Arthur's Absolutely Fun Day! for the Game Boy Color is a Minigame Game. The music is horrible and often emits high-pitched notes, the graphics are lazy and look badly drawn (you control a disembodied head of Arthur's in a circle in the map screen) and the games are boring and repetitive, if not downright frustrating. The main goal is to win 16 minigames, and there are only 10, so you will have to play them multiple times in a row.
Also not very good is Arthur: Ready to Race! for PlayStation. The game is supposed to be namely a downhill racer, but the races are mediocre at best since they are very easy and are only played by one player, and can't be lost unless the player truly tries. Most of the rest of the game is running around Elwood City to finish small jobs for other people, simply so Arthur can raise the money to buy the parts to build a better cart. This is all in the form of redundant mini games that are also impossible to lose. The player can also visit familiar locales such as the Sugar Bowl, which are home only to flat mannequin characters standing behind a counter. Build the new car, race it, repeat once more, and the game is over in almost an hour. That is if anyone can stand playing it for that long when the characters have voices that are low-quality and not by the same voice actors as the series and none of the same personalities are there. There is also a multiplayer mode for up to four players if they really want to take turns playing just the racing levels.
The episode "Arthur Sells Out" featured a rare in-universe example. Arthur and Buster try to raise money to buy a video game called Dark Bunny: Revenge of the Moomies, based on one of their favorite TV shows. They end up not buying the game, but Muffy buys the game for $35.95. It turns out that the game is a complete ripoff, featuring flat, outdated graphics and boring gameplay, and the player character isn't even Dark Bunny. The game apparently results in a Game Over after playing it for barely a minute. Muffy decides to throw the game in the garbage.
The Sega GenesisBeavis and Butt-Head game has shades of this. On one hand, the game's visuals and humor are perfectly in line with the show's, it's filled with many references to episodes, and it manages to avoid the most Guide Dang It! aspects of many adventure games. On the other hand, it's a relentlessly difficult game, due to Everything Trying to Kill You, hardly effective ways of attackingnote To elaborate: Butt-Head's standard attack is by farting, but he needs to be turned away from the enemies to hit them; plus the boys' rate of fire, either with their body gas or with the plunger gun, is much slower than the enemies, which allows them to get more shots at you than you at them (Todd's oil spray at the front door of Burger World is an excellent example), an immediate Game Over if either Beavis or Butt-Head's health runs out, and the difficulty of actually regaining health. While the game has a password system, the passwords do not save your collected inventory...but do save your remaining health, which can even result in an Unintentionally Unwinnable situation if you don't have enough health just to get more health.
There was a Beavis and Butt-Head game released for the Game Gear that followed the plot of the SNES game, in which the pair are trying to earn enough money to buy tickets for the upcoming Gwar concert. The game feels awkward and slow thanks to the stiff-feeling controls, as and due to the small size of the Game Gear's screen, you will get hit by offscreen enemies or fall into holes. The only good thing this game has is its cutscenes filled with an impressive amount of digitized speech.
The trilogy of PC games released by GT Interactive:
Wiener Takes All, released as a budget title, was essentially a clone of You Don't Know Jack! with question that don't make sense in context (think South Park: Chef's Luv Shack but with low production values).
Bunghole in One, a mini-golf game exceedingly difficult courses.
Do U. was an attempt to be a follow-up to the well-received Virtual Stupidity, but features easy puzzles (compared to its predecessor), lame humor (even for Beavis and Butt-Head standards), and a short length (the game can be beaten within an hour).
The concept behind Cartoon Network Battle Crashers is a cool one (characters from some of Cartoon Network's more modern shows in a Beat 'em Up) that's hampered by what appears to be a lack of care or effort put into anything. The characters look and move more like soulless robots with none of the personality that makes them who they are, there are no voice clips and only the most average, generic sound effects and music, backed off with some of the most boring gameplay of any beat-'em-up out there, which is not helped at all by the painfully obvious and egregious Fake Longevity that involves playing the same levels over and over again with no increase in difficulty in order to advance in the game. But the most damning thing about the game is the sheer lack of care put into representing the series:
Steven Universe has Steven attack by blowing bubbles (despite only using them for protection or transport in the show), a map to Beach City is required at one point (despite Steven living there and thus already knowing the layout), and the Boss Battle of that world is against, of all things, Frybo, a possessed fast food mascot costume who appeared in one episode and was swiftly killed off, instead of any of the recurring and more threatening villains already present, giving off the impression that the developers only drew material from the first few episodes of the show.
The Amazing World of Gumball was described by its developer in a PlayStation Blog interview advertising the game to be their favorite Cartoon Network show and somehow, Gumball ironically got the worst treatment of all the shows; every character, including Steven, is able to use attacks somewhat based on their respective series, as disrespectful as it came off in the final product. You think with a comedy cartoon so entrenched in reference/parody humor and being the developers' favorite show that Gumball would have something more interesting then one vacuum cleaner attack, his special ability being cleaning up filth on the ground, and his buddy move is just a reused clip from a season 2 episode. It's no surprise the game was critically panned by both Cartoon Network fans and critics and ended up on one YouTube top 10 list as the worst game of 2016.
Chaotic: Shadow Warriors is a trainwreck compared to the actual online card game. Taking a page from the show, you only play as Tom, never seeing any of the other main humans (outside of cutscenes in the DS version at least). Your selection of creatures compared to the card game is a measily 40 or so, and it heavily favors using Overworlders over any other tribe, essentially defeating the purpose of the "actual" game. The gameplay went for a similar RPG approach as Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom, but executed far worse.
Eek! The Cat for SNES is a miserable platformer. Instead of simply moving Eek! through the various levels, Eek! has to safely guide an NPC to the exit by kicking or pushing him or her out of harm's way. This is frustrating, as the NPC constantly walks forward. Combined with miserable controls, the game is jam-packed with Fake Difficulty. Additionally, the Eek! game features some of the darkest, dingiest graphics◊ on the platform, and possibly ever. To add insult to injury, it's a mere Dolled-Up Installment of an Amiga game called Sleepwalker, with only one original level up its sleeve. But hey, what else do you expect from the developers of Cheesy (yes,thatCheesy)?
The Simpsons: Bartman Meets Radioactive Man for the NES was filled with abysmal collision detection and barely-functional fighting controls. Bartman's punches were horribly slow and did next to nothing, even if he hit an enemy. Levels were long and insufferably boring with no variety in them whatsoever. The only thing people are willing to defend about the game is the music.
The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare and The Simpsons: Virtual Bart, both developed by Sculptured Software, boast decent graphics and sound, and some creative level concepts. Unfortunately, they're brought down by overly finicky controls, and difficulty that ranges from somewhat unfair to absurdly Nintendo Hard — and that's without taking into account a couple of levels which fall into outright Luck-Based Mission territory due to poor design. And the kicker? Even with all these flaws, they're still near-unanimously considered the best Simpsons console games prior to the PS2 era.
The Simpsons Wrestling was released for the PlayStation in 2001. It had unbalanced gameplay, Artificial Stupidity and shoddy cel-shaded graphics, even for a late-gen PS1 game. You're unable to block your opponents' attacks, and the controls were also poor. Ned Flanders is an SNK Boss due to his attacks being overpowered and you have to pin him four times to win. The only good thing going for it is the surprisingly good music and the voice acting. Unfortunately, the characters tend to repeat their lines a lot.
The Simpsons Skateboarding was released for the PlayStation 2. It was a Tony Hawk's Pro Skaterclone with terrible gameplay, odd blocky graphics, very limited moveset, and poor controls. It also has the oddity of a skating contest where the prize is a mere $99 and some annoyance in Kent Brockman's constant commentary. It is widely considered to be the worst Simpsons game ever.
The Simpsons: Bart and the Beanstalk, a Game Boy platformer released in 1994, has almost nothing to do with The Simpsons, featuring only Bart, Homer, Marge, and Mr. Burns as characters; even the iconic theme song is absent. The platforming physics are dicey, the levels aren't interesting or fun, and it isn't even the Fractured Fairy Tale you'd expect from The Simpsons—it's a completely straight retelling. It does have a soundtrack that's leagues better above Imagineering's extremely hit-and-miss offerings for the same console, though it's still not much to write home about.
Bart Simpsons Escape From Camp Deadly is similar to Bart and the Beanstalk: a Game Boy game starring Bart that suffers from bad physics and severe Screen Crunch. This one is at least slightly better because it has more Simpsons characters, and the food fight set piece is kind of fun, but it's still not something you would ever want to play for legitimate entertainment.
The Simpsons: Itchy & Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness is an interesting concept, being an action golf game based on The Itchy & Scratchy Show. The problem is that it's on the Game Boy, severely limiting the graphic quality. The gameplay's also dull and unexciting, which is not what you would expect from Itchy & Scratchy; Scratchy putts a ball while occassionally needing to jump over Itchy. The game overstays its welcome with every hole after 3 (there are 9 in total) having a par over 20.
This trope is parodied in universe when Milhouse decides to play an arcade adaptation of Water World. Depositing ten dollars in quarters, he notes "This had better be worth it." He simply moves the joystick to the right, making the Mariner take one step across the screen, at which point the game announces "Game Over, please deposit forty quarters."
South Park Rally was a forgettable, confusing Mario Kart clone and Chef's Luv Shack was a bizarre game show with questions that made no sense if you weren't American.
The South ParkFPS has been accurately described as "the Mr. Hankey of FPS games: A turd of a game who comes to people who don't read game reviews". It got 8% from PC Gamer magazine in the UK and a 30/100 from a Finnish games magazine which also sourced the previous quote. The PC and PlayStation versions of the South Park FPS were horribly buggy and had performance issues, which is part of the reason why they were reviewed so badly by most. The N64 version was generally rated much better, although that's not saying much (Game Stats gives it an average of 5.9/10 from the major sites). At the very least, it had the good fortune of being built on the Turok engine, so most of the bugs had been ironed out beforehand.
SEGA made a pinball machine themed onSouth Park as well that was a flop with both operators and players. After some operators took some heat for allowing a machine themed on a TV-MA license to be played where children are often present, many operators decided to not buy them or return them outright. The players, meanwhile, slammed the game for its unbalanced scoring, bare-bones gameplay, and lack of challenge. This machine ultimately took SEGA out of the pinball business for good. That being said, the South Park pinball machine did prove a hit among fans of the show, as it integrates the theme very well and is filled with references to the show. It thus has a divisive status, lining up largely with those who watch the show and enjoy it and those who do not—even the most persnickety of pinball fans seem to like the machine if they are also South Park fans.
The Xbox Live Arcade game Tenorman's Revenge was scorned for being a dull time-travel based platformer with pandering references, lazy writing, and awful level design.
On the surface, MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch sounds like something tailor-made for an addictive brawler. Annoying celebrities beating the snot out of each other until one of them finally lays down and dies, with a slathering of gratuitous violence and bloodshed on top? It made for an awesome show, so why shouldn't it work as a game? Unfortunately, it came with an incredibly small roster, a short story mode that could be beaten in two hours or less, a create-a-character mode more shallow than the celebrities that it was skewering, and crappy controls, condemning it to the bargain bin.
A borderline case with Futurama: The Game, which while not a terrible game, is an uninspired Third-Person Shooter, merely So Okay, It's Average by most fans' standards. The graphics do look rather nice and the character designs translate well into 3D, and its main saving grace is its hilarious story, which was penned by the actual writers and performed by the voice actors of the show. Not only does it manage to lampshade a few aspects of the show, but it makes fun of a few video game clichés as well. Luckily, all of the cutscenes (and some filmed gameplay) were strung together and released as an unofficial episode, which is available as a special feature on the second film release, The Beast With a Billion Backs.
SpongeBob SquarePants has a surprisingly better track record than most when it comes to licensed games, which can be seen on the other page. That said, not all of them have been winners:
Operation: Krabby Patty released only for PC is a Minigame Game that served as the template for future SpongeBob PC ports such as Battle for Bikini Bottom and Nighty Nightmare. It's a piss-easy minigame collection with two story routes (though the only difference between them are the cutscenes and the minigame order) that put together can be beaten in roughly an hour. The cutscenes feel oddly not like SpongeBob despite the game recycling jokes from the show ad verbatim (with many of the original jokes making little sense) and the back of the box advertising the game as an interactive SpongeBob episode, though it probably doesn't help that the CG cutscenes look hideous (and they recycled this art style for the PC version of Battle for Bikini Bottom).
SuperSponge on the original PlayStation and GBA. The spritework isn't that bad but it also looks very underwhelming in the PSX version. The controls are also slippery, making platforming a pain, and the admittedly catchy music is often drowned out by the obnoxious sound effects.
The PS2 version of Revenge of the Flying Dutchman had a serious Game-Breaking Bug that would freeze the game when attempting to load a new area, thus making it impossible to play. Fortunately, this was fixed in the GameCube release. Unfortunately, the game is still bogged down with poor graphics, boring gameplay, a disappointing ending, and one song that plays throughout the entire game until you switch costumes, a far cry from what the video game series would laterputout. The game would serve as a Creator Killer for developers BigSky Interactive, who've only developed this and the previously mentioned Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius video game.
The PC version of the game deserves special mention. While the GBA version at least tried to resemble the console version despite its limitations, the PC version is an In Name OnlyMinigame Game. It suffers from painfully easy minigames, almost no hints whatsoever, the plot being extremely watered down, and the voice acting being worse than the console versions. Overall, the PC version is considered to be the worst version of the game by many players.
While it's no Battle for Bikini Bottom, Creature from the Krusty Krab is a great game in its own right and has gained a cult following over the years. The Nintendo DS version has decidedly not, and for a good reason. Once again, it was scaled down into a 2D platformer. However, for whatever reason, WayForward decided to force touch-screen controls on the game, and it does not work at all. It's a puzzle platformer where you use the touch-screen to do everything, including moving your character with no option to use the D-pad and face buttons instead. Unfortunately, the controls are slow and unresponsive, making for a frustrating experience.
The PC version, also known as Nighty Nightmare, is considered even worse than the port of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, and with very good reason. While the PC port of Battle for Bikini Bottom was a letdown, this was the turning point for fans of the SpongeBob PC games and wound up being the last physical SpongeBob video game to be released on PC until Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated. The problems with this port include a watered-down plot that takes away all the charm and heart of the console and even GBA version, horrible graphics, cheaply done cutscenes that usually consist of shoddy 3D models or still images, an extremely short length, and generic gameplay with little variety (and what variety there is is usually boring or outright unpleasant).
Plankton's Robotic Revenge was one of two SpongeBob games released under Activision when THQ went bankrupt in 2013. It could have been a good sequel to Battle for Bikini Bottom, but its flaws - simplistic gameplay and combat, limited enemy roster, and an uninspired story - are far too noticeable for even the most hardened fans of the show to squeeze out any enjoyment from the game. This and SpongeBob HeroPants (which suffered the same problems and was made by the same developer, see Film — Animation for more details) served as a Franchise Killer for the SpongeBob video game line until 2020's Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated.
The 7th generation in particular saw a tidal waveof forgettable SpongeBob tie-in games (the exception being Boating Bash, which is a pretty decent demolision derby/Mario Kart-type game) that no doubt contributed to the temporary demise of SpongeBob's video game career, were mostly based on specials, and coincided with a decrease in quality of the show. In addition to the aforementioned Activision-era games, offenders included:
SpongeBob's HD debut, Underpants Slam, a 2.5D action collectathon platformer with repetitive level design (some levels are simple reskins of other levels) and not enough mechanics to keep things interesting.
Atlantis SquarePantis, a mediocre minigames collection that follows the plot of the TV special of the same name.
Truth or Square, loosely based the series's 10th anniversary special and a Contested Sequel to Battle for Bikini Bottom for its bland and predictable level design despite being made by the same studio (though it's at least regarded as better than the special it's based on).
Beach Party Cook-Off which can be equated to a cheap and tedious Cooking Mama clone and was largely ignored (and itself is very loosely based off of "SpongeBob vs the Big One").
SpongeBob's Surf & Skate Roadtrip (this time loosely based on SpongeBob's Runaway Roadtrip, an anthology series of vacation-themed episodes) which is regarded as yet another barely functional Xbox Kinect shovelware title along the lines of Sonic Free Riders (even having the same style of slideshow cutscenes) and (though not a Kinect title) Tony Hawk: Ride and was the final SpongeBob game published by the original incarnation of THQ. The DS version isn't much better, somehow running at a choppy framerate despite the game using 2D sprites.
The Teen Titans game, called simply Teen Titans, is a lame excuse for a game that consists of an extremely generic plot, lazy, glitch-filled graphics and an extremely disappointing ending. Pretty much every major villain from the series is randomly running rampant and the Teen Titans have to go stop them. You can choose the difficulty level, but there's no noticeable difference between them besides the too good Pong level, and there are these two levels that are dang near impossible anyway! It's not the worst licensed game ever, but it sure has its problems.
Looney Tunes games generally belong on the other list, but that doesn't mean that the series and its spin-offs are immune to having stinkers like these:
Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal could've been a decent Ratchet & Clank clone if it wasn't marred by bland visuals, music that ranges from mediocre to nonexistent, save for a pleasant remix of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" (the memorable tune that usually played during the assembly line scenes in the old shorts) that plays during the penultimate level, characters that are all functionally identical, poorly-designed enemies including a very Anti-Climactic and somewhat buggy Final Boss, and an Excuse Plot with a less than satisfying ending.
Bugs Bunny had two disappointing NES games, The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout, which in spite of good graphics was frustratingly difficult and generic, and The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, which was a shallow platformer focused on puzzle-solving that lacked a jump button (says something about how pared down the gameplay was in that all its sequels were portable games!).
While the Sega Genesis and Master System versions of Taz-Mania are considered good, or at least passable, the Game Gear version is an atrocious wreck. The graphics are hideous and the controls are sluggish and awkward, which only adds to the Fake Difficulty that's already present.note The first level involves outrunning a boulder and requires absolute perfection and ends with a Leap of Faith, while the second requires you to know the exact route through a runaway mine cart level or else you'll hit a dead-end and die. The only boss in the game is a serious case of Guide Dang It!,note You have to jump up and hit hanging icicles with your spin attack, which for some reason causes fire to shoot out from the floor. and the sound and music ...well, just have a listen for yourself.
Férias Frustradas do Pica-Pau (translates into Woody Woodpecker's Frustrated Vacation), released by Tec Toy in Brazil in 1995, is an atrocious game for the Sega Genesis and Sega Master System, both for its sloppy design and for being extremely hard for all the wrong reasons. The levels are poorly designed (sometimes blatantly copy and pasted) and absolutely relentless in enemy placement, but the real issue is the very stiff controls combined with some of the worst hit detection you'll ever find in a game—nine times out of ten, you'll get hurt by the enemies and boss fights more than you can dish it out on them with your nearly useless, short range peck attack. The graphics are abysmal and look like they were drawn in MS Paint, and the sound work is lazy and annoying (for example, the sound of Woody Woodpecker's laugh plays every time he grabs any item). Oh, and the Hard Mode makes the experience even more miserable, since Woody has no Mercy Invincibility in it.
The Xiaolin Showdown game for the PS2 and Xbox (the DS version was surprisingly decent). It suffers from boring and repetitious gameplay, mucky graphics, extremely short length, you cannot die at all, and Dojo doesn't even have his original voice actor. As one reviewer said, you can beat a level just by standing in a corner and letting the AI players eliminate all the enemies for you. The only redeeming thing about the game was the Showdown mini-games, but even those were boring and lacking. This is pretty messed up considering the fact that Konami's WarnerBros.adaptationsfromthe90's were generally well-received.
The 2012 My Little Pony game is a freemium game made for smartphones. The problem with this game? You have to pay to win it legitimately. - and there's a lot. It's not otherwise a terrible game and it does have its fans, plus it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be in its regard, but it still requires ridiculous amounts of grinding to complete without paying.
Made worse by Hasbro C&D'ing the excellent fangame My Little Pony: Fighting Is Magic around that time. Some fans speculate that the reason is, it was making the official game look bad in comparison!
Family Guy has a rough history when it comes to video games. The 2006 game simply called Family Guy: Video Game! suffered from braindead AI, uninspired levels and gameplay mechanics, and was just simply boring. The browser MMO had a mediocre reception from players and was shut down before even going out of beta. 2012's Back to the Multiverse did considerably better with many reviewers stating to have enjoyed the game's comedy and writing, but subpar shooting mechanics put it into So Okay, It's Average territory for many. Then there was Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, which is ultimately nothing more than a transparent knock-off of The Simpsons: Tapped Out, and not a particularly good one at that; the microtransactions are far more frequent and obnoxious, for one thing.
Daria had a game called Daria's Inferno. It was if anything So Okay, It's Average. It does feature some of the show's silly wit as Daria has a nightmare of all her annoyances... but it quickly gets just as annoying for the player, since the game requires you to use an item on the Daria characters walking around so they don't irritate her. Unfortunately in the early stages, they spawn at least ten of them per room, and the penultimate level only has Helen and Quinn appear saying the exact same things. While funny, ("Daria, could you hide your brain? You're making Quinn feel left out.") it's only funny the first few times, and they appear for a few brief seconds and do so repeatedly.
The Tom and JerrySNES game is just another bland platformer, where the player, as Jerry, plays through a series of stages, running around until he hits the end of each stage and fights Tom. Along the way, he can pick up peas that he can use to throw at his enemies. The music is composed of nothing but random beeps. The game's multiplayer aspect is no better; to quote a YouTube commentator:
So, lemme get this straight, both players, not even playing at the same time, have to complete the level, and if one dies they switch.
The NES game based on The Incredible Crash Dummies, where your character's on a runaway unicycle for some reason, your only weapon does nothing but freeze enemies for a second, and it's possible to have your head knocked off thereby reversing all your controls, is usually regarded as one of the more frustrating licensed games on the system. The Game Boy one, which instead of being a action-platformer is made up of quirky minigames of the dummies working as stunt doubles or quality control at a munitions plant, tends to be regarded a bit more favorably.
There is a far worse evil: the version of the game on the SNES and Genesis. With bad music and sound effects on both platforms, there's also a hit point system where you lose your limbs when you take a hit, which can make it harder to do certain platforming bits. Add floaty jumping mechanics and uninspired level design and you get a game that is worthy of the status of being part of the reason why LJN was killed in 1995. This game was developed by some hacks called Gray Matter. The NES and Game Boy versions (developed by Software Creations) are mediocre at worst, okay at best, but the SNES and Genesis versions are just plain bad.
The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the NES was considered by most an uber-example of Nintendo Hard, while the follow-up arcade games (especially the first one) and their console adaptations are considered classics of the Beat 'em Up genre. Later adaptations of the various 2000 series' are a mixed bag at best.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2013) fared slightly better (they at least looked like their TV counterparts), but was cited with its own bugs and simplistic gameplay (due to being designed for smaller children).
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW! is an unremarkable dungeon crawler that gets few of the elements of other games in its genre right and is even worse on the 3DS than on consoles, yet the game is canon to the show and reveals Princess Bubblegum's "parents" and real age. Its main saving grace would have to be its presentation and loyalty to its source material.
Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land tried to be a fun little homage to classic 8-bit games, but unfortunately the game was rushed to store shelves and is plagued with problems such as bad level design and glitches.
Parodied (and possibly played straight) with Rick and Morty's Rushed Licensed Adventure, a Flash point-and-click game that deliberately employs Moon Logic Puzzles (such as using a trampoline to stop deadly lasers). Of course, all of this is lampshaded repeatedly... which leads to the biggest problem people have with the game: its Medium Awareness gets irritating quickly. (Other than that, it's generally considered a perfectly functional game, however.)
Interviews about the development of Young Justice: Legacy talked about this trope a lot. Little Orbit, the company developing the game, worked closely with the showrunners to ground the game in the show's timeline. It takes place four years after the first season and a year before the second, and it depicts events the show's second season only hinted at, such as Aqualad learning his father is Black Manta and the death of Aquagirl. On the other hand, the game was delayed more than once, finally being released well after the show's cancellation. The graphics looked about ten years out of date, the actual gameplay is clumsy, and the 3DS port was turn-based combat, instead of real time like the others. Most fans that bothered with it agree that the story and the voice acting is right up there with the rest of the franchise, but the actual game itself is lacking.
While most of the Nickelodeon crossover games are considered cult classics (especially the Nicktoons Unite! series), there have still been plenty of stinkers:
Nickelodeon Party Blast was one of the very first ones, and it was near unanimously considered a complete and utter joke. The graphics were very bland and ugly; looking about on par with a Nintendo 64 game (and this was a game released on the GameCube and the Xbox). The gameplay itself was lambasted for its terrible controls and just being boring, and the less said about the sound effects and music, the better. The icing on the cake was that the game was developed by Data Design Interactive, the same company that would later become infamous for their many crummy shovelware games for the Wii.
While the first three games in the Nicktoons Unite! series were largely surprisingly decent affairs and serious Cult Classics as mentioned above, there's no such love for the final installment Globs of Doom, which seemed to lack the actual effort that was put into the previous games in terms of the gameplay (generic, monotonous, and too easy), graphics (the characters look Off-Model at best and outright hideous at worst), and story (the Nicktoon characters besides SpongeBob are pretty much an afterthought and the mainstay Fairly OddParents! characters like Timmy Turner are inexplicably missing). On top of that, the game was far more bug-ridden than any of the previous games, including one severe save-corrupting bug. The developers dropped the ball so badly that it outright killed the Nicktoons Unite series and no Nickelodeon crossover games on dedicated video game consoles have been platforming adventures since.
Zig-zagged with Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, an attempt to create their very own Super Smash Bros.. On one hand, it was developed by Ludosity, who had already proven themselves with the decent Slap City, its roster featured several Nicktoons that hadn't been seen in years such as Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and The Wild Thornberrys, and upon release the gameplay itself was widely regarded to be decent if not outright great, with a lot of clear care put into it. However, the game launched with an astounding lack of content: voice acting (once again), items and even alternate colors and costumes were missing from the initial release, recognizable characters such as Jimmy Neutron, Timmy Turner, Jenny Wakeman and perhaps most glaringly Donatello and Raphaelwere excluded, and both the graphics and the sound effects gave away that it was made on a dime - especially considering its $50 price tag at launch. Not helping matters were the reports of issues with its online multiplayer and competitive balance: which had been hyped up as the dominant features of the game. Regardless of promises to address the most glaring issues, within mere days Twitch views dwindled to single digits, and many Smash content creators dropped it as quickly as they picked it up. In spite of this, the fanbase holds out hope that the game will one day be able to be called a true aversion to this trope once the patches, improvements, and fixes promised by the game's developers are implemented.
Ren & Stimpy: Fire Dogs is a game that was only released on the SNES. It is based on the episode where the duo disguise themselves as Dalmatians to get into the fire department. It is hampered by poor controls, collection gameplay that is down to luck, frustrating gameplay mechanics and a difficulty spike after the third day on the job. The only saving graces are that the player gets infinite continues and the password system is forgiving. The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed this game as part of his "Twelve Days of Shitsmas" marathon.
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie on the N64 & PS1 in 2000 was a mediocre Mini Game Game that didn't even follow the film's plot. Instead, it involved the babies running around an empty EuroReptarLand looking for tickets. The tickets you needed to play the mini games, and there were never enough of them in the park. The games themselves were mostly overly-kiddie carnival attractions like hit 50 targets with pies, do a kart race, and such. To say it was tedious was an understatement. Apparently, you had to collect 100 or so tickets overall to save the Reptar princess or something, but few players got that far.note Most turned the game off after five minutes. There was also a lackluster multiplayer mode. Interestingly, the game was made by Avalanche Software, who went on to make the far better Rugrats: Royal Ransom in 2002.
The GBC version,note Also from 2000. made by a different developer, was the same thing, just on a miniscule screen and with awful music. You can imagine how that went down.
The Rugrats Movie was a clunky platformer for the GB and GBC in 1998. Not following the movie's plot at all, it involves Tommy marching through levels based loosely on the film's set pieces. Controls were difficult, and a ticking timer made the whole experience a pain. Even short parts where you could play as the other babies and ride in mine carts did little to ease the monotony. The sole good thing to say about this title is its nice colour palette on the GBC.
Rugrats: Time Travellers was another clunky platformer for the GBC in 1999. The story involves the babies screwing around with a time machine in a toy storenote Similarly to the episode "Toy Palace", except nowhere near as good, of course. and being whisked away to stereotypical time periods (Egyptian times, prehistoric times, etc). There were so few interesting historical elements used, one wonders why the developers even bothered with a Time Travel plot. Controls were broken, and the ending was extremely unsatisfying. The only saving grace of this game was its colourful graphics.
Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt was an incredibly boring Mario Party ripoff on the N64 in 1999. Despite sporting good graphics for the time, minimal loading screens, and the TV series' actors reprising their roles, it featured excruciatingly slow gameplay, a lack of any sort of mini games (ya know, the main reason people even play the Mario Party series?), a total of three game boards, and repetitive voice clips. It's easily one of the worst games on the Nintendo 64.
The GBC version from 2000 is a scaled-down version, lacking Mark Mothersbaugh's soundtrack, O.K.-for-2001 3D graphics, and basically anything that made the console version tolerable. Oddly enough, it had a completely different story,note Involving Angelica rescuing Cynthia from Tommy & Chuckie, of all people. and was a tad more polished in a few ways, such as including an actual Boss Battle. IGN has a rather entertaining review here.
Compared to the Taito games, Grandslam's The Flintstones game for the Sega Master System and 8-bit computers was not so good. The game has four levels, the first of which is perhaps the most frustrating. In it, Wilma wants Fred to paint the whole wall within a time limit, and every so often, Pebbles will stray from her crib and mess the wall up, prompting Fred to bring her back. The wall must be painted perfectly, or Fred will lose a life. The second level involves Fred and Barney getting to the bowling alley before it closes, the third level involves Fred and Barney playing a bowling game, and the fourth level involves Fred rescuing Pebbles from a construction site within a time limit. As for music, the game has a decent 8-bit rendition of the show's theme song. Unfortunately, it is the only song in the game, and it plays throughout the entirety of the game (though the game does provide an option to turn the music off). Your reward for beating the game is an image of Fred holding a certificate and a trophy in front of his family and friends.
Many Flintstones games between the Taito games and the Android game The Flintstones: Bring Back Bedrock — which, despite being less spectacular than its predecessors, is seen as a return to form — were disappointments, but The Flintstones: Big Trouble in Bedrock, a joint effort from H2O and Conspiracy, really stands out. Released for the Game Boy Advance at the end of 2001, it suffers from shoddy graphics, wretchedly boring gameplay, extremely long and confusing levels, and a mediocre plot where Fred must save Barney from the game's antagonist, Dr. Sinister. The famous theme song is missing and the cut-scenes resemble poorly edited stills from the show. Wilma and Dino are present, but they just serve as spectators in the first two levels, leaving Gazoo as Fred's only major helper. Additionally, there is no ability to save, meaning if you want to complete the game, you have to do it all in one sitting. The YouTube channel World of Longplays did a 100% run with every last Gazoo token and clam, and even this "gives you nothing as a reward."
The 2007 version of George of the Jungle, of all things, got a licensed game, The Search for the Secret, on Wii, PS2, and DS, with bland gameplay, unresponsive controls, and a low framerate. The Wii version in particular had bad motion controls that you needed to play the game.
Cosgrove Hall's Count Duckula series had two games for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by Alternative Software, neither of which were good and were terrible instead. Alternative also made a version for the Commodore 64, but with bland graphics, annoying and repetitive music, a ten-minute Timed Mission that translates to It's Short, So It Sucks!note it's made worse that you lose time for each enemy you run into and you can only regain 30 seconds by encountering Igor, and a lame reward, it fared no better.
The show received several licensed games, none of which were much better than OK, but by far the worst is the Game Boy Color trilogy: Bad Mojo Jojo, Battle Him, and Paint the Townsville Green, churned out by a no-name company named Sennari Interactive in the early 2000s. All three games are Mission Pack Sequels to each other, only varying based on which character you play as and which stages you go through, and all three share the same flaws: floaty and unresponsive gameplay, tiny, sloppy, amateurish sprites, ugly backgrounds, annoying bitcrushed sound effects, and possibly one of the worst soundtracks in any video game. The Rowdyruff Boys are unlockable through passwords, but there's no point in actually playing as them since they're identical to their corresponding Powerpuff besides the different sprites. Sennari was called back to work on Mojo Jojo-a-Go-Go for the Game Boy Advance; it shifted from a traditional platformer to a side-scrolling shooter, and although a significant improvement in gameplay and sound, it's still a pretty ugly and repetitive game.
Also not very good is The Powerpuff Girls: Chemical X-Traction, released in 2001 for the PS1 and N64. The plot of the game is that the girls bake a pie which Bubbles adds Chemical X to. The show's Rogues Gallery steals and eats the pie, gaining superpowers, and the girls have to defeat them to knock the Chemical X out. The game is a fighting game, but the girls are far more powerful than the villains, making the game far too easy. Story Mode has individual stories for each girl, with no differences in gameplay aside from which girl you play as. The PS1 version is by no means a good game, but the N64 version is even worse. Console hardware limitations cut out the CGI cutscenes, as well as most of the music present in the PS1 version, leaving the N64 version with only one song that plays throughout the whole game. The N64 version also gives the girls an explosion attack, which eats away at the enemies' health when used in quick succession, making it even easier than the PS1 version.
Ben 10 has had several video games based on it released to home consoles, and all of them tend to be regarded as So Okay, It's Average at best. Additionally, one of them is a blatant Mario Kart rip-off, and the very first one was exclusive to the widely-hated HyperScan console.
The PS1 port of the PC game Buster and the Beanstalk gets more brownie points for at least having the characters' original voice-actors where possible and animation that emulates the original show well, unlike Plucky's Big Adventure. Unfortunately, the game is severely brought down by much of the challenge of the point-and-click segments from the original game being removed in favor of simply leading the player directly to where they need to go next, instead of letting them figure it out for themselves, and being padded out with tacked-on platforming segments that are shoddily programmed and steeped in Fake Difficulty.
The Exo Squad game for the Sega Genesis could be a contender. Despite having a decent intro cinematic and the novel concept of three radically different gameplay styles, the rest of the game's graphics are well below standards for the Genesis. While bad graphics may be forgivable, the game's sloppy and sluggish controls are not, not to mention the lack of polish in each of the aforementioned gameplay styles. Also, only three of the Able Squad members are in the game in a series with a fairly wide cast.
Voltron VR Chronicles was an embarrassingly short (1 hour of gameplay to be precise) VR game that was meant to be the first of a five-part series. Its short length, uninspired gameplay, and the niche nature of VR products, in general, ensured it was a One-Episode Wonder. Not even the focus on fan-favorite Lance could convince people to buy it.
While most of the games based on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius and the movie it was based on were very hit-or-miss, the GBA version of Jimmy Neutron vs. Jimmy Negatron stands out as one of Jimmy's worst outings. You can't fault its developers for trying, as the game represents an attempt to give the Game Boy Advance a genuine 3D platformer. Unfortunately, the ambitious gameplay ended up being far too much for the GBA's technology to handle, resulting in a slow-paced and rather ugly-looking game with graphics that resemble the 3D Maze screensaver from Windows 95 more than it does Jimmy Neutron. Putting that aside, the gameplay also has multiple strange design choices as well, such as being extremely stingy with health and ammo pick-ups in a game where you are going to NEED every single one. Also notable is how taking any sort of damage automatically sends Jimmy or Goddard backwards in the level, without Mercy Invincibility or making concessions for any hazards that might be around where Jimmy or Goddard are respawning, potentially getting your character sent more than halfway back through the level due to getting caught in a Cycle of Hurting. Add a nonsensical Excuse Plot that only tangentially relates to that of the game's PC counterpart and extremely stilted dialogue on top of that and you get a game that ends up feeling less like a Brain Blast and more like a Brain Fart.