 19XX, becoming an arcade remake of the series as a whole. The main jump forward is in graphics, and the game looks very sharp with 3D visuals. Like a true arcade shooter, 1942: Joint Strike is rather short, but online co-op gives it a good bit of replay value.

Donkey Kong (Nintendo, Game Boy)

The Donkey Kong game for Game Boy, one of the first to take full advantage of the Super Game Boy adapter for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, is more an expansion than a remake. The original Donkey Kong’s levels—all four of them—are present, but once those are conquered there are 97 more levels. These levels are more puzzle-based than the strict action-oriented gameplay of the original arcade Donkey Kong, but, especially at the time of release, there was a tremendous amount of value in Donkey Kong for Game Boy. The sequel games, under the Mario vs. Donkey Kong moniker, would continue to focus on puzzle elements.

Bubble Bobble Old and New (Taito, Game Boy Advance)

Bubble Bobble Old and New’s title is literal: it contains a port of the original game as well as a graphically-updated version. However, that’s the only update: the game plays essentially the same in both modes. Whether or not that’s a good thing matters on your opinion of the original Bubble Bobble. I was a huge fan as a kid, and it ate up a lot of my time, so Old and New is no disappointment.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane (Microsoft, Xbox Live Arcade)

The most modern of our arcade remakes, Hydro Thunder was a popular sit-down arcade racing game. The main hook is that instead of racing cars, carts, or motorcycles, Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a boat-racing game where players race futuristic-looking boats through a course while picking up power-ups to give them advantages. Like most racing games, it’s a bit of a bore when played alone but plenty of fun when played with friends. Luckily, this update includes online multiplayer and multiple game types to add to the variety.