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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
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
, 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)
open/close all folders
Second Generation (1977-83)
- 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.
- 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 one button. (Let us note that Atari's first-party joysticks were fragile, so unresponsive controls will lead to shredded controllers.) Some even consider it the worst Atari 2600 game. The AVGN ended up taking a quick look into this game in his Atari Sports review.
- 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 (1984-88)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Dont Wear Ties), and the seriousness of his videos on the matter confirms it.
- The only thing good about the NES version (not so much a straight port as a completely different game) of the Laserdisc classic Dragons 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.
- 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 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 (bad in a Fighting Game, a genre that thrives on one-on-one competition), and scrolling. There are miscellaneous god-awful ethnic stereotypes all around and 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).
- 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, as well as other Hydlide Games. 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. See NecroVMX take a look at it here. The only positive thing about this game is the graphics' use in the Garfield parody comic Square Root of Minus Garfield.
- 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 menu, the graphics are crap, and the music is ear-grating. The game only has four minigames (Hot Dog Aerials, Speed Skating, The Bobsled, Figure Skating) compared to 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 themselvesnote 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 (1989-93)
- 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.
- The NES version of American Gladiators may have been So Bad, It's Good (amusing Stock Scream when Gladiators fall), but the SNES and Genesis versions were utterly-broken, nearly-unplayable abominations. Thanks, GameTek (now defunct), for pissing all over this franchise.
- 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 is 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 isn't 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 Somecallmejohnny here.
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. You may see the review of thatby Urinating Tree (aka Schlasser) here.
- 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 the circuit 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. See AVGN rip the game to shreds 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 here manages to do pretty good at it though.
- Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R was slapped together after the game based on the first season sold well enough to let them keep the license in order to make Sailor Moon: Another Story, and it shows: it's a SNES Beat 'em Up, but runs straight into Fake Difficulty due to awkward hit detection, enemy AI that seems to be programmed to thwart your every move, and SNK Boss Syndrome taken to an extreme (the Final Boss can one hit K.O. you on normal difficulty), as well as boring music, dull graphics and a two player system that actually punishes you by keeping you from using supermoves. And if you're looking for consistency with its source material, look somewhere else: Wiseman (the actual Big Bad of the arc, mind you) and the Phantom Sisters don't even show up, and a grand total of two stages actually came from the show.
- Crazy Bus, 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.
- 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.)
- Fighting Masters promised "65 Devastating Attacks" on its back cover, but the game reserved one of the Sega Genesis controller's three buttons for jumping, so each character ended up with three attacks, two of which would likely be nearly identical. In addition, the collision detection was pathetic, and basic punches and kicks were nearly useless, leaving grapple attacks as the only viable method of dealing damage. The character sprites had too few frames of animation, and the generic stage backgrounds made it impossible to appreciate their supposedly gigantic size.
- 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 for their time impressive, especially for an early Genesis game (and no extra chips or processors used) the single-digit frame rate, combined with very delayed controls, make it clear that the Genesis was in way over its head trying to accomplish such a game. Combine that with lousy physics (i.e. 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... jumping. A lot. 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 GameFAQs, 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. That's the entire game. 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 the games.
- 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 creator 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. (To be fair, it was an impressive techno soundtrack by Richard Joseph it just wasn't what was 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. To be fair, 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 graphic and sound quality). You may watch Play It Bogart rip apart 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. You can watch it played 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, THAT Sammy) 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 of Will Ferrel 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 right here 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.
- Time Killers was a pretty violent game at the time where you could cut off limbs and even do a decapitation move at any time during the match. That is all the game had going for it. The decapitation part could literally happen at random (supposedly it happens when you press all five buttons simultaneously, but it seems to only work when it feels like it. Doesn't hinder the AI at all though). The controls in general can feel lousy, as well as the execution of any special moves. Throw in some uninspired character design, a lousy storyline, an SNK Boss who can only be defeated by decapitation (on his second life that is, even with his health fully depleted), and an incredibly lousy Sega Genesis port, and you got a recipe for a good idea, terrible execution. Its spiritual successor, Blood Storm, is a much more well programmed game (though still containing some of the same problems), but it wasn't enough to save the young Strata Entertainment.
- 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 (1994-99)
Sixth Generation (2000-04)
- 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 cliches strung together, the graphics and animations are barely passable at best and just plain ugly at worst, and the enemy AI is stupid. The only saving grace is the hip-hop soundtrack... and even that occasionally glitches out in the PC version.
- 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. 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- Bloody Roar is an excellent, if under-appreciated, series of fighting games with a simplistic control scheme capable of complex combos, as well as every character having the ability to shift between their normal mode and beast modes. The series reached its peak around Bloody Roar 2 and 3. Then came Bloody Roar 4 for the Playstation 2 which ended up putting the fierce wolf down. The beast gauge now works as a separate health bar (unlike the previous games, and this could lead to unnecessarily longer matches, among other problems), poorly developed characters for the story (especially the newcomer: Nagi), horrendous (if unintentionally hilarious) cut-scenes with horrible voice acting, dropping more plot points established in previous installments, as well as creating ones with no pacing or sense of continuity (Yugo, the series poster-child, suddenly mentions that he had a relationship with Nagi, and the ending mentions how magic comes into play, never mind that NONE of the games suggested otherwise, save for the tabula in Bloody Roar 3 which was never mentioned since then). On top of that, while previous Bloody Roar games were accused of being a button masher, this game has almost no strategy involved and became the button masher that fans feared. It is no wonder there hasn't been a Bloody Roar game since.
Fans HAD been asking for a new entry to make up for the damage this game caused. Despite Hudson Soft's facebook page promoting a retrospective of the series done by SCXCR, the offices in the U.S. had closed down and Konami now owns the rights to the franchise, which they currently have no plans (at least none that had been announced) in reviving the series.
- Cartoon Network Speedway for the Game Boy Advance. The game has horrible graphics even for the GBA. The race tracks are very generic (they don't even look like they are from the Cartoon Network shows themselves). The AI cars are all very close together (the game was made in 2003, when racing games were diverging from this trend), which means you can go from first to last in almost no time by just getting stuck in a puddle, and since the handling of all the cars are poor (no matter what the stats say), this is very common. The game is also incredibly glitchy; when you are far ahead in 1st place, many times the screen will change to say you are in 6th (last) place instead, and often there will be a "Wrong Way" banner even when you are going in the right direction. Finally, the game has no cartridge memory and instead uses a password system (which most people don't use anyway because the game is short).
- 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 for the PS2 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 glitches (I.E. 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 character is unbelievably incompetent and unlikeable 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). Watch it getting ripped to shreds here.
- Dragon Ball Z Sagas for the Gamecube tried to recapture the beat-em-up charm of the GBA's Legacy of Goku titles and added a co-op mode. Didn't work, thanks to depressingly-linear levels, ridiculously-high difficulty, and no checkpoints. You can watch ProJared's review of it here.
- 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, said he will break the disc on camera if he doesn't succeed one last time, a promise he stuck to.
- 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.
- McFarlane's Evil Prophecy, a game based on a toy line by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, seems to have very little actual work put into it aside from getting Todd's name on the cover. The audio barely exists, the AI and controls seem to conspire against you despite the mindlessness of combat, and the muddy and bloody environments make for an experience just as horrifying as the monsters themselves.
- 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. Everything's redone...badly. The soundtrack consists of cheap MIDI versions of the synthesized originals, the sound effects are all poorly replaced, and the broken physics engine is just the foremost contributor to its aimless difficulty curve, not to mention only one of many utterly broken aspects of the game. 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. All of this is made worse by the game's jerking, dragging framerate and visible draw distance (both in spite of the screen being cropped by over half) and the celebration - Sonic's 15th anniversary - it was clearly rushed to commemorate. Apparently, the developers were not given access to the original games source code, so they attempted to have Sonic 1 map data applied to the Sonic Advance game engine to compensate, but the latter engine was never designed to accomodate a game with as much on-screen action or as high a resolution as the original game, resulting in the games rampant glitches and endless slowdown. On top of all that, the sound engine is so badly programmed that turning off the music actually improves some of the slowdown issues. 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.
- 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 (2005-10)
- 1968 Tunnel Rats. In a bizarre reversal, a Uwe Boll movie 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.note 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 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 very early in 2012 as a downloadable title for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It 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 clichιd, the voice-acting's terrible, and the puzzles and scares seem shoehorned in. Come, kick back and watch Yahtzee tear it a new one.
- 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, not to mention 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 commited 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.
Ubisoft and AMA tried again for the launch of Xbox One's Kinect with a sequel Fighter Within. Despite the improved capabilities of Kinect 2.0, many of the same problems present in Uncaged remain - the story's still terrible, pulling off moves is still a chore, and the fighting is still no fun. The only advantage Within has over Uncaged is the inclusion of multiplayer (local only), but even that has its problems, and does nothing to make the game worth it in any way.
- 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 arguably even 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. 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.
- 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 wasJamie 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 and here, the latter to give a sample of how awful the tracks are. 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 and Ride to Hell: Retribution (listed below)
- 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 ΰ la Max Payne and mood-killing voice acting ΰ 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. They went 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 this game 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 Matthew's 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. And this game's drum controller seems designed for it. It is four pads sitting on the floor, and you have to air drum over them. 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 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. On top of all this, the game is laden full with bugs and faulty AI and dying anywhere in the game just puts you into the exact same screen as pausing it, except you can't unpause it, the only options are to restart mission, load checkpoint or quit and there's a "mission failed" text in the corner. It came as little surprise to anyone that the publisher and developer refused to send out review copies of the game. Angry Joe and Yahtzee were more than happy to mock it, GameSpot gave Ride to Hell a score of 1 (out of 10) (the second of only three 1/10 scores in the site's history), 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.
- 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 is arguably the worst first-person-shooter 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 aped off of Tomb Raider and Uncharted that even the developers couldn't do right. Throw in a car driving sequence with terrible physics, an unlikable protagonist, a Random Events Plot, and bad dialogue and you got 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. It fixed precisely nothing, and some people even think the graphics got 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, graphics are barely a step above a tech demo from 1995, the HUD and menus looks like they barely left the drawing board, annoying MIDI-quality music, the sound effects are abysmal, the gunshots from your weapon are ear-piercingly loud, the level design 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. It received a score of 17 from Metacritic, citing bad gameplay, painful audio and no replay value. It was pulled from the service after a while due to bad reception, and thank God for that.
- 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 (2011-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. 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.
- 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, 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, 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.
- Basement Crawl, a downloadable PlayStation 4 title, is 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 promise to rebuild it from scratch.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, a PS Vita Gaiden Game for the PC/console game Black Ops 2. The game 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, only with one key difference: it was made by people without 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; they wisely backed down after an Internet Backdraft, and you can see it here.
- 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 HD 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 despite boasting 30 'great' minigames right in its title, almost all of them 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 first game to receive such a score since the website switched from a letter-grade review system.
- 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. 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 has a serious case of 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 the review Is here.
- Hell's House, a downloadable game on the Microsoft Indie Game Channel. It's an FMV Survival Horror game, with gameplay stolen from Guitar Hero. Yes, you read that right; there's no attempt to add anything else to the gameplay, just press the buttons and 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 here - 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 remove themselves from your inventory upon death, 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, one of the very few times this has happened. 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.
- 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.
- 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 not often find yourself killing 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 then 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.
- Revelations 2012, 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 provide. TotalBiscuit also tears this game to shreds, which you can watch here.
- 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, thereby making the game Unwinnable by Mistake. Watch TB savage it here, as well as Jim Sterling's equally negative playthrough here.
- The Slaughtering Grounds is an abysmal 2014 zombie FPS with numerous bugs such as a plane flying sideways, a hugely inconsistent and ugly (and sometimes stolen) art style with both mummies and zombies in the same vicinity for no adequately-explained reason, intensely-irritating looped music, and such insane concepts as the fact that, when you pick up ammo, you only get ammo for the gun currently in your hand. The first official screenshot on the Steam page is of the developer's release page for the game on Steam, with an arrow pointing to a resubmission reason that the developer has filled in, revealing that the developer knowingly released the game in an unfinished state without the Early Access program. To top it all off, the developers Can't Take Criticism — they started a flame war with Jim Sterling, and then went and referred to game critics and Lets Players as parasites who are destroying gaming by mocking and criticizing bad games rather than supporting the developers, while defending every bad design decision they made...right down to the stolen assets.
- Takedown: Red Sabre was supposed to be billed as a return to true tactical shooters that has been ruined by 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 minimal 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.
- Zen Fish Sim can only be arguably called a game. The "gameplay" merely consists of advancing through extremely linear levels (which have no collision detection on 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. You shouldn't be too surprised, though - this was brought to you by the people who created Air Control (listed above).