Similar to film and television, video game reboots are all the rage these days and it's no surprise when you consider the technology at designers disposals. We live in an era where 3D graphics almost resemble real life, game mechanics and A.I. are almost at a human level, and virtual reality is fast becoming the norm. Put simply video games have never been better. Even games made a decade ago look ancient when compared to the latest PS4 or Xbox titles.
This is just one of many reasons why publishers are rebooting classic video games from yesteryear, taking advantage of the new technology available to make an even better game great. It also allows companies a second crack at rebooting a franchise or creating a fresh take on a release that failed to find an audience.
Unfortunately for every fantastic reboot, there are a dozen failures. Even better graphics and sound can't help a game if the storyline is weak and the gameplay terrible. From the totally unnecessary Sonic The Hedgehog remake to the almost unplayable reboot of the 1988 classic Altered Beast, many recent remakes haven't lived up to expectations. To make sure you don't find yourself playing these horrible reboots here's a list of 20 of the worst video game reboots, along with 10 of the best to even it all out.
30 Worst Reboots: Golden Axe: Beast Rider (2008)
Deciding to bring Golden Axe into the 21st century, Secret Level and SEGA rebooted the classic side-scrolling beat 'em up as a 3D action adventure game with horrible results. While they did bring back Tyris Flare from the original the designers failed in their attempts to make an adult game, proving lots of blood and even some nudity don't make a game good.
The result is a terrible game with horrible graphics, poor gameplay, and a stupid control system.
It's so bad IGN's review of the game concludes with the sentence, "This is a game worth avoiding like the plague, even if the classic remains deep and warm within your heart." Enough said.
29 Worst Reboots: Shadowrun (2007)
The wildly successful tabletop role-playing game Shadowrun has had a number of successful video game efforts, but the 2007 reboot is not one of them. Ditching the absorbing role-playing gameplay of the first NES game, Shadowrun transforms into a first-person multiplayer similar to the game Counter-Strike. Not only are the RPG elements lacking but the game isn't even set in the official Shadowrun timeline, with designer FASA Interactive creating their own alternative universe. A lack of add-ons and additional content for online play makes Shadowrun one game you want to say clear of.
28 Best Reboots: Star Fox 64 (1997)
Originally released on the NES way back in 1993, Star Fox is a 3D animated rail shooter set in outer space. Some fans might take issue with calling it a reboot, but true fans of the franchise recognize how much it follows in the original's footsteps. It's a fun game but lacked strong gameplay and suffered from average graphics. Enter Star Fox 64. Upgraded for the Nintendo 64 this version revitalized Star Fox with superior three-dimensional graphics, a well-written storyline, and introduced new vehicles and characters. The game even included full spoken dialogue, something missing from the previous release. But what really makes this game spectacular is the multiplayer mode where you and three friends can try and blow each other out of the skies.
27 Worst Reboots: Bionic Commando (2009)
Bionic Commando is a remake of Bionic Commando Rearmed which is a reboot of the original Bionic Commando first released in 1987. If that's a little convoluted all you need to know is the 2009 edition of the game should be avoided at all costs. Taking control of Nathan Spencer whose blessed with a bionic arm that features a grappling hook, you are blackmailed into a series of missions to find out what happened to your deceased wife. The game's actually great to look at and the action invigorating, but a bizarre plot twist and some infuriatingly difficult levels make Bionic Commando a let down when compared to previous releases.
26 Worst Reboots: Flashback (2013)
The Guinness Book Of Records list Flashback as the best selling French video game of all time, it's just a pity the same can't be said about the reboot. Following a similar plot to the original science fiction platformer, the 2013 version of the game fails to build on the 1992 Atari hit. It's not terrible, but neither is it remarkable, and failed to please critics or fans of the original when it first hit retail shelves. The poor reception led to low sales and the eventual downfall of developers VectorCell who went bankrupt later that year.
25 Best Reboots: Doom (2016)
Doom helped pioneer the first person shooter and introduced gamers to a high octane franchise seeped in mayhem and bloody violence. When word got out a reboot of the first game was underway, many fans were skeptical, but the end result is a game just as entertaining as the 1993 classic.
Everything that makes Doom great is part of the 2016 version, just with better graphics, sound, level designs, and a fantastic single-player campaign.
There's tons more weapons to choose from and a host of grotesque creatures to destroy. The online multiplayer mode is also exceptional and still played by thousands today, giving the game an extra element of longevity.
24 Worst Reboots: Conker: Live And Reloaded (2005)
Exclusively released for the Xbox Conker: Live And Reloaded is a remake of the critically acclaimed Nintendo 64 game Conker's Bad Fur Day. While that game is a ton of fun and features excellent voice-over work and unconventional gameplay, the reboot fails to live up to the original. In saying that it's not a horrible game by any stretch of the imagination, incorporating a multiplayer mode and featuring great graphics and gameplay, although the removal of some of the key challenges from the first game disappointed many. All in all Conker: Live And Reloaded is a decent game with some gross humor and interesting levels, but can't hold a candle to Conker's Bad Fur Day.
23 Worst Reboots: Medal Of Honour (2010)
Long before Call Of Duty was the standard-bearer for first-person shooters Medal Of Honour was the supreme combat game. But with every new release and a host of competing titles Medal Of Honour slowly sunk into the background. In 2010 developers Danger Close Games and EA DICE decided enough was enough and set about rebooting the series. The modern day setting is a nice change of scenery but the game itself draws too much from COD and Battlefield and comes across more like a rip-off of both successful games.
22 Best Reboots: Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time (2003)
Of all the reboots on this list that actually changed the entire complexity of the game, Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time takes the cake.
Converting the 1989 2D platformer into a 3D third-person action-adventure extravaganza was a brilliant idea by Ubisoft.
Weaving elements of ancient mythology with invigorating fight scenes and a thrilling plot, Prince Of Persia set the tone for adventure games taking place in the past and no doubt influenced the Assassin's Creed and Uncharted series. The game's success even spawned a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal in the title role along with numerous sequels, although none live up to Sands Of Time.
21 Worst Reboots: Final Fight: Streetwise (2006)
Side-scrolling beat 'em up Final Fight is a favorite amongst video games fans but the same can't be said about 2006 reboot. Final Fight: Streetwise is a simple 3D fighter similar to the original but lacking anything new. The story mode has no multiplayer option, the graphics are tired, the combat system terrible, and the storyline rather dull. It must be said the hip-hop and metal soundtrack (featuring RZA, Fear Factory, Mos Def, Slipknot and more) fits the game well, but there's just not enough here to keep your attention. Interesting fact, Final Fight is set in the same universe as Street Fighter.
20 Worst Reboots: NFL Blitz (2012)
Released as are more entertaining option to the Madden franchise, NFL Blitz is an over the top gridiron game similar in vein to Midway's successful NBA Jam series of games. While never reaching the heights of its peers, the series is enjoyable and provides a different take on the sport. Unfortunately, the 2012 reboot is a total letdown, missing the late tackles and feverish violence of previous games.
Visually it's also disappointing and comes across as a poor mans Madden.
19 Best Reboots: Mortal Kombat (2011)
The first two Mortal Kombat games are heralded by fans as fighting classics, but by the early 2000s, the franchise had hit the skids. NetherRealm Studios decision to revive the failing series turned out to be a stroke of genius, with Mortal Kombat (2011) abandoning the 3D style of graphics of recent games and reverting to the 2D style seen in the original. An altered retelling of the first three games, Mortal Kombat is a hyper-intense fighting game with gut-churning fatalities, a great game engine, and one of the most extensive collection of playable fighters in the series history.
18 Worst Reboots: Space Raiders (2002)
An update of the 1978 Space Invaders game, Space Raiders is probably the most unnecessary game on this list. Space Invaders is a simple yet enjoyable game that doesn't need tinkering, but that didn't stop Taito Corporation from creating the mess that is Space Raiders. Bizarrely changing the game from a 2D arcade classic into a third person shooter set in an urban environment, Space Raiders is almost a completely different game. You can choose from three different characters (who all play the same) as you try and repel an alien invasion in a game beset by bad graphics and repetitive gameplay. The game is so bad GameSpot said, "Regardless of what category you fall into, you don't want to play Space Raiders."
17 Worst Reboots: Dungeon Keeper (2014)
A humorous strategy game released for MS-DOS and Windows 95 way back in 1997, Dungeon Keeper is all about building and maintaining a dungeon and battling the forces of good and eventually taking over the realm. It's a pretty fun game but the same can't be said for EA's 2014 release. Based around a similar game style, EA tried to cash in on the mobile phone game market with this version and failed big time. The biggest problem is the game requires you to continually purchase in-game upgrades and bonuses, meaning players are forced to fork out money to get anywhere in the game. The humor has also been dumbed down and the waiting times between screens and turns is mind-numbing.
16 Best Reboots: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Taking out scum has never been as much fun as when playing Wolfenstein: The New Order. Another successful game in the long-running franchise, The New Order focuses on changing up the standard first-person shooter of previous entries, adding elements of adventure and survival games to create a thrilling ride of non-stop intensity. The key is the well thought out storyline set in an alternate history, with players making a decision in the prologue that affects how the game will pan out. The lack of a multiplayer mode is a concern, but the ability to choose from about a dozen weapons while mowing down baddies more than makes up for it.
15 Worst Reboots: Frogger: He's Back (1997)
Why anyone thought the gaming world needed a new version of the cult arcade classic Frogger is anyone's guess, but that's what fans got in 1997. Released on the Playstation Frogger: He's Back is Frogger set in a 3D world with bigger levels, better graphics, and additional gameplay moves. The game is also extremely difficult, contains a control system that will have you tearing out your hair, and is nowhere near as fun as the original. Despite this, the game went on to sell three million copies in the West and became one of the highest selling PlayStation games of all time.
14 Worst Reboots: SimCity (2013)
Along with Civilisation, SimCity is my favorite strategy simulation so when it was announced a reboot was underway I got pretty excited. As I should have guessed the 2013 version of SimCity ended up a big disappointment. While the introduction of 3D graphics, a new game engine, and multiplayer options gives the game a fresh angle, nothing could make up for the way the game was launched. First off you needed an internet connection to play the single-player campaign, which would have been fine except connectivity problems plagued the initial release.
The games also littered with bugs, with many fans going back to the trusty SimCity 4 to get their building simulation fix.
13 Best Reboots: Metroid Prime
The first Metroid game to use 3D graphics, Metroid Prime is an awesome envisioning of the 80s favorite. Similar to Doom fans weren't quite sure what to make of this reboot, especially as it's turned the game into a first-person action shooter, but it's a masterstroke. Metroid Prime utilized the new found capabilities of the Nintendo GameCube to deliver eye-watering graphics, ferocious space battles, and explorative gameplay across a detailed and interesting environment. The game's success led to numerous sequels, offshoots, and reboots, but none capture the essence of the original the way Metroid Prime does.
12 Worst Reboots: Altered Beast (2005)
Weaving Greece mythology with a side-scrolling beat 'em up featuring a protagonist with the ability to transform into a wolf/human hybrid, Altered Beast still holds up today.
Unfortunately, the 2015 release is a modern take on the fantasy epic that fails to live up to its predecessor.
Set in the modern world the game revolves around amnesiac Luke Custer who's DNA has been altered and must find the people responsible for his new powers. Updating from 2D to 3D doesn't really help, with Altered Beast a simple button mashing fighter with some questionable graphics and repetitive gameplay. CNET called Altered Beast "a frustrating slog" while EuroGamer concluded, "we can't recommend Altered Beast to, er, anyone."
11 Worst Reboots: Thief (2014)
Set in a fantasy steampunk world Thief is a stealth game where players taking control of master thief Garrett and perform a number of heists, relying on sound and sight to pull off crimes successfully. The 2014 edition of the game is similar to the original but with better graphics and a much better stealth mode. In saying that, the plot is rather convoluted and the layout of The City isn't very inviting. The lack of freedom to roam The City is also a drawback and the difficulty of certain levels can be frustrating. Far from a disaster, Thief is a decent game, but when compared to the 1998 release, it's best forgotten.
10 Best Reboots: Ninja Gaiden (2004)
2D side-scrolling action game Ninja Gaiden was a fan favorite during the late 80s and early 90s before vanishing for a good decade. Revived by Team Ninja in 2004 the game took five years to develop but it's well worth the weight. Once again taking on the role of Ryu Hayabusa players embark on a quest for vengeance in a game set in the same universe as the Dead Or Alive franchise. Aimed at Western audiences the game is chock full of carnage and an inventive combat system. Setting the game in a 3D universe also pays dividends, with the environments well rendered and the skirmishes with opponents requiring a small modicum of thought and precision.
9 Worst Reboots: Bomberman: Act Zero (2006)
Having appeared in over 70 different video games Bomberman is one of the most well-known characters in gaming history, so it makes sense a remake of the classic 1983 maze-based game would eventually happen. Released in 2006 Bomberman: Act Zero marks a big shift in the long-running series, featuring more realistic graphics and a much darker storyline. It contains a first-person mode that's trash and is plagued by long loading times, repetitive gameplay, ugly level design, and a horrible soundtrack. Everything fans love about the original is stripped from this version, making Bomberman: Act Zero not just a terrible reboot but one of the worst games ever released.
8 Worst Reboots: Turok (2008)
Although Propoganda Games and Disney claim Turok is unrelated to the 2007 Nintendo 64 classic Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, there's no doubting the two share some similarities. Both focus on a solider, Joseph Turok, who finds himself on a planet inhabited by dinosaurs. While the 64 game is lots of fun, the 2008 version of Turok suffers from dodgy camera angles, bad level designs, and a newly introduced stealth mechanism that just doesn't work.
The online multiplayer mode is also a drag, making Turok another woeful reboot that should never have been attempted.
7 Best Reboots: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)
UFO: Enemy Unknown is a cult classic strategy game from the 90s about a team of humans trying to save the world from an alien invasion. It's a great game and one that still stands the test of time, although the introduction of XCOM: Enemy Unknown made it almost obsolete. Once again taking control of a tactical force charged with saving the earth from an alien invasion, XCOM is a riveting turn-based game featuring 3D graphics, top-notch sound, and engaging gameplay. It's a fresh and exciting take on the original game and is regarded by many as being just as awesome as the UFO.
6 Worst Reboots: Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)
SEGA needed to find a character to rival Nintendo's successful plumber Mario and found their hero in the form of Sonic The Hedgehog. The 1991 release is still fun to play as you race against the clock through colorful levels as the blue hedgehog. After countless sequels and spinoffs, SEGA decided to give Sonic a makeover and released a 2006 reboot. Big mistake. The game plays like it was never quite finished, with long loading screens, buggy gameplay and some off-putting graphics. The camera system is also a major drag while designers decided to create a long-winded plot that doesn't make a lot of sense. Reviews for the game are so bad SEGA eventually discontinued the game and it's almost impossible to find.
5 Worst Reboots: Alone In The Dark (2008)
A spooky horror survival release based upon the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, the original Alone In The Dark is a creepy detective mystery that scared the pants off me when I first played it. After a number of so-so sequels, the series lay dormant until the release of the reboot in 2008. Unlike previous games, each level is a different episode, with players able to skip between them at will. The game also includes interchangeable first and third person camera angles, a ridiculous plot, and glitchy graphics. Combat is also pushed to the forefront instead of the old style click and search of the early games. Even with all the problems, the game became a commercial success, although I'd rather play the 1992 version over this buggy release.
4 Best Reboots: DmC Devil May Cry (2013)
While many fans couldn't get over Ninja Theory giving Dante brown hair instead of his usual bleached blonde do, DmC: Devil May Cry is a surprisingly playable take on the original hack and slash game. Visually Devil May Cry is completely different from any other game in the series. Its incredible graphics and art direction, paired with excellent (and fast) combat — it really was a treat for action game fans. Receiving mixed reviews when first released, the Devil May Cry reboot is now considered one of the crowns in the franchise, even if the storyline is a little hard to grasp at times.
3 Worst Reboots: Double Dragon Neon (2012)
The 1987 arcade favorite Double Dragon kicked off the long-lasting beat 'em up series people still regard as one of the best franchises going. The simple side-scroller involves you taking control of either Billy or Jimmy Lee and taking on a variety of thugs across multiple levels. The game's success led to a consistent stream of releases over the years along with the disappointing 2012 reboot Double Dragon Neon.
While the game has improved graphics and sound, it's basically the same game we've seen before, involving repetitive button mashing and poor combat controls.
Double Dragon Neon relies on the nostalgia factor to keep gamers happy, but that's not enough to save this waste of a release from the trash bin.
2 Worst Reboots: Perfect Dark Zero (2005)
After the success of the phenomenal GoldenEye 007, first-person shooters became all the rage, with the Nintendo 64's Perfect Dark the closest release to match the James Bond classic. The game uses an updated version of the GoldenEye game engine and involves an alien conspiracy and lost of shooting.
Five years later a reboot of the series was created for the Xbox that fails miserably. Perfect Dark Zero is technically a prequel but is pretty much a retread of the first game, except it's very underwhelming with some frustrating gameplay issues. Compared to other first-person shooters of that era, Perfect Dark Zero falls short.
1 Best Reboots: Tomb Raider (2013)
The original template for Uncharted, Tomb Raider is a fantastic franchise that's spawned some incredible games, along with some absolute stinkers. The good news is the 2013 reboot is an absolute cracker and on par with the first installment in the series. Creating a new origin story for the game's hero Lara Croft, Tomb Raider finds players trying to rescue Croft's friends while evading mad occultists and escaping the island of Yamatai. Mixing elements of survival and adventure games with fast-paced third-person action helped Tomb Raider achieve critical and commercial success.