Three Nintendo Franchises That Deserve To Be Resurrected For Wii U

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently announced that a new 3D Mario game and a new Mario Kart for the Wii U would be shown at this year’s E3 conference, along with the promise of a new Legend of Zelda game at some point. While I’m sure these will all be great, they are not exactly a surprise. Mario and Zelda have always been well-supported by Nintendo, with at least one release on every major console since the NES. But what of Nintendo’s other children? Looking at the roster of Super Smash Bros. Brawl shows that the company’s history is filled with wonderful characters who perhaps didn’t see the commercial success of Nintendo’s favourite Italian plumber. Here are my suggestions for how lesser-known franchises could be brought back and made better with the Wii U hardware.

 

F-Zero

The inclusion of ‘Captain Falcon’s Twister Race’ mini-game in Nintendo Land proves that F-Zero has not been forgotten by Nintendo. The original SNES F-Zero is currently available to download for 30p on the Wii U eShop, and I suggest you check it out. It’s a futuristic racer that speeds along faster than Sonic the Hedgehog and the Flash’s lovechild. Don’t like to swear? F-Zero will change that. Not only do you have to worry about falling off the edge of the track, but boosting and bumping into other drivers decreases your craft’s power level. If this drops to zero, you blow up. Pretty sure that’s not in the Formula 1 health and safety guidelines. The game spawned two sequels, one on the N64 and one on the GameCube, but completely missed out the last generation of consoles. This needs to be corrected immediately.

The Wii U GamePad could be used to great effect in F-Zero. In the middle of a race, you could glance down at the touchscreen to monitor your power level, speed and shields. Imagine having four or five energy capsules that you can drag around with your finger. Do you put three into speed and risk being damaged more easily? Do you put two in your shields and two in speed to balance it out? Or do you wait until you’re almost dead and then refuel your power? There could also be a little screen showing the face of your driver responding to what’s happening. Boost forward and Captain Falcon is thrown backwards. Win the race and he shouts out one of his signature catchphrases (“SHOW ME YOUR MOVES!”). Of course, the speed of F-Zero might make all this impossible. Taking your eyes off the TV for even a second can result in instant death. It’s worth a shot though.

In fact, the character of Captain Falcon is so great that in the next F-Zero game you should spend half the time racing and half the time going on bounty-hunting missions (yep, he’s a race car driver AND a bounty hunter. Try to keep your clothes on ladies). The Smash Bros. series has already given him a full set of moves. Just think of running round an HD Port Town, throwing Falcon Punches into droves of enemies and watching them explode into flames. If you’ll excuse me, I think I have to go and lie down for a bit.

 

Star Fox

Another Nintendo universe overflowing with personality is that of the Star Fox games. Like F-Zero, there has been a release for SNES, N64 and GameCube (as well as for the DS) but not for Wii. This is a shame as Star Fox is one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, with the N64 installment (Lylat Wars) in particular being fondly remembered by many gamers. You play as Fox McCloud, leader of Team Star Fox, which is made up of the senile Peppy Hare (“DO A BARREL ROLL!”), the arrogant Falco Lombardi (“I guess I should be thankful…”) and the infuriatingly pathetic Slippy Toad (“FOOOOOOX!”). In similar fashion to the space battles from Star Wars, you pilot Airwings through the galaxy fighting a giant, evil monkey head (well, maybe not that bit).

The Wii U GamePad’s screen could basically be your ship’s control panel. The faces and dialogue of your squad mates would appear here (“FOOOOOOX!”), as well as any incoming messages from General Pepper. The screen could flash and beep when you have a target lock on an enemy fighter, and you could even send a homing missile to a space station on the touchscreen while simultaneously fighting other ships on the TV. And it goes without saying how glorious the planet of Corneria would look in HD.

The story would need to be improved too. Lylat Wars had a brilliant system where you would be taken to different levels depending on how well you did in the previous one. While this meant that each play-through could be vastly different, it also meant that individually they were quite short. The next game could have multiple storylines that last much longer and have completely different scenarios and endings. They could even bring back the mechanic from the SNES game where if one of your squad mates was killed, they would not come back for the rest of the game, or something similar. You could choose new squad mates, with one being a better fighter but more likely to betray you later on. It would be like Nintendo’s version of Mass Effect (but without the inter-species relations).

 

Ice Climber

Here’s an obscure one. Ice Climber was a launch title for the NES in which you played as Popo and Nana, two mountain climbers in parkas trying to get to the top of various mountains to reclaim stolen vegetables from a condor. While popular, it has never seen a sequel. In fact, the only reason I know about it is because Popo and Nana were playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The game was pretty basic, with jumping and swinging your tiny hammer being all you could do. So why am I bringing it up now you ask?

Well, it’s because I think there’s potential here. The Ice Climbers certainly made an impression on Smash Bros. players, with their unconventional ‘double-character’ fighting style, so there are already a lot of gamers who know who they are. A Wii U Ice Climber game could be brilliant. You and a partner could traverse a selection of icy mountains together with local co-op, one of you with the GamePad and one of you with a Wii Remote. The GamePad user could use it to swing grappling hooks to higher points on the cliff, while their friend swings the Wii Remote to smash enemy faces in with the hammer. The Wii U’s extra graphical power would really bring out the detail as the adorable Nana pulls her entrail-coated hammer out of a polar bear’s stomach.

 

I’m sure Nintendo’s R&D department have much better ideas than me. There are a lot of other series’ I could have included on this list, (e.g. Metroid, Earthbound, Balloon Fight) but they either had recent installments on the Wii, or I couldn’t see how they could benefit any further with the Wii U. But what do you guys think? Do you have any ideas for old Nintendo franchises that could be brought back on Wii U? Put your suggestions in the comments below. 

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3 Comments

  1. Jonathan Lee says:

    Some that it would be great to see get a release:

    Duck Hunt – The GamePad shows the long grass giving warning of birds coming out, or of treasures / upgrades to be found.

    Eternal Darkness – The GP shows a different viewpoint to that on the main screen. You’re unsure which one is real.

    The World Ends With You – The GP acts as the second screen, where your partner battles, and a host of other options related to the UG of the game – and of course, Reaper Creeper.

    Custom Robo – A stat screen for your robo during the right, and a toolbox / parts chest for your robot when you customise it.

    Infinite Space – Pretty much the touch screen functions from the DS game, although extra info and connectivity would obviously be expected / appreciated.

    Phantasy Star Online – Tons of options here – quick changing of gear, monster data, character info, maps, team members, what’s going on in the ship, any trades / sales …

    Sim City – Info on the city / an overview of the map. Possibly a street level view.

    And some others that are likely to crop up regardless:
    Bomberman, Megaman, Castlevania, Golden Sun, Harvest Moon, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Animal Crossing

  2. David Burns says:

    Jonathan mentioned Custom Robo. I really would like to see that!

    And F-Zero defo needs a new game!

    Starfox is still alive and well due to the 3DS though.

    I personally hope Nintendo focus more on the 3DS I think they have realised the home market is not their strong point any more.

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