Remakes that Transcended the Original

I recently finished the remake of arcade classic Double Dragon on the game boy advance and found it to not only be a fun and faithful recreation of the arcade original and its far inferior but still fun to mess around with NES port. I believe that the GBA remake, Double Dragon Advance transcends both the arcade and NES port not only in technical ability but also in faithfulness in its recreation and presentation.

Nintento Entertainment System GameBoy Advance
Having just finished this 10 minutes ago, I am curious what games others have played either recently or at all, that are remakes or remasters that in your opinion transcend the original, either in design, game play, fun, etc. I am leaving the concept of the remake/ remaster transcending in the original in your hands.


I’ll go with Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. The remake for that just blew me away with how good it is. The core gameplay and level design itself is unchanged – but the 8-bit original was good enough that those elements stand the test of time. The graphics meanwhile got a huge facelift, giving the game a new vibrant art style that isn’t just “making it look better,” it’s making the remake its own unique thing. A new modern soundtrack has been added as well, and it’s great stuff that fits each level perfectly. The remake also makes it easier to use sub-weapons, menus, continues, etc (small but very appreciated tweaks).

What’s extra-cool about the remake though, is that with the push of a button, you can switch between the new hand-drawn art style and the original pixel art style. And likewise, you can even switch between the new orchestral music and the original chiptune music – whenever you want. It’s delightful to mess around with, and a great tribute to the game’s history.

As an aside, I also liked all the unlockables for this one, which fill up a gallery of concept art and short video clips of the musicians recording tunes for the game. Really shows the love and care they put into it.

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That is really awesome. I have never played a Wonder Boy game but the idea that you can easily switch between “retro” and modern music and art style makes the effort it seemed went into the game genuine. It reminds me of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and how you could just as easily switch between the reworked and the X-Box original art styles.

Super Castlevania IV is a very nice remake of the first Castlevania.


I thought the first Castlevania was great, albeit a bit on the hard side, especially with Simon’s tendencies to bounce back with every thing that brushed his hitbox. When I played Super Castlevania IV, it felt like it was a new take on a classic, and although both games are fun, I would prefer to play Super Castlevania IV instead if given a choice.

I actually found an interview from with the original director of the game, Masahiro Ueno, who explained the following,

There is some debate over whether CV IV is a remake of the original, which is controversial as it contains so many revolutionary elements - a better example of a remake would be Akumajo Dracula on the X68000 computer. But what does the CV IV designer think? “I view CV IV as a remake of the first CV to some extent.” But what about all the new features, like the ability to jump on and off the stairs freely? “The first CV is a great game, but I found it a bit too difficult and a lot of players were frustrated,” said Ueno. “The changes in the behavior of the stairs were made to give the players more control and to reduce their frustration.The new whip system was made to introduce new gameplay, which had not been possible on the Famicom. We had the freedom to make many changes, but we wanted to keep the game close to the first CV.” (65c816, 2015).

Overall, both are fantastic games, worth playing in the series and on the systems as a whole.


65c816 . (2015, May 13). Masahiro Ueno - Akumajô Dracula - Super Castlevania IV [Interview] . Retrieved April 26, 2020, from Masahiro Ueno - Akumajô Dracula - Super Castlevania IV [Interview] - SuperFamicom.frakumajou_dracula-_super_castlevania_4_interview.html

Is that the same as Castlevania Chronicles? The version on the PSX is supposedly superior to the X68000 one. I’ve yet to play it, but it looks really nice. It does seem to be a closer remake compared to SC:IV from what I’ve seen, just as stated in the interview. I really love Castlevania; I’m probably going to end up playing all of them (except for maybe the N64 ones), and some I’ve played several times already.

Back on topic: I think ‘Metal Gear Solid’ in many ways is almost as much of a remake as it is a sequel to ‘Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake’, and while MG2 was a geniuinly good game in my opinion, totally blowing the first MG out of the water (and that one already being something of a game changer), it really doesn’t compare to how revolutionairy MGS was.


I have yet to play the N64 versions but I am more inclined just to see for myself how truly horrible they may or may not be.

Regarding MGS, I would agree you. I didn’t finish Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, but my time with it along on the MSX was interesting as it and other games in the franchise are just different, especially when you put them in the time context with others games. You can argue that they helped to revolutionize choice based approaches within gaming, as you could choose to go into certain scenarios within either game guns blazing or choose the stealthier and perhaps safer approach. I only just now finished MGS, and do believe it to be quite something. Thinking about a game that turned the head on so many assumptions a player would have while playing is something I just don’t feel many people get to experience nowadays.

I believe it can be compared to an Empire Strikes Back moment in how shocking some of the ideas and concepts can be for those first introduced to them.

Resident Evil 1 & 2 remakes are amazing in my opinion. They took what made the originals great, and updated them with modern controls, graphics, and other quality of life improvements.

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I haven’t played the RE2 remake yet but I beat both originals barring the third and the GameCube remake, and I found it to be quite a wonderful experience. Whereas the mansion is lit up with the yellow walls in the original, the remake made the mansion seem more dangerous and a bit more scary in the atmosphere it presented you with.

Ocarina of Time 3D improves the original with its quality of life additions.


I would greatly agree to that sentiment, as I found not only the Water Temple to be a very fun and relaxing experience, instead of the oft-mentioned nightmare that so many bring up, but also the ability to use the internal gyroscope to shoot arrows wherever you are pointed.

I had a great time with it.



Trying to think of some more now…

How about the Mario games on Super Mario All Stars or the Mario Advance series? Although they were more just graphical overhauls. Beautiful graphical and musical overhauls.

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It was also a nice treat that they included the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2. I found that to be as great a deal as The Orange Box in 2007.

Didn’t they mess up the physics in one of those games? Something about a value being inversed , so when hitting boxes, Mario floats up a bit instead of being repelled downwards.

I wasn’t aware of it at first. From a little bit of research I’ve done, it looks like it was in Super Mario Bros, although it looks like there is a fan patch from 2011 for it.

Hadn’t heard of that one. Maybe they fixed it for the PAL release!

yeah ilike what you guys said on catlevania. thats the fun thing about those games is that various bits of them have done that and borrow elements and recreate certain scenes in other games (in tasteful ways that a fan would appreicate it) at least for older ones (and i havent played all of those even!)

thanks for posting double dragon advance that looks promising. a lot of games on advance actually fit this bill somewhat actually. I mean Advance Wars is a revamp of Famicom Wars and Game Boy Wars… but had a very nice english localization, I think Phoenix Wright (DS) is a similar story or something as well?

I was damn impressed with the half-life remake Black Mesa. I was not expecting such well thought out little details in maps that mirror the sheer careful construction of level design and the xen sequence especially was impressive with the liberties and new things they put into it.

It will be nice to see project Skywind come out I think that will transcend a likely incredible story driven RPG onto a very much improved engine.

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Looks like it’s specifically the breakable boxes. To compare: All-Stars vs original NES.

I gave it a try myself to see exactly what happens, and it seems one’s upwards momentum gets slowed down in All-Stars, while in the original there’s a pronounced downwards ‘bounce’ that can be felt. I checked the PAL-version too, and it was present there as well. Pretty interesting how that slipped through, and all of it caused by one single changed value.

The Metroid II remake Samus Returns on 3DS is infinitly better then the Gameboy original. Mind you, they are so different I almost feel it shouldn’t count!