Monday, January 5, 2009

My Top 8 of 2008: #2 Bionic Commando Rearmed

The idea of remakes has always had a negative effect on me. I mean, really, why bother recreating something that was good 10 or 20 years ago when more effort could be spent on making something new and, perhaps, more interesting. At least, that what I used to think as soon as my eyes finished rolling at the sound of the word "remakes". I guess it just always felt like cheating to me. A game idea that was good 20 years ago might not be so good today, and increased visual fidelity means other parts of the game need proper retuning and correction.

The fact that Grin, the developers of the next-gen "Bionic Commando" and "BC Rearmed", came along and changed everything I thought remakes could be needs to be noted. BCR was a treat on so many different levels. The graphics were stylized in a manner that still homages the original work of the 2-D game, and the music, composed by Simon Viklund, is a work of genius that modernizes classic 8-bit music in astounding ways. Rather than sit on their laurels, the development team at Grin added new bosses that all required skilled use with the bionic arm, and replaced the only real flaw of the original game. Extra modes like co-op, versus, and 50 + challenge rooms added to the overall value, and were solid inclusions for the game's solid swing-or-die framework.

A game that focuses on a grapple and swing mechanic certainly doesn't seem modern by today's standard, but the job done here by this studio is truly remarkable, and I can only hope that more "remakes" are treated the same with as much reverence to the source material. If you're looking for a downloadable treat from 2008, look no further than Bionic Commando Rearmed to enjoy vintage play mechanics spruced up to today's modern standards.

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