Interesting Lower Power Ports or Versions of Games

This is one category of games that can be hard to track down since they are often overlooked. It can be an opportunity to creatively design a game around hardware limitations, or in the case of late generation games, be a more complete or different version than the next-gen counterpart.

A few that spring to mind for me are:

**Splinter Cell: Double Agent** for the Original Xbox
A completely different version of the game than the one that came out for the 360. It's a true sequel to Chaos Theory that plays like classic Splinter Cell since it was made by the original team.

**Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands** for the Wii
Again, another completely different game than the 360 version. Different story and game mechanics with a closer feel to the original trilogy.

**Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2+3 and Max Payne** on the GBA
Cool isometric versions of the 3D games. New perspective does a good job of retaining the spirit of the originals while making the games feel like a different experience.

[“Interesting Low Power Ports or Versions of Games”,“Interesting Lower Power Ports or Versions of Games”]

As an 80's baby with limited means, Gameboy Ports were my bread and butter - sooo many downgraded ports, but some were passable. Many were just completely different games, like the Mega Man series (I owned I-V)

Mortal Kombat II
Samurai Showdown

Pit Fighter
Jurassic Park
Mortal Kombat

The Power Rangers games on Game Gear are like this - nothing like the Genesis or SNES versions. Honestly, I prefer the Game Gear ones to the Genesis entries by a wide margin. They're really good games with amazing sprite work and excellent gameplay.

I think those mid-late 80's mac ports look good as hell even if they may be been regarded as “inferior”



I always thought the PlayStation versions of Tony Hawk‘s Pro Skater 3 and 4 seemed really interesting in that they existed, but no one like actually played them that I knew. I came across both of them while working at a game store and played each for like twenty minutes and then filtered them right out of my system. It was like playing Tony Hawk on another planet. Also the music loops in Tony Hawk 2 and 3 for the N64 are SO weird

I’ve also always thought it was interesting to figure out what had to be reduced in order to get certain games to run on like the original PlayStation. Like Star Wars Dark Forces is like….the clunky edgy version of an otherwise pretty smooth PC fps. And Quake 2 just has these SUPER weird level chunks due to the way that loading things in and out of memory works on the console.

@flcl4evr#9495 I played both THPS 3 and 4 on PS1 in college because I didn't wanna spring for a new console. 3 is really good. And I feel the best version of Tony Hawk on the system. 4 sure is trying, and there is fun to be had, but it is completely obliterated by upper gen versions. I will say that THPS 3 PS1 has had a longer tail for me in that I have played it multiple times on my custom firmware PSP.

I'm not sure if this counts, but I've been poking through Resident Evil Gaiden for the GameBoy Color. I'm about a third of the way through (I think?). The setting is cool (zombies on a boat), and the story is par for the course so far ... but the star of the show to me is how they created a Resident Evil like experience on a super tight GBC canvas.


You traverse the map via top-down perspective. Searching for items. Avoiding zombies. Etc. When you're in a situation where a fight has to go down, you press a button to bring your gun out and place an aiming reticle on your enemy. Then let go of the button to "fire" ... which sends you to a whole other first-person perspective mode, where you gotta time your button press on a slide meter, that lines up with your zombie targets (that slowly walk towards you).


There's also a four person party mechanic going on that allows you to swap characters mid-combat and have them shoot/attack as well (but you gotta manually attack for them). So far it looks like the character selected is who takes damage when zombies attack.

I definitely recommend at least giving it a look.

I wanna circle back to this and just say there are so many interesting console ports that kind of fall under this nebulous topic of discussion and I’ve been thinking about it since my initial post.

Borderlands 2 on the Vita was SO interesting in that it answered the question of how Borderlands would run on a PS2-ish type of platform, but it was never like.....GOOD. The switch today has a few ports that feel like it answers a similar question of “how would this game feel if we took it off the PS4 and asked it to run on the Xbox 360??” Doom, Wolfenstein TNO, Witcher 3, etc.....are such interesting technical feats. None of them are particularly impressive as a stand-alone experience, but in context they are FANTASTIC.

And the 90s consoles are full of these like impressive technical “square peg in a round hole” kind of ports. Doom on the SNES, Half Life on Dreamcast, Quake on the Saturn, MOST of the arcade ports for so many late 80s and 90s games. They had a target set or hardware and NOTHING was going to stop the game from running on it. Resident Evil 2 on an N64 cart? Hold my beer they said. And it’s even more impressive when you consider the intensity of the programming languages used.

maybe I missed the point, but man I love these messy ports.

@flcl4evr#9495 N64 had some weird ports for sure. Capcom had some impressive ones like Mega Man Legends and Resident Evil 2.

@sosadillatron#9500 Yeah I'd say that shrunk down versions of bigger sibling fit this thread, even if they are not ports.

**Dynasty Warriors Advance** is a neat mix of turn-based strategy and top-down brawler

**Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword** translates the Xbox game surprisingly well to the DS

The Neo Geo Pocket Color versions of games are also great for most of the SNK developed library. Take **Metal Slug** for example:

I‘m a big fan of the PICO-8 fantasy console. The short version is it’s a 16 color 128x128 computer that you program with modern Lua rather than Motorola 68K or Mos 6502 assembly. One thing that developers like doing is demakes of famous old games. The one for Mr. Driller is incredible as is the Bubble Bobble one.

I should start a PICO-8 thread.

@antillese#9552 yeah I learned about the PICO-8 recently from playing Celeste - pretty cool!

Looks like there is a Celeste for GBA as well that I keep forgetting to sit down and play

That‘s neat, I didn’t know that there was a GBA port. One of the fun things about PICO-8 is that it is designed for cross-platform compilation. The virtual machine is literally designed to run in a web browser, so it's pretty straightforward to pull into anything that has a web renderer.

For the record, here's the “official” Celeste PICO-8 BBS post.


@robinhoodie#9557 Celeste for GBA

I didn't play it but my understanding is that jordan peterson-quoting ninja game the messenger jumps from pseudo 8-bit to pseudo 16-bit. Seems a little annoying as a concept. not really navigating the limitations in these cases, right? just using the audiovisual currency

Speaking of, NES Ninja Gaiden may fall under this. Although it was developed at the same time as the Arcade release to be its own thing, and not necessarily a port whose intentions were focused on bringing something already established to a smaller platform.

But man, it would be one of the more blatant mainstream cases of the lower powered version just excelling in almost every way compared to its bigger sibling.

If I had to pick the best lower power port of a game it‘s gonna be Race Drivin for the GBA, which I’ve brought up several times on this forum and will continue to do so every chance I get. It's a 3D Driving Sim for the original gameboy and done by the Argonaut team, who did X and eventually the Star Fox series

NES strider has its fans

I played thru 100 hours of Metal Gear Solid V on the PS3 coz I didnt have a PS4 lol. I‘m sure a large chunk of that time was spent on game loading lol. I remember watching a Twitch stream of the game and thinking o wow, that version runs way smoother and looks much nicer than mine!! I’m unsure I'd call the port interesting, but I loved the game enough to put 100 hours in it!

anywayz, in one of the racing game threads I also mentioned the xbox 360 version of Forza Horizon 2 which had a different developer than the standard XBONE version and apparently is real good, so that's another game I'd like to get my hands on.