XBLA’s Most Wanted: Elemental Gimmick Gear
Have you ever played a game before the HD revolution so beautiful that you considered it a work of art? Would you want that work of art remastered for the current generation of consoles? The debate will never cease, but memories of titles worthy of remastering keep pouring in.
Elemental Gimmick Gear is a hand-drawn action RPG that was originally destined for the Sega Saturn until publisher Hudson decided to switch gears and release it for the much more powerful Sega Dreamcast. Now, more than ten years from its original release, EGG deserves to reach a new audience of gamers.
What should change:
Graphical upgrade – Once you boot up EGG you’ll immediately witness its distinct artistic style. It looks like a digital painting with strokes coming from a brush and not from polygonal modelers. But playing EGG on the Dreamcast exposes the previous generation’s glaring flaw: the omission of high definition graphics. This 1999 title is blurry and hard on the eyes. The creative output certainly exists, the game just needs an HD boost to compete with today’s juggernauts. EGG plays primarily like Zelda and a majority of the game is spent in a 2D overworld with dungeons scattered around that are heavy on puzzles and light on combat. Boss battles are featured in 3D and would need the most alterations to succeed on XBLA simply because they don’t have the hand-drawn art style.
Difficult adjustment – Gamers who had the pleasure to play this title when it released were subjected to its awkward difficulty balancing. Some enemies drain too much of your health from basic attacks. Luckily, like Zelda, you can find items in the game world that add another layer to your health, making enemy attacks less harmful. But if EGG wants to capture the minds of XBLA gamers, additional adjustments must be made, including unfair boss battles.
No FMVs – Full Motion Video (FMV) was the traditional storyteller for games in the 90s because it moderately mimicked the efforts by major film studios, but today they look dated and have a very compressed aesthetic. EGG utilized FMV techniques to make up for its lack of in-game storytelling, but simply planting FMVs into an XBLA port will make them look even more archaic, so they should be cleaned up or removed entirely. The recent re-release of Sonic Adventure on XBLA contained a few FMVs that give credence to these claims.
What should stay the same:
Core gameplay – As gamers, we don’t often get to play successful knockoffs of critically acclaimed titles, so when EGG released many of us were shocked at how well it played with the Zelda formula. Challenging puzzles and satisfying boss battles held this experience together and it needs to remain in order to work on XBLA. In addition to the core experience, players can also come back to find EGG’S equivalent to Zelda’s hidden heart pieces scattered across the game world. But the precise amount of overworld, dungeons, upgrades and storytelling are paramount in this game.
Art style – Although we recommended the title receive an HD upgrade, we still want the original art assets to remain because they are gorgeously unique. It feels like you are traversing an artist’s masterpiece.
EGG is not the most recognized title in all of gaming’s vast library, which is more than enough reason to include it on XBLA. Even after a decade since its release, EGG was the Zelda clone to cling to before Darksiders came along and ruined its reputation. All joking aside, the Zelda formula captivates players for a reason, so offering them another exceptional knockoff makes perfect sense.
Images courtesy of IGN