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A Fine Line Between Remake and Reboot
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 18, 2008   |   Episode 151 (Show Archive)  

   

Yeah, okay, so Capcom has a lot of cool characters! But where's my next generation Strider sequel?
It wasn't that long ago when Capcom's name was synonymous with games like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and non-stop Mega Man games. However, in the past few months this long-time company has managed to impress even the most hardened gamers with their remakes, reboots and sequels of some of their best loved arcade and console games. Between the recent release of Bionic Commando: Rearmed, 1942: Joint Strike, Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 and the upcoming Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix and Mega Man 9, Capcom is really starting to understand what old school gamers want out of the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.

But just because Capcom is releasing these updates and remakes that doesn't mean that everybody that covers them knows what they are talking about. With Capcom

Not only is Mega Man 9 a worthy sequel, but it also has one of the coolest shirts you will ever see!
releasing so many different games it's easy to get confused, which seems to be what's happening at a lot of the major (and minor) video game websites. When it comes to games like Super Street Fighter II HD Remix and Bionic Commando: Rearmed, most websites seem to understand that these games are remakes of Capcom's past games. And with obvious numbers behind their names titles like Mega Man 9 and Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 are clearly sequels. But what about 1942: Joint Strike? Is this recently released XBLA and PSN game a remake or a reboot? Is it a sequel or something else?


The 1942: Joint Strike shirt isn't half bad either, especially when you throw Cammy into the mix!
Actually, the answer is easier than you might think. According to Capcom 1942: Joint Strike is not a remake at all, instead it's an amalgamation of the best elements from all of the 194X games. Call it a sequel or a reboot, both terms would fit because this is one franchise that has never been beholden to a continuing story. Of course, you don't need to ask Capcom to figure out that this is not a remake, all it takes is a working knowledge of the original game to know that these two games are drastically different. And even if you don't have a working knowledge, one play through of 1942 will prove conclusively that 1942: Joint Strike is not a remake.


See it's simple: Batman Begins would be considered a reboot ...
Apparently going back and playing the original game is too much to ask of a lot of professional video game critics. According to GameSpot's review, "1942: Joint Strike is a new take on an old game. This remake sports high-definition visuals and a couple of new mechanics that help make this 25-year-old game feel fresh again without sacrificing what made it fun in the first place."

Sure 1942 offers "high-definition visuals" and some new mechanics, that's the kind of thing you should expect from a brand new game. But no matter how many people read Austin Light's review it doesn't change the fact that this is not a remake. Perhaps he made a mistake or just doesn't know the difference, but shouldn't at least one of the GameSpot editors have caught this

... While The Italian Job is a full fledged remake!
inaccuracy? This isn't just some small time blog, this is one of the largest video game websites on the internet, a website that is owned and operated by C-NET. If they're not going to bother doing their research then why should anybody else?

Well, apparently the sentiment has filtered its way down to a number of other video game websites. For example, Eurogamer said almost exactly the same thing when they reviewed the game: "Technically, it's a remake but since it changes most of the elements from the original 1942, it works just as well as a modern sequel."

No, Eurogamer, technically is not a remake. There's a difference between a sequel and a remake, they are not words that you can just interchange at any old time. How do I know that it's not a remake? Because I actually played the original game, which

I have nothing against the original 1942, but I'm glad that Capcom didn't remake what was a repetitive shooter with way too many levels!
appears to be something very few other sites are willing to do. It doesn't take a 194X fanatic to see that this isn't a remake; the two games are really very different from one another. For example, 1942 has 32 levels to play through, Joint Strike only has 5. The two games have completely different bosses. The two games don't share the same power-ups or special moves. Yes, these two titles are both overhead 2D shoot-em-ups, but to call this a remake is like saying that Super Mario Galaxy is nothing more than the Wii's remake of Super Mario 64.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that every single remake has to be exactly like the original. Take a look at Bionic Commando: Rearmed, a game where there is absolutely no dispute about whether it is or isn't a remake. Not only does this game feature brand

As you can tell there are some similarities between the games, but the further you get into Joint Strike the less it resembles the original 1942!
new high-definition visuals, but it also offers a new multi-player mode, new weapons and a few tweaks to the levels. Super Street Fighter II HD Remix is exactly the same way, it offers everything you remember from the original game (characters, backgrounds, etc.), while adding a few extra things that make the game even better. Yes, 1942: Joint Strike has brand new weapons and graphics, but it also has a completely different set of levels to play through. The two games may be similar, but a remake it is not.

Then again, arguing that Joint Strike is not a remake of 1942 is a losing battle. Most people aren't going to go back and play the original 1942, no matter how many times Capcom puts it on one of their Capcom Classics Collection discs. Most people aren't going to believe me over GameSpot or Eurogamer, they have big pockets and millions of readers. And more importantly, most people aren't going to believe me

If it's on Wikipedia it must be true, right?
over Wikipedia, a website that falsely states that "A remake of 1942, 1942: Joint Strike, is available for Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network." If Wikipedia says it, then clearly I must be wrong.

Thankfully I'm confident in my reasoning to know the difference between a remake and a reboot. It also doesn't hurt that Capcom's trusted PR department backs me up on this one. I suppose when it comes right down to it most people aren't going to care if the game is a remake or a reboot. Maybe it's just me, but I expect more from the people that are getting paid to write about these games. If it was just a bunch of forum kids or a couple bloggers that would be one thing, but we're talking about some of the biggest video game websites on the internet. We're talking about people that are actually employed to get the facts right, even if a lot of their job is to voice their opinion. Thankfully this is not a matter of opinion; anybody that plays both games will clearly notice that these two games are not the same.

Thankfully there were some big sites that managed to get the facts right. IGN, for instance, said this about the game: "Good thing Capcom and developer Backbone Entertainment pretty much ignored the original and crafted a new game for a new generation." Way to go IGN, it's nice to know that at least one professional game critic can figure out the difference between a remake and a reboot. Who would have guessed that it would be IGN that managed to get the facts straight?
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