A few years ago, retro clothing was all the rage. As time passed, the wave of cork soles and trapeze trousers finally died down, being replaced by another retro fever – this time, in the world of technology. Retro gadgets are making a comeback, products like PlayStation Classic, NES Classic Edition, and Commodore 64 are returning to the shelves, along with some of the most memorable titles from the golden age of gaming. Several legendary titles from the 1990s and the early 2000s are being remade as we speak, including System Shock (1994) and Rune (2000), and some of them, like Shadow Warrior and Homeworld, have already been remade. But there are still many that gave us hours upon hours of fun yet a remake of them is nowhere to be seen.
One of them is, obviously, “Duke Nukem 3D”. Originally released in 1996 on MS-DOS, the game has seen several expansions, special editions, console versions, and such. It also received a sequel called “Duke Nukem Forever” that was everything the original’s fans didn’t want – this is not a surprise considering how much time it spent in development hell (it even set a Guinness world record for being the game spending the most time in development, with more than 14 years). Now, more than two decades after the release of the original, it deserves at least a proper remake.
Next, there’s a legendary ID Software title that has changed the way we look at FPS games forever: Quake. The original game, released in 1996, took shooters to a whole new level, being the first game to offer full real-time 3D rendering, easy modding, support for bots, and the possibility to create machinima. Its visuals were unique, mixing technology with Lovecraftian visuals and storyline, and Trent Reznor’s soundtrack took it to the next level. None of its sequels had anything to do with the original’s story and visuals – Quake II took its players to an alien world, Quake 3 was a visually stunning deathmatch-focused game with little to no story, and Quake 4 was a sequel to Quake II. And Quake Champions, the first main entry in the series since 2005, is a free-to-play online multiplayer FPS in the vein of Quake 3.
ID Software missed the opportunity to remake Quake in 2016, two decades after the release of the original. A remake would still be welcome – especially if the levels would once again be designed by American McGee.
Last but not least, let us mention one of the most beautiful first-person shooters to be released in the 1990s: Unreal. The game was a single-player title placing the player in the skin of Prisoner 849, the sole survivor of the crash of the prison spacecraft Vortex Rikers on a remote planet called Na Pali. The planet is inhabited by a primitive friendly species called the Nali but exploited by the Skaarj, a ruthless race of reptilians exploiting the locals. Prisoner 849 has to fight his or her way through increasingly tough enemies, find a life pod stranded on the planet and escape it – but not before defeating the Skaarj Queen. The game spawned an expansion pack and two novels. It also had a sequel that failed to live up to the original’s fame. Later, Epic chose to focus on Unreal Tournament, though, abandoning Na Pali as a whole. Just imagine how beautiful an Unreal remake could be if it was built today, on the Unreal Engine 4… and with two decades passing from the original’s release, it’s pretty overdue for a remake.