Some of the most popular and beloved games of all time came out decades ago. People still look back on them fondly, but they're often little more than a distant memory. Video game developers see this nostalgia, though, and decide to capitalize on it by remaking those classic games.
Building the same experience with new assets and technology can create some truly great experiences that fulfill on the vision set forth by the original title. Not only are they great games for those who loved the original, but they can also introduce an entirely new audience to the same experience that captivated players for years. When a remake is done well, it can get people excited for a long time and rake in a lot of sales.
Unfortunately, the story isn't always good when it comes to video game remakes. There have been several times where a remake has been made without as much care or passion as the original game. The goal was solely to make money and be done with it. This has led to some remakes that should've been fantastic but, instead, were some of the worst games that came out at the time. They were recreations of classic games without any of the heart or passion attached; trust us, those games are depressing.
Without further ado, we'll be looking at 15 of the best video game remakes that perfectly captured the spirit of the original and 15 remakes that almost tarnish what made the original so loved in the first place.
30 Best: Crash Bandicoot: N'Sane Trilogy
Long after Crash Bandicoot was given to Activision, fans never got a quality experience quite like the first three games. After it seemed that the marsupial was finally falling off the face of the planet, Activision came out and announced that the first three games would be getting a remake from the ground up.
The result was Crash Bandicoot: N' Sane Trilogy, which perfectly re-imagined the spirit of the originals and even threw in some extra levels for good measure.
29 Worst: Ratchet And Clank
Ratchet and Clank has been one of Insomniac's best series to date. After taking the Lombax and his robot friend just about everywhere they could imagine, they decided to go back to square one and remake the first game. The result was a game with solid visuals and gameplay, but a lackluster story and a painful lack of new weapons. It doesn't come close to the sheer space exploration fun of the original game.
28 Best: The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is considered by many to be the best Zelda game to date. It makes sense, then, that to garner interest in the 3DS, Nintendo would remake this classic title. Thankfully, they did an excellent job and crafted an experience that polishes just about every aspect of the original game. Complete with new models, assets, great 3D effects and an all-around better experience, this is the definitive version of the game. It also includes Master Quest.
27 Worst: Super Mario 64 DS
Super Mario 64 is one of the best Mario games to date. Taking everyone's favorite plumber and throwing him through various sandbox-style levels looking for stars proved to be a formula for success. When they remade it for the Nintendo DS, though, something was lost in the transition. The visuals didn't receive any notable upgrades, and the transition from a Joy Stick to a D-Pad was a step down for the game. You could play as new characters, but the controls were still too stiff for a 3D platformer.
26 Best: Kirby Super Star Ultra
Kirby Super Star is often cited as the best Kirby game of all time. Combining several smaller games into one package, it was a great entry in the franchise. When looking into the remake on the Nintendo DS: Kirby Super Star Ultra, this is probably the best package for any Kirby fan. All the latter modes are present, but there are several new ones thrown in for good measure. The visual style is cleaned up a little, and new 3D cutscenes are added as well. It also introduced the True Arena.
25 Worst: Conker: Live And Reloaded
With Conker's Bad Fur Day as one of the weirdest and most adult platformers ever created, it gained a cult following very quickly. When Microsoft remade it on the Xbox in the form of Conker: Live and Reloaded, though, many felt cheated. The graphics received a noticeable upgrade, but the animations were lacking and there were several key elements that were flat out omitted from the game. At least the multiplayer mode was decent, being one of the most popular at the time.
24 Best: Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
The Wonder Boy series is far from one of the most popular, so it makes sense that no one would hear of it. However, when a remake of the third game, titled Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap was released, people started paying attention. The game doesn't change any gameplay elements. The only thing that's changed is the visual style. It says a lot about the game that it still holds up with a new hand-drawn graphic system. It helps that it's an overall solid game. Difficult, but enjoyable.
23 Worst: Sonic The Hedgehog (GBA)
Sonic the Hedgehog is basically the only classic property SEGA has been using for the best several years. Their first game, to many, still remains one of their best. Unfortunately, players were singing a different tune when it got remade on the Game Boy Advance. A lot of the assets were missing, and the visuals took a noticeable downgrade. On top of that, playing the game on a small screen actually led to more frustration, as it limited the player's view. Most people stuck with the Genesis version.
22 Best: Metroid: Samus Returns
Metroid II: Return of Samus fell under the radar for Nintendo for several years. Even after a popular fan remake surfaced and took the community by storm, it was just recently that Nintendo decided to touch this game again and remake it for the 3DS. Built with new 3D assets, some new moves, and a faster gameplay style, Metroid: Samus Returns became the return to 2D Metroid that fans had been clamoring for since Metroid Prime was finished. It also had great Amiibo support.
21 Worst: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a remake of the first Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation as well as a divisive game. The Twin Snakes is a graphical improvement, but with re-designs that are inconsistent with the timeline, off-the-wall cutscenes, and a a visual style that somehow looks worse than Metal Gear Solid 2, this one left a lot of people scratching their heads. The original game is somehow still the best version of the experience that you can play.
20 Best: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
With the rise of the Xbox One, Microsoft decided to keep Halo fans happy until the fifth game released by coming out with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which the first four games in the series all with up-scaled resolution. The one that saw a noticeable boost, though, was Halo 2. This one was recreated with new assets a new visual style that was akin to Halo 4. It was downright gorgeous. Not only were all of the classic maps back in full force, but the campaign could be simultaneously switched between the old and new graphics at any time.
19 Worst: Duke Nukem Forever
While not technically a remake, Duke Nukem Forever was an attempt to revive the series by recreating the gameplay style with new technology and going forward from there. Unfortunately, it became one of the most disappointing games of all time, plagued by painful loading times and humor that was borderline offensive. This was essentially the final nail in the coffin for the Duke Nukem series, and everyone moved on to throwing money at the Call of Duty franchise every year since then.
18 Best: Pokémon HeartGold And SoulSilver
Of all the Pokémon remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver remain the best. Not only do they perfectly recapture the magic of exploring the Johto Region, but they are also packed to the brim with arguably the most post-game content the franchise has ever seen. Built with the pseudo-3D art style seen with Diamond and Pearl, these games looked better than ever. They also introduced the Partner Pokémon feature, which would go on to be the most requested returning feature in the franchise from that point on.
17 Worst: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back
While Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is more of a long sequel than a remake, it does recreate the same gameplay style that the original games had. Almost in a poetic fashion, the game ended up being disliked across the board, with clunky controls, an extremely short campaign, and combat that just ended up feeling tacked on. It's a platformer without any thought or care put into it. They had the timing just right for the release- if only the developers had made the game good.
16 Best: Shadow Of The Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus remains one of the best games ever made. However, looking back on the PS2, it's clear that the visuals haven't aged well. With a completely new engine and graphical overhaul on the PS4, though, fans can re-experience the larger-than-life monsters and the tragic story of Shadow of the Colossus. Make no mistake, it is one of the best-looking games on the console as well as one of the best exclusive games on the market. It's a remake than any fan should get.
15 Worst: Star Wars: Battlefront
After the Star Wars: Battlefront series went on a long hiatus (no, the handheld releases don't count), EA was given the rights to the franchise by Disney. Thus, they wanted to re-imagine the series in the form of Star Wars: Battlefront. Unfortunately, gone was the capture-the-point gameplay and class-based system that had players so captivated with the initial release. Furthermore, there was a painful lack of content and was only delegated to the original trilogy. That's all without mentioning that the season pass was a blatant ripoff.
14 Best: Doom
Doom is a classic no-nonsense shooting game where players travel through crowded hallways and blow demons to smithereens. When Bethesda decided to have their shot at remaking the game, they did a phenomenal job. Not only do they poke fun at narrative storytelling, preferring to stick to the action, the game is everything you would expect from a modern version of Doom. The game is fast, and it's important to stay on your toes, lest you die in seconds. The graphics are great, and the soundtrack is everything you'd expect from such a gore-heavy release.
13 Worst: Secret Of Mana
Being one of Square Enix's most beloved games from back in the day, it was exciting when they announced that Secret of Mana would be getting remade on the PS4. Unfortunately, the resulting remake was a major disappointment. Despite being on the PS4, the visual enhancements were minimal at best, and somehow sucked the life out of a game that was packed with personality back on the SNES. It also managed to keep all of the game's problems intact, practically making the original version the one to play.
12 Best: Oddworld: New N Tasty
The Oddworld series is, well, odd, but extremely well-designed. With excellent atmosphere, environments, and sound design, this was a series destined to be filled with cult classics. After years, it was decided that a remake of the game would be made, complete with new assets and quality-of-life mechanics that were introduced later in the series. Oddworld: New N Tasty quickly became the definitive version of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee and had fans wondering when they would get their hands on a remake of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus.
11 Worst: GoldenEye 007
GoldenEye 007 was one of the best multiplayer games on the N64. Combining fast and ridiculous shooting mechanics in a local multiplayer setting made it stand out and was one of the best in its class. Unfortunately, its remake on the Wii turned into a more standard first-person-shooter, which robbed it of all the charm and originality that it had back in the day. The game isn't awful on its own merit, but as a remake of GoldenEye 007, it falls short in a lot of ways.
10 Best: The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker ended up being one of the best Zelda games despite the initial backlash to its reveal. Now that the Wii U gave Nintendo HD potential, they decided to remake the game for the new console. The Wind Waker HD is more than just a remaster- it actually recreates several assets and uses a whole new lightning engine to make the game look downright gorgeous. Couple that with inventory and map management on the GamePad, and it's easily the better version of The Wind Waker- especially considering how the Tri-Force Quest was cleaned up.
9 Worst: Putty Squad
If you're asking yourself, "What in the world is Putty Squad?", then you are certainly not alone. Putty Squad was an unreleased sequel to 1992's Putty that wasn't released until 2013. At the same time it got a proper release, it also received an HD remake on current gen consoles, with a Switch port in 2017. Unfortunately, the game is so old that almost none of its problems were ironed out, with frustrating controls, uninspired level design, and visuals that are nice as an homage but aren't great on their own.
8 Best: Punch-Out!!!
No one expected the Punch-Out series to make a return, but here we are. Released on the Wii, this was a revamped version of the original game. Featuring 3D, cel-shaded graphics, smooth animation, and great use of the Wiimote and Nunchuk, this was a boxing game that was worth playing. While Mike Tyson unfortunately wasn't able to appear in this remake, players could eventually get the chance to challenge Donkey Kong in a one-on-one battle for the ages. Now that's a great time.
7 Worst: Turtles In Time: Re-Shelled
Teenage Mutant Ninja Nurtles: Turtles in Time was an arcade beat-em-up that allowed players to go through levels and take out enemies. Ubisoft then decided to remake in the form of Turtles in Time Re-Shelled with a new visual art style and a few new directional attacks. Unfortunately, re-releasing an arcade game didn't work out well for them, as the game was painfully unbalanced. Furthermore, there was something lost by not being able to switch to the original graphics, despite the engine feeling largely untouched. As most beat-em-ups go, this game lacked any replay value.
6 Best: Resident Evil
The original Resident Evil game popularized the survival-horror genre, but when it was finally remade, it was perfected. Masterfully capturing what makes the franchise so scary, Resident Evil remade is one of the best horror games ever created. Perfectly up-scaling the environments and characters to make everything appear more real, it was a game that gave people nightmares. It's a great example of what can be done by remaking a game that many people are hoping will be done again with Resident Evil 2.
5 Worst: Myst
Myst was one of the best games released on CD-ROM back in the day. Being a surreal adventure game with pre-drawn environments in a fantasy world captivated players time and time again. Unfortunately, just about none of the remakes have done the game justice. Not only did they make environments that rendered in real time that actually look worse than the original, but other versions suffered from awful controls and additions that never felt right in the Myst universe. Just find the original and play it.
4 Best: Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong was a critically-acclaimed arcade game that was painfully short. When it was ported over to the Game Boy in the form of Donkey Kong, that problem was immediately solved. Not only were the controls tightened up and much more fair, there was a myriad of levels with all sorts of puzzles to complete. Adding a new moveset to Mario and throwing in some more mechanics, this is the definitive version of Mario's quest to save Pauline from a massive gorilla.
3 Worst: Bomberman: Act Zero
Whether you consider this a remake or not, Bomberman: Act Zero is an awful game that never should've been made. Taking the colorful and bright world of Bomberman and throwing it into an edgy, action-focused game for "real men" was one of the worst decisions possible. This transition wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for every single level being set in the same environment (and there's 99 of them). After that, the game doesn't offer players anything else to do. It's just over.
2 Best: Mortal Kombat
After the weird crossover of Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe stripped Mortal Kombat of the key stylistic choices that made it stand out as a fighting game, Netherrealm decided to go back to basics. Enter Mortal Kombat. This game brought back the brutal fighting and fatalities, but included a host of new visual mechanics and a graphical style that did it a lot of justice. On top of that, there was the addition of a few guest characters in the form of Freddy Krueger and Kratos to round things out.
1 Worst: Earthworm Jim Mobile
Earthworm Jim, while not in the same league as Mario or Sonic back in the day, was a respectable game that had a fantastic art style. The people at Gameloft decided to remake it for mobile devices in 2009. Unfortunately, Earthworm Jim without the noticeably hand-drawn style looks worse by comparison. On top of that, controlling a platformer with painfully basic touch screen controls is one of the worst ways to play a game, and this version is no exception. Just play the original.