Alice: Madness Returns is full of Call Backs to American McGee's Alice — odd lines from various characters, a few riddles, and some statues and depictions. If you haven't played the first game, they won't bother you, but if you have, they're beautiful familiarity.
Bloodborne: The Artorias of the Abyss DLC for Dark Souls has Marvelous Chester; a man donning a dapper top hat and a Badass Longcoat who explains that a shadowy limb dragged him off into the past. Come Bloodborne, once you enter the Cathedral Ward, you can find a costume set consisting of a dapper top hat and a badass longcoat, and if you do not immediately move away from the spot where you find them, a shadowy limb will come from out of no-where and catch you. Being caught by this limb is what allows you to access Bloodborne's own The Old Hunters DLC, which drags you off to The Hunter's Nightmare, a twisted Dream Land depicting the past of the city of Yharnam... For bonus points, Chester himself was essentially a piece of Production Foreshadowing and a preview of what you may expect to see in the, back then, currently-in-development Bloodborne.
The long-term call back related to Price's handgun. In MW1, the gun is slid over to Soap by Price in order to finally kill Big Bad Imran Zakhaev. Soap keeps the gun, and in the second game, gives it back to Price when they meet again at the Russian gulag, with Soap remarking, "This belongs to you, sir.". In the third game, Price "gives" the gun back by placing it on Soap's body after he's died, before having to escape.
In the third game, Price places a call into the SAS in order to get clearance to contact the U.S. Delta Force unit led by Sandman. The operative who gives the clearance is only referred to as "Mac", and Price references the person "owing me for Pripyat". This is a reference to "One Shot, One Kill" from the first game - the operative is none other than (the retired) Captain MacMillan.
"Contingency" from MW2 is one long reference to "All Ghillied Up", with Price making several remarks referencing that mission, and Soap commenting that he "hates dogs".
The second game's final level is one huge homage to the first game's final level. Both have "game" in the title ("Game Over" and "Endgame"), both involve a vehicular chase (in the first, the player is being chased in a truck; in the second, the player is doing the chasing in a boat); both involve said vehicle being destroyed and the player (Soap in both levels) being wounded, and then even more badly injured; and both involve Soap desperately using an emergency weapon (pistol in the first, knife in the second) to kill the Big Bad before he kills Price. In addition, all three games have a vehicle crashing just before the final confrontation (a truck, a Zodiac and a helicopter, in that order) and the second and third games have a character being saved just before they're shot (Price saving Soap in the second game, Yuri saving Price in the third).
One of Ryu's win quotes is "What strength! I will remember there are guys like you all over the world!". Whenever you beat an opponent in the original Street Fighter, they gave you that line (but with "But remember" instead of "I will remember").
One of Ken's win quotes in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is "I wish you good luck!". In the first Street Fighter, this is the line that the defeated player gives at the end of a two-player match.
The mid-boss in Child of Eden's fourth stage is a pair of planetary bodies that evolve into running men, like the fourth boss of Rez, its spiritual predecessor.
Chrono Cross features several Call Backs to Chrono Trigger, in particular the Dead Sea area and a portion of the game in which the player character is transported to Lucca's house.
One of the NOD missions in Command & Conquer: Tiberium Sun features your armies uncovering an old NOD base that's been left over from the first game. When you reach it, you'll find that the buildings look exactly the same as the structure design from Tiberium Dawn.
Darkstalkers series: the opening for Vampire Savior 2, an updated version of Vampire Savior, mirrors the opening for Vampire Hunter 2, except instead of Donovan clutching Morrigan's skull before opening his eyes menacingly, it features BB Hood clutching Lilith's skull before unleashing a Slasher Smile.
Digimon World -next 0rder- introduced itself with one in its first teaser trailer. The game's tagline "Welcome "Back" to Digimon World" invokes the original game, which began with Jijimon telling the protagonist "Welcome to Digimon World." The trailer also begins with the same CGI opening as its predecessor.
The ending for Dissidia Final Fantasy features the Warrior of Light walking off towards a castle in the distance. The scene is of course an obvious Shout-Out to the opening sequence of Final Fantasy. This being an anniversary game, this makes a great deal of sense.
Assuming Leliana and the Warden had a threesome with Isabela in the first game, Leliana reacts with embarrassment to meeting Isabela again, prompting Varric to snark "Is there anyone in the Free Marches you haven't slept with?".
From the Legacy DLC:
Merrill: Do your stories ever have griffons in them...heroic griffins? The sort that swoop in and save the day?
Varric: Daisy, haven't you heard? Swooping is bad.
Fairune 2: Several rare monsters first found in Fairune 1 reappear in Fairune 2, and one of the new rare monsters is the final form of Fairune 1's final boss, Tera Dark, complete with it's death sprite being that of the headstone shown in the ending. In addition, while receiving any of the three upgraded swords, the snippet previously heard when using the Mamono Slayer's transformative power to fly to the final boss is played.
Far Cry 4: In addition to Hurk, a former member of the Rakyat from Far Cry 3, one of the loot items is a very peculiar bobblehead with the body of a hula girl and the head of VAAS. This was a real-life prize for preorderingFar Cry 3. It's also implied that Longinus was a former UFL or APRR gang lord from Far Cry 2, who was shot in the head only to survive and take on the Jackal as a role model. Evidence of blood diamonds and a broken GPS from the previous game supports this.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 has a small one in an optional dialogue with Hope. One of the questions Serah can ask will result in Hope saying that he misses Vanille's smile. In an optional scene in the first game, Vanille smiles to cheer Hope up.
Upon Augustus "Cole Train" Cole's introduction in Gears of War, Marcus mentions that Dom still owes him $20 from a bet on a game Cole played in. The very first collectible to find in Gears of War 3 is a $20 bill, with an attached note from Dom apologizing for it being so late. It's worth noting that the bill is currently completely worthless, as there is no government around to honor its value anymore.
Granblue Fantasy: After the crew subdues Leviathan early in the story quest, a portion of its power gets absorbed by Orchid. Later in Silverwind Stretch (around 50+ more chapters), Orchid uses Leviathan's power to save some members of the crew who were separated by the avalanche.
At the beginning of Half-Life 2 Barney mentions the beer he owes Gordon Freeman referencing the first Half-Life game.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Ogon no Kaze (based on the fifth series of the manga) has you playing as Polnareff at one point. The music is a fully orchestrated version of... his music from the arcade fighting game based on the third series.
When Roxas asks who Sora is in 358/2 Days, Xemnas merely says "He's the connection." In Kingdom Hearts III, when Xemnas demands to known how Roxas is alive Roxas says what he needed was "a connection."
In Dream Drop Distance Xemnas remarks that Pinocchio is "a hollow puppet that's managed to grow a heart." He previously made similar remarks about a certain other character...
Just before the final battle in III, Xehanort tells his opponents that "destiny is never left to chance." That same statement is tagline for Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
In the same scene he declares that "there is one sky, one destiny!" The same line was used in II, in a letter that Kairi wrote to Sora.
The endgame of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has Lightning freeing Hope's soul from Bhunivelze and telling him to leave her to go be reborn in the new world. She phrases it the exact same way she did in Final Fantasy XIII, when the two are surrounded by Guardian Corps troops just waiting to shoot them. "You survive".
The first level has a half-open door that leads to the end of the level, a small shaft that one must drop down, a mysterious locked door behind the player, an alien ship out the window, compilers operating terminals, a hidden stash of weapons through a door textured like a wall which is near ranged Fighters, and overall darkness and eerie-ness. All of these are also present in the first level of the first game. The whole thing is pretty creepy.
And then there's the Vidmaster Challenge levels, which are the hardest level (at least in Bungie's opinion) from each game, with added enemies that you never see anywhere else in the game, such as red vacuum suit-clad Simulacrums and Super-Hunters for double the fun!
In Mass Effect 3, the quote "My name is Garrus Vakarian and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel!" is one of the many call-backs to the many memetic (both out- and in-universe) lines from the second game.
The first shot of a Reaper descending from the clouds during the opening of 3, complete with red lightning, is very reminiscent of the first shot of Sovereign above Eden Prime in 1.
Towards the end of the first Mega Man Star Force game, after the Z-wave incident at AMAKEN, Tom Dubius aka Cygnus Wing mentions the incident that involved him near the beginning of the game if you talk to him.
Used in the Final Battle in Mega Man Zero 3: Omega's final form uses moves from the boss fights with Zero in X2 and X5. Another Call Back is the very location of the fight: the abandoned laboratory, destroyed in a mission in the first game, that Zero woke up in at the series' beginning.
Mega Man X5 has the return of one of the Castle Bosses from Mega Man X, complete with a remixed version of the BGM for it. It also has a recreation of Quick Man's stage from Mega Man 2.
The Yellow Devil from Mega Man reappears as a boss in numerous other forms and concepts in the Classic, X, and Zero series.
Mega Man 9 ends with Mega pointing out all of Dr. Wily's past failures with a holographic slide show in which Dr. Wily is shown to be kneeling for forgiveness over and over and over again.
The series is full of them, really. For example, the members of the Beauty and the Beast Unit act as Call Backs to previous bosses in the series. Another example; Laughing Octopus takes her name from Decoy Octopus from the first Metal Gear Solid, wields a P-90 machine gun and prehensile tentacles just like Solidus Snake in MGS2, and bears the emotion of the Joy, the codename of one boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Raging Raven takes her name from Vulcan Raven, wields the weapons of Fatman, and has the emotion of The Fury. Crying Wolf's name comes from Sniper Wolf, she wields Fortune's rail-gun, and has the emotion of The Sorrow, and she is fought in the exact same snowfield at Shadow Moses as Sniper Wolf and uses similar tactics. Screaming Mantis comes from Psycho Mantis, she uses Vamp's knives, and she has the emotion of The Fear, as well as using similar tactics to Psycho Mantis.
The final battle of Metroid Fusion is a direct call-back to the final battle of Super Metroid: A huge monster ambushes Samusnote Mother Brain in the original and an Omega Metroid in Fusion and has her at its mercy, and then she is saved, healed, and given a weapon to defeat the boss by an unlikely characternote The infant metroid and the SA-X, respectively
Minecraft: Story Mode: The game remembers every decision the player makes, even the joke ones. If you picked a particularly goofy dialogue option while talking to Lukas at Endercon, Jesse will repeat it while trying to cheer him up later on.
In The Neverhood, after Klaymen tricks the weasel into eating TNT, one of its arms lands next to Willie Trombone, who eagerly whips out a knife and fork. At the end of Skullmonkeys, Willie has the same reaction when a piece of Evil Engine No. 9 lands next to him.
One of the last levels of Ninja Gaiden (the Xbox 360 / PS3 game) is a recreation of the first level from the previous Xbox/ PS3 Ninja Gaiden.
Elizabeth's story campaign in Persona 4: Arena is deeply tied to the events of The Answer from Persona 3: she thrusts herself into the events of the P-1 Grand Prix in search of power that would allow her to defeat Erebus permanently, so that the soul of the young man who sacrificed himself to save humanity (the player character from Persona 3) could be saved.
The Phantasy Star series often makes references to things that happened in the previous games — the exception is Phantasy Star III, which appears to have almost nothing to do with the rest of the series until the end, and has only one reference in an optional dungeon in the fourth game.
The Victory Road has the same layout as the one in the Kanto games.
The fact that you can meet and battle Red is a Call Back in itself, especially because his party is based on Pokémon given to the player by NPCs in Pokémon Yellow.
Pokémon X and Y has several references to the Kanto games, such as the player being offered one of the Kanto Starters, having to use a Poké Flute to wake up a sleeping Snorlax, finding the Legendary Birds, and capturing Mewtwo in the Unknown Dungeon note To top it all off, in Generation I, Cerulean Cave was referred to as the "Unknown Dungeon".
Primordia (2012) pulls off a callback that functions as a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Early in the game, when Crispin suggests going to Metropol, Horatio (who is sceptical of the idea, but doesn't want to force his views onto his companion) tells him that he's "got free will and a mag-lev unit". Shortly after, Horatio casually mentions to Crispin that routing too much power to said unit would cause it to explode, resulting in Crispin proclaiming in shock: "I'm a floating bomb. Sweet.". Near the end, Metromind outwits Horatio, stuns him and starts assimilating him, mocking Crispin for uselessness in the process. The result?
Crispin: I'm not "no one". I am Crispin Horatiobuilt, version one. I have free will and a mag-lev unit. And I... am a floating bomb.
(Crispin overloads his mag-lev unit and rams into Metromind, destroying himself in the process but successfully freeing Horatio.)
In Ratchet & Clank (2002), Ratchet has a poster of Captain Qwark in his garage on Veldin. When you briefly return to Veldin at the beginning of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, most of the garage has been destroyed, but the poster is conveniently still intact and later shows up in the break room on the Starship Phoenix.
Red Dead Redemption II: Some of the epilogue missions are a callback to previous missions. In "Trying Again", for example, Jack tells his father John about how Arthur used to take him fishing before the Pinkertons showed up ("A Fisher of Men"). Also, several aspects of "A New Future Imagined" have similarities with Arthur's experiences: John and Abigail going to the theater (the same way Arthur and Mary decided to do in Saint Denis), John telling her "It would make me very happy" (the same line Arthur used when urging him to go and find his family), and him watching the sunrise at the end of the mission (which is the very last thing Arthur saw if he died with high honor).
Resident Evil 5: The "Lost in Nightmares" Downloadable Content is one huge callback to the original Resident Evil. It takes place in Spencer's Europe mansion (which is startlingly familiar to the other one), doors open in first person, and you can even find the wonderfully creepy "Keeper's Diary"note 4 / / Itchy. Tasty.. There's even a trick to turn on the original fixed camera angles.
Resident Evil 6: During the Tall Oaks Viral Outbreak, there is a young rookie cop on his first day who has teamed up with a young girl. Sound Familiar? Oddly enough Leon never actually remarks on the obvious similarity, and sadly it ends very badly for the two.
Sections of Turbo Man's stage pay homage to Ring Man's stage in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. One section has a fire beam that redirects itself multiple times.
As a call back to Mega Man stealing Joe vehicles in Minus Infinity's Wily Stage 1, Mega Man can hijack Truck Joe's truck in a section of Turbo Man's stage.
The second Rush Jet segment in Freeze Man's stage pays homage to Toad Man's level in Minus Infinity.
Proto Man's boss room bears a heavy resemblance to Cockroach Omega's arena from Minus Infinity, with the same platform arrangement as well as being a cave with small waterfalls running through the area.
In Wily Stage 5, Rush uses the Friender fire beam from the 2019 New Year's hack and the Rush Cannon attack from Minus Infinitywhen he assists Megaman. His Limit Break last attack in that section is the Wish Star adapter.
In Sakura Wars (2019), quite a few important plot elements and decisions reference previous entries in the Sakura Wars franchise.
The opening sequence features Sumire spinning around in a bamboo garden and the London and Berlin Combat Revue's ships emerging from the clouds, referencing the opening theme to the 1996 game.
Kamiyama practicing his sword katas with a bokken in the opening sequence is a direct reference to Shinjiro Taiga doing the same thing in the opening sequence of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love.
The Imperial Combat Revue members wear lavish stage outfits in the opening theme, referencing previous performances in the games, the real-life stage plays, and the film's opening sequence.
In his first appearance, Kamiyama arrives in Tokyo's Central Station via train and confronts a demon shortly thereafter, which references Sakura Shinguji's own arrival in the Action Prologue of the original game.
In the release date trailer, Anastasia laments that Kamiyama isn't fit to be the captain of the Flower Division, similar to Maria's thoughts about Ogami in the original game.
At the end of the next episode previews, the "Transporting us to an age of romance in a flourish of sakura petals!" quote references the previews found in the original 1996 game, Thou Shalt Not Die, as well as the first two OVAs.
In Sonic Adventure 2, Tails has the seventh Chaos Emerald, which is needed to power the Eclipse Cannon. In the Dark Story, it is revealed that he was rewarded with this Emerald for saving Station Square from Robotnik's missile attack, as seen in the first Sonic Adventure.
Sorcery Saga has a cross-continuity example. Its tutorial sees heroine Pupuru climbing a tower in order to retrieve an orb that will guarantee her graduation from magic school. This is almost identical to the plot of Madou Monogatari I, where Arle climbs a tower in order to retrieve three magic orbs that will guarantee her graduation from kindergarten, down to how they both qualify for the tower climb: they left it to a pencil roll to decide their answers. The difference is that Arle passes, while Pupuru fails.
Nazo Puyo: Arle no Roux and its sequels use the "experience orb" and "facial expression as health indicator" mechanics from Madou Monogatari 1-2-3.
Spelling Jungle: During the final scene of the sequel Spelling Blizzard, as Wali is climbing up the mountain (just as he did in the original game), Yobi says that "You look like you've done this before."
In Splatoon 2, throughout the story mode, your communication line with Mission Control has been picking up messages from one of the Octarian leaders, annoying Marie. As you reach the final set of levels, the newest audio transmission comes in... upside down, making Marie realize that it has been her missing cousin, Callie, the entire time, calling back to how the same character would constantly do the same in the previous game.
A major Plot Point is the discovery of a recording of some of the mission briefings from the first game (specifically New Gettysburg and a crucial line from The Hammer Falls).
The first three missions, set on Mar Sara, throw back to the first missions of the original game.
In Super Mario Bros. 3, if you beat Bowser and save the Princess, you get the message from the end of each of the first seven worlds in Super Mario Bros.: "Thank you. But our Princess is in another castle!" The game then adds, "Just kidding! Ha ha ha! Bye bye."
During the prologue of Super Robot Wars UX, Richard and Saya bail out Kazuki just as a Festum's about to assimilate him by using the Hell Stringer attack. Jump forward forty-two stages, and Agnes and Saya do the same once more as Kazuki's in trouble
Terraria: There are plenty of gameplay elements and progression from Hardmode that mirror similar and equivalents from Easymode.
Mining hardmode ores is a simple and obvious one: Cobalt/Palladium corresponds to Copper/Tin, Mythril/Orichalcum to Iron/Lead, and Adamantite/Titanium to Silver/Tungsten or Gold/Platinum.
Destroying altars is comparable to smashing Shadow Orbs and Crimson Hearts: both of them give loot and enable progression, at the cost of chipping apart at your world's health, as altars seed more corruption/crimson at random locations while orbs/hearts cause meteorites to fall in the surface, destroying whatever they find.
Pirate Invasions mirror the Goblin Invasions. Aside from their similar premise, clearing either invasion rewards the player with a new NPC (Goblin Tinkerer for Goblin Invasions, Pirate Captain for Pirate invasions). The invasions also only occur once an altar or orb/heart is broken for the first time.
Finding mimics is similar to finding a chest, as they both give valuable loot according to the stage (with the variants found in the ice biome giving different loot in both cases). Besides, the special mimics found in the Corruption/Crimson and the Hallow give loot that resembles the one available from Shadow Orbs/Crimson Hearts: a melee weapon, a ranged weapon (with the Dart Rifle and Dart Pistol being very similar to the Musket and the Undertaker, respectively), a magic weapon, an accessory and an utility item (a light pet and a hook, respectively).
The three mechanical bosses, besides being obvious parallels to their pre-hardmode counterparts, drop Hallowed Bars, an ore that allows you to get stronger armor and weapons and can't be found in the world naturally. It parallels to how the Eye of Cthulhu and the Eater of Worlds/Brain of Cthulhu drop Demonite/Crimtane ores - both of them are based on an infectious biome and although can be found naturally, are much faster to acquire by defeating the bosses.
The fact that Hallowed weapons require souls from all three mechanical bosses to prevent skipping their fights mirrors how you need Shadow Scales and Tissue Samples from the Eater of Worlds and Brain of Cthulhu to make Demonite/Crimtane weapons and armor, preventing you from farming the Eye of Cthulhu alone to get the tools needed to skip the two bosses.
Gaining wings is the equivalent of gaining a Cloud in a Balloon and its derivatives or Rocket Boots - they can be both gained by going to sky islands or purchased for a hefty price, and give extra mobility.
Hunting for Life Fruit is the equivalent of hunting for Life Crystals, although they are much rarer and less efficient.
The Solar Eclipse is the equivalent of the Blood Moon, though the Solar Eclipse is much more difficult and includes more unique enemies. In fact, a red moon is actually an effect of a real-life lunar eclipse, making the similarities between the two events all that more obvious.
Plantera's battle is pretty much the hardmode equivalent of Queen Bee's battle, except the fact that it's mandatory — both of them are summoned by the player destroying their offspring, are summoned in and fought within the Underground Jungle, have unique battle themes(though Queen Bee's is also used for Ocram in the console version), and give similar loot — such as how Queen Bee gives the Bee Gun, and Plantera gives the Wasp Gun, a direct upgrade.
Plantera giving access to the Jungle Temple and unlocking the hardmode Dungeon is also a parallel to how defeating Skeletron gives access to the Dungeon.
An alternate equivalent to Queen Bee can be found in Duke Fishron. Both bosses are unrelated to progression, found in specific biomes, have names that imply nobility, tend to attack by either charging or shooting smaller life as projectiles (bees for the Queen Bee and sharkrons for Duke Fishron), and drop items that directly relate to their attack methods. Both bosses also have the ability to drop mounts of themselves, though Cute Fishron is restricted to Expert Mode.
The Lunatic Cultist's battle is, in an odd way, similar to the Wall of Flesh's fight. Defeating either of them triggers an irreversible change in the world — Lunar Events for the former, Hardmode itself for the latter — which are both very difficult and easy to slaughter the unprepared. Both bosses also require a sacrifice to get them to appear — the Guide for the Wall of Flesh and the other cultists for the Lunatic Cultist.
And lastly, Destroying the Lunar Pillars is another equivalent to smashing Shadow Orbs and Crimson Hearts - both of them cause your character to go through pain, yield some loot, and spawn an Eldritch Abomination when enough of them are destroyed.
The Witness: One puzzle is solved with the help of a set of slow-moving clouds, in a nod to a similar maneuver made by Blow in his previous game, Braid.
In the opening sequence of The World Ends with You, we see Beat skateboarding away from a Noise while carrying Rhyme. The same occurs just before the end boss fight in a Big Damn Heroes moment, only with Shiki instead of Rhyme.
World of Warcraft: The Legion cinematic trailer is narrated by King Varian Wrynn, in the form of a letter written to his son Anduin, as he heads off to fight the Burning Legion. This parallels the Wrath of the Lich King trailer, which was similarly narrated by King Terenas Menethil to his son Arthas. Both speeches feature the father giving advice on how to rule wisely, and even begin with the same two words: "My son..." However, while the Wrath of the Lich King trailer was played as Dramatic Irony (as Arthas ultimately fell to evil and slew his own father) the Legion trailer is foreshadowing Varian's death in the upcoming battle and Anduin's subsequent ascension as King of Stormwind.