HD ports, remasters and remakes have been becoming increasingly popular in the video game industry for a while now.
For many players they provide an opportunity to play their favourite classics with greater clarity, or experience them as the creators originally envisioned. For others, it's a worrying sign that the industry is running out of ideas, and such nostalgia trips hark back to a time before modern gaming practices were as staid and exploitative as they are now.
Some of these shiny new updates have been met with acclaim, with Ōkami and Shadow Of The Colossus earning well-deserved success after initially flying under the radar. Fully fledged remakes such as Resident Evil 2 and the upcoming Final Fantasy VII have allowed creators to expand upon their old titles too, unbound by the limitations of early consoles, delivering experiences far deeper and more effective than before.
However, not every remaster honours or builds upon its source material with such success.
Some titles, while adequate, do not offer anything new, and their extra sheen can cause dated aspects to stand out further. Others end up as total botch jobs, charging players for titles so rife with technical issues and bad design choices, they end up hankering for the originals themselves - defeating the point of a "remaster" entirely.
8. The Secret Of Monkey Island: Special Edition
Before bashing the Monkey Island Special editions for their inferior quality to the originals, they do deserve a great deal of praise for having introduced a new generation of players to the wonderful Lucasarts adventure classics. Followed by remasters of Grim Fandango, Day Of The Tentacle and Full Throttle, a series of oft-forgotten gems have had life breathed into them anew.
However, while The Secret Of Monkey Island: SE (and its remastered sequel LeChuck's Revenge) has brought classic Monkey Island titles back to the public eye, its overall quality is less than ideal.
The controls, retooled to accommodate Xbox controllers, are terribly finicky and don't suit an adventure game in the slightest. The all-new voice acting - save for Dominic Armato's Guybrush and Earl Boen's LeChuck - is frequently poor, with many beloved characters'... characterisation missing the mark.
The more detailed, cartoon art style doesn't feel right either - despite the games' original sprites simply being tiny collections of pixels, they managed to convey significantly more personality than fully-fledged drawings do here. On the other hand, the hand-drawn backgrounds are beautiful and add some much-needed detail, with the re-orchestrated music being a joy to listen to.
There's a lot to recommend, but you're still better off firing up SCUMMVM and trying out the originals.