Porting a program to another system is seldom an easy task. If you had the good fortune to be able to consistently use cross-platform libraries while writing the original program, you might be able to get away without having to do any code rewriting. Otherwise, you're looking at significant rewrites ahead. Multi-Platform development can help avoid this, but if the developers are rushed, the version for the system with which they're least-familiar will likely suffer.
To qualify the program as a Porting Disaster, one or more of the following major points has to be present.
Poor quality visuals, audio, or controls which can't be excused by the host system's technical limitations.
Clumsy controls, even if you try to forget the old control layout. For example, imitating pad control badly on a keyboard or touch screen, not supporting mice or customised control setups in a console-to-PC port, trying to cram too many hotkey functions onto controller buttons in a PC-to-console port, or forgetting entirely that a console-to-PC port even has a keyboard at its disposal.
Substantial amounts of missing content, such as whole levels, playable characters/vehicles, weapons, and the like.
Particularly with ports to Nintendo systems, certain things might get changed around with no overall impact on quality (such as removing crosses or direct mentions of God and Death), but when the change is notable to the casual observer ("wait, wasn't there that cool hovercraft minigame between these two areas?"), then it becomes significant.
Also, keep in mind that "ports" for earlier systems may not be technically considered as ports but rather as conversions. Video game hardware of the late seventies to the mid-nineties tend to differ dramatically from one system to another, and while that may still hold true with today's consoles, the lack of cross-platform libraries, platform-specific behaviour (the Atari 2600's video hardware was vastly different compared to the ones on the NES and arcade systems) and the generally low-level nature of programming them would account for at least some disasters.
See also Polished Port, where a game is greatly improved during the development of a ported version and Arcade Perfect Port, where a ported arcade game appears identical from source arcade to destination console/computer.
Please only add examples of games that contain game breaking bugs or are broken to the point of unplayability, not minor glitches or annoyances.
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Disastrous ports to games consoles:
Amiga CD 32
Battletoads - An almost-straight port of the already flawed Amiga version. Half of the stages are cut, the control scheme is awful (you have to press up on the d-pad to jump, never mind the fact that the CD32 controller has more than enough buttons), it can only play either the music or sound effects (a common quirk with desktop Amiga games, but completely avoidable on the CD-32), and barely-recolored graphics that actually look worse in some ways than the vibrant NES original. Considering the CD32 is a 32-bit system, this is really pathetic.
X-COM - Partially because of using a joypad to control itnote It's possible to plug a mouse into the console, though.. The main problem, however ,is the fact that the CD32 only has 1 KB of memory available for save data. Not only is the player limited to building a single base, the save data takes up the entire space, preventing the player from saving data from another game without deleting it.
Defender - Horrible flicker, blocky cityscape graphics, and a game-breaking invisibility glitch when you fire. The player has to go off-screen to use hyperspace or the Smart Bomb. The later superior port of Stargate (Defender II), which used both joysticks for the controls, showed that this was inexcusable.
Double Dragon - Released at a time when Atari was trying to revive the 2600 as a cheaper alternative to the NES and Master System, this adaptation of the arcade game never stood a chance with its stick figure graphics and simplistic mechanics as a result of the system having only a single-button joystick.
Miner 2049er was back-ported by Tigervision from Atari 8-Bit Computers to the Atari 2600, so the downgraded graphics and reduced number of stages (two releases with three each) were to be expected. That walking was slow and jumps could barely clear enemies had no such excuse.
Pac-Man - Quite possibly the reigning king of infamously bad porting jobs and one of the major players in The Great Video Game Crash of 1983. Being the most popular arcade game of its day, Atari knew that having the home version on their system could be a license to print money for them, so they wanted the game on their hands as fast as possible, released the unfinished alpha version as soon as it was done, bugs and all (the game couldn't even draw all the ghosts on-screen at once, instead having them flicker in and out of existence), and manufactured 12 million copies of it (2 million more than the userbase at the time, believing that the game would boost hardware sales too). The end result was a complete disaster for Atari. And yet the buggy mess of a game was still the best-selling game on the 2600, ever (7 million copies).
The later ports of Ms. Pac-Man and Junior Pac-Man were handled far better; Junior Pac-Man in particular had vertically scrolling mazes and (still-primitive graphics aside) matched nearly every feature of the arcade original, minus the between-stage intermissions.
Gorf - The Atari 5200's analog stick was notoriously problematic, but no game released for the system was cursed with worse controls than this arcade port..
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) / Family Computer (Famicom)
The majority of the NES arcade ports developed by Micronics, a contractual developer that used to develop games for other companies during the 80's and early 90's:
1942 - Suffers from slowdown issues and other flaws. That's not all. The March of Midway, originally a track comprised of marching and whistling, replaces the whistling with beeping.
Athena - The NES port turned what was a passable arcade game into what is widely regarded as one of the worst NES games. The original arcade version's graphics were translated into a parade of flicker and slowdown, and the controls were made worse.
Ikari Warriors - The arcade version used a rotary joystick system, allowing players to control their character's movement and aim separately. This control system wouldn't have worked out on the NES controller, which only had a cross-shaped d-pad, so naturally Micronics took it out so that the player's aims at the same direction their character is moving. Unfortunately they did it the worst way possible. Instead of instantly turning around, the player does a full rotation while moving at the same time, causing them to walk in a circle just to turn around. It doesn't help matters that the rest of the game isn't hot either, with plain graphics and lots of flickering.
Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road - In addition to having the same issues that plagued the first Ikari game on the NES, Victory Load has loading times when player switches to the status screen when pausing the game. Additionally, there's an unskippable cutscene when the game is left on the title screen for too long, which is made worse by how slowly typed-out the text is.
720 Degrees - Horrible graphics, ear-bleeding music, broken controls (spinning and other moves are frustrating to pull off, and the ramp event is nearly unplayable). To add insult to injury, they took out the expert mode. Inexcusable — the NES can do considerably better than this. This is about as bad as the Taiwanese pirate ports. And it was licensed, made when Tengen still had a contract with Nintendo.
Aladdin - The NES version fares rather badly. While the bootleg port by Super Game still had graphical and control problems, the official port by NMS Software suffered from these flaws in a bigger extent. But it got worse when another pirate original version, Aladdin II, was released...
Conan: The Mysteries of Time - A licensed port of a classic C64 game by System 3 titled Myth: History in the Making, this version suffered from poor play mechanics, graphics and music compared to the original C64 release. Conan has been derided by many NES players, not all of whom are familiar with the C64 original.
Ghostbusters - This port of Activision's computer game is infamous for the screwed-up driving sequences and the nearly-impossible stairway sequence.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - The Ubisoft release, not the earlier version released by Taito, was a port of a PC action game, which NMS Software saddled with horrendously grainy graphics seemingly produced by taking the graphics from the Master System version and compressing the palette.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Based on the Atari arcade game, but like some other arcade-to-NES conversions, it became a Reformulated Game rather than a straight port. Indy could now jump and use alternate weapons, but the controls for these were clumsy. Whereas the arcade game told players right on the screen what needs to be done, stage goals in the NES version were bewilderingly unintuitive. The graphics are also very poor for the NES, with the backgrounds consisting of hideous washes of blue or green.
King's Quest V - Novotrade tried their hardest to cram 256-color visuals into an 8-bit cart and quick mouse actions onto a controller, but it just couldn't be done well. Have a look.
The Last Ninja - An unnumbered port of the C64 game by System 3 titled Last Ninja 2, it was handled by the same team that worked on Conan and suffered from the same issues. To make matters worse: Matt Gray, the guy who composed the music in the original C64 version, also did music for a number of Codemasters' NES games, including Fantastic Dizzy and Micro Machines. But they couldn't bother to hire him for this one; instead, they wrote new music in-house at Beam Software. (This company also made the execrable Back to the Future game with its single BGM.)
The Lion King - A disaster with sluggish and unresponsive controls, physics and jumping mechanics that are broken beyond belief, the levels are short (the game can be completed in under 20 minutes) and presented without any kind of story context, and the game only covers the young Simba levels from the 16-bit games, meaning that not only do you not play as the titular Lion King, but the film's villain Scar is completely absent from gameplay. What's sad about this port is even the bootleg port created by Super Game is superior to it mechanically and aesthetically (music as well, due to the fact all Super Game's ports are done with using Konami sound engine) and even resembles the original game more. North American gamers were at least spared from seeing this exist in their region, as it was only released in Japan and PAL territories.
Twin Eagle: Revenge Joe's Brother - Choppy framerates, horrible graphics and music, watered-down play mechanics. It plays like one of those unlicensed pirate games. Another reformulation rather than a direct port, and a bad one at that.
Winter Games - The NES version forced the player to watch a subpar animation sequence that couldn't be skipped and the selection of games was far inferior to the Atari 2600 version. The badly-animated, detail-lacking graphics and unresponsive control scheme are quite bad for the NES.
NES/Famicom (pirate originals)
Cony Soft is infamous for their ports being disastrous. So much that none of their games can be considered playable. Even those outside the list.
THEIR version of Street Fighter II. It has bleepy music, ridiculous hand-drawn graphics, AI that always spams Hadokens, and broken hit detection. There are the 8 playable characters from the original game, but, considering the above statements, it doesn't help. There is also a MAD amount of flickery.
The Street Fighter V and VI rips are even worse.
Mortal Kombat V Turbo and Mortal Kombat V plus Trilogy, ports of parts one and three respectively. Just about the only good thing you can say about these ports is that they have fatalities, but good luck pulling them off thanks to the awful controls. What's worse is that the latter game uses the B button to block, meaning that you can only kick while jumping.
In a meta example, F15 City War is a porting disaster of Thunder Blade for the Master System, which (as noted below) is a porting disaster of the arcade version. Compared to that, this has uglier graphics, bad music, a more sedate pace than the original and poor control in the overhead shooter sections.
Also, the Frogger port lacks the music the original game had and ends the level when you get two frogs across instead of five.
Hosenkan Electronics also made ports of popular 16-bit games, and most of them fit this trope:
Pocohontas (AKA Pocohontos). Unfinished and slow. Super Game's version did it better.
Contra Spirits, also known as Super Contra 3. It's slow, some of the weapons were removed, the graphics are generally poor and level 5 from the original was replaced with a palette swap of level 3. (Which is actually level 2 in this version) On the plus side, it did at least have the bike chase level which was removed in the Game Boy version.
Super Donkey Kong, which is actually based off Donkey Kong Land on the Game Boy. The controls are sluggish and the game only has 5 levels which repeat several times. The graphics seem to be the original SNES prerendered graphics with reduced color, and overall, the game looks fine compared to the SNES original.
Mickey Mania 7. The graphics were inevitably butchered due to the system limitations, the game can feasibly be beaten in less than 15 minutes and the loading screens were ported from the SNES version for no apparent reason. The only favourable point is that it has the rotating tower level that wasn't in that version.
The Toy Story port has only 5 levels from the original game and can be beaten in under 10 minutes. The Engrish during the cutscenes doesn't help.
Hummer Team a.k.a. Somari Team a.k.a. Yoko Soft a.k.a. Copyright. Famous for lots of par and subpar ports of the existing games and for really squeaky sound engine...which pulled out some good music once a year. A surprising number of their ports manage to avert this trope.
While they made a decent port, Hummer's first port of Street Fighter II qualifies, with only four characters playable, and the fifth (Bison/Vega) as the final boss. As well as this, some of the characters' sizes were questionable. Also, the endings weren't the same as they were originally, but filled with loads and loads of typos. Just look.
An updated version of this game, Master Fighter VI, added the rest of the characters (along with a clone of each), made the bosses playable and updated most of the graphics. (Then again, most of the graphics were stolen from Super Fighter III, which averts this trope) However, the endings from the original port were replaced with a generic congratulations screen.
Next up, Street Fighter Alpha. The problem with graphics was solved, but infinite supers and repetitive gameplay killed the cat.
King of Fighters '96 falls into a similar migraine. Even Word of God states that they were planning to make J.Y. Company release it with more characters, but something went wrong so it was never released per se... while the Obvious Beta build was sent to Ka Sheng instead.
Tekken 2 (which is actually a port of the first game) is no better, and essentially plays like their other fighting games without the projectiles.
The port of the first Mortal Kombat is not clearly a disaster, considering there are far worse ports on Game Boy and Sega Master System, but... it includes Sub-Zero throwing "hadoukens" instead of iceballs.
Mortal Kombat II, now known as Mortal Kombat II Special, averts this in many aspects by adding blood (although fatalities are still conspicuously missing) and making the special moves more in line with the original game.
Super Mario World is indeed an Obvious Beta, but WHAT an Obvious Beta. It suffers from extremely poor controls and physics (which makes the game unbeatable at one point, without cheating (yet it's possible to skip it without cheating either)), but it features if not all, then 80% of all levels present in original. The graphics are surprisingly good, resembling the original SNES sprites, and the game even proved Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario series, wrong on one point - Miyamoto stated that the Yoshi riding present in the real Super Mario World was impossible to program on the NES. Hummer Team did this on the NES quite well compared to the rest of the programming.
Rex Soft, also known as ASDER, also known as Caltron:
King of Fighters '95: Without any doubt, this is the FASTEST fighting game in the world. In some instances, it's TOO FAST! The roster is cropped and the graphics are abysmal.
Boogerman II: The Final Adventure. Includes the boogerhero protagonist who moves even slower than the in-game snail enemies.
Lethal Enforcers also received one, under a moniker of Lethal Weapon (not to be confused with the licensed NES game which was based on the movie with the same name). On a side note, this game's engine has also become the base for Cobra Mission (which already can be confused with Mission Cobra, a NES rail shooter made by the forementioned Sachen), complete with Lethal Enforcers's reloading method and car chase scene. Not to mention the intro scene looks suspiciously familiar...
Sachen is another example. Gaiapolis initially was a little-known arcade game by Konami (which never got an official home port), but it seems like Sachen was lucky enough to play the machine with this game while it was alive. Despite the speed and extremely wild amount of flicker, as well as traditional beepy Sachen music, however, it's still fairly playable (mainly in part due to the 99 continues you get at the start.)
Super Contra X, developed by Chengdu Tai Jing Da Dong, some members of which founded the aforementioned Waixing, and published by Micro Genius, developers/publishers of Aladdin II and Thunder Warrior.
Aladdin II itself is also worth mentioning. Ostensibly a port of Aladdin on the Mega Drive, the game is a broken mess with a plethora of glitches, poor control, all of the cutscenes removed and horrible audiovisuals. It's so bad, it makes the NMS version look like a Polished Port in comparison.
Super Donkey Kong 2, a port of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest for the SNES, initially seems to avert this until you find out that it only has three levels.
Waixing and Nanjing deserve a separate page because 99.9% of their games are made on the same RPG engine. Oh, and don't forget how balanced the games are. Good luck beatingthemall. Oh, and notice that these are all in Chinese - there are barely any English translations, and if there are any, they're from fans.
M&M Heroes, the port of the first Heroes of Might and Magic is playable indeed, but only if you can get over with the scrappy graphics, not-so-humble interface and bleepy music. Otherwise, you'd rather play the Game Boy versions instead.
Biohazard a.k.a. Resident Evil was a third-person survival horror game, but became a top-down RPGish type game up until you got into random battles with zombies and other assorted horrors, wherein it switched gameplay to the combat model used in Resident Evil Gaiden.
Relatively new port of...Warriors Orochi! Includes loads of barely-beatable mazes, even bigger loads of enemy hordes and, of course, the retarded balance, which turns the game into completemadness when you've gotta fight 20 enemies at once. Have fun.
Subverted with Nanjing's Pokémon Yellow, which remains accurate to the original game, more or less... While Mars's Pokémon Red and Gold fit this trope to an F.
Final Fantasies got PWNed by both companies, except while Waixing produced cheap title hacks of the first two games, Nanjing went further and reconverted parts 4, 5, and 7. As you may have guessed, yes, these are crappy. But, seeing that Final Fantasy VII got a fan translation to English, that says something.
In fact, the NES port of Final Fantasy VII, while far from perfect, is impressive enough that a group of dedicated ROM hackers are working on improving it into Polished Port territory.
Talking about Squaresoft's creations, Chrono Trigger. Drastically cut, compared to the original, and reportedly, the balance is so bad that it's literally impossible to beat the final boss (a character who, in the real game, happens to be a Disc One Final Boss) without using a cheating device.
Another new game example, King of Fighters R1 and R2. Knowing the universe and the games very well, you'd expect this to be direct-to-NeoGeo-Pocket-Color ports... Not. In reality, these are King of Fighters Kyo clones, except they take place during the events of '95 and '96. Even if these weren't dumped yet, the ad booklet, which was once available on the net, says it all.
One more game by SNK, Samurai Shodown RPG, also took a critical hit from Nanjing.
Especially funny to see Legend of Cao Cao, a Japanese-only PC tactics game with isometrical view being translated onto straight top-down RPG.
Nanjing's NES version of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is yet another case of "barely even a port": the storyline and even some graphics remain intact, but that's about the extent of it. Pity the poor child who expected Zelda's famous active battles and soundtrack, only to find random turn-based encounters and music from Pokemon in their place.
The Dragon, made by former Sachen members, is a Bruce Lee-based scrolling beat em-up using Mortal Kombat sprites for the player character and bosses. Runs at about 2 frames per second and is all but unplayable.
Nice Code Software, which included former Dragon Co. staff, made numerous pirate originals for plug n' play Famiclones. One such game, Wonder Rabbit, uses many of the resources from Dragon's games, including the same choppy scrolling, laggy jumping, and ear-raping music, as well as graphics stolen from Super Mario Bros. 2, Bubble Bobble, etc.
Master System/Sega Mark III, Game Gear
Shadow Dancer - Unlike the original Shinobi, which was a Reformulated Game with similar stages but different play mechanics, Shadow Dancer attempted to be a straight port of the original arcade game, despite the fact that the arcade original ran on a more advanced hardware. The SMS version kept the one-hit-per-life system from the arcade version, which wouldn't be bad by itself if it wasn't for the fact that it also kept the arcade version's large characters while shrinking the actual playing field, allowing enemy projectiles to appear from out of nowhere and take the player by surprise, while at the same time making boss battles hard to maneuver around, leading to many cheap deaths. Moreover, only eight of the arcade version's 15 stages (counting the boss battles) were kept, resulting in a ridiculously short game. To top it off, the first-person bonus rounds are literally unbeatable due to a glitch that makes one enemy ninja invincible when he's on the same floor as another.
Smash TV - The blood is changed to generic explosions, most of the characters have red skin, the graphics are messy and unprofessional even for a Master System game, the Game Gear version has choppy framerate and clunky controls, in the Master System version the enemies move way to fast, the enemies spawn a few spaces in front of a door instead of coming out of a door, and in the Game Gear version the first boss is almost impossible to beat due to the choppy way he moves around.
Sonic Spinball - Although the levels are remarkably similar compared to other Sonic the Hedgehog ports (not necessarily by its own merits), whatever physics existed in the Genesis version were thrown completely out the window. Worse is the platforming engine, in which Sonic has an innate tendency to get himself stuck.
Another concern of the Master System to Game Gear ports was aspect ratio. When the screens were lined up, the width was focused on, rather than the height, resolved by making the player unable to see what would normally be the very top of the screen. This isn't normally a problem until the screen locks; an example is the Antlion boss of the Underground Zone in Sonic 2 where it gets very difficult to judge where the balls will bounce when you can't see when they peak.
Streets of Rage 2 - Small sprites, off-key music, enemies that can combo you to death without giving you a chance to fight back and an excessively hard difficulty in comparison to the original.
Just to highlight how sloppy this port is, the MS port of the first game features much bigger sprites (and more appealing graphics in general), is at a reasonable difficulty and is generally more competently programmed. As well as this, the music and the Cycle of Hurting were fixed in the Game Gear port of the second game.
Strider - U.S Gold tried to port an arcade game to a platform that wasn't meant to handle it. The conversion was handled by Tiertex, the same team that developed the equally horrible PC ports of Strider and the infamous sequelStrider Returns.
Thunder Blade - Another example of an arcade game that was ported to a console that couldn't handle the scaling. The end result is a bland top-down and confusing over-the-shoulder helicopter shooter.
Vigilante - While in the original arcade version jumping was performed simply by pushing the joystick up, the SMS version inexplicably changed the jump command to pressing both attack buttons at the same time. The game also suffers from ridiculously precise hit detection; if the player punches or kick an enemy too closely, the attack won't register, giving the enemy a free hit. To make matters worse, the inputs for jump kicks (down+1+2 while jumping) and jumping punches (up while jumping) were made needlessly counter-intuitive as opposed to the simpler commands used from the arcade version.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) / Super Famicom (SFC)
Brandish - Koei's SNES port of a Japanese PC-98 game is legendary for one of the worst control schemes in the history of gaming, one that renders the game almost unplayable for many players. The original used a mouse and keyboard control system similar to Dungeon Master or Eye of the Beholder that didn't translate that well to an SNES controller.
Doom - While SNES version is indeed a marvelous achievement, the pros are far outweighed by the cons. The graphics of the original were greatly downgraded; enemies are no longer gibbed when suffering from close-range explosions, many textures have been simplified or removed outright (and enemy sprites, leading the infamous "crab-walking" baddies that always faced you), the framerate is rather uneven, and the frames can even skip some sprite animations if more than three enemies are on-screen at close-range. The lighting was also significantly altered, making certain lit walls where secrets are hidden like any other wall, which can cause frustration if you're trying to remember which freaking panel that upgrade was put behind!! The sound effects are muffled as well, and a good portion of the levels have been excised. The only truly good part of the game is its soundtrack, which is fun to listen to because the Super NES's sampler makes the MIDI soundtrack sound much more like real instruments than the Sound Blaster's FM synth ever could.
Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse - The SNES version was missing a stage present in all other versions of the game, but more importantly, despite being a cartridge-based game, it somehow had loading times longer than the CD-based versions of the game for the Sega CD and PS (the Mega Drive original had no loading times at all). The controls and sound quality also suffered.
To add to the bafflement: the missing stage from the SNES version is a rotating tower in the same vein as Nebulus/Castelian, which was released for systems roughly one generation older.
The SNES port of the original Mortal Kombat was most infamous for the heavily sanitized fatalities and gray blood, but its ugliness is more than skin-deep. Its controls were very unresponsive, and it was plagued with poor hit detection that made most combos impossible to perform and a bug where if both players threw projectiles, the first hit would make both projectiles disappear instead of having the players trade hits as in the arcade. Series creator Ed Boon actually apologized for the poor quality of the SNES port. The Genesis version, which was much more responsive and playable and much less censored, outsold the SNES version on a four-to-one basis.
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame - A port of the PC game handled by Titus Software, it featured bad controls, mistimed and glitchy play mechanics, a Game-Breaking Bug in the form of one specific mook that crashes the game when he dies, and screens that scroll only because the display tiles are too wide. Several story sequences were removed, and the game ends at Stage 13, with Jaffar appearing as an underwhelming Anticlimax Boss. It reeks of pure atrocity next to the amazing SNES version of the first game.
Space Ace - The SNES version is a port in name only, being released on a cartridge with limited ROM space on a system that couldn't hope to reproduce the Full Motion Video of the arcade original. It's a rather awkward action game with stages based on scenes from the original. Dexter took only one hit before he died, the jumping is a disaster, Dexter's pixel is too big, and he moves too slow.
Ultima VII - The plot was butchered as a result of Nintendo's Never Say "Die" policies at the time. The double homicide that starts the plot of the game is replaced with a double kidnapping. It goes downhill from there. Also, the entire combat system and party system that defined the original game is dispensed with altogether in favor of a Zelda-style action RPG format in which the Avatar wanders around alone whacking snakes and bats with his sword.
Urban Strike - It has the same graphics and sounds as the Genesis original, but the action slows down immensely the moment anything other than than the player's own helicopter was on screen. In a confounding design decision, the button for jinking (=strafing) was mapped to one of the face buttons, while the SNES versions of the previous two games had it conveniently mapped to the shoulder buttons which allowed it to not interfere with firing weapons. Of course the game does not have any options to reconfigure the controls.
Golden Axe - Although the PC Engine was one of Telenet Japan's primary platforms and their Renovation division produced some good games for it, their port of Sega's arcade classic is shamefully bad, with horrible sound effects, poor controls and graphics actually worse than the 8-bit Master System version.
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD, 32 X
The Adventures Of Willy Beamish - The Sega CD version is prone to locking up, especially in the final areas, and just the loading in general kills the experience for all but the most patient.
Doom - Released for the 32X, this port was inexplicably inferior to the SNES version despite being on a superior hardware. The entire third episode was missing along with the bosses and BFG 9000, beating the game would load up a DOS prompt if the player cheated or used the level select and the soundtrack was butchered.
Especially unforgivable because the FM chip in the Genesis (The YM2612, The 32X uses 2 PWM channels) is very similar to the YM2608 the FM chip used on later versions of the PC88 and PC98. It could have sounded like this.
Double Dragon II: The Revenge - Released only in Japan by Pal Soft, this is notable for being the only console port of the arcade game rather than a Reformulated Game like the NES version (the later PC Engine version based on the NES game). Unfortunately it's not a very good one, with smaller character sprites and muddier colors, as well as numerous bugs (including a three-second pause every time a mook dies) and cheaper enemy and trap placement compared to the arcade game (especially notable with the weed trimming tractor in Mission 3, which moves in a ridiculously faster pace than in the arcade version). The game is virtually unplayable with the 6-button controller as well, since it causes the player to move even more slowly than with the standard 3-button controller. To top it off, this port actually came out a few months before Accolade's Genesis port of the first game in America, which was pretty decent by comparison. The only saving grace Double Dragon II has is that the music from the arcade version made its way mostly intact.
Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone - A bad port of what was an already mediocre arcade sequel, the Genesis version suffers from missing animation frames (with many of the moves missing), bad hit detection (enemies don't react to the player's attacks until their health run out), different button inputs for the special moves (despite the fact that the Genesis controller had three action buttons matching the numbers of buttons in the arcade version), butchered renditions of the arcade game's music (one of the few redeeming aspects of the original) and poor character balance (especially in the final two stages, where a close-range attack from an enemy does more harm than projectiles such as arrows and fireballs). To make matters worse, they based the port on the U.S. version of the arcade game, which had the credit-feeding item shops, instead of the Japanese version, which featured selectable characters and all the special moves usable from the get-go.
Duke Nukem 3D - This port was an unlicensed port (even though the company claims it's licensed) and was only exclusive to Brazil. The game uses a Wolfenstein 3D-style 2D raycasting engine, which means that all the levels, instead of the city areas that were so abundant in the real game, are now glorified corridors. Duke's voice clips are almost undecipherable due to the high rate of compression used on them. Also, only Episode 2 was ported, so basically this port just had 3/4 of the original game taken out of it.
Hard Drivin. While the arcade game was a popular, well recieved driving simulator, the Sega Genesis port was nothing short of a trainwreck. While the real-time 3-D graphics are impressive for an early Genesis game (especially since it uses no add-on chips), its clear that the Genesis was incapable of handling such a game on its own, judging by the single-digit framerate, laggy controls, lousy physics (just try to clear the loop de loop ramp) and slippery handling, all combined with a car with the durability ofa Pinto, and a very strict time limit with too few checkpoints, and the game is almost unplayable.
Might & Magic 2 - Decent graphics, especially compared to some older versions of the game. The control scheme took getting used to, but that wasn't too bad for a turn-based RPG. Unfortunately, someone messed up the computer AI, because enemies always had a predictable pattern — they would attack the party members in order, one after the other. Doesn't sound that bad? That includes party members out of melee (who are typically there for very good reason), turning the thing from mildly annoying to unbelievably frustrating.
Out Runners - This Genesis conversion suffers from pretty much the same issues as the Genesis port of Turbo Out Run, along with a forced split-screen view, even in the game's 1-player mode.
Samurai Shodown - The Genesis port, despite missing Earthquake, was a relatively fine port. Now one would expect the Sega CD port to be better, right? Well, aside from still not having Earthquake (on a CD, no less), there is a horrible Game-Breaking Bug in which the game crashes right before the final battle against Amakusa, making the game Unwinnable by Mistake. When word of this spread out, porting company JVC issued a recall where broken copies could be traded for the decent Sega CD port of Fatal Fury Special. No fixed Sega CD version of Samurai Shodown was ever released.
Star Control - Programmed by Accolade and touted as the console's first 12-Megabit cartridge, it managed to pack in some graphics and sound effects from later revisions of the game, but at a price: it absolutely slows the game to a crawl, even in the relatively-simplistic full game map screen. Game Genie codebooks even published a code to turn off asteroids in combat to try and make it a wee bit faster. The sad thing is, some of the original SC developers were responsible for the Genesis port. They regretted having botched it in many interviews to come, especially since the Genesis hardware is similar to the Amiga.
Starflight - A port of a PC game. The starmap is shrunken and simplified, the vast exploration of planetary maps (which didn't use much data on computers due to some processing tricks) have been replaced by a more arcadey minigame. The plot and alien interaction are also stripped down. While the Genesis port is actually larger than the PC version, incorporating a number of the improvements from Starflight 2, such as more meaningful ship upgrades and artifacts that actually do things, it did introduce an irritating bug that rendered a quest to disable the Uhlek impossible to complete.
Strike Fighter - A botched port After Burner III for the Sega CD.
Time Killers - A port of an already horrible arcade game that was released four years after the original. The end result wasn't pretty, with even more crippled controls and overall horrible presentation.
Todd's Adventures in Slime World - This port of the Atari Lynx game has audio that can be accurately described as ear torture. It also lacks sprite scaling, a feature of the Lynx predating the Super NES's Mode 7 that the game was designed to show off at every opportunity, with nothing done to compensate. It overall manages to look worse than the original, an achievement for a port to a console allowing up to 64 colors on the screen from a handheld that could only manage 16.
Turbo Out Run - Despite the fact that the original Out Run had a decent Genesis conversion handled by Sims, Sega for some reason handed the porting duties of the game's sequel to Tiertex, resulting in the Genesis version having worse graphics and sound quality, with many of the more elaborate background effects missing, as well as jerkier controls.
Dark Castle - The CD-i version has even worse controls than the Genesis version, with one button being used to jump, duck or interact with objects; perhaps to compensate, it plays very sluggishly. The reason it has better graphics than the Genesis version is that the screen is severely cropped. The list of high scores gets cluttered up quickly because you can save after dying, can continue from that save with no score penalty, and not have your previous high score erased.
Tetris on C Di is possibly unique of all these examples as its problem was that it had too good visuals as compared to the original. They decided to add nature scenes with the classic board sitting on some piece of the scenery. Not only did this mean the game was much smaller and a bit harder to see (and often annoyingly off center), but they replaced the classic Tetris theme with stock nature sounds for no good reason.
3DO Interactive Multiplayer
Doom - Ported by Art Data Interactive. Small screen and low frame rate ahoy! When put next to Interplay's port of Wolfenstein 3D on the same console, this is inexcusable. The single bright spot, picked up on pretty much every review, was the awesome music, rerecorded specially for this version. Just a shame that there were so few levels that some of the original songs were not present.
Space Ace - Released for the ill-fated Jaguar CD add-on, for some reason, the visual cues appear after the game expect you to perform the commands, killing you before you can even do anything. Considering Space Ace is a Full Motion Video game where the game consists solely of pressing buttons when ordered, the whole thing is completely unplayable.
Nintendo 64 (N64)
Cruis'n USA - Has muddier graphics compared to the 1994 arcade original, with a low draw distance, wonky framerate, and worst of all, the music picked a fight with a MIDI composer and lost. Yes, the arcade original used hardware that was totally different from what was used in the N64, but the fact that Midway had two full years to get it right makes the end result inexcusable. It also suffered from Nintendo's Censorship Bureau.
Daikatana - As if the PC original wasn't lousy to start with, somehow it got even WORSE after festering in development for another three months before it was finally ported to the Nintendo 64...with significantly-worse visuals, distance fog everywhere, and a blurry resolution making the game almost impossible to play in multiplayer split-screen. Oh, and the player can't even use the Daikatana.
Quake 64 - Many graphic details were cut down (although the N64 could do quite a bit better), several stages were removed completely (presumably due to limited cartridge space), and multiplayer was limited to two players (when the N64 port of Quake II had four-player multiplayer.) And the dark ambient soundtrack by Trent Reznor was replaced by generic atonal ambiance.
StarCraft - Features excessively clunky UI and unit handling as well as considerably worse graphics and audio. Just the thought of trying to play an RTS with the N64 controller should tell how terrible the port was. Somewhat justifiable, not all the game's content is available without the usage of the Expansion Pak (extra 4MB of memory). This port did however give us the extra mission Resurrection IV where Alexei Stukov is resurrected. Its story line is considered canon.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 - 3 were ports that had unfortunately fell victim to the N64's shortcomings. The draw distance was lower. The trick controls had to be mapped to the C buttons because of the controller's design. Every single FMV had to be cut out, which means that the intro was replaced with ingame footage, and you got no reward for beating the game (whereas in the PSX and Dreamcast versions, you get skater-specific video clips and bail compilations) due to the game having to be cut down to fit in a 16MB cartridge, which was 40 times smaller than the PSX game. And also due to that filesize, there were only 6 songs in Pro Skater 1 and 2 (as opposed to 11 in the PSX version of Pro Skater 1, 13 in the European release of Pro Skater 1, and 15 in Pro Skater 2) and they all had to be cut down to less than a minute. Some of the songs in Pro Skater 1 were literally cut down to an instrumental. Most of them cut out after the first chorus, or sometimes even halfway through the 2nd verse. The songs looped frequently, which means that you had to turn the soundtrack off to actually enjoy the game. This is Tony Hawk we're talking about.
The N64 port for the third game was the last game to ever come out for the N64. Talk about a bad way to end your console's lifespan.
Carmageddon 64. The game suffered from blurry and outdated graphics, horrible framerates, clunky play control, and worst of all... the humans you could run over in the PC original were replaced with green-blooded zombies. Completely ruining the game's whole selling point.
The port of the original Command & Conquer might or might not be unplayable, depending on your tastes. It didn't actually support the yet-to-be-released PlayStation Mouse (despite being hyped up before release that it would support the mouse), so it's all thrown on the regular, non-analog gamepad. None of the advance commands that may come in use (like team creation and selection) are ever pointed out ingame, so the manual is your only savior. Apart from that, though, the controls are at their most comfortable, but then you need to know that C&C runs at really lush speed... Which can't be changed anywhere.
Creatures - Port of a PC game. In addition to compressed graphics, it removed one of the most critical aspects of the series: the virtual genetics. Considering that these were the primary thing that set Creatures apart from other artificial life and pet sims, the lack of these was a definite sticking point for the fans. The lack of Game Mods for the console versions is also a problem.
Descent - A piece of absolute garbage. Though it features the awesome soundtrack from the Macintosh version, as well as remixes of the licensed songs(by Ogre of Skinny Puppy and Type O Negative) from Descent II, it is completely ruined by blocky graphics (enemies are hardly visible at distances), slideshow-level framerate (making firefights in large rooms nearly unplayable) and awkward controls (no analog support unless the player uses the rare Analog Joystick or the original Dual Analog pad, and even then it still kind of sucks). Inexcusable even by early PS standards.
Final Fantasy IX - The PAL version runs more slowly since PAL has 25 fps to NTSC's 30 and the port didn't correct for this. FF9 will only give the player a certain weapon if they reach a point near the end of the game within 12 hours, and in the PAL version that clock isn't slowed like the game itself, so the task is made MUCH harder. It's believed impossible to get a "perfect game" (where you collect every item everywhere, including the speedrun-reward weapon) on the PAL version as a result.
Hexen looks like it was made on a slightly modified engine of Doom's Super Nintendo port, complete with enemies animated only on the face side, the poor framerate and a pretty low screen resolution (hence that, poor visibility); but what was slightly excuseable for a 16-bit console, doesn't do the job for 32 bits, however. The levels were also cut in this way or another, which lead to turning some of the ladders into elevators, torches obviously hanging in air, green serpents being completely replaced either with the centaurs or brown serpents. And on top of all that, the savegame has occupied the entire memory card, leading to a whole minute of saving or loading the game. On the plus side, it had a lot of different control layouts, as well as Redbook-quality music and the exclusive CG movies, but that's it.
Hidden And Dangerous - The squad-based elements removed entirely (the player's teammates became, in effect, extra lives), massively cruder graphics, first-person only and general dumbing-down.
The sequel to Krush Kill N Destroy was lucky enough to get a port of its own, which, despite the removal of most of the units' voice samples, didn't had a whole ton of obvious bugs... Moreover, it had a split-screen versus mode which is rarely met among RTS games, and that would imply that Krossfire would be great for a quick and friendly skirmish, if only it wasn't for the controls. In a nutshell, the port ditches the traditional C&C-like interface of the original version... only to replace it with a menu-based squad selection system, which takes a while to use and an even longer while to figure out how it works. Moreover, the feature list makes it clear that the developers were intentionally messing up with your well-established reflexes:
The control method has been custom-designed for the PlayStation, allowing you to order your units to the front line, ready for action or to their deaths.
Puzznic - Port of an arcade game that for some reason doesn't have the music from the original. That is, if you're playing the US version; the Japanese and European releases have music. The kicker: the music works on PS1 emulators.
South Park - This port of the N64 game by Iguana was an unfinished bug-ridden disaster with inconsistent framerate, bad draw distance, poor audio quality, and even using footage of the N64 version as FMV. The multiplayer maps aren't named like they are on the PC and N64 versions, instead they are all just named "DM(Number)" which makes the game feel like an Obvious Beta. The game even cuts out content from the N64 version which was on a cartridge.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 and 4 are effectively downgraded ports of the PS2 versions made only for a really quick cash-in among the ones who haven't bought a more powerful console yet. It should be said that 3 manages to be a good game by running smoothly and having unique features to it, but 4 is a total disaster. Instead of being made by Shaba Games like THPS3's port was, 4's port was headed by Vicarious Visions. They were known for amazing ports of Tony Hawk to the GBA, so who knows what happened here. The levels barely resembled their 6th-gen counterparts, the physics were wonky, the level design was terrible, the graphics looked unfinished, it was nigh impossible to do a lip trick, the songs were censored to the point of absurdity, and it was filled with glitches.
Luckily, Vicarious Visions ended up getting 3D Tony Hawk right, just a generation later, with the Tony Hawk games for the DS.
X-Men vs. Street Fighter - Due to the fact that Sega stopped supporting the Saturn in America, Capcom decided to release a PS version of the game despite the fact that the PS didn't have a cartridge slot that allowed for additional RAM like the Saturn. As a result, the PS has choppy animation due to many frames removed, eternal loading times and most importantly of all, lacks the tag-team mechanics of the arcade original; instead, the player's second character acts as a glorified assist character (unless the computer or second player is using the same pair of characters as the first player). The PS versions of Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Vs Capcom Clash Of The Super Heroes were significantly improved, thought the latter lacked the tag-team feature.
The two Humongous Entertainment game ports by Runecraft weren't trainwrecks by any means, but they were still badly screwed up. Their port of Pajama Sam 3 suffered from Loads and Loads of Loading, an awkwardly upped frame rate (it's like everyone is on steroids), much of the music removed for no reason at all, and bad controls in a game where all you do is point and click. Their port of Backyard Soccer (which was actually based off the MLS Edition, without the pros, even though it has the same intro) wasn't much better, which had awkward controls and an incredibly simplistic physics engine rather than the more realistic one found on the PC version. Just for the record, the Game Boy Advance versions were closer to their PC counterparts in terms of physics than this.
San Francisco Rush received a terrible PS1 port. The game contained only four tracks (compared with the N64 version's six), the graphics were sloppily drawn, the soundtrack was even worse than the original's, and the stunts were horribly downgraded.
The game did, however, contain one thing the Arcade and N64 versions lacked: weather conditions.
Iznogoud is an extreme example of this. It's a PC game that had got a very good reputation. Its PS1 port is considered to be the worst PS1 game ever.
Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasokyoku - This Japan-only Saturn port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night attempted to add some additional features by making Maria playable and adding two new areas. Unfortunately the novelty of the new features are quickly canceled out by the actual quality of the port itself: the added areas do not match the overall graphical level of the original PS version at all, the game suffers from constant slowdown when the screen is filled with enemies, most of the graphical transparency effects are lost or replaced with dithering, and the game loads before and after entering the transition rooms between areas (you know, those rooms that were there to lessen the loading times in the first place).
Maria's inclusion (though not directly related to the port itself but worth mentioning) had its own issues, as her fighting style from Rondo of Blood was not carried over (wherein she attacked with weapons like doves or kittens). Instead she relied on martial arts attacks to get through the game, which made her bland compared to her Rondo counterpart. This was rectified in the PSP port, though lacking the two exclusive zones from the Saturn version.
Not everyone was happy with the reversal of her play style, however. Some preferred her new moves much more than her old ones. Also, other stuff the PSP version left out from the Saturn version were some new tracks. One of which being her boss theme, which was replaced with Richter's for some reason.
Daytona USA - The Saturn port had most of the sounds and all of the play mechanics that made the original arcade version so beloved. The graphics, though, was another story. It should be noted that the back cover blurb for the European release has the balls to call it a "pixel-perfect conversion". Later Sega did release Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition, which is basically "Daytona on the Saturn done right".
Doom - The Saturn port is an absolute mess. Jerky, unresponsive controls are mapped to a decidedly questionable control scheme. There are completely random bouts of slowdown — it sometimes happens when looking at a blank wall! The non-musical sound effects are of low quality. And there is no multiplayer, which takes half the fun out of Doom. It's been compared to the 32X port in quality, and the Saturn has more advanced specs than the 32X.
Giga Wing - A port of the arcade game published by Takumi has really long load times, even though the Dreamcast could run rings around the CPS-2 hardware the original runs on.
Worms: World Party - A decent port from the PC version, except for the atrocious network code. The most notable of the many Game Breaking Bugs was the lobby system bug - if anyone disconnected from a lobby at any time (including leaving to another lobby before a match starts, disconnecting during a match, or skipping the post-match wrap up stats) everyone in that lobby would have to power down (not reset) their Dreamcast, or else everyone's game would be stuck forever on the lobby screen the next time it showed up.
Playstation 2 (PS 2)
Arcana Heart 2 - A port of an arcade game which suffers extreme lags in both sound, game speed and graphics (on the note of that last one, the sprites are also horribly pixelated). Though some can still enjoy if they adapt to it, but since most of the audience (Japanese) have been playing on arcades, disappointments occur. The weird thing is, it works better in a PS2 emulator if the computer spec is good enough.
Grandia II - The PS2 version has massive graphics slowdown compared to the Dreamcast original; the Dreamcast had massive amounts of Video RAM, which Grandia II was designed to take full advantage of. Also included were a rather distinct drop in resolution, the occasional unannounced complete game lock-up, and a lot of the characters' announcements of their moves are either muted or, worse yet, not actually synced with their moves. There was also how characters in combat would sometimes turn completely white for the duration of the battle, and AI glitches that could result in some battles never ending.
Guitar Hero: World Tour - The PS2 version had very noticeable downgraded graphics and Loads and Loads of Loading. When creating a character, it can take up to 10 seconds for each piece of hair and clothing to load. Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero both suffered from much of the same problems, perhaps even worse, since they're just re-skins of World Tour's engine with the new songs and venues plopped in! In contrast, the other versions of those two games got a new engine with tighter graphics and a refined multiplayer setup.
Guitar Hero III - The PS2 version couldn't cope with some of the busier songs and suffers from clear lagging and skipping issues — absolute death for a Rhythm Game. (See "Knights of Cydonia" and "One" for examples.) It's pretty clear that the Xbox 360 version was the one that was originally developed, and everything else was hacked up out of that (the PC version is, save for some controller modifications, a direct port of the 360). Oddly enough, the PS2 port was rated higher on Metacritic than the X360 version.
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life - The original game was a GameCube title so it makes sense for the weaker PS2 to not play it correctly.. But it's still considerably more dull looking, and almost unbearably laggy and slow.
killer7 - Originally designed for the GCN, the PS2 version is generally called out for its slightly inferior graphics, less responsive controls, occasional framerate problems, and most of all, significantly longer load times.
Max Payne - Both 1 and 2 are inferior in every way to the Xbox and PC versions. The PS2 port of Max Payne 1 suffered from lousy controls, long loading times, poor framerate and no ability to save whenever you want unlike the other versions. Max Payne 2 was not much better. Though this time you could save at any time you wanted, there was no autosave feature meaning if you got really far without saving the game via the pause menu, you would lose lots of progress and have to start again. It also suffered from lots of blurry, pixelated textures, still lousy controls, really long loading times(sometimes even during the levels) and missing sound effects. While there was still fun to be had with the games on the PS2, the Xbox and PC versions were far superior experiences in comparison.
Mushihime-sama - The PS2 doesn't properly emulate the slowdown of the arcade original, causing the game to be more difficult than intended and moments where the game suddenly slows down or speeds back up. In addition, it doesn't run at its native resolution — playing the game in vertical mode reveals that the game's resolution has been scaled down.
Persona 3 - The PAL release runs at a much lower frame rate than the NTSC versions, leaving the game at about half its normal speed. As a result, this makes the already lengthy dungeon crawling aspect of the game last about twice as long, coupled with every single animation in the game looking sluggish and unnatural. The sequel, Persona 4 got off easier, being only slightly slowed down.
Psychonauts - The controls were apparently dipped in molasses during the port, and it also suffers from framerate issues and long loading times. And woe betide you if you live in Europe and got the PAL version. Sound effects playing a random length of time after the trigger, the music loops go out of synch, the cutscene camera being in the wrong place, event triggers occurring out of order, Raz randomly getting stuck on thin air...
Rainbow Six 3 - A port of the Xbox version which took a major hit, given the hardware limitations. The levels were, according to IGN, "cropped like a butch haircut, stripped like a captive terrorist, and given a facelift like Michael Jackson".
Rock Band - Character customization and the proper Band World Tour were completely absent, as was the ability to download more songs, although to be fair, the first was in the interest of making the songs' background videos look good (by pre-rendering them, which meant the same visuals played every time for each song), the second was mainly because of the first (no character creation makes touring with a band of characters you didn't create less of a draw), and the last was somewhat made up for by releasing stand-along "Track Pack" discs that contained the basic engine and a selection of DLC songs. Ultimately, the core game played correctly, but most of the cool features were cut out.
Shadow the Hedgehog - Suffers from the same problems as Sonic Heroes, which was also a multiplatform release. The PS2 version of this game also had very little draw distance and slippery controls to boot, and couldn't keep up with Shadow's "Chaos Control" move.
Sonic Heroes - The PS2 version has a much lower framerate than the Xbox and GCN versions despite having dumbed-down textures and character models in comparison to the XBox and Gamecube versions. It's no wonder IGN gave the PS2 version the lowest score out of all three releases.
Yu Gi Oh GX The Beginning Of Destiny - A PS2 port of the first Tag Force game for the PSP, grossly suffers from music that skips around like a broken record, the game lags and locks up when certain cards are played, and worst of all, the one key feature in it that would've been a boon to the game — multiplayer — is taken out. Even the purported extras you can get by linking it up with the second Tag Force game were horribly lacking.
Half-Life 2 - Valve tried their best to make the Xbox port, but it's clear that the Xbox simply did not have the horsepower to make the Source engine shine. Fuzzy textures and some REALLY noticeable framerate problems plague this port.
Myst IV: Revelation had an Xbox version with Loads and Loads of Loading. Unfortunately, the loading lag comes into effect every single time the player moves to another spot. In a game focused on exploration and puzzle solving, this made it nearly unplayable for all but the most patient players.
Unreal II: The Awakening - The Xbox port has terribly downgraded graphics, a jerky framerate, and very long loading times.
Nintendo Gamecube (GCN)
Mega Man Anniversary Collection - While not a terrible port, the GCN version takes some getting used to, since the "shoot" and "jump" buttons were switched from the NES originals and there's no way to reassign the button configurations.
The Control Stick can't register diagonal movements or only does so when it's exactly on those diagonals. Infuriating when you're trying to leap out and grab a ladder above a spike pit...and it made the shoot-em-up segment of Wily's fortress in MM8 seem impossible until one discovers that the D-Pad works much better at the cost of being slightly awkward to reach, inverted if you use the Hori Game Boy Player controller and if you are willing to spend a bit on money on it if you don't have one.
Another thing that's a bit off about the Gamecube version is that the soundtrack doesn't loop properly. To give an example: if you wait long enough, the music will eventually fade out completely, then start again as if you just started the stage. Strange when even the NES versions of the games looped seamlessly.
The PS2 may have the controls right, but it suffers from something far, far worse than the GCN version: There's a very slight delay between input and execution. In a 3D game that has a slower pace, this might not be much of a problem. In a Mega Man game, however...
Far Cry Vengeance - A remake of FarCry Instincts: Evolution. It's understandable a Wii port of an Xbox 360 game wouldn't look as good as the original, although there are ways to lessen the drop in quality. It's not so understandable for the game to look barely better than Jurassic Park: Trespasser, when the original FarCry games were known for Scenery Porn out the wazoo. Or how about the excellent AI of the originals, which becomes so idiotic that it doesn't notice when someone five feet away gets killed? Or the random content cuts? This wouldn't pass muster on the N64; on the Wii, it feels like a slap in the face.
Sam & Max: Season One - The Wii version has Loads and Loads of Loading and a critical Game-Breaking Bug — if your cursor hits the lower-right edge of the screen, it sticks. The textures have been hideously compressed, to the extent that a lot of text is indecipherable, ruining quite a few background gags. What really puts this into Porting Disaster territory is that the game had a tendency to freeze. Fortunately the game has autosave.
In the Season Two port, the entire video during the episode five credits is absent with still pictures from said video in its place. The cutscenes are also somewhat choppy like in Season One, but at least there isn't any dialogue that does weird jumps or cuts in Season Two, unlike its Season One predecessor (luckily, the games still manage to be awesome anyway).
Sega Superstars Tennis - The Wii port suffers from god-awful controls (yes, you can choose from either the Wii remote on its own, the Wii remote held on its side, or Wii remote + Nunchuk, but no matter what, all of these control schemes play like garbage). With controls like that, even Tails can be a challenge to beat!
The Sims 3, while the other ports were passable, this one was just plain awful as the free roaming feature was poorly done and buggy, which did not help with its much weaker graphics.
The Force Unleashed - aside from having more restricted environments due to weaker processing power, the character models hit deep into the Uncanny Valley on the Wii.
Blood Bowl - The 360 version was pretty much a complete port of the PC original in every detail except for one small omission- online leagues. Removing the online multiplayer leagues from Blood Bowl is about on equivalent to removing multiplayer from a fighting game, basically gutting the main drawcard of the entire game. The result was best summarized in Angry Joe's review of the game where he was mostly complimentary towards the game in general for most of the review until he got around to mentioning the omission of multiplayer leagues, where his attitude suddenly turned violently nasty. He ended up giving the 360 version a score of 2/10 almost solely for this reason- yeah, it was THAT big of an omission.
Dark Messiah - The original PC version was not too bad. The 360 release is...something else entirely. The graphics are terrible, and despite trying to be an RPG, the game flagrantly removes pretty much every game mechanic associated with the RPG genre to make a linear first-person game. It was an attempt to completely remake the game as something more console-friendly, as Ubisoft had previously done with Far Cry...but while Farcry Instincts was lauded for its unique direction and all-around quality, Dark Messiah of Might & Magic: Elements didn't turn out quite as well.
DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou BLACK Label - In addition to the long load times (even when installed to the hard drive), the 360 version is also rather buggy. One particularly egregious error is when the screen is in Tate mode, all the menus will still be displayed as if it was still in Yoko mode so you have to either tilt your monitor or your head to navigate the menus. The likely reason for all these things? Aqua Systems used the source code from the PS2 version. A patch that corrected the loading times was finally released...two years later...and by then, it was out of print. So much for waiting for a patch before buying it.
Duke Nukem Forever - Inconsistent framerate, constant screen-tearing, shadows are not well implemented, excruciatingly long loading times. In part it's because the porting was made in little time, but given the game's dated visuals and the fact the PS3 version has no such issues (which also makes it more enjoyable), it's not an excuse. Nevertheless, this Porting Disaster did not prevent clueless fans from claiming that the game was originally developed for Xbox 360 and then ported to PC, despite the PC version being the best of the lot and the Xbox 360 version being the worst. Luckily, the DLC, The Doctor Who Cloned Me, also included a patch that has fixed all these issues. Now the blood decals don't flicker, the textures load fully, the framerate drops are extremely rare etc. Now the game is much more enjoyable, especially since the new DLC more or less won back the crowd for the people who played it.
Guwange - The Xbox LIVE Arcade version runs in letterboxed 16:9 if you are using any resolution that doesn't have a 16:9 aspect ratio (i.e. a standard-ratio CRT screen), on top of the pillarboxing used to fit a vertical screen onto a horizontally-oriented monitor. So unless you have a huge widescreen TV or are willing to turn your screen 90 degrees, prepare to play in a VERY small screen.
RAGE - The 360 version had to be severely stripped down due to the sheer size of the game (approximately 21 GB for the PC version). PC players are used to multiple discs and large Steam downloads, and PS3s can read Blu-ray discs, but the 360 size issues resulted in (among other things) many items being Lost Forever if you didn't get them before the disc change.
This port was so bad, it even hurt the other versions of the game. To get it to fit on a reasonable number of XBox 360 discs at all, they had to trim a lot of content from every version of the game — the actual story is still as intended, but other things took a hit, such as the overworld being significantly simplified and much smaller than the original intent.
R-Type Dimensions - The 360 version lacks customizable controls; A is to shoot, B is to shoot rapid-fire shots, and X is to fire your Force Pod. Which is counter-intuitive if you're playing on any controller with a tilted ABXY diamond or an ABXY setup that isn't diamond-shaped at all.
Silent Hill 2- The original Xbox version can played on a 360 with an official Xbox emulator. However, parts of the graphics will randomly disappear and after the player dies in a certain area the game refuses to function unless the player deletes all of their save files. Sadly, this isn't a one-time case. There are also problems with the sound effects becoming muted too, in addition to horrible graphical glitches that rendered many textures flat like porcelain. A comprehensive overview of the numerous glitches is contained in this feature from the-horror.com.
Space Invaders Extreme- The XBLA version has no stage mode, no "no continues" mode (rankings are instead done through Arcade Mode and accept scores achieved with continues), and the game stretches to fill the entire screen, which means if you're playing on anything other than a 16:9 screen the game will look stretched.
Supreme Commander - The 360 version suffer from stuttering graphics, framerates down to 1 digit when a nuke went off, and lockups whenever you receive a transmission. Chris Taylor admitted the crappiness of the port and promised that Supreme Commander 2 will be better. At the time of release, only the most powerful PCs could handle it at full detail on the largest maps, and even two years later most players couldn't get good performance on top settings. A console not being able to handle it was basically a forgone conclusion. The sequel has slightly simpler models and textures to make it more accessible.
Playstation 3 (P S3)
Bayonetta - Originally developed by PlatinumGames for the Xbox 360 with Nextech doing the PS3 port. Despite the noticeable decrease in graphic quality, the game is so unbelievably slow it causes truly atrocious framerate drops and you'll suffer from Loads and Loads of Loading even when pressing the pause button (thankfully, the loading times were fixed by a patch from Sony, which allows players to install the game to the internal hard-drive).
PS3 ports of Capcom fighting games, like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the Street Fighter IV series, have 1-2 frames of seemingly-random input lag and/or slowdown during play — which is fine for casual play, but when you've got $5k+ on the line... Also, the ports only supports up to 720p on a PS3. The Xbox 360 version supports 1080p.
Bejeweled 2 - The PS3 version suffers from one gripe, albeit a rather major one: the player cannot use a USB mouse to play it. Yes, it's a port of a PC game and most people will not expect to use a mouse on the PS3, but the PS3 has USB mouse support even within the XMB.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The PS3 version has had some serious lag issues. About halfway through the game, many players have hit lag that slows the game down so much, it becomes unplayable. Especially bad because "halfway through" for this game could mean over fifty hours of playtime. Bethesda, the developer of Skyrim, denied the problem entirely at first, then told players how to reduce the lag, but not eliminate it. There have since been several patches attempting to fix the problem.
The PS3 version of Fallout: New Vegas also becomes plagued with increasingly worse slowdown and more frequent freezing as thegame "grows", as in, as the player progresses. Adding DLC data also aggravates the problems, and the Ultimate Edition, wich includes all the DLC items and missions, is well known to be even more unstable than the already shaky vanilla version.
F.E.A.R. - One of the first porting disasters released early in the console's lifetime. The port had been hyped for a solid year before being released a year after the Xbox 360 version. What did PS3 users get? Long load times, inconsistent framerate, no pack-in expansion content, and reduced graphical fidelity compared to the PC and 360 versions. The latter was a cardinal sin for a console that came onto the market boasting about its technical hardware prowess and support for full 1080p HD resolutions at a time when 1080p was not widely prevalent. The magazines of the time warned readers to skip this port and keep playing the PC and 360 versions instead.
Mafia II - Take 2 has apologized for making the PS3 version the least feature rich version, compared to the PC (which is the fullest experience) and Xbox 360 versions.
TheOrangeBox - The PS3 version was vastly inferior to the other versions. Valve did not develop it (for certain reasons, which are no longer true as of Portal 2); it was done by an Electronic Arts internal studio. This was probably most noticeable in Team Fortress 2. The game was a playground for griefing as bugs that had been fixed for nearly a year in the PC/360 versions went unpatched. Every other game had an Engineer who knew the sky/underground sentry glitch.
Persona 3 FES - The PSN version suffers from several emulation problems, such as the game failing to save or just deleting your saved games when you try to load, freezing, and lots of texture flickering. This has been fixed in a firmware update.
Plants vs. Zombies - Suffers from the lack of mouse support, much like Bejeweled 2. It seems that Sony Online Entertainment, the body responsible for the port, is not interested in letting the games be played in a much simpler manner.
Silent Hill HD Collection - While worse than the original PS2 games as it stands on both platforms, it really got hit hard on the PS3. Rampant slowdown throughout the game, the voices falling out of synch with the characters' lips, and various other little bugs. The most damning downfal of the port is the missing fog. Thankfully, Konami has started patching the game, and Silent Hill 2 works pretty well now with minor issues.note They reinstated the fog effect but it's less impressive than the original. 360 owners, however, are screwed (see that version's entry for details).
Splinter Cell: Double Agent - The PS3 version suffers from framerate and slowdown issues starting at the opening cutscene.
Splinter Cell Trilogy - A compilation of the first three games that omits fundamental features like the option to invert look controls - which had been in almost every prior release of the same games. After initially claiming that inverted controls were not an industry standard - and following a lengthy outcry from frustrated customers - Ubisoft patched it. Several months later.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty - None of the other versions were very good, but the bomb-wiring mini-game in the PS3 version tells you to work by the colors of the buttons...or, rather, the colors of the corresponding Xbox buttons.
The HD version of Sly 2: Band Of Thieves is prone to random freezing, and sometimes, all sounds will go missing, and quitting the game when this happens will freeze your PS3 also. Despite all these problems, Sony has not bothered to patch it at all.
The PS3 port of Zen Studios' Pinball FX 2 seems to suffer from the same random input lag and slowdown issues that plague Capcom's PS3 ports. Also, it has the same problem of only running at up to 720p - The original Xbox 360 versions supports 1080p. Sure, they added 3DTV support and ability to purchase extra tables that isn't available in the Xbox 360 original (but also available for the Windows 8 port), but any lag in games that requires hair-trigger response like pinball sims is inexcusable. Also, the title screen was a boring static screen compared to the Xbox 360 original.
While this is averted for the PC version of the Spelunky remake (where they fixed some bugs and made the downloadable content characters unlockable), the Playstation version, in contrast, is not only based upon the Xbox versionnote and thus still has game's bugs that was fixed in the PC release, it also introduced its own bugs related to both lag and trophies.
Fatal Frame 2 suffered missing graphics in the PSN port. It got so bad that they had to temporarily take it off the PSN store. Fortunately, it's been fixed and plays like normal now.
For a while, the Wii U port of Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed had quite a few Game-Breaking Bugs: Boost pads on Boost Challenges wouldn't load, one mission loaded a boat on land, among many other glitches. While the other versions do have quite a bit of bugs, none of them are as bad as what the Wii U version originally had. Thankfully, SUMO Digital released a patch that fixed these.
Also a DVD player example. After Digital Leisure did an overall good job on porting first two parts of that series with Dirk the Daring, they suddenly decided to port Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair as well. As the result of doubleGenre Shift (interactive movie -> third-person arcade -> interactive movie or something that resembles it), as well as completely non-cinematic camera angles during the gameplay and the badly decreased "clicks per minute" count (mainly caused by the fact that in the original DL3D, not everything was trying to kill you), Dragon's Lair III is probably what you should ignore just to buy their Dragon's Lair Trilogy alone. Even Tomb Raider did better when Angel of Darkness hit the DVD players, no matter if TR fans loved it or not..
Other illnesses include: Bonus Feature Failurenote From the start, you've got a lot of "extra art" which is either screenshots from the game, or screenshots from the ORIGINAL games, or, in very rare cases, some concept art and figurine photos; and when you complete the game, you get access to five bonus levels...with untextured Dirk and enemies. Yes, he will be white even before he becomes a skeleton.), Anti-Climax Bossnote During the Mordrok boss battle, you should tap only ONE button, save for the moment when you have to turn right. And that's the final boss!, Scrappy Mechanicnote Some of the actions are clearly performed in a way different from obvious: you see a platform behind the Dirk, which is obviously situated above his head, perspective-wise, and you have to fly forward. What do you press? DOWN BUTTON.Wait, there's more! The three-minute Smithey battle is also screwed up: at the first round, you have to get rid of the sword, the spear and the anvil. Three more rounds and Dirk dodges them all by himself. On the fifth...you have to dodge the anvil yourself. Just dare to call that fair. and Yet Another Stupid Deathnote Except, this time around, it's played literally; sometimes, you have to wait 30 seconds watching Dirk stupidly standing in one place while Giddy Goons try to mash him up; bonus points for the fact that you can't skip these anyhow..
An old Visual Novel called Exodus Guilty Neos, which has been previously released on PlayStation and Saturn, was ported to DVD players not so long ago...and, apart from having fully voiced characters this time around, it throws all the interactivity it originally had out of the wall, so now, you have to wait till the end of any of these 30-minute chapters just in order to pick a decision. Side note: no alternate endings, three DVDs with 6 hours of video on each. While the originals ran on a single CD and had additional endings to run on. With such level of interaction, no one shall call it a game.
Disastrous ports to hand-held consoles:
Game Boy (GB, GBC)
Contra: The Alien Wars - A port of the SNES game Contra III that lacks the dual-wielding weapon system (admittedly due to the lack of buttons on the Game Boy), several boss characters (including the one-eyed brain at the end), and the entire motorcycle-riding stage. Although it's a bit unfair to expect a Game Boy port of an SNES game to live up to the original, this doesn't excuse the fact that the graphics, sounds and mechanics are worse than Operation C (the previous Contra game released for the Game Boy), with a much slower playing speed to boot.
Crystalis - The GBC port of the NES cult classic is much worse than the original — the perfectly-fitting music was replaced, the controls were messed up, and then the game's framerate problems, plot changes, and other flaws cause most who have played the original to either deny its existence or wish the rating system went down to zero.
Made even worse by an attempt to dumb-down the game. The main character wields four elemental swords, which he needs to switch between as certain creatures have immunity to certain elements. For example, poison bugs are immune by the wind sword. Apparently they didn't like the constant need to change swords, so instead they made it so all swords could hurt any creature, it's just that the wrong element did less damage. There is no audible way of telling if you're dealing partial damage, so it actually makes the game harder, since you don't know if you're using the right sword or not.
Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone - Unlike the first two GB versions developed by Technos, the third GB game was handled by Sales Curve and rather than being a Reformulated Game like the GB version of the original (or a Dolled-Up Installment like the second), it's a straight port of the arcade version and a pretty awful one at that. The player only has three moves (the basic punch and kick and a jump kick, no consecutive attacks or grappling moves like in the previous GB games) and the game is pretty much impossible to complete in one life due to poor hit detection and the fact that the enemies have Mercy Invincibility when they recover after a fall. The player can purchase the hurricane kick move and a sword from item shops like in the arcade version (only with in-game currency instead of credits) and they even managed to botch that up (the sword cannot be carried over to another stage, making it a pointless item, the hurricane kick is about as effective as the standard jump kick and all the extra playable characters are missing). To top it off, the graphics are worse than the first two games, with bland character designs and stiff animation, only one sound effect for everything and the music is annoyingly repetitive (with the same three tunes played throughout the entire game).
Galaga: Destination Earth - Rather than try and port the complex 3D environments of the PC version, Pipe Dream Interactive decided to make the Game Boy Color version play more like the original. The only problem is...they didn't quite do it right. There was very little skill involved, as once you got your second ship, you could pretty much blindly fire forward and clear wave after wave, even without the double-damage power-up. However, if the enemies got a shot off, there was roughly a 50% chance it would hit you. Even if you were on the other side of the playing field. In addition to a lack of music and only three settings, not to mention a nigh-useless password feature, it was simply a trainwreck of a port.
Marble Madness - The GB version flings you back to the second stage if you beat the fifth stage, either because of a programming error or because the final stage doesn't even exist in this port. Have fun playing through the middle four stages until you run out of time or batteries, whichever comes first.
Mortal Kombat - You can accept the ugly black-and-white graphics on the Game Boy, but the biggest problem was how slowly and jerkily it ran. Mortal Kombat II came out on the same system a few years later but it ran at a much better speed and was all-around more fun to play, so there isn't much of an excuse for this one. On top of that some of the controls were changed for the worst and most of the fatalities were terrible.
Populous - The GB version has almost-indecipherable graphics that splits up on three different screens (you had to switch) what you see in the PC/SNES version on one screen.
Toy Story - The 16-bit console and PC versions shared the same layout (with various design and/or level changes), decently rendered 3-D graphics, a nicely varied soundtrack, and challenging (but not unbeatable) stages. The Game Boy version, however:
Was frustratingly slow - Woody moves and jumps like he's on the moon.
Had a more grating and repetitive soundtrack.
Had awkward hit detection, particularly when trying to use Woody's pull-string as a weapon or a grappling hook.
Had some poorly-blended graphics. With the original Game Boy's unlit green screen, game play was all the more aggravating due to the complex textures and sprite designs.
Removed many levels, including all that were outside the "platformer" realm (the overhead racing levels, 3-D maze, etc.) and the boss fights (Nightmare Buzz, regular Buzz Lightyear, and the notorious Claw).
Grand Theft Auto Classic - Although the GBC versions of the first two Grand Theft Auto games were impressive in how they were able to fit entire city maps on a cartridge as well as having a reasonable framerate, these ports were mainly let down by horrible music and clunky driving controls which made the games very tedious to play. Although an effort is shown here, the attempt at trying to capture the feel of the superior PC/PSX versions is weakened by the GBC's limited hardware.
The port of Lemmings for the original Game Boy was, for the most part, a direct port of the NES version, and so does not fit here. The Game Boy Color Lemmings and Oh No! More Lemmings... didn't fare nearly as well. The graphics are terribly downgraded, several levels are arbitrarily switched around (this includes making Across the Gap, a difficult level from the Crazy difficulty, the second level of ONML), the Lemmings move at a ridiculously slow pace that makes clearing some levels nearly impossible, and the perfectly fitting Ear Worm-filled soundtrack was replaced with something much more generic and boring.
Game Boy Advance (GBA)
BIONICLE: the Game - The PC and console versions were already bad, but this version had awful graphics, awful controls, six all-male voice samples that all of the characters use (even Gali, the only female Toa), and so much Fake Difficulty it's borderline unplayable. The only redeeming quality is the music.
Bubble Bobble: Old and New - The port of the original arcade game in this compilation was an utter disaster — you could either look at a blurry or squished-down view of the whole level, or not see part of the level at all. The controls were also off. If that wasn't bad enough, the soundtrack was a terrible, tinny remix of the beloved original.
A result of the real-life case of No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup(according to this). Deaths and squishing yourself with bubbles did not match the arcade implementations. In the port, when you die, you still fall down, but you freeze in midair when you start spinning out upon death instead of just before you poof away into magic dust. Also, upon death, the standing-not-dead sprite frame is used, followed by the sitting-down-dead sprite frame only when your character spins out. And they called the second player Bobblen, not Bobblun as it should be.
Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX - While technically better than the first Game Boy version, this GBA port is still a butchering of the original SNES game. Not only does it still lack the dual-wielding weapon system (even though the player still carries a second rifle on his back), it also removes the mega bomb power-up that was previously kept in the original Game Boy version (which were activated in that version by pressing Select). The character sprites and backgrounds are lifted straight from the SNES version, but alot of the larger bosses (like the tortoise and the skeleton robot) were squished to fit into the smaller resolution of the GBA, yet the player's sprite was left unchanged. Because of this, a lot of the larger enemies are harder to avoid than they were in the original due to the lack of space to maneuver. While the motorcycle stage is kept this time, along with all the bosses missing from the previous Game Boy version, the two overhead Mode 7 stages were replaced with two side-scrolling stages ported over from Contra: Hard Corps. However, the replacement stages were designed with the play mechanics of Contra: Hard Corps in mind, which featured a slide move that was not carried over to the GBA port, an ability that was almost necessary to avoid certain attacks used by the bosses in these new stages.
Earthworm Jim - The GBA port was an absolute trainwreck. A huge chunk of sprite animations are cut from the game, the physics are broken, the ray gun and helicopter head sound effects are replaced with muffled sounding ones, the music sounds like distorted versions of the SNES version's music, the A button is used as the fire button and B is the jump button and it is impossible to change, the graphics are messy, and the remaining sound effects from the original are distorted and their pitch is changed.
Earthworm Jim 2 - Just as bad as the original, if not worse. It has most of the same problems and very few things were fixed from the previous port and even has its own fair share of problems. The graphics are slightly improved from the previous port but many sprite animations are still cut out of the game. The 3D-ish floor in the level Puppy Love is glitched up, and the music still sounds like distorted versions of the SNES version's music but with parts of the songs cut out. This port is widely known for its broken password system that literally loads a game where you instantly die for no reason.
Klax/Marble Madness - The Marble Madness port in the pack is a lazy mess and literally half the game it used to be. The controls are unpolished, the marble teleports to the other end of the chute (instead of rolling down it), and the wave in Stage 3 is absent. The worst feature is that you get Game Over at the end of Stage 3. There's no excuse for this, considering that ports for older systems managed to contain the whole game. At least the Klax port is good, despite repeating after level 3.
LEGO Island 2 - The PC version was already mediocre at best, but the GBA version butchered the music, changed the song for the diving minigame to an extremely boring song, and somehow managed to make the infamous fishing minigame even worse. Also, even though it fixed the loading times, it still had plenty of glitches. One of them is Nubby's van. Every time you get in the van (when you can, that is), you'll find you can only move in two directions, you can drive anywhere (even on the water), and you can't get out.
Medal of Honor: Underground - While the PlayStation original was an excellent World War II first-person shooter, the GBA version is...not. As you can see in this video, there are no redeeming factors to this game. The graphics look awful, and can best be described as the visual equivalent of baby vomit; horrendously low-resolution textures, terrible framerate, and the character sprites blend into the textures, so there's nearly no way to know if anyone is in front of you. The controls would be fine if there weren't such a horrific disconnect between command and action. Sometimes, your actions aren't even recorded. The sound is equally terrible, with heavily-distorted voice samples and a soundtrack that sounds like an orchestra of farts. The FMV segments of the PSOne game are removed and replaced with boring-ass still-frame illustrations with text beneath them. And the AI is ridiculously stupid; in one mission you have to stay within four feet of your brother lest he lose track of where the hell he is and just stand around like a dumbass.
Mortal Kombat Advance - The previous Mortal Kombat ports for the Game Boy and Game Gear were never exactly good, but this GBA port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was a trainwreck. Poorly-done sprites, poorly-ported music, AI that hovered between being stupidly easy or stupidly hard (especially Scorpion, who can easily ruin your game as early as being the first opponent), and various other screwups make this port a complete and utter mess. It was the first game in Electronic Gaming Monthly to receive a total 0 rating. Not a surprise, since Midway farmed this job out to a third party, with no involvement from Ed Boon's MK team, with the goal of churning out the game in four months to make a quick buck on the license. After this, it's no wonder that Midway hired Other Ocean to handle the DS port, which was much better.
Phantasy Star Collection - While Phantasy Star II and III were perfectly ported to the GBA, the original game has two major issues. First, it will randomly crash upon exiting a battle - not too often, but often enough that any given playthrough will encounter it at least once. Second, the evasion stat was messed up completely. In an overlap with Good Bad Bugs, at specific levels each character cannot be hit by any attack. However, the corollary is that at all other levels the characters cannot evade even one attack.
R-Type III - The GBA port of this SNES game features poor collision detection, missing features, and a broken and illogical scoring system are the apparent result of the developers not having access to the original source code. They also replaced excellent music with a terrible new soundtrack.
Rock 'N Roll Racing - The GBA port has two noticeable issues: Firstly, the BGMs have been abridged. Secondly, it overcompensated for the GBA's lack of backlight so much that palette swap animations in some screens seem uniform and no longer animated (this is most noticeable on the car upgrade screen with a maxxed out car).
Sonic The Hedgehog Genesis- Among other issues, such as music which sounded like a cheap MIDI version of the original (already synthesized!) music in the Genesis version and horrible physics, the most notable problem was frequent slowdown...in a Sonic game...ported to a system that's actually more powerful than the original. The porting team apparently felt it proper to rewrite the physics engine from the ground up, leading to hilarious glitches ensuing. A good Musical Slapstick Montage of some blatant glitches is here.
To add further insult to injury, the same person behind the "Knuckles in Sonic 1" ROM hack made a much, much, MUCH superior homebrew GBA port of Sonic The Hedgehog, proving that whoever made Sonic the Hedgehog Genesisjust didn't care.
The homebrew port only covers the first Zone. Still, when you consider that one person did all the work, imagine if the whole porting team was up to his level of competence — you'd have the definitive handheld retro Sonic experience.
Worse yet, the Sonic port for the iPod Classic — a platform that's hardly associated with action games — was more accurate than the GBA version, having been actually recompiled from the original code.
To put the icing on the Porting Disaster cake, if you somehow manage to slug through all the problems the game has and reached the end credits, the ending sequences has Sonic's auto runs become messed up because of the reworked physics engine, resulting in one part where he gets hit by an enemy and that doesn't happen in the original game.
As if there wasn't enough icing on the aforementioned Porting Disaster cake, remember Stealth, the fan who made that Knuckles in Sonic 1 hack that also made that superior homebrew GBA port of Sonic 1? Taxman, a fan who made the Retro Engine that was the backbone for the 2011 re-release of Sonic CD teamed up with Stealth for the 2013 Sonic 1 re-release for Android and iOS devices that (like the Sonic CD re-release) SEGA published. It uses the Retro Engine, it's not emulated, it runs in 60fps and it has a myriad of features including being able to play as Tails and Knuckles. Again, all of this was done by two people.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper - The GBA versions get three new characters from Capcom vs. SNK 2 in exchange for butchered sounds and stages, as well as no endings. Apparently it wasn't the developer's fault, however, since Capcom insisted on them using an 8 MB cart for whatever ridiculous reason, while 16 and 32 MB carts were available. They did try their best to at least fit all the play mechanics in those eight megabytes, as well as replacing World Tour with a set of options that more or less did the same thing and didn't require you to beat the mode with every single character that you wanted to be able to utilize them.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo - The GBA version occasionally suffers from a nasty game-freezing glitch, file erasure, or both at the same time. In case you're wondering, the porting was done by the aforementioned Atomic Planet.
Tekken Advance - This atrocity was farted out by Namco to try and capitalize on the handheld craze. The sprites were 3D structures ripped from Tekken 3, shrunken and distorted to accommodate the GBA (the same can be said of the entire game, in fact). While the screens and promo shots looked decent, the actual game was so hastily stripped down that the gameplay was more reminiscent of the crappy NES bootleg ports than any respectable GBA title.
One particularly noteworthy flaw with Tekken Advance would be it's inefficient button mapping. With four buttons, at LEAST they could have tried to incorporate some of the signature limb-based gameplay (even if it was a bit short on animations). Instead they opted for "Punch, Kick, Throw, and Tag", despite the fact they could have mapped tag to select and then just set up throws the same way they're done in every other Tekken game (pressing both limbs on one side).
Sony Playstation Portable (PSP)
Angry Birds - The PSP version has random framerate slowdowns and glitchy controls, and considering it's based on an iPhone game, it really shows how rushed the port was.
Dynasty Warriors - The PSP version looks like a mix of Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires and Dynasty Warriors for the GBA, and to add more insult, the crossover Warriors Orochi games don't have these errors.
The models are prone to be glitchy and Off Model, which usually happens when using the bow.
Sometimes, the game doesn't even remember if you were on a horse or not, It may or may not spawn you with a horse.
Final Fantasy Tactics - The PSP version suffers from slowdown of something like 50% (that's half-speed animation) whenever a three-dimensional effect is processed. This renders almost anything except basic attacks twice as slow as the PS version. While the heavy script rewrite from the original (and from the Japanese version) is a debatable aesthetic issue, the slowdown makes long missions nearly unplayable.
The slowdown is especially infuriating because it's a PS game ported to a hardware as powerful as the PS2!
You can now download the original PS1 game from the PSN store and play it on your PSP, at full speed. And for less than half the price of the PSP version, no less! They Just Didn't Care. The only reason to play War of the Lions now is the somewhat-improved translation, if you can wait around for it.
The remake is headed to the iPhone, which is nearly as powerful as the PSP, so perhaps there's some hope for salvation...
Eventually fixed with a fan patch that removes the slowdown when the game is run through custom firmware. Now why Square Enix couldn't be bothered to fix it, either before release or through an official patch...
The slowdown isn't a 'bug', it's a 'feature'. They mucked with the display times of the frames of animation for certain attacks to reduce general slowdown during said attacks but ended up making the general case infuriatingly slow to fix a specific case problem.
Mana Khemia: The PSP version was especially atrocious. Not only were the loading times ridiculously long, but almost everything you did cause the game to lag for several seconds, whether it be bringing up the menu, switching characters in and out during battle, or even something as simple as jumping on the field. Sometimes it would get so bad that the game would just completely freeze up.
Puzzle Quest - The PSP version was a decent port overall (like the DS version), but it's the only one with a major bug: the companion system doesn't work. It is also one of the extremely few PSP games which will occasionally crash to the XMB.
The game has an option in the main menu that says "Exit". All it does is crash the game on purpose so that the PSP throws the XMB up. On the Vita it throws up an error and ends the emulation. This is the only game on PSP to do this.
Spectral Souls - The PSP version is a direct port of a PS2 original: done so without re-optimizing the game for the PSP's processor. Thus the PSP is trying to play a PS2 game and the end result is Loads And Loadsof Loading for even the most simple of things: including reading dialogue.
Umihara Kawase Shun - A port of a PS1 game, the PSP version is riddled with bugs and features a very screwy physics engine. This led Japanese fans to boycott the port. The DS port is pretty much perfect, with accurate adaptations of both the Super Famicom and PS1 originals and even wireless support for sharing replays in spite of the DS being technically weaker than the PSP.
Nintendo DS (NDS)
Bubble Bobble: Revolution - The game includes a port of the original arcade version that was an utter disaster — it has the exact same problems as the GBA port. A result of the real-life case of No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup(according to this). Apparently, whatever plans the developer used for this port came largely from their GBA port.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey - Originally a solid console game based on a series of PC flight sims that were also critically-acclaimed. In the DS version, however, the controls are sluggish and the D-pad is ill-suited for controlling a plane in three dimensions. some stages are unwinnable because the enemies can't be damaged, and the campaigns are just a series of missions that can be played in any order the player wants (which is just as well, considering the last flaw).
Legend of Kay - A port of a PS2 game featuring Ninja Gaiden-esque fighting, racing levels, a solid plot and a soundtrack by Virt. The DS version rips all of that out for random spider jumping, a complete butchering of the script, crappy MIDI files and the complete elimination of the battle system that made the original fun to play in the first place.
Myst - The DS version is seriously hampered by a couple issues. First, the DS' screen resolution is much lower than that of a PC; even with the "magnify" feature added to the DS port, some of the text within certain scenes is still barely readable. Even worse, though, the PC version used context-sensitive mouse cursors to point out when the mouse was over a hot spot; the DS has no equivalent to this at all, which led to aimless screen-tapping to try to figure out what to do. In a game like Myst, that's going to happen quite a bit — it's not that straightforward with AltTags...and there are Game Breaking Bugs in the port.
Rayman DS - The DS version was ported with the original PC keyboard controls of Rayman 2. The DS doesn't have anything even vaguely resembling a keyboard. Some people went out and bought a joypad to eliminate the control problem, which probably doubled the size of the set-up.
The Settlers II - The DS version stores data the whole time while you're playing until there is no space and the game would crash. Scrolling was slow and made an annoying noise, the game would lag and the button to zoom in and out would often disappear due to the data overload. One chapter also has a glitch that deletes your saves when you choose it. Actually the developers recommend you to use said glitch in case the zoom button disappears. What made matters worse is that it was released a few months after Anno 1503 which showed that you can successfully port RTS games to the DS.
Square Enix dropped the ball with their port of Final Fantasy to the Android platform. Support for tablets is abysmal, the music looping doesn't work as expected, the gameplay was altered without the game being adjusted to compensate. There's also the iOS port of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, which has pretty bad lag, and only comes with 13 characters and 2 songs; you have to purchase the rest of the game's content separately (which, altogether, equals over $100 — for reference, the 3DS version, which already includes all of this content except some of the songs — some of which are exclusive to iOS, and some of which are DLC on both platforms — currently retails for $25 to $30).
The port of the original Mega Man X on iOS. The sprites have been redrawn at a higher resolution, which sounds good, except that instead of actually hiring decent artists to redraw the sprites, like they did with Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, most of the sprites look like Capcom just ran the SNES sprites through some kind of graphical filter software. No new colors or detail have been added, making quite a few of the sprites look worse than the SNES version. Some of the animations have lost frames, looking choppier than the original, some of the music is lost, and the visually interesting graphical font used in the SNES version is replaced with a boring generic font. The levels don't scroll smoothly anymore, rather being divided into discrete sections with loading between them. Perhaps worst of all, one of the things that set the game apart from other action games, the stage alterations, are completely absent - Flame Mammoth's stage is always on fire, Storm Eagle's ship doesn't crash into Spark Mandrill's stage, etc. Considering Maverick Hunter X, a remake for a system that is almost as powerful as the iOS, managed to include these, this is particularly inexcusable. How an almost 20-year old game can be ported to a platform with immensely superior hardware and end up running worse is just mind-boggling.
The earlier iOS port of Mega Man 2 wasn't much better. Mega Man jumps higher than normal and falls much slower, some animations are off, you can leave and revisit any stage at any time, allowing you to farm the Emergency Energy Tank at the beginning of Metal Man's stage, the intro to the boss theme gets cut off, Wily doesn't jump out of his saucer before the final battle, the end credits was removed for some unknown reason, and features anEasier Than Easydifficulty.
The original release of the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis versions of Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 on the iPhone. The original iPhone's hardware may well have been plodding for a modern smartphone, but it still had a 400MHz CPU and 128MB of RAM versus the Megadrive's 7.6MHz CPU and 64KB of RAM. Yet both Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 were awful, stuttery messes compared to the originals despite running on vastly superior hardware. (Supposedly this was because Sega dropped barely modified ROMs of the original games into an incredibly inefficient and badly ported/optimized emulator - various third party/jailbroken solutions have produced significantly better results.)
Averted when Sega finally released a new version of Sonic 1 for the iPhone (and Android) built using the Retro Engine, a development tool designed to optimize old-school 2D games for modern platforms, allowing for a smooth framerate, perfect sound and widescreen support. Best of all, it comes as a free update for those who purchased the first port.
The main Ace Attorney trilogy was ported over to iOS systems but sadly, with many game-breaking bugs, much slower animations, several lost frames of animation, about half the characters do not blink, Pearl's theme is missing, the explanation for the fingerprint system was completely removed, and an entire animation was taken out.
A significant amount of the Game.com's library was made up of horribly done ports of popular titles on other systems. The main examples:
Sonic Jam was practically in In Name Only version of the Saturn original. There was nothing from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, and only two levels each from the other three Genesis titles. On top of that, the graphics were barely adequate, the music sounded like a drunk guy playing a keyboard for the first time, and Sonic handled more like an actual hedgehog than his speedy self.
The best thing you can say about Mortal Kombat Trilogy is that it wasn't too much worse than the Game Boy version of Mortal Kombat 3. There were more characters and the graphics were slightly more detailed, but the game was a total jerkfest, making it even more annoying to play.
Duke Nukem 3D was actually a pretty admirable effort in many ways, and easily the most graphically advanced title on the system. Unfortunately, the Game.com wasn't anywhere near powerful enough to handle the Duke. Consequently the game got turned into a Rail Shooter, and the whole thing became one Luck-Based Mission due to the crappy controls and unbelievably slow framerate.
Sonic N for the Nokia N Gage was a fairly faithful port of the original Sonic Advance in many ways, but still fell down badly compared to its predecessor. This was partly due to the N-Gage simply being poorly suited to running this type of game (the vertical aspect ratio of the screen and the weird control layout being the major issues), but the game was also an Obvious Beta on top of that. In addition to the whole game crashing at times, Sonic could actually run off the edge of the screen, often resulting in him dying one way or another.
Disastrous ports to PC operating systems:
Paperboy - The intro song to the Apple II version of Paperboy is very badly done to the point of being Nightmare Fuel. It can't even keep its tempo consistent, and it approximates vibrato by repeatedly playing adjacent notes.
Commodore 64 (C64)
Bionic Commando - There were two C64 versions — one by Capcom USA and one by Software Creations UK, both based on the arcade version. The Software Creations version is a glorious aversion of this trope, pretty much porting the game as well as the C64 would allow, and sporting a superb remix of the soundtrack by Tim Follin. The Capcom version is astoundingly half-assed. There's only one music track, much blockier graphics, jerkier scrolling, sluggish movement, and absolutely no swing physics.
Double Dragon - Similar to Bionic Commando, there were also two C64 versions - one by Ocean and one by Melbourne House — but neither is really a great success. The Melbourne House version, which was first, had limited attack movements and a blank line across the midsection of the characters in order to accommodate the number of characters on screen. The later Ocean version had improved graphics...at the expense of dropping the two-player option in Double Dragon.
Hard Drivin'- The C game that was not designed for the hardware it was being ported to, is often noted as the worst port of the game in existence. It moves at a snail's pace in both framerate and actual driving speed, and the control often had you skidding across the road during even the slightest turns. The incredibly butchered physics engine, the very short draw distance, and the relatively inaccurate drawing scheme and monochrome nature of the 3D engine itself didn't help matters.
Jet Set Willy - A port of a ZX Spectrum game, the C64 version tried to stretch the levels and jumping distance to fit the higher graphical resolution. The result was oddly asymmetric Jump Physics and 100% Completion being impossible. You could still technically reach the ending sequence, except that the porting team didn't program that in.
The Legend of Kage - Suffers massive graphical and audio downgrades when it was ported from the arcade to many home consoles and computers. The C64 version is largely considered the worst port out of them all.
R-Type - The tape version has a serious problem: even if you only survived for a minute, you still had to rewind the tape and wait five minutes for the game to reload.
Rastan Saga - A port of the arcade version. While they did a decent job of the music, the gameplay was destroyed:
Enemies would constantly spawn if you stood in the right spots, summoning swarms of enemies that you would likely be unable to pass without damage.
The hit detection was also broken, often causing you to die from enemies that were "attacking" with melee strikes that were out of reach.
The bosses had no visible markers if you were hitting them properly, nor was there any way to dodge their attacks reliably.
The weapons (with the exception of the golden sword) offered no change from your standard blade, so no throwing axe, no extending mace, no reason to bother with any weapon aside from that golden blade.
Last, the landscape was altered slightly, causing one of the jumps in a late-game level (I believe it was level 5) to be impossible to clear.
Street Fighter II - The characters became tiny sprites that were unrecognizable. 5 minute loads to move on to the next stage. And instead of 3 punch and 3 kick buttons it was played with a joystick which only had one button.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - A port of the NES version. The reduction of the audio quality, the password copyright protection, the likelihood that more than 5 sprites on-screen would cause severe flicker, all these might be forgivable. But the biggest problem was that they attempted to emulate the NES controls on a joystick. With only one fire button available, they decided to assign both tasks to that button. To attack, you would VERY briefly tap the fire button, while jumping required you to hold it down instead. This made it nearly impossible to defeat the mini-boss of the first stage(Bebop), much less completing the game, as holding the button for any length of time longer than that brief period would result in a tiny hop instead. Combined with the short-range weapons of this game...
Ultima VI - Because the C64 was so immensely popular, Origin kept porting their Ultima games to the system even after the hardware couldn't handle them anymore. While Ultima V was a complete port that lacked only music (and had even that — and very good, too — on the Commodore 128 in native mode), Ultima VI was butchered horribly as it was designed for the much more powerful computers then available.
Sqij! - Originally an undistinguished shoot 'em up written for the Commodore 64. The ZX Spectrum version is far, far worse. It starts by turning on the Caps Lock and then only checking for lower-case letters. It runs far slower than the Commodore version because it's mostly written in BASIC. The overall impression is that it was written by someone whose acquaintance with the original game extended to having it described to them over a bad telephone line.
Ghosts 'n Goblins - The CPC version is horrible. Just horrible. As if the game wasn't hard enough already, the Amstrad version ups the ante by removing the armour. Yep, in this version of the game Arthur is a one hit-point wonder, touching any baddie will kill you instantly. Also, the zombies respawn at a ridiculously fast and constant rate, and the version of the music is enough to induce nightmares. Check it out here, but make sure you swig some brain bleach afterwards.
Out Run - The CPC version was handled by Probe Software. The programmers really had no excuse, as far better driving games had already been available on the CPC for years. How bad was it? Well...
The graphics gave no sense of acceleration or speed, and mostly looked like cars and unidentifiable roadside objects blinking into existence and jerking erratically towards you.
The crash animations were gone; your car just made a quiet "barp" noise and came to a dead stop.
The only other sound effect was a generic "boop-boop-boop" noise that - given that it usually happened when cornering - was probably supposed to be squealing tires.
The catchy in-game music was missing. The original release did at least come with a cassette tape of the arcade tunes, but anyone buying a budget/compilation re-release was presumably out of luck.
There was an expanded version for computers with 128K of memory. This had passable (though inexplicably mangled) in-game music and improved sound effects. Crashes now sounded like maracas being thrown out of a window.
Green Beret - A port of the side-scrolling action game by Konami, plays incredibly slowly and stiffly in its MSX version. Konami UK was responsible for this port, which was never released in Japan.
Jet Set Willy - Despite coming three years after the Spectrum original, and running on a more powerful machine, the 8-bit Atari port was actually inferior with a "worst of both worlds" approach to graphics, poor animation and bugs that meant the game couldn't be completed. Although the new music from Rob Hubbard was praised, it wasn't enough to save the game from the critical panning it received.
PC - Unspecified
Mad Dog Mc Cree - Somehow mouse-clicking was no substitute for pointing a light gun, and the FMV scenes were nothing home to write about. And when ALG did come out with the PC Gamegun, its accuracy was horrible. All the PC ports of other American Laser Games titles suffer from the same issues.
Tomb Raider - The original game was developed for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation. When it was ported to PC, the quality of the FM Vs was severely decreased, the reflection effect on Golden Lara was removed, and worst of all, all of the game's music was removed except for the title screen theme and cutscene dialogue (which was stored as CD audio). Ambient sound was added to the levels as a compromise, but an entire game with no music whatsoever was ridiculous.
This was made even worse when the Sold Out Software version of the game was released, some copies of which were missing the few remaining CD audio tracks. So during cutscenes, gamers would be "treated" to the characters silently bobbing their heads at each other.
Thankfully, this has been remedied recently by a patch that not only restores the missing tracks, but also all the tracks from the PS1 and Sega Saturn versions of the game. Justice has finally been served!
Twisted Metal - The PC version lacks transparency and increasing the resolution scaled down the UI to a microscopic size, although the almost unknown PC port of Twisted Metal 1 did replace a single weapon to make one of the characters viable.
Viva Pińata - The PC version is notorious for slowness and occasional crashes. The worst part of the game is that the coveted Chewnicorn, the game's rare Unicorn Pinata, is colored wrong and due to a lighting glitch glows black every three seconds.
Wipeout - The PC versions loses the light effects that made it such a graphically awesome title in '95 and acquired a peculiar kind of flickering track bug.
Wipeout 2097 - The PC version lacks a speed limiter, causing the game to run out of control on top of the line PCs back in '97, never mind today (this can be fixed with a CPU killer program, but then you will find out the hard way that Windows Vista/7 require a lot more CPU to run properly than the game!).
Karnov - The PC version was released in 1989 and most PCs just didn't have the graphics hardware to draw the smooth side-scrolling background. If you multiple enemies and were side-scrolling, unless you had an absolute top-of-the-line PC the game would slow to 1/2 to 1/3 of its normal speed. This ended up greatly reducing your needed reaction time, making the game trivial.
Bad Dudes - EGA graphics, tiny characters, and no clock speed adjustment, which means the game ends within seconds on computers made just a few years after its release.
Castlevania: there was only one sound channel used, for the music AND the sound effects, and the holy water/Fire bomb did not stun at all.
To be fair, the game does support Ad Lib soundcards to get somewhat better sound... but only if it feels like recognising the card.
Contra - CGA graphics, PC speaker sound effects only, and (the kicker) completely unresponsive controls.
Mega Man X - The PC port was pretty spotty, having lower grade music and sounds than the SNES original, as well as removing the various Ride Armors around...despite being on CD-ROM and not limited by cartridge space. It also came with a gamepad modeled after a Sega Genesis 6-Button controller for whatever reason. The X3 PC port thankfully avoided these problems, not to mention had high-quality remixed music.
The gamepad (which also came with a PC port of Super Street Fighter II) was especially bizarre. Only the bottom row of buttons seem to actually work with the game. Try changing the controls to use any of the top three buttons and they're totally unresponsive. The same goes for other DOS games. Basically, you got a 3-button gamepad that looks like a 6-button gamepad.
The music is especially bad because the person responsible for writing the MIDI versions apparently didn't know how to use the drum channel, resulting in all the drums being random thumping on various melodic instruments. This, in turn, causes a bizarre situation where the music actually gets worse the better your soundcard is. The real reason of this is technically caused by hardware limitations of the PC- the SNES' SPC700 is a wavetable synthesizer, while most PC sound cards only have an OPL-based FM synthesizer (similar to that of a Sega Genesis). Combine that with the fact that some games are optimized for the Adlib sound card (which has an even more crippling limitation of not being able to handle percussion well) and you have an audio-centered porting disaster in the making.
Street Fighter- The less said about the DOS port, the better. The characters were rendered at an approximate height of twelve pixels, Ken was replaced with a palette swap of Ryu, only a single punch and a single kick button were available, and special moves were disabled for the player (but not for the computer).
Street Fighter II - The IBM PC port was a total trainwreck. Everybody moved like they were paralyzed, combos were impossible (the sprites were invincible while taking damage), if you won while in mid-air your character would stop and do his/her victory pose defying all rules of gravity, and there were only three songs — Ken's theme (which became the title theme), the character select theme (which was the only theme to play during gameplay at all) and Zangief's ending theme (which was now everyone's ending theme).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The PC port of the first NES game featured broken controls (e.g., making it nearly-impossible to jump precisely), jumpy framerates, cheap enemy placement, etc. and was in fact unwinnable without the use of cheat codes due to a design flaw in the sewers of Area 3 (there's a jump that's too wide with too low a ceiling).
Oscar - As with the SNES port of the game, The PC version was a port of the Commodore Amiga version (like so many games from the time). It itself had features cut, as this opening video from the Amiga version shows us. Hear! Stereo sounds that put Adlib and SoundBlaster audionote The most common audio cards to shame. See! Fluid smooth background animation along with an animated title logo! Despair! As you realize that the PC version only had decent sound and a barely passable 16-bit static title logo.
Assassin's Creed II - In addition to suffering from the same as Splinter Cell: Conviction, the copy protection is extremely clunky; users who legitimately bought the game and then used the crack to get rid of it anyway consistently report that the game runs exponentially better, going from a chugging slideshow at low or medium detail settings to completely smooth while maxed out and running at 1080p. Those who simply pirated the game get a product that is not only less annoying but actually works better than those who paid for it.
Bully: Scholarship Edition - The PC version looks like something the Orks dropped out of the sky, The outside areas are 100% washed out, the graphics, while sublime, glitch often, the sounds glitch horribly, the control scheme is god-awful (particularly when the player is told to "press <mousewheel up> and <mousewheel down> together") and the mouse control is like moving a joystick stuck in cold porridge. Most hilariously, the 80s Rocker Outfit (earned for completing all of the new Music classes) isn't properly coded to appear in the motion captured cutscenes, resulting in Jimmy occasionally appearing in nothing but briefs, a wife beater, and socks no matter the situation.
Call of Duty: Black Ops - The PC version is infamous for its disastrous launch. On release, a line in the servers' config file that hadn't been set properly caused every online game played to lag terribly. This was fixed after a few days, but the game still had some obvious problems with its renderer (not present in any of the previous current-gen titles that use the same engine) that cause ridiculous framerate drop when shadows are enabled and when sounds are played for the first time. Still, the game was much more playable, especially if you were willing to live without shadows. A few days after that patch, a second patch was released that was supposed to improve server browser functionality and fix several bugs with the browser. The patch did this...but also reintroduced all the problems the first patch fixed.
The 2013 installment Call of Duty: Ghosts has suffered similar problems, almost bordering on They Just Didn't Care. Framerate issues, narrow field of view (a fan made tool was made, but was promptly taken down by Activision), and using way too much CPU power than it should (its minimum requirement lists 6 gigs of RAM when fans have found out the game itself would probably only need 2 or 3 for itself at minimum).
darkSector - The PC port was actually a fan-made port that got adopted by the publisher and sold for cash on Steam. It definitely shows. The graphics are usually off if you run the game in widescreen or on anything other than the default resolution, and if you use custom key bindings the quicktime prompts still give you the WASD prompts.
Dark Souls - About a month before the release of the long-anticipated Prepare to Die Edition PC port, From Software admitted openly they'd had significant issues with the port, having never done so in-house before (the earlier port of Ninja Blade had been farmed to a third party porting house). In short, what was released was the Xbox 360 version with very few additional features. The frame rate is locked tightly at 30FPS, and even then slight framerate lag is notable; the provided keyboard controls are particularly atrocious, designed to have two hands on the keys at all times—having an Xbox 360 pad is a must; mouse control (what there is of it) is skittish, the buttons can't be rebound, the sensitivity can't be adjusted, and the camera vertical range is shorter than if you were using a controller's thumbstick; the resolution is locked to 1024x720, same as the console versions —even though the game has higher resolution support, running it at 720p or higher simply upscales the image to fit; multiplayer is a crapshoot, with summons failing for unexplained reasons and summon markers popping in and out of the world at random; and despite being sold on Steam with a retail release in Europe and Asia announced, the game still relies on Games For Windows Live for achievements and multiplayer sessions. This reliance on games for windows live has also proven to lead to problematic installations leaving some users unable to even laucnh the game, let alone experience any gameplay. This could be considered a game breaking bug but the game doesn't start to begin with for some people. Whether the fault here lies on From's inexperience or Executive Meddling from publisher Namco Bandai has yet to be determined, and despite all of this the game is completely playable and very stable, roughly equivalent to the Xbox 360 release to the point where some suggest it's the Xbox 360 version running in emulation. A fan patch is also available to raise the rendering resolution to 1080p (and the game looks lovely at that quality level) and raise the framerate to 60FPS. There is also a fix for the mouse control.
DC Universe Online - There's one egregious issue with the Windows version of the game: If you're planning to play the game with a gamepad, you'd better have an Xbox 360 controller. Have anything else (like one of those cheap USB DualShock 2-controller lookalikes or even a PlayStation 2-to-USB controller adapter)? You may find that the camera is stuck looking up, due to the fact that the right nub is handled differently from Xbox 360 controllers on these controllers. No thanks to the fact that the game does not provide a way to remap controller buttons and axes.
You can still work around that problem with a 360 controller emulator, although since this is an online game it might be seen as a cheating tool. But then you consider the fact that the only other platform the game only came out for is the PlayStation 3, whose controller is similar to the Dual Shock 2 save for the L2 and R2 buttons being pressure-sensitive triggers. Also, if they see gamepads as a cheating tool, wouldn't it be a better idea to not allow gamepads at all (and while at it, force the players of the PS3 version of the game to use a USB mouse and keyboard too?)
A later version of the game attempted to fix this issue. The good news is, these controllers are treated like the Dual Shock controllers they are and the screen no longer sticks to the floor looking up anymore. The bad news is, it has a minor glitch that fails to read the right nub correctly- the camera now pans in a spiral motion due to being still reliant on X Input and thus not able to see the axis properly. This is fine if your character doesn't have the power of flight. Otherwise you'll find yourself returning to the mouse and keyboard pretty often.
And this was also the case with numerous other games, too, as they now make use of the Xinput API. Especially the ones released alongside the Xbox 360 versions.
Mirror's Edge wasn't all that bad. Just don't try to alt-tab in the middle of a run, though.
Aspect ratio-wise, the game doesn't bode well to non-16:9 resolutions, leaving letterbox bars at the top and bottom sides of the screen.
Dead Rising 2 - The PC version requires Games for Windows Live. Most Games for Windows Live titles run fine and players who don't care about GFWL see it as a minor annoyance. Dead Rising 2, however, often has problems talking to the GFWL wrapper; it may not even realize it's there, in which case, the most you can do is play the game without saves. And very much like Blur, you can't change the keybindings.
Doom - The Windows 95 port became this over time. Windows 2000 and later do not allow the player to use the mouse in-game, as the game communicates with the mouse through a file type (.vxd) which those systems do not supportnote Windows 98 introduced the Windows Driver Model as a framework for future device drivers, but still supports .vxd's; Win2000 and later dropped support for that filetype altogether. For that matter, Doom95 won't launch at all in Windows Vista or 7. While the latter issue is very easy to fix, the mouse issue requires a fan-made patch which, likely due to the existence of source ports like PrBoom, Eternity, and ZDoom that do everything Doom95 does better, was not created until 2010.
Final Fantasy VII - The PC version had SEVERAL issues when it came out in 1998. The music was all converted into midi format (the most jarring result is that One Winged Angel doesn't have lyrics!)note Unless you had a sound card that supported Sound Fonts (such as the Sound Blaster AWE64 or Gravis Ultrasound), and you bothered to configure the game's settings using the provided configuration program before playing the game. While most users expect a DOS game to have a configuration program, they also expect Windows games to be plug-and-play, and unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII happened to be one of the few Windows games that comes with a configuration program which you must use to tell the game that the computer is equipped with a 3D capable graphics card and/or a sound font enabled sound card. , which sounds bad enough without a then top-of-the-line soundcard. The pre-rendered cutscenes - which didn't synch properly with the in game sprites in sequences where they overlapped- needed a special Win95 codec to run (which isn't on the install disc). The game itself had rather high system requirements for something meant for a Win95 machine (Win 98 would be another matter, except the game wasn't made for Win98). It only gets worse from there: On more modern systems, there are game-code/OS incompatibility issues, speed and graphic artifact/rendering issues, and basically the whole thing is a MESS unless you use a handful of fan-created mods. These issues normally wouldn't be held against a game that's over 10 years old, except that as of 2010 it's STILL being sold in this format as part of the EA Classics line!
The digital re release in 2012 also has its share of issues. Occasionally the game doesn't detect saves, several users had trouble with activating the game, and the music is still MIDI quality despite being released fourteen years later and space not being an issue. Fortunately, the latter is relatively easy to fix, but it makes one wonder why Square Enix didn't do anything about it.
It also had rare but noticeable problems with certain textures and models. The textures used for the Quake 3 spell may sometimes glitch out and the models for JENOVA Synthesis and Bizzaro Sephiroth may glitch out to the point where you have two models overlapping with each other and when you kill them, only one of the models goes through its proper death animations while the "extra" model is left alone.
The game was also released a year later in July 2013 on Steam, except it's the exact same version as Square's 2012 re release, which includes the low quality MIDI music and other glitches. It wasn't until October 2013 that the original soundtrack was added in a patch.
Final Fantasy VIII - Even though Square ironed out most of the problems with the PC port of the previous game, there is still one issue: the game does not work with video cards newer than a Radeon 9000 or GeForce6800 in hardware acceleration mode, which means most modern hardware. And unlike Final Fantasy VII, there is no fix for the game due to the game's Broken Base. The biggest problem was that, like Final Fantasy VII, it's still being sold on store shelves as an EA Classics title even as of 2010.
Most of the problems are corrected with an fan-made launcher, which also allows to play game with custom resolutions. Coupled with the fact that pc-port featured much better quality character models, the game end up looking MUCH better than the original. It still need relatively high-end system. Both this and Final Fantasy VII above have a major aesthetic flaw; the CG-rendered backgrounds, very much a selling point of both games that have aged fairly well even today on the console versions, were not re-rendered for higher resolutions. They'll still 640 x 480 (at best) and on what would be a large monitor at the time of release, the backgrounds all looked extremely pixelated and lacking in detail. Playing these today on a monitor with a much higher native resolution will make the problem exponentially more pronounced.
From Dust - Shipped with the same maligned DRM scheme as other contemporary Ubisoft PC games, even after the developers had previously announced that it wouldn't, deleting and rephrasing their original announcement on the game's own forum. Coupled with minimal visual options (no choice for anti-aliasing or any way to disable the 30-frames-per-second limit on the display) and some baffling performance issues and Game Breaking Bugs (one level is very nearly unwinnable because the tides change much faster than on the console version), the PC release was a public relations disaster for Ubisoft, with Steam giving out refunds to disgruntled players for the first time since Grand Theft Auto IV.
The PC port had one horrible, horrible flaw. Occasionally, your saved games would disappear, never to be seen again. Epic also forgot to renew the certificate on the game's copy protection, leading everyone's copy to declare that the game was pirated and refuse to boot on January 28, 2009. This was fixed just over a week later, on February 6. During that time, only pirated installations of the game could still play.
Because every installation of game is run over the Internet, people eventually ran out of installation codes, making them unable to install game even when they bought it from store (the game will just spew something about the code "exceeding number of uses, please try another one"). Solution? Find any webpage with Halo 2 codes and try them all, one at a time - and checking each code may take several minutes. Good luck, you'll need it.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - The PC port, which was delayed several times, was actually canceled at one point, and finally came out a full month after the 360/PS3 versions, has laziness written all over it even by Ubisoft standards. The launch-day problems are so numerous that a necessary list includes but does not limit to:
Limited graphical settings.
Poor, crash-prone performance, even on high-end PCs, sometimes with a nice memory leak to destabilize any system it's installed on for good measure.
There's no way to change settings in-game at all without having to quit to the main menu (resulting in even more agonizing load times). At the very least, this is a problem in the console versions too - its "in-game manual" feature, despite being advertised as "more convenient" than leaving your spot in front of the TV to look things up in the manual, forces you to quit back to the main menu to access it.
If you have a controller plugged in (or in worse cases, simply have its driver installed), then the mouse - which was working perfectly in the menus - refuses to work in-game.
Even if you get the mouse to work in-game, it's handled poorly, especially with additional mouse buttons (or even the mouse wheel button) not working in-game. This is made even worse during the Forced Tutorial early on where it requires you to view through the scope (you cannot even just fire at all until you'd somehow get to do it), which is bound to the aforementioned third mouse button that doesn't work in-game. Coupled with the impossibility of control remapping and you get a port which anyone without a gamepad are rendered incapable of progressing through the first mission.
Instead of fixing any of the mentioned issues with the 1.2 patch, not only was performance actually worse, it forced lower resolutions in the configuration file. And for a decent percentage of its players, with each further patch it's somehow getting worse - quite an accomplishment given that patches have barely fixed a thing on the platforms the game was actually intended for, either.
XP users who preordered the game were screwed over even worse - until the game had actually been released, there was absolutely no word that the game required Vista or Windows 7 to run (hell, most sites that aren't Steam still listed XP as supported for months on end), leaving the aforementioned users paying at least 50 bucks for a terrible port that they couldn't even play at all. Ubisoft did originally promise a patch that will allow the game to run on Windows XP, but this naturally devolved from "three weeks after release" into nothing but repeatedly broken promises of release after "the next title update" - it took nearly a year since the console versions' release for that to finally come out.
Grandia II - The PC port has cutscene encoding problems similar to the PS2 version (needlessly-duplicated frames, creating the illusion of "hanging" attack cutscenes), badly downsampled and compressed cutscenes (resolution somewhere around 256x192 or similar, with countless artifacts) and on top of that requires an obscure codec to play them.
Grand Theft Auto IV - For a good while, the PC version was considered particularly infamous, not only thanks to noticable performance issues and a clumsy mouse-and-keyboard interface, but particularly because Rockstar decided to package the game with an extra piece of software known as the Rockstar Social Club, a utility created to handle the game's multiplayer connectivity, which in its original iteration would run on top of the game (along with SecuROM and Games For Windows Live) and nag you to log into it not only whenever you wanted to play, but on startup as well. The controls can't be changed (A feature that has been standard even in the DOS era). It was so bad that Steam gave out refundsnote To clarify, Steam NEVER gave out refunds before that point. They've so far only done so again for From Dust and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier above, and The War Z. to angry gamers. Since the game's launch in December 2008, many of the game's performance issues have now been ironed out, and Rockstar Social Club has been integrated into the game software itself...almost a year and a half after launch.
Version 18.104.22.168 ran at an acceptable framerate and is generally recommended by most gamers on low-end systems (at the cost of not being able to sign in to multiplayer). This wasn't the case with 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 - despite Rockstar's claims about the shadow mapping system being "less memory-intensive", it actually accounts for the decreased framerate after updating to the said patches.
Guitar Hero III - The PC version was touted to be playable on laptops, for the first Guitar Hero portable experience (until the DS version). Too bad that on some computers the game chugs down to unplayable speeds, apparently unrelated to the computer's specs. The Copy Protection seems to at least be co-responsible, too. And that's why Frets On Fire exists.
Halo 2 - Compared to the PC port of the first game, the PC version of Halo 2 by Microsoft Games Studios was damn poor. Many keys couldn't be bound to commands because they were pre-reserved by Games For Windows Live functionality (almost a big "screw you" to all non-WASD keymap users), and network connectivity was patchy (another big thank-you to Games For Windows Live). Worst of all, the game could only be played on Windows Vista or Windows 7. There is nothing in the game code that requires Vista to run; there's just a small line in the installer that prevents people from installing and running the game on XP. Way to whore, Microsoft. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like they've pulled this crap with any of their later GFWL releases.
To compound the issue, the "Halo 2 Editing Kit" was extremely gimped. The ability to modify vehicles, weapons, and tons of other functionality were removed, including creating custom tags. This means its impossible to use the official tools to make new single-player content, and greatly reduces the amount of map modification possible; one of the few reasons why you might prefer the PC version over the Xbox version.
Iron Man - The PC port of the movie-based game was based on the PS2 version rather than the superior Xbox 360 or PS3 ones, just for starters.
Jet Set Radio: While not a terrible port (it's still fun and playable), it does have some issues. Turning the music all the way up to the highest volume causes all the sound effects and voices to go missing (but cutscenes still include voices).
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Big Huge Games is known primarily for two Real Time Strategy titles, Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends. Curiously, Amalur Reckoning was clearly designed exclusively for gamepad controls, because using your mouse to move the camera around your character causes the game to cut frames in an eye-gouging, almost epileptic manner. There is no known fix to an oversight that renders the game almost unplayable. (Weirdly enough, the game is programmed to support gamepad and mouse/keyboard simultaneously, as Day Nine and Felicia Day discovered in theirLet's Play promotional video.)
L.A. Noire - Running the PC port on certain setups with the default multithreaded renderer on would give you a lagfest. Adding the -str commandline argument on launch cures the problem somewhat, but it still doesn't completely eliminate all the issues from the game, adding to the fact that it was locked at 30 frames per second, citing limitations with the game's facial animation system.
Left 4 Dead 2 - Valve had problems porting the "No Mercy" campaign from the original. The 3rd map in the No Mercy campaign has a shutter door that can be opened only from the inside of the building so that any survivors that managed to get yanked outside can go through the door without having to climb up to the rooftop again. While a Tank can bust the door down, survivors were able to do the same thing with melee weapons, allowing them to bypass the crescendo event. It still took Valve several patches to fully squash the problem, but the Grenade Launcher can still destroy the door. Thankfully, this is not a problem in VS mode since survivors can't carry over weapons from the previous map and the Grenade Launcher never spawns before the event.
The elevator from the fourth map regularly causes players to fall throught the floor randomly (can mostly happen if a player goes idle) even today desprite several attempts by Valve to fix it. Considering that everything in the first game got fixed very quickly or was not even present, that looks rather pathetic.
There is also issues with the ports of the L4D1 survivors into L4D2. The character models were directly ported over, so they received no graphical upgrades, which isn't a problem, but they use skeletons/animations from the L4D2 survivors instead of their own. This means Louis is now suddenly taller than he used to be while Zoey seems to have shrunk while she suddenly grows two heads when taking out some of the new weapons. The survivors' hands also clip into the models of the pistols and they don't hold items like pills and bombs properly. On top of this, the survivors also have no lines for the elevator scene in No Mercy and have no reactions when being torn up by a Hunter, despite that there are actual sound files for these events present in the game's files. This makes the port of the old characters look like a rush job.
Originally, The Sacrifice DLC was only going to be for the original Left 4 Dead, but Valve decided at the last minute to give the DLC to Left 4 Dead 2 players as well with No Mercy as a bonus. This caused the porting to be rushed out with almost zero bug testing.
In one of the updates, Zoey (and apparently only Zoey) regained her original animations - and lost ALL of her animations she uses in The Passing as an NPC.
Valve has at least attempted to remedy the survivor dialogue issues regarding Left 4 Dead 2 content such as being attacked by the new special infected and when they use adrenaline shots.
There's also other audio issues related to The Passing - when killing a Tank at the end of that campaign, Louis may shout "That.. was for Bill!" He may also shout that after killing a Tank in any other campaign starring the original Survivors, even if Bill is perfectly healthy and standing right in front of him.
As part of the Cold Stream DLC, Valve planned to release all of the Left 4 Dead campaigns into Left 4 Dead 2. Like with No Mercy, the campaigns had numerous issues when they were released to the PC gaming public as a beta. Nearly all the maps had item density problems, which meant that instead of items spawning randomly by the AI Director, the game wound up spawning items at every single spot that they could appear in. This was fixed over time.
Mass Effect - The PC port was from the Xbox 360 version. While there were actually gameplay improvements, rumor has it that the game was tested on one graphics card and one sound driver. The released game was exceptionally buggy, with sound effects and background music dropping out and it regularly crashing between the transitions of unskippable cutscenes (which were made unskippable because skipping them crashed the game!). It took over a year and a combination of game and driver patches before the game was stable. It also had rather high system requirements for an Xbox 360 port, although any PC you buy or build today will run it fine.
The PC version of the game's first DLC, Bring Down the Sky, was released for free, but for some reason still required a CD-Key. To get the key, one would merely have to register on the Mass Effect website, on a page dedicated to giving out BDtS CD-Keys... a website that stopped existed once the second game was announced. Players new to the series have to e-mail EA tech support to get a CD-Key for the DLC.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance - The PC version (ported from the Xbox version, making it a port of a port) would have been better had it actually been compatible with anything. To play it, it needs to be patched to Hell and back. With fanmade patches.
It's worth remembering that the Xbox is really just an Intel PC running a tiny Windows-clone kernel with Direct X drivers for its Nvidia Ge Force 3 GPU. Breaking the game on almost identical hardware with similarly designed software is a special kind of failure.
Then there were the issue of the controls. The 360 port at least had support for the shoulder triggers for slow releasing; at the time of the PC release, despite the fact that there was support for the 360 controller native in Windows, true analogue button support for any joypad was not. You had to map extra buttons for "slow" and "weak" if you were using a joypad (and if you were using a keyboard) and- Oh Wait... No more spare buttons on the average pad. Sorry.
Not to mention, with the PC port of MGS1 (which was an excellent port by the way), you could pause the game and save without having to call Mei Ling for it. In the PC port of MGS2, you can't do that, you still have to call Otacon or Rose if you want to save, and pressing Esc doesn't pause your game...it quits it. Shows just how lazy of a port this was.
Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee and Stranger's Wrath - The PC ports are horribly unoptimized, despite being released five years after the original Xbox versions, to the point where people with competent gaming PCs (ones that can run Crysis smoothly at high graphic settings) regularly get less than 30 FPS - and the actual graphics are unchanged. Stranger's Wrath has no visual customization options apart from the resolution settings, ranging from "Low" to "Medium", to "High", and "Ultra", with the latter three being 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1600x1200 respectively. Both games also have noticable issues with the Xbox 360 controller, which is the default recommended joypad for both: In Munch, the left stick changes the direction that the character faces, but doesn't actually move the character - the arrow keys on the keyboard are apparently still needed for that. In Stranger, the game completely fails to recognize the right thumbstick's button press, which is supposed to toggle the switch between first and third person - a mandatory step in the in-game tutorial. Both games are also ridiculously crash-prone: You'd have to be very lucky to even get to the second stage in Munch, and so far just over a third of the playerbase has managed to pass the tutorial in Stranger. And keep in mind, the Xbox itself already has very similar hardware to an IBM-based PC, so you have to be incredibly lazy to botch a port this badly.
Stranger's Wrath is now fixed as of the 1.1 patch. Performance is nigh flawless on a Q6600/8800 GT/Windows 7 64-bit system at 1600x1200, like it should be for an Xbox port like this, and you can now select which controller you want and rebind it through an .ini file. Unfortunately, wireless Xbox 360 gamepads are not configured properly by default (which is baffling when the game clearly shows X360 gamepad controls), and in-game control configuration is still not present. Still, a hell of a lot better than the state it was in at release, and actually quite playable.
Prototype - The PC version is very picky about what qualifies as "recommended system specifications". It struggles with maintaining a double digit frame rate on the menus, not to mention in actual gameplay. There were also issues with audio sounding exceptionally muffled and other issues. Definitely not one of the best ports out there.
The PC sequel is also plagued with issues. Some systems would run it just fine, others(which greatly exceed listed requirements) would result in a chugging mess, and some would just not run at all. One very common syndrome appears to be a memory leak of sorts which would cause the game to degenerate into a slide show. Being a 32-bit program, PCs with at least 4GB of excess memory to spare (builds with 6 to 8 GB or more) might escape the slowdown even as a ton of memory is consumed, but other game breaking bugs, such as a very early mission refusing to progress unless all CPU cores except for one are disabled for the game(on some machines). Additional problems reported include mouse sensitivity being tied to the frame rate; certain fast performing machines would have the mouse-look go crazy even on minimum sensitivity.
Red Faction: Guerrilla - The PC port would run far too fast on Windows 7 computers (which is quickly replacing Vista as the go-to Microsoft OS), forcing the player to use a third party hacking program to slow down the game's refresh rate. Furthermore, the game carries an infamous bug where Games for Windows Live informs the player that a patch is available and is mandatory for online gameplay (even if the game itself is already up to date). Every time without fail, should the player accept the patch download, the game's framerate is reduced to a crawl (in the MAIN MENU, mind you) and eventually freezes. Even Volition's release of a manual patch to fix this didn't work for many, making online multiplayer completely unplayable.
Resident Evil 4 - The PC version was touted to feature GameCube-quality graphics with the extra content of the PS2 version, something that wouldn't happen until the Wii version. Instead, SourceNext (whom Capcom commissioned to develop the PC version, along with the PC ports of Onimusha 3 and Devil May Cry 3) ported the PS2 version of the game as it was, with grainy pre-rendered cutscenes and all, but without the shading and lighting, meaning every environment in the game was lit at 100% brightness with no shadows, thus no atmosphere, and had to have that patched. The game's controls were gimped to boot, to the point where the game could be played on a keyboard and only the keyboard, without mouselook like most PC shooters, and on top of all that, the quick-time events were near-impossible to complete if you weren't using a gamepad, because the button prompts were limited to "button 3" and "button 4" instead of the actual keys on the keyboard. And just to add insult to injury, they accidentally switched the icons for button 3 and button 4 around, so following the on-screen prompts would actually just get you killed. Fortunately, the devoted mod community of the PC version of Resident Evil 4 has not only patched all these but released mods that up the graphics above and beyond any other version of the game, give the FPS purists their mouse aiming, and change the quick-time event icons to match up with the most common gamepads such as the Xbox 360 one.
Saints Row 2 - This one was so bad that Volition fired the outside company who made the port and essentially washed their hands of it, declaring it hopeless. The on-foot sequences basically worked, but driving was essentially impossible thanks to an internal game clock that did not know how to adapt for CPU speeds other than 3.2 G Hz, which is the clockspeed of the Xbox360 the game was originally developed for. Thankfully Saints Row 2 has a fantastic community that has not only brought the game back to its intended speed and fixed thousands of other bugs, and added plenty of neat content to boot. You can check it out here. With the fan patch, it isn't perfect, but it is playable.
The one thing that can't be fixed is the sound; the company in charge of the PC port didn't have the budget to license the sound middleware, so they USED THE TRIAL VERSION which downgrades sound to cassette quality and mono sound. Even worse, since the sound files and the interpreter for the middleware are separate files, a patch to fix it would be 10MB tops, and wouldn't even require re-licensing the music or voice work, since it's not those files being fixed!
Shadowrun - The PC version of this Xbox 360 game, released around the same time as the above Halo 2, also required Windows Vista just to install, and again only checked a single line of code. Especially egregious as the game was released prior to Vista Service Pack 1, when the OS was still ridiculously buggy and expensive, and was multiplayer-only.
Silent Hill 2 - The GameTap version of has what appears to be a horrible, horrible memory leak. After about 40 minutes of play, almost like clockwork, the game will slow to an absolute crawl. You will take a step, wait five minutes, and then be able to take another step. Seriously. This even applies when bringing up menus, so that if you don't save and quit IMMEDIATELY after the effect starts, it can take nearly thirty minutes to quit the game!
Silent Hill 2 has other problems on the PC. On Radeon 9000 series graphic cards (which were the ones produced by ATI when the game was released and were very common), the flashlight doesn't work; turning it on means watching many textures disappear, making it harder to see. The solution could be downgrading to older drivers or adding some lines to a file dedicated to graphic devices, which are equivalent to a hack, for getting what should be a normal feature. In another glitch, you could get CG movies that play all in an acid gree-and-violet palette (and no way around it), and out-of-synch speech during some scripted sequences.
Silent Hill: Homecoming The PC port features a lot of random crashing. A lot worse when it will always happen if you simply want to change the resolution. Want to play it with a gamepad? Good luck because like the Silent Hill town itself, it has a mind of its own. Finally, there's the out of sync cutscenes.
Sonic Adventure - The game looks okay, but it does not support widescreen even though it claims it does (instead you get a border on the left and right), it's lower resolution than the GameCube port released years earlier, it has absolutely no antialiasing, and it crashes.
Sonic CD - The Windows version was pretty decent to begin with, but turned into a case of this over time. It was released when Windows 95 was the newest thing. The years down the road, Windows XP came out, rendering the game literally unplayable without the use of a fan-made patch. The problem? The game was still being sold on store shelves, in unpatched form, well after Windows XP was released.
Sonic Mega Collection Plus - A Compilation Re-release of the Sega Genesis and Game GearSonic the Hedgehog games, has broken gamepad support (i.e., you can't even get past the menu selection). For a collection of games originally designed to be played with a console-type gamepad, this is a significant (and still unpatched) oversight.
Sonic R - The Windows port also dropped the transparency effects on the final tracks, but made up for it by adding variable weather conditions. Certain versions didn't even come with the music!
Sonic Generations - This one is better than most Sonic PC ports; good enough to be listed under Polished Port. However, there's an occasional issue with certain video card\driver combinations cause the level to turn invisible, excessive slowdown caused by water effects in Chemical Plant Zone in most setups, and text entry has to be done with direction controls instead of just typing with the keyboard. Also, most non-Xbox PC controllers will randomly cause Modern Sonic to inexplicably dive to the left during 3D sections. Once he starts doing this, he'll keep doing it until you restart the game. Best hope this doesn't happen during a good run.
Space Channel 5 Part 2 - The graphics in the PC version are gorgeous, but the music often goes out of synch, making the game absolutely unplayable unless you edit a few settings to fix it.note (turning on triple buffer and Vertical Sync in your graphic card's settings)
Splinter Cell: Conviction - Sadly, Ubisoft's new Copy Protection has officially made things worse with the PC version of this game - if either you or Ubisoft's internet is anything less than perfect for more than a single second, you are automatically kicked out of the game, and must return to the previous checkpoint upon recovery. As always with copy protection, the pirates had it cracked within - well, okay, it took a month, but the method should patch through to crack every future Ubisoft game using the same tech within a day or two.
Star Trek: Legacy - Even with a good graphics card, the game lags badly on the lowest settings even on the menu screen. None of the controls can be remapped, in fact, there isn't even an ingame guide to the controls. This is horrible because the default control set up forces an egregious use of the mouse in situations where buttons should be (And in the 360 version, were) used.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - The long-awaited/delayed Windows version was inexplicably over 30 gigabytes, and has very few options for scaling the game down. It runs fine on a fairly decent rig, but there are no options to tone down the graphics for older machines. The game isn't very well optimized, so while a decent computer will run it with few problems, a mid-range system will choke. The keyboard+mouse controls are also extremely clunky and cumbersome, and the only gamepad supported is the Xbox 360 controller.
The game did allow you to rebind the keyboard and mouse controls, so you could pick a setup that was more logical. However, the game wouldn't update the on-screen prompts for quicktime events from the default bindings. Good luck trying to remember what you rebound 'F' to before you die.
Defied by Egosoft when they re-released the early X-Universe games on Steam in the late 2000's. The first game and its expansion were written for Windows 95, but the devs went back through each and every game to fix any compatibility issues with XP, Vista, and 7.
Heroes of Might and Magic IV - Somewhere during the port from the PC, the AI got lobotomized, and the computer would send out one day's worth of troops to try to kill a horde of mid-to-high level monsters. This was somewhat amusing in maps where you weren't tasked with the defeat of a specific hero, but when you WERE...well, you just had to hope that said hero wasn't allowed to move from his starting position, because you didn't get credit for the kill if you weren't involved in the fight.
Mafia II - The PC port by Feral Interactive was just as disastrous as the PlayStation 3 version, not because of the lack of grass and blood, but because it was ill-optimised compared to the PC version, churning out 15-20 fps even on a reasonably powerful Macintosh.
SimCity 3000 - The Mac version was not made in-house by Maxis, and its quality reflect this. It was ported by a Ukrainian company which left all the PC interface (such as the file hierarchy system) intact, all while leaving out other features (such as the Building Architect Tool).
SimCity 4 - The Mac port was also made outside Maxis and was released months after the PC version, was terribly slow to the point of unplayability, left off the official tools that PC users got, and exhibited behaviors that you would only get if you had a plug-in conflict. In fact, for owners of Intel-based Macs, running the Windows version via a compatibility layer such as Wine or Crossover Games is preferable in every way.
Smash TV - Has badly redrawn graphics, nearly all of the music cut out of the game, and sound effects that are horribly muffled.
Test Drive - The Amiga version didn't do justice to the computer's graphical capabilities, had the engines sounding more like 8-bit jets than cars, and there are few other sound effects to speak of. By comparison, the technologically less advanced Commodore 64 managed to pull it off a lot better. As with Defender of the Crown, the inferiority of the Amiga version is likely attributable to inexperience and ludicrous deadlines.
Disastrous versions of multi-platform releases:
BreakThru - Three computer ports of Data East's jeep-based Shoot 'em Up were published by US Gold. The Commodore 64 version had dishwater-ugly backgrounds, stupid sound effects, terrible hit detection and enemy vehicles that did things like drive over water. The ZX Spectrum version had awkward keyboard controls, barely any sound, bad collision detection and a lack of enemies, though the graphics weren't terrible for the system. The Amstrad CPC version had programming similar to the Spectrum version, but the game window was inexplicably much smaller; it received the lowest score for any game reviewed in AMTIX! magazine.
Donkey Kong - Just about EVERY port of the original arcade game has been screwed up horribly in some way, ranging from awful controls, to completely messed up graphics and music, to even cutting out the pie factory or elevator boards (or both). To be clear, Thesevideos show several different versions of the game. One of them is the NES version, and another is a graphics romhack of the NES version. The rest? They all suck horribly, though special mention goes to the ZX Spectrum version, which is especially bad. When the Intellivision version was released, people at Mattel suspected it to be an act of sabotage on the part of Coleco.
It's easier to count the good ones: The NES one is the best (despite missing an entire stage, and even that is rectified in the "Original Edition"), followed by the Atarisoft's Commodore 64 version, Coleco Vision version and the Atari 7800 version was at least admirable given the dated TIA's chip audio part.
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars - The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were very downgraded graphics, missing features (including permanent stat growth, one of the main feature of the original version), limited to 16 players instead of 32 and ridiculously strong auto-aim. At least one ID Software employee called it a textbook example of how not to port a game.
Gauntlet: Dark Legacy - The Xbox version was ported from the PS2 version and gained some new features (such as the ability to store powerups and use them later), but also gained new glitches. The GameCube version was even worse, having glitches, slowdown, and missing health meters on bosses.
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 - The versions released for the Xbox, PC and GameCube were completely different games designed by a different development house to the PlayStation 2 version. While there are some track similarities, the sense of speed is all but gone, the handling is worse, the game in general is far more boring, and the menus don't look as nice.
The console versions of Return to Castle Wolfenstein both suffer from muddy graphics and framerate drops in many outdoor areas. The PS2 version, being on a weaker console, took an even bigger hit with longer load times and the loss of the Dolby 5.1 audio.
Revolution X - Half of the reason for this light-gun game's checkered reputation comes from its abysmal SNES and Genesis ports, which are better-known than the original coin-op.note The other half is because of its sheer absurdity, but that's not for this page. The arcade game had digitized graphics of higher resolution than what those two consoles could handle (here's a comparison) and actual Aerosmith songs for BGM. Also, the ports lacked support for the consoles' respective light gun controllers for no reason.
Salamander - The ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC versions (the latter being a cheap conversion of the former, as was all too often the case). The majority of the screen was taken up with the HUD. The action was slow — you don't get a speed up untill half-way into the first level, and need it well before then. There are one or two bugs that make one of the boss battles a Luck-Based Mission. Only the first stage has an actual lay-out; the rest of them just have the odd enemy floating across the screen.
SimCity 2000 - The control responsiveness on these are unbelievably bad. And oh, for something that stores data on flash or battery-backed RAM instead of magnetic media, the save game loading times on those are unbelievably slow. Also, looking for help? You're instructed to press shift+enter!
Starfighter 3000 - The Saturn and Playstation ports of the 3DO game Starfighter has terrible draw distance and less details than the original, quite baffling considering how much weaker the 3DO is. The original version made heavy use of the 3DO's ARM RISC processors, but even there the port could have turned out much better than it did. The Saturn version is especially bad.
Turrican - Every 8-bit computer version not on the C64 (the computer it was originally programmed for). Broken controls, choppy scrolling, and missing level features abound, and the graphics take strange liberties with the original material. Of course, this is probably more due to the computers' lack of hardware-accelerated sprites and scrolling (which the C64 had) than the programmers' incompetence, but one wonders why they attempted it at all. The exception is the Amstrad CPC version, which is well regarded and highly playable. Despite the scrolling and smaller game screen, the graphics are far better than the C64 graphics (but then the C64 has a horrendously drab palette to pick colors from). Still not sure why Turrican is green though when perfectly usable blues are available in the Amstrad palette and were used elsewhere in the games.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection suffers from frame rate problems and muted visual effects on both platforms (but the PS3 version is the worse-off of the two, particularly in the sequel).
The Wii and Wii U versions of Angry Birds Trilogy were developed later than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox360 versions. While the latter versions at least change up the presentation quite a bit, the Wii and Wii U versions have no such effort, looking more like the mobile versions (complete with the pigs still having their outdated character design).
PC Operating Systems
Batman: Arkham City - After being delayed for well over an entire month, the PC version has ridiculously unoptimized graphical settings, forces Direct X 11 despite its infamous bugginess, contains crippling DRM and sometimes has problems with connecting to GFWL for absolutely no reason.
Despite being a simultaneous release rather than a port, Crysis 2 certainly counts. True, despite being greeted with a mix of legitimate rage over gamebreaking bugs and just plain Fan Dumb, it was a fairly well-made game. The multi-player, however, was horribly broken. Crytek essentially put in no anti-cheating measures whatsoever, to the point that players can simply edit their game data files to give themselves infinite nanosuit energy or bullets that do 100000 damage per shot.
Donkey Kong - See the above entries for the console ports? Yeah, the MS-DOS version sucked. So does the Apple II version. Heck, almost all the computer versions sucked. The Atarisoft Commodore 64 version was at least admirable enough, though.
The Atari 8-bit versions of Donkey Kong (for the XL/XE computers, which were based on the Atari 5200 port) were also fairly competent, featuring sound closer to the arcade and all four levels. This version was better than the NES version.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the PC isn't technically a port, but it's obvious that it was designed for consoles first (a trend that started with Morrowind, which also had some odd porting decisions.) The developers apparently never considered that players might want to actually use their mouse, so most of the menus are operated using only the keyboard. Many of the multifunction keys either partially fail or stop working completely if you attempt to remap them, and the UI does not update to reflect the fact that you've changed them!
Fortunately, a mod called "Sky UI" was released soon after that gave the game a much more PC-friendly interface. With said mod, the PC version is widely considered to be the definitive version of Skyrim.
Splinter Cell: Double Agent - The PC versions, while technically not ports, were clearly based on the Xbox 360 version. Considering that the game is based on the Unreal engine, that Ubisoft had released plenty of PC games before (and Splinter Cell PC games, no less), and that it's a pretty high-profile game, you'd think it would go fairly smoothly. Wrong. There are so many problems with this port that a list is necessary.
The menus are a confusing mess, and you can't use the mouse on the in-game "laptop" menus; you need to stupidly press the keys mapped to "use" and "crouch". This wasn't a problem in earlier Splinter Cell PC games.
The saved games are arranged in what appears to be completely random order. Not alphabetical, not by mission, not by date or time. Also, checkpoints occasionally overwrite saved games and vice-versa.
There is no gamepad support except for the Xbox 360 Gamepad For Windows. This isn't new to the Splinter Cell PC series, and it uses the traditional mouse-wheel-driven "acceleration" scheme to compensate for the lack of an analog stick. This causes problems, however: the safe-cracking sequences are affected by the analog stick in a way Ubisoft didn't foresee, and so if you sneak up to a safe at minimum acceleration (the best way to sneak, obviously) on the PC version and try to crack it, you're inexplicably unable to do anything with the safe until you scroll the mouse wheel back up to "re-accelerate". Again, this wasn't a problem, at least when picking locks, in earlier Splinter Cell PC games.
The game supports a pathetically-low selection of resolutions, not even including full HD or 16:10 resolutions. This is remedied by editing the game's .INI file. Ubisoft's entire team of programmers apparently couldn't figure this out.
Some allege that the PC version is prohibited from maximum graphical detail to make the 360 version appear better, as editing the INI files can also result in improved graphics. Until a patch, it was not even possible to enable anti-aliasing (mind you, that's all that patch did).
The "Kinshasa, Part 2" mission is almost guaranteed to crash every time you load a saved game. So you'd better be good at it.
The game would even freeze for no evident reason when viewing some of the training videos for the Versus multiplayer.
Sadly the case for Deadly Premonition which was a particularly lazy port in the first place (lacking graphic options and even controller support for a game originally designed with controllers in mind) with game crashes aplenty and numerous issues with various graphic cards cropping up. Got so bad the lead designer, Hidetaka “Swery65" Suehiro, offered a Backhanded Apology via twitter. Thankfully however the gaming community have come up with fixes and mods in order to make the game playable as it seems an official patch is unlikely at this point.