Just like Hollywood, the video game industry loves to reboot and remake old titles and franchises. It’s a great way of appealing to older gamer’s nostalgia, and introducing younger gamers to franchises past.
In some cases, video game reboots are as “simple” as faithfully recreating a game in an updated engine, and giving it the HD makeover. In other cases, like in 2013’s Tomb Raider, established franchise lore is completely rewritten.
In any case, some reboots are total fails, and others are total wins, so in this article we’re going to look at 6 video game reboots that are among the best.
The Tomb Raider franchise began in 1996, and introduced gamers to Lara Croft, one of the most well-known strong female lead characters in video game history. The game spawned a film franchise, and even a Tomb Raider slot machine game (which you can check out on Casumo casino).
While the Tomb Raider franchise has had many titles over the years, this particularly became a problem in the early 2000s, as development studio Core Design had committed to putting out a title annually, nearly exhausting Tomb Raider of potential.
Eidos moved development on future Tomb Raider titles to Crystal Dynamics, and new life was breathed into Lara Croft’s adventures, with Tomb Raider Legends, Anniversary, Underworld, and Guardian of Light being released respectively in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.
In 2013, the entire series was rebooted with Tomb Raider, which completely reconstructs Lara Croft’s origin story, and spawned yet another 4 sequels. Honestly, by 2030, we fully expect to be playing Tomb Raider on Mars or something, because the franchise just won’t die.
Ninja Gaiden began as a side scrolling beat ‘em up arcade game released in October 1988. A version for NES was released only a couple months later, with action-platformer gameplay compared to the arcade original. The console version became a trilogy series on the NES, with ports to Sega and Nintendo’s handheld consoles, and the trilogy was re-released as a compilation on the SNES.
The series seemed to completely disappear after 1995, with no new Ninja Gaiden titles being released for N64, PSX, or Dreamcast consoles in the late 90s. However, the series was rebooted on the original Xbox in 2004, as a 3D action game similar in gameplay to titles like Devil May Cry and God of War.
The Ninja Gaiden reboot was critically acclaimed, and spawned another Ninja Gaiden trilogy on modern consoles. The last release, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, was a spin-off featuring manga-inspired graphics.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
The Wolfenstein franchise began with two top-down perspective stealth games, Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, before developers Muse Software filed for bankruptcy in the mid-80s. This allowed id Software to cheaply acquire the Wolfenstein license, and release the first person shooter we all know today.
The Wolfenstein franchise did not receive as many ports and updates as the more popular Doom, but id Software returned to the Wolfenstein franchise in 2001 with Return to Castle Wolfenstein, followed by the multiplayer Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. The series was then rebooted again in 2009 starting with Wolfenstein (2009), and followed by 5 more titles, with the latest being Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot in 2019.
Serious Sam was originally released on Windows platform in 2001 to critical acclaim, garnering numerous awards from PC gaming media outlets. It featured Quake-style arena-shooter gameplay, but threw huge waves of enemies at you throughout its linear-progressive levels. A sequel, Serious Sam 2, was released in 2005.
In 2009, Croteam remade an HD version of Serious Sam 1 & 2, using the latest Serious Engine 3 for more detailed visuals, physics, and overall game performance. Along with a new DLC for Serious Sam 2 HD, the HD remakes of the first two Serious Sam games prepared gamers for the 2011 release of Serious Sam 3: BFE, a brand new game in the series.
Croteam is now working on development of Serious Sam 4, scheduled for release around August 2020.
Shadow Warrior was originally released in 1997, using the same engine as the highly popular Duke Nukem 3D, with a few engine improvements. It could largely be considered an Asian-themed version of Duke Nukem, with plenty of lowbrow humour – the main character’s name is “Lo Wang”, afterall. Get it? Lo Wang? Because.. Oh, forget it, let’s move on.
A 2013 reboot was released, and it was quite honestly amazing, featuring incredible visuals, frantic arena-shooter style gameplay, and the same juvenile “Wang” humour as found in the original. A sequel was released in 2015, this time featuring a brand new 4-player co-op mode.
There have been a total of 10 Mortal Kombat titles from 1992 until now, not including the crossover Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. At this point, Mortal Kombat is practically the video game version of an 80s horror franchise.
In any case, developers Midway ran out of storyline steam after Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, and so what’s the best thing to do when you run out of plot devices? Send everyone back in time! That’s exactly what they did in 2011’s Mortal Kombat, as the storyline revolves around Raiden trying to alter the timeline of events from the first Mortal Kombat game all the way up to Armageddon.
It pretty much worked, as Mortal Kombat had huge nostalgic appeal for its classic roster, and modern graphic cinematics of events from the first 16-bit console games. Mortal Kombat as a franchise was successfully rebooted, and Midway went on to release Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11. The latest DLC for MK11 also features crossover characters like RoboCop and Spawn.