Nintendo’s 3D Classics range for 3DS, while an exciting prospect on paper, is in practice what we would deem “lacking in every sense of the word.”
We love the idea of playing quintessential Nintendo titles with new-found stereoscopic 3D visuals, but as of right now, the publisher has released just two titles via the scheme: Excitebike and Xevious.
We were under the impression that we’d be getting one a week, or at least one a month. Yet, as with the rest of the eShop, it’s an incredibly barren area at the moment, and one that’s in need of a serious rethink.
In the hope that the bigwigs at Nintendo are in a listening mood, we’ve compiled our Top 10 NES games that we think would benefit the most from the 3D overhaul.
Nintendo: make these happen, and your latest handheld will finally be on the road to recovery.
Fail, and you’ll be digging a PlayStation Vita-sized hole in our playtime.
Viewed by many as the side-scrolling space shooter that has inspired decades of shmups, Gradius is most definitely a title we’d love to see given the three-dimensional Classics treatment on Nintendo 3DS.
This Konami masterpiece is still as tough-as-nails as it was back in 1985, with players taking control of the Vic Viper spaceship, and blasting away at enemies and boss cores to save the crew’s home planet Gradius.
Imagine the depth that stereoscopic 3D could introduce into the various locations and frantic bullet-hell situations available in this title!
A unique power-up system sees players collecting just one type of upgrade, and then choosing which power to utilise dependent on how many upgrades have been collected when they select the ability. Tactically working out which power-up to grab means that different players can play the game using their preferred individual method.
When most gamers think of developer Rare, they may well picture the likes of GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie, and various Donkey Kong titles. However, it’s possible they’ll miss out one of the studio’s first NES titles, the innovative racer R.C. Pro-Am.
R.C. Pro-Am uses an isometric viewpoint, which was very unusual for racing games at the time (and would now prove a fantastic fit for the Nintendo 3DS’s capabilities). Players power remote-control cars around a series of tracks, with numerous ways to take your opponents out of the running.
With car collectibles and upgrades, weapons for taking out the other cars, and special shields for simultaneously ensuring you keep yourself in one piece, R.C. Pro-Am would make a great addition to the Classics range.
The Legend of Zelda
If you’re a youngster, chances are that you feel like you’re well versed in the world of Link and friends, yet I bet you’ve never given the game that started it all a play.
Link’s first outing may look rather dated, but it’s still entirely playable, and you can really feel the roots of where this titanic series has evolved from. What’s great about the Zelda games is that, although each iteration feels different to the others, you can easily pick up and play any Zelda title with your knowledge of the others.
Nintendo said during its E3 conference earlier this year that it is planning some exciting things for the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. The game originally came out 25 years ago in the US and Europe (in August and November respectively), so it’s looking likely that we will indeed see this game given the 3D Classics once-over.
There were some really excellent puzzle games in the early ’90s, and one of the more memorable experiences was definitely Atari’s Klax.
Blocks roll down a conveyor belt towards a drop, and you have to catch the blocks, then either drop them into a pit below or fire them back up the conveyor belt. If three or more Klax line up in the pit, they explode and you’re rewarded with points.
With tonnes of blocks coming at once and your catcher only able to hold five at a time, Klax becomes pretty hectic – only the most dedicated players can reach the elusive level 100.
The 3DS’s stereoscopic effects would lend the incoming blocks such an awesome sense of depth, thus giving this game a new burst of life.
How can we talk iconic NES titles without mentioning the wonderful Duck Hunt? Played with a light gun, the game has you aiming at the screen and shooting ducks out of the sky as they attempt to fly away unscathed.
As ducks are shot down or manage to escape, your dog pokes his head out of the bushes and either celebrates your victory or has a right old giggle at your incompetence. A clay pigeon shooting mode is also available for those who’d rather not hurt pixelated wildlife.
Of course, you wouldn’t be able to use a light gun with the 3DS, but touchscreen shooting may work wonders. As a 3D Classic, Duck Hunt would shine: imagine the clays zipping off into the distance in a superbly convincing way, as they embark on their glorious gliding journey (which you’d ruthlessly cut short, naturally).
Ghosts ‘n Goblins
There has been a wave of incredibly difficult platform games lately, with players really enjoying the challenge and unique feeling of reward these titles supply.
Surely, then, there is no better NES game to release as a 3D Classic than Ghosts ‘n Goblins, where you control Sir Arthur as he battles zombies, demons, dragons, and a whole host of other nasty creatures and beings?
For a start, the big main boss of the game is the ruler of the underworld, Satan himself. Then, ridiculously, if you do manage to complete the game, it turns out that it was all a trap by Lucifer. So that’s when you start the real game – i.e. you have to play through the whole thing again, but on an even harder difficulty level this time.
Sir Arthur may have looked hilarious running along in just his sprite-based underwear back in 1986, but imagine him now in stereoscopic 3D, surrounded by hordes of the undead. Yep, we’d be all over that, too.
Originally a launch title for the NES, Ice Climber was designed in such a way that it can be enjoyed either as a single-player experience or co-operatively with two players. Two Eskimos work together to smash ice blocks and scale a tall and dangerous mountain.
Along the way, Popo and Nana must jump up and hit the blocks above them, while also watching out for polar bears, seals, and other crazy animals that are looking to end their journey prematurely.
After its NES release, Ice Climber was never expanded on and has no sequel or spin-off, yet remains well known by many gamers.
A 3D Classics outing would be a great way to celebrate the legacy of this 26-year-old wonder, while also giving us a great excuse to utilize the 3DS’s multiplayer capabilities.
With the film adaptation of Spy Hunter currently in limbo, it seems fitting that the original release that excited so many people back in the ’80s should receive a Nintendo 3DS facelift.
Those enthralled by the title back in the day will tell tales of bombing down a country road, blasting enemy cars, and dodging civilians.
The G-6155 Interceptor had front-mounted machine guns, and could also pull into the Weapons Van and grab oil slicks, smoke screens, and the awesome surface-to-air missiles for those pesky helicopters.
As well as delivering a more acute sensation of speed to the player, a 3D Classics version of Spy Hunter would make the sections where you turn into a boat even more exciting, providing a greater amount of depth to the original 2D scenery flying by.
Boxing is all about power, skill, awareness, and timing. Yet for miniature hero Little Mac, it’s essentially timing alone that can help him beat an opponent big, small, or Mike Tyson-sized.
By watching each fighter’s attack pattern, facial expressions, and movement, Punch-Out!! pugilists are able to determine the best moment at which throw a punch and chip the energy bars of various big brutes down to zero.
There are around a dozen opponents to face, so learning how to take each one on can be a very rewarding experience.
Of course, it goes without saying that adding a bit of stereoscopic depth to the boxing ring would be really something, especially with the crowd bobbing around in the background while Little Mac’s fists bravely pound away.
Super Mario Bros 3
Super Mario Bros 3 is arguably one of the most wonderfully crafted Mario titles to date. At nearly 25 years old, it still puts so many platformers of recent times to shame.
We would relish the chance to play this thing of beauty, though, in stereoscopic 3D, with the plumber donning the various power-ups and special suits at his disposal.
There are also so many secrets to find in SMB3 that we’d definitely be up for going back and giving it a good old scour – just to try and discover what we might have missed on our first playthrough.
And how about giving that turn-based multiplayer a bit of a twist, eh? Allowing players to blast through the same level simultaneously, say, with each player able to track how far the other is through the game, and racing to see who can complete it first?
That would be quite the ultimate Mario experience!