The Midwest Gaming Classic starts tomorrow, and I've spent much of the week's free time playing the new Resident Evil, so I managed to come up with a Top Five that incorporates both classic gaming and Resident Evil. In this context, a remake involves all new assets/sprites, and not just a port with new dungeons/levels (sorry, Chrono Trigger DS). Presented in chronological order (US dates of remakes, not originals).
-Super Mario All-Stars (Nintendo, SNES, 1993, original games released 1986, N/A, 1988, 1990) Until the next entry, this was the template for remakes. Three of the greatest games of all time (and one of the not-so-greatest, but an interesting curiousity for us Americans anyways) all on one cart, all totally redone from the ground up to take advantage of the SNES hardware. The music is better, the graphics are better, and, apparently, reaching the lettered worlds in the Lost Levels was a way bigger pain in the ass in the Famicom version. This game still fetches high prices on eBay (even higher for the All-Stars+Super Mario World version), but it's very, very worth it.
-Resident Evil (Capcom, Gamecube, 2002, original game released 1996) For anyone looking to remake an old game, this is the game to play first. This is how it's done, people. New areas, new bosses, new weapons, new mechanics, but enough of the same to make it recognizable to fans of the original. An easy find for less than ten bucks, if you've never played it. If that isn't enough, Capcom just annouced that they're bringing the Wii version (with waggle) to America by year's end.
-Mega Man: Powered Up (Capcom, PSP, 2006, original game released 1987) Giving the original Mega Man two new bosses to bring it in line with the rest of the series was a good way to draw interest. The few people who were interested (this game did not sell very well, blame the platform) found more than just Mega Man with two new Master Robots, they found a fully revamped game, with almost entirely new maps and a playable roster that included all 8 Master Robots, as well as Mega Man and his sister Roll, not to mention Proto Man. Now, if only they would do Mega Man 2: Powered Up.
-Final Fantasy IV DS (Square-Enix, DS, 2008, original game released 1991) Yeah, I just shot some barbs Squeenix's way for all their tireless rehashes, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. FFIVDS is amazing. Rebuilt entirely in 3D with voice acting and CG cutscenes, it takes my favorite game in the Final Fantasy canon and makes it palatable to today's audiences. It also makes the game somewhat difficult and fixes the horrible translation! Score!
-Bionic Commando: Rearmed (Capcom, XBLA/PSN, 2008, original game released 1988) And the hits keep comin' from Capcom! Bionic Commando: Rearmed takes the NES game and somehow makes it better. Allowing players to take multiple weapons and items into a level eliminates a great deal of frustration, and turning the final boss battle into an entire level was a stroke of brilliance. Riffing on the hokey script of the original game cracked me up throughout, and if that's not reason enough to buy it, there's always shooting Hitler in the face. There is no reason anyone with a 360 or a PS3 should not have this game.