Y'know when you bump into people you used to be friends with in college, but now they've got red circles around their eyes and smell like back sweat and look like the kind of person you'd choose as your 'Phone a Friend' on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? if the question was "Where's the best place to store a dead hooker's corpse?" Well playing some of the modern iterations in these classic video game series' is kind of like that.
Here are 5 gaming franchises that should be mercy killed.
Sonic the Hedgehog
No matter how many times Sega enthusiastically attempt to convince us that they've finally "got it right this time" and that Sonic is returning to his Genesis/Mega Drive glory days, it's difficult to put faith in a developer that is now even struggling to create a good 2D Sonic game, as evidenced by the lacklustre Sonic The Hedgehog 4. While Sega have thankfully kept gimmicks such as the ill-advised Werehog (pictured) to a minimum recently, they're still yet to create a truly great 3D Sonic game, and even though Sonic Generations was enjoyable, there's no doubt that another painfully mediocre game lies just around the corner.
There's going to come a point when developer Square Enix runs out of Roman numerals to put at the end of their Final Fantasy games, and when that day comes it will likely be considered a blessing by many fans of the once mighty RPG series. Final Fantasy was once a perfect mixture of storytelling, action and drama, but the series has steadily continued its dip into irrelevancy and, following its embarrassing crawl into the MMORPG realm with Final Fantasy XIV Online and the laborious Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, now more than ever are people calling for this once great franchise to be euthanised.
I don't blame Gearbox Software for not living up to the expectations set before them with Duke Nukem Forever – it would have been impossible after a 14-year development cycle – but that doesn't mean they should keep trying. Putting everything else aside, the Duke Nukem character is fundamentally outdated. The sexist toilet humour that runs Duke's veins and the '80s action films he parodies are no longer relevant in 2012, and unless Gearbox are going to attempt to modernise the Duke Nukem Forever sequel by, I dunno, making it a dark and cynical political satire, then there's really nothing they can do with it that will make it appeal to anyone other than those with the most bulletproof of rose-tinted glasses.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
Watching the Tony Hawk series trying to relive its former glories is like when 2Pac became popular and your dad tried to introduce hip-hop jargon into his vocabulary – it's struggling to keep a hold of its last remnants of dignity, but it'll be damned if it doesn't keep trying. Back in the late 90's/early 2000's, the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series was arguably the most popular series on the PlayStation, but as is usually the case with old gaming franchises, the series started to lose its fanbase and therefore sought to quickly reinvent itself. Unfortunately they never truly managed to do so, and now that EA's Skate series has usurped it, everyone is wondering when this formerly awesome franchise will finally give up.
While the Pokémon series of games remains commercially and critically successful, there is only so long that we can continue playing the same game. While the allure of a new batch of uncaptured monsters within each iteration in the series undeniably has its appeal, the well of creativity has been running dry for a while now, and it's only so long before we're capturing Pokémon with names like 'Cupboard' and 'Dishwasher'. Nintendo needs to create that home-console Pokémon RPG that we've all been requesting for years, or risk losing one of its most profitable franchises to the same consumer ambivalence that has left Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Duke Nukem, Final Fantasy and Sonic the Hedgehog on life-support.