There are subjectives, and then there are these. While you may believe a work fits here, and you might be right, people tend to have rather vocal, differing opinions about this subject. Please keep these off of the work's page.
There are games that you just don't wanna play and some anime and western cartoons that you just donot wanna watch. But don't worry, (most of) these titles are safe for playing and viewing. But probably not safe for listening to. Whether it's sleep-inducing boredom or massive ear-grating, these games are best played with the Mute function readily available, and these animes and Western 'toons best watched with a subtitle track.
Contrast with Superlative Dubbing.
Important Note: Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify a work as So Bad It's Horrible. 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.
Another Important Note: We don't list entries on the basis of "Dubs gone wrong". If you are going to list someone, be sure that your entry isn't essentially boiling under "He/She's an English dub voice actor, therefore he/she sucks" or "Complaining about English dubs you don't like".
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While the English dub of Vision of Escaflowne wasn't awful, it did have one or two dodgy performances that had long-time fans going rabid — most notably, the voice of Dilandau, whose Japanese and German actresses made him sound masterfully Axe Crazy, but whose English VA gave him a chirpy little 9-year-old kid voice, making him sound more like a spoiled brat than a crazy pyromaniac nutcase. (The fact that it was the English VA's first role ever, and that he was going through puberty at the time probably had a lot to do with this, and it's said that his voice acting got a little better as time went on. That, and he finally sounds less chirpy and more manly in the movie.) Also, Merle's 35-year-old-sounding English VA is cringe-inducing.
If you think Merle's English actress is bad, listen to her German dub voice. She sounds way too old to sound the way she does in German! Also, Zongi's German voice is much too high and normal, and doesn't make him sound creepy enough. hbi2k's Abridged Series gave him a much creepier and suitable voice. As for Dilandau, his French voice makes him sound like an old lady...and that's NOT a good thing. That, and his actress in this dub clearly can't act or do convincing screams or giggles to save her life. Also, his Latin-American dub voice makes him sound like Raj Koothrapali. Not only that, he's voiced by SHINJI!!!
The AB Group dubs for both Dragon Ball Z,note Known as the "Big Green" dub for what it named Piccolo with its beyond-shoddy translation and its small pool of voice actors who do several roles at once without sounding fit for any of their roles, or even deciding who does what character, and Dragonball GT, in which Vegeta sounds like he gargled with battery acid before recording and 18 has no emotion whatsoever. Kid Goku, Mr. Satan, Shenron and Baby are about the only four with decent voices, and everyone else either phones it in or hams it up.
The French Dub for Dragon Ball Z, which featured annoying, high pitched voices and a translation that went out of the way to not refer anyone by name, resulting in a confusing mess. Plus, the voice actors changed rather often, adding to the confusion. Some like it anyway, however.
Many other European dubs get a bad rep for the same reasons. That's because the series has been licensed by the French distributors, meaning that they've all been based on this dubbing instead of the Japanese original. Aside from not naming several characters, the dub also introduced many new names changes that were often bizarre ("Genius Turtle" for Roshi or "Satan's Little Heart" for Piccolo) or plain generic ("Star Warriors" for the Saiyans or "Special Force" for Ginyu Force). Further, having been made for a young audience, the dub also came with incredibly upbeat, whimsical intro song and was subjected to very inconsistent censorship and reediting. The German and Italian dubs are among the few localizations that thankfully weren't based off the French version.
The Singaporean English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! is very useful because it gives the actual lines and story of the show, but it features some infamous choices for the voice acting. Most noticeable example: Seto Kaiba sounds like Nappa from Dragon Ball Z.
Talking about Kaiba, Kenjiro Tsuda's voice (from the original Japanese dub) is as much sexy as it is inexpressive.
And when the same voice actor does Yami Bakura, he sounds like a really bad impersonation of Peter Lorre. At least it sounds different from Ryou but its way too different.
What about Joey's voice? The guy's almost out of high school, yet his voice sounds like a boy just coming into puberty.
Marik is probably the worst offender, being voiced by a girl who sounds like a high pitched emotionless little boy on helium. What's worse is she uses the exact same voice for Yami Marik as well, which sounds really jarring and out of place to say the least.
Marik's voice actor for 4Kids' English dub gives him a terribly unfitting voice that makes him sound like the Green Goblin. Loud, painfully nasal, and generally sounding like a strangled duck, it makes the Battle City arc hard to watch. Though Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series manages to make that obnoxious voice hilarious, so there's that going for it.
Let's not forget Yugi and the Pharaoh in the Singapore dub, both of whom sounded and spoke like Bill and Ted. It was so off-putting that even the abridged series made fun of it.
Joey:"Jeez, and people say my accent is inappropriate!"
Among the many complaints levelled against the 4Kids dub of One Piece, the worst aspect has to be its voice acting and casting, the most notable one being David Moo as Sanji. Forgiving the fact that they gave him a Brooklyn accent (4Kids was based in NYC after all), they made him sound like those lollipops had given him a severe case of smoker's lung, ridding his voice of the suave quality the original and the redub have.
The Japanese version of One Piece: Unlimited Cruise had a cringe-worthy performance where the giant Hulk-like Nightmare Luffy speaks in a ridiculously high-pitched helium voice. Luckily they realized how incredibly stupid that was, since when Nightmare Luffy debuted in the actual anime Mayumi Tanaka used a deeper, much more fitting tone.
Odex's Singaporean English dub script is actually more accurate than the FUNimation dub, but had even worse voice acting than the 4Kids dub. Luffy's actor sounded like some stoned surfer dude, the recording quality sounded worse than a fandub, the cast had only a few actors on board (no pun intended) that voiced multiple characters and kept randomly changing as the series went on. Poor Nami went through three voice actors in the space of only 104 episodes. Thank god the mess only lasted those 104 episodes before broadcast was canceled.
One Piece's first French dub clearly lacked motivation. Luffy being voiced by a man was already guaranteed to raise some eyebrows but the big problem was the obvious limited number of actors available: all the villains sounded the same and Zoro and Sanji clearly shared the same actor (the only thing done to differentiate them was giving Sanji a painful scratchy voice) so it was cancelled after 50-ish episodes, missed by none. It's telling when the subsequent dub, done by Belgians (often viewed as the poor man's voice actors) was considered a vast improvement.
The Italian dub of Fist of the North Star falls flat because all the voices sound similar. A fan joke is about how the roles are supposedly shared by the studios — "You do Hokuto, you do Nanto, you do fat guys, you do thin guys and women".
Adult!Nel keeping her toddler voice in the original Japanese Bleach. She was supposed to have a lisp and all, but come on! The English dub seems to have fixed this at the expense of making Toddler!Nel sound older.
And it just makes it worse that she cries out "ITSYGO!" [sic] every two minutes, more when he's getting his ass kicked. At least the dub has her say his name correctly. It's supposed to sound cute, but not after forty freakin' episodes of it.
The original Japanese dub of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad features numerous problems. For one, Ryusuke and Maho are supposed to be fluent in English, and their VA's... aren't. What's even worse is that main character Koyuki is supposed to be an amazing singer, and the Japanese go so far as to get a separate guy for Koyuki's singing parts... and he can't sing; he's nasal, he has no breath control, and his English is even worse than the other two. Maho's VA isn't a great singer either.
The Japanese voice of Byakko in YuYu Hakusho. Seriously, have you heard his pathetic "roars?"
Cyberdramon's "roars" (Japanese version) in Digimon Tamers are just as bad.
If you think Cyberdramon's roars are bad, listen to Lucemon Satan/Shadowlord Mode's roars in Digimon Xros Wars! They're so narmtastic it's unbelievable!
Many people feel that the voice acting for Little Busters is absolutely abysmal, despite the fact that they used the voice actors from the game, especially Komari, who sounds like she inhaled way too much helium.
The Bible Black English dub doesn't seem to have any exclamation points, up to and including Rika's suicide. Add the fact that everyone sounds about thirty years older than they should and you've got a pretty horrendous experience. One would have to come to the understanding that hentai probably isn't going to be dubbed very well, but Bible Black is a special case — it's horrible dubbing even by porn standards.
Manga Entertainment tried to get as much of the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series' dub cast as possible for their dubbing of the films. Sadly, it was one of the ones they couldn't get that did them in the most—Matt Greenfieldnote who ran ADV Films, the company that produced the Evangelion TV series' dub turned down the role of Makoto Hyuga, and was replaced by Keith Burgess, whose husky, low voice was not only completely unfit for Hyuga, but emotionless and slurred as well, killing most of the character's scenes.
Male Maze in Maze Megaburst Space is supposed to be an athletic, aggressive teenager. Instead, in the English dub, he sounds like a chunky truck driver in his forties, complete with gravelly voice. Truly wince-worthy. In the Behind the Scenes video included in the box set, Greg Wolfe, Male Maze's actor, tries to justify this by stating that the director didn't want it to sound like the Japanese version and wanted the actors to give their own unique take. A rare case where giving the actors too much freedom turned out to be a bad thing by fans.
"I must somehow make sense of our convoluted situation!"
Animax Asia's English dub of Maria-sama Ga Miteru. The voice actors wouldn't be accepted into a highschool drama club for their performance, for all of the broadcasts, and their efforts top at merely passable.
The dubbing of Fight! Iczer-One is terrible, appearing to have been read by at most three women cold from scripts.
While most of the dub cast of Eiken sounded like they were phoning it in the whole time, Bryce Papenbrook's screechy Densuke and Rebecca Forstadt's portrayal of Chiharu are especially bad.
Which is a shame, because they had rather talented voice actors such as Cindy Robinson and Stephanie Sheh, and Papenbrook and Forstadt have done good work elsewhere.
Dubbed at the same studio as Eiken, Green Green's dub features lazy writing, terrible acting for most major characters, and a complete inability to pronounce names right or even consistently from scene to scene. Fortunately, the show itself is bad enough that the impact of the poor dubbing is lessened.
When Cloverway took over the dubbing of Sailor Moon, a number of voice actors were switched out in the process. The one worst off of the bunch was Usagi/Serena herself, whose VA attempted to mimic her predecessor's voice ticks, but somehow made the character sound older than she should be. And the parts where she screams...! (though she did get better over time) Ironically, the VA for Chibi-Usa/Rini was actually better than her original, so it seemed like an odd trade-off.
Mew MewPower: While YMMV on the voice casting (not the Bowdlerization) as a whole (opinions about the characters' voices are all over the place, ranging from not-that-good to pretty fitting), most people agree that Scottie Ray's Mark (Aoyama) just sounds... wrong. It's far too deep for a preteen/teenager character, and he never tries to act in any way beyond an "old man storyteller" kind of intonation.
Though most of the voice acting in the English version of Robotech is considered top notch (for it's time at least), the voice acting for Minmei turned her into a complete Scrappy.
The first half of the first season of Slayers has generally atrocious English voice acting, with the exceptions of leads Lisa Ortiz and Eric Stuart. Those two sound okay, but they can't make up for Daniel Cronin's emotionlessly whispering Zelgadis, or Joani Baker's ear-splitting nasal Amelia.
However, everything turned out for the best when, after a long gap in dubbing, every part except Lina and Gourry (Ortiz and Stuart respectively) was recast, with noticeably better actors (Veronica Taylor for Amelia, and Crispin Freeman for Zelgadis). Starting with episode 14, even the bad parts of the dub were at least listenable, while the good parts belong in the Sugar Wiki. There's a reason fans requested Funimation bring back the old cast when Funi licensed Slayers Revolution.
While not an altogether horrible dub, Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight contains some painfully bad performances. Crispin Freeman and most of the principal characters are done well (although Parn's VA is less effective than the OVA, where he was in fine form). But many incidental characters, from Ashram's minions to the dragons to minor incidental villains like Rabido and Duke Raster, all sound like 11th hour casting. Furthermore, Cecil, Hobb, and Groder sound very off. The Record of Lodoss War OVA is a much better dub, the occasional awkward line or dodgy incidental role not withstanding.
The English dub of Grave of the Fireflies, while far from good, isn't really that terrible as a whole. But what IS terrible is young Setsuko's voice. She seems to have been voiced by an adult desperately trying to sound like a little girl. The actress seems to be credited with a pseudonym, though, so we'll probably never know her actual age. Nevertheless, she sound constipated or something.
Do you mean the CPM dub or Sentai Filmworks dub? Because it just got a re-dub recently.
For the most part, the English dubbed version of Digimon Xros Wars, Digimon Fusion, is pretty good. Unfortunately, it has one horrendous and glaring mistake: when Mikey talks about why he adopted his "can't turn my back on people" policy and flashes back, his younger self keeps his gruff teenager voice, but...when he cries, he sounds exactly like any other little kid! You can't have a deep voiced kid have a high pitched cry!
The canceled dub of Urusei Yatsura by AnimEigo was atrocious. It was so bad that they only dubbed two episodes before canceling it. Michael Sinterniklaas, who voiced main character Ataru, had a long way to go before he founded NYAV Post. The worst had to be the French accent they gave Lum (and her actress, Martha Ellen Senseney, voiced Sylvie in Bubblegum Crisis and while not the best, it sounded quite fine compared to her Lum). As far as accents go, Eric Paisley (Brian J. Mason of BGC) giving Cherry a vague Asian accent at least partially made sense, considering he's a monk.
The Hungarian dub for Jetix's version of Naruto started out as this, thanks to the incredibly-annoying voice the title character received, and the fact that the supporting cast switched their voice actors around a lot...but then came the second dub by Animax, taking the original Japanese anime as its basis, with an arguably better translation and a hell of a lot more consistence in its voices. There was...still some complaining, but less.
It's been generally agreed on that the Hungarian dubbing of Sailor Moon had great voice casting, but the translation work was, in turn, horrid (it was translated from the French version, apparently by someone who hardly spoke even that language), and considering the episodes have been dubbed out of order, it's no wonder the actors reportedly had no clue what was going on in the story.
The dubbing of Captain Tsubasa mainly had problems with lip-sync and consistency — often, the voices of characters changed within a single episode, and occasionally multiple characters were dubbed by the same person, using the same voice... even when they were talking to each other! This made the series a very confusing watch.
The Malay dubs of Gundam 00, One Piece and Get Backers, just to name a few, are fucking horrible. The voices either sounds annoying or sounds like the VA just phoning it in.
It should be noted that the Malay dubbers dont't care about the dubbing quality as long as the show is translated to their language for the convenience of the viewers (as the majority of them are kids).
The RTM 1 dubs of the Transformers series Headmasters, Victory, and Super-God Masterforce were done in Malaysia by a cast with little knowledge of the source material. It doesn't help that characters are given bizarre new names — Spike is called "Sparkle", Metroplex is "Phillip", etc. More info at TFWiki here.
Added to that, the cast sounds like they came right off the set of Space Thunder Kids given that some of the characters sound suspiciously similar. (Sixshot sounding like the Dark Emperor, Brainstorm sounding like one of the Space Thunder Kids, etc.) overall some of the performances have their good or at least decent moments but for the most part its so absurd that it goes right into being So Bad, It's Good.
The Latin Spanish dub of Kaleido Star only did one thing wrong. Unfortunately, that thing was casting the most high-pitched actors available and amping their voices to unlistenable levels. This dub not only made the series flop and killed any interest on the rest of the franchise in the region, but also gave Colombian dub studios the (not totally unfair, see below) fame of producing the worst dubs south the Rio Grande.
While otherwise the Mexican dub of Cardcaptor Sakura goes into the realm of Superlative Dubbing, there is one huge dark spot on it: the voice of Kero, at least on his plushie form, too weird and nasal for the character. The voice actor was probably aiming to whichever Mexican equivalent of the Kansai accent was, but instead he sounds like he's on drugs. To be fair, his actor does it better when voicing his grown version, but this makes the former even more inexplicable.
The Hungarian dub of Beetlejuice. Where to start? It is a Hong Kong Dub, and as such, the lip-sync is generally off, at times with the characters just flapping their mouths without saying anything (the worst offender being the third "Beetlejuice" cry at the end, which is simply omitted). Random grunts and shouts can be heard whenever the voice actors felt like paying attention, but no effort was made to conceal how terribly they stood out from the audio track. What more, the title character received Power Echoes, which, along with his fast-talking and low-voiced dubbing actor, made him difficult to understand. He doesn't even sound the slightest like the original — imagine Dr. Finklestein mumbling in an echoing cave: that is the Hungarian Betelgeuse. To top it off, the dialog also offers examples of mistranslation (giving a toast became giving a bread toast), and the music and sound effects are so silent, you can barely hear them over the voice track. How... how could they screw this up so bad?
As another TVTropes page put it, "Transformers in Hungarian is screwed beyond comprehension", and the dubbing of the Transformers Film Series played a big part in prompting this observation. Though mostly the first movie's. On a positive note, it used the original Transformer names introduced in the G1 comics, but apart from that, it was just cheap and lazy. The voice actors of Sam and Lennox sound way too young, their voices are almost comically high. The translation work is a mess — Michael Bay films are infamous for their generally shallow dialog, but here, it's even more watered-down. A handful of lines are missing (what little intelligible dialog Frenzy originally had was either cut or left in English), while what is there tends to be off by half a second or so. And Ironhide's VA simply sounds bored out of his mind. So much, that he says his famous line about exterminating Sam's parents only after the other Autobots have reacted to it. Thankfully a lot of these shortcomings were dealt with in the sequels, but sadly those continued in the trend of randomly omitting lines, and left various names in English in several scenes.
Oh god, the Ultraman Eighty English dub. The voices were done by Malaysian actors who sound like they were randomly pulled off the street. The previous Malay Ultra dub of Ultraman Taro comes close with the wannabe British narrator, but Eighty's dub takes the cake. Thankfully, only 10 known episodes were dubbed in English, the rest in Mandarin Chinese.
The guy who did the promos for The Hype on The WB's "All-New HYPE NIIIIIIIGHT!" It was the same guy who did everything for Disney in the 1990s, and was the voice of that EXTREME bubble tape in that one ad.
Hungary's Top Gear dub, if it can even be called a "dub". Initially, they had a very small cast with only two or three actors voicing everyone besides the main trio...and even the voices the presenters got didn't quite suite them. All that changed at around Season 5 or 6, when the entire voice cast was recast. But that was the only change. The translation...a painful Wall Banger. The voice timing and lip sync...way off. Much of the entertainment value of the original...lost.
In B-Fighter Kabuto, the character Mac Windy was an American character played by American actor Reuben Langdon. Perhaps the producers did not trust his ability to speak Japanese, but for some reason, they overdubbed his lines even when he was speaking English. No parties will be getting crazy with the overdub actor, that's for sure.
It's very rare that video games will have the entire voice cast present during dubbing. In dubs where the ADR director isn't doing his job, this will often result in hilarious / awful sequences where a voice actor knows his line, but not how the character saying it is supposed to be feeling or what the line is a response to. As an example, reading "Nice Job Breaking It, Hero" as a congratulation, so one character ends up reacting glumly to being told off while the other thanks him heartly for breaking it.
Samurai Warriors (and Koei's Warriors games in general) has never been known for amazing voice acting, but there was a particularly horrible example in the case of Ranmaru Mori. The Japanese voice actor for Ranmaru was blatantly female and made no attempt to hide the fact. This still beat the English voice actor's frog-in-throat annoyance.
The German dub of the first Metal Gear Solid game was just horrible in every way. No wonder the following games and the remake stayed English.
The same applies to the Italian dub as well. The worst offender was Campbell, whose voice suddenly turned from a common adult voice to a deep-sounding one with a very thick local accent.
The French one is the go-to-go example for bad video game dubs. Despite a few rather good voices (Otacon, Naomi and Mei Ling being the "best"), it's full of failures and quirks : Meryl and Wolf have the same actress (differentiated only by Wolf sounding a tad rougher and Meryl squealing like a rubber toy when she gets hit), Ocelot hams like it's going out of fashion and so are Raven, Liquid and Mantis (the three are grating, but not as ridiculous as Ocelot), the intended gruff Campbell sounds terribly fake and Snake switches from "muscleheaded moron" to "Christian Bale'sBatman mentally challenged twin". Why they kept the American voices for later installments is no mystery. Years later, during an interview, Emmanuel Bonami (Snake's VA) expressed both a wish for french VG dubs in general to go one step above "laughable" and interest in a possible French dub of Metal Gear Solid 4. Not only that, he did a fan redub of the MGS4 intro with a much better voice ; not really fitting for old Snake, but would've worked rather well with Young Snake.
The Spanish dub of Kingdom Hearts II was actually pretty good...except for a particular case: Roxas. Seriously, man, if you're falling into a dark abyss of nightmare, at the very least you could put a bit of emotion into your scream.
Which is weird, considering there were other scenes where Roxas' voice actor nails it. For example, his conversation with DiZ. So it could be more a case of wrong voice direction than wrong voice acting.
For that matter, there's Goofy in the Japanese version. Actually, Japanese-dubbed Goofy in his other appearances would probably qualify here to some people.
Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance featured some irritatingly-bad voice acting throughout. However, it was especially glaring during the Battle of Endor, where much of the dialogue was a word-for-word re-recording of lines from Return of the Jedi, which sounded nothing like the lines from the film. How bad was it? Let's put it this way — the next time Lando Calrissian showed up in a video game, Billy Dee Williams himself was hired to voice the character.
The French version had some excellent voices (Aemon and Emkay stand out), but the rest of the cast varied between mediocre and outright wallbangeriffic...like that Imperial officer who started a sentence, ended it halfway, then hurried to add the forgotten second half.
For the most part, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had some pretty impressive voice acting. However, the male Imperial voice sometimes sounds cheesy and exaggerated, and the actor for the female Redguards sounds like she wasn't even trying.
The French dub has one actor doing the voices of both the Argonian and the Khajit males and one doing the females. And the voice actor is the French VA of the frakking Captain Haddock.
And then there's the voice actress of the female Bosmer, Dunmer, and Altmer. It would have been fine if she just did the voice of a few female Elves, but no, she had to do the voice of all of the female Elves in the game! Seriously, half the time, she sounds like she has something stuck in her throat! It's jarring, to say the least!
Teddie/Kuma's Japanese voice in Persona 4. His English voice is okay, but his Japanese voice is seriously painful to listen to. Fortunately, it changes slightly when he's in human form and becomes more tolerable, but in his Shadow form it's really high-pitched and annoying.
Rise's Japanese voice is really high-pitched and grating, and once you defeat Shadow Teddie, you have to listen to it in every damn battle.
On a related note, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment'snote PlayStation version English dub comes under this at times. Voices can sound narmy and sometimes there's emphasis on the wrong syllable. Metal Jun's voice in particular comes to mind, as the actor sounds like he was told to play as a wimpy nerd, and Tatsuya's VA could give Jason Dohring a run for his money in terms of Dull Surprise. Maya's voice, on the other hand, is simply so obnoxious that you will be very, very glad she's a Heroic Mime and only has occasional soundbites for combat and other situations.
The Pajama Sam series, once bought out by Atari, had a very sad excuse for a voice actor for Sam. He sounded like he aged three years backwards, and it gets on your nerves very quickly. Some of the other voice acting was also widely hated, particularly the sponge and the Leavins n' Squeezins guy near the end.
The Russian bootleg for the first game by Fargus Multimedia manages to do even worse. Sam's voice actor sounded like a bored 40-year old adult deciding to dub a random game. Yes, a 40-year old voice for a kid who is supposed to be six years old. His mother actually sounds younger than him.
One of the many, many problems with Ultima IX is the atrocious voice acting. The Avatar either sounds annoyingly dumb or like he couldn't care less about what's happening. Most of the other NPCs are done by actors who put absolutely no effort at all into their lines, and can't stick to a consistent accent. You could bump into people (that are all supposed to be from the same city) who have French, Scottish, American and British accents. What makes it even more infuriating is that the game originally had an amazing voice cast featuring the likes of Keith Szarabajka, Mary Kay Bergman, Kay E. Kuter and Michael Dorn, only for all their work to be ditched and redone by a cast mostly made up of Origin employees and amateur actors (the one well-known actor among the group, Bill Johnson, came back to voice the Guardian mostly as a favor to Richard Garriott) after the plot was changed due to massive Executive Meddling.
Pretty much every game torn apart by Audio Atrocities, with convenient samples of particularly egregious examples. Some of the games are So Bad, It's Horrible on their own to boot. These include:
The #1 example? Last Alert. The game itself is an enjoyable shooter, but the scenes where people actually spoke are cringe-inducing. Perhaps the best line is one in which a character calls another character "stingy", as the voice actor pronounces the word as if it rhymed with "stringy".
The fact that the name "Jelinek" pops up no less than six times in the credits points to the fact that the localization director had his teenage children record two of the characters and had his wife and brother work on the scripts. The rest of the cast all have little to no other acting experience, and most of them no voice acting at all (Chaos Wars included, natch). Chris Jelinek, the head of localization, has two other credits to his name - as a marketing and sales representative.
Samurai Legend Musashi, the sequel to Brave Fencer Musashi, is a fairly good game with average gameplay and cool art. But oh sweet Lord in heaven, Musashi's voice. Everyone else has middling VAs (and the villains are outstanding), but words can't describe the pain that is the damn main character's voice. "Dumb jock turned Up to Eleven" doesn't even begin to scrape the surface. Since the game was a sequel, they were most likely trying to make the new Musashi sound like the previous Musashi, but older. The problem is that the Musashi from Brave Fencer is a prepubescent child. So rather than give the newer, older Musashi the voice of a teenager, they gave him the voice of a child who was trying to make his voice sound deeper than it actually was. It didn't help that he couldn't put any sort of emotion into his voice.
Here's a fun fact: Musashi's voice actress is the same one for Axl from Mega Man X7, so that might explain it a little.
Shining Force Neo on the PS2 is even worse. Word of God has it that all of the voice work was recorded in a children's theater class!
The GBA port of Tales of Phantasia had really poor English voices (not helped by the terrible sound quality of this version). Teenage characters sound like 40 year-olds, female characters sound like smoking addicts, not to mention the limited pool of "voice actors" meant that all characters were voiced by three people or so. What makes this somewhat worse is that this was right after Namco Bandai's release of Tales of Legendia; which, for all its faults, had competent, professional voice acting. Apparently They Just Didn't Care here, since it was just a GBA game.
Another example of horrible voice-acting in a Gameloft game is Shadow Guardian, which is totally not an Uncharted ripoff. Where Drake's voice is sexy and snarky, Jason Call's voice is that of a bored and confused New Yorker. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of terrible voice-acting this game provides.
Tales of Eternia also has pretty bad voice acting. This was somehow made worse on the PSP port (Europe only) in which the voice acting is quiet enough at points to be drowned out by the background music, and at another close to the end, the wrong clips play and you hear the dialogue from the beginning of the game. One would think they'd catch the last on a playthrough of the game, but of course They Just Didn't Care. The English version of Tales of Destiny didn't bother to voice act the characters, but they changed their minds in this game, and boy, it's not good. The voice actors sound amateurish, the lines are completely emotionless and badly delivered, and it's generally atrocious. Fortunately they did much better in the next games (well, at least those they actually localized).
Counterpoint: "Fog. BURNING FORCE!"
In the original Dissidia: Final Fantasy, voice direction is all around horrible for a good portion of the cast, with characters having odd pauses at random points in sentences and just generally being inappropriate. Kuja is by far the worst victim, though others including Zidane and Ultimecia were also disliked. Zidane's voice acting wasn't particularly bad; Bryce Papenbrook did an okay job, it's just that he sounded entirely different from the Japanese voice and people in general thought the original was more appropriate for the character. The returning voice actors do a good job, except for Steve Burton as Cloud, who is so unemotional and lifeless he could give Squall a run for his money as The Stoic.
In responses to comments on a YouTube video though, JD Cullum (Kuja) revealed he wasn't given a good feel for Kuja, and the "voice direction" he got was to imitate the Japanese voice and try to sound "breathy and feminine". If the other VAs have similar stories to tell, no wonder it was hit and miss.
The sequel Dissidia 012 thankfully had all the cast undergo Vocal Evolution and in general everyone sounds much better, though it only highlights how bad the first game's scenes are when the player plays through the redone original storyline and finds the voices were not re-dubbed.
Al Emmo, an independent adventure game that is essentially Leisure Suit Larry in the Wild West — primarily because the game designer, rather than holding auditions for the protagonist, wanted to do the voice himself. The Updated Re-release seems to have acknowledged this, using a new and more experienced voice actor for the protagonist.
The first Shadow Hearts game, exemplified particularly in the Sea Mother scene. There's also the fact that they didn't bother dubbing over the battle grunts. So essentially, each of the main characters had a different voice when they were in battles, and it was easy to tell the difference. (Seriously, how low does your localization budget have to be that you can't afford to have your actors record battle grunts?) It gets even worse — although most of the battle voices weren't dubbed, a very few were...most noticeably the introduction line to Marguerite's specials. So you'd sometimes have characters changing voices in the middle of battle. The most poignant example of bad voice acting was the game's canonical ending (courtesy of everyone's favorite Eric Stuart). If Yuri is mourning the death of his loved one, why does he sound like he's desperate to go to the bathroom?
And all this in a game that was a semi-sequel to Koudelka, which (for all its arguable faults) had fantastic voice acting. To be fair, it improves dramatically by Shadow Hearts: Covenant.
While the voice acting in the original .hack// series was generally bearable, the voice of Mistral was so awful that many people refused to use her in their party unless it was mandated by the plot.
The Bard's Tale, a lampoon of fantasy RPGs with Cary Elwes as the lead voice, should have been awesome. And it might have been, if it didn't sound like he was standing ten feet away from the mic. At least Tony Jay sounded good...
The volume problems are fixed in the iOS port... Mostly. There's still errant bits of the old voice work, mostly in the shops, which leads to:
The Bard(very quietly): "Let me see something else."
The Bard: "SEE YA, OLD MAN!"
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is known for having atrocious English voice acting: so much so that it spawned an urban legend that company that made it, rather than get a second set of English-speaking actors for the English dub, simply made the Japanese actors do English voices. While this wasn't completely true, the performances still ranged from hilarious to flat-out painful. Thankfully, Namco and Monolith learned their lesson and got much better voices for Origins, including Crawford Wilson and Fred Tatasciore.
Most of the English voice acting in Virtua Fighter is at least passable, but everyone hates Lion's voice. Imagine the most whiny, nasal, bratty teenager voice possible shouting "The SHOOOOOW is gonna bee-GIN RIGHT NOW!" twelve thousand times.
Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner has an awkward translation and generally mediocre voice actors, and that's not even counting the main villain. The only really good voice in this game was the AI.
If any of you ever got your hands on the imported version of Psychic Force, be very grateful. The English dubbing done by Acclaim is so soul-searingly horrible it's like almost everyone is mismatched — Burn kinda sounds like he's constipated, Sonia sounds almost like an old witch, and Emilio...oh God, Emilio!
The VA for the main character of underwhelming PC game Neverend actually has quite a nice voice, which makes her lack of acting ability all the more jarring. The rest of the cast, unfortunately, doesn't have nice voices and possess even less talent.
The English dub of the original Spellforce. The translators appear to have blown their entire budget for voice acting on the opening FMV, then hired whatever homeless people they could find in the alley behind their studio in exchange for the contents of the break room refrigerator. All the voice acting's wooden, and at least one character speaks all her lines in an awkward slur that contains absolutely none of the pauses that are part of natural speech. The sequel still doesn't have great voice-acting, but at least isn't this bad.
The worst offenders? What's-her-name with the orange hair in the tutorial intro, the Orc Titan, and every Troll unit. Yeah, All Trolls Are Different...but seriously, trolls as whiny teens?
The acting in Grandia Xtreme sounds like the "actors" sat down with their scripts, were given no direction or context, and just read their lines like one reads impromptu cue cards. Lutina's is the worst — any inflection of hers sounds completely forced. Either the actors were all new to voice acting and only given one read-through to get it right, or they're just really, really bad.
There's one exception — the Big Bad, voiced by Mark Hamill, easily chews up any scene he's in. Most people get fed up with the game before his best scenes, meaning Hamill's delightful Ham and Cheese is sadly missed.
Somewhere between a game and a movie there's Anastasia for the PlayStation. As you can tell, the voice acting is poor and often miscast with only two voice actors. Rasputin's accent is one of the most hilarious things there, though.
Pretty much every such Dingo Pictures dub by Phoenix Games seems to have the same tendency.
While the first Bushido Blade had all dialog in Japanese with English subtitles and was beautiful, Bushido Blade 2 produced an English dub that had absolutely horrid voice actors with lackluster emotion and it was terrible. Bonus points for Highwayman, who's dressed like the Phantom of the Opera and speaks with something between a Scottish burr and a deep country English accent.
Most of the English dub cast of The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact sounds like they just got home from a late-night crawl. Of special note is Rock Howard: in his ending in the first game, when he goes "Do I have to bear this burden for the rest of my life?", he sounds less like he's on the verge of tears and more like he's just really, really tired. The other characters aren't that much better, but at least in Maximum Impact 2, you can switch to the original Japanese voices.
The arcade version of KOF XIII had a normally Dummied Out English voice track which thesevideos demonstrated, and they were absolutely horrendous. Thankfully, the console ports of the game decided not to use these tracks, and kept only the Japanese voice tracks for every character.
On top of this, many of the lines spoken either simply summarize or completely contradict the lines in the subtitles. Although the voice actors are all Canadian, many of the characters' names are read in a strange, pseudo-Japanese pronunciation (i.e. "Hotupa" sounds like "Hepstupa" for no discernible reason). It sounds as though the actors were reading from a copy of the script which was still mid-localization, and "jarring" doesn't really begin to describe it.
The first Tenchu game was the least story-loaded game of the franchise (so much that, no matter which character you choose, the story will be almost the same), but still managed to have memorably bad voice acting. Apparent boredom plagued all the actors, Ayame's VA didn't know the concept of volume, and weird pauses were all over (and no, this wouldn't count as Lip Lock, since there are no lip movements in the game). The only truly enjoyable performance was Onikage, just because his VA did the impossible in making a twisted, sinister voice. The other games got progressively better about choosing the voice cast, though.
The English voice acting in the Soul Series is generally So Okay, It's Average (mostly consisting of boring and a few slightly cool voices that spout out badly-translated lines and scream unnaturally), except for a select few characters, most notably Tira. Hearing her shriek out lines such as "I want to see you destroyed! Hahahahahahaha!" just makes people want to see her destroyed, especially when she spews out such horrific, cringeworthy Narm nonsense as "Can I use him? Nah, he's useless!" and "All done! Rich and juicy souls! Just yummy!". No wonder she became The Scrappy of the series (to some people, anyway).
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen. Apparently they couldn't get Colm Meaney (the actor who played him on the series) to do Chief O'Brien's voice...so instead they got some guy doing a terrible fake Irish accent.
Midnight Club II has mediocre voice acting for the majority of the game, but the last boss will repeatedly call you an "asswipe" in a cheesy French accent, in pure Narm fashion. It's that much worse when you realize he's supposed to be Russian.
Mech Warrior 4: Mercenaries is notable for having characters' voices change randomly from line to line, including at least one instance of gender bending in the mission "Wolf Trial"; the last mission of the Steiner campaign. At the start (when the Clanners challenge you and announce what Mechs they are going to use) the third pilot, Zel Vickers, is male. However during the mission, Vickers taunts you before attacking in what is clearly a woman's voice.
The X-COM clone series UFO After Blank featured a multiethnic cast of characters obviously voiced by a cast of about five voice actors doing terrible accents. It was funny for about five minutes.
The Bloody Roar series may not be the best or most memorable fighter series out there and could very well pass as okay at best, but by the time Bloody Roar 4 came around, Hudson appeared to have given up on it. Aside from the bugs, the character imbalances, the character and story derailment, the worst aspects have to be the dialogue and voice acting. As thisreviewer pointed out, a majority of these voice actors had little to no experience in voice acting prior to Bloody Roar 4. Of the ones that did, they haven't done any work since this game, and the only exception to either of the rules was among the original cast of the narm-infestedResident Evil. With the way the dialogue runs off or cuts out quickly, the tones flying all over the place and how stupid the characters sound in general, it's very easy to believe the aforementioned reviewer's theory that all of the voice actors were paid to do just one take of all the dialogue in recording and leave Hudson to do a cut-and-paste patch job with the results. (Oh, and it doesn't help that the dialogue doesn't sync with the Japanese lip-synching left in all versions of the game.)
Well, at least one VA from that game hasn't been slowed down. Eric Kelso, the VA of newcomer Reiji the Crow, can be heard as none other than Paul Phoenix, among other roles. He also gave Mega Man ZX Advent one of its best performances as the snooty, stoic Aeolus.
Dawn of War: Soulstorm is a veritable fountain of bad voice acting. Much of it, such as Brother-Captain Indrick Boreale's infamous "SPESS MEHRENS" speech and Lord Carron's METAL BAWKSES!!!, live on through YouTube and Memetic Mutation. Other characters... not so much:
[in an incredibly bored voice] "Damn them. Fight for all you're worth, soldiers. We've got to win this."
Galerians had atrocious voice acting all around. Special mention goes to the scene between Rion, Cain, and Lilia where Cain's VA decided it would be good if he forced a laugh into every line.
While there are a handful of voice actors in the English dub of Arc Rise Fantasia who have potential, most of them just sound cheapnote Unsurprisingly, a good deal of the voice cast only worked on Arc and nothing else before or after. The acting of most is contrived and forced, not helped by the poorly-localized script (not even in a "Blind Idiot" Translation way; more in a "translation for subtitles" way). Lip Lock is also a major issue, as some voice actors seem to care, others don't (Niko's voice actor, for example, who seems too busy focusing on doing his undefinable accent to care about synchrony).
Limbo of the Lost has literally only three people doing voices. What makes this worse is that the script sounds like it was Babelfished from another language and that Spooner Briggs' VA does most of the other cast. His only method of changing his voice is to sound congested or mumble, so there's a large amount of the same person talking to himself. The subtitles are also noteworthily hackeneyed, but that's neither here nor there.
The Sega CD version of Eye of the Beholder had universally awful voice acting, from a dwarf who sounded like a chain-smoking Yoda to an evil wizard who sounded like Sesame Street's Grover with adenoids. Most of the rest of the voice cast is stilted and dry in the best/worst non-actor style. As in "asking the receptionist to come in and read on her coffee break."
Diddy Kong Racing had voices for each character that were very well suited to their appearance and personality. The Nintendo DS remake, however, did away with all of these and replaced them with emotionless actors who apparently simply couldn't be arsed to get into, or even be relevant to, their roles. Of note are Timber, who in the original had a rather cute child's voice but now possesses a deep/gruff Australian-accented voice for no reason whatsoever; Bumper, who had a fan-favorite voice in the original game but now has a completely unremarkable and forced-sounding tone; and newly-added Tiny Kong, who was "aged" to her teens for this game but still retains her high-pitched kiddie-voice from Donkey Kong 64, leading to a surprisingly disturbing dissonance. Perhaps worst of all is Taj the elephant-genie, who had an appropriate Middle Eastern-sounding voice in the original, but now has a flat British accent, a very quiet voice, and the absolute least emotion of any character in the game (which is definitely saying something). Wizpig is now an unamusing LargeHam as well.
Valis II and III for the TurboGrafx-CD have quite laughable English voice acting, especially from the villains. Valis II also suffered from a dub script so sloppy that the name of the game was pronounced "Varis."
King's Quest V has a better excuse than most games here: the CD-ROM version was one of the first games ever to feature full voice acting. Unfortunately, this meant Sierra had to use its own employees, none of whom could act worth a damn. Graham and the narrator were at least somewhat acceptable (although the narrator had several obvious page cuts left in). But on the other end of the spectrum, you had a helium-addled elf, an ear-bleedingly bad wolf, a "pOIsonous" owl (no wonder he's The Scrappy) and several people in between that could never read their scripts right, pronounced words wrong, and generally made most of the cutscenes a chore once the novelty wore off. The best part? You can't turn the voices off.
Sierra also apparently had no idea how to do voice recording. Much of the audio sounds like it was recorded in a closet with terrible acoustics and a $10 mike. You might cut them some slack considering all the audio is 8 bits 11kHz, but it sounds even worse than what you'd expect at that technology level.
In spite of all this, fans have latched onto King Graham's voice actor Josh Mandel, who had possibly the best performance in the whole game. AGD even got him to play Graham in their Fan Remakes of King's Quest II and III.
Strangely enough, Sierra never learned its lesson, really. Although they had some games with awesome voice acting (King's Quest VI, Gabriel Knight), some were terrible despite not having the "lack of experience" excuse. Police Quest 4 had awful voice acting, compounded by the fact that the game used filmed actors for the character sprites, and then used different actors for the voices, leading to strange disconnect between what certain characters sound and look like.
Stranded 2. "That Won't Work Don't Be Stupid IT'S NOT WHEERKING Don't Be Stupid Did You Even Think That Would Work IT'S NOT WHEERKING Don't Be Stupid That WON'T WHEERK IT'S... TOO... HEAVY I CAN'T CARRY ANYTHING MORE Don't Be Stupid IT'S NOT WHEEERKING"...
The pretty dire action RPG Requital has some truly abysmal voice overs and bizarre dialogue including horrible lines such as "You are welcome, son of a good mother".
Jake from Rune Factory 2. His English voice actor is easily the worst performance in the series. He has one of the most nasal voices out of any of the characters, and the overacting on the part of his VA just adds to the awfulness. Some in the fandom suspect that the reason Natsume shelled out extra money for professional voice work in the third game (the fourth was translated by XSEED Games, which previously published Rune Factory Frontier, instead) is because of the reception Jake's VA and other poor performances got from the English fandom.
The English version of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn had voice acting that flew somewhere between wooden, overeager, and just plain grating for nearly everyone. But one scene in particular stood out in every player's mind as either a very sour note, or delicious narm: "Ike's Memory Scene." A dramatic flashback of Ike witnessing his mother's death, and standing still in traumatized silence, the scene comes across as very sorrowful in spite of Mist's shrill screeching... until child!Ike opens his mouth and begins screaming in his super-gruff adult voice.
Prinny 2does have a good amount of voice acting, but the direction for the returning character voices is pretty terrible all around. The new Hero Prinny lacks any sort of emotion, Etna sounds more like a bored primadonna than the egomaniac tyrant she's supposed to be, and Flonne, despite retaining her original VA, barely has any inflection or effort in her lines. And then there's what they did to Laharl...
On the topic of Disgaea, Adell's VA in Disgaea Dimension 2. NISA may not have been able to secure the original VA and this may just be DLC, but his voice acting here is inexcusable. While some people found Adell's original English voice to be at odds with his Hot-Blooded personality, this one is much worse, having an annoying high voice with absolutely no inflection or effort put into any of his lines. Heck, even the quality of the recording on the voice sounds terrible.
While most of the voice acting in World of Warcraft is fine, there are a few bosses that have awful voice acting. Rotface and Festergut have very annoying voices, but they're bearable. The prize goes to Lady Deathwhisper and Sindragosa of Icecrown Citadel. Deathwhisper is incredibly hammy and over the top, and the voice is harsh and obnoxious. If you pull her in the middle of her speech, she'll actually say her speech and her emotes at the same time. Sindragosa is even worse: she SCREAMS at you every time she puts up her debuff. "SUFFER MORTALS AS YOUR PATHETIC MAGIC BETRARARARAAGHAGHGHAGHAARAAYS YOU!".
Orphen: Scion of Sorcery. The only reasonably good voice in that was Orphen himself, who was fortunate enough to be voiced by Quinton Flynn (also responsible for Axel from Kingdom Hearts and Reno from the English dub of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children). Everyone else just sounded like they were reading a shopping list. Absolutely no emotion whatsoever. The rest of the game wasn't that great either, but the voice acting was just painful. And unfortunately, it didn't have the option for Japanese voices, so you were stuck with the horrible English ones if you decided to play it.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds overall had very good voice acting, with most of the cast of the show lending their voices to their characters; even Sarah Michelle Gellar's replacement is spot-on, as she was in the first game. However, one notable exception is Willow, whose breathy, vacant, sleepy-sounding performance is just painful to listen to.
The Town With No Name, already an infamously bad game on its own, deserves special mention for its voice acting; things like the bartender with the bad Irish accent or the horrific singing during the inexplicable "sex for eight days" sequence are bad enough, but the worst is probably the main character, who spends the entire game trying to sound like John Wayne, yet keeps talking in a grating nasal drone that couldn't have sounded more robotically deadpannote Slowbeef described it as "John Wayne with a stroke.". It probably doesn't help that the audio more often than not cuts off midway through sentences.
What about the "mini-boss" that speaks in a racist Mexican accent... even though he doesn't even remotely look like he's supposed to be Mexican!!
The cast of Gotcha Force sounds like they were voiced by people who hadn't ever seen the English language on paper, let alone in a script. Intonations are all over the place, some words are pronounced wrong wholesale, and several of the characters (Orochi gets special mention) sound like their lines are being read with all of the emotion and presence of a surgery outpatient full of high-grade anaesthetic.
Star Ocean Till The End Of Time has all but one female party member talk in squeaky, annoyingly-high-pitched voices that get old fast. And the one female party member who doesn't sound that way has two lackeys that follow her, both of whom sound like they couldn't care less about anything. The men in the party don't sound much better, either; most of their lines come across as Narm.
Star Ocean The Last Hope features decent performances from Matthew Mercer and Kyle Hebert as Edge and Arumat, respectively. But Sarah and Meracle's voices inflect almost at random, and sound either totally flat or totally wrong for the scene. The voice acting was so horribly directed, the Updated Re-release on the PS3 actually made sure to include the option to choose the original Japanese voices.
While the Armored Core series has been known to have some pretty bad English dubbing, V takes the cake as the worst. The delivery of dialogue both out of combat and in is precisely the same (I.e. bored indifference), responses are pronounced way out of context (see the Nice Job Breaking It, Hero example above), and the narrator sounds like he's five minutes away from his lunch break and is just phoning it in. Gamespot listed the voice acting as negative in and of itself, something they almost never do.
The MMORPG Divine Soul has horrendous voice acting. Nobody even tries to sound natural.
Most of the voicing in Blood II sounds like the developers just grabbed the nearest intern and told him or her to read out the lines, with no context whatsoever. The VAs of the main characters are the only ones who put in any effort.
From Tats TopVideos, their Top 50 Worst Voice Acting in Gamesnote (in case you're wondering about why they mistakenly listed Star Ocean: The Second Story instead of Till The End Of Time, they weren't familiar with the series and didn't know much about it), featuring some of the games listed here and some games that will make you wish you never heard of them.
Probably the most famous example is Resident Evil, but surprisingly the reasons behind the poor voice acting and script work are valid. One staple of the Resident Evil series is that all dialogue is spoken in English (and in Japan they had Japanese subtitles). The problem was that Capcom's team didn't have the budget or manpower to write a proper script in English. So the entire script for the game was written in Japanese first, and then translated into English to the best of the team's ability. Anyone who speaks both English and Japanese (or even translates a sentence in Google Translate) will realize the flow of a sentence structure is different between Japanese and English, thus making the dialogue come off as sounding a bit awkward. As for the voice actors themselves, Capcom went out and simply hired Americans who were living in Japan at the time to do the voice-work.
The English dub of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia has its ups and downs, but there are fewer "downs" lower than those of the two DLC-only characters, RED and 5pb. It's telling that all of the cutscenes in which either character appears prominently is completely silent (but only in the English dub; they're fully voiced in the original Japanese audio), as their Voice Grunting during battle represents two sides of the bad voice-acting coin: RED'snote done by an unknown and uncredited actress delivery (while perfectly in line with her Genki Girl character) is squeaky and over-emotional, while 5pb's is flat and lacking any inflection.
The Operation Flashpoint and ARMA series' aren't that well known for their quality voice acting. Excluding the well-known stop-start quality of radio transmissions, which is practically a hallmark of both game series, the moments of story telling voice acting are pretty bad. For ARMA, the voice acting is downright amateurish. The Expansion PackPrivate Military Company attempted to make a detailed storyline that was utterly undercut by the poor voice acting, with lines being read by people who sound like they might have had thirty minutes of VA experience. Operation Flashpoint also has its issues. At one point before a mid-game mission in Operation Flashpoint Red River, the guy giving you your mission briefing is supposed to sound like he's a badass Marine commander. But the voice actor tries too hard, sounding instead like he's about one spilled cup of coffee away from a nervous breakdown.
The Dutch version of Earth 2140, the obscure predecessor of Earth2150 had the unit's voices dubbed in Dutch. This is already odd, as games not aimed at children below the age of 6 generally keep the English voices. But what made this odd was the spectacularly bad job they did with all the cloned super-soldiers being voiced in the most wooden, monotone, stilted voice that by a man who sounded like he was in his 50's and worked in a nursing home with easily excitable heart attack patients. After the humor wore off, you'd switch to the UCS campaign, since all their soldiers were machines and only made bleeping noises.
Professor Layton: Pandora's Box was translated into multiple languages for its European release.The German and Spanish voice acting wasn't so bad, but the Dutch one... Your ears will burn.
The Polish dub of Jagged Alliance 2.5: Unfinished Business replaces original voices with atrocities most probably recorded by an ensemble of small-town winos. Most of the voices don't even resemble the originals!
The Polish dub of a Russian Jagged Alliance rip-off titled Brigade E5 is just atrocious and coupled with a "Blind Idiot" Translation just to give you that extra kick in the nuts. The horrid imitations of various accents (especially one of the selectable main characters, a French woman who says French words with a Polish accent or Punny Named Swiss guy Cheez and his annoying pseudo-German "rrr") top the So Bad, It's Horrible list.
Another thing, mostly about the applying the voice acting itself — they forgot to translate some of the lines and the enemies spoke in English at times.
The Polish dub of Rainbow Six: Vegas is just as mind-rapingly bad as the Far Cry example above, mostly because it was made by the same company and shares at least part of the actors. First, thanks to bad translation, all the military jargon sounds fake. Second, Logan's gasping when he's wounded easily qualifies as the Most Annoying Sound. Third, Spanish voices have been left intact and whenever the enemies are supposed to speak English (or Polish in this case), the voices barely match. Fourth, Mission Control is voiced by the resident "tough grrrrl!" voice actress.
Schizm: Mysterious Journey is a particularly bizarre example. Produced and developed in Poland, all of the characters are depicted by (amateur) live actors, who delivered their lines in English, and then had them re-dubbed by professional English actors in The Netherlands. What makes the voice acting bad is that the English dubbing actors had to accommodate all of the pauses and in-fluencies done by the Polish actors to facilitate synchronism, resulting in some very odd utterances. Examples can be seen here. Still, at least the game makes up for it with the graphics.
The French dub of Kessen 2 for the PS2 was also a (quite obscure) source of hilarity. Mostly because the voice actors had an extremely strong accent from the region of Marseilles. Let's just say it had the same effect as having Roman warriors talking with a Cockney accent.
In the case of the German dub of Starship Troopers it appears as if they deliberately picked the worst voice actors available.
The German dub of the original The Force Unleashed was okay (not that great with pronouncing Coruscant as "CorusAAAAHN" and Vader sounding nothing like in the movies) but Tatooine turned it down to zero with Obi-Wan and Palpatine being 20-ish dudes...and Palpatine having the worst impression of him in all of existence.
The DLCs make no attempt at doing their jobs right. A dialogue from the Jedi Temple DLC has the character talking when his mouth is shut and him being silent when he moves his lips.
Darth Vader is justified, as the voice is more or less identical to the classic American Vader. The German dubs before TFU were always content with Vader speaking a little like when you put a plastic cup on your mouth with breathing in the background.
Assassin's Creed is rather well made in Germany, though there are a handful of characters that stand out like the occasional civilian, and in Assassin's Creed II, La Volpe (probably same 20ish dude as The Force Unleashed Obi-Wan from above) where the latter thankfully got a fitting actor for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. The Bonfire of the Vanities dub is a milestone as they apparently didn't record the mob voices, which leads to Ezio and Savonarola shouting "SILENCIO!" to an already completely silent city.
Men Of War is a very good game, but the voice actors are apparently all Swedish trying to sound like a German trying to sound like an Italian who is trying to sound Russian. One of the best voice actors in the game is Russian and whilst all his peers have awful Russian accents, his is British.
The Italian dub of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2. And that's not self-deprecation. Bland, emotionless voices and bad acting. The final blow is Lyran the Lich: in English he has a deep voice, the Spanish one sounds like chalks on a board but at least is fitting and scary, but the Italian one... dear god.... he has an extremely high-pitched, ridicolous voice who's pure Narm and totally kills the mood.
The "Neutral Spanish" dub for Halo 2. After the Latin Americans complained about the Spaniard dub job for the first game, Microsoft decided to provide a single "Neutral Spanish" dub for both Spain and Latin America, and to this purpose, they commisioned a dubbing studio in Miami to do the job. Except that the studio seemingly was staffed by Cuban and Puerto Rican ex-pats who then tried to mimic other Latin American and Spanish accents. The final product ended up having a lot of glaring translation mistakes, strange sentences, odd phrases, undefinable-sounding accents, even worse acting and unfitting voices. Fortunately, Microsoft learned from this experience, and from Halo 3 and on, they did a dub for the Spaniards and one for the Latin American market (most of them dubbed in Mexico nowadays), with better results.
The Latin Spanish dub marginally improves her voice, making her listenable... as long as she is talking. The intro song, sang in character and with her voice, goes beyond chalkboard screeching and into rotary drill on your skull.
How about Titanic: The Legend Goes On? The one with the mice with wildly-varying accents (probably supposed to be Yiddish)? And one of the weirdest examples happens when the ship is sinking — a lady says "You had a tiger on board?" (don't ask). Throughout the entire movie, she'd spoken with a proper, upper-class, British accent. For that one line and that line only, she had a freaking man's voice! And then has her normal voice back by her next line. It's clearly a man imitating a woman's voice there, did the original voice actress have to leave for the bathroom while they were recording or something?
The Continental Spanish dub is just as bad, if not worse. Taking They Just Didn't Care to the max, they seem to have only two, maybe three, voice actors winging their roles. Also, they didn't bother dubbing the music, the notorious rapping dog included.
Try listening to the main character of Rock-A-Doodle. Hell, try watching any scene that has him in it and see if you want to tear out your eardrums from his insistent Elmuh Fudd Syndwome and general mangling of the English language.
The German dub of Robot Chicken. It seems like they only have like five voice actors for the whole show, which would be no problem for America with every actor having different impressions, here our actors have only one voice. Especially bad when it comes to the Star Wars specials, where Palpatine has a falsetto voice and several other unfitting ones for Luke and Lando. A complete DarthWiki.Wall Banger considering that the TV station ordering the dub could have hired the studio which dubbed the original Star Wars movies and Clone Wars shows instead of this dilettantes.
The French dub of Family Guy. Peter sounds even more retarded than in the English version, says "ho là ho là ho là ho là" every five seconds, and has the most annoying laugh in all of existence. Chris starts out with a fairly okay voice, but he now sounds like a mentally-challenged circus clown. Meg, on the other hand, now has a tolerable voice after sounding like like nails on a chalkboard. Worst of all is Herbert; instead of his creepy effeminate whistle, he now talks in a deep, gruff tone. Although it still airs in France, this dub has thankfully long since stopped airing in Quebec, where it was completely overshadowed by the not-too-bad local dubbing of The Simpsons on the same network.
Both Hungarian dubs of the 1986 Transformers movie. Issues found in both versions — embarrassingly-small casts; the characters' voices constantly changing; glaring translation errors (Unicron became UniCORN?); ignoring already established, official name translations (in the first dub, the Decepticons are called "Toads", while Hot Rod became "Fishing Rod"). On the other hand, even though it left out about half of the dialog and shortened every sentence as much as possible, the first dub had some very witty and clever translations, and the cast was composed of well-known, really talented voice actors. As for the second dub, it was technically more advanced and a number of actors showed actual enthusiasm in their line delivery. But the negatives far, far outweigh the positives.
The first dub could hardly even be called a synchronization, as the dialog only rarely matched up to the mouth movements. Many, many silent seconds pass without anyone saying anything, even though they're clearly talking or shouting. And at times, sentences spoken by multiple characters got combined into one! The whole "dub" was essentially just five actors reading a badly (if in places wittily) translated script and trying to follow what they saw on screen, but rarely succeeding. Arguably, it might qualify for So Bad, It's Good, simply for being so hilariously bad. Such lines really make one smile:
Soundwave:Sondwave is the best. The rest are dumb!note Especially as Soundwave's name was translated in earlier scenes. The original line is the now memetic "Soundwave superior. Constructicons inferior.", by the way.
Also the first Italian dub of the G1 Series. Season 1 and first 6-7 episodes of Season 2 are well done, after that... The whole dubbing cast changes. The characters have random accents or sound like total morons. The worst offender is French Metroplex, but also Retarded Skywarp, Whistling Broadside, Siren-like cadence First Aid, Rhyming Blaster, and Rodimus Prime isPrincipal Skinner!
That was repaired with the 2008 redub of the first two seasons... than Season 3 was redubbed in 2011. And with "redubbed" we mean "fandubbed by the hosts of a TV show for kids aired only in a few places just for the sake of having a new dub to air in their show, since the old one is no more available". Galvatron is the only one good.
The Spanish dub also gave her a really irritating voice. Henry's is no better (in this dub he sounds like a badly pitched Mickey Mouse). listen here. Have the dubbers even listened to their regular voices!? But same as above, it's worse when you're so used to their regular voices.
Also, at the beginning of that clip, seems like that the person who says "KABLAM!", now has a weird accent, and thanks to how sometimes in Dutch dubs the different accents cause words to change into a more absurd version, that person now says, "KUUUUUUUUBLOM." Let me guess, it'll become a meme any second now.
It could have been avoided — it used to be well handled, has major fans, the voice actors themselves love working on it, some even volunteer to correct the translation goof-ups during recording — but the Hungarian dub for The Simpsons has fallen into this category, especially in the later seasons. It already started out as a relatively low-budget production with limited technical backup (meaning if someone accidentally erased part of the voice track, they couldn't retake the scene, left the goof in, and handed it over to the TV station). Over time, as the show gained popularity and went through a number of various dubbing studios, the quality of the dub somehow sank even further. Lip-sync is a rarity nowadays, the voices and name translations change constantly (at times, quite jarringly, within the same episode), and the overall translation itself ranges from half-decent to downright nonsensical. It's as if all the worthwhile translators were Seth MacFarlane fans, because his shows receive darn good dubs, and The Simpsons had to make do with only the most under-payed hacks. Never mind that merely a fraction of the gags survive (in part due to the on-screen translator/narrator actually talking over the dialog), even basic, straightforward sentences get horribly mangled (like "couch gag" becoming "a coach named Gag", or "my bad" becoming "me bad"). Worse, the translators seem to be completely ignorant towards pop-culture, with no idea of how to make the gags work for a non-American audience, and so translate a huge amount of jokes word-for-word, thereby completely rendering them pointless. The alternating voice cast doesn't always manage to salvage what's left either: if characters speak with their non-regular voice, it will almost always be some irritating, too high or low-pitched "cartoon" voice that doesn't even mimic how they are supposed to sound.
There seems to be no improvement in sight — they even mess up the music tracks. In a particularly notable screwup, they cut the original English vocals from the credits of one ep... which wouldn't have been that noticeable, were it not for the sing-along subtitles that still showed up at the screen's bottom.
While not flat-out horrible, the french dub of Justice League clearly wasn't on par with the excellency of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series', replacing the very popular Richard Darbois on Batman with a considerably lesser known voice actor, whom most viewers found his voice too nasal and irritating, received the most flak with some occasionally unfortunate casting choices (Music Master and Kragger sounding like teenagers being the most obvious for this troper). But everyone agrees that things really went downhill with Justice League Unlimited: while Batman's voice being once again replaced was mostly considered an improvement, they also replaced the well-liked Emmanuel Jacomy on Superman with a man who clearly had no experience in voice acting and who therefore made the Man of Steel sound incredibly dull and flat (so much that his kid version exhaled way more charisma). Even worse, inexperienced flat sounding voices seemed to be the qualification to get a job on the series so many characters sounded just horrible, Wildcat and Stargirl for an example not sounding older and younger than in their 30's respectively. Aquaman also suffered from a unconvincing new voice despite his previous (and actually good) voice actor being still around voicing the Atom among others. Especially sad considering the voice director was the man behind the very good local dub of Superman: The Animated Series.
Speaking of DC Animation, most of their recent french dubs tend to be average, having both their strong and weak points. But for Batman: Under the Red Hood, it seems that everyone has been given a word to do their worst. First, there's Nightwing, whose actor voiced exactly like he voices Robin, making him sound like a hyperactive teenager. Black Mask is pretty menacing when he is subdued but then he raises his voice (which he does a lot) and evokes all the menace of a little girl throwing a tantrum. The Joker and Ra's al Ghul sound exactly like in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, i.e. cartoonish, annoyingly nasal for the former and ridiculously raspy for the latter. And then, you got the Hood himself, who did get Eric Cartman's voice actor... and delivery. He sounds like a troll. True, the actor tries at least to play it more seriously when the character appears as Jason but the damage's been done.
Various My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic dubs range from great to mind-breakingly bad. The Brazilian dub is infamous for giving Rainbow Dash a male-sounding voice, the Romanian dub makes Rarity's songs sound unlistenable, the French dub, while great, gave Pinkie Pie a really low pitched voice that doesn't convey her hyperactivity at all, the Japanese version, while for the most part awesome, made Rainbow Dash sound like she smoked a bunch of cigarettes and Ahuizotl like a gruff high school aged football jock, etc. But the Czech dub is legendary for its sensory-raping badness. The songs are badly sung, the voice actors for all the characters sound weird, and pretty much everything else you shouldn't do when dubbing a show.
The Hungarian dub has some nasty casting calls as well: Spike sounds like Bugs Bunny, Rainbow Dash sounds like an old woman, Shining Armor's first voice is too young, and Derpy Hooves, Photo Finish, June Bug, and even Babs Seed are obviously all voiced by men.
There's this unknown movie called The Christmas Tree, and...the voice acting is just stiff, wooden, and completely emotionless. Nobody even TRIES to throw any emotion in it at all, and the only decent voice in the movie is the old evil orphanage lady, and even then she sounds battier than your normal hysterical woman. Even the CHILDREN, who sound like they're voiced by ACTUAL CHILD ACTORS, sound horrible. Many of the child characters' lines are so slurred you can't understand what they're saying! Nobody had the sense to say, "Cut! Retake this scene!"? Not that this is the only thing wrong with this movie...
Agapio Racing Team (a Finnish dubbing company) was legendary for its awfulness. One would think they had just hired a bunch of stoned teenagers off the street, shoved scripts in front of their faces and forced them to dub the show live at 7 in the morning, without even the courtesy of giving them some morning coffee. Their voice actors, often known under different company names such as Golden Voice, were the bane of children's programming for years, until their dub for Digimon garnered enough complaints to warrant firing the group, and they haven't produced a single thing since. See their work on Digimonhere, and a notorious musical number from My Little Ponyhere.
The Digimon dub has a wonderful assortment of emotions — fury, sadness, and joy.
In Brazil, there was a time in which certain companies, to cut costs, would outsource dubs to Miami, where they would be done by local Brazilians - people with no experience whatsoever in the acting field, no control over accents, etc. The result, predictably enough, were dubs with an amateur-sounding cast, laughably-bad performances, different accents everywhere, terrible directing and so on. Fortunately, the practice died over time...for a while; recently, Viz Media decided to dub the (admittedly mediocre) Blue Dragonanime in Miami. The end result started to become a meme among the fandom mere days after the broadcast of the first episode. It's that bad. Check it out here and here (naturally, more recommended if you know BR-Portuguese).
Spanish dubbers have also been known to do this; however, the voice actors tended to be South American expatriates (as they're the ones who got hired more often) who made no effort to hide their native accents. Results ranged from So Bad, It's Good (The Fairly Oddparents) to really ear-grating (South Park).
Odex, a Singapore-based dubbing company. They've produced a lot of English dubs over the years for Animax-Asia, but towards the end of the anime bubble, US-based studios would occasionally use them due to their being incredibly cheap (especially compared to the increasingly-expensive LA recording studios). Beneath their belts are butcherings of such shows as Zipang,Fantastic Children aaaaand...
The English dub of Karin... Karin's voice (played by American expat Chelsea Curto) is tolerable for a while — far moreso than most of the other actors — but when she starts crying (which is common), it gets super high pitched and grating. And because we don't have a separate section for bad scripting, the English dub has one particularly-grating moment. "I'm gonna avoid that new transfer student! ...but if I can't my peaceful life is going to be turned upside down!" So. Cliche.
"Time for talk is over! I challenge you to DYOOOOOOL!"
Another English-language offender is Arvintel Productions, based in Southern California. They are known for being probably the cheapest dub studio in North America, and have the (total lack of) quality to back them up. Oftentimes it seems like they give their actors only one take per line, and if the actor didn't quite get it, oh well. Their dub of Green Green is especially notorious, but they have other disasters under their belts as well, like Ah My Buddha (not to be confused with a far better series that is known for itsfantastic dubbing) and Eiken.
What makes them especially irritating is that they hire LA-based actors who are normally very good at their jobs, like Bob Buchholz, Bryce Papenbrook, Stephanie Sheh... even Wendee Lee has shown up in at least one of their dubs.
In Portugal, the TV stations don't bother with editing and keep the original background music, which is nice. However, the voiceovers are made by adults who have no idea how a child sounds. The adults (occasionally) sound good, but anything under the age of 18 will sound, if you're lucky, retarded. If you're unlucky, it's torture. In ascending order of pain — Digimon Tamers, Naruto, One Piece. Don't worry, the last one gets worse.
Studio Loudworks, an English-to-Serbian dub company. The voices can be utterly grating at some parts, and even when there isn't, there's still the matter of their glaring blind idiot translations—They consistently (and very stupidly) translate word-for-word from English, resulting in a difficult (when possible) to understand script.
Most (mind you, not all!) of the Hungarian dubs released by the Romanian "Zone" dubbing studio. With only a handful of actors and actresses, most of whom suffer from horrible nasal and guttural voices, and a less than firm grasp on the language's grammar, it's no wonder that a number of their works had to be redubbed (most notably Star Trek: Voyager) due to the viewers' outcry.
The Hungarian movie dubs on the MGM station, made by the same studio but with proper Hungarian voice actors, qualify as well. Most of voice actors working on them are fine, that's not a problem, but the same cast dubs every movie, using the same voice, and sounding like they do not give a damn about acting. It gets on a person's nerves to hear the same couple of voices over and over again in every freaking movie. Some of the more classic films they play actually have older, perfectly passable dubs, yet the TV station still re-dubs even those, save for such isolated cases like Beetlejuice, whose dub has been described above (it seems it had a quiality low enough to meet their standards). Some claim this is because the actors have fun doing these dubs, and the studio is very cost efficient, so it can churn out as many dubbings as it wants within a given amount of time, but this is a horrible, horrible case of taking quantity over quality.
While Spanish dubs tends to be good, there's some real stinkers and some real inept voice acting, depending the country or studio involved:
Practically anything dubbed in the city of Monterrey, Mexico (like Recess) tended to be so awfully dubbed that the Recess direct-to-video movie was dubbed in Mexico City instead (with better results). Needless to say, they only dubbed a few series before disappearing from the voice acting industry later on.
In the same way, most stuff dubbed in Cuernavaca, Mexico was pretty awful to hear on screen (with some exceptions, like Gundam Wing, Martian Successor Nadesico, and many animated stuff).
Until recently, almost anything dubbed from Colombia was from being So Bad, It's Good (Rurouni Kenshin, Super Doll Licca-chan, Mikan Enikki) to really franchise-destroying levels (the awful dub of Kaleido Star destroyed any chance to bring the rest of the franchise in Spanish).
Mind you, the original Malay dub of Dragon Ball and DBZ is pretty good(heck, it's one of the better local dubs next to Doraemon), they do messed up the names of the characters. For example, Piccolo Jr. was named Majumiya, a corruption of his pseudonym in the Martial Arts Tournament, Ma Jr. and Goku was given a different name until he grew up when they finally give Goku his name and that's just to name a few.
The latin american dub of all the History Channel. It seems there is only 10 voices for the whole channel.
One of those voices is Luis Pérez Pons, the spanish voice for Mr. Krabs. So there have been parodies about Mr. Krabs talking about aliens.