Horrible: Video Game Generations
"I speak no hyperbole when I say that releasing every box with no disk inside would have been less of a mistake."Whether you're playing on the couch, on the road, or in front of a computer, there's no denying that not everything you play will meet even the most basic of quality control standards. For rotten hardware, lousy game mods, and developers that consistently churned out horrible games, follow this link or go back to the main page. Important Note: Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not sufficient. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy, no matter how small a niche it is. It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this. Second Important Note: A game isn't horrible just because The Angry Video Game Nerd, Spoony, Yahtzee, or any other Caustic Critic reviewed it. Nor is it horrible just because it has a flood of negative reviews on Amazon.com and Metacritic. note There needs to be independent evidence, such as actual, professional reviews, to list it. (Though once it is listed, they can provide the detailed review(s).)
Examples (more-or-less in alphabetical order, and grouped by console generation)
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Second Generation (1976-84)
- Cascade's Cassette 50 — allegedly "50 fantastic games on one cassette" — remains notorious for its craptastic quality almost 30 years after its release — virtually all those "fantastic" games were very poor sub-type-in-quality affairs written in BASIC. In their defense, the games were solicited via newspaper ads and often written by teenagers paid ludicrously small amounts (e.g. £10 for a game that took 12 hours to write or £65 for 10). The tape itself sold for £10, around the cost of two regular games at the time, so it's likely the blame can be placed on overselling adverts meeting the unfairly raised expectations of penniless schoolkids for its unhappy reputation. Still, it's generally considered so bad that it has inspired present-day "crap game" competitions.
- Castle Assault, a budget game for the BBC Micro and Amstrad CPC, is a pathetically simpleminded Platform Game even by the low standards of its time, with jumping controls and minimal animation. The obstacles are limited to monsters that jump up and down from pits and platforms that move forward and backward, in a sequence that starts repeating midway through the first single-screen level, which repeats endlessly for anyone who cares to beat it.
- Karate for the Atari 2600 was a near-unplayable Fighting Game with extremely unresponsive controls and with almost no chance to win. There's only so much you can do with a digital joystick and a single button, and Atari's first-party joysticks were fragile, so unresponsive controls often led to shredded controllers. Some even consider this, and not E.T., the worst Atari 2600 game. The AVGN ended up taking a quick look into this game in his Atari Sports review. Aqualung's Game Reviews also tore it apart.
- Voyage Into The Unknown on the ZX Spectrum. Released by Mastertronic in 1984, its failure is exacerbated by the many milestones in gaming history on that year alone. Programmed in BASIC of all things, with risible graphics, worse sound, nonsensical references to "time warp chuck out"s and "buke"s and ludicrously hard space combat sequences that took place on about 10% of the screen. To add insult to injury, the game gave no clue as to how to even start playing; unless you guessed the correct sequence of keys ('E'ngine, 'P'ower, 'I'gnition) to take off you couldn't even start the game proper (such as it was). Contemporary magazines slammed the game, Crash giving it an overall score of 9% with 2% for playability.
Third Generation (1983-92)
- The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends for the NES. It has annoying music and the graphics are primitively designed, especially for a late 1992 release. Most enemies are Demonic Spiders and are capable of depleting your entire energy bar thanks to a lack of Mercy Invincibility. You'll spend more time fighting the unresponsive controls and navigating the terribly designed levels (a good example of this is Level 4, where you have to cross a pond with the game's awful jump precision). Beat the game, and "YOU WIN!" is your only reward. The Angry Video Game Nerd takes a good look into this title during his "12 Days of Shitsmas" series here.
- ALF for the Sega Master System takes The Problem with Licensed Games beyond the norm. What would otherwise be a short adventure game (twenty minutes at most) can take well over an hour, due to Fake Difficulty by means of convoluted controls, bad programming, and Goddamned Bats which become Demonic Spiders due to Alf being able to take only one hit. The game consists near entirely of Trial-and-Error Gameplay, both by mistake and by design—the game features a lot of unfair traps, including shop items that exist solely to make you too poor to buy the items you actually need and one, Alf Book, which restarts the game after triggering an Info Dump that ends by informing the player of such, the only time that it is so much as hinted at. The writing is simply atrocious, loaded with exposition whose existence tears gaping holes in what little of a plot there is, and terrible jokes that aren't even So Unfunny It's Funny. Here's a review by a former Alf fan who lists even more faults with this game and here's a complete playthrough by someone who despite having received tips from the game's lead programmer was still forced to use save states due to how utterly broken the game is. The Angry Video Game Nerd also took a look at it as a part of the Twelve Days of Shitsmas.
- Color a Dinosaur is an example of a "game" unlikely to have much appeal for its stated target audience of 3-to-6-year-olds. All it has are 16 static pictures of dinosaurs which can be colored with up to three colors. There's not even a save feature. Though the NES is not really a good platform for a virtual coloring book, comparing Color a Dinosaur to Kid Pix shows how little effort was put into the former. James & Mike from Cinemassacre take a good look into this one here.
- Dian Shi Ma Li (aka Mario Lottery) is a Chinese bootleg game for the NES starring a Mario ripoff (nicknamed Fortran because of the "F" on his cap) with vague slot machine-ish gameplay. The aim of the game is to get as many credits as possible, but credits are a currency that can only be used for gambling, and the only way to end the game naturally is to run out of them. The minigames don't make any sense, which is unsurprising because the main game doesn't make much sense. The only reason to play it is to PUSH START TO RICH. The gameplay seems to be based on these gambling machines and they're no less confusing. Oddly, they're only referred to as "Mario Slot Machines" or just "Mario", even if they aren't Mario-themed.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the NES has slow, plodding gameplay and controls; Everything Trying to Kill You to a ludicrous extent; a completely ineffective weapon as Jekyll and useful-if-you-could-hit-anything weapons as Hyde; and a gimmick whereby you can lose within seconds of turning into Hyde without a chance to save yourselfnote — these all make for a game that no person can play without feeling like less of a person thereafter. The Angry Video Game Nerd considers it probably the worst game he's ever played (except for maybe Plumbers Don't Wear Ties and other games that he think shouldn't even be considered games, yet are), and the seriousness of his videos on the matter confirms it. Players eventually discovered that Jekyll's seemingly useless attack is actually intended for deflecting the bombs that passersby drop randomly near him and are near impossible to run away from since they explode too fast. It's still really hard to hit them.
- The only thing good about the NES version (not so much a straight port as a completely different game) of the Laserdisc classic Dragon's Lair is the impressive fluidity of the graphics. The play control is unresponsive — there's a delay between the button press and Dirk's action (B jumps in this game). Dirk is rather large, which makes simple jumps difficult. Though Dirk does have a health bar, almost everything kills him in one hit. There's also an elevator shaft that's intended to make winding through the castle seem like one, but it merely makes the game even harder than it needs to be. Adding to the already insane artificial difficulty are Death Traps everywhere, so extra precautions are necessary for basically the whole game. Add to that an insane final boss fight and a meager "Congratulations" ending, and you have the NES equivalent of a game rage-fueled nightmare. It was also reviewed by the AVGN and Aqualung game reviews, the latter of whom also called it the worst NES game of all time.
- Ghostbusters is a cult classic for the ages, but the first game it got on the Nintendo Entertainment System is an utter disaster. It is a dull, frustrating experience that mostly involves driving around the map and to whichever destination you choose (while avoiding apparently drunk drivers, catching ghosts if you have a ghost vacuum, and collecting barrels to avoid running out of fuel), buying stuff from the shop and capturing ghosts. The music is literally the Ghostbusters theme on loop for the entire game, the graphics are ugly, it doesn't use Ghostbusters characters well, and the ghosts used are stock ghosts that don't resemble anything from the movie. Once you finally get inside the "Zuul building" (a task that requires fifteen thousand dollars, by the way), you'll find an extremely difficult segment where you move three of the Ghostbusters by tapping either A or B (or holding down a turbo equivalent to spare your poor thumb) and try to avoid the 4 ghosts that move slowly and randomly around the map. After that is a 2D-shooter like segment where you have to drain Gozer's health before the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man gets to the top of the building. And your reward for going through that is a plain text ending in absolutely horrendous English (and a statement that says "you have completed a great game"). Plain and simple, the game is an absolutely terrible addition to an otherwise awesome franchise that's about as fun as watching paint dry. As expected, The Angry Video Game Nerd covered this game over two videos.
- Heavy Shreddin' is a terrible snowboarding game for the NES, with slow controls, bland graphics, music and sound effects that cause your ears to bleed, frustrating difficulty and your "reward" for completing a level (a full-screen photo-realistic image of some lady) is more Nightmare Fuel than a reward. Watch Aqualung's review of it here.
- Human Killing Machine for the Atari ST and Amiga was a rip-off of the first Street Fighter game made by Tiertex, the same company who did the Atari ST version of the original Street Fighter (itself a Porting Disaster), and the 8-bit porting disasters of Strider. The game lacks special moves, two-player mode (which is bad in a Fighting Game, a genre that thrives on one-on-one competition), and scrolling. The fighters are all miscellaneous god-awful ethnic stereotypes with occasional cruelty to animals. Also, if you start off badly, the game makes it harder for you to win the next fight. Furthermore, the developers made it so all of a given character's frames of animation could be shoehorned into a single screen's worth of space, which has the unfortunate consequence of the Final Boss having only six frames of animation (two walking, two falling, one punching, one kicking). What's worse is that the final boss in the Amiga port has its tiles glitched up, which makes you wonder just how the programmers overlooked this mistake. Ashens reviewed the Atari ST port here.
- The adventure game Hydlide was a huge hit in Japan. It debuted on a microcomputer in 1984, was released on multiple systems there, and eventually landed on the Famicom/NES in 1989. Unfortunately, regardless of whether the game was any good on the earlier systems, it was borderline unplayable on the NES, complete with hints of Porting Disaster. The graphics were bland, and the music was an annoying loop that sounded like a dumbed-down Indiana Jones theme. The battle mechanics were practically non-existent — they amounted to just running into monsters while holding the "Attack" button. There were no clues anywhere of what to do or where to go. Choosing the Save option only saves the player's most recent password; since the cartridge had no battery, the password is wiped from its memory when the game is turned off. The Angry Video Game Nerd ripped apart Hydlide here. ProJared also tore apart the game. For a more balanced discussion of the game's history, along with a little defense, see Lord Kat's review here.
- Ikari III: The Rescue was a nigh-unplayable mess in its original arcade form, as SNK de-emphasized the run-and-gun nature of the first two Ikari Warriors games (essentially turning the third game into a beat-em-up) but kept the rotary controls, making it extremely hard for attacks to connect. Oddly enough, the NES version of Ikari III was better than the NES Porting Disasters of the first two games, as it was a somewhat-decent game on its own. It helps that the NES port didn't bother to simulate the arcade games' rotary controls.
- Intergalactic Cage Match for the Commodore 64 and other systems of the time. Billed as a wrestling game with a Cage Match gimmick, the game had poor graphics, extremely poor (to the point of being near unusable) controls and one major fatal flaw in the design; you couldn't knock anyone off the the wall of the cage once they'd started climbing. As a result, you had a fighting game where somehow actually fighting was less effective than just running to the nearest wall and climbing it. Professional reviews (where they actually existed) were terrible, with scores of about 10-15% out of 100. Stuart Ashen rips it apart here.
- Robobolt for the Commodore 64 is one of the most notably bad games for the system. People that have played it cite amongst it flaws mainly the bad presentation, bad sound effect, very sluggish controls (the bullets that you shoot move so slowly that they can not kill the enemies on screen) and the fact that there is only one enemy sprite in the entire game. Commodore magazine Zzap!64 gave the game a 3%, the lowest score that the magazine has ever given (the only other game that had a score this low was The Further Adventures of Alice In Videoland) and the only one reviewer on the biggest Commodore 64 web site Lemon 64 gave the game a 0/10 and it is even to this day the only game to ever have such a low score on that particular site.
- Scramble Eggs for the MSX is a cheap knockoff of Scramble where you can't horizontally or drop bombs and the enemies and terrain are boringly designed. The graphics look primitive, but the sound and music are worse.
- While Hummer Team usually averts this, Somari falls squarely in it. This game could have been So Bad, It's Good given that it's an unofficial Famicom port of Sonic the Hedgehog starring Mario for no discernible reason, but the poor controls and physics, coupled with Fake Difficulty make it a barely playable mess and the soundtrack makes Sonic Genesis (See Sixth Generation for that game) sound good in comparison.
- Super Monkey Daibouken is an RPG based on Journey to the West in which Sun Wukong and his party make an agonizingly slow journey from China to India through a confusingly designed overworld with blotchy graphics and invisible exits. It has side-scrolling combat sequences like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, but worse in practically every way.
- Super Pitfall was an attempt to update Activision's classic hit Pitfall for the NES... but they didn't update the right things. The gameplay was sluggish and not enjoyable because of unforgiving amounts of Fake Difficulty stemming from terrible stage design, Trial-and-Error Gameplay that gives zero clue as to what to do, and logic-defying ways of getting to a different place (for example, at one point you must jump into a bird enemy that looks no different than any other bird mook in the game). Your character (who looks a bit too much like Luigi) remains a One-Hit-Point Wonder and, while he does have a gun, it's near useless until the final level because most of the enemies are waist-high in height and you can't shoot while you duck! The graphics were awful, full of sickening strobing, slowdown, flickering, and bland sprites (waterfalls look like avalanches of blue garbage). The music is the same annoying loop played over and over again until the final level (where it got replaced by another annoying loop). The company that anonymously developed the game, Micronics, was also responsible for the NES Porting Disasters of Athena and Ikari Warriors. The game was a failure when it was released and is considered among the worst games available for the NES. (The obscure PC-88 version of Super Pitfall was not so bad; it included a life bar, the ability to shoot while ducking, and Dungeon Shops that made gold useful besides for Scoring Points.) If you're still not convinced, check out Aqualung's full walkthrough of the game or The Angry Video Game Nerd's review.
- Transformers Convoy No Nazo has Ultra Magnus as a One-Hit-Point Wonder, palette-swapped bosses (including three instances of the Decepticon logo), Trypticon as a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, and an ending that is nothing but text. You had to collect letters that spelled out Rodimus and then beat the game to play as Rodimus Prime (also a OHPW); if you beat the game with him, then you got "Congratulation!" and your high score. On top of that, the logo of the company who made the game has some guy in blackface.note It is yet another horrible video game that The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed on his show.
- A Week of Garfield, a piss-poor platformer developed by Mars and released by Towa Chiki. The graphics are ugly, with backgrounds often consisting of simple rectangles barely representing what they're supposed to and sprites that look like a failed attempt to capture the comic strip's style. The enemies are uninspired, consisting of things like mice, birds, baseballs, spiders, and worms. The sound effects are primitive. It's packed to the brim with Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders. There's no Mercy Invincibility, so the aformentioned goddamned bats and demonic spiders can take out all your health in less than a second, made even worse by the game only giving you one life and no continues. Topping all that, in a completely boneheaded move of game design all the items are invisible until you walk past them. This especially becomes a pain at several points when the gameplay grinds to a halt and you're left jumping around the screen like an idiot looking for a key to open the giant door in front of you. This happens multiple times throughout all the stages. It was only released in Japan, and it's a good thing it stayed there. The only positive thing about this game is the graphics' use in the Garfield parody comic Square Root of Minus Garfield. See NecroVMX take a look at it here.
- Where's Waldo? for the NES. The appalling graphics are inexcusable because the point of the game is to see where Waldo is. To add insult to injury, the real Waldo is sometimes wearing different colors. The levels that don't consist of finding Waldo are just as terrible, especially the subway level. In it, you had to reach Waldo by entering through tunnels. The board is randomly generated, meaning that sometimes, the whole level becomes Unwinnable by Mistake.
- While Winter Games is a classic on other systems, the NES version is an infamously bad Porting Disaster. The game has a terrible and bare-bones menu, the graphics are crap, and the music is ear-grating. The game only lets the player compete in four events (Hot Dog Aerials, Speed Skating, The Bobsled, Figure Skating) compared to the seven offered by the Atari 2600 version. The gameplay is sluggish to the point of being unplayable due to its unforgiving amounts of Fake Difficulty stemming from Trial-and-Error Gameplay that gives zero clue as to what to do, and counter-intuitive controls. Worst of all, the game wasn't even developed by Epyx themselves, but sub-contracted to a small Japanese developer called Atelier Double. This version was a failure and was panned by both critics and players upon release, and is considered among the worst games available for the NES. It's little wonder why The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed the game for his Christmas episode in 2009 and even actually destroyed the game cartridge with fire.
Fourth Generation (1987-96)
- 3D Ballz for the SNES and Sega Genesis. The setting of the game is pure gibberish with nonsensical phrases and weird photos, but what clinches this game is the controls — it's so unplayable that you'll have no idea how to control your fighter. The AI, however, has no problem controlling its fighters and will wipe the floor with you. The music and sounds are strange, almost erotic, with girls moaning and guys grunting. See Yungtown & Caddicarus review the game here.
- The Amiga adaptation of AKIRA is a heavy contender with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the title of "worst licensed video game of all time", and is certainly one of the◊ worst◊ Amiga◊ games◊ of all time. Players alternate between side-scrolling motorcycle segments and platforming levels with either Kaneda or Tetsuo. The first level of the game, a motorcycle segment, has even less margin for error than the speedbike segments of Battletoads: rumors have it the publisher had to give passwords to reviewers because they couldn't beat the first level. Not that the platforming segments are any better: enemies are damage sponges while the player is about as fragile as wet tissue paper, the third stage requires players to find keycards to progress which are a chore to find, and the fourth stage is Unwinnable by Design due to a platform you need to traverse across being out of reach.
- The circumstances behind the game's development makes how bad it is more understandable: one person tried to track down the development team, and almost everyone involved wanted to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the development company ICE Software. According to what testimony was given, ICE Software made the infamous sweatshop conditions of Electronic Arts look like Club Med in comparison. Attempts to contact the heads of the company (which went belly-up not long after AKIRA's release) were met with profanity-laden resistance. At the end of the day, it's little wonder how AKIRA for the Amiga wound up being so godawful.
- Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt by Tengen, a flaccid attempt at cashing in on Sonic the Hedgehog, and one of the worst Sega Genesis platformers. The presentation and design is awful; lousy controls, levels that are either bland or just sloppily designed, enemies and bosses with primitive AI and bad hit detection, combined with grainy sprites and garish color schemes, choppy animation and slowdown, bland music, and a trite environmental theme throughout the game, going as far as giving you pointless trivia questions in-between levels—and on top of all that is a completely unlikable, ugly attempt at a Mascot with Attitude who often spouts grating digitized catchphrases such as "I'm Awesome!".
- As Urinating Tree pointed out in his review, the game's very existence is a hypocrisy. To illustrate: the central message in this game is about environmentalism (save the forests, always recycle, etc.), but what do you think those game cartridges, packaging, cover art and manual are all made of? He did note that the voice clarity was a good thing, but all the positives end there.
- Batman Forever, a tie-in to the film of that name, for the SNES from Acclaim Entertainment. The game has frequent loading screens despite being on a 16-bit cartridge. The graphics are so-so, and the music is terribly bland. Worst of all, this game was made with the Mortal Kombat engine even though it's barely a fighting game, and so the controls are completely counter-intuitive note . The Angry Video Game Nerd reviews it here, along with other Batman games both good and bad. If you want to see any more of the game, check out this playthrough by Some Call Me Johnny.
- There was also a Sega Genesis version of this game, which does have some improvements, such as slightly better controls (that is if you have the six-button controller), no load times, and the ability to control the main villains in the VR simulation mode. The improvements end there as the game is just as bad as the SNES version. Urinating Tree (aka Schlasser) explains further.
- The game was also released for the Game Boy, with more or less any and all redeeming qualities of either of the above versions being stripped away completely. The already-bland music translates horribly from 16-bit to 8-bit, and graphical limitations have caused much of the game's background detail to vanish, leaving you with an ugly-looking game that makes you feel as though you're in an empty white building of nothing as you attempt to play it. The sprites are taken directly from the SNES version, leading to a Batman who barely resembles Batman (the sprite from the 1989 game looks closer by comparison). Finally, the controls, taken directly from the amazing Game Boy port of Mortal Kombat, are a complete mystery to first time players — not even the manual tells you how to do essential moves, making almost every moment a case of Trial-and-Error Gameplay, and once you do figure out the controls they don't even work 90% of the time, which can lead your average player to not be able to make it past the first screen even if they consult a guide. Small wonder that Batman Forever is commonly listed as the worst Game Boy Batman game of all time.
- Battlecry, a 1991 arcade game by Home Data, is a mixture of Beat Em Up and Fighting Game, and happens to be horrible at being both. The first half of each level consists of an endless wave of random thugs, and your protagonist has to grab onto a helicopter ladder in order to get to the boss. This is easier said than done considering that sometimes the ladder is out of reach, while other times you're too busy fighting off thugs to jump (which require holding up and guard at the same time, as opposed to just up or even having its own button). The controls are so unresponsive, even doing something as basic as jumping forward is impossible. The boss fights simply consist of mashing buttons and hoping they don't pull off a random move that can take a third of your health. The graphics are ugly, and the protagonist on the title screen (a blonde muscular man in red sleeveless clothing) looks nothing like he does in the game (a green haired man in a blue Speedo). Home Data finished the game in 1989 (and the game would have been just as ugly and dated if released then) but didn't even bother to polish it or make it playable in those two years.
- Bebe's Kids is notorious amongst the SNES crowd for terrible music, bland gameplay, and a confusing haunted house that acts like a maze. Hard to believe this was made by the same studio that went on to create Prototype. Watch The Nostalgia Critic tear it apart here, as well as Lord Kat's guide to beat it.
- Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure is a godawful mess of a game where the main gameplay consists of randomly jumping into things like bushes/rocks/fences, etc in order to find objects to return to people in their proper time. There's no map to help you (unless you've got Nintendo Power, and even then it's kind of vague) figure out where they are, so you can easily spend an hour jumping into stuff and not find a damn thing. To top it off, the controls are shit; the game is in an isometric perspective, ambitious for an NES game admittedly but executed dreadfully. You can't walk on grass (most of the time) so you have to follow a path, and you can only go faster with this awkward jump; if you get stuck on grass (easy to do since the path has so many turns) it's tedious to get back off, and throwing weapons at enemies is terribly awkward. Plus, in order to even begin a level, you have to go through a tedious process—first, flip the page of the phone book to the famous historical person's phone number, then manually dial the number, then go to a time circuit, which is completely pointless, not to mention confusing, as dialing the last number in most circuits is a major Guide Dang It in itself which most players would never guess. It's easily the worst of all the LJN licensed games, and considering some of the rest of their output, that's saying a lot. The Angry Video Game Nerd has many harsh words for it here.
- Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball is an early SNES title with an interesting concept, but is undermined by sub-par AI, slow characters, and god-awful controls. You're more likely to spend time trying to figure out how to shoot rather than actually trying to win. Dshban manages to do pretty good at it, though.
- CrazyBus, a South American homebrew game for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive made in 2004 in which you drive a bus across the screen. Impossible to lose or win, barely even a game, extremely boring, and music so bad it sounds like someone trying to eat a Game Boy while it's still on. The sound effects sound like they were taken from an Atari 2600 game, and the graphics look no better than an Atari 7800 game. The Angry Video Game Nerd takes a good, hard look into this title during the "Twelve Days of Shitsmas" series he had in 2014, and he not only considers products like the Tiger Electronics handheld games, Desert Bus, and even Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing to be better than this, but he also finds it to be a new low for video games with the only people that could actually be interested in it being Venezuelan bus enthusiasts.
- Dark Castle was a groundbreaking game for Apple Macintosh computers (being one of the first games to use fully recorded sound effect samples), but it got a pair of terrible ports on the Sega Genesis and Philips CD-i by Electronic Arts and Three-Sixty Games—with the CD-i port being the worse of the two despite being on a more powerful console. The lack of mouse or keypad control in these ports make it difficult for your hero to properly aim his projectiles, and the bad controls are worsened by the hero's habit of stumbling and falling all over the place. It's possible to defeat the final boss without even exploring some of the rooms in the castlenote , making almost half of the game superfluous. You can see how much of a failure the game is in this UrinatingTree review, as well as an AVGN review for the Genesis and CD-i versions right here.
- Dark Tower (not to be confused with Stephen King's The Dark Tower series), an arcade game by The Game Room. The game plays like a shoddy version of Snow Bros, except instead of a snowman you are some sort of caveman or unkempt nerd hitting monsters with a bat without any pants on. The graphics are stolen from Ghosts N Goblins and Black Tiger, and the music is the fourth stage music of Double Dragon on an endless loop. The game itself is lacking in any variety or challenge, as you simply fight the same four monsters (with the same basic boss every ten floors) throughout fifty levels. "Beating" the game presents you with no ending and sends you back to the first level, which isn't even any harder.
- The Turbografx-16 version of Darkwing Duck suffers terribly from sluggish and delayed controls, poor hit detection, and wonky physics. This makes boss fights harder than they ought to be, since the margin for error when it comes to jumping on them is practically microscopic. The platforming also suffers from an unseen time limit: don't take too long trying to make a tough jump, or else you'll have a safe dropped on you, killing you instantly. Do yourself a favor and just play Capcom's NES version, instead. If you're really curious of how bad it is, watch the Angry Video Game Nerd's review.
- Deep Blue for the Turbo-Grafx 16 is often cited as not only one of the worst games on the system, but one of the worst shmups ever released. The graphics are drab, the music can lull you to sleep, the controls are sluggish, the levels are boring (nothing but wave after wave of annoying enemies with a boss at the end), and all three weapons are practically useless. While you can take multiple hits, enemies can still strip all your health away in swarms (getting hit even once strips you of all your speed powerups and reduces your current weapon to its basic level), and you only get one life and no continues to beat the game. The only two ways to replenish health are rare health pickups and Pause Scumming (and the latter may still not be enough). If you do manage to beat the game, all you get for your troubles is a screen that says "NEXT". Watch this review to see it in action.
- Divine Sealing is an unlicensed hentai shmup for the Genesis that's notable for being extremely ugly, generic, and easy. Heck, even its main gimmick (anime chicks stripping themselves for no reason after you beat each level) is too limited (and too badly drawn) to be actually arousing. If you're not prone to motion sickness, check out this Longplay (NSFW).
- Dragon Bowl, a sprite hack of the arcade Ninja Gaiden allegedly based on Dragon Ball. It is notable for atrocious music, sound effects stolen from various sources (most notably Street Fighter II), graphics that look like they were drawn by children who'd picked up writing utensils for the first time, game breaking bugs that weren't in the original game and broken hit detection. It is pathetic when put up against the game it rips off, never mind other brawlers released the same year.
- While the Sega Genesis was home to some of the most memorable Disney-licensed games, the video game adaptation of Fantasia was not one of them. With sloppy programming, awkward controls, and haphazard level design, it falls well below the standards of a typical Disney game, and its tinny music hardly does the film's soundtrack any justice. To add insult to injury, Chernabog doesn't even appear as the Final Boss, rendering whatever motivation there was to complete this game moot. It ranked #6 on Mega's "10 Worst Mega Drive Games of All Time," and is reviled by Sega Genesis fans across the net; Urinating Tree sympathizes with them.
- Fight Fever (aka Wang Jung Wang) is a Korean-made Street Fighter II ripoff for the Neo Geo with ugly graphics, special moves that are impossible to pull off, and several assets stolen from the first Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting games. (The sounds were mostly stolen from Art of Fighting, and the continue counter noise and end-of-round score screen graphics were stolen from Fatal Fury.)
- Fuck Quest for DOS, designed by one Richard Eter, is one of the saddest cases of self insertion this side of Sonichu, sadder still for being one of the most blatant Parody Retcons. Your goal is to get your character, also named Richard, laid, and that's pretty much it. Where do we start... It was made in 1998, but resembles the text-and-graphic based games of the 1980s—and it fails at being one of those, too. The plagiarized, monophonic score is the least of its issues; it's unbelievably crass in its execution—more than half of the 11(!) overworld maps feature references to sex and/or naughty bits, all of them Fetish Retardant due to either the tremendously outdated graphics or Eter's horrid drawing skills. The text is crude at best and obscene at worst. The art? Well... What few things weren't taken directly from Leisure Suit Larry would barely (if ever) pass in middle-school art class—many things were clearly done with whatever Paint function Eter had on hand, and what isn't a simple shape or executed using the "fill" function is very sloppily drawn and/or scribbled in an even sloppier fashion.
- Guardians of the 'Hood, a Beat 'em Up and Spiritual Successor to Pit-Fighter, features hideously grainy Digitized Sprites of people going at each other with bad hit detection, set to execrable synth music. The 5-button control scheme makes even basic moves pointlessly complicated. There is very little variation in enemy types, and the game is padded out with pointlessly hard one-on-one gym fights that aren't treated as Bonus Stages.
- While the original arcade game of Hard Drivin was a popular, technically impressive and fun racing sim, the Sega Genesis port simply could not do it justice in either factor. While the real-time polygon graphics were impressive for their time, especially for an early Genesis game (and no extra chips or processors used) the single-digit frame rate, combined with very sluggish controls, make it clear that the Genesis was in way over its head trying to accomplish such a game. Combine that with lousy physics (e.g. the giant loop-de-loop which is very hard to clear), handling akin to sliding on ice, which enhances the game's Fake Difficulty; it is very easy to crash into other scenery or cars heading in your direction, and your car is so fragile that one hit will total it and send you back to the start or a checkpoint (the strict time limit is of no help to this), and when the car is sent flying in the air via ramp, it can crash just from not being in the precise position you are supposed to land the car on, and the game is nearly unplayable.
- Heavy Nova, a futuristic mecha action game for the Sega Genesis. The single-player campaign is mostly based around boss fights; the levels preceding them use the same game engine and controls as the fighting sections, and their brevity is perhaps for the better because they have some of the worst platforming ever committed to a 2D console. All of the on-screen enemies are a fraction the size of your character and are nearly impossible to hit because your moves are designed to strike enemies your own height. This means that you have one move that can strike anything in the single-player campaign — an awkward kick that requires you to be within pixels of whatever you're trying to strike as they rain Beam Spam down on you from all sides. The game's one-on-one fighting sections were no better — when you jump, all attacks pass through you, meaning you can make yourself completely invincible at will. This has implications for the multiplayer mode and some of the boss battles, with matches consisting of players spending most of their time jumping. Even without this stupid oversight, the different characters you can choose to fight with are completely imbalanced. Some have so few moves that they have unmapped buttons (on a Sega Genesis controller), while others can spam distance attacks and have full suites of super moves. To top it all off, the game is hideous; the graphics would have been a disappointment on the Sega Master System. If you want to see more of this game, watch the Continueshow version of the game here.
- Isle of the Dead is a strong contender for the worst FPS of all time. Coming out the same year as Doom, its engine is more on the level of Wolfenstein 3D. Right from the start, the game offers enemies which can tear you to pieces in seconds and respawn right after you leave the room. The graphics and sound are horrible—with nothing to tell parts of the map apart, navigation becomes far too difficult. There are some static screens where you interact (similar to adventure games), but in these you are often clueless about what you are supposed to do, and can easily miss crucial items. To top it all off, quitting the game is referred to as "the coward's way out," and is greeted with a graphic depiction of a shotgun suicide.
The sad part is that the game is supposed to have point-and-click adventure elements as well, which sounds like a great idea in theory. But the game could not decide which genre to pick thus making a complete mess of a game. For all your troubles to actually play through the game, all you get is a The End... Or Is It?-style ending. A Sequel Hook that will never come to life... no pun intended...
- While It Came From The Desert is generally considered a Cult Classic on other systems, the TurboGrafx CD port is an example of an infamously bad Porting Disaster, no thanks to the addition of FMVs that have little to do with the actual plot, changes to the story, and the system's own graphical limitations forcing a change in certain gameplay aspects and making it more repetitive and boring. There are frequent moments where the gameplay segments don't match up with the story at all note . The cutscenes feel like they're out of order, as there are points where back-to-back cutscenes will contradict each other. Not even traveling in the game works right; you'll sometimes pick a location to go to and end up in a completely different area. Watch Retsupurae riff it to pieces here.
- Legend Of Success Joe, a horrible excuse of a boxing game based on the manga/anime Ashita no Joe. The gameplay alternates between very primitive Beat 'em Up segments in which Joe fights a few wimpy enemies that die in one punch before fighting a very long boss, and boxing matches based on famous battles of the series. The controls are clunky and unresponsive, and the music sounds like something out of an early NES game even though this game was produced for one of the most powerful systems of the early 1990s. The graphics are not much better — an ugly, overly bright color palette, non-existent animation, and hunchbacked character sprites. It was one of the few early Neo Geo titles that stayed in Japan, for good reason.
- Lord of the Rings: Book 1, Interplay's attempt at adapting The Fellowship of the Ring to the SNES, quickly and flagrantly broke all the rules established in the books. You Shall Not Pass? Well, not if the player decides to beat the Big Bad elsewhere first... if the player managed to make it that far, since glitches would often cause the mere act of walking to the next area to be fatal. You could finish the game as two unnamed Hobbit children and Bill the pony. Before the advent of Game FA Qs, if you lost the manual, then you were boned — it had all the layouts of the dungeons (which were at least fifty screens long) printed within.
It doesn't end there. Cutscenes, even ones that are supposed to take place in castles, are composed of Walls of Text between people standing in some field. Sprites are poorly made — only cloak color differentiates the hobbits from each other, and no one but Gimli and Gandalf looks any different from the generic NPCs. The cities look like any other part of the world, except they have lazily designed houses in them. And at the end? You fight the Balrog, using the horrendous control scheme which causes you to either control every member of your party at once or let them wander around and die not that it matters, as the fight is more or less Unwinnable anyway. There are noticeable loading times between areas despite this game being on the SNES. The game's sole redeeming point is its beautiful music... but it only has three tracks, and one of them is reserved for the title screen.
- The Make My Video series was produced to build up the Sega CD's Full Motion Video library quickly without having to shoot original footage. All three games involved "editing" three videos with filters and silly stock clips. Even for the time, it was ridiculously limited. Since the Sega CD had limited video capabilities, the resulting videos were grainy, had a limited color palette, and were displayed on a very small portion of the screen (especially bad since all three videos are played at the same time). The "Kris Kross" release is often cited as the single worst Sega CD game which, considering the amount of crap in the U.S. library for the Sega CD, is saying something. Spoony has reviewed all three of the games for his "FMV Hell" series, as well as Power Factory featuring C+C Music Factory, another game made in the same style.
- The Mario franchise was unfortunately prey to a bevy of educational games, many of which were mediocre at best. The absolute nadir, however, would be Mario's Early Years: Preschool Fun. It's ridiculously simplistic, beyond the point of enjoyability, with all the gameplay built around preschool-level teachings... It's clear every word of the voice acting is an individual clip, as each word is emphasized and separated by a brief pause, to unsettling effect. Framerate issues occasionally cause the music to randomly change tempo, and the graphics make everyone look... off.note ProtonJon and Kelekin play through the entirety of the game here, as well as its other incarnation (Mario's Early Years: Fun With Letters) here.
- The DOS versions of Mega Man and Mega Man 3 had horrible controls and graphics (just look at the Robot Master/stage-select screen◊ from the first game), non-existent music (to go with the frequently non-existent sound cards), and terrible level design (the introduction level in the first game is a short, flat path to the Robot Masters' domains where you flee from an invincible Goddamned Wolf who will get several hits in on you). In Mega Man 3, the Robot Masters are obvious edits of the bosses of the NES Mega Man 2 and 3. It makes you wonder why Capcom outsourced their mascot to an unknown shovelware studio.
If you played it on a fast-for-the-time PC, then the first DOS Mega Man would run at uncontrollably fast speeds. Yes, many DOS games were programmed to use the PC's processor clock cycles as an internal timer without an upper limit; the faster the processor ran, the faster the game ran. Games like this that were programmed for an 80286 processor are unplayably fast on modern computers (which are 500 times faster than a baseline 286). But still, that's really not supposed to happen while the game is still on the shelves.
The reason there is no DOS Mega Man 2 is because the developers were trying to cash in on the then-released Mega Man 3, to the point of making their own version of the robot master on the original NES cover◊ (who's supposed to be Spark Man) to justify using the exact same cover.
- Whereas the first Mega Man Game Boy game was well received, Capcom outsourced Mega Man II to a different company than the one that made the previous game (according to series producer Keiji Inafune). This resulted in sloppy stage design, pathetically low difficulty (save for the insanely hard final boss), and music that includes notes that will make your ears bleed. Capcom wisely decided to not hire that company again for the next Game Boy installments of Mega Man.
The problem with the game's music actually seems to be more along the lines of obnoxious instrumentation than legitimately bad composition; the songs demonstrate fairly complex melodies and a decent understanding of both musical theory and the general style used in the Mega Man series. Unfortunately, whoever actually programmed the songs into the game appears to have been highly incompetent at doing so.
- Mortal Kombat 3 for the original Game Boy was a cheap bastardization of its console game counterparts, rendered nearly unplayable due to the limitations of the Game Boy, and had poor graphics even by that system's standards (especially when compared to the GB version of Mortal Kombat II). Also, the developers screwed up some of the fatalities — notable offenders are Sindel, whose scream somehow sets the opponent on fire, and Smoke, whose Fatality made absolutely no sense.
- The GB port of the original Mortal Kombat was also very bad, which is sad because the character models were rather photorealistic (for a Game Boy game). It suffered from sloppy animations and even more sloppy hit detection. All the special moves used inputs completely different from the rest of the games of the franchise, and there were no fatality cues.
- Rise of the Robots promised a soundtrack by Brian May of Queen... which consisted of a short title tune. The rest of the music was written in-house at Mirage because May didn't get his music in by the deadline. (The techno soundtrack by Richard Joseph was actually praised by a few reviewers — it just wasn't what the game advertised.) The graphics looked utterly astounding, but because the animations were so detailed that they were practically Full Motion Video there was little wiggle room for gameplay and only a few moves possible per character. Worse, you could plow through literally the entire game by spamming the same attack over and over again, completely eliminating the need for any strategy or even learning much beyond the basic controls. One of the first games, and one of the few from the 2D era, that got excellent reviews on its graphics but poor ratings on everything else. There are some versions of the game are better than others (the 3DO version actually does have music by Brian May, plus the techno soundtrack as an option), while some are worse off (the Amiga version has no music, and the Genesis version has worse graphics and sound quality). Play It Bogart takes a look at the the SNES version here.
- Shaq Fu, released for SNES, Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy, and (in Europe) Amiga. With Godawful controls and eccentric hit detection, on top of a nonsensical plot, it is likely one of the worst Fighting Games of all time. Shaqfu.com is a site dedicated to the pursuit of finding copies of the game and destroying them. (There's also a site dedicated to preserving as many copies as possible. Oh you, internet.) Even the ending is basically the game giving you the finger. See dhsban suffer through the SNES version of the game here.
- Much like Dragon's Lair for the NES mentioned above, the SNES version of Space Ace was meant to translate every single level from the Laserdisc original into a platformer. The controls are sluggish and unresponsive; combined with poorly placed hit boxes and fast-scrolling screens, that makes for a frustrating time. It is almost impossible to land your jumps, and missing jumps kills you in most levels. If you want to shoot someone, good luck — there are two buttons to draw your gun, one for each direction. Then there's the Space Maze, painful padding sandwiched between every level; in these sections, you have to steer your impossibly fast ship through a bunch of narrow alleys while shooting obstacles. The graphics are ugly at times — the developers did include a few of the FMVs, but they're so grainy and disjointed that you have to wonder why they bothered. The result is a long, frustrating, poorly designed game.
- Survival Arts is a fighting game that was published by Sammy Corporation (yes, the same Sammy that distributes the Guilty Gear arcade games) and developed by Scarab. It is a dime in a dozen of games that tried to capitalize on the Mortal Kombat hype by having digitized graphics. The playable characters are laughable: Gunner is supposed to be a police officer but looks more like a janitor; Viper looks like a poor-man's Ken from Street Fighter the Movie the Game; Mongo and Santana are horrifically broken while Tasha and Hanna are pitifully weak, and the resident SNK Boss has been likened to a cross between Will Ferrell and Richard Simmons pretending to be Shang Tsung. The game's large, detailed sprites and fluid animations actually work against it: Having such gigantic characters means little room to move, and the drawn-out animations allow the AI to block every single thing you throw at them except for a scant few moves they will always allow themselves to get hit by. Throw in a faulty weapon mechanic, a disgusting cacophony of drums and trombones passed off as background music, plus one of the worst cases of vertical sync you'd ever laid your eyes upon (jumping up and down causes the video to split apart), and you can see why it's no wonder Sammy Corp never mentioned this game ever since. Sick0Fant took a fiddle at it, and a commentary of this is also available.
- While the Genesis and Master System versions of Taz-Mania are considered good, or at least passable, the Game Gear version is an atrocious wreck. The graphics are hideous and the controls sluggish and awkward, which only adds to the Fake Difficulty that's already present (the first level involves outrunning a boulder and requires absolute perfection and ends with a Leap of Faith, while the second requires you to know the exact route through a runaway mine cart level or else you'll hit a dead-end and die.) The only boss in the game is a serious case of Guide Dang It (you have to jump up and hit hanging icicles with your spin attack, which for some reason causes fire to shoot out from the floor) and the sound and music...well, just have a listen for yourself.
- Tattoo Assassins is what happened when some employees of Data East got the mistaken idea that they could compete with Mortal Kombat with half the budget and one-third of the development time of a typical arcade Fighting Game. The result was nearly unplayable, with poor moves, Artificial Stupidity, and an annoying parrot. The pointlessly hyped story (what with its loose connection to Bob Gale) fell flat. The game was also hyped to feature more Finishing Moves than in any other fighting game, but that was because management threw in every idea they could think of regardless of how bad they were. It never went past the beta phase because they couldn't find testers who could bear to play it. If you really want to, you can find more information about this game on I-Mockery or watch Retsupurae riff the arcade mode here and the fatalities here. For the record, Data East executive Joe Kaminkow defends the game, noting that people are still talking about it all these years later.
- An insider account of the game's development can be found here.
- Top Banana, originally for the Archimedes in 1991 but ported to the Amiga and Atari ST one year later, is basically Rainbow Islands except purely awful in every aspect. The game was meant to have an environmental theme that was only elaborated on in the manual, as the trippy intro explains nothing and several of the enemies are hard to interpret. The backgrounds look like random tiles jumbled together in a way that's painful to look at, and the protagonist looks like an ugly clown. The sound effects are either inappropriate or just plain creepy, such as a disturbing moan that plays when you pick up items. The controls are slippery, and there's no way to control your jump height, making it easy to bump your head into an enemy (made worse when taking damage knocks you off the platform). Other awful mechanics include needing to shoot power ups before you collect them (otherwise, you'll take damage) and a radiation mechanic that makes the bad graphics and controls even worse. The worst part: you have only one life and no continues to beat this game, and all you get for your trouble if you manage to do so is an image.
Fifth Generation (1993-2003)
- Batman and Robin, released in 1998 by Acclaim as a tie-in to the movie, is admittedly a neat concept for its time: a sandbox-style game where you could drive around a large recreation of Gotham City, choose between three characters and develop those characters skills independently, and be on a time limit to complete various tasks and missions. What could be bad about it? THE CONTROLS. Driving in this game is horrendous because your car is too big and the road is too narrow, meaning you'll either crash into traffic or just hit a wall because the car handles for crap. The fighting mechanics are sluggish and monotonous, consisting of repetitive combos or unintuitively deploying gadgets like batarangs (which take forever to aim). You have the ability to switch from a fighting mode to a detective mode, but unlike the later Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, you can't fight in detective mode, meaning trying to gather clues while there are enemies around is beyond annoying. This game had potential, it followed the story of the movie closely and had pretty good graphics for the time, but the controls just utterly killed it.
How bad is it? When Somecallmejohnny did a playthrough of the game (which you can view here) they not only pointed out more problems that aren't listed on this page, but they only made ONE part. Why? Because of the controls and the fact that you only get one life and zero continues. And keep in mind, they played through all of Batman Forever (seen above). That alone tells you the quality of this game.
- Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge. The graphics are heavily pixellated despite being Full Motion Video. The steps to move forward in the game seem completely random, and the game doesn't give you any clues on how to progress. Even the directions do no more than explain a few basics. Then there's the ending — some outtakes from filming the monster Pumpkinhead and footage of the guy in the suit dancing around in sneakers. The game was never meant to be "won"; if it is won, then it thumbs its nose at you. If you get the good ending, that is; if you don't beat the game the way you're "supposed" to, the ending video is Pumpkinhead literally giving you the finger.
The game is so bad that Spoony had to do two reviews — One explaining how he couldn't figure out how to play it, and one after LordKat finally showed him how. And LordKat himself couldn't figure out the puzzles either despite going as far as hacking into the game with a HEX editor. The guys ended up just borrowing from a Let's Play created by a fan who somehow beat the whole thing, with him giving the okay because it would be the same whether or not they actually beat it themselves.
- An attempt at reinvigorating the ill-fated Bubsy franchise, Bubsy 3D for the Sony PlayStation is considered one of the worst games ever made. The primitive graphics, ranging from jittery models to patchwork surroundings (most of which were made of flat polygonal surfaces with a single shade), were pathetic even by the standards of the day. The gameplay was abominable: it was difficult to move Bubsy in any direction other than straight forward, and jumping on platforms was a chore because of the bad camera angles. To add insult to injury, Bubsy was given one of the most grating voices known to man and shrieked dialogue every five seconds to explain every nook and cranny of the game. Bubsy's 2D games are often considered a Love It or Hate It affair and have their fans, but Bubsy 3D effectively put the bobcat out of his misery. Its failure was compounded by the release of Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot (1996) mere months before. The Angry Video Game Nerd gives his take on it, along with several other notorious games, here. Somecallmejohnny also reviewed this game along with the rest of the Bubsy franchise.
- Catfight's sole redeeming quality was featuring an all-female cast in a Fighting Game (although, contrary to what its developers claimed on the game box, it wasn't the first — a year prior, there was a Japan-only Sega Saturn game called "Pretty Fighter X" that also featured an all-female cast). Never mind that the controls didn't work, the game (for the PC only) ran at a framerate measurable in the single digits, the voice recording and acting are both garbage, and the AI didn't know how to do anything but block.
- Chronicles Of The Sword was a two-disc PlayStation game that wasn't worth the $5 you probably paid for it. It had a horrible to non-existent plot about a nameless Arthurian knight who's trying to earn his armor (or something like that). It's a standard Pixel Hunting Adventure Game that was mostly "find a large number of useless items and trade them repeatedly", but it was impossible to know their purpose, as your inventory only showed a large 3D-rendered video of the object with no description. (A particularly bad example: the character at one point obtains a broken clay pot which has to be given to a perfume-making monk. Why? Because the pot has ambergris in it. But there's no way to know that without randomly attempting to give the thing to the monk.) Then there was the battle system, which consisted of Full Motion Video battles. Unfortunately, whoever programmed it made the timing of the battle independent of the load time on the disc. By the time you could tell you were being attacked, you were dead. (Thankfully, there was an "Easy" option which turned the videos into cutscenes, making it the game's single redeeming feature.) Oh, and inspecting certain items in your inventory would crash the Playstation.
- Club Drive for the Atari Jaguar. For most of your missions in this game, you have to go in an RC car and pick up glowing balls of string — something which has nothing to do with clubs and little to do with driving. The graphics are shoddy and the physics are so eccentric to the point where it borders on Artificial Stupidity. In some instances, your car can levitate into the air and fly briefly. There's even an instance of Fake Difficulty to be found. In his review, where he names it the second worst game of all time (behind only the E.T. game), Seanbaby speculates that the programmers of Club Drive "might have stole their programming code from Dolphin Adventures in Tuna Nets".
- Cosmic Race, an early PlayStation title from a Japanese company called Neorex that has been heard of neither before nor since, is an awful "racing" "game" with ugly graphics (some were ripped straight from devkits), stupid characters (a caveman who pilots a flying bus/pineapple hybrid?!), forgettable music, random collision detection, an unnecessarily convoluted control scheme (R1 is to accelerate, and you need to push the D-Pad and the corresponding face button just to turn), and long, boring levels. It's no wonder Game Players Magazine gave it a 0% and named that rating after this game; to put this into perspective, 1-9% is known as "Shoot Me". If you really want to see just how sloppy, clunky, and poorly made this title is, enjoy this video, where the commentator has to go as far as to pretend that a Ludicolo is driving the flying pineapple bus just to drum up the motivation to pick a character, let alone play a course. A simple diagram of the game's absurd controls is provided at the six-minute mark. The sheer insanity of the layout is very likely to cause headaches just looking at it.
- The Crow: City of Angels, a game loosely based on the similarly named film, has all of the hallmarks of the mountains of crappy licensed games published by Acclaim over its lifetime. The characters and pre-rendered backgrounds are washed-out and ugly even by the standards of the day, and the boneheaded decision to use Resident Evil-style tank controls in a 3D beat-em-up, along with inaccurate collision detection and a jumpy camera made the game an utter chore to play through.
- Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout for the PlayStation is one of a group of infamous Dragon Ball-themed games. The characters look and move like glaciers, attacks come slowly, and the one effective melee attack is easily spammable. The US version of this game was once available for over $200 on eBay because only a few thousand were made. The funniest part? You'd think it would've been a rushed effort to cash in on the series, but nope — the powers that be dragged out GT to keep interest in Dragon Ball high enough to justify purchasing the game!
While it's not quite as grievous an offense, it's worth noting that the game was released in the US, titled Dragon Ball: Final Bout (though it still said Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout in the title screen), during the airing of Ocean Studios' dub of Dragon Ball Z, long before the anime reached the height of its popularity there. This means nobody in the West would know who the heck Cell or Buu were, why Goku had different clothes and was suddenly a kid or why Gohan was suddenly all grown up, etc. (the GT anime did not get a Western release until about a decade later). It was met with little to no advertising, and not many copies were made anyway, which is no wonder why the game was so hard to find in the West. It was re-released with its proper title years later when GT was being dubbed and the Budokai games were popular, but no improvements were made at all.
The opening (possibly the only good thing about this schlock-fest) just magnifies this; you think you're going to play a badass fighting game, but upon playing the damn thing, it becomes hell. Unfortunately, if you played the U.S. version, the music in the intro was replaced with a generic rock track, sucking out the excitement in its entirety.
- Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 was released as a PlayStation 1 game in 2003(?!) after spending eight years stuck in Japan (though for once, it should've stayed there). This "game" featured an atrocious blend of sprites that look just like the anime with ugly, rudimentary 3D backgrounds, no storyline, and shoddy AI. Honestly, that wasn't a good way to exploit the DBZ hype that hit the American shores 15 years too late.
To add some sour icing to this dragon-turd, the U.S. version got gimped, badly. The loading screens felt longer, the music no longer looped naturally, and all of the cut-scenes between two characters, including special cut-scenes, were removed (except for the announcer during tournament mode... without being re-dubbed (or even subtitled) and with longer pauses in between his sentences, for some reason). Like Rise 2: Resurrection, single player makes you fight every single character in the roster, including all the unlockable characters if you're really unlucky! Oh, and there is no reward to beating single player either. The manual flat out tells you the cheat code to unlock all the characters, literally giving you no reason to play this beyond pure curiosity.
This was the actual US commercial for the game. A rather fitting analogy, indeed.
It must be said that despite the fact that Ultimate Battle 22 was simply a bad game and shamefully resurrected to maintain Western interest in the franchise with minimal effort, it did have a great (if somewhat repetitive) soundtrack. The music heard in the above-mentioned ad is the Ear Worm character select screen music.
Not even Mark Bussler can defend this game.
- Dual Heroes was a terrible Nintendo 64 Fighting Game which featured characters who were all Power Rangers ripoffs. The story was bizarrely convoluted and made little sense — why are they fighting each other when they're all after the same guy? The endings for all the characters contained bland text exclaiming "The Battle Is Not Yet Over!" The entire game could be won, from start to finish, by Button Mashing the B button. Even on the hardest difficulty, it was a joke, and you ran out of stuff to do fast, as there is little to do but fight the samey characters over and over, which gets old faster than you'd think. This was a rushed, terrible cash-in to satisfy the need for fighting games on the N64. (Read the scathing but hilarious review on IGN here.) The publisher, Hudson Soft, thankfully learned their lesson and went on to produce Beastorizer, aka the Bloody Roar series, which was much more well received.
- ECW: Hardcore Revolution was a blatant rush job from Acclaim to cash in on the success of the then-recent WWF Smackdown and WCW vs nWo games. First strike is that the game is almost completely recycled from WWF: War Zone and WWF: Attitude despite War Zone coming out 3 years before and being outdated back then. Add bad controls (Reversals and targeting are still overly confusing to do), poor, floaty and robotic animations. Bad, muted and often annoying sounds litter the game (ORIGINAL GANGSTA!!). There are a few lackluster game modes (barb wire matches are pointless) as well as mediocre graphics. giving you an already bad wrestling game. But it fails even worse as an ECW game as it has NONE of the core elements of ECW save for the roster (despite being quite large, many are in name only without trademark styles of wrestling. Example: New Jack's wrestles on par with Taz whereas in the real world, he is notoriously limitedand RVD's move set is rather basic compared to the unique kung fu and aerial style he is known for), barely any blood, no crazy stunts and not even harsh language (The game has an M rating but the language can only be set to teen with censor beeps). As Wrestlecrap pointed out, you can just create ECW stars in WWF: Attitude and you'd get the same effect as this game but better. And about six months later, the company released an even worse ECW-licensed game called ECW: Anarchy Rulz!
- Atari tried to ride the 3D Fighting wave by hiring a programmer who worked with Sega AM2 on Virtua Fighter to produce Fight For Life for the Jaguar. He programmed the game alone (which says a lot about the company's available budget); it took him 19 months, and the result was inferior to its inspirations in every possible way. It was the final nail in the Jaguar's coffin, literally — it's the last game released for the system, and a fitting title to go out on. There is a persistent rumor that the programmer deliberately gave Atari an inferior early version once finished just to personally spite them.
- Fighting Force 2 shows what happens when you hand a sequel to a focus test group, and it may be the game that marked Core Design's decline. Hawk Mason, the only returning character from the original game, moves and controls like a tank. While watching Hawk punch the often brain-dead enemies into submission and making inanimate objects explode with just his fists can be amusing at times, it quickly becomes tedious due to camera-clipping problems, extremely long levels, lack of save points (you can only save after completing a level), repetitive Copy And Paste Environments, and a Game-Breaking Bug during the last boss fight that can lock him in a room with no way to open the door, rendering the game unwinnable. The cherry on the cake is a level in Alcatraz (which is still open in the year 203X for some reason) where you are sent to kill a prisoner, who is in an endless (until you find the guy) corridor at the end of the level. The kicker is that the guy appears randomly, meaning you will loop through the corridor until he pops up, which can take up to half an hour if the Random Number God decides it hates you that day.
- Juggernaut: The New Story For Quake II, an unofficial expansion pack for Quake II, adds little more than a few monsters, most of them lazy reskins of enemies from the real Quake II, and eye-searing reskins of some weapons. What little new content there was turned out to be terrible. The level-design is half-assed; the challenge came mainly from there being tons of enemies thrown in each room without any thoughtful design. Despite reusing many enemies and environments from Quake II, the story has nothing to do with it.
- Killing Zone takes nearly all the flaws that a 3D Fighting Game for the PlayStation could have, and, unlike its predecessor Battle Monsters, adds no redeeming features. The "zones" are variously textured platforms from which you fling your opponents into the equally featureless surroundings. The character designs are comic book clichés, and there are no real special attacks. As for the story, you'd be hard-pressed to find evidence of an Excuse Plot.
- LEGO Racers for the Game Boy Color. The PC and console versions are very well-liked, but the GBC version suffers from extremely monotonous and repetitive gameplay. You play on an over-the-shoulder view, with you on a rather straight track being unable to see anything except for things two feet in front of you. Because you build up so much speed, this makes it impossible to tell if a power-up is coming up, and it's pretty much a chance if you're going to get one or not. The problems don't end there; the turbo boost is incredibly overpowered and will send you leaps and bounds ahead of everyone, and the cannonball is overpowered too. You never know if one is on your tail, and if it hits you, you stop dead in your tracks and have to build up speed again, which takes forever. As if that weren't enough, the music is ear-bleeding. It seems that whoever did the music conversions had no clue how the GBC's sound chip worked, which can make the already sometimes annoying soundtrack downright unbearable. The monotony will probably prevent you from being interested enough in playing anything beyond the first circuit.
- Lego Stunt Rally for the Game Boy Color is a good companion for the above. The original game wasn't that well regarded to begin with, but the GBC version took the already Easier Than Easy difficulty and toned it down even more — entire courses can be won by doing nothing but holding the A button down the entire time. The only time this ever changes is when there are obstacles that require a lane switch, like a road block. The sound is also extremely lacking, as are the graphics.
- Men In Black was by all accounts a well-received, intelligently written, and outright funny, enjoyable movie. The PC game, titled Men In Black: The Game, was developed by Gigawatt Studios and published by South Peak Games in 1997 and is a laundry list of problems in licensed games. It had Fake Difficulty in the form of horrible controls, bad camera angles, very few health or ammo pickups, and aliens who moved and fought faster than the lumbering controls would allow the player to compensate for. Add in tricky jumps on Floating Platforms over Bottomless Pits, a distinct lack of music, anemic voiceover work, boring puzzles, and slow, arduous pacing, and it's easy to see why the most charitable online review available simply calls it "Bad."
- From Parroty Interactive's dustbin is Microshaft Winblows 98, a game that "parodies" Microsoft's OS and Bill Gates. Its "humor" consists of nothing more than "Bill Gates is an asshole and he likes money" and "Steve Jobs is much better", in addition to stuffing in references to several things that were popular at the time of release (e.g. a Tamagotchi of Bill Gates who you feed money to and spank). But on the bright side, at least this actually includes gameplay, unlike the below-mentioned Pyst.
- Mike Piazza's Strike Zone for the Nintendo 64, despite having an admittedly cool endorsement, is widely considered to be one of the worst sports games ever made. The game had incredibly poor graphics — the players moved like robots, repetitive sound, unbearable framerates, a very archaic pitcher/batter interface, and some downright bizarre physics (it was entirely possible to blast a 950-foot home run). It's very likely that this was meant to be the start of a new baseball franchise, but the incredibly poor critical and commercial performance of the game pretty much killed any chance of that happening.
- Mortal Kombat 4 for the Game Boy Color was a disastrous attempt at a stripped-down port of MK4. Even with the transition to color, the graphics still manage to be worse than the Game Boy version of MK3 in some ways, with some characters looking downright unrecognizable. Worse were the Fatalities, which were a laughably bad attempt to emulate the arcade game(!), and they all basically amounted to either "loser explodes into a pile of blood" or "all the loser's blood goes out of a wound at once." Also, the Fatalities are actually extremely choppy, blurry, low resolution, monochrome video clips of the original game's fatalities, lasting barely two seconds apiece. They also just play the same video clip for the winner each time: check out how bad it can get. For instance, in the clip Sub-Zero is clearly decapitating another ninja, not the distinctively cone-hatted Raiden. Most amusingly, several of those fatality video clips feature Johnny Cage as the victim (his light skin and bared chest show up brightest in the clips), who isn't even in the port!
- Perfect Weapon, a Beat 'em Up title released early in the PlayStation's life. It has a terrible, unfitting control scheme — imagine Resident Evil-style Tank Controls for a Beat 'em Up; camera angles that change completely if you move as much as two steps; a main character who constantly shouts "No way" every three seconds; and constant slowdown despite unimpressive graphics. It somehow managed to sneak onto the U.S. Playstation Store where it is among the worst-rated "PS One Classics" games.
- Planet Joker, a Shoot 'em Up for the Sega Saturn, features an into-the-screen perspective like Silpheed except with polygonal graphics, which in this case are spectacularly ugly even after taking the Saturn's handicap with 3D graphics into account. The aforementioned perspective makes dodging bullets harder than it should be. The collision detection is bad. The controls are unresponsive. The game is ridiculously easy at even the harder difficulties, and is interrupted by several unskippable cutscenes involving babbling heads.
- Plumbers Don't Wear Ties on the 3DO was a rare Western example of a Visual Novel, but it had nothing but still images run through bad Photoshop filters with annoying narration. The only way the player could affect the game's outcome was by selecting an option in a menu screen; thus, the game was no more interactive than a standard DVD menu. The game railroads the player through a single specific sequence of choices. Most of those choices in the sequence cause the narrator to scold the player, even though they're the right ones. All other branches are cut off immediately with Game Over clips; thus, it's a failure even as an interactive story. Despite this, the game had control issues — you couldn't select another menu option until the narration had stopped. More puzzling is why the game used badly edited images when its intro used Full Motion Video. The founder of Game FA Qs called it the worst game he's ever played, and The Angry Video Game Nerd had a similar opinion. The whole "interaction" can be, and has been, easily replicated with video annotations on YouTube, and was also riffed by Retsupurae!
- The sad thing is that this game could've been So Bad, It's Good. There are genuinely funny Breaking the Fourth Wall moments, as it gleefully tells you what a perverse and moronic gamer you are depending on your decisions. Had it been in a non-interactive medium, then it would've been considered this. However it was a full-priced game that didn't include any gameplay and outright insults the technical capabilities of the 3DO; thus, it's Horrible.
- Pyst is a vaguely interactive slideshow (calling it a game would imply that there's actual gameplay) intended to parody the highly acclaimed game Myst, and a prime example of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot. On paper, the premise sounds entertaining enough: since apparently just anyone could stumble onto the book to transport you to Myst, what if the player got there after tons of other people already did, leaving the island full of graffiti and vandalism as people made notes on the various puzzles in the game and vented their frustration? Unfortunately, developer Parroty Interactive's idea of a Myst parody is to just fill it with Toilet Humor and pop-culture references, all of which are painfully unfunny and often have little to do with the actual game it's parodying. It also ruins the quiet atmosphere of the original game. While Myst had only a few sections with dialogue, this version is constantly talking to you whenever you examine things, and spouting more painfully unfunny jokes. As mentioned above, there's no actual gameplay, either. There's no puzzles to solve; you just wander around until you encounter "King Mattruss" and win the game.
- Ronde is infamous for killing off the Majin Tensei branch of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Its Video Game 3D Leap resulted in some of the ugliest graphics of the 32-bit era, and its preview demo alone caused such a negative reaction that thousands of Japanese gamers cancelled their preorders for the game — a scale of preorder cancellation that was virtually unprecedented for the Japanese game industry at the time. It would take another 12 years for Mega Ten fans to see a Strategy RPG in the franchise with the release of Devil Survivor. A video of the first mission can be seen here.
- The sequel to Rise of the Robots, Rise 2: Resurrection (or Resurrection: Rise 2, depending on how you view the title screen), released for the Playstation, Sega Saturn and PC, has made some subtle improvements over the gameplay, such as allowing you to control any character you want (instead of just the Cyborg vs another robot) and having a more robust fighting system that makes it more comparable to Street Fighter. Unfortunately, it still manages to create some problems worthy of throwing it into the junk yard. The graphics look worse than the SNES version of its predecessor (unless you are playing the PC version, which had improved the graphics in that case), special moves are very difficult to pull off, the execution moves are very lame, most of the robots have no distinctive personality (not to mention half the cast are just upgraded or better looking versions of the other half), and some aspects of the game are left unfinished. For example: one character has a running animation that doesn't match up to the actual speed he's running, and the AI can be either really stupid to the point of breaking itself, or really cheap to the point of resorting to projectile spamming the moment you leave melee range. On top of that, if you are playing single player, you have to defeat every single character in the roster on three continues! Did we mention there are a total of eighteen playable characters? Your reward for beating it? A bunch of line drops of generic you win and you kicked butt messages. Once again, Play It Bogart gives the game the beating it deserves.
Brian May was advertised once again to have composed for this game. The game only has part of the Chorus from Brian May's Cyborg to be heard in game, whereas the actual track is on the disc. Not the game, on the disc, as in you have to play it in a music player!
- Rugrats: Time Travelers for the Game Boy Color is a good demonstration of why knowing your audience is mandatory. Despite having a surprisingly good presentation (the graphics and mood stay true to the actual cartoon, while many little details ensure it stays above the level of shovelware), the Nintendo Hard aestheic scares away its target crowd (younger players) while frustraing even older players, including this IGN reviewer. First of all, the babies can't attack, leaving them defenseless against enemies such as mice, birds, and Little Red Riding Hood. Many of these enemies are too big to jump over. The game gives no indication of how to progress, leaving players to go through Trial-and-Error Gameplay before they get the idea (having to collect a certain number of bottles along with a golden token). Even then, the sprawling labyrinths of levels require more memorization and patience than a younger player can stand... and there's a time limit ticking away. Even fans of the cartoon aren't likely going to enjoy this experience, and it definitely isn't able to get past the Nostalgia Filter.
- Shadow Man was, despite not being the sales success it could have been, a generally well-done game. However, the Playstation 1 port of the game is a horrible disaster, primarily due to the fact the game was designed for PC with quality textures, large maps and lots of audio. The PS1 was simply not powerful enough to handle the game adequately, and it showed. While it may be possible to play through and even beat this port, you can count on hideously long load times that strain your disc drive's motor and laser even during play as game data is constantly loading during the action (it's one thing for a port of a game to be terrible- but to risk physical console damage from constant loading is a different matter), and very ugly textures that jitter and flicker. The only good part was the audio which wasn't compressed thanks to the disc format, but overall, considering the N64 port was on a cartridge, that version was much better done thanks to the system's hardware- and for some time the game was best known for the N64 port.
- Shadow War Of Succession (aka Shadow Warriorsnote ) on the 3DO at first glance looks like just one of the many Fighting Games that tried to piggy-back on the success of Mortal Kombat. But once you look beyond the cover, and actually get to play the "game", everything changes. Shadow: War of Succession might be one of the most poorly programmed games ever released commercially, up to the point of making it virtually unplayable. Just to give something to compare with, the infamous Mortal Kombat Advance actually plays better. Horribly drab backgrounds, horrendous Digitized Sprites with animation frames in the single digits, character designs ranging from bland to ludicrous, the screen shaking every time a fighter lands after jumping, awful opening Full Motion Video complete with MIDI sound font, laughable voice clips, controls based on just two buttons, and nonexistent collision detection are just a sampling of the long list of Shadow Warriors' flaws. Watch it in all its glory here as well as Retsupurae's riff on the game here and here. River City Gamers decided to have an inclusive tournament in the game, as well as exploiting the game for all its worth.
- Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn was a delightful compilation of the Sega Genesis Sonic platformers with extra bells and whistles. Sonic Jam for the Game.com... isn't. Only three of the four games the Saturn version ported are represented, in the loosest fashion possible: each game only used stage graphics from the first zone of their respective games. Knuckles' gliding and climbing abilities are absent, making him play exactly like Sonic. The sound design if awful; music is barely present, consisting of muffled beeps and boops; and the sound effects are horribly compressed versions of what you'd hear in Sonic games. The controls are stiff make playing the game a chore, on top of the game itself being as slow as molasses, which Sonic games never should. As crappy as it is, it's no wonder it (and the other games Tiger licensed from other publishers) couldn't help the Game.com survive in the gaming market.
- The Spice World video game (not to be confused with the So Bad, It's Good movie of the same name) is exactly what you'd imagine a game starring the Spice Girls to be like — thoughtless rushed-out-of-the-door tripe padded with archive footage from interviews with the group. The ultimate goal is to set up a Spice Girls concert (or something), and you guide your hideous Super-Deformed polygonal Spice Girl of choice (despite having left the group by the time the game came out, Geri Halliwell is playable) through mixing your own version of a Spice Girls song from a pathetically small library of samples which don't even cover the entire song, learning your dance moves through an asinine rhythm-based minigame with a blatantly racist black stereotype for a dance instructor and awkward timing for the button presses, and planning your choreography — which is exactly as exciting as copy-pasting the same moveset four times sounds. In the end, you will get to see the girls dance for you... and that's it. The whole game can be finished in ten minutes. The only gaming media outlet to have given this game a positive review was Gaming In The Clinton Years — and they couldn't even pass Stage 2. Seanbaby and others show off the gameplay here.
- Spirit of Speed 1937, or at least its Sega Dreamcast version. Meant to simulate 30's roadsters race, the game was routinely trashed for its atrocious loading times, bad controls, lack of multiplayer mode (bad in a racing game), mediocre production values and boring, drawn out tracks. Quite fittingly, Acclaim briefly resurrected the much-reviled LJN label for this game only.
- Star Trek: New Worlds, an RTS game for the PC (a Dreamcast port was planned but cancelled). The game's tutorial is very unhelpful, and does little to explain how to utilize the confusing resources system. Mission objectives themselves are generic and basic, and you're not allowed to pause or save and pick them up later. This, coupled with bad AI, little differentiation between units, and battlefields so large that they take forever to traverse, makes for a very boring Trek game. The only exciting aspect was setting all your buildings to self destruct, which would blow up and collapse in an over-the-top and drawn out manner.
- Superman for the Nintendo 64, a nominal tie-in game for Superman: The Animated Series, is considered a trainwreck in every conceivable way. It had such poor graphics that the game had to "excuse" the huge amount of fog as "Kryptonite Fog" in a simulation, made half the missions flying through rings with awkward controls and a brutally unforgiving time limit, not to mention it has a crapton of glitches that make it very easy to get stuck and it generally failed to be entertaining. The Angry Video Game Nerd trashed the game by popular demand, and Seanbaby named it #7 of his Top 20 Least Favorite Games, saying:
"It would have been more fun if they made a game about Superman window shopping with Aquaman."
- The rings, in which Lex Luthor tasks you to "Solve My Maze" (of linear ring formations, mind you), became a Running Gag in N64 Magazine and got promoted to a regular feature when it became NGC Magazine.
- It's probably worth mentioning, though, that the game did have initially strong sales. It was one of the top selling games of June 1999. However, as negative word of mouth spread, sales dropped considerably and numerous used copies were made available.
- The game also has multiplayer. It has two game modes that involve flying awkwardly around in first person trying to shoot down other players and flying awkwardly through hula hoops in first person trying to shoot down other players. Watch Brainscratchcomms try to play it here.
- And as a final insult to injury, the beta of the game, while still fairly flawed, is said to be better than the finished product. Objectives were more varied, the accursed "fly through rings" missions were absent altogether, and the "Kryptonite fog" isn't as dense. Word from the developers was that the Executive Meddling from publishers caused the game to transform from the serviceable game the beta was into the steaming turd that wound up on store shelves.
- If you thought Superman 64 was bad, try playing the atrocious Game Boy Color version of Titus The Fox. While the original for PC wasn't half bad, the GBC version was a Porting Disaster in every sense of the word. Inconsistent character designs, lots of Fake Difficulty (some platforms and rising walls would actually be totally invisible and would never reveal themselves even when reached), numerous bugs and glitches, and terrible collision detection. Oh, and there's also an Excuse Plot which says that you're on the hunt to rescue your girlfriend (imaginatively named "Foxy"), but don't expect any reference to it in-game.
- Virtuoso was a hilariously bad shooter... or something. It's hard to figure out what kind of game it was, mainly since the combination of shitty graphics and the terrifyingly bad camera made seeing the game something of a Bragging Rights Reward. Maybe that was a good thing, since the game was terrible on its face. Apparently, you play a "famous rock and roll music star" in the future who "escapes from the rigors of stardom" by logging onto the future version of a VR MMORPG, which is one meta level too many. The enemies were also terrifyingly generic. You fight spiders, bats, giant spiders, more bats, and the boss (are you sitting down?) is another spider. But bigger this time! Yay.
- Zusar Vasar is a racing game with a stupidly awesome premise — a racing competition where floating chariots are carried by giant Animal Mecha. Unfortunately, the game itself is terrible. The graphics are horrendously pixelated and full of clipping, looking worse than many comparable 32-bit games... even though this thing ran on the Sega Dreamcast. The controls are bad because of ridiculous inertia and a complete inability to stop (your vehicle is always moving) or slow down. The single-player mode features one of the most blatant and ridiculous cases of Fake Difficulty ever devised: the racetracks have laser turrets which are expressly designed to fire on you and only you for no adequately explained reason. It's not hard to see why it didn't leave Japan.
Sixth Generation (1998-2013)
- 25 to Life was a third-person shooter released towards the tail end of the Sixth Generation about a gangbanger saving his family from trouble, among other convoluted plot points. The camera and controls are woefully inadequate even for this game's simplistic run-and-gun, shooting gallery gameplay, the "story" is a slew of gangsta and cop movie cliches strung together with little rhyme or reason, the dialogue sounds like it was written by someone who'd never set foot in the ghetto, the graphics and animations are barely passable at best and just plain ugly at worst, and the enemy AI is stupid. All told, it was a transparent attempt to cash in on the controversy surrounding games like Grand Theft Auto (mainly with the fact that the story and the online mode have you murdering police officers), one that fell apart quickly once the critics and Moral Guardians they hoped would be outraged by it actually got around to playing it. The only saving grace is the hip-hop soundtrack... and even that occasionally glitches out in the PC version. Watch The Game Block tear it apart.
- Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis, for the Game Cube and Xbox, is generally considered to be one of the worst games of all time, inspiring the "Golden Mullet Awards", X-Play's ranking of the worst games of each year. The graphics are very reminiscent to the Nintendo 64 as the city of Atlantis has mostly bland grey buildings and everyone looks somewhat lifeless. Only Aquaman's hair has any graphical effort. The missions have little variation, as you either beat up enemies (easily done by Button Mashing) or pilot an underwater ship to blow up other ships. As JonTron puts it, the game is basically a spiritual successor to Superman 64, and a boring experience from beginning to end.
- Bad Boys: Miami Takedown, a Gamecube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC game released to coincide with Bad Boys II, has two untalented expies of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith that constantly spouted horrible dialogue. The controls on this game are broken, and when you shoot, you are expected to have humiliating aiming. GameTrailers named this #4 in its "Worst Movie Games of All Time". Watch Two Best Friends Play make fun of of it on Cryme Tyme here.
- Bhagat Singh, a 2002 first person shooter released on the PC by Mitashi Entertainment. The game is based on the exploits of Bhagat Singh, an important revolutionary for the Indian independence movement during the early 20th century. Some have gone so far as to call this game the worst FPS ever. Why? The game contained laughable 3D models for 2002 that would barely pass on the PS1 and downright hideous texturing. There are only 2 weapons, one of which has infinite ammo but can't actually kill anything. 3 levels, the second one having the exact same layout as the first, and many, many bugs. The decent original soundtrack isn't enough to save this mess of a game. See it for yourself.
- If you thought Catfight! was strange, there was actually another all-female sprite-based fighting game released about six years later titled Bikini Karate Babes. The game suffered from dated graphics, unresponsive controls, terrible AI programming, and of course rampant misogyny. The game has an 8.5% rating on GameRankings.com, with IGN in particular writing a hilarious review for the game.
- Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, a third-person PC racing game published by Game Mill Publishing and outsourced to StellarStone, is considered one of the worst games of all time. Considering its lack of collision detection, frequent bugs, poor visuals, no obstacles to negotiate, and severe lack of functionality, combined with the fact the computer-controlled opponents don't move due to lack of AI, it's easy to see why.
When The Angry Video Game Nerd finally took a look at this game, he divided the review into two loose sections: first he was driving around with a big goofy smile on his face, enjoying the So Bad, It's Good nature of a game that can barely run without crashing... then he spent a good five minutes chewing out the developers for having the utter gall to actually charge money for a product so disgustingly unfinished he can't even call it a "game". He even called it a less painful yet objectively worse product than his arch-nemesis: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Charlie's Angels, released to tie in with Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, for the GameCube and PS2. The camera angles and controls are busted on this game, and players must spend minutes moving their characters up ladders. Not to mention the graphics are terrible, with the women looking more like living blow-up dolls than the characters they represent. Surprisingly, it beat the E.T. game to be #1 on GameTrailers' list of the "Top 10 Worst Movie Games". Really. They describe Charlie's Angels as being "degrading, not to women, not even to video games, but to humanity itself". It was named a "horrific display of ineptitude" by GameSpot and is the lowest rated video game reviewed on GameRankings with more than 20 featured reviews, having a score of 24.57%. To make matters worse, the Gamecube version even features a Game-Breaking Bug, where playing the game without a memory card causes the second mission to repeat endlessly every time you complete it! JonTron looks into the Gamecube version with the bug in full effect.
- Dangerous Vaults was a pornographic rip-off of the Tomb Raider games. It somehow had worse graphics than the original Tomb Raider despite being released around the time Angel of Darkness hit the stores. Its play mechanics were beyond broken, and the sexual content tended to be laughable rather than erotic.
- Dark Angel Vampire Apocalypse (not to be confused with the TV series Dark Angel) was a crappy PS2 dungeon crawler. The game boasted a boring combat system, laughably poorly considered stat and equipment system (the worst example possibly being armor — all armor of the same level is exactly the same except in price, meaning that level 1 full plate armor is exactly equal to level 1 leather armor, despite costing several hundred times more), and a completely unfitting "soundtrack" that cut in and out randomly and mostly consisted of someone wailing psychotically on an electric guitar with no thought for rhythm or basic musical structure.
- Daemon Summoner [also known as Chronicles of a Vampire Hunter] for the PS2 and PC is a dreadful FPS game that had some of worst combat ever seen in a video game, as half the time your weapons will miss the enemies at point blank range. There are also lots of other glitches (e.g. characters are prone to freezing and glitching, body parts of enemies disappear when you shoot them, you can randomly fail certain parts for no reason); the story makes no sense (the main character seems to be a vampire hunter trying to hunt down his vampire wife); the main protagonist, James Farrington Higgs, is an unbelievably incompetent and unlikeable expy of Van Helsing; the enemy AI is atrocious; the graphics are dated and look like something out of the late 90s [even though the game came out in 2006] and the levels are either boring and monotonous (with a long sewer section with a confusing maze and tons of enemies) or frustrating and unfair (there is a stealth section where you have to take the longest, most roundabout and confusing path imaginable to sneak on board a ship despite said ship being very close to your starting position and only having a single guard in place). YouTube reviewer Tennings gives the game a sound beating in his "Worst Games You've Never Played" series.
- Drake Of The 99 Dragons for the Xbox. Its attempt at creating a comic book-style action shooter is undermined rather quickly by horrid collision detection, an auto-targeting system that forces Drake to flail his arms about like a drowning swimmer, and controls that showed nothing but scorn and contempt at the player's desire to move in a given direction. The game supposedly adapts a "comic book" feel complete with SFX bubbles whenever a gun is fired or a character jumps, but this has the unintended effect of making the graphics look even worse — it highlights the similarities the graphics have to a Rob Liefeld comic. Jumping is useless, as are any platforming elements, unless one could will collision detection into being from thin air, assuming one gets past the enemies by way of precognition first. There's no hints of what to do at any point, and only by pure chance can one figure out how to clear the levels. To simply call the game "bad" would be a gross understatement (although Gamespot, X-Play, and Pro Jared have tried). Vinny of Vinesauce even streamed the game, and after several failed attempts, destroyed the game disc on camera for all of the Internet to see.
- Falling Stars for the PlayStation 2 is a completely pathetic excuse for a Role-Playing Game geared towards little girls. It features a Cliché Storm of a plot with insipid dialogue that is more likely to have the player question the Fridge Logic of the entire game. The battle system is insultingly simple and monotonous and is rendered even more idiotic by the highly predictable moves of the opponents and a complete Game Breaker that allows your character to virtually have infinite health.note With Loads and Loads of Loading, amateurish and cheap-looking graphics, repetitive Ear Worm music, terrible minigames with even worse controls and frustrating enemy encounters, this is a game that doesn't deserve to be marketed towards anyone.
- FBI: Hostage Rescue represents everything that can go wrong with an Escort Mission. The time limits to rescue the hostages are unforgiving...while it is possible to receive a time bonus by rescuing one of the hostages, the rescue mission itself is rendered virtually impossible due to shoddy AI and glitches such as the hostages getting stuck in walls, walking in the wrong direction, going through locked doors, or simply vanishing. It is also possible for the game to freeze, or for the player character to be trapped by the scenery. The visuals are ugly, and there are clipping problems abound. It received a scathing 1.9 review from Gamespot, which contributed to its Metacritic aggregate score of 25.
- Godai Elemental Force, a 3D Beat 'em Up made by 3DO for the PlayStation 2, is a complete technical disaster. Despite featuring muddy textures, small environements and few models displayed at any given time, the game chugs at a pathetically low framerate that can't even stay consistent. The game design isn't much better — while the main character has an handful of projectile attacks and moves, his main form of offense is a short Button Mashing combo that can't be changed or mixed up in any way, and while weapons can be collected throughout the levels, most of them simply hit harder and do not change his fighting style. The fixed camera angles are screwed up, enemy variety is low and the main character's gliding ability allows one to skip large chunks of the game with impunity. The game was eviscerated by players and critics alike and 3DO went bankrupt within one year of releasing it. With games like this, it's not hard to see why.
- Inspector Gadget: Mad Robots Invasion for the PS2 is a simple side-scrolling platformer, but executed terribly. The graphics make the game look like an early Nintendo 64 port — the opening cutscene is horrible, with extremely limited animation, and capped off with a voice actor for Dr. Claw who sounds nothing like him (there is one funny thing about the graphics, though: the bizarrely disturbing faces Gadget makes whenever he dies). The music is just the same annoying loop repeating over and over again and the sound effects are weird (Gadget makes an extremely annoying "boing" sound when he jumps, they sometimes use the wrong sound effects for the scene, and Gadget says "By my gadgets!" whenever he picks up a health powerup). But what really kills it is the gameplay. The game is both extremely easy and extremely hard — easy because extra lives and health powerups respawn when you die, the enemies are very easy to kill (despite occasionally spawning out of nowhere), and there are almost no tricky jumps. However, it's still difficult, because of the awkward jumping and slippery control. On top of all this, the plot makes no sense. Okay, so Dr. Claw makes a bomb that neutralizes all of Gadget's gadgets... but he still has two (a hammer used for attacking, and a tennis racket which reflects projectiles), and can get more for a limited time through "gadget batteries" conveniently found throughout the levels. This game was obviously intended for small children, but there's no excuse for giving them a shoddy product like this.
- The Xbox 3D fighting game Kabuki Warriors was described by Gamespot as "... one of the worst games to be released this year or any year, on the Xbox or any other platform." Characters that are only differentiated by palette swaps of identical graphics, stages that differ only by backgrounds, terrible character animation, and a "fighting" system that is just as effective as closing one's eyes and mashing buttons make it one of the worst 3D fighters ever. It holds the dubious honor of being the first game Edge magazine — infamous for its refusal to adhere to the Four Point Scale and stinginess with giving a 10/10 rating — has given a 1/10 to, and remained the only game with that rating until Flatout 3 (see below) 10 years later. In Game Informer's review of the game the reviewer states "I literally won a match just by bashing the controller against my ass. I wish I was joking, but the score is seriously Kabuki Warriors zero, my ass one." This was confirmed by other editors. Two Best Friends Play this game and have fun riffing on it.
- The Game Boy Advance adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring came out after the movies but (to keep Electronic Arts off the developer's back) was touted as being based on the books. If a player wasn't careful, then by the midpoint of the game items essential to progress would simply vanish. There were glitches that rendered the game impossible unless one knew how to get around them. There's even a spot where you need to save during a transition between scenes to keep the game from becoming Unwinnable.
- Master of Orion 3 is probably one of the worst strategy sequels of all time, and reviews of the game have compared it to doing one's taxes. At release, the AI would only build troop ships, yet still fails to put up any kind of a fight even when fully patched. It doesn't help that Infogrames (the current Atari) fired the developers of the previous two games and hired some neophytes on the cheap. This game fails in every way horrible music, ugly UI, dated graphics, and incomplete gameplay. The previous game is better in every way than this one, despite being released five years and one console generation earlier.
- Mortal Kombat Advance is quite possibly the worst adaptation of a Mortal Kombat game on a handheld system known to man — it's a cheap bastardization of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. As the two ports of Deadly Alliance proved, Mortal Kombat can work on the Gameboy Advance. But Mortal Kombat Advance fails tinny music, primitive-looking sprites, AI that's either too easy or too diabolical depending on the opponent (which sometimes resulted in getting That One Boss as your first opponent), collision detection that can't tell if you're next to the opponent or on the other side of the arena... you get the drill. Infamously, it was the first game that EGM gave the dishonor of earning a 0 out of 10. Watch AllieRX87's hilarious review of it here.
Here's just one example of how poor this game's programming is: if you play as Shang Tsung and do a Fatality while shapeshifted, the game not only announces "(your altered form) wins" instead of "Shang Tsung wins", but your shapeshifted form's portrait is shown on the ladder. They couldn't even get something THAT simple right!
Midway outsourced the MK port to a third-party with no input or communication with Ed Boon's team, and gave the team three months to turn something out; Midway was only looking to turn a quick profit off the MK name while spending very little in development. With practices like that, it's no surprise that Midway wound up bankrupt and defunct.
- Operation: Matriarchy may very well be one of the worst FPS ever made. Nevermind the nonsensical and vaguely misogynistic premise (dealing with a virus that turns all women on some space colony into an hive mind of men-enslaving monsters), the game is atrocious: enemies are dumb as bricks, ridiculously resistant and gang up on the player mercilessly — all that made much worse by the extremely cramped level design and the puny armament given to the player early in the game. The sound effects are unfitting and annoying, and there's no music. The graphic engine is actually surprisingly good for such a small release, but its relative competence in turn highlights the horrible art direction and poor animation.
- Pulse Racer, a kart racing game by Jaleco for the Xbox which takes place in a generic futuristic setting with an overabundance of nondescript tunnels, especially in the early game. The main distinctive feature that sets it apart from other racing games is making drivers flatline if they go too fast, which serves mostly to frustrate players.
- RoboCop (2003), one of the last games produced by Titus Software, is a trainwreck of a First-Person Shooter. RoboCop moves extremely slowly and only gets a few weapons, most of which aren't worth using at all. The repetitive hordes of enemies you have to mow down barely pose a threat, unless they end up causing an explosion near you which can easily bring you from full health and shields to death. The graphics are ugly, the sound effects are atrocious, and the voice acting is full of lame one-liners which don't remotely fit RoboCop's character. You can read Alex Navarro's review on Gamespot here.
- Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for GBA is one of the most infamous Porting Disasters in modern gaming history. The dev team, in an obvious rush to get this out while it was still the 15th year of Sonic's existence, didn't have access to the raw data, so instead they put map data from a home console game into the Sonic Advance engine, which was only intended for handhelds... and more-or-less left it at that. This alone seriously overtaxed the engine, resulting in constant slowdown (which, enigmatically, can be kind of improved by muting the BGM) and a shitload of bugs. The graphics, audio, and pretty much everything else are cheaply made from scratch. Of note is the entire score (cheap MIDI versions of the synthesized originals) and the physics engine, which singlehandedly throws the difficulty curve out of whack. The bonus features are sparse and pointless: "Anniversary Mode," which gives Sonic his Spin Dash ability from Sonic 2, but can't be charged; a save function that's either necessary to win or makes the game impossible; a level select screen (pointless, as you can only win if you start from the beginning); and a sound test that only serves as incentive to clear the game. Oh, and by the way, even though the screen's cropped by over half, there is still a draw distance. If you manage to win, the ending is messed up by the physics engine to the point that Sonic runs into an enemy. The game would eventually be outdone by a bootleg with a one-man staff who would later help with a smartphone port of the game. Branscratchcomms have taken it shot at it and much rage ensued. Warning: gameplay may cause headaches (We're not joking, we have testimony saying as much).
- The Sniper 2, widely considered the worst PS2 game ever developed. Originally a Japanese budget title, this game features the usual suspects: bad voice acting, worse gameplay, an idiotic storyline, and graphics that somehow go from PS2 quality to PS1 quality after the first cutscene! It's so bad, that the official description of the game on PSN points out how horrible it is.
- Strike Fighters: Project One was a lesson on why releasing unfinished games is a bad idea. Clicking on the briefing screen caused the game to freeze. Not that there was much to do — enemy planes would fly into the ground when they weren't shooting each other down. Adding insult to injury were the featureless barren landscapes. The magazine Computer Games (formerly known as Computer Games Strategy Plus) gave it a rare zero star out of five review; in contrast, it gave Daikatana (see above) 1.5 stars.
Even worse, you can't play this game on an LCD or high-res monitor. You're forced to play the game with a CRT monitor, and good luck trying to find one nowadays.
- Win Back 2: Project Poseidon. Nice job killing this franchise, Koei, with this shovelware sequel. None of the original survivors are present, the general gameplay is uninspired and unfun, and the game added a half-assed character-switching system where you play the same mission from two different characters' points of view, like a poor man's version of Resident Evil 2's swapping system.
- Winx Club: Quest For The Codex for Game Boy Advance is mostly a Shoot 'em Up which follows the Season 2 plot very loosely, with some minigames thrown in. The Shoot 'em Up sections are boring, repetitive (there are only a small sample of enemies and no boss battles), and hard to control. Of the five minigames, only one is worth playing at all; the other four are either too easy or too annoying. The icing on the cake? The game "forces" you to play all the minigames multiple times during the story mode, regardless of relevance to the plot. Yes, helping Stella to choose a skirt that matches her shirt is going to be helpful in a fight against Darkar... and we don't even know why. Fortunately, the creators did learn from this train wreck, because its sequel Mission Enchantix for Nintendo DS is pretty good.
Seventh Generation (2005-present)
- In a bizarre reversal from the norm, the Uwe Boll movie 1968 Tunnel Rats was given a tie-in video game. The film is one of Uwe's best to date, but the game "makes up for it" by being simply bad. Not only is it infested with bugs, the story is also ruined by the protagonist's erratic characterization. It tries to portray Sanity Slippage by having him make angrier and more sadistic comments as the game goes on, but since the game is unfinished, the comments often play at inappropriate times, so, for example, he'll show remorse after one kill and then mock his slain enemy after the next.Gamespot, whose reviewers usually have at least one good thing to say about some of the worst games, couldn't even find a good point to fill in the summary.
- Aha! I Found It! Hidden Object Game is a Hidden Object Game developed by A-TEAM for WiiWare. For one thing, the graphics are awful. They look like a three year old cut bits of construction paper out and pasted them together. Some have claimed to get headaches by looking at the graphics. None of the hidden objects which you are supposed to find look anything like they are supposed to look like; for example, the "sea turtle" looks like a yellow letter C. And the plot is an Excuse Plot Up to Eleven: there are four aliens who want to find ways to help people, and it turns out that looking for hidden objects is how you help them. IGN reviews it here.
- Alien Disco Safari is a shooter where you shoot aliens for... coming to Earth because they like disco. There's no disco-related content in the game at all aside from the backstory, so you're just shooting aliens for existing on their own ship. You have unlimited ammo in your main weapon, and that weapon kills most enemies in one hit and is perfectly accurate. The levels are the same six bland levels played again and again in order without getting harder.
- Survival Horror game AMY, released as a downloadable title for the PS3 and Xbox 360, boasts a novel premise (an Escort Mission game in which the player needs the NPC to survive), but has too much wrong with it to even bother. Controls are difficult (if even possible) to correctly use, the AI is very stupid, clipping and Hitbox Dissonance are far too common, and the checkpoint system is unfairly sparse. This results in repetitive Trial-and-Error Gameplay with a very high degree of Fake Difficulty. On top of that, the writing's clichéd, the voice-acting's terrible, and the puzzles and scares seem shoehorned in. It was declared one of the worst games of 2012 before the year had even fully started, and Yahtzee explains why as only Yahtzee can.
- The Backyard Sports games released from 2006 until 2009. With their blocky graphics, stoic voice acting (except in some cases), and awful controls, these games were hated by pretty much everyone when they came out (including Ron Gilbert, creative director of the original Backyard Baseball). X-Play gave Baseball 2007 a one out of five (their lowest possible ranking), and IGN gave Baseball 2009 a 1.0 out of 10 (only three games in the history of the site have gotten worse scores). These games wiped out what was left of the franchise's already declining fanbase and sales eventually got so low that Atari tried to relaunch the series with Sandlot Sluggers and Rookie Rush (which were reasonably well-received) before dumping it for good.
- Damnation shows that basing a commercial release on a popular modnote is not always a good idea. Though everyone agreed the premise (involving a Alternate History where steampunk weaponry severely extended the length of The American Civil War) and the concept of an "acrobatic" third person shooter could have been cool in a better game, it was bashed for its insanely idiotic friendly and enemy AI, inconsistent game design (for example, being killed by gunfire boots you back to a checkpoint but falling to your death respawns you immediately on the spot for some reason), laggy aiming, boring weapons and an insane number of bugs. Developer Blue Omega Entertainment went bust immediately after releasing the game.
- Dimension Witches, a free game that at one point was apparently for sale at a price, plays off the Touhou Project style of playing but fails horribly. The gameplay's botched and the designs of all the characters are even worse and cliched. It was taken down from the IndieCity site and would have been forgotten if it weren't for MikeNnemonic posting a somewhat NSFW video of him playing it on a live stream on his Youtube channel, which can be watched here.
- Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons is a laughably inept attempt at remaking the arcade version of Double Dragon II for Xbox Live Arcade. The four stages from the arcade are stretched out over the course of 15 boring and ugly levels, with the action occasionally broken up by set pieces that do nothing to make the game exciting. Controls are needlessly complicated, the graphics are quality- and personality-free, the background music plays on an annoying short loop, the voiced narration is terrible and often doesn't even match up with the subtitles, and the few special moves added to add variety to combat are worthless (as actually using them at any point in the game automatically gives you the bad ending). Wander does a disservice to its inspiration in every way imaginable, and is a sharp contrast to the quality of Double Dragon Neon (WayForward Technologies' '80s-flavored remake of the original game), or even the NES home version of Double Dragon II, released more than two decades ago.
- Elf Bowling 1 & 2 for the Nintendo DS. To begin with, you're spending $20 on two games you can already get as freeware on your PC, and the DS version has even been slightly downgraded from the PC versions by removing some animations and sounds and the coin toss from the beginning of Elf Bowling 2, which is unacceptable since the games were so minimalist in the first place, so the game has already committed the crime of shamelessly ripping you off! But even then, everything about it is awful—the graphics are pathetic and don't remotely take advantage of the DS's capabilities, the music is all but non-existent, the occasional quips from the elves are embarrassingly juvenile ("Those all the balls you got, Santa?") and the gameplay is as bare-bones as you can get with a bowling game.
- European Street Racing, one in a series of budget racing titles by Dutch developer Team 6, fails in many ways — blocky-looking cars that neither drive nor sound like high-powered vehicles, laughably stupid computer driver AI, and a physics engine that causes cars and other objects to bounce off walls like pinballs. Someone went so far as to explain the "ESR" acronym as Extremely Shitty Racing. See it in action.
- Fighters Uncaged was released as a showcase title for the Xbox 360's new-at-the-time Kinect motion controller. It was a mess from start to finish, with an overly long tutorial that treated the player like an idiot (forcing the player to attack several times with each limb individually before proceeding to the next lesson), a laughable story accompanied by dreadful writing and voice acting, the inability to register basic moves correctly most of the time, and sluggish fighting on the rare occasions that the Kinect did register the player's moves.
- Fireplacing isn't so much a terrible WiiWare game as much as it is a not particularly interactive screensaver. It's a virtual fireplace. You can choose about three themes (graphics for the fireplace/room) and whether to manually kindle the thing, but it doesn't provide anything of interest at all. Heck, even the sound effect for the crackling logs is glitched and sometimes goes silent, and there's no music. Nintendo Life gave it one out of ten, while N Gamer gave it about 0.1 out of 10 due to the complete lack of entertainment value.
- FlatOut 3: Chaos and Destruction. Not helmed by series creator Bugbear Entertainement (it was instead made by Team 6, a developer of Wii and PC shovelware, including the aforementioned European Street Racing) and stealthily released during the 2011 holidays season, the few that played it were treated to a mess of broken physics, missing features, overdone bloom effects (later toned down in a patch) and other inept oversights, such as an online mode that wouldn't end a game if one of the players got disconnected (which happens often) or a reset function which would make the car face the wrong way. This video on the game by Lewis Brindley, Simon Lane and Tinman of the Yogscast should give you an idea.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was rushed to come out with the new film to make a fast buck. Its controls are awful, the graphics (if you can call them that) look like they were programmed 15 years ago, and the sound and music are annoying. (German computer games magazine CBS said it was "[...]the first game which is better WITHOUT sound.") If you try to aim at anything, the weapon will most probably fire at the enemy... then the bullet rethinks this and flies straight to any random object but the enemy. Oh, and if you die (which happens easily), then you land right at the beginning because no save points exist. This is an unwelcome throwback.
By the way, you get to play as Cobra in it for one mission... fighting other Cobra troops as they say "GI Joe is HERE!" (thud)
- Guitar Superstar, a horrid ripoff of a certain popular rhythm game franchise. You have to see it to believe it. The songs (the most important part of the game) are rip-offs of well-known rock songs, which are done in horrible MIDI style. And it's not the only one of its kind: Ashens reviewed another extremely similar game once.
- Hour of Victory was a bizarre and terrible mishmash of the Call of Duty and Wolfenstein games, starting out as another historical World War II shooting game, but then taking a jump off the deep end and turning into a game about the Nazis developing nuclear weaponry. As if that weren't bad enough, the brownish graphics were barely even of PlayStation 2 standard (despite the game proudly boasting on the box that it was the first World War II shooter to use the Unreal Engine 3), the gameplay mechanics were screwed up beyond belief, the heavily promoted destructible scenery and vehicular combat barely even featured, and the multiplayer mode somehow managed to have fewer options than games released ten years previously. It was the worst-reviewed Xbox 360 game to have been released until that point, and a Genre-Killer for the World War II shooter, with only Call of Duty: World at War having met with any real success since Hour of Victory's release. The Blame Truth's attempt at playing the game showcases most of these flaws plus more.
- Hulk Hogan's Main Event for the Xbox Kinect was an absolute joke, and not in a good way. Meant to showcase the Kinect's capabilities, it was horribly unresponsive, with the menus nearly impossible to navigate through due to its poor motion capture. The wrestlers were just plain ugly, as was the gameplay. Cutscenes were done in a semi-animated comic book style with speech balloons that didn't quite line up with the characters. While it had the creative concept of having Hype gain you points, it wound up being something of a Golden Snitch (though not unlike actual wrestling, little fun to do). Ultimately, it failed to even show off Kinect, as matches boiled down to flailing one's arms to do nothing but punches. Game Informer gave it the "prestigious" honor of a 1/10, the first of its kind in years. Watch Two Best Friends Play tackle the game for their "Rustlemania" month.
- Jumper: Griffin's Story is an Obvious Beta if there ever was one, with too many Game Breaking Bugs to count. It hurts all the more because of how promising it was—Jamie Bell voiced the cutscenes quite well, and the teleporting mechanic came within hairs-breadth of being fun. Being rushed to market to meet the movie's opening date ruined it.
- Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust has a terrible, offensive sense of humor. The gameplay mostly consists of fetch quests and awkward jumping puzzles, and it has multiple Game Breaking Bugs. Following the franchise tradition and having some eye-candy shots of attractive girls in it would maybe at least make it a Guilty Pleasure, but it even fails at this, as many of the female characters look butt-ugly. The game currently holds one of the lowest composite scores of any game on Metacritic, with 17 whole points to its name, and reviews of it can be found from Bennett the Sage, Gamespot, and even Al Lowe, the series' original creator (who had no input on BOB or its prequel, and is all the happier for it).
- Limbo of the Lost was an irredeemably bad Adventure Game thrown together in thirteen years by a group of three middle-aged Brits with no experience in coding, graphic design, or writing. The results show all too well — the game is chock-full of Combinatorial Explosions, Pixel Hunts, Guide Dang It moments, nonsensical puzzles, and resources stolen from more famous games, piled together using a freeware adventure game engine with code almost entirely written by wide-eyed forumgoers who have yet to receive a single mention of gratitude for their effort and aren't listed in the game credits. Tying it all together is a dreadful generic fantasy story played out through terribly modeled pre-rendered characters whose dialogue was practically phoned-in from across the globe (almost all voiced by the same guy). Fortunately, the game was pulled off the shelves by its distributors after they learned that the devs used stolen assets, for the greater good of mankind and the survival of the distributors. To top it all off, check out the ending... or experience it in all its traumatizing "glory" in Wields-Rulebook-Heavily's screenshot-and-comment Let's Play.
How bad is the writing? Half the characters are an offensive stereotype of some sort, and the rest are just vilely disgusting and superfluous to the so-called plot. The plot is barely even a generic fantasy story, but mostly consists of the main character wandering from one scene to the next and generally either acting like a dick for no reason, or getting forced to do something. One chapter has you collect 50 items, but you only use about four of them before a troll comes up and removes your items (no lie; a random troll barges in at the end of the chapter and shakes the guy down).
Polish video game magazine CD-Action gave Limbo of the Lost -1 out of ten possible points (giving the game a negative score for plagiarism alone) for the first time in their history..
- M&Ms Kart Racing is a textbook example of how even a concept as simple as "Make a Mario Kart knockoff with mascot stars" can be completely botched, and examplifies just about everything that can go wrong with a licensed video game. Everything about it is rushed and uninspired: the core racing has no substance, challenge or strategy—there are no weapons, no shortcuts, and no techniques to exploit. They don't even try to instill a sense of speed beyond having a voice periodically shout "Approaching sound barrier!" The race tracks are so poorly designed that they often trap or bottleneck players—the fact that the vehicles have little to no grip just makes it worse. The unlockables that do exist are nowhere near worth it. The graphics are bland, owe more to older consoles, and have a very obvious draw distance. The sounds are obnoxious, and the soundtrack, levels, and bonus characters are all completely generic. On top of that, it still takes as many as ten seconds to load a single screen. See it here. This Gamespot review says it best in a screenshot caption: "If you think this looks bad, just wait until you see the game moving."
- Motorbike is a $15 downloadable PS3 title that plays almost identically to Trials, except it does every single possible thing wrong. The presentation is horrendously dated, with PS1-grade textures and audio that makes motorcycle engines sound like wet farts. The levels are all thrown together in such a way that it feels like they were randomly generated. In addition, each level is almost impossible to win without sheer luck thanks to a major lack of checkpoints and wacky physics that sometimes send your rider sky-high just from hitting a bump in the road. Multiplayer is even worse, with a jittery splitscreen camera that frequently loses track of both players. To top it all off, the game is a buggy mess. The frame-rate drops all the time, and the game crashes just as much as your biker does. Gamespot gave the game a 1.5, rating it only slightly better than Big Rigs (listed above) and Ride to Hell: Retribution (listed below).
- Naughty Bear is an absolute joke. The story is so bad, it makes Alien Disco Safari's look competent (Naughty, a evil bear who wants vengeance on his cuter Care Bears-esque brethren, gets his paws on bear-killing weaponry); the graphics are barely even of GameCube standard (even though it was released on PS3, Xbox 360, and iOS devices) and the camera has a tendency to go out of bounds and block your view of Naughty's kills (a major selling point, mind you). The voice acting is embarrassing, the multiplayer is bland, the levels are consistently poor, and the music sounds and feels like it was composed by a nine-year-old. The game's reception was universally negative; IGN called it unbearable (no pun intended) and gave it a 3/10, two reviewers from Goodgame.com gave it a 1/10 and a 2/10 and called it the worst game of 2010, and GamesRadar named it one of the worst games of all time on their list of the 100 worst games ever. Surprisingly, it received a sequel titled Panic in Paradise. Not only did it fix almost nothing while barely adding anything new, but it was received even worse than the original, getting a 2/10 from IGN, a 5.5/10 from Gamespot (who believe the sequel was just as horrible) and a 33/100 from Metacritic. This game really is unbearable.
- The latter half of the Painkiller series was already notorious for basing Overdose on a fan-made game mod. Painkiller: Resurrection does the same thing, but not as well. Everything but a single monster (which looks like an orc made of raw hamburger and has three different sizes) and a single weapon (a re-skinned "Battle Out Of Hell" weapon) are taken pixel-for-pixel from earlier installments. The levels are the largest the franchise has ever seen, but are usually either too cramped to comfortably accomodate the sort of monsters found in them or so huge that the player must backtrack constantly to find a new monster spawn point. The clumsy storyline is shoehorned into the game with comic-style cutscenes à la Max Payne and mood-killing voice acting à la Resident Evil (case in point). It's loaded with bugs that no patch effort has successfully deterred — it crashes to desktop frequently, the weather effects slow the dated engine to a crawl, enemy AI tends to get hung up on the scenery, online co-op (a major selling point) was inaccessible at launch, the game crashed if a certain weapon was fired in multiplayer, and glitching out the final checkpoint was common and made hour-long levels Unwinnable by Mistake. If that won't make you quit playing Painkiller, put on "Painkiller", and down some painkillers, then nothing will.
- Ping Pals was a completely pointless (and paid!) clone of PictoChat, a close-range peer-to-peer chat function that already came bundled in every version of the Nintendo DS by default. The few advantages it had over PictoChat (a customizable avatar, single-player and multiplayer minigames, and other such things) are either pedestrian or difficult to manage, and thus fail to make the experience any more compelling. Plus, the game actually omits certain features present in PictoChat. Allegedly, WayForward were put on a really tight schedule and only agreed to produce this so they could get devkits for the DS.
- Postal III, released several years after Postal II, was released by an unknown team with little input from original developers Running with Scissors, taking several giant steps backward from its predecessor. Gone is the free-roaming mayhem of Postal II, replaced with a linear mission structure that plays like a "me-too" version of many first- and third-person shooters of its generation. On top of that, the game sports terrible AI for enemies and NPC escorts alike, it glitches up and crashes constantly, the actual shooting is a mess (though you still get to play around with a lot of "unconventional" weapons), and a lot of the series' typical off-color humor is hampered by bad writing and flat, uninspired voicework. RWS has no kind words to say about the project, and refuses to recognize it as a "true sequel" to Postal II.
- Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is considered not only one of the worst Guitar Hero clones ever made, but also one of the worst rhythm games in recent memory. Its mission statement was ambitious: get players to "rock for real" by replacing the standard guitar controllers, with their coloured buttons and strum bars, with a proper six-string guitar that works both in and out of the game, going so far as to make Take Thats for this reason. Now, one of their competitors did this — Rock Band 3 can be played with a real six-string — but the real guitar for Power Gig barely works in the game and sounds like you'd expect a $150 guitar to sound in Real Life. Worse, this game barely encourages players to learn to play real guitar. Aside from the "power chords," which can be turned off, the gameplay is identical to the game's chief competitors, only there are only six-string guitar charts — no bass guitars. The notes you play in the game aren't even close to how you would play the song in real life, eliminating the reason to have a real six-string as a controller. The track list does have some decent songs in it (including artists who have never appeared in any previous music game, such as Eric Clapton and The Dave Matthews Band), but very few songs are available from the get-go. Players will have to slog through the game's story mode, which has an idiotic plotline centered around collecting "mojo" from different bands to defeat the evil Headliner who has outlawed playing music in public. The accompanying drum kit seems designed to turn people off music games—it's simply four pads sitting on the floor, and you have to air drum over them. Yes, it is quieter, but it misses the point of playing drums. You also have to be absurdly precise to know which pad you're "hitting"; you get no touch feedback from air drumming, and keeping an eye on the screen and another on the ground won't let you watch your hands to be sure where they are.
- Prisoner Of Power (not to be confused with the 4X strategy game) is a Russian FPS released in 2008. It's notable for having horrible modelling and textures work for its time, complete with eye-searing orange textures. It is obviously unfinished: the human enemies had no AI at launch, the physics are broken (hitting single empty wood crate can somehow makes a buggy fall over) and it featured a plethora of other bugs, mostly involving clipping through physical objects. The level design is atrocious, with the maps being littered with one-hit kill mines that are impossible to see until it's too late. Its promotional material also had the balls to call it "The Genesis to Stalker" despite having absolutely nothing to do with it beyond being a FPS based on a novel by the same authors as Roadside Picnic. This video (or this review, if you understand French) should give you an idea.
- Ride to Hell: Retribution: 1%, a late 1960s era biker gang adventure released in 2013, is a frustrating mess that gets nothing right. The game was originally designed to be a Wide Open Sandbox, but the version that eventually made it to retail railroads you onto a linear path even during the long, drawn-out driving missions which don't even allow you to stop the bike and there's no animations for crashing into anything. The story is a confusing, disjointed Cliché Storm big on sleaze and devoid of charm or logicnote , and the characters are all obnoxious and one-dimensional, many of whom exist solely to facilitate contrived and distasteful Rescue Sex in which no clothes are shed. It's also filled with long loading screens; the voice acting and writing are abysmal; the graphics and animation are dated, ugly as sin, and in several cases, incomplete and error-prone; and the combat sequences are brainless brawls that rely heavily on Action Commands, Artificial Stupidity and faulty hit detection: this is especially transparent in the driving segments, where none of the onscreen enemies actually attack you in any way and the ones that do are obviously spawned by the game for the purpose of the Action Commands that follow. It came as little surprise to anyone that the publisher and developer refused to send out review copies of the game, or release any of the planned spinoff games. Angry Joe and Yahtzee were more than happy to mock it, GameSpot gave Ride to Hell a score of 1 (out of 10) (only the second such rating in the site's history after Big Rigs), and it was eventually withdrawn from Steam altogether.
- Rogue Warrior is a FPS/stealth action hybrid title based on the exploits and autobiography of real-life Navy SEAL Dick Marcinko (voiced by Mickey Rourke), with a multiplayer mode that was supposed to revolutionize online play with its randomized maps. Bethesda was hoping that this would be their big game for the 2009 holiday season, but instead, it was roundly trashed for its completely broken enemy AI, hit detection, and stealth mechanics, a single-player campaign runtime of under two hours, and a script so foul-mouthed that it was more annoying than hardcore. The only redeeming factor was the So Bad, It's Good rapping that Mickey Rourke does over the credits. Here's Giant Bomb having their fun with it. If you want to see it in all of its glory, watch Chip Cheezum play through the game.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the Nintendo Wii, based on the Rankin/Bass special of the same name. It was sold as a full Wii title but wouldn't even be passable as WiiWare. The game consists of just four minigames, none of which require much effort, and the entire game can be beaten in less than 15 minutes. The voice acting is extremely annoying (for example, every few seconds Hermey the elf will shout "I'm a dentist!" if you play as him) and the music is just generic Muzak that has nothing to do with Rudolph or Christmas. If you're curious, you can see NintendoFanFTW's review of the game here.
- Spy Games: Elevator Mission for the Wii. Most of the floors in the building the hero infiltrates look exactly the same with ugly textures and low resolution polygons. Hell, your gun is represented with a two-dimensional sprite. The music is full of laughably terrible MIDIs and almost every bad guy dies with the same groan. Levels feel aimless as there are no clues on where to locate the five secret disks and the halls look so similar, it's easy to get lost. The only satisfying thing one can do is shooting plants as they shatter with a glass-breaking sound effect. Have a taste of the gameplay here.
- Stalin vs. Martians aimed for the So Bad, It's Good camp... and missed by a country mile. It's supposed to be a real-time strategy game, but instead is a buggy, unplayable mess of bad design decisions — bad AI, bad enemy placement, bad mission structure, and bad attempts at humor. Fortunately, a series of music videos were produced for the game, and they remain firmly in the So Bad, It's Good category. The best part? They're all available online, meaning you don't have to play the game to watch them!
- Terrawars: NY Invasion, a PC game released in 2006 by Tri Synergy and developed by Philippines-based Ladyluck Digital Media. The game purports to be a budget-priced quality shooter inspired by The War of the Worlds. Instead, the game is just about as shoddy if not much worse than its price tag. Level designs are either incredibly bland or painful to the eyes. Most enemies are generic aliens with different colors. The story doesn't make much sense apart from "aliens invade New York," with phoned-in voice acting done by people who barely even pretend to give an American accent. Graphics-wise, it uses the dated Lithtech Jupiter engine (the same one used in No One Lives Forever) but manages to look even worse. While gameplay itself is repetitive, dragging and plain un-engagingly boring. Gamespot described the game as a rip-off that has to be avoided. And the sad part of all this: not only did the developers go through the trouble of making a scale recreation of NYC, but the game was also intended to be a showcase of a burgeoning Filipino gaming industry.
- Thor: God of Thunder is a towering symbol of every problem with licensed games. The last-gen graphics and phoned-in voice acting should be warning signs, but if you soldier on, you will find yourself confronted by a combat system that can't even get button-mashing right due to laggy controls and broken hit detection. Throw on tedious, mind-numbingly repetitive combat and more Fake Difficulty than you can shake an LJN cartridge at, and you've got Exhibit A for why not every game should cost $60. While this game was ported to different consoles, including the 3DS, it should be noted that the DS game was handled by WayForward, and is actually a pretty good side-scrolling beat-em-up, making this an inversion.
- Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta at first appears to be an ambitious adventure game with good intentions but playing it reveals it to be more like The Mockbuster of the Uncharted series. It is programmed using the Unity game engine but it barely utilizes its potential, having graphics that are reminiscent of PlayStation 2 games and absolutely terrible animation. In addition, it has awful and broken controls and gameplay mechanics poorly nicked from Tomb Raider and Uncharted. Throw in a car driving sequence with terrible physics, an unlikable protagonist, a Random Events Plot, and bad dialogue and you have a game with all of its potential squandered by shoddy programming and game design. The best part? It's being released in really short episodes and the first one ends abruptly on a cliffhanger. Vinny from Vinesauce takes a look at the first episode in his stream.
- Vampire Rain is a piss-poor stealth-action survival horror game that features among other things: a thinly written plot with wooden voice acting, dreadful dialogue, lousy gameplay that shamelessly rips off both Splinter Cell and Metal Gear (and doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as either), laughable enemy A.I. and wildly inconsistent difficulty. You know a game is terrible when the most innovative thing about it is that your knife (a melee weapon) actually requires ammo to use! (The game attempts to justify it by making the knife explode inside the victim, but this doesn't make things less frustrating).
It got an Updated Re-release on the PlayStation 3 called Vampire Rain: Altered Species that fixed precisely nothing, and make have made the graphics even worse.
- The War at the End of the Days on Xbox LIVE Indie Games is a very strong contender for the worst first-person shooter ever made. The game is clearly unfinished, the graphics are barely a step above a tech demo from 1995, the HUD and menus looks like they barely left the drawing board, it has annoying MIDI-quality music, the sound effects are abysmal, the gunshots from your weapon are ear-piercingly loud, the level designs are horrendous, and your character moves and turns at a snail's pace. There's only one enemy in this game — a mech that looks as if it came out of MechWarrior — and they have the artificial intelligence of a rock. You can literally go through the game entire without bothering with the enemies, and when you beat all four levels, you get booted to the title screen. You can witness the misery NavyBoy5499 went through this Let's Play. This player was unfortunate enough to buy the full game but the game thinks he's still playing the demo despite paying $1 for it — it's so broken it can't even handle business transactions properly.
- Windy X Windam has been derided by fighting game enthusiasts for its choppy animation, bland music and repetitive sound effects, a small roster of characters (half of whom are Guilty Gear knockoffs), and a bug-riddled fighting engine coupled with extreme Artificial Stupidity that discourages any strategy beyond Button Mashing. The threadbare plot is done no favors by U.S. publisher Graffiti Entertainment's weak translation (misspellings and dropped commas and periods are commonplace), and even the game's main draw — the chance to play as Izuna and Shino from Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja — is short-lived, as they can only be unlocked for play by finishing the game on the higher difficulty levels.
- Yaris, an advergame on XBLA which, despite being free, somehow managed to make the customers feel ripped off. The graphics look awful. They are barely even Of Playstation 1 standard. (However, it was made in 2007 for the Xbox 360, so you'd expect the graphicst at least be acceptable!) The gameplay isn't fun at all and the enemies consist of animals riding bikes. not only that, but it only has Yaris cars. It would actually be nice if they made up futuristic Yarises, but instead, there are only 3 Yarises. The audio sounds like nuclear water going all over the place. It feels jumbled up on a pile of shit. Its gameplay rips off other games — you have to use a crane on top of your Yaris to collect coins, and you also have to Kill bad guys. The tracks are all generic and there arent even any unlockables. It managed to whip up a whopper of 17 from Metacritic. (According to Wikipedia, Yaris has the lowest metascore on the Xbox 360.) Thankfully, It was pulled from the service after a while due to bad reception.
- You Are Empty, a Russian game released by 1C Games in 2006. The plot reads like a mishmash of The Butterfly Effect, The Red Star and Command & Conquer: Red Alert, the game is bugged to death, and it uses flat textures. That's right, folks — in 2006, someone released a game with no lighting effects whatsoever. Gamespot's reviewer apologized for wasting the reader's time with the review. One of the game's greatest moments is when a monster jumps out at you from a higher level... and dies on impact with the floor.
Eighth Generation (2012-present)
- Air Control (the Steam one, not the iOS one) may be the new reigning champion of bad games. It is supposedly a flight simulator where the player switches between the pilot and the flight attendant. It's easily one of the most buggy, unstable, and unfinished pieces of software on this entire page. Instructions overlap each other, buttons often have to be clicked multiple times to register, the mouse cursor and the first person camera are both run at the same time resulting in your character waving his head around as you try and close out of dialogue boxes... the list goes on. It's so lazily programmed that at one point, the game tells you how to work around a bug, in-game. The game somehow forgets to clear global variables when you exit to the main menu, which means if you try and switch from "casual" to "realistic" mid-session, the game will crash and you have to force quit from the task manager! The developers have responded to negative reviews pointing out how often the game crashes with single-sentence rebuttals like "your computer isn't strong enough". And to top it all off, almost all the art assets are stolen without credit, up to and including a safety instruction video from an actual, real life airline company! It's so bad, it was "rewarded" with Gamespot's third-ever 1/10 score. Air Control is considered so abysmal that many believe its existence to be a satirical joke, a deliberately unplayable train wreck created to demonstrate how easy it can be to deceive people foolish enough to not preview video games via video before making the decision to buy them. Thankfully, it has finally been removed from Steam. Markiplier suffered through it, as seen here.
- Ashes Cricket 2013 was an incredibly glitchy Cricket simulation. Upon its release on Steam, players discovered mountains of bugs that rendered the game nearly unplayable and utterly confusing to anyone unfamiliar with the sport. With sub-par graphics, poor backgrounds repetitive and annoying announcers, and terrible controls, it was so bad that the game's publisher, 505 Games, pulled it from Steam just one week after it was released, gave refunds to anyone who bought the game (then an outright rarity), and cancelled all development on porting it to video game consoles in order to "protect the Ashes name and that of the ECB and Cricket Australia". Vinesauce streamed it with nary an idea on how Cricket is played. Similarly, the Yogscast forced themselves to play it as an incentive to raise $100,000 in the first night of their 2013 charity stream. This resulted in Duncan Jones and Sjin bailing so they wouldn't have to, and left Simon, Lewis (who had initially defended the game as OK) and Ridgedog (who also had no idea how the sport is played) frothing at the mouth by the end.
- Asphalt 3D, released in 2011 as a launch game for the Nintendo 3DS, is a shoddy port of the iOS game Asphalt 6 and regarded (by at least two review outlets) as one of the worst starter titles for the system. The car models look fair enough, but the scenery is simplistic and occasionally glitches out, and the frame rate grinds to the single digits even with the 3D effects turned off. Pedestrian traffic is sparse, so your only real opponents besides your rival racers are the police, who can be taken down (er, "knocked down", sorry) with one or two nudges. Most bizarrely of all, however, is the fact that the car engines sound like they're shifting into infinite gears. The game has a reasonable amount of content, but that's still no real reason to pay full retail price for an inferior 3DS Asphalt when the iOS games in the series look better, play much more smoothly, and cost only a fraction of the price. Despite the horrible ratings, that didn't stop them from making another port of Asphalt 6, which, while still horrible at best, was still noticeably better than this "game." Need any more convincing?
- Asphalt Injection for the Playstation Vita, a 2012 port of Asphalt 6, is better than 3D but is still an Obvious Beta. The graphics are actually really good, but it is shocking and bizarre how many ports it has. There are also no bikes, despite there being bikes in the original game. The cars all handle and feel the same like they were copied and placed onto other cars in the game. The AI is absolutely horrible (they don't even try to wreck you like they are supposed to in "Under Pressure") and the music is just trying to get you hyped up for nothing. The online mode usually goes all over the place in terms of connectivity and it's really easy to take out the AI (you can wreck the AI in less then 5 nudges on their door) and the only amazing thing about this game is how many decals there are. But the most insane, weird, exclusive thing this game has? A completely useless and pointless garage that tells you nothing about the cars you own, there are only a few spaces for the cars (meaning it will not display other cars you own) and it just has no purpose. And the worst thing about it is that if you wait for All 6 other AI opponents to finish the race, you can push them into the starting grid so that you can pass them and win! Why would you get a $30 port of a 99 cent iOS game when the cheaper game has more content, better reviews, and is loved more by critics?
- Basement Crawl, a downloadable PlayStation 4 title, was intended to be a horror-themed clone of the Bomberman games of old, but is closer in overall quality to the infamous Bomberman: Act Zero. It's a multiplayer-focused game that supports up to eight players online, but the netcode is so sloppy that trying to find and get an online match working properly is almost like a mini-game in itself. And even when the game works as intended, the confusing user interface (the dimly lit arenas and lack of palette swaps for players using the same character can easily lead to accidental explosive death) and complete absence of available options for customizing matches make this game a dud. It's the lowest-rated PS4 game on Metacritic, with a score of 27, and the developers went so far as to apologize for the game, hit the reset button, and rebuild it from scratch as Brawl, which fixes some of the aforementioned problems.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, a PS Vita Gaiden Game for the PC/console game Black Ops 2, is packed with game-breaking bugs on the first mission, poor and ludicrously obligatory touch controls, Artificial Stupidity, and poorly rendered graphics. As if those problems weren't bad enough, the single-player campaign only lasts 45 minutes and the multi-player is next to impossible to get working properly. And to pound the nail in further, it completely omits one of Black Ops 2's largest selling points: Zombie mode. Gamespot employees past and present concur.
It doesn't help that the multiplayer maps are extremely tiny. One such example is Nukehouse, a scaled-down version of Nuketown, the extremely popular and extremely small map from the console versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops. They took a map known for being small and somehow made it even smaller.
- Day One: Garry's Incident is a classic case of trying to do too much with too little. It's an open-world, first-person survival game in the vein of Minecraft and DayZ, but made by people without even a tenth of the talent needed to put such an ambitious title together. Combat is a mess of Button Mashing, cheap deaths, and random enemy attack damage, the frame rate is incredibly choppy, gratuitous Invisible Walls restrict the main character's movement and make the open world feel like a joke, actions as simple as using a bandage require a cumbersome quick-time event, enemy AI works seemingly at random, and while the game looks decent enough when it's not moving, the animations are hideous. As the icing on the cake, the game's developers attempted to have TotalBiscuit's extremely negative video of the game (which compared it to the below-mentioned Revelations 2012) taken down from YouTube, but they wisely backed down after an Internet Backdraft.
- Earth: Year 2066 was not a game so much as it was an insultingly small sandbox put together with all the care of a tweaker cooking his own homebrew meth. Awful textures, no real missions or enemy variety, and bugs that would be laughable if the game weren't being sold on Steam for $20. Much like the below-mentioned Infestation: Survivor Stories, it joined the dubious club of games that were pulled from Steam (with full refunds for all who bought it) for flat-out lying in their marketing, and it became a cause celebre for those demanding that Steam put in place quality control standards for their Greenlight and Early Access programs. This is also without going into the rather shady practices of the developer when it comes to criticism, which Jim Sterling has discussed here.
- Family Party: 30 Great Games: Obstacle Arcade for the Wii U is a shining example of deception in advertising. The graphics are bland, barely any more detailed than a Nintendo 64 game (on an eighth-gen console), and the sound is mediocre; the music at least would be tolerable if it weren't constantly drowned out by the obnoxious voice acting. Most of all, though, various critics have noted that all of the so-called 'great' minigames are poorly designed (including a target-shooting game where the players are required to aim with the Wii Remote's Nunchuk attachment instead of pointing and shooting with the remote) and nearly unplayable. Game Revolution gave the game zero stars out of 5, the only game to receive such a score since the website switched from a letter-grade review system.
- Fighter Within, the sequel to the above-mentioned Fighters Uncaged was developed for the Xbox One by the same companies, for the same reason. The few improvements there are over Uncaged owe only to the Kinect 2.0's improved capabilities as compared to the Kinect's, save for the presence of a multiplayer option, which is local-only and has too many issues to be worthwhile. Little or nothing else was changed for the better. Now sit back, and watch Two Best Friends Play trash it.
- Godzilla for the PlayStation 4 is a good contender for the worst game of 2015. What initially starts off as a decent beat-em-up reminiscent of the earlier Godzilla fighters quickly reveals itself to be a complete and utter trainwreck that wouldn't even appeal to hardcore Godzilla fans or regular gamers. The controls aren't the problem, nor is the slow movement speed of any of the playable Kaiju; it's just about everything else. Two essential gameplay elements - blocking and aiming your beam attacks - are completely absent, making fighting the army and other monsters way, way more difficult than it needs to be. There's a severe lack of content for the high price you have to pay to get the game; God of Destruction mode effectively has you destroying generators every single scenario while King of Kaiju is more or less six straight fights of randomly selected giant monster. To make matters worse, there are a couple of other modes that function almost identically to God of Destruction. Diorama Mode, which is often described as being the "best" mode, is completely pointless and is only there to add something other than the few other modes the game has. Any item drops you get from King of Kaiju are completely randomized and will not be for the Kaiju you're playing as, meaning that you have to play through the same mode over and over again (the same thing also applies to God of Destruction, which can be completed in under an hour thanks to this system) and if you want to apply those upgrades to your Kaiju in Evolution Mode (which is just a glorified upgrade screen), you'll have to lose all of your progress of repeated playthroughs in God of Destruction mode and restart the process all over again, making you have to play through the game even more. Multiplayer is also incredibly broken as there is absolutely zero matchmaking balance. Even if you're just starting out, you could be playing against far, far superior players whose levels are in the hundreds and get your ass kicked thoroughly. To add insult to injury, there's no local multiplayer at all, meaning that you'd have to spend even more money to get a brand-new Playstation 4 and another copy of the game at full price. And that's only just scraping the surface of the problems. It's a boring, frustrating and extraordinarily repetitive experience that will drive you insane the longer you play it. Angry Joe had more than a few choice words to say about this abomination, and he was not merciful in his beatdown.
- Guise of the Wolf makes all werewolf media feel ashamed for its existence. It does literally everything wrong. Like many awful, awful games before it, the art style disguises itself as cel-shaded to cover up its terrible textures; if the player stands in certain spots, they can see the lines misaligned with objects and people, and it's often possible to just walk right through them. The options menu only covers music and sound volume. The mechanics are half-assed as the "stealth system" consists of crouching, causing nobody to see you; not that you'll know to use it at first, because there's no mention of it anywhere in the game, not even in the help menu. The central mechanic of turning into a werewolf is barely used for anything and doesn't have a significant impact on the gameplay. Moreover, the game is full of backtracking and instant death traps. Welcome to Corneria is present (Good evening, milord! Helps to have a map!) complete with a dialogue volume that isn't normalized. Finally, as expected of horrible games, there are loads of glitches: the enter key can crash the game, sound effects can stack and distort to near-deafening levels, and you can clip through almost everything. And it doesn't help that the developer Can't Take Criticism, as they attempted to place a copyright strike on TotalBiscuit's videos concerning the game. While they denied putting out the strike, there is plentiful evidence that they had something to do with it — including issuing TB a "Final Warning" to take down his channel. The devs rescinded their claim after an Internet Backdraft, so the videos are back up and you can watch the research stream here and a full review of the game here.
- Hell's House, a downloadable game on the Microsoft Indie Game Channel. It's a Full Motion Video Survival Horror game, where all you do is simply press the on-screen button prompts to win. The plot doesn't get brought up after the opening text crawl; instead, the entire game consists of the actress wandering room to room in the house, attempting to act. Since the death scenes can only occur when you lose, winning only shows a boring night routine with nothing interesting happening. The death scenes might fall under So Bad, It's Good, but they're not worth going through the rest of the game. The incomparable Retsupurae duo give it the proper treatment — and even with their commentary, it's a chore to sit through!
- Infestation: Survivor Stories (formerly titled The War Z) is a blatant knockoff of DayZ theorized to have been made to trick people into mistaking it for the official standalone version of DayZ (despite the developer's dubious claim that it was in development for two years). It is an awful game that barely deserves being called a "foundation release", let alone an early beta, being riddled with ugly textures and animations, extremely poor performance, boringly simplistic combat, and bugs galore, and with no real mechanism to punish bad behavior on the part of players. What made it truly horrible, however, was the blatant disregard for the customers shown by the publishing company, with a real money store where you can purchase in-game weapons and items that disappear completely from your inventory when you die, a Steam page that featured outright lies about the features present, and people getting banned at random to counteract hacking (the logic being that people won't bother hacking a game where you can get randomly banned without any given justification). The game's official forums are intensely moderated and censored, with criticizing the game being a bannable offense and the developers lashing out at critics by claiming that they have no idea what they're talking about and don't understand the game. The complaints got so venomous that Valve not only removed it from Steam (albeit temporarily), but also offered refunds, years before Steam established a proper refunds system. Here's TB giving a breakdown. It's only the icing on the cake that one of the people behind Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing was one of the game's developers.
- Into the War, a game sold on Steam that was both Early Access and Greenlit. The game aimed to be a type of arena shooter like Quake 3 or Team Fortress 2, but the developers put a bare minimum of effort into actually making a game. Graphics consisted of stock Unity assets. A few days after release several levels were removed from the game because of problems with players walking through or falling through solid objects. There were four classes, which varied only in their starting weapon, and the shotgun used by the engineer was by far the most effective. Players had grenades, which made a sound and had a graphical effect, but didn't actually do anything. Lag was often unbearable at times, and players could be killed one second after respawning because there was no invulnerability or grace period. Running animations were bugged, and players looked like they were sliding along the ground or spinning in place while running. The developers took whatever money they made from the game and abandoned the project and shut down their servers. The game is still sold on Steam, despite the fact that the only thing a player can do now is look at the main menu.
- The Letter is a low-budget exploration game in the vein of Dear Esther, Gone Home or Proteus, but has barely a fraction of the flair required to match any of them, and isn't worth the $2 it costs to download the thing from the Wii U eShop. Your player character gets a letter supposedly left by his parents, and then fumbles around drab, empty environments trying to figure out what happened to them. It tries to pass itself off as a horror game, but there are no scares to be found whatsoever. Worst of all, the game can be finished in less than 15 minutes, and ends with a trite All Just a Dream twist.
- The Mystery of the Missing Hotpot Recipe, a game ostensibly based on the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street. Start with cutscenes which consist of still images and uninspired dialogue, then add a frustratingly complex "click to find the item" game. What could have only been made tedious at worst is made downright infuriating by several factors: 1.) The items are ridiculously small; 2.) some items are literally hidden in the background; 3.) if you click five times without finding anything, the cursor swirls around randomly for a few seconds; and 4.) while there is a hint button, it outright highlights the item for you, not so much hinting as spoiling it entirely. After a brief minigame, it's back to more of the same. Oh, and there is no music and very little sound...on a PC game released in 2011. Metro gave it 0/10, this forum thread is laden with negative reviews, and Caddicarus had no kind words for it in his review.
- Rambo: The Video Game takes They Just Didn't Care and The Problem with Licensed Games to heights not reached since Superman 64. It is an on-the-rail shooter (even on a PC, which should already be alarming) with the only "movement" of Rambo being able to take cover behind nearby obstacles, which you will find yourself doing for about 50% of the game due to the ridiculous number of on-screen enemies and their accuracy. You can regenerate health by using the "wrath" meter that is supposed to help you fend off enemies, but it barely lasts long enough and you will often find your shots missing due to the horrible targeting. Cinematic portions are progressed by lazily implemented quicktime events in which an unlockable perk renders them infallible, making them pointless. The graphics are atrocious, muddy and look like something from a PS2 rather than a 360 or PS3 game with some absolutely ugly character models. The rail-shooter gameplay is stiff, simplistic, lifeless, and flatout boring (for example, disarming cops requires no more than shooting them in the legs), and the perk and gun system is laughably trivial. Even the sound assets are bad — every single line of dialogue is directly ripped from the first three Rambo films with no normalisation of volume and repeated over and over. The bland music (that doesn't even come from the film soundtrack) is just as annoyingly repetitive. Combine all this with hundreds of Game-Breaking Bugs, frequent crashes, a ridiculously cheap final level, and a total runtime of two hours for a $40 game, and you have a serious contender for worst game of 2014. Watch Angry Joe tear it apart here. 2 Best Friends also played it for their "Mystery Box" series.
- Raven's Cry looks and feels every bit like a third-rate Risen 2 and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag clone, but commands an outrageous "standard retail price" tag despite a mess of bugs (a few of the major game-breaking bugs were patched out multiple times after release, but rendered previous saves incompatible) and technical gaffes. The horrendous and wooden voice-acting oozes Dull Surprise, at least when you can hear it, as many voice-overs were flat-out missing in the release version, which resulted in characters have one-sided conversations with one another. The combat is painfully generic and dull, with weapon hits often failing to register and it ends up boiling down to "mash the attack button until everything around you dies". Even the only potentially good parts of the game end up being ruined — the music, while well-done, ends up playing at the most inappropriate times (e.g. having a sweeping orchestral playing during a conversation in a tavern), the graphics while not always horrible looking will knock down the frame-rate severely unless you either turn the options all the way down or have an expensive graphics card, and the ship-combat often boils down to luck rather than skill. Gamespot gave this game a 1 out of 10 (one of only a handful of games reviewed that earned such a low score, owing as much to the terrible writing and characterization as the uninteresting gameplay) and Jim Sterling called it "disgusting on almost every level".
- Revelations 2012 is a blatant ripoff of Left 4 Dead, only instead of zombies, the player characters must fight Mayan demons of some sort (one can guess the theme of the game by looking at the game's title). The game mechanic isn't the only thing to be ripped off; the menu, the game engine, and a bit of coding is pretty much stolen from Left 4 Dead 2. The game itself costs $10 on Steam, even though publishing such content with lack of quality is questionable. Likely, it's on Steam because the game runs on the Source Engine, and that's it (meanwhile, acclaimed and quality-assured games continue to wait in line to get up on Steam behind this "game"). One look at the developers' website (Dark Artz Entertainment) can suggest how unprofessional and pretentious this group is. Here's a video of some of the quirks this game has to offer, along with an equally detailed smackdown from TotalBiscuit.
- Self Defense Training Camp was a boxed release for the Xbox 360 which received a blisteringly harsh 1/10 score from IGN and an only slightly less painful 35/100 from the Official Xbox Magazine. As a Kinect game, you'd think controls would be its main crippling flaw, but here's the surprise: the Kinect's function is actually quite all right, and the game doesn't look like a mess either. If the game looks decent and controls okay, why is it so roundly despised? Because it's a Kinect 'game' that merely serves as a set of self defense drills for the player, ostensibly to ward against robbers or other people at close range. There's no gameplay, for starters—it's just a series of repetitive motions as read by the Kinect, not actually giving you any sort of goals aside from following actions. There's no challenge or variety, or really any reason to actually play it when you could get just as much from acting out the motions yourself while watching a video. With no responsive feedback, you also have no idea how effective any of your movements will be if they're genuinely needed in a real-world scenario, so the limp slaps to the head or pokes of the foot that the game claims are okay might just make things even worse. It's not even good exercise, with the moves being too slow in sequence or too poorly guided to be of any help in maintaining good form while performing the motions. One Youtube reviewer lambasted it as "little more than a genital kicking simulator," and if you really want that sort of thing, just play God Hand and don't act like you don't like the Ball Buster.
- Shannon Tweed's Attack of the Groupies HD (which is incidentally not at all HD) is a blatant ripoff of Plants vs. Zombies, only instead of fighting zombies, you defend Shannon Tweed's husband, Gene Simmons, from crazed groupies using robots with water guns. It suffers from sluggish, skill-less, and just boring gameplay, a clunky and fiddly UInote , and lazy game design that recycles the same environment for multiple levels in a row. The animated cutscenes and character models are hideously drawn, the voice acting is flat and wooden, and all that passes for music is one annoyingly repetitive track that does not even loop properly. But the icing on this cake of terrible is a Game-Breaking Bug that blocks all enemies from spawning when you quit during the tutorial stage or skip the intro cutscene, making the game Unwinnable by Mistake. Watch TotalBiscuit savage it here, as well as Jim Sterling's equally negative playthrough here.
- Takedown: Red Sabre was supposed to be billed as a return to true tactical shooters to counterbalance the increasing popularity of modern military shooters. Sadly, this game has soured that statement thanks to its overall horrendous quality. Enemy AI is rather sketchy as they will either shoot in random directions or make their mark from miles away. Allies act the same way, but with the added bonus of standing around in gunfire like targets. Jarringly, despite being a tactical shooter, you cannot issue commands to your squadmates. The HUD, which was kept minimal for realism, only served to confuse players as they had no way to recheck their objectives or even figure out who is friend or foe. Add uninspiring levels, buggy menus, and network issues and publisher 505 Games may have the worst first person shooter of 2013.
- Time Ramesside (also known as A New Reckoning), is seemingly following in the steps of The Slaughtering Grounds (see Digital Homicide's entry on Video Games Other) as a first-person shooter in which everything indicates that They Just Didn't Care. The game is plagued with Game Breaking Bugs from the very first level, including but not limited to absurdly broken enemiesnote , clipping issues, and many crashes. The graphics are dated, highly inconsistent, and at worst incomplete and buggy, and slowdowns are frequent. Level design and general gameplay are equally patchwork, and Rouge Angles of Satin abounds, even in the trailer itself. Even worse, the game is full of stolen material. Unchanged store-bought Unreal Engine assets make up much of the environment, causing the inconsistent graphics; the intro video is even lifted from an Unreal 4 tech demo (logo and all!); and at one point, music ripped from the Django Unchained trailer used without permission. This video shows off some of the... quirky features of this game. Funhaus have also played this here, as has Jim Sterling here, the latter saying that it has somehow become worse after coming out of Early Access.
- Zen Fish Sim follows in the footsteps of the aforementioned Air Control by being irredeemably broken in all aspects. The "gameplay" merely consists of advancing through extremely linear levels (which have no collision detection with the scenery), and getting booted back to the main menu at the end. Said main menu also doubles as the main way of experiencing the game's narm-filled and poorly written story (one scene shows fish burning to death). Add to this copyrighted music used without permission, Critical Research Failure when one of the game's selling points is "you can learn about the wide variety of the creatures of the ocean" (one level is a gallery of different marine creatures, and clicking on the "sperm whale" button brings up a sea urchin), and a $10 asking price, and you have one of the worst things to come to Steam ever... well, "had", since the publisher yanked the game from the service almost as quickly as it spawned.