What game(s) do you prefer an "inferior" version of?

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bigsocrates

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These days most games that come out across multiple platforms have relatively minor variations; such as more resolution or a higher frame rate on one platform or perhaps a tiny bit more content tied to some exclusive deal. But back in the day games released on different systems were usually coded from the ground up for those systems and so had more significant differences. That often meant that some versions of games were notably inferior to others (2600 Pac-Man is one of the most infamous examples) but they were sometimes different in ways where someone might prefer the "inferior" version to another. The most common reason for this is, of course, because the inferior version is the one you had so it's the one you're nostalgic for. Sometimes there are other reasons why an inferior version might seem better for some people (like horizontal shooters that had slowdown but were slightly easier for that reason.)

The reason I bring this up is because you see a lot of 'collectors' excitedly going after old games where there are better options easily and cheaply available. People are excited to get Coleco Vision Donkey Kong even though a nearly arcade perfect version is available on the Switch. Or people who list Donkey Kong Country GBA as one of their faves even though it's washed out and screen crunched. What I'm saying is that there are a lot of people out there who love subpar Donkeys Kong.

I have two major choices:

The first is Gradius on the NES. It's actually a very good conversion but it's slightly worse graphically and sonically than the arcade. There are some other differences too, such as the Konami code existing in the NES version and the arcade version being generous with power ups after a death, but even though the Arcade version looks better and sounds better all my nostalgia is for the NES version. I have both available on my Switch and I play NES over Arcade. When I was a kid I didn't even know there WAS an arcade version.

My second is Gauntlet for the NES. It's not nearly as good as the arcade in basically any way but I had it as a kid and it has nostalgia value. I don't really like arcade Gauntlet and I probably wouldn't like the NES version if I hadn't played so much when I was young. But if I want to play Gauntlet that's the version I'd like to play.

So what are your favorite "I know there are better versions available but this is the version I love the most" game?

NOTE: I am not talking about "Same name, different game" situations. A lot of people like NES Strider more than Arcade/Genesis Strider, but that's just a different game, not really an inferior version. The same could be said for Bionic Commando, which is a better game on NES but is also just a different game. Contra is a more common example where they really are the same game but the more technologically advanced arcade version's vertical orientation and washed out colors make many people prefer the NES.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#2  Edited By ll_Exile_ll

The only one I can think of off the top my head is that I prefer Sonic 3D Blast for the Genesis/Mega Drive rather than the Saturn version. Mind you, it's not a fantastic game on either platform, but I much prefer the Genesis soundtrack. The Saturn port looks better, but they completely redid the soundtrack to take advantage of CD audio. I personally just vastly prefer the Genesis soundtrack, probably a combination of the iconic Genesis sound profile being something that just feels very Sonic as well as some nostalgia due to that being the version I originally played.

Here's an example:

Genesis

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Saturn

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The Saturn version obviously sound better from a technical perspective since it's CD audio, but I just think the actual songs in the Genesis version are almost always better.

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Nodima

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Having played a few hours of FFVIIR on PS5, I can genuinely say I preferred how it looked at launch with its broken textures and NPC models that ran the gamut from FFX-era chunks of triangles to impossibly crisp for a base PS4. It suited that game’s themes of memory and nostalgia more, but perhaps more importantly was hilarious.

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FacelessVixen

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Basically any game that I bought on Switch despite it also being available on Steam, or games that I bought on Steam where I could put more time into on the Switch.

For examples: I had the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection on Steam, but I refunded that version for the Switch version because I associate those games more with the GBA and DS. I have Puyo Puyo Tetris on Steam, but I'll most likely buy the Switch version at some point because I rather play it on a handheld. And when I'll finally play Stardew Valley and the Shantae games, I'll get the Switch versions since I don't exactly need a $1,200 GPU for those games. Same for Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel; I'm waiting for the Switch version.

As for some non-Switch related examples: I don't need four versions of the Kingdom Hearts games, so I'm ignoring the PC versions since the PS4 versions work well enough; even the PS3 versions of 1 and 2 are fine since the 30 frames is consistent. And, though I did re-buy Horizon Zero Dawn, my enthusiasm is curbed with the upcoming Steam version of Dad of Boy since I'm okay with the 45-ish frame rate when running the game with a PS4 Pro for 1080p. I value performance extremely highly, but $50 for what is essentially a 21:9, at least 60 frames, RT and DLSS patch isn't worth it at the moment; same for Final Fantasy VII Remake, though $70 for an iffy port (even if mods can fix some of the issues) is an even worse value proposition for my intents and purposes.

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ZombiePie

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Before the Pixel Remasters, I found the Android/iOS versions of the Final Fantasy games to be a crime against humanity. yes, they updated the mechanics to make them more forgiving and less buggy, hence why they were still the versions to play for first-timers, but they are dog-dick ugly.

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infantpipoc

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As long as the "inferior" one can be played on the go and functions enough.

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lapsariangiraff

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The Wii version of Resident Evil 4 -- these days with a PC or modern console you can run it at 60 frames per second at higher resolutions, but the controls on the Wii port of that game are so good. One of the few well controlling Wii games involving the cursor (the only two I'd throw alongside it are Metroid Prime 3 and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories).

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Nodima

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Ah, RE4 reminds me that I had bought a Gamecube specifically for Wind Waker, REmake and eventually Resident Evil 4. I played those first two games, the console struggled otherwise and I hated playing other multiconsole games on the Gamecube like SSX and Timesplitters because of the controller, so when Resident Evil 4 was announced for Playstation 2 I immediately sold my Gamecube and small collection of games for other PS2 game money and never looked back.

Tell me all the tales about better lighting, more enemies on screen, in-engine cutscenes, etc. etc. The Dualshock is the Dualshock and the Gamecube controller doesn't even have a name.

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BisonHero

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#10  Edited By BisonHero

At this point I’d recommend the “inferior” Game Boy Color version of Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Over the Switch remake which is extremely faithful and has no major additions of note.

The Switch remake has some quality of life stuff with warp points and controls, and it’s cute as a button, but honestly it still feels like a brisk Game Boy game, and paying $70 for it (or whatever it costs in your region) is a steep ask. If you have a 2DS or 3DS, just use the eShop to get the Game Boy Color version for like $5 instead.

Overall I think that Switch remake of Link’s Awakening was just kinda needless. It’s not what Breath of the Wild players are looking for, and even if you’re an old school 2D Zelda fan, I think those players would prefer something slightly more original like Link Between Worlds.

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daavpuke

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Hello, it is me, the person who seeks out awful ports to play. The few that few that come to mind are Pacmania on Master System and Silent Hill 2 and Shadow of Mordor on PS3.

Wherever I can, I'll play the original game on its intended platform, but if there's a port out there that should've never had the right to exist, my morbid curiosity will often get the better of me. Remasters... eh, if there's no good alternative, but I usually don't care that much. The exception is Dragons Dogma. The original sucks shit to play, so taking out the parts that suck shit is the best solution for that game.

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Efesell

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Final Fantasy III is still best played on the NES despite multiple attempts to remake or port it.

The ds version is a very different game so not really applicable, but the new Pixel Remaster attempts to be more faithful to the original and... is closer to that but also borrows ideas from the ds version as well. The result is somewhat catastrophic because for better (and often worse) FF3 was a very delicately balanced game and this futzing around between two very different versions of the experience really causes a lot of problems during certain portions of that game.

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#13  Edited By Ravey

Getting into "different name and different game" territory, but the Quake mod Slayer's Testaments is a quite good "inferior" version of the new Doom games.

I haven't played Doom Eternal (which seems to go way deeper into process management and design, making it a completely different beast), but Slayer's Testament has some advantages:

  • My PC can run it (can't run either of the new Doom games)
  • Custom maps
  • Modding

10 minutes of footage:

Loading Video...

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Shindig

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Half-Life 2 on the Xbox. Especially the part where it almost breaks as you ascend to the final boss.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Black has a better feel but Sigma has more stuff and Ninja Dog difficulty. And erm .... poor Rachel sections.

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Onemanarmyy

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Charlie The Duck > Super Mario Bros.

Don't @ me. :)

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jamesyfx

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I will always remember Quake 2 for the PS1 being my preferred version growing up. I had it on PC with 3DFX enabled and everything - but still really liked the look of the seemingly darker, sharper 'blockyness' of the PS1 port. Weird huh!

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cikame

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This is always a stupid thing i was hung up on, but i prefer Michael Jackson's Moonwalker on Master System over Mega Drive because you have to physically kick people instead of using sparkles, even though it's missing so many features.

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Oobir

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The PS1 port of Civilization II has nothing to recommend it over the PC version - PS1 resolution, no user-made scenarios, late game it takes forever to advance to the next turn, it will only play the same song over and over and over from 4000BC to 2100AD if you don't manually change it - but it's the only one I really enjoyed. Mostly because I liked to cheat infinite money with a GameShark, and for whatever bizarre reason I didn't like using the built-in cheat codes for PC. Kids can be so particular.

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goosemunch

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A couple examples come to mind...

Tie Fighter for DOS had iMUSE dynamic/procedural music system (which sounded especially amazing when paired with MT-32) but when they remastered it for Windows with higher-res art and textures, they replaced it with pre-recorded CD soundtrack. Procedural BGM is one of the biggest victims in modern video game era and nothing really came along to replace it (though arguably pre-recorded music has the upside of being able to use licensed music, and the talent pool for composers is much bigger since they don't have to be familiar with technology).

The CD-ROM version of Loom had VGA art with full voice acting, but some content was cut from the original EGA/floppy release (I don't really know how much was cut). But I mainly prefer its EGA graphics because it looks like it was done by more talented artists who knew how to work with limited palette.

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Rejizzle

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I know I'm in the minority, but I really dislike those Bluepoint remakes of Shadow of the Colossus and Demon Souls. Don't get me wrong, I think Bluepoint a is technically proficient studio and they do exactly what those projects asked of them, I just think the whole idea was flawed from the get go.

Shadow of the Colossus is such a beautiful game with a great sense of artistic direction that I don't think you can improve on it. The overuse of bloom really made the world feel more ethereal and expansive in a way the remake can't quite capture.

As for Demon Souls, I don't think it has Colossus level art direction, but I still think it is a good looking game. The added fidelity and polygons really takes away from the raw brutalism of the original in a way that I don't think works. There was hostility to that minimalism and it really enhanced what that game was going for.

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HHAP

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@onemanarmyy: We had a bootleg SMB game on PC growing up. Now I see where those assets came from! Haha

Wii RE4 > every other iteration/port

SNES Captain America and the Avengers > Arcade

SNES Disney's Aladdin > Sega Genesis

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alianger

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#23  Edited By alianger

Castle of Illusion for SMS because of some level design and mechanics changes; the levels are more fleshed out with more branching paths and secrets. You can also choose the level order.

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monkeyking1969

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While not all Atrai 7800 game have a 5200 equivalent in most cases the 5200 game LOOKS more compsoed on the screen. No shartper or better, just more astethiclly pleaseing.

Yes, the 5200 has terrible controllers, but I cnanot shake teh feeling that that 5200 games are more pleasesnt on a tv or monitor. Listen neither system is great, the 5200 and 7800 are the worst Atari systems ever. But when "I" see the side by sides I alwasy feel like the 7800 games look wrong.

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Zelyre

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#25  Edited By Zelyre

Before the Pixel Remasters, I found the Android/iOS versions of the Final Fantasy games to be a crime against humanity.

So ugly! All the modern ports of the old Squaresoft SNES games are so ugly. The sharp "FF13 modern" UI clashes horribly with the games. Between the ugly UI, the funky redone graphics, and the eye watering pricing, I'll stick with the classic SNES versions or a ROM Hack with a different translation.

Then there was the PSX versions of Crono Trigger and FF6. You got two CG movies in exchange for 5 second loads every time you thought about bringing up a menu.

I'm always so sad that FF6 never got the 3d FF4 treatment - I remember lusting for a version of FF6 from some ancient Project Reality demo reel.

Almost 30 years later, I can barely list more than a handful of Shakespeare titles, let alone recite any of it we learned. But the Opera scene? I'm fairly certain I can type out the lyrics right now and be 90% accurate.

Also going to go with TIE Fighter on this. That iMuse was -magic-, especially if you had a wavetable synth card like a GUS or AWE 32, or were lucky to have some external box like a Roland.

There's something about the NES versions of Super Mario 2 and 3 that scratch an itch that the All Stars versions don't.

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SethMode

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For me, this begins and ends with Risen, which I play like once a year on the 360 even though I own the PC version that is literally superior in every way. I don't know why I do it, probably because Risen was my first PB game and I first played it on the 360, so there is nostalgia there, but boy it controls like garbage and I still love it for some reason.

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SarcasticMudcrab

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Don't know if this counts but I have often preferred console versions of games compared to their graphically superior pc version, even though I have a gaming pc I usually buy for console. Especially with Bethesda games. My current xbox versions of Fallout 4 and Skyrim are the best versions I've played and I've spent 100s of hours modding both on pc. Turns out all I really needed was a minimal hud and a forest of trees.

I have no idea why, I need help.

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BaneFireLord

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#28  Edited By BaneFireLord

Not quite the same thing, but I prefer unmodded versions of Bethesda games, mostly because when I ignore mods I actually play the games and don't spend a dozen hours trying to put together the optimal modlist only for five things to break on install and my interest to wane. I'll still definitely fuck around with them and I think they're ultimately the lifeblood of those games, but sometimes I want to see my Dovahkiin fight Alduin and not be sapped of my will to play while troubleshooting why my custom shaders look like garbage before I've even gotten my first Shout.

This is now a non-issue thanks to the ubiquity of gamepad support on PC, but back when I first got a good gaming PC I still only bought Assassin's Creed and Batman games on console despite typically looking and running worse (Knight, of course, excepted) because third person action games feel much better on controllers than mouse and keyboard.

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AV_Gamer

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#29  Edited By AV_Gamer

I mentioned this in another thread, but I liked the PS2 version of Splinter Cell compared to the Xbox and PC versions. The PS2 version had most of the missions, but they were stripped down because of lack of processing power and memory, which were superior on the Xbox and PC at the time with Pentium IIIs. This resulted in the levels being shorter. The graphics also wasn't as good, but came very close. The main difference was that the lighting and shadows, which was a big selling feature of the game, was less impressive on the PS2. Despite these nerfs, I enjoyed the game a lot. It was still one of the most impressive games on the PS2 and I ended up playing and beating it a lot, because of how fast you can get through the levels. It got to a point I was trolling the enemies just see how smart they were after alerting them. Which is what I like to do with all stealth games after I mastered them, if I enjoyed the stealth gameplay.

I also preferred Samurai Showdown on the SNES compared to the other versions, even the Neo-Geo version which is obviously superior in every way. I just like how the port job was done. They decided to do the game from a zoomed out ratio, but included almost all the other graphical features and included Earthquake as a character you can pick. Most other ports didn't have Earthquake because of the huge sprite requiring a lot of megabits. And the soundtrack comes very close to being as good as the Neo-Geo version.

The same thing goes for Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES. No, it wasn't arcade perfect, but it came very close and I think the soundtrack was better compared to the Arcade original soundtrack.

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Shindig

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@rejizzle: I'm with you on those. Team ICO's bloom is a calling card at this point and Demon's Souls original atmosphere is lost a little by ditching the very PS3-era look.

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theonewhoplays

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The PS4 version of Spiderman. I'm fine with Peter having a completely different model in the sequel, but they should have left the original game alone in the PS5 version. I'm not fan of them Lucas'ng the game like that.

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Nodima

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#32  Edited By Nodima

@rejizzle: I can't speak to the others, but Shadow of the Colossus felt unrelatable and strange on the PS4 (edit: I said PS2 originally, in case anybody happened to catch this beforehand). People like to rag on the draw distance but the games of that era were typically designed around that limitation, especially if they were console exclusive, and Shadow of the Colossus was one of the most explicit examples of that alongside Silent Hill 2. Making the game more detailed actually removed a lot of that feel from the game; you could understand what the gameplay was, but the gameplay without the encroaching, foreboding world just isn't enough. It wasn't just terribly frustrating fur-clinging that made SotC iconic after all.

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AtheistPreacher

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@rejizzle: I'm not sure you're actually in the minority based on all the complaints I saw about the Demon's remake's art direction. Graphics-wise, I agree that there was a charm to the grittiness of the original, though it's been so long since I played it that I'm genuinely not sure if I'd actually prefer it if I were to go back now, since fond nostalgia can be upset by the reality of returning to a dated game. However, to me the re-scoring of the remake is what really ruined it for me more than anything. More than anything I hated that they changed Maiden Astraea's theme, which has to be the most affecting piece of music that's ever appeared in a Soulsborne title. The song they used to replace it was... very meh. And hence very disappointing. So I would say that I prefer the original for the music alone, even if I'm more ambivalent about the graphical overhaul.

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judaspete

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I enjoy SW: Force Unleashed best on Wii. Like the main version, it's still just kind of an okay action game, but tossing dudes around is more viscerally satisfying with motion controls.

This is a different game, same name situation, but Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands on Wii is a better game than the PS360 one.

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Kamui97

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Sleepy Dogs. It's kinda impossible to find legally on pc, but there are some bugs they added in the definitive versions that were not in the not-definitive/ps3/360 versions that will obviously never get fixed now. More importantly for me, one of the dlc missions got changed, where originally it was an endless survival mode fight but in the rerelease its just a slightly longer fight. So I ended up going back and buying the dlc pack on ps3 in like 2018.

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ralfy

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For wargames, something like Sid Meier's "Command Series," i.e., historical units, real-time rather than turn-based, simple mechanics (attack, defend, reserve, transport, and AI for units which don't receive instructions), realistic behavior (e.g., air units attack then return to base), logistics, etc., run automatically, but with lots of scenarios and campaigns (esp. what-ifs).