It's really a matter of how well an old idea can be adapted to fit modern expectations—or if it even can at all. With Ex-Patriot, the change from action to stealth wouldn't be notable to those who weren't familiar with the first game, and honestly, if it had worked, the difference in gameplay probably wouldn't matter one way or another. Vatra kind of screwed the stealth with brain dead AI and little risk or reward, so it's kind of a moot point asking whether or not anyone really cared enough about Rush N' Attack to bring it back, and I would say in a lot of cases we don't probably need revivals of certain games. (The upcoming BurgerTime reboot springs to mind.)
The idea is fine, but taking something that's antiquated by its very nature, whether in tone, subject matter, or gameplay, isn't easy. Ironically, the original Rush N' Attack didn't hit the NES (arcade and Famicom versions were released earlier) until 1989, when the Cold War was coming to an end. Suddenly the Soviets were no longer a topical threat—this subsequently has made Ex-Patriot, despite taking place in present day, also feel terribly outdated, since for all intents and purposes you're revisiting the USSR, right down to enemies calling you a Capitalist dog.
Yar's approach seems to make a little more sense, because its Nausicaa-meets-Sin & Punishment approach is much more palatable to today's faster-paced marketplace. The 3rd Birthday is too much of a modern game, eschewing most of what makes Parasite Eve the series what it is for a straight-up shoulder-cam shooter experience. So where do we draw the line? How can a well-known develop teach an old franchise new tricks? It may sound too simple, but perhaps don't stray so far from the original source material—because God help you if piss off the fanboys that have been clamoring for another game in series X for however many years. And, if you are going to stray that far from an original game, maybe it's better if you just create a new series? Whatever the case, it seems that striking a good balance of classic mechanics or feel mixed with modernized standards is the most surefire way to success.
Street Fighter IV, in spite of the over-exposure it's suffered from its various iterations, is a good example, because it takes the classic 2D fighting mechanics, feel and balance the series is known for and injects with the technical elements later games in the series that later became staples. Castlevania and Contra have both had success with this, with the series' 2D titles aping Symphony of the Night (very successfully I might add) on the DS since the mid-2000s and, Contra receiving facelifts (if only slight ones) with games like the PS2's Shattered Solider, Contra 4 for the DS Lite and the recently released Hard Corps: Uprising. It's possible to make a good revival, for sure—so long as it does not alienate the fanbase that brought whatever series to its current popularity level in the first place (at least not too much). Gamers often seem resistant to change, but as it stands now, a gradual evolution is the best approach.
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*