PlatinumGames has blessed us by recently bringing two of our most favorite TV franchises back into the gaming fold with Transformers Devastation and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. Unfortunately, the two franchises received contrasting reviews from the gaming public—where Transformers received the love that would make eighties babies do cartwheels, TMNT should have sat in the mutagen a little bit longer. Regardless, there are several other franchises that should have seen the light of day in video game form. As I’m hoping to draw some sense of nostalgia for the multitude, I’m going to reach for three different, less heralded franchises that should get some love. And because I care, I’ve linked the intros for my picks in the post. Sing along people.
Silverhawks was a cartoon that ran for 65 episodes, but is substantially lesser known than the Thundercats, which came from the same production studio. The show plot was about weaponized android heroes who fly around the universe to protect the innocent. The main protagonist is Mon-Star, who changes his appearance from an orange gorilla man to an intergalactic version of Dr. Doom. Just not smart.
The reason why Silverhawks didn’t really float compared to other shows is that they came across as a bit corny. Some of the characters are better suited for backing up Pat Benatar than saving the universe. For example, the character Bluegrass had a metal mowhawk and had a weaponized guitar he used to fight Melodia, who should be interred in the 80’s as her weapon was her trusty keytar. Copper Kidd came from a planet of mimes and sounded like a soprano T-Pain speaking through a kazoo.
The cheesy level of Silverhawks doesn’t necessarily have to be part of the game, as we have seen that the Arkham City games have none of the cheese level of the Batman TV shows of the 60’s.
Rocksteady Games would do a dark, gritty Silverhawks game justice, as the mechanics of the Arkham games have impressive long and short range combat systems, as well as a mastery of flying (gliding) across vast landscapes. However, the Arkham games tend to have a bit more realistic angle than the key motifs of Silverhawks. Another option would be to tap Vigil Games for the project. The Darksiders franchise brings together the amazing artistic style of Joe Madureira with stylistic action in fantasy settings. If the flying mechanics of the Arkham games are also included, there could be a match made in heaven for a Silverhawks game.
Honorable Mention: A “dark” Bionic Six game. Think DeusEx, but with more playable characters.
The Toxic Crusaders franchise has an amazing cult following that did not prosper quite as well as others. We are quite aware that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles succeeded in transitioning from an ultra violent, but excellent comic to a family-friendly franchise, as Michael Bay was allowed to destroy the source material. However, the TC cartoon stumbled moving from the adult-oriented Toxic Avenger film, as it tried to fit between the mutant action of TMNT and the ecology-aware Captain Planet.
But this is why Toxic Crusaders a viable franchise is still worth its weight in gaming. First, the characters are nuts. The most recent of my favorite side-scrolling fighters in the last two gens, Castle Crashers, Scott Pilgrim and Charlie Murder all had crazy premises and random moments of “what am I playing?” to boot. A TC game should be able to provide us with an off-the-wall, constantly strange, but rewarding game by punching our way through aliens that want to pollute the earth. Yes, that’s the premise. Aliens came here to earth to screw our planet up so they could be happy.
Toxic Crusaders as a game is nuts at the player select screen. Look at this picture. Thinking about how the powers alone could work is dope in itself.
- Toxie: Super-strong. Armed with a mop and a tutu.
- No-Zone: Dude with a huge nose. Sneeze power? Wheel for a leg.
- Major Disaster: Basically G.I. Joe x Swamp Thing.
- Headbanger: What happens when a scientist and a surfer get hit by an atom smasher? (see how bad the plot was…but so goooood for a game?)
- Junkyard: Your friendly neighborhood dog-man. Probably should function as a werewolf.
- Yvonne: Toxies girlfriend, accordion player and terribly singing sorprano.
Second, One of the main enemies of Toxie and crew is Dr. Killemoff, who is both alien and already dresses like a stereotypical video game mob boss. He looks like if Shredder and Joker had a baby. This is promising because people will be able to relate to him being a douche.
Third, Toxic Crusaders, like many of the other titles that were prominent kids TV shows, had multiple video games. We haven’t seen Toxie since Genesis. Although most of the other entries didn’t have games, it seems a new-gen game with an artist like Paul Robertson (the artist for Scott Pilgrim) would be crazy. So there could be hope? Who knows?
Consolation Prize: Captain Planet, just because we could have Don Cheadle Captain Planet as a special character.
COPS (also known as CyberCOPS) is a TV show that ran for 65 episodes over two seasons. The show’s main character, Bulletproof, is a police officer who was gravely injured in a car accident and was retrofitted with a (bulletproof) robot torso. He then founds the greatest law enforcement agency ever by finding each and every badass cop he can possibly encounter in the United States. He also happens to have an immaculate Billy Dee Williams jheri curl. Together with his fellow COPS (Central Organization of Police Specialists), they wipe out all of the crooks, led by Big Boss. This show, like many, was lost in the sauce of shows in the late 80’s.
But COPS shows promise for several reasons, as many of the show’s characteristics span the premises of many of the most-played shooters out there. The show’s theme is “fighting crime in a future time,” yet many of the shows had mostly cityscapes. This places us in a place where Battlefield and Call of Duty had a baby. Heck, since this game could also be massively multiplayer, think The Division with Destiny guns.
The unbelievable list of characters present in COPS assuredly should make the game a class-based shooter. You have a cyborg in Bulletproof who runs around with a big ass pistol (and is obviously bulletproof), Longarm has grappling hook doohicky, and Bowser is part of a K-9 unit (I subsequently used these three examples because I had their action figures).
But here’s the thing…that only touches on three of the nineteen different COPS with unique abilities. Add in the TWENTY-SIX villains that are unique and you have all kinds of classes. Do the math.
This game could work similar to Borderlands. First, there are so many characters and classes, if you think about it. They already work together, so it makes it easy to consider breaking them all down into small stories for multiple games. Some of the characters are particularly interesting and quirky, like in the BL franchise. For instance, Bowser’s dog is robotic, which sounds like you should get some Gaige, Wilhelm, or Moredecai style play.
The quirks also lead towards some of the humor in a gaming story–Barricade is one of the biggest COPS, responsible for crowd control, but apparently is the most soft spoken. That would be hilariously exaggerated for him to have a Mike Tyson voice. Big Boss has a robotic freaking weasel for his Mr. Bigglesworth. Dr. Badvibes has his brain in a glass dome. This screams Borderlands-The Police Version.
On the other hand, the multitude of capabilities from individuals in the COPS universe could also mean that we should make this game akin to a Destiny or The Division. Package all of the qualities from the 40 plus characters into classes and subclasses. Make your own super cop or crook.
Secondary Thought: Darkwing Duck. I know it came out 1991, but think about it! A light hearted shooter with a frickin gas gun.
Let us know in the comments what other genres you’d be interested in. And also if I’m completely off-base, which I normally am.