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Camera Screw

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"In third-person games, the camera is like the working class. If you can't control it, it will plot to destroy you."

When the camera adds Fake Difficulty to a third-person view game, you have the Camera Screw, combining elements of the Interface Screw, Static Screw, and Behind the Black. It has many causes:

And many forms:

  • Moving the camera during a precision maneuver or hectic play.
    • Extremely common is having the camera angle change in mid-jump.
    • When platforming, can lead to jumping back the way you just came.
    • Or you end up attacking thin air instead of the Goddamn Bats.
  • "Helpfully" moving the camera away from where the player has intentionally put it.
  • In a game with full camera control, suddenly and arbitrarily switching to a fixed camera for no particular reason.
  • Forcing the player to run towards the camera while the camera focuses on whatever is chasing the player. Yes, it was impressive in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but that was a non-interactive movie, and this is the worst possible camera angle from which to see oncoming hazards.
    • As a corollary, not refocusing on (or aggressively avoiding focusing on) nearby and attacking enemies.
  • Having the camera collide with obstacles, rather than navigating around them, or passing through them.
  • Allowing the camera to move behind obstacles you can't see through without turning them transparent.
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  • Suddenly pointing the camera directly at a wall or rock.
  • False Camera Effects, such as handheld camera or lens flare.
  • In a 2D game, having the camera always focus on a point far behind the Player Character. Yes, people have somehow done that.

There are also several ways to avert this, including:

When a franchise makes a jump from 2D to 3D, this can be often the reason for smacking into the Polygon Ceiling.

Additionally, Screen Crunch is a variation of this where the camera problems are caused by a lack of screen space.

Not to be confused with Camera Abuse, where the actual viewing device is "harmed"; or Interface Screw, where the interference with controls and/or view are used as an intentional — and mostly more tolerable — gameplay mechanic.



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Video Games:

    Action Adventure 
  • Advent Rising has both the lock-on "flick targeting" and camera control mapped to the same stick, with no way to turn the lock-on off or lower its sensitivity, leading to situations where your camera will flip a full 180 degrees to aim at someone not even bothering you in the midst of a platforming sequence.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight:
    • The game suffers from this in the APC vehicle pursuit side missions. Whenever you start pursuing, the APC vehicle calls reinforcements, which have to be taken out because they get in the way of you and the APC. As soon as you take one out, the camera decides to slow down and focus on the crashing vehicle and doesn't reposition itself. Even if it did, considering that this is a vehicular pursuit, you want the camera always pointing either forward or at the vehicle you're following. As soon as you crash one of the reinforcement vehicles, good luck not crashing yourself. Were you lining a pacifier shot at the APC, ready to shoot right before the crash? Tough luck, you have to line up your shot again.
    • A minor case happens in the Cobra Tank fights (or the Cloudburst Tank battle). If you're discovered, the camera pulls back as you race away, which makes it harder to evade the enemies, as it becomes more difficult to notice where you can make turns without crashing into buildings.
  • The otherwise good game Beyond Good & Evil has a terrible camera that switches from full control to fixed often and at extremely inconvenient moments, among other things. In fact, at some point the camera will do pretty much everything that appears on this list as well as adding two extra difficulties:
    • Moving the camera inside the player character's head, blocking the view and showing a rather disturbing inverted face at the same time.
    • Making the "invert mouse axis" option change both axes together, rather than allowing you to pick one and/or the other.
  • Castlevania:
    • The N64 games made pretty much every jump towards a platform that's not so large you couldn't possibly miss it a complete leap of faith. Thankfully, the games are generous with the save points.
    • The PS2 game Castlevania: Lament of Innocence has very few platforming sections, but all of them feature frustrating mid-jump camera moves. Fortunately, falling in these cases instantly sends you to the room's entrance, keeping the frustration factor from getting too high.
  • The major complaint most have against Epic Mickey is a screwed-up camera system. Combining it with a very large world map and restlessly chasing enemies that can't be killed in one shot with either paint or thinner make things a lot harder.
  • Hard Edge, an action-adventure game that was inspired by Resident Evil, also features with the latter's signature static camera angles that can lead to some confusion with some of the game's environment.
  • In Killer7, the camera mostly displays from the ground, giving you the best view of your chosen assassin's legs with the only camera control being a choice between looking in front of you or behind you. Otherwise, the camera will be switching back and forth between different angles unpredictably, from aerial shots to side views, to a fixed point in the corner or at far side of the room, to viewing the front of you so you must walk towards the camera, to making you walk away from the camera. Sometimes, the camera doesn't bother focusing on you at all and instead chooses to look at a poster of a bikini-clad girl — and when it decides to ogle the poster of the bikini girl, that's actually a clue to one of the game's puzzles. This is just that sort of game. And yet it's not as much of a problem as you may think, because when you pull your gun (the only time camera position matters in this game), it goes right into first-person view, no matter what it's doing otherwise.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver has an awful camera system which always gets stuck on the walls, and you'll often be facing a large mass of grey. You can control the camera, but just when you've got it placed correctly so you can see yourself and the ledge you're jumping to, it has a knack for returning to its (horribly inconvenient) starting location. With some dodgy controls and the lack of Edge Gravity, this becomes very annoying.
    • In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, the number of players who have torn their hair out during Raziel's sequences in Vorador's Mansion has become too large to count. What's worst about this is that one of the sequences of jumps takes a long climb and an inexplicable deadly mist has suddenly risen on the floors you'd just cleared a few minutes ago, making you do the whole thing again with every missed jump.
  • LEGO Adaptation Games:
    • In two-player mode in LEGO Star Wars and many of the sequels, the camera keeps both players in-frame at all times, and has a camera force field that prevents your character from leaving the frame area (instead of splitting the screen to focus on each character separately). If you manage to trick the force field, it will teleport you back into the frame, sometimes as a completely different character.
    • At a certain point split-screen was implemented... as was dynamic split screen, which merges the halves together when the players can be shown with just one viewpoint, and splits in half when they get far enough away. And the split can rotate as it pleases, thus causing many players to choose the Fixed Split Screen option.
    • The first Raiders of the Lost Ark level from LEGO Indiana Jones, of course, has the scene where you run from a boulder in Indiana-Jones cam view. If you fail enough times however, you can ride the boulder out in one of the most hilarious cutscenes ever.
    • The rushing water scene in a level based on The Temple of Doom also has the camera face the water — if the water even catches up to you once, it still lets you move on to the next part, though getting to the end is required for 100% Completion.
    • Some levels require the character to face the direction of the camera and maneuver or attack. In other words, the character is looking toward the player. At times, you may even be shot at from off-screen.
  • LEGO Dimensions has a number of locations where due to a very limited range of camera motion it's difficult to see things like pick-ups or even exits. Also, when something significant happens the camera will move to that point for a moment, causing the player to sometimes miss the opportunity to access pick-ups and, even worse, they will sometimes be attacked while the mini-cut scene plays out.
  • MediEvil's camera is infuriating for two reasons, the first being that it's super slow. But the bigger issue was that if the camera touched a piece of the environment, the game wouldn't let you move it at all! This often caused cases of accidentally locking the camera the wrong way around by exploring a dead end corridor, or just spinning the camera at the wrong place at the wrong time. In certain constrained levels, like The Ant's Nest or Dan's Crypt, you often need to do a three point turn just to get the camera pointing the right way!
  • Clunky camera controls are one of the most common complaints about Mega Man Legends, with the player character always facing the same direction as the camera. It's not as bad as in Bubsy 3D, but still pretty cumbersome.
  • In Messiah, the camera is always between you and the closest obstruction behind you, which can mean lining up for difficult jumps when all you can see is your character's backside.
  • At first glance in Mirror's Edge, the camera control seems just fine; it does more or less what you tell it to, because the entire game is played from a first-person perspective. What they don't tell you is that in many cases, the height of Faith's jumps and the accuracy of her landings (especially ones where she has to grab a ledge or drainpipe) depend on where she's looking when she makes the jump. The problem with this is that if you need her to jump very high AND catch a ledge, she needs to be craning her neck up; if the landing surface is below the point where she leaves the ground, it requires the player to dive off a building staring up into nothing and hope. They didn't call her Faith for nothing, you know.
  • Remember Me is clearly designed to be played on controllers. When you hang in a ladder, the camera automatically fixates on a pre-designed viewpoint. You can glance around if you like, though. On a controller, this is easy: Just tilt a thumbstick towards the direction you want to look. However, on mouse, although you can move the mouse towards the intended direction, and the camera will move, the moment you lift up the mouse, or even slow down its movement, the camera will reset like a rubber band. The only way to take a long look in a direction when playing with mouse is to have a very large table and keep steadily moving the mouse towards the same direction. On a typical desktop setup this makes it impossible to enjoy artistic details they have hidden in the corners of some scenes, or to scout around for secrets.
    • Sometimes in fighting scenes the camera likes to hide behind bushes and plants that are positioned around the fighting scene; maximizing the chances that you can't see a thing you are doing.
    • There are a couple of locations where the camera moves to a different viewpoint, almost creating a Game-Breaking Bug scenario as the player finds it nearly impossible except by luck to know where to move the character because of the changed angle.
  • Shadow of the Colossus has issues with this constantly while climbing, but the most poignant example is when you have to climb up the side of a decorative torch with a wall directly to your rear to prevent the Colossus from killing you while trying to climb. Unfortunately, though, because of the way the camera works, you have to slowly move the camera in between the torch and the wall so that it rests inside the protagonist so that you can jump up to the top of it, and since the camera doesn't like being in that position, you have to do it very quickly before you lose the necessary angle again.
  • The Tomb Raider series features several cases of Camera Screw:
    • As a general rule, the camera gets worse as the series goes on (and, as Legend and Anniversary suggest, that doesn't seem to be changing much), starting off generally consistent and doing what it's supposed to by staying behind you in the first few games, then later on adding pointless, unchangeablenote  angles that add nothing to the view except Fake Difficulty. Although there are moments in the games before that which spring something on you fast enough that you don't have time to stop and reset the camera, so you must make do with an odd angle.
    • The camera in the reboot series has a nasty tendency to stay fixed in one angle when Lara gets shoved down from an enemy attack, which means players will have to wrestle the camera to turn it around so they can see their attackers.
    • Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Tomb Raider: Legend both have a camera that frequently moves when you're trying to line up tricky jumps, often putting the jump destination offscreen. This wouldn't be so bad, but the controls (unlike the first 5 games) are relative to the screen, and not Lara.
    • In several entries in the series, particularly Tomb Raider Chronicles, there are a few puzzles that would be incredibly simple if you could see from Lara's point of view, but for which the camera is stuck in a ridiculous place so you can't even see your character, let alone her destination.
  • Too Human's camera is difficult to align and will often end up with enemies off-screen in front of you.

    Action Game 
  • One level of Bomberman 64 intentionally screws with the camera by positioning it underneath the large sheet of ice Bomberman is walking on. As the camera looks up through the ice, the directions of "up" and "down" are essentially reversed from the player's perspective. But why should Bomberman be disoriented by where the camera is?
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The games frequently change the camera angle mid-jump, which makes some boss battles or platforming sections harder than intended. The key to your survival is that the game doesn't realign your controls until you land, so you need not jerk the controller around. The third fight with Griffon in the first game is nearly unwinnable on higher difficulties because of this.
    • The Fixed Camera angles in the first four games can be confusing depending on where they are placed, but usually, the camera faces the door where you just came from, so you have to walk several steps further when you enter a room before knowing what you're about to deal with.
    • The camera in Devil May Cry 2 is particularly bad. You'll often find yourself shooting away at enemies the camera seems to have no intention of showing you.
    • Devil May Cry 2 and Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening also contain some sections where the camera is so far away your character becomes a little figure almost indistinguishable from the similarly-colored objects in the environment, or is hidden by a foreground object. Fortunately, moving your character around reveals their position or shifts the camera to a nearer perspective.
    • The Advancing Wall of Doom sections in Devil May Cry 3 and Devil May Cry 4 have their camera facing the thing that's chasing you from behind, which makes it a bit hard to anticipate the path ahead.
    • Some fights against gigantic bosses are made more challenging because of the camera angles, especially when you're locked-on. In Devil May Cry 1, the camera would look down when you fall off the platform during the second phase of Mundus's fight. In Devil May Cry 3, the camera might not properly show Cerberus when he charges forward. This is more prevalent in Devil May Cry 5 because the camera would always face and focus on the boss, so your character can be off-screen when fighting Nidhogg, or the camera would look down when you're jumping near Urizen during his third boss fight.
  • God of War just loves to change camera angles during precision balance scenes. The game's Edge Gravity may or may not let you grab onto the beam as you fall from it.
  • Ninja Gaiden 2 has a camera that has a disturbing habit of only giving you a nice view of Ryu's spandex-clad bottom and the creature you're currently hammering at — despite the fact that there's another five enemies just five feet away, looking for ways to ruin your day, along with their buddies much, much further away, ramming some very fast-moving projectiles up said spandex-clad bottom.
    • The previous 3D Ninja Gaiden game and its rereleases suffered from a poor camera as well. Perhaps most notably was the first version, in which you couldn't even control the camera with the right stick; rather, moving the right stick would instantly put you in first-person mode. This goes against what has become second nature to most gamers since the advent of the right stick, and the mistake of trying to correct the camera in the middle of a battle has led to many bloody deaths. Fortunately, this was corrected in later versions of the game. Unfortunately, the camera is still absolutely awful.
    • Ninja Gaiden 3 seems to be afflicted by camera problems as well, though not quite as severe. The fact that most enemies read the Mook Chivalry code this time also reduces the risk of a humiliating death.
  • Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion has no option to control the cameras, which leads to the camera slowly panning or turning around and obscuring the player's vision. At times, the camera won't move even when there are clearly more enemies in the area, thus making it easier for said enemies to ambush the player.
  • Robot Alchemic Drive is played from the perspective of the teenager remote-controlling a Humongous Mecha... except when it decides to dramatically follow a missile or Rocket Punch. Cool, yes, but I'd rather be able to see my robot and the enemy, thanks.
  • Spider-Man 2 is one of the sixth generation'snote  few good movie tie-ins, but sometimes — with the GameCube version at least — the camera gets stuck pointing at Spidey's groin, making navigation and combat impossible until you save and reload.
    • The first Spider-Man: The Movie game had a wretched camera system that completely spoiled the game for many, because it was totally non-reactive and controlled entirely by the user. This might be okay for certain situations, but when the player is being bombarded by enemy mooks and trying their hardest not to get blown to shreds, they typically don't have the time to make sure that the camera is positioned just right.
      • The 2000 action game also featured several Camera Screws, including a final chase scene in which Spidey is running away from a monstrous Doctor Octopus who has fused with the Carnage symbiote, going out-of-control Ax-Crazy. The camera is placed in front of Spidey and sometimes if you run up against a wall, you actually can't see it because it's behind the goddamn camera. Cue much on-the-spot jogging without actually moving forward, until the "Monster Ock" catches up and turns Spidey into mincemeat. Or, dodging the giant Mysterio while running around the lip of a circular pit... while the camera keeps turning perpendicular to the edge so the one thing you can't see is how close you've gotten to falling in.
  • Warriors of Might and Magic. Players often complain about its shabby camera controls, which often harvest more victims than the monsters themselves.

    Adventure Game 
  • The camera in Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy may kill your brother. Indirectly, by making it freakin' difficult to find the telephone and warn him.
  • The camera in Highlander: Last of the MacLeods is all over the place, jumping to new angles multiple times in the same area.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Bayonetta enjoys tormenting you by keeping enemies out of your view, especially when you're trying to manually turn the camera to see them instead of locking on with RB/R1. The fact that the enemies all attack you at once seems to discourage you from focusing on one at a time, which sort of defeats the purpose of locking on at all.
  • God Hand: A frantic, Nintendo Hard beat-em-up with rotational controls based on Resident Evil and the camera fixed behind Gene? That should surely be the most teeth-gnashingly frustrating thing ever. And it is - but not because of the camera. On the normal mode and below, enemies can only attack you when they are actually in front of you, meaning you can avoid damage for a moment by turning your back on them.

    Driving Game 
  • The camera in Burnout Paradise goes crazy as soon as you put your car into reverse. While the new angle it assumes might be helpful if you intended to drive backwards for long distances, you're usually just trying to make a quick 2-point or 3-point turn, for which the new camera angle is useless. Not to mention, the default camera angle you see whenever you drive fills up almost the entire screen with your car's bumper, making it almost impossible to see far ahead of you. This is useful if you're going uphill, or at slow speeds; in Burnout Paradise, you're very rarely doing either. You can adjust the camera to fill more of the screen with the road, but constant pressure is necessary, or else the screen snaps back to show you how neat your bumper looks.
  • Driver: San Francisco invokes this with certain dares, requiring you to complete otherwise easy objectives with the first-person view (which is serviceable, but makes it a little tricker to tell how wide your car is or if you're going to tailswipe something during a drift) or Thrill Cam (a dynamic camera mode that constantly shifts before different shots; makes impressive replays a snap, but hell to actually drive with). Fortunately, these rarely have time limits.
  • Mario Kart 7 has a camera screw for Rock Rock Mountain. On the last stretch of the track where you climb up the mountain, the camera slowly shifts to a different angle so you can see up the hill. The problem is the angle switch is done slowly to begin with, which means you can't see the oncoming boulders rolling downhill.
  • The fourth game in the Project Gotham Racing series does this in the form of the in-car/helmet camera. Specifically, how it impedes your ability to drive some of the cars properly from that view. Unlike the 3rd game, in which the game always provided you with its own gauges/readouts of vehicle speed, gear selection, and engine speed no matter what view you were in, in the 4th game, it does not do so for the cockpit view (which incidentally was introduced into the series in the 3rd game), instead making you reliant on the interior model's gauges and readouts to get the info you need. How the camera screws with you here is that either the interior point-of-view is usually a bit too far back from the gauges and makes them hard to read, or it's mis-elevated (too high/low) and allows the steering wheel to block a part of the instrument panel or, in extreme cases, ALL of it. What makes this worse is that these screws made some cars returning from the 3rd game undrivable when using the helmet cam to various degrees, due to a change in seating position from their PGR3 counterparts.
    • Returning car made mildly undrivable: The TVR Sagaris. The cockpit view in the 3rd game gave you a clear view of every important element in the instrument panel, from the analog speedo and tach, to the shift-up warning lights above them, and the digital; numerical readouts of vehicle speed, engine speed, and gear selection below the analog gauges. In the fourth game, the helmet POV is lowered such that the wheel is now blocking those digital readouts, leaving only the analog gauges visible.
    • Returning car made a nightmare to drive: The Aston Martin DBR 9 race car. The 3rd game's cockpit view of this car gave you a clear line-of-sight on the digital gear/speed/revs readout. The 4th game's cockpit view is altered as such that the readout is not visible, again due to the steering wheel obstructing it.
  • This is a frequent issue in The Simpsons: Hit & Run where they pulled the "You have a Free Rotating Camera, but only when we feel like it" schtick that pervades a lot of 3D games. Usually it lazily follows your character and you are free to rotate it around, zoom in, and zoom out, with the second analog stick, but sometimes it gets "stuck" and refuses to move in a direction for entirely arbitrary reasons and it decides to wrench around to a "more helpful" during platforming segments at the absolute last second — long after you've already set the camera and lined your jump up.
  • The PSN game Smash Cars has a camera that sticks low to the ground and cannot be moved. And often hides gigantic holes in the track from view this way.
  • TrackMania's specialty is putting the camera underground inside the track or parallel to the track so that the players can not see it. The first person view camera is located close to ground at the car's nose, giving a limited view of the track and no idea where the corners of the car are. And then there are forced perspective changes, some of which switch to first person view when stunts require it but others just screw up the gameplay. That said, there's a third-person angle which is usable.

    Fighting Game 
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy suffers from some rather wonky camera mechanics on indoor maps such as Pandemonium and Ultimecia's Castle where it will get stuck in corners and trapped behind walls. This is particularly prominent during the Quick Time Events when the camera is already zooming in and around the fighters. Even more frustrating is that some of these problems don't go away even when you are controlling the camera during the Battle Replay mode. On the upside, there's a bug when the problems allow you to see the maps from unusual angles, and outside of those two stages the camera control is generally good enough you barely notice it.
  • The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi camera suffers from this when you're NOT locked onto your opponent
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has this issue during the free-roaming sequences. The game uses a new style to essentially insert the three-dimensional characters into lush painted backgrounds, giving it a similar look to the anime. However, this results in a fixed camera in most sections, making it frustrating when you're looking for items or trying to talk to someone (due to the camera generally being pulled WAY back to show off the scenery). The battles also have a camera screw of their own, sometimes positioning themselves behind the enemy, instead of the player.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • This applies to the Call of Duty games. Taking hits causes the camera to shake madly, making it impossible to aim accurately and allows the enemy to hand you your ass on a plate, especially on the highest difficulty. The AI actually takes advantage of this by always managing to shoot you and throw off your aim just before you pull the trigger. This also applies in multiplayer, though post-Modern Warfare games generally allow you to mitigate this somewhat by taking a perk that reduces the amount of flinching done when you get hit.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick games change from first person to third person whenever you climb, which is fine for the sneaking parts of the game, but not so much for the shooter parts.
  • In GoldenEye (Wii), the aim button will also act as a lock-on button, which prioritizes environmental hazards like explosive barrels over enemies. Great for when you charge into a room full of baddies and want to make a grand entrance. Not so great for when said baddies are aerating your skull from the complete opposite side of the room from the hazard that the game is so intent on you shooting down. Even less so when you're rescuing hostages that the enemies have decided to huddle around an explosive barrel.
  • In an admittedly optional morphball puzzle in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, a very common glitch forces the camera behind a wall, almost entirely obscuring your view of where you are. Worse, the puzzle is constantly in motion. Luckily, the player is able to see the puzzle in its entirety before undertaking it, giving them a chance to memorize it.
  • Attempting to stand up and shoot from behind low cover in Rainbow Six: Vegas is an exercise in futility - if it seems like the camera would be most helpful viewing the action from the left side of your character, it will go on the right side instead (promptly burying itself into the nearest prop or hiding all visible enemies behind your own character) and vice versa. Peeking out from the sides of cover is more manageable, as the position of your character forces the camera to go where it's most useful.

    Party Game 
  • Invoked for Mario Party 9 in the Perspective Mode. You play 10 mini-games that has the camera focused on you instead of showing all 4 players at once, making the games more challenging since you can't see everything.

    Physics Game 
  • Bad Rats: the Rats' Revenge: This is a one-position camera in perspective view. When placing rats at the upper corners, it may sometimes be hard to see if the rat is sufficiently on the corner in case he needs to fall off.

    Platform Game 
  • Naughty Dog is also particularly fond of the "Character Runs Towards the Camera" Chase Scene. According to Andy Gavin on War Stories their entire reason was Rule of Cool and believing that some camera screw was worth it to not make a "Sonic's Ass Game" like other 3D platformers that kept the camera firmly behind the character and aimed at their ass, and because Crash had a highly animated sprite inspired by Looney Tunes shorts and so they wanted you to see his expressive face and body language.
  • Semi-obscure game Starshot: Space Circus Fever had a horrible camera that seemed to actually be a small object following the player. It frequently got stuck behind objects (as in you go on without it, requring you to retrace your steps until it sorts itself out and follows you again.) and in actual fact cannot keep up with the player, requiring you to stop and let it catch up with you! (i.e. stop every minute or so and then zoom in again.) Very impractical for a platformer and highly irritating.
  • Banjo-Kazooie suffers this problem greatly, even in the XBLA version which is actually worse in design since the N64 controller had C-buttons, meaning one press made the camera swing around a certain angle, whereas using the right analog stick on an Xbox 360 controller gives the illusion of being able to adjust to any number of degrees....which it does not, at all. Despite the camera controls being essentially ripped off from Super Mario 64, the camera will auto-adjust infrequently so, and....well just try to play Click Clock Wood and see if you can avoid falling because the camera suddenly cut to another angle and threw you off.
  • The Bubsy games managed to pull this off ahead of their time. Being 2D platformers, they couldn't go for wonky angles, so they instead decided to make the camera so claustrophobically close that Bubsy routinely jumps out of the player's view. Additionally, normally the camera positions itself to expose everything that Bubsy is facing, but when he starts moving quickly (which is pretty much every time he moves, being a post-Sonic Mascot with Attitude), he immediately starts running against the edge of the screen and you can't see anything in front of you. The player is afforded a degree of "camera control," but it's unwieldy and can only be used while Bubsy is standing still. Pretty much every death in the game comes from the camera - either running or jumping into something you can't see.
  • Crash Bandicoot (1996) has this in spades. The camera moves on a rail just behind your character. The problem? The camera never shows you how far the next jump is. As a result, you will have to take it on blind faith that you will find solid ground if you jump as far as you can in one of the four cardinal directions (forward, back, left, and right.) Don't even think about jumping diagonally, you'll only plummet to your doom.
  • Croc: Legend Of The Gobbos has this, combined with a poor turning mechanism. This is particularly frustrating when you are running away from bosses that chase you, or you are trying to make a specific jump. The occasional swimming sections with their poor controls and bad lighting suffer from this in particular.
  • Dawn of Mana has a very poorly done camera, which often leaves boss enemies and jump destinations offscreen as soon as you turn vaguely left or right. While it is possible to rotate the camera and refocus it so you can see in the direction that Keldy is facing, it's still a massive pain in the rear to navigate tight corners.
  • Donkey Kong 64 had similar problems to Super Mario 64, to the point that one would be forgiven for thinking that Bowser outsourced his Lakitu Camera to King K. Rool. Again, you got the most problems when you were trying to move carefully with the camera oriented behind you, which would for some reason cause the camera to go all over the place.
  • Earthworm Jim 3D had a notoriously bad camera system, described by one reviewer as "on a kamikaze mission to destroy the game." It was all too happy about readjusting itself, it almost never defaulted to the angle you actually needed it to be in, the left and right rotation buttons barely caused it to inch at all, and worst of all, you couldn't even tilt it up and down. This may not have been such a problem were it not for the fact that vertical sections or long jumps downward aren't exactly an uncommon occurrence, forcing you to rely on blind guesses to land your jumps.
  • Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier is extremely guilty of this. Even more annoying when you consider the excellent camera in all of the other games in the Jak and Daxter series.
    • Because the game was made for PSP initially, there's no up/down camera movement allowed. Even on the PS2 version.
    • Even compared to other PSP games, the camera is bad. Good luck shooting the target you wanted with its jerky, sticky camera controls.
  • Unusually for a 2D platformer, Mari0 has this in co-op mode, albeit as an obviously deliberate element. The screen scrolling stays with whoever is the farthest to the right, thus making it very difficult for anyone who falls behind to catch up without either dying (thus being able to respawn onscreen) or making quick and skillful use of portals.
  • Mega Man X7's camera isn't so problematic during 2D segments, but the 3D segments have issues. Different sections of levels will switch between giving the player full control of the camera's rotation (albeit with it slowly turning in the direction you walk), having a fixed angle, or following the first setup but without the ability to control its rotation unless you walk in a certain direction. It's the last two options that get particularly-screwy, as the fixed angles are often not ideal for the specific level's scenario (the "run towards the camera" setup is common, and part of Splash Warfly's stage where the player has to fight a midboss has the camera point away from where the boss spawns and ensures that first-timers will be ambushed before they can realize what's going on) or is far too zoomed in (some sections of platforming in Wind Crowrang's stage are turned into blind jumps because of this), and the other setup is pretty much a crapshoot as far as trying to take in your surroundings goes. Snipe Anteater's stage has a screwy camera on-purpose whenever the stage's Interface Screw kicks in.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within loves to change the camera during tricky jumps, or tricky climbing sequences, or difficult Parkour sessions. It also focuses on the Dahaka at one point, to the exclusion of knowing where you're going. This is mitigated by the controls: They usually move the prince relative to the screen (which, with the 3rd person camera, is normally equivalent to "relative to the prince"). However, when the perspective shifts to another angle, as long as you keep the move buttons pressed, you'll walk as if the shift never happened. Only when you release the button do the controls accommodate the new perspective — so if you run in a straight line and the camera shifts to show that friendly guy in black with the surplus of arms trying to play catch with you and you keep the up-button pressed, you'll continue running in said straight line instead of doubling back and going straight towards your pursuer.
  • Psychonauts suffers from this in several places, as is perhaps inevitable in a third person 3d platformer. In the most memorable instance, you have to run an obstacle course inside a moving air bubble at the bottom of a lake (long story). The camera is not only out of your control the whole time, but stays so far away you can sometimes hardly tell what you're doing. This is mostly due to the camera switching to the enemy's point of view (the player is being chased by a giant lungfish in this section) but still proves problematic.
    • Later on, you face a boss fight where the room goes dark, and the boss has darkvision. You can then use your Psychic Powers to look through the boss's eyes, which means you control yourself from the perspective of a camera that keeps leaping between several spots, and you have to attack the camera. (It's optional, though, as you can also look for a small visual cue in the darkness and keep the camera under your own control.)
    • By far the worst example however, is the final level, which may as well be called Camera Screw: The level. There are multiple jumps where the camera changes direction mid jump and a couple where you can't even see where you're trying to jump to. And occasionally, the camera gets stuck inside a solid object, forcing you to restart completely.
  • The otherwise perfectly done camera in the Ratchet & Clank series will occasionally "helpfully" lock onto your next jump destination and refuse to let you look away. Useful for finding otherwise non-obvious jump platforms, but annoying if you just want to look around and explore before making the jump.
    • Tools Of Destruction plays with the run-toward-the-camera sequence. You're forced to rail grind towards the camera, but there are no hazards in front of you. You just have to dodge laser fire from the Cragmite battlecruiser chasing you, and the camera gives a clear view of it.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time usually has a Free Rotating Camera... but there are a lot of platforming segments where camera control is wrenched away from you and locked to some arbitrary location. Presumably it's done to help, but all it accomplishes is to annoy the piss out of you and make these segments much harder than they would be with a free camera.
  • The Simpsons Game uses all of the given examples... plus playing two-player shrinks the screen to irritatingly small, meaning apart from a few areas, its far more fun playing single player.
  • Bad camera control is one of the (at times, overexaggerated) common complaints about the 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games (and many other Sega games as well). Mostly fixed in Sonic Unleashed and beyond.
    • Several games also have the "run toward the camera" variant.
    • This tends to go hand-in-hand with the difficult-to-work-with controls. The camera is set up to focus on Sonic from a particular view, but it never just "switches," instead, it transitions over to where it needs to be. Therefore, if, during a transition, you stop moving or face the wrong way, the camera gets stuck in that transition.
    • Sonic Adventure's camera has a habit of going too low and getting stuck under the floor. Since you have no control over the camera's y axis (possibly due to the camera controls having to be mapped to the shoulder buttons as the Dreamcast lacked a second analogue stick) there's not really any easy way to get out of this other than jumping around a bit and hoping that the camera catches up before you accidentally jump to your death due to not being able to see anything. At least some version of the game can also have issues with the camera getting caught behind assorted level elements such as parts of upper paths, and having the camera jump around between various odd angles in certain places; Hot Shelter gets the worst of it, with Gamma's version of the stage including metal grabby things which pick Gamma up and can cause the camera to spin wildly, as well as a section which takes place on platforms zooming through a tunnel where the camera likes to point in exactly the direction which would be most inconvenient, which can be highly disorienting.
    • It can be particularly frustrating in Sonic Adventure 2, where the game taunts you by allowing you to move the camera to look, but then resetting it as soon as you move a muscle.
    • This seems to happen a lot during Team Sonic's version of the boss fight with the Egg Emperor in Sonic Heroes.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) had it the worst. The camera always seems to focus on the ground, even though this game has lots of huge, expansive levels that are often filled with enemies that you can't see. The camera angles also rarely adjust automatically even as you turn corners, and while you can readjust the camera angle with the right analog stick, it moves painfully slowly and often gets stuck on objects in the environment.
    • This can even happen in the early, 2D games, where it is possible to run fast enough to outrun the camera. Because the level sections in which this can happen generally have no danger, instead of a problem it is a fondly remembered special effect. Sonic CD, on the other hand, sends the camera some steps ahead of Sonic when he goes fast - but because of a glitch the game doesn't do that when he's spinning in midair, with awkward results.
    • A multiplayer romhack of Sonic 2 named Battle Race uses this trope as an actual mechanic, by making the camera focus on the leading player while the other player can lose points by letting their character fall out of view.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly has a camera that couldn't be readjusted unless you're standing still.
    • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: The camera will not move more than an inch to the left or right in about half the areas you go to. You have (mostly) free rein in wide-open areas like the main part of the Valley of Avalar, but otherwise...
  • Super Mario Bros.: Up until Super Mario 3D World, the games are known for having camera controls that felt far less refined than the rest of the game:
    • Super Mario 64 defined the 3D Platformer genre in the same way that Super Mario Bros. defined the 2D Platformer genre. It was a breakthrough in multiple ways, was the top selling game for the Nintendo 64, and is still considered to be one of the greatest games ever made. It also left the player with the idea that the "Lakitu Camera" was under the control of Bowser and was working hard to prevent you from finishing the game. The default camera angles were, to be blunt, not very good, and the worst part of it was that if you tried to manually move the camera, it would automatically readjust itself.
    • The best touch: trying to cross a narrow bridge or sneak by an enemy? The more slowly and cautiously you move, the more erratic the camera gets. This is because when you move quickly the camera drifts farther back, and when you stop or slow down, it pulls tight — but when it's in tight it can (and will) swing from one side of Mario to the other in an instant.
      • Also annoying is that the camera controls move the camera in about 30 degree shifts at a time and that they have a limit to how far around they go. Precision jump? More often than not, it's either between two "ticks" on the camera, or just outside the allowable angle.
    • By the time of Super Mario Sunshine, they had improved the camera a bit, making it more controllable by the player, reducing the wobble that plagued the Mario 64 camera, and having a one-touch button that instantly centers the camera behind Mario. But it had a bad, bad tendency to let elements of scenery such as trees and overhangs completely block the player's view of Mario, and even worse, it was next to impossible in some cases to adjust the camera to a position where you had unobstructed visibility; often you couldn't see Mario unless you pulled the camera in super tight, and the second you tried to move... bam, there's that tree in your way again. In addition the camera can also be a little on the hyperactive side at times, and at the slightest provocation will suddenly fly out to a long view of Mario, then right back in on him, followed by another sudden shift to a long angle, rinse and repeat. This naturally gets annoying during the game's many precision platforming segments.
    • The camera in Super Mario Galaxy was much more intuitive, giving players decent camera angles more often than not. But strangely, it was less controllable than in Sunshine (largely in part due to the Wii's default controller set-up only having one analogue stick compared to two on the GameCube), and in fast-paced levels, it doesn't always keep up with Mario's pace. Even worse, it seems to be designed primarily with the more linear stages in mind. This makes it a royal pain in the ass in missions with more open gameplay such as the Purple Coins, as it often refuses to let the player look at corners or to the sides of the road, despite these being the locations of many of the coins. But at least it didn't automatically readjust itself once the player moved it like the camera in Super Mario 64.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, several of the Green Stars are placed in such a way that the camera is about as unhelpful as possible in letting you get them. Many of them are located out in space without anything on the screen to help you gauge exactly how far out they are or where they lie on the horizontal plane. And worst of all, in some cases, you have to jump toward the star from a spot where it's physically impossible to see it. The Flipsville one, where you have to fall into the star via reverse gravity is worst of all, but one in Starshine Beach is also worth singling out; it lies just beneath an overhang in the middle of the ocean, and once you get to a spot where you can reach the star, it's in a place where you can no longer see it. Meanwhile, to get high enough to grab it, you have to leap out of the water with Yoshi's flutter jump and then dismount him in mid-air... again while you're not quite able to see exactly where above you the star is. Worst of all is possibly the third Green Star in Throwback Galaxy, where the camera is facing the opposite direction of the star, which is suspended in mid-air. Since the camera refuses to let you adjust it, your only option is to make blind leaps off an edge toward the camera.
    • Super Mario 3D Land has a pretty decent camera system for the most part, though it has a couple of issues, most notably in the Bowser levels, where it tends to go to a semi top-down view that's focused in on Mario a little too closely, which doesn't give the player a sufficient amount of time to react to what's coming up.
    • Super Mario 3D World is generally seen as where the series finally nailed its camera controls... in single-player mode, at least. Multi-player is a different story, however, as the game has serious difficulty deciding which player it should be focusing on, which can easily result in players dropping out of the back of the camera area. The Captain Toad segments also suffer a little from the camera being zoomed a little too far out, though fortunately the developers picked up on this and implemented a more refined camera for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker the following year.
  • Super Monkey Ball, to the point you're utterly frustrated and give up. Since the camera is centered behind your monkey, this often causes it to go into a carousel mode, because the sightliest tilt will cause it to move around, which is even more frustrating once you combine narrow paths with curves.
  • Zack Zero suffers from this; see some of the issues here.

    Puzzle Game 
  • The first boss of Ball Revamped Ball Revamped 4 does this.
  • In Disorientation, this is the entire point of the game.
  • In English Country Tune, the camera is firmly centered on your square, and objects that may disturb a direct line of sight between the camera and the square do not become translucent.
  • In Portal, when you go through the more elaborate portal patterns, if the screen has to spin, your up/down view will not be changed. Frustrating when you come out of a portal and suddenly see the ceiling and have no idea just where's the damn floor. Even more frustrating when you have to shoot a portal at the floor while in mid-air.
  • Scribblenauts has this too: the camera always switches back to Maxwell, the protagonist of the game if you leave the camera at a different place for a few seconds This is especially annoying, when you try to do something with your summoned items somewhere else on the level. Good luck combining three items (far from Maxwell) without constant frustration and anger...
    • Fortunately, the second game resolves the camera issues nicely.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Rhythm Heaven has a strange example, one considered not even an example depending on who you ask, what with being completely music based, but a lot of people depend on view. (In fact one of the winning dialogues is something along the lines of "You have a good eye for distance."). Rhythm Rally 2 makes the camera unwillingly fly around, with planets and such blocking the view.
  • Sound Voltex has a special song unlocked during April Fool's day. It's the tutorial music, that is at level 1, but is in the hardest difficulty slot, usually reserved for song in the double digits. Turns out this is due to the camera becoming skewed along the way of the song, to the point of clipping thru the note area at times while dialouge from a character appears.
  • Part of the inherent challenge of Groove Coaster is precisely having to deal with choreographed, shifting camera angles.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Alpha Protocol exists in a world where funny moments meet awesome moments meet horrible camera-induced frustration. When you're not crouched down, the camera is basically three inches from the back of your head, making it impossible to see anything. When you can see anything, aiming is another task altogether: You're either moving it at a snail's pace or so quickly you turn yourself around sixteen times trying to go left before someone grabs the last bagel. Not fun.
  • Final Fantasy X: Macalania Cloister of Trials has a puzzle that requires players to create an icy path by putting spheres in the right place. When the player finishes and goes to use said path, the player must be careful not to step on a tile that partially resets the puzzle. The problem? The camera angle suddenly changes right before reaching the tile, and if you don't know it's coming, the player will step on it.
  • Final Fantasy X-2: This is a big problem in the Yojimbo fight, since the camera occasionally shifts to primarily show the enemy's back. The issue is that it has significant tells that inform you whether it's going to use a harmless attack, a harmless attack that poisons you, or an incredibly dangerous attack that puts you on death's door. Since it also has an untargetable flunky, you need to immediately react to that third attack or risk being killed.
  • Final Fantasy XII. If your characters have a wall behind them, the camera WILL be shunted into the air and point directly at the floor. Very frustrating if you're trying to look ahead, guys. Fortunately it's an RPG, so you won't instantly die from it.
    • Infinite Undiscovery, on the other hand, has the Vesplume Tower, with castle perimeter areas that have fixed cameras and dogs that dash at one or more characters for what at the time is about 1/3 of their HP. These dogs come at you from an angle that WOULD allow you to see them coming, easily, if not for the fixed camera.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII the camera is actually programmed to rotate to one side or the other as you're walking to show off the admittedly impressive scenery, which can make getting around a bit irritating. It also spins around during battles, but due to the combat system being unable to see who is where and being attacked by what is only mildly inconvenient.
  • Kingdom Hearts can be frustrating at times due to the small rooms in some levels like Wonderland or Monstro causing the camera to spin everywhere at the slightest hint of movement. Thankfully this was fixed for the sequel.
    • Also, there are several sections of exact jumping where the camera veers away from the walls and makes your life incredibly difficult. For example, the platforming sections in Deep Jungle and Wonderland.
    • But that's not even the end of it — the camera in general was poorly realized, with the controls given to the R2 and L2 buttons and the speed FAR too slow to keep up with athletic, bouncy Sora. Locking-on helps most of the time, but god help you if it's a fast opponent that likes jumping around like a maniac...
    • There's a fairly simple workaround — just hold the stick forward and steer with the camera-control buttons. It's not the best possible solution, but when combined with the target lock system it gets the job done.
    • The remaster versions fixed some, but not all of this. Most notably, camera control was moved to the right thumbstick, instead of R2 and L2.
    • The DS title Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days has an unskippable stealth sequence that starts you off with a fixed camera. You can turn off the target camera, but the way the other camera works means it is very difficult (at no fault of the player) to follow Pete without accidentally turning the camera in a completely different direction while attempting to move.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the camera is fairly cooperative most of the time, but with the reintroduction of platforming to the series, vertical platforming is hit-or-miss, and much of the detail in the stages is hard to see, mostly due to the inability to look up/down while moving in third person.
    • Re:coded suffers the most from any Kingdom Hearts game. The platforming is even more eminent than in the original; combine that with the typical Kingdom Hearts camera syndrome and the fact that it's on the DS, and you have the most frustratingly Fake Difficult game in the series.
  • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII on the field screen the camera will "stick" on obstacles and refuse to move. This makes discovering treasure chests quite a bit more annoying than it has to be, since swinging the camera away involves moving away from the walls. But moving away from the walls triggers enemy encounters - which leads to the other camera screw. The buttons that control the camera in the field screen switch to selecting commands in the combat screen. Sadly, the camera does not pull out enough to display the entire combat area, leaving some enemies off the screen - which becomes even more annoying when they use ranged attacks. Oh, and then there's the stealth section where you need to watch out for guards spotting you...
  • Neverwinter Nights 2, has a pretty bad camera, zooming in to the characters heads when they are under a doorway is one of the smaller issues.
    • Neverwinter Nights 2 had a major problem with camera rotation that you couldn't fix with the in game settings no matter what. It had to do with the actual size of the room, so for some rooms, you'd move your mouse to the side of the screen and it would do a 1080 before you could remove it, and on others it took about a minute to do a full rotation.
    • The behind-view cameras in both Neverwinter Nights games are abysmal. Your best hope at actual control is the overhead camera.
  • The Force Unleashed loves combining this with rancor fights, locking the camera onto the rancor from a ground-level-Indiana-boulder perspective. The beasties have a large enough reach already before attempts to retreat run the player into stage walls and exploding flowers half the time.
  • Breath of Fire III is an isometric view that has a camera that can only rotate a fraction of the full 360 degrees. This is used to hide things like chests and hidden passages.
  • Wild ARMs 4 was actually a step back from previous games that allowed you to rotate the camera at least in the horizontal axis. The camera in WA4 is entirely fixed except for allowing you to zoom, which every so often makes for a frustrating bit of exploration. Thankfully it was fixed in Wild ARMs 5, replacing it with a fully 3D right-stick-controlled camera.
  • Persona 4: An intentional case found in the Void Quest dungeon. In the 7th floor the camera will abruptly shift in every crossroad, effectively disorienting you. hen you open doors and step through the camera focus can screw up for a few seconds which means that the Shadow next to the door can get the first move. Quite lethal, specially if you found yourself running into the shadow you were trying to escape moments earlier.
  • It's naturally one of the many complaints of Quest 64.
  • NieR uses Camera Screw in the Haunted Mansion as a Shout-Out to Resident Evil and its problematic fixed camera angles.
  • In Demon's Souls, it was evidently decided that a horde of demons wasn't enough to deal with, and Everything Trying to Kill You extends even to the Camera Lock-On. Targeting the wrong enemy in some games is annoying, but targeting the wrong enemy in this game can be outright fatal, particularly in those segments where you're walking along a narrow ledge, a powerful enemy is just ahead, and your target lock decides it would rather pick the giant flying enemy far from the stage oh wait you were pressing forward weren't you whoops goodbye.
    • Dark Souls improves on the lock on feature, but it still has a few moments of 'lock onto everything but the spider that's ripping your face off'. In addition, the camera occasionally bumps into scenery, causing it to spastically zoom in and out.
      • The fact there's no true first-person view and the fact you can only look up/down by about 60 or so degrees makes it particularly annoying to look down or up, say, a ladder before traversing may count as a Camera Screw. Also, when aiming a bow, instead of giving you a first-person perspective like any other game of this type would, it instead opts to give you an 'over the shoulder' view, and the arrow always hits slightly to the left of your crosshair and will oftentimes hit terrain two feet in front of your face rather than whatever you were shooting at in the distance.
      • Movement is relative to the camera, and the camera is also bound by physical objects in the game. This can mean that your walking direction can change suddenly just because the camera has bounced off a tree branch or a pillar. Anor Londo is a minor offender, but the Great Hollow and the tree in Ash Lake will do its damnedest to kill you.
      • In every game, fighting a giant enemy up close is a nightmare for the camera. You'll only see a portion of the boss at melee range, which makes it easy to get hit by attacks you don't see coming. It's especially disorienting starting from Bloodborne, where enemies in general move faster and make wide swings, and the games developed a habit of turning off lock-on or locking onto a different part of an enemy and disorienting you when an enemy stands above you or moves a little too far away. FromSoft just somehow never figured out zooming out the camera is a solution.
  • In Pokémon X and Y's Lumiose City is different from the rest of the game, with the camera following your character around with dodgy rotation making the city somewhat difficult to navigate.
  • The first game in the Monster Hunter series, and its portable port, Freedom, can get frustrating because the camera follows quite closely behind the player character, sometimes too closely, which prevents you from seeing monsters and the environment around you. One section of the Forest & Hills level in particular can be a nightmare because of how cramped it is, making it easy for the hunter to get knocked into a corner and beaten up. Oddly enough, the right thumbstick on the original PS2 version was used for attack inputs rather than controlling the camera.
    • The 3DS version of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate quickly becomes a nightmare to play if you don't have a Circle Pad Pro for camera control. Your only options are the L-button for repositioning the camera behind you, and an on-screen camera D-pad, and your fingers are probably the last thing that should touch the 3DS touchscreen. Underwater quests quickly become an exercise in patience if you don't invest in the attachment.
  • Drakengard 3 has the Final Boss in route D, in which you fight against all the Intoner Sisters in their Grotesquerie Queen forms. During normal gameplay this would be annoying enough, but due to the Rhythm Game controls it is complete hell. You have to press a button to dispel large waves of magical rings when they reach a dragon (the player character in the boss fight), but the camera just swings around, making it all but impossible to see exactly when the rings hit you. Additionaly, missing even once gets you a Game Over making this fight an exercise in frustration.
  • Phantasy Star Zero has the most unreliable camera control on the fields. While navigating through the city is fine, the camera in the fields tends to follow its own rules. First, it adjusts itself REALLY slowly. Second, it can only be manually controlled by holding X and pressing L or R, unless you plan to "lock on" by holding L or "Snap to where/what I am looking, by tapping L. And Third and most nightmarish: It will almost ALWAYS locks itself IN FRONT of the character when you leave an area, effectively getting you back to the area you just left as soon as you enter a new one. Oh, and it doesn't have a "Boss Camera", so... Have fun.

  • Contra 4 combines the two Nintendo DS screens into one large screen. However, the gap between the two screens count as space, which means you can easily get ambushed by enemies and bullets coming out of the gap.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Cardiaxx allows the player's ship to move both left and right in the level, with the camera showing what's in front of the craft. When switching directions, the camera doesn't pan fast enough to see what's far ahead.
  • You will bring it on yourself in 1983 arcade game I, Robot: putting a camera as low as possible (making it harder to see the playfield) yields higher points.
  • With a deeply tinted view (in a pretty dark game, especially the deep space sequences), cockpit furniture that takes up over a third of a screen, and general lack of orientation and peripheral vision, one wonders what the first-person camera in Star Fox 64 is actually good for. Aside from being a form of a Self-Imposed Challenge. And making Virtual Console players repeatedly curse at accidentally stabbing the C-Stick/right control stick upwards.
  • Ether Vapor has a few segments where, instead of having a horizontal or vertical perspective, the camera is behind the ship. The beginning of Scene 6 has one such segment...but the camera's yaw is at an offset, making it difficult to aim or dodge. A similar camera angle happens later in the same stage, during the boss battle with DECIDER, where the angle can make dodging its lasers very difficult.
  • Robotron: 2084 received a PS1 remake titled Robotron X. While the original Robotron was a single-screen game that showed the whole playfield, X employs a constantly-shifting offset overhead camera that goes out of its way to not show the entire field at any given time, a death sentence in an overheard shooter filled with fast-moving, constantly-respawning aggressive enemies. One of the reason its N64 port Robotron 64 is considered a big improvement is that it pulls back the camera to display the entire playfield.

    Simulation Game 
  • The exterior camera in Hometown Story. The player has no control over it and it has a thing for changing angles right in front of house doors so they are more or less facing them. A few houses have their back to the default camera angle of the map.

    Sports Game 
  • The camera keeps switching positions while doing a combo in Backyard Skateboarding: sometimes to the ground, sometimes to the side, sometimes to the sky. And you don't even control the camera while this happens.
  • MLB 09: The Show has camera-dependent baserunning controls in the Road to the Show mode, leading to more than a few camera screws. The controls require you to move the left stick in the direction toward the destination base when you start running, but if the camera angle changes in the split second between when you decide to run (and therefore when you decide which direction to move the stick) and when you actually move the stick, you'll end up running in the wrong direction, usually leading to you being thrown out rather easily.
  • Mario Golf and especially its sequel, Toadstool Tour. It doesn't affect gameplay, but frequently a shot will be totally obscured by a weird camera angle; you don't know what happened until the ball comes to a stop.
  • The camera from the Waterskiing/waterboarding game in Wii Sports Resort qualifies. The camera often goes slower than the player character, which results in being often unable to get back in balance and, thus, gain no points. It becomes unnerving on Medium or Hard difficulty levels, where obstacles are added to the course and it's sometimes impossible to see them because of the camera. Yet it's on the SEA.
  • Super NES basketball game Super Dunk Shot and soccer game Tony Meola's Sidekicks Soccer both used cameras that always panned behind whoever had the ball, as an attempt to show off Mode 7 technology. It only made gameplay confusing in the long run, especially when you were fighting for possession, as the camera swings along with the back of the player.
  • An intentional case shows up in Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy. If you run out of time, an assailant enters the arena and chases you. The camera switches to their POV, which makes skating and performing tricks much harder. On the other hand, you gain triple points during this period, making it a risky way to meet a target you missed.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed games occasionally take control of the camera when you're within a quest, usually to hint the player at where they're supposed to go. It's very useful...most of the times. In the PC version of Brotherhood towards the end of the game there are several spots where the camera goes to an angle that you're not at one of the 8 major spots (up, up/right, right, down/right, down, down/left, left, up/left) and using the WASD key mappings the jumps can be nearly impossible, particularly with your target shooting at you while you try to figure out the best way to get through your view disability. Fortunately, all of the spots encountered are in side quests, not necessary to completing the game.
  • Assassin's Creed II has platforming sequences a la Uncharted. Timed platforming sequences in some cases. You may have got your moves down pat when freerunning over Venice (or even practicing aforementioned sequences before triggering the timer), but it's a whole 'nother ballgame when you try to do the same thing with a "helpful" camera screwing with your perspective every step of the way.
    • To be fair, 99% of the time you have the control over the camera. It only moves during specific missions (most often the Assassin tombs), where you have to do platforming sequences. The way to go can be difficult to realize, and the camera moves always in a way to give you a clear view of where to aim your jump. The problem is basically the same as in Tomb Raider: Anniversary: Player input is relative to the camera, not to Ezio. If the camera suddenly turns 90° and you are running forward, Ezio will pull a sharp turn that's not always intended or welcome. Can be a bit irritating...
  • The initial release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater also suffered from this trope. The first two MGS games utilized semi-fixed cameras that required the player to go into first-person in order to get a dynamic view of the surroundings. This wasn't a major problem, as these games took place in mostly indoor areas with plenty of obstacles, and the player was aided by nearly-blind guards and a radar that pin-pointed enemies' locations and directions. Cue MGS3: Wide open outdoor areas, no radar, guards that can spot you from a good distance if you weren't wearing proper camouflage and lying down...and the same old camera system. This made the game initially difficult for many players, who were now forced to go into first-person view (which disables them from performing any action other than looking around and shooting) in order to track any off-screen enemies.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3's special edition re-release, Subsistence, mostly fixed this problem by adding a fully adjustable third-person camera (only camera screw moments is fighting "The Boss" at the end-game). This system was conserved and improved in the series' fourth game.
    • The camera in Portable Ops was an abomination. On TUS, the big Metal Gear fansite, it actually won the poll for 'the hardest boss in the game'. There is a way of controlling the camera at the same time as moving, but it requires a technique many Monster Hunter fans have come to know as the "claw grip": curling your left hand into a C and operating the D-pad with the side of your left forefinger, which results in some nasty finger pain and is only possible if you have tiny hands. There was a button to lock the camera behind your soldier, but it was the same as the Aim button - so if they had a gun equipped, they'd point it. And if they were disguised with the Chameleon icon and pointed a gun, they'd immediately lose their protection and could be seen.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 has its share as a consequence of the more cinematic approach to camera angles compared to Metal Gear Solid, which almost always had the camera top down(except for corner view and first person).
  • In Tenchu, you can't look up or down manually without going into first person view, and it points straight down whenever you go near a ledge. It may have seemed practical on paper, but this is nothing that a fully controllable camera couldn't handle.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alone in the Dark:
    • The original was the originator of the fixed-camera survival horror angle where movement was based entirely on camera angle, sometimes resulting in losing view of the entrance to the room just when a monster conveniently enters it.
    • The second and third game have passages that look like solid walls because of the textures and camera perspective.
    • Alone in the Dark (2008) occasionally has some poor angling for the third-person camera. However, the ability to switch to first person view almost any time as well as a lock-on function for melee combat help to alleviate this a little bit. However, the camera still likes to be dramatic and epic in certain scenes, so maintaining control of a car after a dramatic jump is a little addled.
  • In the Blair Witch PC game, one part of the forced tutorial level is to explain that when you're given a bad camera angle with the game's survival horror style camera, you should retreat to another area with a better camera angle.
  • Dino Crisis 3. The cameras are fixed — as if you're watching yourself from security cameras. On a spaceship. Where dinosaurs can appear spontaneously out of the walls to attack you.
  • Resident Evil:
    • VERY common in the classic games, thanks to the workaround of using pre-rendered backgrounds as still camera angles when the Playstation hardware wasn't powerful enough to render it in real time. The series predates Silent Hill in the use of Tank Controls, to make controlling characters be consistent no matter what the camera angle is. However, starting with Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, the consoles were able to render the backgrounds in real time, and the developers added effects like camera panning and zoom in one single angle, which looks nice on a tech demo but can screw with a player's perception of space. In the vast majority of cases it also serves to create tension since enemies are usually offscreen and come from Behind the Black; opinions on that are VERY mixed. The Nintendo 64 port of Resident Evil 2 had optional non-tank controls much like the aforementioned Silent Hill 2, which had the same unfortunate drawback of radically changing the player's course whenever camera angles would shift.
    • Resident Evil 6 has some levels where your character is forced to run from something, usually an invincible enemy or an environmental hazard such as an explosion. During those parts, the camera often changes angles instead of normally following behind your character. This usually isn't a problem, but the camera can abruptly change its position, meaning that during one part, pressing right makes your character run to the right, then the camera suddenly changes position, causing pressing right to make your character run left instead, right back into the thing you were trying to avoid, resulting in an instant death.
  • The Silent Hill series does this intentionally on a few occasions; the weird camera angles just add another dimension to the general Mind Screw. Beautifully creepy cinematography aside, most of the sequels keep this and compound it with difficult combat controls (which, again, is somewhat intended: most of the protagonists are not trained, effective fighters) to make many mook fights frustrating, item-expensive, or downright lethal, as the camera aggressively moves every which way but towards oncoming enemies.
    • Presumably to compensate for the limited camera control, the developers implemented the Resident Evil solution of Tank Controls. Starting on Silent Hill 2, a more movement-free option of controls with input related to the camera angle was added under the name "2D controls", while tank controls were kept as "3D controls"; the problem with 2D is that if the camera angle changes, and it will change when something important is nearby, the slightest tilt of the analog stick in a different direction from what it was when the character entered the angle, they'll rocket off in an entirely unintended direction.
    • It crosses over to Scrappy Mechanic in Silent Hill: 0rigins where the camera is prone to spontaneously jerk to different angles or abruptly lock into a Fixed Camera perspective, and you only have about half a nano-second to react before Travis abruptly starts running in a different direction. It's actually difficult to escape certain areas where the camera locks because when the camera changes angles Travis abruptly runs straight back into the area, and god help you if a Straightjacket or Carrion is making a beeline for you.
  • Camera screwing is a staple in the modern horror game, but the Slender games turn it into a core gameplay element. The more glitchy your literal handheld camera gets, the closer the titular Slenderman is relative to your position. Not really surprising, considering it's an adaptation.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Control has a generally reliable camera, but it runs into a unique problem during the fight against FORMER, a giant entity of a boss who towers over you and the battlefield, pretty much commanding your attention since its attacks are relentless, but heavily telegraphed, and its giant eye is its weak spot. However, FORMER has the ability to destroy the floor into a bottomless pit with its attacks, and due to the camera always remaining right behind Jesse, there isn't a good enough angle to keep track of both FORMER and the ground, so you'll often end up dying by accident because you walked into a death pit you had no way of seeing until it's too late.
  • Dead Space does this intentionally multiple times, arguably as part of the minimalist interface style. Fighting the final boss in this manner tends to lead to at least one really unpleasant death scene
  • Max Payne 3 has a Last Man Standing mechanic-if your health runs out and you have painkillers available, you have a few seconds before you die to kill the enemy that landed the fatal hit, which will instantly bring you back to full health. Unfortunately, sometimes the game will outright refuse to let you see the enemy you're supposed to kill, resulting in you running out of time and having to reload the last checkpoint.
    • This is particularly egregious because a major point of the game design was touting how Max could shoot 360 degrees from virtually any position. The only time in the game it really matters, the game decides to screw you over.
  • Warframe. Sometimes, if your back is too close to a wall, your camera is filled with your character, making it impossible to aim in front of you. Since this game features some stealth elements, it is really difficult to stay out of sight, but yet land the necessary headshots while your Warframe's head fills 70% of the screen. Moving away from the object/wall puts you out in plain sight where you can be seen, and missing a shot will likely alert the enemy, ending your attempt a stealth mission. To avoid this, they could simply make your character transparent if the camera is forced too close because of a wall/object behind you.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • GTA IV took the camera to incredible levels of stupidity by turning it into a chase camera that initially sits slightly to the left of the car, which gives you the feeling you aren't driving straight. While the new camera was controllable so that you could shoot better (near full 360 degrees worth of in-car shooting), it also required you to maintain a very, very slight rightward pressure on the camera control stick to get the camera behind the car. That's real fun to do for longer than 30 seconds.
    • The "in-car" camera in GTA IV also inexplicably filled a fourth to third of the screen with car hood, never mind that you'll never see your own hood while you're driving in real life (unless, of course, it's an old Caddy) because real car hoods are designed to avoid that.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had the "Helpful" camera change problem. While driving the camera focuses directly behind your vehicle, meaning you can't see what's in front of you on the road. There's a button you can hit to move it to a much more useful angle, but as soon as you let go of said button, the camera slides riiiiiight back into crap-town. Of course, you can drive in first person mode, but then you can't see anyone pulling up behind or to the side of you; it becomes incredibly difficult to extricate yourself from the kind of 46-point turn scenario that often comes up when trying to drive through alleyways, and over everything else; and of course not forgetting, the car inexplicably gets wider when you're in first person view.
    • You can use the right analogue stick to move the camera while driving (it does snap back, though) unless the car has hydraulics.
    • In the PC port of both San Andreas and GTA IV, it is possible to freely control the camera with the mouse, but as above if you stop moving the mouse for more than a second while driving, the camera refocuses to the back of the car.
    • The camera also is much more of a dumb chase cam than in Vice City, where it helpfully stayed behind the car to show you where you were going. In San Andreas, when you turn a sharp corner, the camera coyly fixates on the side of your car until you have already driven a little distance in the direction you can't see.
    • The camera in VCS, besides having the same chase-cam problem of San Andreas (the game being made in the same engine), also has an annoying programming oversight when it came to piloting helicopters, at least in the PSP version. When driving regular vehicles (cars, trucks, boats, etc), the up/down axis of the analog controls vertical movement of the camera, while in bikes it makes Vic lean forwards or backwards on them. However, in aircrafts, where said axis had to be used for the pitch movement, the camera nudge was NOT removed, so when you pitch a chopper up or down, the camera follows, which is really annoying since to make a helicopter go forward at high speeds you must turn its nose down constantly, i.e. looking at the ground all the time instead of forward.
  • No More Heroes switches from a controllable camera to a fixed camera when you hit the stairs to Travis's motel room. The camera angle changes such that if you hold down the control stick, Travis will hit the stairs, the camera will change, and Travis will run down the stairs and away from the hotel. It takes a very quick touch to hit the stairs at top running speed and not go backwards a few times.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has a working camera most of the time, but it's lock-on is certainly not trustworthy. It has a habit of locking on everything you were not aiming, potentially fatally in the later missions, given the games Nintendo Hard nature. To make things worse, grappling Non Player Characters is basically the only way to restore health to anywhere near full. It's not uncommon to die because the game first locks into a faraway enemy, ignoring the duo playing tennis with you, and then further screws you over by giving you taxi while trying to grab the only nearby NPC.
  • Saints Row gets the driving camera right, but flying vehicles have it wrong. In a helicopter, the control scheme is that the turning keys have very little effect and it is actually the camera angle that exerts the most control over the heading of your chopper. Don't look at the building you're trying to avoid or it will act as a black hole and inexorably pull you towards it.
    • Getting too close to an obstacle with your helo causes the camera to face the obstacle and consequently you drift towards said obstacle. Cue impacting the obstacle a few times and plummeting towards the ground in flames.
    • The driving camera itself also has a tendency to go back to facing straight forward when you're trying to shoot things from within the car. The Third fixed this, where the camera's orientation while driving in cruise control can only be changed by the player moving the right analog stick/mouse/what have you, but at the same time if you keep it pointed in a specific direction it will stay aligned with the car in that manner while turning - helpful for shooting anyone chasing you in their own car.
  • Second Life is this way if you are in crowded areas. By default, the camera cannot clip through objects and can only zoom out at a limited distance. If your avatar is behind a wall, the camera will zoom in really close just to let player be able to see their avatar. While you can change the camera to be able to clip into objects, it may also create a problem where objects block your view and you can't see yourself.
  • Spore, in the space phase, will sometimes, in the heat of battle, have the camera suddenly pull up.

    Other / Multiple 
  • In one Beautiful Katamari level, you katamari eventually becomes so big that the only things left to roll up are the meteors flying by Earth but they're in space, you're still on earth, they vary drastically in size, & they're usually only on screen for a split second. Good luck telling where they are, which ones are small enough for you to roll 'em up yet, & which ones are so much bigger than your katamari that they'll send you rolling repeatedly around the planet.
  • In the "Desert Run" table of Obsession Pinball, the indicator of what Place you're at in the race is only visible when the camera is at the top of the playfield.
  • In any Star Wars video game featuring a flying level of snowspeeder on AT-AT combat (Rogue Squadron, Shadows of the Empire, and Star Wars: Battlefront, to name a few), there's a good chance the normal rear third person view will switch to a side-on third person view the moment your tow cable is successfully attached. Good luck not crashing or breaking the cable immediately, much less successfully tangling up the AT-AT's legs enough to bring it to the ground.

Non-Video Games:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is basically the idea behind Jitter Cam, used in movies like The Blair Witch Project. Jerking the camera around and limiting what the audience can see increases the tension of the scene. In theory, at least.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in one of Extended Play's funniest skits, where Adam Sessler struggles to operate in a world that suddenly has Resident Evil-style camera angles and control problems. The scene where he tries to leave the bathroom is short, but brilliant.

    Web Original 


Video Example(s):


Duck Amuck

Oops, the frame got shifted and... why are there 2 Daffys?

How well does it match the trope?

4.25 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / CameraScrew

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