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Remake Roundup: Super Mario Bros. – Part #2

Welcome back to part 2 of our Remake Roundup feature looking at redo’s of the classic 1985 turtle-smashing game Super Mario Bros.

Last time around, we looked at some pretty straight-up remakes that, for the most part, took the original formula and merely spruced it up with better graphics or gameplay elements, but kept things mostly the same.

This time around we dive deeper into the abyss to look at games that take the original Mario concept and start to alter it in more interesting ways. There were no hard rules on what fits for this round, but I generally looked for games that added something innovative but kept the implacable Mario spirit.

Let’s a-go!

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Remake Roundup – Super Mario Bros. (Part 1)

It’s been a long time coming but we’re finally back with another Remake Roundup, where we examine an arcade classic and unearth modern remakes!

This time around we take a look at the venerable classic Super Mario Bros. franchise and see what sort of remakes are lurking around. This will be a two three-parter: the first part will focus on more straight-forward remakes, while the second will look at remakes that take the Mario concept and apply it to different gameplay styles (Mario as a metroidvania? Sure, why not) and then finally, we take a cautious gander at some of the more… esoteric interpretations.

Grab your fire flowers and, in some cases, axes, bombs or megablasters, and see how deep the green pipe goes.

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The Lost Cover Disks: Electro Man

Welcome to a new featurette – a more in-depth series of retrospectives where we dig up old coverdisk games from our dusty basement and take a look at these forgotten heroes of digital history. And of course- their modern legacy and remakes. Remember Titus the Fox, Cosmo the Alien, or Baron Baldric? No? You soon will! Welcome to The Lost Cover Disks.

In a world… where everything is full of empty polish factories and teleport puzzles… In a world… where upgrades were not always upgrades… In a world.. where you kind of look like Robocop but not really… An Electro Man will rise. But then also die in one hit.

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That’s the basic premise behind Electro Man, an early 90’s shareware game that littered many obscure coverdisks of the day. The awesome graphics belied the mediocre gameplay, enough so that the game was relatively well-respected at the time. As it turns out, the hindsight of nostalgia doesn’t hold up so well, however.

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The Lost Cover Disks: Wacky Wheels

While not the most obscure of games, Wacky Wheels was well received yet was not quite the smash hit it hoped to be, and flounders in relative obscurity in these modern times.

Skidding in the drift of the more successful Mario Kart, Wacky Wheels attempted to emulate the same gameplay on the arguably superior (by that time) hardware of the IBM Personal Computer. Mode 7 Chip? We don’t need no stinking chip! What resulted was a less spectacular Mario Kart clone, but that was all it needed to do to be fun – it worked.

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[Freeware, Remake] The Abbey of Crime Extensum

Get your Sean Connery on. No, no, not with a pistol and martini of the shaken variety, but with sandals and robes. Wait, bear with me… The Abbey of Crime Extensum may be about abstinent monks, but it also happens to be a pretty darn polished and challenging The Name of the Rose murder mystery. So it may not have secret agent action, but it does contain a license to kill.

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Playing as Franciscan monk Fray William and his young novice Adso of Melk (yes, you sort of have to control both at once), you are thrust into a race against time to find the perpetrator of a series of grisly murders in a Benedictine abbey.

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[Demo, Remake] Agony

These owls are a diverse lot. From wizard familiars and labyrinth overseers, to annoying dream guides or deadly laser beam shooting birds of prey – they’ve been around. Agony is firmly nesting in that last category, a fanmade 3D remake of Psygnosis’ classic Amiga shooter with no shortage of laser shooting owl action.

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Castlevania 1 Remake

Castlevania has to be one of my favourite game series of all-times, from the classic Super Castlevania IV on the SNES to, of course, Symphony of the Night on the PSX, and some modern DS outings such as Order of Ecclesia. You’ll note that I didn’t include any of the 3D games in there, because they were mostly rubbish.

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Old Konami haven’t quite figured out how to transfer the franchise into the 3D world just yet (with a few, notable exceptions), which is a fair crime since it’s not easy to make the move without losing that intangible something that makes the 2D counterparts work so well. But this one fan decided what the heck, and went and tried anyway, by taking it right back to the roots of the very first Castlevania.

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[Remake] Super Thundercats: Lost Eye of Thundera

Like all good lazy license cash-ins of the 80s (and 90s), Thundercats – a cartoon about giant kitties fighting ancient Egyptians – was no stranger to enduring pretty terrible attempts at being made into “games”. I mean, lackluster gameplay aside, there wasn’t even a final showdown with Mum-Ra! Thundercats-no, if you know what I mean.

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Now, a fan-made remake, which adds the “Super” nomenclature so loved in the 90’s to the title improves upon it in almost every way. But can Super Thundercats: The Lost Eye of Thundera elevate the source material into a good game? Or will it be another steaming load for the kitty litter box? Find out after the jump.

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New Retro News: Halcyon On and On

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Tribal Clans! Boulders! Starbases! I’m pretty sure all these things were in Indiana Jones’ adventures, so this week’s news theme is, fittingly, “adventure”. Also, “aliens”.

  • Halcyon 6 Starbase Commander released
  • Warcraft: Lord of the Clans leaked
  • Boulder Dash’s 30th anniversary remake

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Old Retro News: Archives Edition

Due to the excruciating minutae of every day life, I missed quite a few windows for news posts of latest releases, ports and other new and old retro happenings alike.

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Still, not everyone religiously scans every major gaming website, minor blog by random guy, and auto-generated catch-all website for each and every thing that happens, so I figured it was worth shouting out some old news for those who have been living in a cave for the past 3 months like me.

  • Shock! A game with zombies and pixels
  • Sass! 90s style adventure game about a biker chick
  • H-h-hackers! SHODAN returns… again
  • Monsters be here: new Final Fantasy Tactics mod!

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