One of the biggest and best surprises from the February 2019 Nintendo Direct was the reveal of a remake of the early 1990s Game Boy classic, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening . This is a huge-looking game in terms of development scale, despite its humble, handheld origins.
Aside from questions about the game itself, I found myself wondering if this title potentially opens the door for more high-quality Game Boy remakes. Even if that ultimately doesn’t happen, here are the ten games I think deserve the Link’s Awakening treatment the most.
Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge
The first Game Boy Castlevania game, called Castlevania: The Adventure , already saw a remake on the Wii and it was great. This is in spite of the original game, which is actually a hot, steaming pile. Now, the sequel was actually pretty great, even on Game Boy. So a remake could potentially make it amazing, especially if the creakier bits could be smoothed out, such as some of the unfair boss fights towards the end.
Donkey Kong ’94
Donkey Kong for the Game Boy, known by many fans as ” Donkey Kong ’94, ” is already considered one of the best games of all time, period. We had the Mario vs Donkey Kong series follow it, but none of those games could lace its boots. What we need is another huge expansion of Nintendo’s all-time classic, but reimagined for the latest generation. It would be so good, especially if it mimicked the original arcade game’s style the way the first remake did.
Final Fantasy Legend
Also known as the first SaGa game, Final Fantasy legend is one of the best, strangest JRPG titles you may have never played. It bends and twists the general JRPG rules, making for an experience that, while frustrating, really makes you use your brain. The second and third games were remade for the DS (in Japan only, but unofficially translated), but the first game only ever reappeared on the WonderSwan. SaGa is on the obscure side, but a new HD version similar to the Romancing SaGa 2 remake would be stellar.
Game and Watch Gallery
One of my favorite series on the Game Boy growing up was Game and Watch Gallery . It was awesome to have such a direct connection to such an early part of Nintendo’s past, and each game being remade with more complex visuals and animation was icing on the cake. We haven’t seen one in years, and Game and Watch Gallery in HD sounds too good to be true. (Which is appropriate, since there’s no sign of it.)
A strange spinoff of the Ghouls n’ Ghosts series, Gargoyle’s Quest did a lot of things Capcom hadn’t done before at the time, including arguably making an early “Metroidvania” style game. Better yet, having the most annoying enemy in the source series as the hero of his own game is just a cool idea. More exploratory universe-expanding games like this should be a thing, and a remake could help make that happen.
Kirby’s Dream Land
Most people forget that Kirby’s Dream Land is the first Kirby game, despite Kirby’s Adventure being a NES title. They also forget that Kirby’s iconic copy ability wasn’t in this game. Despite its relative simplicity compared to the rest of the series, Dream Land is still a classic, and seeing it get a fresh coat of paint and perhaps some gameplay upgrades could be interesting.
Super Mario Land 2
While the whole ” Land ” thing for Game Boy platformers didn’t go as far as it seemed Nintendo wanted it to, there’s no denying just how good Super Mario Land 2 was. While the first Mario Land largely felt like a big experiment, the sequel made for more of a full-feeling experience, while still retaining its unique identity compared to the “core” Super Mario series. A reimagining of Super Mario Land 2 would be totally weird, and totally Nintendo.
Mole Mania is one of those game you would think we would have seen more of by now, considering it’s one of the works designed and produced by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto. It did resurface on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, but that’s about it! A new or reimagined Mole Mania would be a great way to pay tribute to the lesser-known past, while introducing something that would feel new and fresh to the current audience.
Pokemon Trading Card Game
How in the world haven’t there been more of these? The Pokemon Trading Card Game has been trucking along consistently for, well, ever, and yet we only saw one video game version in North America. There’s a mobile version, but it’s more of a way to siphon extra dollars out of the physical card game players than a standalone piece of software. Imagine something structured like the original game, but with modern cards! It would be so good.
Wario Land may have fizzled out and died after the amazing-looking, but “meh” to play, Wii game, but the original Wario Land is arguably the best game on Game Boy. Wario’s hat-based powers changed the usual Mario gameplay loop in a big way, and the totally outlandish, cartoon-like style made it stand out, even on the uncomplicated Game Boy technology. While Wario Land came into more of its own in the sequels with the “no dying” gimmick, the original game stands to gain the most from a remake.