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Porting a game from one platform to the other generally carries a lot of precognitions, and not entirely without reason. These days, gamers are accustomed to seeing half-assed 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.

Compare and contrast, of course, Porting Disaster. See also Updated Rerelease, which can be a Polished Port when an example of that trope is not on the same system as the original.

Examples of Polished Port include:


Action Adventure

  • Though it was slow, buggy, awkward to control, and broken in numerous ways in its original form on the PC, the port of Indiana Jones and The Infernal Machine that came out in the Nintendo 64's final days courtesy of Factor 5 resulted in an excellent substitute for Tomb Raider that actually looked better than the PC version.
  • While still considered a great but underappreciated game on the Play Station 2, Okami suffered from Loads and Loads of Loading (eased by loading minigames but still) that was fixed in the Wii port.
    • However, the drawing on the Wii was a bit tricky at times, and the game had a bad habit of not recognizing a circle. In addition, the waggle for normal attacks is much more exact and much less forgiving than, say, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
    • The Wii version also suffered from inferior rendering quality, replacing the liquid-ink effects of the Play Station 2 version with static cel-shading and generic surface lighting (this is hard to spot in screenshots, as it affects the transitions).
    • The original credits were removed, too, but were restored in the Japanese version.
    • Overall, some things were better, some were worse.
  • Nintendo could've phoned it in with their inevitable port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to the GBA. A damn fine game on its own merit with controls modified to make up for the lack of two buttons. What did we get? Additional sounds (YMMV on whether this was an improvement or if they just added a Most Annoying Sound), Four Swords multiplayer mode and an extra quest and dungeon that are connected to said Multiplayer mode. Giving you the option to play with the original SNES palette was good too.
    • This was pretty much their method of porting games to the GBA, at least as far as the multiplayer addition goes. For example, each Super Mario port also included the original arcade Mario Bros., which can be played with two players.
  • Asterix & Obelix XXL 2: Mission: Las Vegum came out on the Play Station 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 minigames 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 framerate 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-rez textures and more complex character models make it the version to play.


Action Game

  • 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 PS3 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, thanks to "rampant piracy" (rather than sales of paying customers) of the PC version of Street Fighter IV, it's unlikely that Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition will ever see a PC release, and Super Street Fighter IV only came out as part of the Arcade Edition release.
  • 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.


Adventure Game

  • 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.


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.
  • 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.
  • You thought PSOne fails at running 2D games? A little-known Japanese company, Asmik, proves the opposite! Hard Rock Cab, the Play Station 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 Play Station 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.


Driving Game

  • 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.
    • The Mega Drive port didn't have the bonuses of the 32X port, but it played like the arcade version, too.
    • The Mega Drive version had slowdown issues and poor vehicle handling. The 32X version was much more smooth and, as said before, had a whole bunch of sweet extras. Also worth noting about Virtua Racing Deluxe 32X is that it was one of the first console racing games to feature rendered damage on ones car.
  • The Nintendo64 port of Cruis'n World is missing the ability to murder wildlife, but it's graphically closer to the arcade original than the N64 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.


Fighting Game

  • Virtua Fighter for Sega 32X, despite greatly downgraded visuals, 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.
  • The Dreamcast port of Soul Calibur. Like Soul Edge, the first Soul Calibur arcade game was based on the original Play Station 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.
    • There's also the Mortal Kombat Trilogy. I'm taking a wild guess but I'm assuming the PC & Sega Saturn ports are the better versions of the game over the PS One & Nintendo 64 versions.
  • 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 framerate, 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.
    • 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 Gameboy port of Samurai Shodown changed the characters to Super-Deformed version, 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.
  • 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.
    • As for Street Fighter Alpha, the Sega Saturn port of Street Fighter Zero 3 is widely regarded as the best, even superior to the CPS-2 original. It requires a 4 MB 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.
    • On the other hand, Play Station owners got an extremely polished port. ALL regions.
    • Still has Loads and Loads of Loading though. Well, not too bad, but there is a loading screen in between everything, really reducing the pace compared to arcade.
  • 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.


First-Person Shooter

  • 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 (Exhumed in Europe) and the Duke Nukem 3D port.
  • PowerSlave, 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.
  • Speaking of which, 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 effects added and other minor graphical enhancements, along with Corruption-style New Play Control that works beautifully. And all of this on one disk only slightly more expensive than Corruption on its own.
    • It did have to remove a few minor graphical effects to manage all this, though, like the beam-specific charge effects in the original Metroid Prime.
  • 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. Their attempt at updating the same games on the PC? ...Not so much.
    • This was the same case for the Play Station 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 of Doom was notorious for it's unbelievably choppy framerate and lag. However, the Japanese Saturn version of the game was developed by a different studio and had much better framerate and was actually playable unlike it's North American counterpart.
  • Speaking of Doom, the Playstation version of Doom deserves a mention here. It may have replaced the memorable soundtrack with ambient tracks, 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 Ultimate Doom if you had the difficulty set to Ultra Violence or Nightmare!
  • The PC version of Turok 2 had higher-resolution graphics and better music than the original N64 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 is basically an enhanced port of the Wii version in high resolution and better textures, along with more content.


Hack and Slash


Multiple

  • 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.
  • Nintendo strongly hoped that this would be the case when many PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games were inevitably ported to their Wii U console. Unfortunately, this was not the case, because the games often were missing features from the seventh generation console versions.
  • Probably worthy of a sub-trope in itself: 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:
    • Pretty much 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.

Platform Game

  • 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 PS 1 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.
  • Spyro the Dragon: Enter the Dragonfly was a disaster on the Play Station 2 (painfully slow frame rates/loading sequences, game-breaking glitches, etc.), but the developers fixed most of the technical issues when porting to the Game Cube.
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was let down by ridiculous loading times on the PS2. The Game Cube and X Box versions cut them significantly. The X Box 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 minigame.
    • On the other hand, the Gamecube also suffers from a few graphical gliches. Both ports also lack the original track for Medieval Madness for some reason (playing The Gauntlet's theme instead). It is also worth noting that the Play Station 2 version itself had the loading times shortened for it's Greatest Hits/Platinum release anyway.
  • 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.
    • The PC 98 version, though a straight port, was such a graphical improvement that Jordan Mechner was impressed. Most subsequent ports would follow it in putting a turban and vest on the Prince's sprite and making the Life Meter a row of potions instead of a row of triangles.
  • 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. However, all the stages are redesigned and your weapon quantities are decreased, so Your Mileage May Vary here.
  • The original MSX version of Valis was atrocious. The Famicom adaptation was even worse. The far superior Mega Drive and Turbo Grafx 16 remakes didn't appear until after three sequels had been released.
  • 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 N64 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 Golden Eye 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 CBFD.
  • 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 and the music was actually Red Book, 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-a DOS port published by Interplay, and a Windows 95 port published by Activision. Good Old Games is selling the Interplay DOS version. Hardcore Gaming 101 notes that there are level and graphics 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 Super NES port, and the most levels you'll find of any console version of the game, including the exclusive "Big Bruty" level.
  • Funnily enough, a similar thing happened to Disney's 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, and new music for the "Wacky" world (rather than reusing the intro music) not found in the SNES original (or any other port).
  • The Sega Saturn and Play Station 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.
  • When Sonic 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 rerelease seems to be taking this to another level with 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 Updated Rerelease because the underlying engine is completely rewritten.


Puzzle Game

  • The unlicensed version of Tetris on the NES by Tengen is generally considered to be the superior version in comparison to the official Nintendo-published port, thanks to having a second rotation button[1] and a two-player mode. Sadly, very few copies of the game even exist, making it highly valuable among collectors.


Real-Time Strategy


Rhythm Game

  • Guitar Hero 2 was already highly popular on the Play Station 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 PS2 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 (pretty much the same as the solo tour), although some people preferred this tour for having less menus.
    • From this troper's (admittedly limited) experience with it, the Wii version of Rock Band 2 definitely qualifies. After the Wii version of the first Rock Band was a straight-up port of the gimped Play Station 2 version, with a few extra songs thrown in, released about 6 months after every other version was already on shelves, the Wii RB2 came out just slightly later than the PlayStation 3 version, and had graphics that nearly match the 360/PS3 versions, as well as finally adding support for DLC.


Role Playing Game

  • The Game Cube 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.
    • Although the sound quality did take a hit due to being compressed onto one Game Cube disc (the Dreamcast original was on two discs), so this is a Your Mileage May Vary for audiophiles.
  • The Last Remnant was a sorta-decent game on the 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 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 has its own issues, but it's probably the best of the ports.
    • 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, and a number of bug fixes. It lacks anything introduced to the DS version besides a few translation changes, but the DS version was pretty contested in the first place, and none of the other versions have anything on the PSP version.
  • 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, according to some.
  • 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. Fan reception has been hugely positive.
    • However, they removed The Answer (the 20-30 hour long playable epilogue), the anime cut-scenes, and the ability to actually walk around town (replacing it with a point-and-click type interface), along with downgrading the graphics, all to make it fit on the PSP's UMD. Atlus themselves have said that they were somewhat disappointed with it, and that they would do no further PSP ports of their Play Station 2 games, as it would mean cutting and downgrading too much.
  • 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 MOTHER 1 (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.


Shoot'Em Up

  • Twinkle Star Sprites got a Sega Saturn port with a bonus Omake 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, Esp Galuda 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 download it for 15 more USD), 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 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 Play Station. 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.
  • The 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.


Simulation Game

  • 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. This was typical of better Mac porting houses like MacPlay at the time, since the Mac did in software what was done in hardware on most other platforms for about a decade or two. Case in point: Wolfenstein 3D. 640x480 vs. the DOS original's 320x200, and a totally different, yet catchy soundtrack created especially for this port.
    • The Macintosh version of Wolfenstein 3D only has forward-facing sprites for the enemies (as opposed to 8 directions for the PC), making their movement look awkward and removing a lot of the gameplay possibilities of the PC version, and the levels were severely cut down, which makes the PC version still come out on top.


Survival Horror


Turn-Based Strategy

  • 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.
  • Phantom Brave: We Meet Again for the Wii is fundamentally the same game as the Play Station 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.h
    • This was then reported 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.
  • Also from Nippon Ichi, The PSP ports for Disgaea and Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories 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 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 Nippon Ichi titles.
    • They're at it again with Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention for the Vita. Animated talking sprites, All the DLC on the disc (Including Beryl mode) two new charcters, more alternate scenarios with different leads, new spells and class specific attacks for the generic humanoids.


Wide Open Sandbox

  • For a good while, the PC ports of the Grand Theft Auto series (the very first game through San Andreas) were considered Porting Distillations, thanks to higher-resolution visuals, faster loading times, more accurate mouse-and-keyboard controls, and modding potential with swappable player character skins, in-game MP 3 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 GTAIV 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.
  • 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.


Other/Unsorted

  • Action 52 on the Sega Genesis was rubbish, but it was indeed superior to the original NES version. 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 Toejam 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.

Notes

  1. compared to Atari's arcade version, which only had one
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