aka: Porting Distillation
Porting a game from one platform to the other generally carries a lot of preconceptions, and not entirely without reason. These days, gamers are accustomed to seeing poor porting jobs done by lazy developers looking to make a quick buck without taking the time to iron out the issues with the new versions. It doesn't have to be this way, of course: Sometimes, being able to port a game from one platform to another gives developers the extra time they would have already needed to polish their game up, tweaking the gameplay, possibly even adding new levels, and in the best-case scenario, eliminating the technical limitations that held back the original releases. And this is when that happens: Ports that exceed the originals far and away, and are likely to go on to be revered as the greatest possible versions of that game. In the most extreme cases, the ports themselves can take a game that was average at best, and elevate that game into classic status. And sometimes this trope means that a godawful game becomes at least playable—in short, Porting Disaster inverted. In the case of emulators, the entire console itself is essentially ported to another platform. While emulation usually introduces problems of its own, it can also improve upon the performance of the original console's hardware. For consoles that originally used optical media, the use of virtual drives can reduce load times dramatically. Modern GPUs can easily outperform those of the Nintendo 64 and Playstation, which means that emulation for their games can be rendered in much higher resolutions than the original consoles were capable of. Save states can even be used to bypass Save Game Limits. Compare and contrast, of course, Porting Disaster. See also Updated Re-release, which can be a Polished Port. If a port of an arcade game matches the orignal one-to-one, then you have an Arcade Perfect Port.
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- The Legend of Zelda:
- Nintendo could've phoned it in with their inevitable port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to the GBA. A good game on its own merit with controls modified to make up for the lack of two buttons. What did we get? Additional sounds, Four Swords multi-player mode and an extra quest and dungeon that are connected to said multi-player mode. Giving you the option to play with the original SNES palette was good too.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, originally a GameCube game, was ported to the Wii and was a launch title for the console while the GameCube version was one of the last titles to be made for that system. The Wii version of the game has widescreen support, uses the pointer on the controller to help with aiming in first person view, and allows the player to assign up to 4 items on the controller for quick access compared to the GameCube version which only had room for 2 items. While people still debate which version is better (whether it's due to the lack of camera control in the Wii version or the fact that the Wii version mirrored the whole game world since they made Link right handed), the Wii version of the game improves many basic features.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, already a gorgeous game for GameCube, was further revamped for Wii U with refined visuals, as well as major improvements over some time-consuming parts, such as the sea travel, the Triforce hunt and the Nintendo Gallery, plus the addition of Miiverse features and a refined soundtrack. The only drawback is the removal of the Tingle Tuner.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was ported to the GameCube as part of the Master Quest bonus disc for pre-ordering The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and was also a part of a Collector's Edition exclusive from Nintendo Power. The visuals remained largely unchanged, but most of the textures were made slightly sharper and the game's references to button inputs were changed to match the GameCube controller. The game was also ported to the Nintendo 3DS and went the extra mile; textures and character models were greatly improved, text speed was sped up significantly, and the frame rate was boosted from 20 to 30. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was also given similar 3D treatment.
- This was Nintendo's method of porting games to the GBA, at least as far as the multi-player addition goes. For example, each Super Mario Bros. port also included the original arcade Mario Bros. (which was also included with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga), which can be played with four players.
- Asterix & Obelix XXL 2: Mission: Las Vegum came out on the PlayStation Portable a year after the original PlayStation 2 and PC releases. While the visuals got a downgrade (the scenery is less detailed), it makes up with some extras that are exemplified by its new subtitle, Mission: Wifix: thanks to the Wi-Fi capabilities of the system, a second player can join the main game mode (in the original version you can only switch between the two Gauls and one stays always CPU-cntrolled), and several mini-games for up to four players have been added.
- Asterix at the Olympic Games was initially released on Wii, PlayStation 2 and PC, with the latter version being marginally better because, at least, it could enjoy a better frame-rate and higher resolutions. The Xbox 360 port was released almost a year later and they made good use of that time: beside the advantages of the higher system specs over the previous console releases, it's got textures of much better quality than the ones in the PC version, making this the definitive version of the game (for what it's worth).
- The Dreamcast version of Soul Reaver was released a fair bit after the PC and PlayStation versions, and the benefits of fancier hardware with redrawn higher-res textures and more complex character models make it the version to play.
- Dust: An Elysian Tail was ported from the Xbox 360 to Windows by the developer himself. Dean designed the port with PC gamers in mind, being one himself, and put forth the effort of making a port that PC gamers would be happy with, and succeeded. The PC version hosts multiple of visual options and tweaks, crisper graphics, and the option of using higher-quality character portraits during dialogue. The game also works remarkably well with keyboard and mouse for a console-to-PC conversion, and you can switch back and forth between keyboard to controller on the fly.
- The PC port of Devil May Cry 4: After the outsourced Porting Disasters that were DMC3 and Resident Evil 4, Capcom got the hint and handled the port of DMC4 entirely in-house, developing it alongside the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. So why the long gap between the console and PC releases? Because Capcom wanted to get it right, and that they did. Besides delivering a game that could run decently on older systems and awesomely on recent ones, they also added the surprisingly cathartic Legendary Dark Knight difficulty level, which is essentially the normal difficulty level with lots of Mooks, made possible by the greater processing power high-end PCs have over consoles.
- Since then, Capcom have delivered a host of fantastic PC ports to their games, including Street Fighter IV (which includes addition visual tweaks as a PC-exclusive bonus) and Resident Evil 5 (which comes certified for 3D vision, assuming you have the right peripherals). Unfortunately, "rampant piracy" (rather than sales of paying customers) of the PC version of SFIV meant that Super Street Fighter IV only came out as part of the Arcade Edition release, and Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition took five years to come to PC.
- No matter which side of the controversy you put yourself at, one thing is clear: The guys at QLOC did one hell of a good job when working on the PC port of DMC Devil May Cry (the other consoles were made by Ninja Theory). The game truly shines in the graphic department when played on a PC, and there is also the fact that the game is actually playable and doable, even on higher difficulties, with keyboard and mouse, without control issues of any kind, very much not what you would expect of a spectacle fighting game.
- While the NES version of Contra may not had the same detailed graphics as the arcade version, the stages were greatly expanded and rearranged from the arcade version, with more traps and pitfalls to avoid in addition to the usual assortment of enemy grunts, cannons, and vehicles to destroy. The change from the arcade version's vertical setup to a traditional horizontal one also makes the action less constrained and there are more power-up capsules and pill-box sensors than in the arcade version (and unlike the arcade version, there's no need to downgrade to the default gun to obtain some of them). The boss of the Waterfall stage was even changed from a generic sensor defended by two rotating guns and a five-way cannon to an alien statue that spits fireballs with its tentacles and mouth. The time limit from the 3D stages was also removed and the music is faster paced than the arcade version (as mentioned above).
- Super C, the NES version of Super Contra, is also considerably different from its arcade counterpart. Whereas the arcade game featured an upgradeable weapon system and loose jumping controls, the NES version used the same play mechanics and power-ups as the first NES game, with the main changes being replacing the 3D stages with overhead stages much like its arcade counterpart and turning the Fire Gun into a useful weapon. The stage designs and order are roughly the same as the arcade version's at first, but the game deviates from the second half of Stage 3 and onward by adding plenty of new stages and rearranging the order of the final set of bosses.
- While Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's PC port on Steam didn't receive a major change in visuals, it does however include all of the DLC from the console versions absolutely free (and can be unlocked from the get-go with the Konami Code). It also includes a "ZANGEKI" option that lets you adjust the amount of cuts you can perform and you can jump straight into boss battles of previously cleared chapters instead of playing them through to get the boss battle. On top of all that, it's very well optimized, and the system requirements are quite overblown.
- No More Heroes was ported to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise, featuring high-resolution graphics, revamped controls and alternate, more stripperific costumes for the female characters in Very Sweet Mode. The PS3 version supports PlayStation Move. The Xbox 360 version never made it outside Japan though.
- The HD Edition of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner for the PlayStation 3 was the opposite of this up until Konami and Hexa Drive released the version 2.0 patch to undo the damage done by High Voltage Software (a lesson they didn't learn from the Silent Hill HD Collection). After the patch, it runs on a much smoother frame-rate with completely re-vamped the visuals for 1080p. The version of The 2nd Runner that was used in the HD Collection is also the never-released-to-the-States Special Edition, which featured more missions, new cut-scenes and battle sequences for the main story, extra difficulty levels, and new VR tutorials for the sub-weapons. Unfortunately, Xbox 360 owners are left in the dirt.
- The Genocide2: Genocide Square compilation for FM Towns is a much improved version of the original Sharp X68000 games, especially the first game. The first Genocide has re-balanced enemy placement and difficulty, while the sequel removes the cooldown meter of Betty+, adds an individual Weapon Select button to make weapon changes much more simpler than the original, and more attacks to perform with your saber. It also features new cut-scenes that fleshes out the story more, updated graphics, and remixed music for both games. The DOS version of Genocide 2 is more-or-less a port based the FM Towns version. It goes back to the Sharp X68000 cut-scenes and features slightly less colors used but has enhanced CD-quality music.
- The first Bayonetta was bundled with its sequel for Wii U, with performance on par with the Xbox 360 version, higher quality shadows, vertical sync, and extra Nintendo-themed costumes that are not only cosmetic, but also include their own unique special features.What are they?
- The Secret Of Monkey Island was greatly improved on its CD-Rom release, with pictures of the items in the inventory rather than text, a more concise set of commands, and most importantly, came on one disc, rather than several floppies. The only drawback was that they removed the 'stump joke' which is one of the most popular jokes in the series.
- As shown in this article, the Japanese PC version of Sierra's first graphic adventure Mystery House kept the graphics as black-and-white line drawings but redrew them to look more professional. The same publisher released Softporn Adventure for the PC-88 as Las Vegas, with original graphics added.
- Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders had an enhanced 256-color version that was released in Japan only on the FM Towns.
- Head Over Heels was converted from the ZX Spectrum to the Amstrad CPC by the original coding team, who put in a few fixes as well as making excellent use of the four-color palette of the CPC's higher-resolution mode (which was used far less colorfully in all too many ports of Speccy games).
Beat 'em Up
- Double Dragon II for the NES added story sequences to further the storyline. The levels were edited to contain more platforming, and the NES version had nine levels as opposed to the four the arcade version contained. The ending was also changed.
- Final Fight One is a GBA port of Final Fight Guy, which in turn was a slightly enhanced version of the original SNES port of Final Fight (it replaced Cody with Guy, added a few new power-ups, and featured different enemy placement). While it isn't quite as good as the arcade version, it does fix many of the problems present in the SNES version like the fact that it has all three characters (Cody is brought back), it has a 2-Player mode (via link cable) and the Industrial Area stage with Rolento is restored. This version also added versions of Guy and Cody from Street Fighter Alpha, even with their own plotlines recognizing this. There was also the Sega CD version of Final Fight. Not only does it include all six stages, all three main characters and the 2-player co-op mode, it also made good use of the CD add-on and upped the music quality considerably.
- The Genesis version of Golden Axe added an extra level, a new final boss, an Easy Mode, a "Duel Mode", and more color schemes for enemies. The MS-DOS version had all this and 256-color graphics, but also lower-quality sound effects.
- The SNES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time had slightly lower graphics quality than its arcade predecessor, but made up for it by having somewhat higher sound quality and including an extra stage, several new game play modes, and several new and/or redesigned bosses.
- The PlayStation 2 version of Viewtiful Joe included a new, very easy difficulty called "Sweet" (originally from the Japan-only Viewtiful Joe: Revival), as well as Dante from Devil May Cry as an unlockable character.
- The PSP port of Warriors Orochi 2 by Koei Canada included the extra characters and stages from the Japan-exclusive Warriors Orochi Z complete with English voices, after that version was canned for Western release. It helped that the game ran amazingly well on the portable, too.
- The PC Engine CD port of Mad Stalker: Full Metal Force has updated graphics, a remixed soundtrack, two more playable characters for its Story Mode, and animated cut-scenes in between certain stages of the game. Unfortunately, it never left Japan in any shape or form.
- M2's version of Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage and Golden Axe on Xbox LIVE Arcade not only compiles their respective trilogy, it also features a slew of graphical options, superior visual quality, customizable control scheme, the ability to save at anywhere anytime, plus save replays and share them online. It also adds new trial modes, online multi-player, and a jukebox where you can listen to the music in these games, including their unused tracks. These compilations also allows players ability to play each of the games' different regional versions, finally giving Western players the ability to play the original Japanese (albeit untranslated) version of Bare Knuckle III. The downside with the Golden Axe collection is that it uses the arcade version of the first game instead of the enhanced Genesis port.
- The HD re-release of Guardian Heroes on Xbox LIVE Arcade presents the game in widescreen, features enhanced HD visuals, redrawn character artwork, re-worked voice-overs, new sound effects, a revised script, redesigned gameplay mechanics, updated A.I., online multi-player, and expanded Versus Mode to twelve players. The game also give players the option of playing the game with the original gameplay mechanics and Sega Saturn visuals.
- Virtua Racing Deluxe, the 32X port of Virtua Racing, didn't have graphics quite as good as the arcade original, but it did have three different cars (rather than just one), and five tracks rather than three. It played rather closely to the arcade original, and much more smoothly than the Mega Drive port. Also worth noting about Virtua Racing Deluxe is that it was one of the first console racing games to feature rendered damage on one's car.
- The Nintendo 64 port of Cruis'n World is missing the ability to murder wildlife, but it's graphically closer to the arcade original than the Nintendo 64 version of Cruis'n USA was to its arcade version. On top of that, the developers at Eurocom also added circuit tracks, turbo boost, more cars, and four-player multiplayer.
- Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed's PC port. While the port for the first ASR was pretty watered-down (no online play, no controller support, no DLC), SUMO knew they had to make up for it by making a fantastic PC port of the sequel. Some of the advantages that the PC version has over the console/handheld versions are: Full 60FPS and 1080p resolution, more detail in the shading and character models, five exclusive characters (three of which are Pyro, Heavy, and Spy from Team Fortress 2, who all take up one character slot and take turns driving on different terrains), and it gets updated on a regular basis, meaning it has less glitches than the console versions (although online mode is still very buggy). Additionally, the PC version has had a steady stream of DLC characters added to the roster while the console versions have had nothing beyond the initial Metal Sonic and OutRun Beach Bonus Pack thanks to Development Hell.
- Initial D Arcade Stage Version 2 received a port to the PlayStation 2 known as Initial D Special Stage. Not only does it retain the slick 60 frames per second of the arcade game (and doesn't drain your quarters!), it also includes an additional story mode based off the original manga containing fifty races and challenges spanned across three characters, along with a few new race courses that would later be merged back into the main arcade series.
- Virtua Fighter for Sega 32X, despite greatly downgraded visuals which made the characters look like they were made of wooden blocks, is considered a fan-favorite of the game, and for good reason. It retains all characters and their move sets from the arcade original, cool music very similar to the arcade edition, arcade-perfect control and features ranking and tournament modes, as well as other options not featured in other releases. This game alone is a reason to buy a 32X.
- The Dreamcast port of Soul Calibur. Like SoulEdge, the first Soul Calibur arcade game was based on the original PlayStation hardware, which means the Dreamcast port ended up being visually far superior to it (as in the greatest-looking console game ever at release plus its copious extra modes).
- The Mega Drive/Genesis version of Mortal Kombat 1 may have been less impressive graphically due to the system's limited color palette, but some of the music (composed by Matt Furniss) was quite different from its arcade counterpart, and (in many people's opinion) for the better. Not to mention the blood code.
- Most fighting games ported to the original Game Boy tended to not play anything like their console or arcade brethren, due to choppy framerates and/or unresponsive controls because of developers trying to emulate the look of the game rather than replicating the gameplay, but some managed to stand out.
- For the GB port of Killer Instinct, the developers obviously had gameplay in mind first and foremost; they did this by downscaling the characters enough to where you could still make distinctions on who they are without hampering the frame-rate, resulting in fluid, responsive gameplay that played very close to the original version (with the exception of a couple of cut characters and streamlined controls). It helped that the team that worked on the GB version were comprised of programmers who had worked on the arcade and SNES ports, instead of Nintendo handing the job to a third party. Hands-down to one of the best fighting game on the green-screen original GB.
- The Battle Arena Toshinden Game Boy port is outstanding. While the main games could be seen as a failed franchise, the Game Boy port really deserves more attention, as it is easily one of the best fighting-games the Game Boy has. It even managed to get the Ring Out feature on a 2D game without breaking it.
- The Game Boy port of Samurai Shodown changed the characters to Super-Deformed versions, much as with Battle Arena Toshinden, allowing for the same wide-open screen for leaping about as the original and all of the original moves. They also added in several secret characters such as the referee and the messenger long before the arcade ports allowed them.
- The Game Boy version of Mortal Kombat II was a great handheld fighter that played as well as Mortal Kombat II could be on a Game Boy, and quite a surprise after looking at the Porting Disaster that was the original Mortal Kombat on Game Boy.
- Street Fighter series:
- A minor example is the SNES version of the first Street Fighter II. Although the character sprites were smaller and less animated, they kept the controls just as tight, and were even able to add the Mirror Match and alternate colors of Champion Edition though a code. Some of the ending artwork were also improved, most notably Eliza (Ken's girlfriend) actually resembles a human being for once.
- The early Street Fighter games had a rocky history of being ported to MS-DOS, but the DOS port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo by Eurocom was a step in the right direction. On top of being actually playable, it has visuals on par with the arcade version at the expense of having the game screen zoomed in, and uses six buttons for attacks instead of two buttons found in most early DOS fighting games. The DOS version came in two versions: a floppy version with MIDI-quality music and a CD version with remixed music and better keyboard support.
- The Sega Saturn version of Street Fighter Alpha, a.k.a. Street Fighter Zero 3, is widely regarded as the best, even superior to the CPS-2 original. It requires a 4MB RAM cart, but has all of its animation intact, lots of extra game modes, extra characters like Guile, and isn't extremely prone to Loads and Loads of Loading for a CD-based console beyond the initial loading screen. Unfortunately, it never left Japan. PlayStation owners however got an extremely polished port, across ALL regions. The downside was the Loads and Loads of Loading, which loads in between everything, ruining the pace compared to arcade version.
- Unsurprisingly, the Dreamcast port of Alpha 3 contains the same features and polish as the Saturn version AND it was released outside of Japan.
- The Dreamcast port of Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes. It was a full and complete port of the arcade original, with all the animation, characters, endings, codes, and gameplay intact. As far as game modes, it only adds training and survival, but has a number of small, somewhat subtle additions that really add up. Primarily the fact that by fighting the secret characters in the arcade mode, you can unlock them for use without the rather complex codes from the arcade (which still work here, by the way). Unlocking them all allows the player to actually use Onslaught in a separate game mode—thus giving players the chance to use him while keeping him out of the game proper. The only thing missing is the PlayStation version's 'secret' Mega Man with the Magnetic Shockwave.
- Cyber Troopers Virtual-ON series:
- The Xbox LIVE Arcade port of Virtual-ON: Oratorio Tangram Ver.5.66 has optional HD visuals, tutorials for beginners, and the default control scheme works quite well with the Xbox 360 controller. It also has online play through Xbox LIVE and the color edit feature seen in the Dreamcast version.
- The PlayStation 2 port of Virtual-ON: Operation Moongate has updated visuals and runs more fluidly than the original (up until the Japan-only HD re-release), improved sound quality, and added a slew of extra modes to play around with, including one where you can play as chibi versions of the Virtuaroids and play as the final boss. Sadly, nobody outside of Japan got this version.
- The PlayStation of version Psychic Force 2012, titled Psychic Force 2, despite having downgraded visuals from the arcade and Dreamcast version, it features new modes to play around with, including a Psy Expand mode that features RPG Elements that allows players to customize each characters' moveset, and restored Sonia, Brad, and Genma as playable characters. Like the PlayStation port of its predecessor, Psychic Force 2012 also got an Anime Theme Song opening by Hironobu Kageyama, one of JAM Project's founding members. Although never released in North America, it did however see an English release in PAL territories.
- Skullgirls got a much better port on PC, having the characters' move-list available from the get-go (although this was later rectified in the console versions), online lobbies, more frequent updates than the console versions, and, straight from the developers' mouths, support for every USB controller imaginable.
- The Model2 Collection re-release of Sonic the Fighters has enhanced visuals for 1080p, online multi-player, and undummied three of the Dummied Out characters that where only accessible through hacking. The undummied characters are Honey the Cat, Metal Sonic, and Dr. Robotnik (in his Mini-Mecha); the latter two of the three are only playable through multi-player through. You can even press the triggers of your controller to listen to the game's music at the main menu, including the unused tracks.
- Asuka 120% series saw several releases on a couple of consoles and computer systems, but many consider Asuka 120% BURNING Fest. Limited on Sega Saturn the best in the series. It features much better visuals, larger hand-drawn sprites, smoother animations, remixed CD-quality music from the PC Engine version, and faster and refined gameplay.
- The Saturn port of Quake was surprisingly competent considering the Saturn's notorious handicap with 3D, featuring all of the content of the original version and much more accurate level geometry than the concurrent Nintendo 64 port. It also has four secret levels not found in any other versions.
Fun fact: It's not even using the original Quake engine. The game was actually based on Lobotomy Software's own Slavedriver engine, also used in PowerSlave and the Duke Nukem 3D port.
- The PlayStation and Saturn version of PowerSlave (Exhumed and Seireki 1999: Pharaoh no Fukkatsu in Europe and Japan, respectively). Although the various version were released together, development started on the PC using the Build engine, best known for powering Duke Nukem 3D. (Odd, isn't it? The version of Build used for PC PowerSlave is even older than that used for Duke Nukem 3D despite releasing after, at that.) Lobotomy then decided to try their luck on consoles, but upon realizing that a straight port was impossible, they developed the Slavedriver engine and ended up making practically another game. While PC PowerSlave is forgettable and has overly long, boring levels, console PowerSlave is one of the best early console FPSes, and loses some nicer textures in exchange for faster and smoother gameplay, full 3D movement, and open-ended levels with new weapons and abilities to discover in order to advance, predating Metroid Prime by over half a decade.
- You thought the PlayStation fails at running 2D games? A little-known Japanese company, Asmik, proves the opposite! Hard Rock Cab, the PlayStation port of Quarantine, loads ALL area sprites at one loading (without having them drastically squished) and runs without any "seemingly obvious" lag. Oh, and it also requires only one memory card slot for five in game save slots, and, moreover, you can save everywhere! Considering that the original game required 4MB of memory (while PS runs with 2) and it never seen a limelight outside Japan... talk about magical.
- The versions of Metroid Prime and its sequel as re-released on the Wii as part of Metroid Prime Trilogy. Both games had some extra lighting and bloom effects added, 16:9 widescreen presentation, slightly improved textures, doors loaded faster, a New Game+ feature that retains your logbook entries in subsequent playthroughs, and Corruption-style New Play Control that works beautifully. All of this on one disk only and slightly more expensive than Corruption on its own (until was it re-released through the Wii U's eShop channel, where it is sold in a much cheaper price). The only drawback was that some visual effects had to be removed due to the particle effects on Samus' arm cannon not being programmed to move with the Wii Remote, and the doors in Corruption took longer to load but the latter was fixed for the digital re-release.
- The Orange Box for Xbox 360 did this to Half-Life 2 and Episode One, bringing the graphical improvements of the shiny new engine to their old games without a hitch. This was the same case for the PlayStation 2 version of Half-Life, with higher resolution models, an entirely new story mode designed for co-op called Decay, a helpful targeting system, the ability to play as a Vortigaunt and a two-player deathmatch mode with most of the original maps.
- The American Sega Saturn version was notorious for it's unbelievably choppy frame-rate and input lag. However, the Japanese Saturn version of the game was developed by a different, more competent studio and as a result had a much better frame-rate and was actually playable. Also, the PlayStation version deserves a mention here. It may have replaced the memorable soundtrack with ambient music, but it also had plenty of extra levels, tons of new colored lighting effects which were pure Scenery Porn, and even added some of the Doom II monsters into the Ultimate Doom levels if you set the difficulty to Ultra-Violence. The same treatment was also given for the PlayStation version of Final Doom that also included levels from Master Levels for Doom II.
- The Xbox versions of Doom and Doom II included in Doom 3: Limited Collecter's Edition and Resurrection of Evil are very faithful console ports of the original PC version with an extra secret level added to each game, but has some rare game-breaking bugs. The HD version on Xbox LIVE Arcade, included Doom 3: BFG Edition, and the Doom Classic Complete compilation on PlayStation Network presents the classic Doom games in a higher native resolution, features higher quality music, online multi-player, and a new "No Rest for the Living" episode for Doom II. However the Wolfenstein levels were censored and the red medical crosses were removed in the HD re-releases.
- The PC version of Turok 2 had higher-resolution graphics and better music than the original Nintendo 64 version, plus the ability to save anywhere, although some of the music was cut short to fit the redbook space on the CD.
- GoldenEye for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 is basically an enhanced port of the Wii version in high resolution and better textures, along with more content.
- The first Borderlands didn't have the best PC port. Realizing that they didn't do that good of a job, Gearbox Software and Claptrap responded to PC players that they would get a better port for the second game. They lived up to everything on the list and more, as one can tell.◊
Hack and Slash
- The original arcade version of Gauntlet was a coin-drinking machine that spawned random levels endlessly, including some that were impossible to complete due to the placement of walls and items, until the player ran out of money or gave up. The NES port replaced this with 100 pre-made levels and a password system. (Of course, the game was so ridiculously difficult that almost nobody made it to the end anyway.)
- Several games on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive had improved ports on the Sega CD. Some were worth it, some weren't. Similarly, some Sega CD games had upgraded versions on the 32X CD.
- Many ports actually managed to improve on the music from the original version, due to coding it for a different sound chip — even if the actual game engine was not as good. Examples:
- Any port for which the Follin brothers did sound programming (e.g., Ghouls 'n Ghosts for C64 and Amiga).
- Contra for the NES is another such port. Despite being on a more primitive sound chip, the music was faster-paced and generally more intense than the arcade version.
- The Mega Drive/Genesis port of Lemmings arguably has a much more exciting soundtrack than the Amiga original.
- As mentioned below, Earthworm Jim on PC and Sega CD's Earthworm Jim: Special Edition.
- The Game Boy port of Bomb Jack definitely qualifies. (Although the music is switched off by default for some crazy reason.)
- In Monty on the Run, the memorable theme by Robin Hubbard was added to the Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC versions; the ZX Spectrum original was a 48K game with no music during gameplay.
- Mega Man series:
- Mega Man: The Wily Wars for the Sega Genesis took the original three NES games, updated them with 16-bit graphics and sound, beefed up the difficulty, added a save feature for all three of the games, and, as a bonus, added an all-new game, Wily Tower, as an unlockable.
- The PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC ports of Mega Man X3 enhanced the game with rockin' CD-quality music, a save feature, and anime cutscenes sandwiched in-between. The only issue was the addition of loading times, which were eradicated in the X Collection port of X3.
- Capcom probably got the hint they screwed up bad when KOKO Capcom handled the Korean-only PC port of Mega Man X7, which is why Mega Man X8's PC port turned out much better than its predecessor. Unlike X7, X8 was far better programmed and available in multiple languages. It also has higher resolutions settings (up to 1280×1024 although hacks can make it higher), mouse support for menus, and supports gamepad (particularly DirectInput controllers).
- Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly was a disaster on the PlayStation 2 (painfully slow frame rates/loading sequences, game-breaking glitches, etc.), but the developers fixed most of the technical issues when porting to the GameCube.
- Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was let down by ridiculous loading times on the PlayStation 2. The GameCube and Xbox versions cut them significantly. The Xbox port also adds a few graphical and sound enhancements such as fur textures for Crash and Coco and properly looped music while the GameCube port has GBA connectivity to unlock an extra mini-game. The only drawbacks are that both versions lack the original track for Medieval Madness for some reason (playing The Gauntlet's theme instead), and the GCN port in particular has a few graphical glitches. Some time later, the PlayStation 2 version itself had the loading times shortened for its Greatest Hits/Platinum reléase as well.
- In Japan, Akumajou Dracula (the first Castlevania) was re-released on a cartridge (rather than floppy disks) in 1993. This version included an Easy Mode, in which Simon starts with more hearts, lives, and time, takes less damage, doesn't get knocked back, and keeps his Double/Triple Shot items when changing weapons.
- Prince of Persia on the SNES blew the original home computer ports out of the water, with incredibly good background music (most of the home computer versions had none!), improved graphics, and added levels. The sequel, on the other hand, was farmed out to a much worse developer.
- Capcom often did this if they realized a straight port would end up a disaster. The NES version of Strider is a worthy game even compared to the Arcade version by virtue of not being a port at all. It's a separate game using many of the same themes and a story based on the original manga. Only control issues keep it from being a great game.
- Similarly, the NES version of Bionic Commando completely displaced the arcade original, which was relatively mediocre.
- The SNES version of U.N. Squadron goes from the linear arcade game to a deep map-based campaign with branching missions, side missions (enemy supply convoys and attacking bombers), and a plane and item shop that let you match any pilot with all the jets from the original and about twice as much besides.
- Valis: The Legend of a Fantasm Soldier for the PC Engine Super CD was a remake of the original game that had been remade for the Mega Drive not long before. Not only does the PC Engine version have longer cutscenes and better colors, it avoids the hit detection and frame rate problems that plagued the Mega Drive version.
- The SNES port of Chuck Rock has more colors, multi-layer parallax scrolling backgrounds, and additional sound effects over other versions.
- Conker: Live and Reloaded is a bit of a mixed bag. While the graphics were highly improved, a lot of the bad language was censored, which is interesting given that the original was a Nintendo 64 game, and Live and Reloaded was for the Xbox.
- Fans of the original's multiplayer modes (which are widely well-received, even being compared on several occasions to that of GoldenEye (1997)) were for the most part disappointed with Live and Reloaded's (now defunct because of server shutdown) multiplayer, becoming a more generic third-person shooter and losing a lot of the charm of the original.
- The tragically obscure PC port of Earthworm Jim 1 & 2. While it didn't do much on the gameplay side (and increased loading times for most machines at the time), the graphics were enhanced along with redbook audio music, which meant the game discs could be played in a music CD player, and the sound team took advantage of the higher quality. Anything But Tangerines (the first level from the second game) gets a special mention.
- There are two PC ports — an MS-DOS port published by Interplay, and a Windows 95 port published by Activision. GOG.com is selling the Interplay DOS version. Hardcore Gaming 101 notes that there are level and graphical differences between the two, but both have the same redbook soundtrack.
- In lieu of the PC ports, there's also the Sega CD-exclusive Earthworm Jim: Special Edition, with redbook audio for the music, much smoother animations than in the SNES port, and the most levels you'll find of any console version of the game, including the exclusive "Big Bruty" level.
- The Sega Saturn and PlayStation versions of Earthworm Jim 2 are a good example of this. They have the same redbook audio of the Windows and DOS versions, very polished and professional looking graphics (more so on the Sega Saturn), and are slightly different and have some minor things added to the game.
- Funnily enough, a similar thing happened to Disney's The Lion King backport. Licensed was an Obvious Alpha. Pirated is an Obvious Beta... with about twice the effort put into it.
- The Sega Genesis version of The Lost Vikings added five new levels, an intro cutscene for each world, three-player simultaneous co-op, and an entirely new tune for the Factory level.note .
- When Sonic the Hedgehog CD was ported to the PC, the heavily-compressed, 64 color animated cutscenes from the Sega CD original were replaced with their full versions. The PC port also had a more intuitive Save Screen, the ability to play Past music in the Sound Test, a fixed bug that had prevented you from finishing Metallic Madness Zone 2 in the past, and faster time travel, making it possible to time travel in new places.
- The 2011 re-release took this to another level with support for widescreen and HD graphics, the addition of Tails as an unlockable character, as well as better graphics and both U.S. and Japanese soundtracks. This one skirts the line between this and outright Video Game Remake because the underlying engine is completely rewritten.
- The mobile re-releases of Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 also apply here. Both run in widescreen and in HD, with Sonic 1 adding Tails and Knuckles as playable characters, Super Sonic activated similarly to Sonic 2 and 3 (collect all Chaos Emeralds and then collect 50 rings in any level), a toggle-able spin dash (The Game Boy Advance port also adds the spin dash, but that port is a Porting Disaster so it's best not mentioned) and a Time Trial mode for each act of each zone, and Sonic 2 adding Knuckles as a playable and giving Tails (who already is playable in Sonic 2) his flight/swimming abilities from Sonic 3 & Knuckles (as he played as a Palette Swap to Sonic in the original game). Sonic 2 also featured a Boss Run mode, an expanded multiplayer mode, and even a recreated version of the Dummied Out Hidden Palace Zone. These games run under the same engine used for the Sonic CD 2011 re-release, so whether these two games count as polished ports or remakes is also up in the air.
- Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 were ported to the Nintendo GameCube as Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. The latter merely received extra two player content, but the former underwent a graphical overhaul, had bonus missions added, and included the ability to unlock the twelve Game Gear Sonic games, as well as play as Metal Sonic.
- Sonic Generations on the PC is the definitive version of the game. Full 1080p visuals and runs on a slick 60FPS (and that is without mentioning the huge modding possibilities). Unfortunately, there are drawbacks; if playing on a non-Xbox controller, Sonic will sometimes start stepping to the left by himself until you restart the game, and it has graphical and framerate issues with some video cards that really shouldn't have such issues for the game (especially likely to be encountered in the liquid-heavy Chemical Plant stage).
- The Sega Master System version of Captain Silver has better hit detection and expanded levels, and due to the console's graphical limitations the backgrounds have a less hectic color scheme.
- Blackthorne got a version for the Sega 32X about a year after the SNES and PC versions, which featured updated graphics and a new area.
- Rayman 2: The Great Escape was first released on the PC and Nintendo 64, had some features added in the game for the Dreamcast version released several months later, and was later re-released on the PlayStation 2 a year later as Rayman Revolution, which featured a new hub level, enhanced graphics, level revisions, and several of the features added to the Dreamcast version including some of the minigames and the option for full voiceacting. And, to add to the confusion, a PlayStation 1 version of Rayman 2: The Great Escape was released between the Dreamcast version and the PlayStation 2 version, only this version had only 800 lums, an exclusive minigame, several characters added, and several levels modified or removed altogether.
- Super Monkey Ball was originally an Arcade Game called Monkey Ball. It was ported to the Nintendo GameCube with some Party Games and Mini Games added on.
- When Pitfall II: Lost Caverns was ported from the Atari 2600 to both the Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64 lines of computers, each development team came up with their own superior version of the game. The Commodore 64 team rebuilt the code from scratch and vastly improved the graphics, while the Atari 400/800 team reused the code from the 2600 version, then used the extra time waiting for the Commodore 64 team to finish to make an entire hidden second level that was longer than the original game itself.
- Turrican, as originally created by Manfred Trenz for the Commodore 64, didn't have much of a soundtrack, since most levels took up too much memory to allow for music. It was the Amiga port, with enhanced graphics and a new soundtrack by Chris Huelsbeck, that made the game legendary. (Turrican II for the Amiga was developed alongside Trenz's C64 version, and was actually released first.)
- The PlayStation version of Mickey Mania, entitled Mickey's Wild Adventure, took the Sega CD version, greatly enhanced the graphics, amped up the difficulty, and added another new stage, this one having Mickey escaping from a pursuing Willie the Giant.
- Super Mario All-Stars is a massive visual and sound overhaul of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and the (then) Japanese original version of Mario 2, which was renamed to Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels overseas. All the games have their visual styles and sounds updated to match the power that the Super NES had and the physics in all the games were slightly tweaked. A second edition of All-Stars was released, which included Super Mario World. While Super Mario World didn't get any changes overall, the All-Stars edition changed Luigi's sprites so he would look unique instead of being a Palette Swap of Mario. The Game Boy Advance port of Super Mario World would go on to further differentiate him by implementing his trademark physics.
- The ports of Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, and the All-Stars versions of Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Game Boy Advance. Like the above mentioned port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, all 4 added additional sounds and new multiplayer content in the form of a port of Mario Bros. Yoshi's Island added bonus stages. Super Mario Bros. 3 added e-Reader bonus stages. Super Mario World has Dragon Coins in the Castles and Fortresses. Super Mario Bros. 2 has a different World 3 boss.
- Rockin' Android's version of Crescent Pale Mist, aside from being in English, has updated graphics, online leaderboards, and an Anti-Frustration Feature where picking up a warp orb that lets you undo your platforming mistakes in some areas for a limited time.
- The House of the Dead: OVERKILL: Extended Cut for the PlayStation 3 includes tons of bonus content, such as new chapters focusing on Varla Guns, a Hard Mode, a swear-censoring option, and lots more.
- The PC version The Typing of the Dead: Overkill gets a typing mode (as odd as it sounds) as well as the extended cut of the game.
- An incredible example with a bootleg port. Commandos. Just Commandos.
- Brutal Legend on the PC. The port came out almost four years after the console versions (due to Double Fine not being allowed to make a PC port until EA dropped publishing rights), but it was worth the wait. Due to the game being an RTS, it plays a lot better with a mouse + keyboard setup than it does with a controller. The lack of involvement from EA also means the port does not have the 99% completion glitch.
- Guitar Hero 2 was already highly popular on the PlayStation 2, but the Xbox 360 version gave the game not just a visual touch-up, but new guitar controllers, a host of new songs (and optional downloads as Downloadable Content), and a rearranged song order, meaning that the formerly infamous Psychobilly Freakout was moved up to the higher tiers, among others. It also widened the allowable gap between frets for hammer-ons and pull-offs just enough to make songs that made heavy use of them tolerable.
- The original Rock Band provides a backwards example. Usually games down-ported from the Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 2 are disasters with low frame rates, long loading times, ugly graphics etc. Rock Band looked like it would be no exception, given that 4 charts can scroll down the screen at once (a novelty at the time), with 4 characters rocking out in the background with more detail than they used in the Guitar Hero games. How did they pull it off? Well, they didn't. They compromised by removing the character editor completely and making a video file for every song of the pre-made characters rocking instead. At the price of having no choice of character (or editor), the game played smoothly with nearly identical graphics (in SD). A less-polished aspect is that the tour was removed and replaced with a simplified version (the same as the solo tour), although some people preferred this tour for having less menus.
- beatmania IIDX 9th Style was a porting disaster on its arcade version (and that's porting as in, porting to a new Windows-based engine from the PlayStation derivative used on 8th Style) and was full of bugs. The PlayStation 2 version did not share any of these issues.
- jubeat plus / jukebeat for iOS. Unlike the current arcade version, jubeat saucer, jukebeat won't periodically delete your songs.
- Reflec Beat Plus, also for iOS, adds a local two-player mode, allowing two players to battle it out on one iPad rather than having to use their own devices.
- The GameCube port of Skies of Arcadia is much better than the Dreamcast original, and not only because it allowed more people to play it. The developers reduced the cripplingly-high encounter rate and added several (fun) sidequests that do a great deal to explain The Dragon's motivation as well as character backstory. The downside, however, is that the music took a hit because of a problem with compression for the GameCube.
- The Last Remnant was a sorta-decent game on the Xbox 360. The PC port fixed a lot of the bugs, smoothed out crafting, and removed the hated "Leader" designation, which restricted players from using most of the most powerful characters.
- The original Japanese version of Final Fantasy IV was pretty good, but the American port for the SNES suffered from a bad translation. The GBA version (actually based on the WonderSwan Color port) fixed the translation, but lengthened the lag between selecting a special ability or spell and using it, meaning that most fights were best handled through mashing "Attack" over and over.
- The DS version added Augments (special abilities to assign, permanently to a party member which persist on the next playthrough), cinematic cutscenes at key plot points, characters 'thoughts' displayed in a thought bubble and a Quicksave feature.
- And then the PSP version proves to be a port-of-a-port (specifically, of the GBA version), but with greatly improved graphics, removed lag, a choice between the SNES and DS soundtracks, and a number of bug fixes. It lacks anything introduced to the DS version besides a few translation changes, but none of the other versions have anything on the PSP version.
- In Japan, the original NES Final Fantasy I received an MSX 2 port in 1989. It suffered from (relatively brief) load times and a lack of smooth scrolling, but featured improved graphics and sound.
- The DS version of Chrono Trigger adds some new weapons, New Game+ side quests and an extra Bonus Boss which ties the game in with Chrono Cross. It also keeps the anime-style cutscenes from the PlayStation port and polishes some game mechanics, taking away certain game-breaking equipment, adding the ability to exchange party members (not just switch their order in the party like before) outside the End of Time, and polishing the translation as well. Oddly, besides the anime cutscenes, the graphics remained intact from the original, but why fix something that's already fantastic? It was also finally released in Europe.
- The original Sid Meiers Pirates, originally a Commodore 64 game, got a huge graphics and music upgrade when it was ported to the Amiga.
- Might and Magic: Secret of the Inner Sanctum on the Nintendo Entertainment System was far more playable than the original Apple II/PC versions.
- The PSP version of Persona 3 is Persona 3 with most of the gameplay elements of Persona 4 refined to perfection, and the ability to choose the gender of the main character. There's also a few new Social Links around, including a cameo by Ms. Kashiwagi from Persona 4. Also, you now have full control over your party, like in P4.
- The first version of Golvellius, developed by Compile on the MSX, was a nice game already (it's basically a Zelda clone with some neat elements added, like side-scrolling dungeons) but had extremely bland graphics and sound. Sega remade it on the Master System with much better graphics, a completely new layout for dungeons and overworld, and some additions like mid-dungeon bosses. Compile took note and made the definitive version (often incorrectly referred as Golvellius 2) for the MSX2: different storyline, awesome intro and ending screens, graphics similar to the Master System version but less cartoonish, and yet another complete renewal of overworld and dungeons.
- The MOTHER portion of MOTHER 1+ 2. It took the myriad of polishes and extra features of the unreleased English prototype widely known as EarthBoundZero (simultaneously confirming said prototype's legitimacy), polished its rough edges further, added more convenient controls in line with those of EarthBound, resulting in something of a superior product to both prior versions. The EarthBound portion, on the other hand, wasn't quite so lucky.
- The FM Towns port of Ultima VI added voice acting in both English and Japanese, as well as digital sound effects to replace the PC speaker sound effects of the original version.
- The PC port of Mass Effect improved the much-despised Mako tank sequences, giving you better control with a keyboard and mouse than you ever had with an Xbox controller. Depending on the speed of your system, it also decreases the Loads and Loads of Loading. It's not without its flaws though: on launch the game suffered several issues related to hardware and firmware variations. there's a rumor that BioWare only tested the port on one set of hardware and drivers.
- Hack Up the Monster, Steal Its Treasure, and Proceed On to the Next Room languished for 20 years as a PC BASIC implementation of 1st Edition AD&D in which you couldn't even earn experience levels. When it was ported to a modern Windows platform, it was vastly improved into version 2.0, which added level gains, multi-classed characters, characters with two classes, a huge catalog of monsters, non-spell class abilities, spells through 4th level, and monster-vs-monster combat.
- The PC port of Jade Empire features new weapons, new enemies, new fighting styles, a harder difficulty setting, and improved AI.
- Although Monk Zeng was the Collector's Edition exclusive character on Xbox (and later downloadable for running on Xbox 360).
- Eternal Sonata was originally released on the Xbox 360 and then ported to the PlayStation 3 with extra playable characters, more plot, and additional costumes for the characters.
- Tales of Graces was ported to the PlayStation 3 as Tales of Graces f. The expansion not only featured an additional story about half as long as the main plot line, but it also provided interesting Character Development for the game's Mysterious Waif. In addition to that, there was many a Game-Breaking Bug that was fixed in the port, including one that would otherwise make replaying it next to impossible. It was this version that was ultimately ported to the West as a PS3 exclusive.
- Tales of Innocence was ported to the Play Station Vita as Tales of Innocence R. Changes include a new battle system, a new system for learning abilities, touchscreen support, updated graphics, a new opening song, more anime cutscenes, and two new party members that are integrated into the storyline. This version has not been released in Western countries.
- The Witcher 2 Assassins Of Kings was ported to the Xbox 360 as the "Enhanced Edition". Barring lower graphical fidelity and visuals, this version made many significant improvements over the PC original. The controls were revised for the controller and introduced a new tutorial that thoroughly explained the mechanics of the game. The port also tweaked the game's difficulty curve of the prologue mission, meaning that players would no longer have to worry about being stuck as a result of attacks being interrupted mid-swing by an enemy hitting Geralt from the side. As if that wasn't enough, people who purchased the port received a game guide, a world map, concept art, interviews, a soundtrack, four hours of additional gameplay, and a code to redeem a separate PC copy from GOG.
- Baldur's Gate saw an upgraded rerelease in 2012, for the PC, Mac and iPhone platforms, under the title of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. This version featured several bug fixes, new characters/quests/items, the contents from the Tales of the Sword Coast included, addition of character sets from Baldur's Gate 2 and a graphical makeover to support current-generation resolutions. Unfortunately, it also introduces some minor bugs, and there's still no news of an announced Android version.
- Secret of Mana was ported to iOS with an interface designed to take advantage of the touch screen: instead of using an on-screen D-pad to navigate through menus, you just touch your choice like you would a native iOS app. Also, Square fixed a number of bugs. Sadly, multiplayer was cut, although there is always hope it will be added in an update.
- Muramasa Rebirth for the PlayStation Vita takes the original Wii title and gives it updated visuals, an improved localization courtesy of Aksys Games (the same folks that brought you the BlazBlue series), and customizable controls (including an independent Jump button).
- The first Fable was ported to PC and Mac as Fable: The Lost Chapters with customizable controls, smoother frame-rate, video settings that helps the game look gorgeous, a mouse-driven interface to that makes the game's menus more intuitive, and a wealth of new content added into the game (more quests, new equipment, more enemies, new regions, etc.).
Shoot 'em Up
- Twinkle Star Sprites got a Sega Saturn port with a bonus disc and no slowdown; as a result, some prefer it to the Neo Geo original. Unfortunately, like every home version of the game, it also never left Japan.
- The Xbox 360 ports of Mushihime-sama Futari, Espgaluda II, and Death Smiles all have "Xbox 360" modes with much higher-resolution sprites. They also come packed with "Black Label" versions (except in the case of Futari; you have to pay an extra $15 for it), a blessing in the case of Futari and DeathSmiles considering that their respective Black Label arcade releases had very limited print runs.
- DeathSmiles's 360 mode, which in other CAVE ports is typically just an HD version of the game it's a port of, allows the player to select Level 1 on every stage (instead of locking it out after a few stages), allows selection of Casper and Rosa without having to enter a code, and rebalances the characters—Windia in particular has been upgraded from a Tier-Induced Scrappy to a play-worthy character.
- The Xbox 360 port of Ketsui fixes some Game Breaking Bugs present in the original, such as the music playing at half speed in Stage 5 and the screen momentarily freezing right before DOOM.
- The home ports of Castle of Shikigami III gained new features such the option to using an arranged version of Castle of Shikigami II's soundtrack, the ability to use TATE (vertical) mode, a re-balanced Director's Cut mode, a Boss Rush mode, and a Dramatic Change mode wherein one player play use a team of two characters and swap them on the fly during gameplay. The Wii and Xbox 360 versions also have a Gallery with a slew of unlockable artwork, an unlockable Juke Box feature, and an Extra Options feature where various game settings can be changed outside of the normal gameplay; the latter also has online leaderboards.
- The NES port of Toki used smaller sprites and much more of the screen was visible at a time. This greatly reduced the number of cheap deaths in the game.
- Soviet Strike is practically the only Electronic Arts game that turned out better on the Sega Saturn than the PlayStation. Framerate is roughly the same, but the Saturn version has more detailed textures and even boasts a few new wingtip weapons. It also controls very well with the Mission Stick. The only downside is that the Saturn version cut some of the non-plot critical video clips.
- The Amiga version of Desert Strike was obviously a labour of love for the porting team. The sounds were redone, which included adding radio chatter in the title sequence, and a pleasant female voice notifying the player during missions of important information. A good deal of the graphics was redone, and it added a good deal of background flavour, such as wrecked vehicles strewn on roadsides and oases in the desert. Probably the most fondly-remembered change was that the pitiful and cartoony explosions of the original were changed to mushroom clouds accompanied by a mighty sound and the entire screen flashing white for a split-second.
- Those who have played both the original arcade version of Gradius III and its SNES port typically regard the latter to be superior, save for the much greater slowdown, and a much more forgiving challenge.
- Gradius II on the PC Engine is a very fine and accurate port of the original, to the point where it uses redbook audio for the soundtrack, and it adds a new stage.
- Smash TV was an arcade game that was notorious for being Nintendo Hard. The home version wasn't exactly easier, but with unlimited continues meaning you could play it without spending a fortune in quarters, it was certainly more enjoyable. One feature it has over the arcade original is an actual soundtrack; in a developer interview, the sound engineer for the arcade game was instructed not to put too much effort into the music since the game's constant gunfire and explosions would drown it out anyway.
- The Steam version of Beat Hazard Ultra features a real-time news system through RSS and social feed through Twitter (optional), and access to internet radio. The Shadow Operations Unit DLC also adds extra ships and the ability to create your own. The retail PC version of the original game by THQ plays much like original Xbox LIVE Indie Games version but with the addition of extra songs and the unlockable Suicidal difficulty.
- RayStorm and RayCrisis on PC runs on higher resolution than the arcade version with better and more audible sound effects than the PlayStation version. Although the PC ports of these games were made for Windows 95/98, they run quite well on modern operating systems and those with higher-end systems have the benefit of almost non-existent loading times. The downside of these ports however that RayStorm requires the disc to run it and lacks the optional TANZ remixed soundtracks for Extra Mode, while RayCrisis' PC port is based on the PlayStation version, which lacks the co-op multiplayer the original arcade version had. Unfortunately, running these games on Windows 8 or later will cause the game run a half its speed.
- Battle Garegga's Sega Saturn port features options for fine-tuning autofire as well as a quick toggle for enabling the Mahou Daisakusen Guest Fighters. On top of that, the base rank can be reset by simply opening the Options menu, rather than having to run the attract demo or reset the console outright.
- The original Descent was in most respects an excellent game, however, the quality of the MIDI music was heavily dependant on owning a certain kind of soundcard (quite an expensive one at the time.) The Apple Macintosh port of the game got a remixed Redbook soundtrack instead.
- Not only that, the Mac's higher resolution screen, superior color palette, and generally greater power meant that the game ran at a higher resolution and had much of its interface graphics redrawn to match.
- When Egosoft rereleased the older titles in the X-Universe series on Steam in the late 2000s, they went back through each and every game with a fine-toothed comb to fix any compatibility issues with current OS's (the first game in the series was originally coded for Windows 95/98). They also added support for widescreen monitors and super high screen resolutions.
- The January 2013 PC version of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon includes a bonus content pack (including basically all of the DLC from the console versions, missing only a pair of Japan-exclusive skins) and support for screen resolutions of up to 1900x1200.
- The PlayStation version of MechWarrior 2 may have done away with the customization that is generally considered a cornerstone of the series, but in doing so it actually manages to follow the lore of the tabletop game quite a bit more accurately (in that Clan pilots generally just picked what chassis and what variant they wanted rather than custom tooling each 'Mech). It retains a surprising number of functions in spite of a control setup that lacked dual analog sticks, was generally prettier and higher-resolution than the original release of Mechwarrior 2 for PC, and still managed to run smoothly without lag hiccups while reading the disc, as sometimes happened to the PC version. It even managed to keep the music of the original. It would be another year before the Updated Re-release known as the Titanium Trilogy for PC would come by to make things look prettier than the Playstation version, but that came with a few of its own problems.
- Metal Gear games, in general, tend to get fairly solid ports.
- The PC port of Metal Gear Solid had beautifully upgraded graphics, smoothed textures, the option to pause and save rather than having to call Mei Ling for it, and quite a few other improvements. Too bad the same justice wasn't done for MGS2's PC port.
- The PlayStation Vita ports of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 on the HD collection were both improvements over the originals. They fixed issues with vertical sync during cutscenes that were in the original version due the PlayStation 2's hardware limitations, the touch screen was used for handling items and weapons which made it less akward and much more convenient then the original controls, and the visuals were given a nice upgrade.
- The port of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has been met with positive reception. Though it still has some issues (including a now-fixed bug that would close the game when there was no internet connection), it is a rather solid port, and people from Platinum and Konami are getting active feedback from PC players, as well. On top of that, the port is bundled with all of the game's DLC, and still only costs half of what the console versions do.
- The initial Windows / Xbox 360 version of Alone In The Dark 2008 was rushed out the door in a notoriously buggy and unfinished state. The PlayStation 3 update, subtitled Inferno, while not without its flaws, was vastly improved and closer to what the developers envisioned.
- The PC version of Alan Wake is applauded by many critics to be better than the original Xbox 360 release.
- The first Clock Tower was re-released for Windows 95 and PlayStation in 1997 with new sounds, scenes, bugfixes, smoother graphics on the PC version, and added new FMV sequences. The PlayStation version also supported its own mouse peripheral.
- Resident Evil:
- Resident Evil 2 and 3 got updated PC-DVD re-releases of their PC ports in 2006 by SourceNext which fixed the original Windows 95 versions of these games' compatibility with modern computers and uncompressed video quality for the games' FMVs. Resident Evil 2 in particular also combined Leon's and Claire's scenarios into a single game (similar to the Nintendo 64 port) instead of having their games on separate discs. This version, unfortunately, never was released outside of Japan, and SourceNext handled Resident Evil 4's PC port very poorly.
- The Wii edition of Resident Evil 4 is what the original PC port should have been. It has the superior visuals of the GameCube version (as well as true widescreen support) with all of the PlayStation 2 version's extra content. It also gives players the option to use the Wii remote to aim at and shoot enemies. The HD Edition on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 presents the game in a higher native resolution, added shadows and colored lighting in many locations. The Ultimate HD Edition of Resident Evil 4 on Steam rectifies the many problems SourceNext's port of the game had. It gives players the option of using smoother frame-rate, higher resolutions, HD textures, mouse and keyboard support, and better controller support.
- The PC port of Advent Rising was a marked improvement over the original Xbox version, as its framerate was much smoother and the controls were much less akward. Flick-targeting, one of the things that many people hated about the original version, is much easier to deal with due to the keyboard and mouse control scheme, so you're no longer forced to use it when you don't want to.
- The PC port of Gears of War went off without a hitch with some additional graphical options. And not only that, the developers added extra content in the last chapter before the train station, detailing the accounts of Delta Squad escaping the Brumak that tried to cut them off when escaping the Fenix manor. Though unfortunately there were some issues when Microsoft forgot to renew the license for the game, resulting in people being unable to register the product or play it in a certain time frame, also some people reported having issues with installing the game and certain graphics cards being incompatible.
- Fur Fighters was originally a Dreamcast-exclusive but was ported over to the PlayStation 2 a year after its release. The graphics got a Cel-Shaded makeover, all the character were fully voiced and the boxart was made to look more "mature".
- Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable for the PlayStation Vita adds the Pale Wings seen from Earth Defense Force 2 and added online multi-player.
- Defender Of The Crown: The Amiga version was the first, and sold Cinemaware's vision with detailed still-image graphics, but provided only three tactics during combat and only one catapult ammo type, since it was rushed through production to meet a release date. Later versions for graphically less-powerful systems had more mini-games and strategy after the Amiga buyers complained (looks great, get to do nothing).
- The GCN version of Gladius is significantly better with the game's main issue, primary due to the Nintendo Optical Disc being optimized for fast load times.
- NipponIchi seems to like this trope quite a bit.
- Phantom Brave: We Meet Again for the Wii is fundamentally the same game as the PlayStation 2 original, but NIS took the time to remaster every single level and background to take advantage of the Wii's higher graphical capabilities (as well as add another story with some new stuff to collect, but that's par for the course for the company). The result is a much crisper look on the same great game. This version was then re-ported to the PSP as Phantom Brave: Heros of the Hermuda Triangle, which adds Hero Prinny, The Unlosing Ranger and Asagi to the cast of playable phantoms.
- Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories both got rereleases on the PSP adding some extra items and cameos, correcting a few bugs, and each add a second mode with an alternate protagonist, more bonus-bosses, more playable characters, and Dark Hero Days added DLC and Disgaea 3's Magichanges and passing system. The DS port of the first game added all this plus Prinny Commentary and more hidden characters, but has inferior music and lacks much of the voice acting. Both ports of the first game also replaced Etna's, and Thursday's/Vulcanus' voice actors with their new ones. All this is to provide better links to later games in the series and other NipponIchi titles.
- Nippon Ichi is at it again with Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention for the PlayStation Vita. Animated talking sprites, all the DLC already included (Including Beryl mode), two new charcters, more alternate scenarios with different leads, new spells and class specific attacks for the generic humanoids.
- La Pucelle Tactics also got a PSP port, with extra content, called La Pucelle: Ragnarok. Japan-only.
- Rhapsody A Musical Adventure got a rerelease in the Nintendo DS, where it got a battle system overhaul and a few other tweaks (though this version lacked a very lauded element from the PS1 version, which were the English vocals for the songs).
- Makai Kingdom has been announced for a PSP port. The port will have a new story mode that deals with Petta, a young girl who claims to be Zetta's daughter.
- The iOS port of Ascendancy received many improvements lacking in the original game (e.g. you can now send ships to distant stars without guiding them every step of the way), with later patches adding even more functionality (such as the ability to use templates when building ships). Sadly the overall balance is still radically skewed.
- Shining Force CD for the Sega CD, which took the Game Gear Shining Force games and improved the graphics, added CD-quality music, voice-overs, and extra quests.
- Also of note is the GBA port of the first Shining Force, which eased the difficulty and made the gameplay more "balanced".
- This is prevalent in visual novel industry, usually when a game gets an anime version. Besides releasing the game to another console, changes can include entirely new stories and characters and, almost always, removal of sex scenes. Some older classics usually get a fully-voiced edition, the best kind of premium content people's wish to be found in this genre. Some rare cases, like Little Buster (Ecstacy) get a reversed-Bleached Underpants rerelease.
- The Ace Attorney series started off on the Game Boy Advance in Japan only until Capcom decided to bring the series overseas on the Nintendo DS. Sprites were scaled up to accommodate the bigger screen size on the DS without loss in quality and the sound was significantly improved. The first Ace Attorney game also gained an extra case for players to tackle and it would be referenced in the Apollo Justice chapter of the series years later. And then there's the iOS ports. iOS devices tend to have way higher resolution (current iPads sport 2Knote displays), better quality sound (especially with headphones), more memory and more processing power than the original consoles the games were for, something Capcom is clearly aware of (although their initial attempt to port to iOS ended in a Porting Disaster, their subsequent attempts to improve the port by means of updates fixed various bugs and even added new features until it fitted this trope). The interface is also tweaked to work with a single touchscreen that is also the primary display really well. Lastly, this is often used to fix bugs as well.
- Dangan Ronpa and its sequel got a Compilation Re-release for the PlayStation Vita called Danganronpa 1x2 RELOAD, featuring better graphics, touch controls, and a "School Mode" for the first game (based on the Island Mode of the second, which was in the original release). The first game's rerelease was brought over to the West in this form.
- For a good while, the PC ports of the Grand Theft Auto series (the very first game through San Andreas) were considered to be better than the originals, thanks to higher-resolution visuals, faster loading times, more accurate mouse-and-keyboard controls, and modding potential with swappable player character skins, in-game MP3 players, and a plethora of user-created vehicles and mods (including the legendary Multi Theft Auto mod, adding a Wide Open Sandbox multiplayer mode to GTA years before GTA IV did the same and reintroducing a feature Grand Theft Auto II had on the PC to begin with). Unfortunately, the PC port of Grand Theft Auto IV failed to uphold the same reputation and was widely regarded as a Porting Disaster instead, though patches have since remedied this. The PC port of Grand Theft Auto V have several improvement even compared to the PS4/One versions. Antialiasing, Movie Editor, 60 Fps and faster loading times. It runs even better than Grand Theft Auto IV.
- The Xbox versions of Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City (both released in 2004 as the Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack) were also praised for it's number of significant graphical improvements (more so than the PC ports), such as character models, textures and lighting, as well as the ability to play custom music. These visual enhancements were less apparent on the Xbox port of San Andreas, looking identical to the PC port. The custom soundtrack feature however was still intact.
- Just Cause 2 is the best-optimized multiplatform sandbox game released on the PC this generation by far, running more smoothly while having even larger environments than most games in the genre. On a Q6600/8800 GT system, it can easily maintain 60 FPS while other ports average closer to 30 FPS. Keyboard and mouse controls are also very tight and customizable, while Xbox 360 gamepad support is retained. There's even a small modding community attempting to add features like multiplayer, much like what happened to Grand Theft Auto above.
- The Godfather game, originally for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, was ported for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii. There are different numbers of Execution Styles, an amount of new content and the latter two make some use of motion-based controls.
- Sleeping Dogs: Square Enix pushed for a well-optimized and improved PC version.
- Shadowgate was polished in its port from the home computer to the NES. The NES has better dialogue, better graphics, and a haunting soundtrack. Years later, the GBC port Shadowgate Classic (which, itself, was based off of the NES version) polished things even further by including even better graphics, and fixing a couple of annoying glitches.
- Action 52 on the Sega Genesis by Far-Sight Studios was still rubbish, but it was indeed superior to the original NES version. Among other things, it is far more stable than its NES counterpart, which is notorious for consisting of more Game Breaking Bugs than there are games. They even got at least one big name to work on the port: the music was programmed by Mark Miller, who also did sound work on Toe Jam And Earl and ported many of Tommy Tallarico's soundtracks to the Genesis. Yet oddly enough, there isn't anything as catchy in the Genesis version as the NES Cheetahmen theme. Just as strangely, most of the games were completely different.
- The PlayStation port of Superman 64 was never released, but had it been available, it would have fixed several of the game's notorious problems.
- The DS version of Tony Hawk's Proving Ground was almost unanimously considered by reviewers as superior to the original console versions for sticking to classic gameplay mechanics and having a wide array of online multiplayer features.
- The Philips CD-i, 3DO and PlayStation ports of Brain Dead 13 have higher video qualities than the MS-DOS, Windows, Atari Jaguar, and Sega Saturn ports, though the former first three each have two CDs instead of one; but only the iOS port, which does not require any CDs, has a higher video resolution that surpasses all of the earlier versions. Also, the 3DO port has two versions of Disc 1: the original one, and "Version 1.1", which fixes a bug that would sometimes cause a crash in Vivi's Salon in the original release. The iOS port did the same in December 2010 by upgrading its version from 1.0 to 1.1, which added support for iOS 3.0 and 4.2 and fixed various bugs.
- The SNES version of Uncharted Waters: New Horizons takes full advantage of the SNES' SPC700 chipset and uses high quality samples to produce superior music, and combined with the fancy raster effects that is unique to the SNES version due to it's advanced graphical capabilities, is widely hailed as the superior port. The other ports of the game were optimized for comparatively inferior OPL2 MIDI chip (although the Sega Genesis version managed to sound slightly better by supplementing the OPL2 MIDI music with PSG-based percussions) and has slightly less sophisticated graphical effects. The PC version technically got the shortest stick, with a crippled MIDI track that's only optimized for the AdLib music card, inability to support Sound Font enabled cards like the Gravis Ultrasound or SoundBlaster AWE32 for instrument samples even though both cards were already released when the game came out, and not only had the least amount of graphical effects of all the ports, it even failed at simple graphical effects like smooth screen scrolling.
- NiGHTS into Dreams... was re-released for the PlayStation 2 featuring a "Brand New Dreams" mode with a graphical overhaul (higher quality models, higher resolution textures, all sprite-based assets are rendered in polygons, etc.), widescreen support, the original Saturn version in the form of a "Sega Saturn Dreams" mode, and the very rare Christmas NiGHTS expansion as an unlockable bonus. However the controls were not as smooth and the audio not as pristine as the Sega Saturn version, and a few of the Christmas NiGHTS extras such as Sonic into Dreams and Link Attack were left out. This version was never released outside of Japan unfortunately, however, the PlayStation 2 version served as the basis for the HD remastered version released worldwide for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC via Steam, presenting the game in a higher native resolution and later fixed the control issues with patch.
- Sonic Dash. The Windows 8.1 port is much more polished than ports of other mobile games, such as Fruit Ninja, which became a huge microtransaction mess. Sonic Dash on Windows 8.1, in particular, can be played on landscape mode, while on, say, an Android phone, the game is played in portrait mode. The game also automatically gives you mouse and keyboard controls if you are not playing the game on a tablet, unlike ports of other mobile games which assume that you are always playing on a tablet.
- The Windows 8 port of Jetpack Joyride plays exactly like early versions of its mobile counterpart. A few things from it are missing in this port, but a few things that were removed from the mobile version are still present in this port.
- Gameloft's games on the Windows Store are considered excellent ports of their mobile counterparts (and Microsoft is well aware of this, as there is a whole collection on the Windows Store with Gameloft games). The only exception to this is the Windows 8.1 port of their My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic game: while not a bad port, it is just outdated. Certain areas, such as Sweet Apple Acres and the Everfree Forest are completely missing (and Sweet Apple Acres was already added to the game when this port came out), and accessing the minecart game is made significantly harder in this version: while in the other versions you just need one wheel to access the game, and you can keep going as long as you have wheels, in this port, you need four wheels and can only play once.
- The Windows 95 port of Ecco The Dolphin. The graphics have been beautifully redrawn, features the higher quality soundtrack from the Sega CD version, new sound effects, more levels, the FMV sequences from Tides of Time, a new difficulty system, tightens up the controls, and includes a save feature.