As you’re no doubt aware, the “remake” is an act whereby something vintage or retro is reborn under a new banner or given new life. Similar to the apocryphal alchemic process of turning lead into gold, the remake instead turns classic movies, games or books into absolute shit.
The remake is something to be feared, avoided and – if spotted on the street – beaten into bruised submission using rocks, wood, human skulls or anything else that you can get your hands on. It’s not that the remake is inherently bad, there’s no law that says taking something old and re-creating it for a modern audience must produce bad work, it’s just the track record speaks for itself.
Strangely, the phenomenon of abject failure never stops any of us from wishing certain things would go through a revival or a rebirth. I’m often given to pondering certain classic games that could benefit from a facelift and a re-launch because the core gameplay or fundemental idea of the game is so great that it deserves another chance to delight the masses, cloaked in finy new graphics, sounds and content.
One title that springs to mind, is Carrier Command.
Heard of it? I think I wasted about a thousand years of my youth (I realise the maths is a bit off there considering I’m 31 at the time of writing) on this game, and have fond memories of just about every aspect of it.
Carrier Command saw the player take to the seas between an archipelago of islands in a super advanced carrier ship, wrestling with the computer – who also controlled an advanced carrier ship – for control of each of the islands on the map. The players carrier holds up to eight Manta (Multirole Aircraft for Nautical Tactical Assault) remote-controlled aircraft and up to eight Walrus (Water And Land Roving Utility Shuttle) remote-controlled amphibious vehicles which are used by the player to gain control of islands, convert enemy islands and rain death and destruction upon enemy installations or the enemy carrier itself. You can control the payloads of each Walrus and Manta, employ weapons mounted on the carrier itself, and get happily buried in all manner of repair, navigation and control options.
That very, very brief description doesn’t do justice to the enjoyment, strategic elements and simply stunning 3D of the Amiga title, nor does it convey the amount of pure enjoyment I (and many others) got from playing the game. Carrier Command scored above 90% in all the game rags of the era and saw life on several popular platforms.
Since that time there’s been nothing like Carrier Command (unless you know something I don’t?) and although I know I’m putting my head in the lions mouth suggesting it, the game simply begs to have a facelift and re-release. There was supposed to be a remake called Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, but all indications from the official site are that the project is dead or in serious torpor.
Done properly, this could be a smash hit filled with strategic complexity, some fantastic multiplayer elements and some stunning visuals.
But doing a remake properly, is just hoping against hope – right?