games / Columns

Top 8 Games Missing From Modern Consoles: Metal Gear Solid 4, Chronicles of Riddick, More

October 6, 2020 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Metal Gear Solid 4

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about “Missing” games. What do I mean by missing? Well, I mean games that either aren’t on digital storefronts, or are locked to a specific console with little or no hope of being ported to more modern systems. Two inspirations for this column is about the No One Lives Forever license woes, and the recent GOG releases of MGS 1 and 2/Silent Hill 4. I almost had The Saboteur on this list until I saw GOG actually sells a copy of it. Let’s begin:

#8: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

I think this might be one of the few games you can still buy, but it’s still a drag. This game is still locked to the PlayStation 3 console and, at present, there is no way to play it on something else. Well, I’m sure you might be able to play on a PC via an emulator, but I’m talking “legal” way to play it. It’s a bummer! If they want to keep it exclusive to Sony consoles, that’s fine, but the fact that it’s not on the PS4 is a drag. I would even take a basic PlayStation Now port job, if it means I wouldn’t have to dig up my jet-engine of a launch PS3 in order to play MGS 4. Aside from technical issues, of which I suspect there are a lot, I imagine one reason is some of the bad blood between Kojima and Konami.

#7: Amped 3

I can see two reasons why Amped 3 is locked to the Xbox 360, with no digital version available. The first is that it wasn’t a big hit and there isn’t a lot of nostalgia for it. Even though, inarguably, Amped 3 was the best launch game of the 360, at least when it came to full games (not XBLA stuff), almost no one played it or remembers it. The second reason is the soundtrack. The game has a lot of licensed music from various bands and as games grow older, those contracts expire and there’s not a big drive to re-sign that type of stuff. It’s not even backward compatible on the Xbox One (or series X). J-Dawg deserves better!

#6: The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

This is an odd one since it actually used to be available on digital storefronts. It used to be on Steam, GOG and the Xbox 360 stores. Now, it’s only on the 360 one, but it’s not backward compatible with the newer consoles. I think it was yanked off Steam and GOG around 2017, at least according to an old GOG post about it. I actually don’t like Dark Athena much, but Escape from Butcher Bay is still one of the best stealth games of all times. I still use it as the benchmark for first-person stealth games and see how almost none of them can match up to this one. If you can find a boxed copy of either game, it is still worth playing to this day.

#5: Tokyo Jungle

Tokyo Jungle is another case of “You can still buy it, but it’s locked to the PS3”. Unlike with MGS 4, there isn’t really any thorny rights or technical issues, which I can think of? Especially since Sony published the damn thing in the first place. I’m not sure if the developer, Crispy’s is still around, but obviously Sony is. While I would love a Tokyo Jungle 2, or even remastered, just a basic port would be welcome. Just call it “Tokyo Jungle Complete Edition” and put it on the PS4 with the basic game and all the DLC included for like $20. If they can do it for Katamari Damacy, they can do it for this game also.

#4: Deathrow

What if you had Rocket League, only there was more punching involved? That’s basically the answer to Deathrow a game that only I and Greg Kasavin seem to remember. Deathrow is a 4 on 4 game where the point is to throw a disc into the other team’s goal. You have a normal throw or a charged throw and if you hit an enemy team member with it, they get knocked out for a bit because it’s a “Death Throw”. Or you can just pound the other team into submission with violence since there is limited health with characters and this is a valid way of thinning out the enemy team. This game was an original Xbox game, before Xbox Live, so it had some network options but not really online play. I think if Ubisoft put this back out, it would do well for them.

#3: Freelancer

I would really love it if Freelancer came to some digital storefronts, like Steam. For one, it’s just a very great space sim with some intuitive mouse controls. It plays more like a first person shooter, rather than some overly-complicated space sim. The bigger/funnier reason is because with Star Citizen having an expected release date of “Never”, more people should be able to play the last Chris Roberts actually put out. It’s probably one of my favorite space games, if I think on it and I’d like to be able to play it legally again.

#2: 3D Dot Game Heroes

I actually do have this game on disc, which is good, since it’s only way it’s available. This was around the cusp of Sony (and Microsoft) putting full games on their digital storefronts but it’s still not great that you have to track down a (likely used) physical copy of the game in order to play it. Like with others on this list, it is beholden to the PS3 where it is likely to remain forever. Despite with Sony boss Jim Ryan thinks, older games definitely have their place, even in a modern world. That’s why something like Legend of Zelda or a retro-version 3D Dot Game Heroes is still remembered with fondness.

#1: The Operative: No One Lives Forever

This is the big reason for this column, or at least one of them. While you can still find a copy of NOLF for fairly cheap on eBay (around $20, or more with the box/manual), that’s still not an ideal way to really play the game. Most computers don’t even come with CD/DVD drives these days. The problem with NOLF is that no one knows who owns the rights, it could be Warner Bros, Activision or 20th Century Fox (that might be Disney at this point), and there’s not enough financial/gamer interest for anyone to dig into it. What I would love is if Douglas Bogart and the rest of the Limited Run Games team actually dug into who owned it and licensed it from them. They could then put out the NOLF Collection with NOLF 1, NOLF 2 and Contract J.A.C.K., along with soundtracks, a replica of Cate’s barrette, or even a working version of the “Angry Kitty” weapon from NOLF 2. That would be perfect.

For comments, list which games you liked that are missing and why.

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