Top 10 Laziest Video Game Remasters and Remakes
VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci
WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
In a world full of video game remakes, these ones just missed the mark. For this list, we'll be looking at remasters or remakes that felt unnecessary or did little to justify their existence. Our countdown includes Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, Diddy Kong Racing DS, Guitar Hero Smash Hits and more!
Script written by Mark Sammut
Top 10 Laziest Video Game Remasters & Remakes
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Laziest Video Game Remasters & Remakes.
For this list, we’ll be looking at remasters or remakes that felt unnecessary or did little to justify their existence.
Which classic game deserves a full remake? Let us know in the comments!
#10: “Dead or Alive Paradise” (2010)
Remakes are generally synonymous with upgrades, but that is not always the case. A PSP remake of the Xbox 360's "Dead or Alive Xtreme 2," "Paradise" is a considerable downgrade of a game that—if we’re being honest— was hardly a masterpiece to begin with. Released on a system that was already half a decade old, "Paradise" delivers boring, stiff, and uninspired minigames that are arguably worse versions of the shallow originals. "Paradise" was the first "Dead or Alive" title released on a portable console, and it’s a small miracle that it was not the last.
#9: “Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD” (2012)
During the seventh generation, HD remasters were all the rage. Many opted to collect a series of games and ramp up the resolution, but "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD" took a different, more disappointing approach. While it still plays like the original "Tony Hawk" titles, the "HD" remake combines stages from the first two games rather than focusing on one or the other. In theory, this might seem like a good idea, but "HD" actually launched with fewer stages than either of the first two "Tony Hawk" games. As a remake, "HD" opted to take a minimalistic approach, and some things like local split-screen and skate videos were frustratingly not included.
#8: “Putty Squad” (2013)
This game’s got history. There was an Amiga 1200 version that, despite solid reviews from critics who demoed the game, wasn’t officially released until 2013. The version that was released on the SNES in 1994, was imperfect but all-in-all a solid game for its time. Unfortunately, the remake released two decades later still plays like a platformer from the mid-90s. An argument can be that "Putty Squad" has no reason to exist on modern consoles, but there is potential in its open-ended levels and puzzle-driven gameplay. Sadly, all the remake does is throw a fresh coat of paint on the title without really touching the controls or revamping any of the maps—both of which, in retrospect, sorely need some fine-tuning.
#7: “Diddy Kong Racing DS” (2007)
When Rare and Nintendo are involved, expectations are naturally high. As "Diddy Kong Racing" is an all-time great kart racer, a remake for the Nintendo DS made sense, even if a new entry would have been far more exciting. Rare did a serviceable job porting the game, with the addition of online multiplayer being a highlight; however, "Diddy Kong Racing DS" did not quite recapture the magic of the original. This mostly comes down to the forced implementation of overly-sensitive touch controls. Rather than add much to the game, the touch-based challenges seem like they exist simply because the stylus had to be used in some way.
#6: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled” (2009)
Remakes have to find a way to revamp a potentially outdated game for a modern audience while maintaining the spirit of the original. It’s a balancing act that "Turtles in Time Re-Shelled" sadly does not pull off. As a 3D remake of the arcade classic "Turtles in Time," "Re-Shelled" frees the iconic heroes to stab away in 8-directions, but the extra dimension integrates rather poorly with the still distinctly 2D-esque gameplay, NPCs, and levels. The visuals are fine and online is a nice bonus, but "Re-Shelled" really needed to expand the moveset of the shallow characters.
#5: “Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop” (2009)
2006's "Dead Rising" delivered a humorous and cathartic twist on the classic zombie formula. In 2009, it was replicated to mixed results with the Wii's "Chop Till You Drop" remake. Capcom has a solid track record when it comes to remakes, but "Chop Till You Drop" very much feels like a budget project. Graphically, the game looks underwhelming even by the Wii's standards, while the gameplay's focus on gunplay reduces "Dead Rising's" fun factor. "Chop Till You Drop" manages to give Wii owners the basic "Dead Rising" experience, albeit one that could have used more time in the oven.
#4: “Guitar Hero Smash Hits” (2009)
After debuting in 2005, "Guitar Hero" went on such a frantic release spree that the series burned out in just five years. 2009's "Smash Hits" might be the most unnecessary entry in the franchise, as it’s essentially a greatest hits collection highlighting select tracks from the previous games. With full band play and rearranged notes for each song, the developer certainly put effort into making "Smash Hits" a decent game. Unfortunately, the issue here is less about execution but rather the fundamental concept. The title's mere existence feels like a lazy cash grab in a franchise that desperately needed to slow down.
#3: “Ape Escape: On the Loose” (2005)
1999's "Ape Escape" is one of the best platformers ever made. Sadly, that distinction does not extend to the 200 'remake. A launch title for the PSP's North American debut, "Ape Escape: On the Loose" comes across as a stopgap option to pad the console's line-up. The remake boasts vibrant visuals and retains some of the original's quirky charm, but those are minor things in the face of the clunky control scheme brought on by the PSP's solitary thumbstick. While "On the Loose" still kind of works, the game tries to force a square peg into a round hole rather than just creating a new peg.
#2: “Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons” (2013)
A staple of the arcade scene in the late '80s and early '90s, "Double Dragon" has endured many low points throughout its storied history, but nothing comes close to 2013's "Wander of the Dragons" in terms of sheer wretchedness. A remake or reimagining of "Double Dragon II," "Wander of the Dragons" throws in an extra dimension for seemingly no reason other than the fact 3D sounds cool. The graphics are laughably bad, the gameplay is cumbersome and unsatisfying, and there is no online play despite "Wander of the Dragons" being an Xbox Live Arcade title.
#1: “Warcraft III: Reforged” (2020)
An RTS classic, Blizzard's "Warcraft III" has aged like fine wine, which explains why 2020's "Reforged" can still be fun to play despite its many flaws. Caught somewhere between a remaster and a remake, "Reforged" modernizes the graphics to mixed results, barely touches the gameplay and UI, and debuted with enough bugs to make Bethesda blush. Some multiplayer features present in the original "Warcraft III" were even cut from the remaster's launch. "Reforged" should have been a glorious celebration of one of Blizzard's landmark releases, instead, it marked a new disappointing low for a franchise that deserves better.