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Joystiq presents

Super Odd Chrono Snatcher: Your choices for DS remakes

DS Fanboy readers have excellent taste, and we all know it. After all, you own the greatest handheld in the world, and hey, you're here. But if that's not enough to convince you, then the winners of the recent most-desired remakes poll should do the trick nicely. DS Fanboy readers chose four very different titles as candidates for the rampant remake craze, and each game has the potential to be a fantastic DS game in its own right. Let's just hope the right people are paying attention.

Out of a field of seventeen titles, all chosen by the readers, Chrono Trigger, Snatcher, Super Smash Bros. and Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee were selected as the best choices for future DS titles. Now we're here to tell you why.

Chrono Trigger
SNES/Playstation -- Square (now Square Enix)

The beloved RPG from Square is one of the most consistently and universally lauded titles in the history of the genre, and for good reason. The product of a dream team crossover between Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest developers, Chrono Trigger certainly demonstrates qualities of both series. But what makes Chrono Trigger a standout, even after all these years, is that it blends everything that was best about '90s RPGs and makes them better. From the story to the innovative gameplay, Chrono Trigger is the pinnacle of RPGs.

Why should it be on the DS?
Because Square Enix is currently remaking everything else for the DS? Several Final Fantasy remakes only recently appeared on the GBA, but that's not stopping SE from giving them top-down makeovers for the DS. Now that Dragon Quest is getting the same treatment, it only seems right that Chrono Trigger join in on the fun.

RPGs are great on the DS, because of a very simple feature -- you can close your system and leave the game "paused." This gives games with lengthy gameplay a similar advantage when compared with that other handheld staple: games that can be played in quick bursts. Toss in the sheer convenience of portability, and Chrono Trigger and the DS seem a match made in gamer heaven.

A quick look at Chrono Trigger gameplay

Possible DS improvements:

It's difficult to think up improvements on a classic, and we would happily take even a straight port of Chrono Trigger if it were available, but more than anything, we think the title would benefit from a graphical update. Square Enix has been doing a great job so far with remakes, though we have to say that Namco Bandai is giving them a run for their money with the latest Tales installment. Also, as above, considering that we're talking about one of the most beloved titles of all time, how could portability not be an improvement?

Potential remake drawbacks:
This is one game we'd like to see left alone, gameplay-wise. We don't need random use of the microphone, and gimmicks need not apply. An optional stylus-based navigation system would be acceptable, and some gamers might like to use the stylus for menu manipulation, but for the most part, we think too many changes could possibly ruin what should be a glorious experience.

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
Playstation/PC -- Oddworld Inhabitants, GT Interactive

We can't tell you how pleased we were to see this game rise to the top of the polls. Not only is Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee a quirky and amazing platformer, but of these four games, this one may be the most interesting choice for a DS remake. Side-scrolling platformers do well on the system, and DS fans like anything unusual. With a franchise name like Oddworld, you know you're getting that here.

Why should it be on the DS?
Abe's Oddysee is more than just a platformer; the game included a lot of interesting puzzles that could be easily adapted to the strengths of the DS. Even the game's lamented learning curve could be improved here. As we so often say, hard games work well on handhelds, particularly the DS. Take it with you to practice at your leisure, and close it when you need to take a break. The touchscreen could take over some of the control duties as well.

Great walkthrough segment from Abe's Oddysee

Possible DS improvements:
Where to begin? Abe's Oddysee features a lot of interesting little gameplay aspects, including chanting and Abe's spoken commands used to direct other characters. While we're uncertain that it would be a good idea, developers could certainly attempt to re-mold the title into a touchscreen wonder, with rhythm game elements and even use of the mic. Used sparingly (let us stress that: sparingly) to supplement a control scheme similar to that of the original title, we think this could turn Abe's Oddysee into an even more interesting experience -- but it would be a fine line between good changes and bad.

Potential remake drawbacks:
Of course, developers could easily go overboard with any of the ideas we mentioned above. Too much of a good thing usually turns into a bad thing, but that doesn't mean there isn't potential here that could be mined for a brilliant remake. However, there are some technical issues as well. Abe's Oddyssee was not only beautiful on the Playstation and PC, it also featured incredible music ... and as much as we love the DS, visuals and sound sometimes suffer on the handheld. We're sure that they could be handled here, but the project would have to be undertaken with care.

SegaCD (and others) -- Konami

Snatcher is a favorite around here, and for good reason. The rich, detailed story and the great characterization makes this a standout among not only adventure games, but games, period. The story of Gillian Seed is classic cyberpunk, classic Hideo Kojima, and a fantastic interactive adventure that would work just as well today as it did when first released.

Why should it be on the DS?
The DS has breathed new life into the adventure genre -- but it's more than that. DS owners have proven that they love a good story above all else; all we need is quirky characters and great dialogue. Snatcher is essentially an interactive comic book, and thus could really shine with portability. Further, as our own JC Fletcher said when profiling the title for his Virtually Overlooked series on Wii Fanboy, "Snatcher sits right at the intersection of two massive, militant fanbases: adventure game fans and Hideo Kojima fans." It's got a built-in audience just ready to be tapped among DS owners, and both those familiar with the title and those who aren't would be delighted by all the references littered throughout the title.

The first part of Snatcher (caution: with an eleven-minute video, you get some spoilers, guaranteed).

Possible DS improvements:
This is another game that could use a slight spitshine, and touchscreen navigation is a great fit for adventure games. Snatcher could possibly be updated to include even more wit and references, but it wouldn't be at all necessary. As it is, the title could easily compete with some of the text adventure powerhouses on the DS, and maybe even at a budget price if it was redone as a nearly-untouched port.

Potential remake drawbacks:
As with Chrono Trigger, we wouldn't want to see too many "improvements" attempted here. Snatcher is a brilliant interactive experience, and while cyberpunk may no longer be as fresh as it once was, the genre still has a deeply loyal following. Too many changes or edits could harm Snatcher and detract from the game's inherent charm and incredible story.

Super Smash Bros.
N64 -- Nintendo, Hal Laboratories, Inc.

If we have to tell you about Super Smash Bros., you're on the wrong blog. The Smash Bros. series is the ultimate in Nintendo fan service: a fighting game that features beloved characters beating the crap out of each other. Really, what more does any game need?

Why should it be on the DS?
We'll tell you what it needs: portability. Super Smash Bros. is one of the few Nintendo properties that hasn't yet made the jump to handhelds, and we think it's time. The DS is hurting for fighting games, and with Wi-Fi, we're pretty certain that Super Smash Bros. would dominate Game Night Thursdays. Even returning to the early days of the franchise, with its smaller character roster, wouldn't be much of a problem for fans -- we could supplement the wonders of Brawl all day long.

Introducing Super Smash Bros.

Possible DS improvements:

Multiplayer, mutiplayer, multiplayer. The DS could follow on the heels of Brawl and keep the franchise online, and we think plenty of people would pick up both. An expanded single-player mode, taking a cue from Melee and Brawl, could certainly help this succeed as well.

Potential remake drawbacks:
Super Smash Bros. is a pretty intense experience in any form, and as with most fighting games, lag can be a real problem. Putting the fighter online could stretch the DS to its limits, and it still may not be as effective as its console cousins. We would rather have nothing before a subpar remake, as much as we hate to say it.

You picked 'em, we profiled 'em. But the real question is ... what do you think the chances are that we'll ever see any of these on the DS? Some are certainly more likely than others, but with the number of remakes on the handheld growing almost daily, odds are we may see one from either this list, or the other games that were almost chosen in the reader poll.

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