Well, 2020 is almost over! Screw those episodes of Star Trek: Voyager; THIS was the year of hell. In fact, it was because of everything that went on this year that I decided to use December to vent and rant against the worst media I ever experienced. Last time was about the movies that make me cringe just thinking about them. Now, it's time to talk about the video games.
As I said before, I am not a professional critic; with a few quite pleasant exceptions, nothing has been handed to me for review. I play what I want. Thus, most of the truly infamous games like Plumbers Don't Wear Ties and the Zelda games on CD-i have never gotten into my hands. In fact, some of the games that tend to end up on "Worst Ever" lists don't really bother me. This isn't a list of games that are the worst ever made; these are the games that pissed me off the most. Again, I'm presenting these in alphabetical order because they're not worth ranking; rank them however you want.
Alone in the Dark: One-Eyed Jack's Revenge
Several of the games on this list are ones I reviewed for defunctgames.com. This is one of them. Don't worry; they won't all be. Aside from the first which I finally played on PC recently, all of the Alone in the Dark games have been poor, but the second was the only one that outright infuriated me. While the visuals may have been passable for the time, the controls are beyond horrible. Why is Carnby mostly limited to two-fisted brawling when his foes are almost always packing heat? Why are none of the critical actions explained? Why do the enemies have infinite ammo, but you're lucky if you can just get half a clip off their corpses? WHY ISN'T THERE A F***ING LOCK-ON FUNCTION?!? I'm still amazed that this game didn't kill the series immediately and spare us the mediocre follow-ups.
Batman games have a much better track record than people give them credit for. In fact, Batman Returns is a great game to play for Christmas. However, Batman Forever is a nuclear waste spill. Developers, listen... fighting game mechanics don't work for a platformer!!! Did Batman and Robin really need to be able to do spin kicks and leg sweeps if it meant just changing floors required a bunch of fiddly button combinations? With platformers, pressing up to jump sucks! Is making one of the six buttons on the Super Nintendo and Genesis controllers jump really that difficult? Also, where are the continues? It's really telling that Darklordjadow1 on YouTube couldn't even finish the Genesis version without using level skip cheats. As if the game isn't torturous enough, the Super Nintendo version even has load times! This is the worst Batman game I've ever played (only because I haven't played Dark Tomorrow which everyone says is the worst).
Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon
A brawler where players play as the legendary Bruce Lee... how could that concept go wrong? Well, the developers found LOTS of ways! How about making the controls laggy to the point that punches get delayed? How about not providing any effective blocks or counters? How about having the enemies swarm Bruce without giving him sweeping attacks? How about making the plot just an amalgam of kung fu movie cliches with horrible voiceovers? I could go on. Between this and Drake of the 99 Dragons (which I only played a demo), the original Xbox needed to stay FAR away from anything set in China!
Ghostbusters [The NES Version]
This is one of the few times that I'm citing platforms because I actually don't mind the Ghostbusters game on the Sega Master System. I actually played it a ton as a kid. However, the Nintendo version was worse than getting licked by Slimer. While the gameplay is largely the same between the two, the NES version made a few changes that made the game torturous. First, whoever decided to put a fuel gauge in the game needed to get a proton stream in the nuts. It's hard enough racking up the money for the necessary gear without having to blow cash on gassing up the Ecto-1. In fact, the driving sections are complete torture since it's too easy to crash into other cars, causing you to outright bleed money all over Manhattan. The stairs going up the Zuul building are a nightmare. There are ghosts all around, and the guys have their proton packs. Rather than hammering the buttons solely to walk up 22 flights of stairs and dodging the ghosts, how about... oh, I don't know... LETTING PLAYERS SHOOT THEM??? The Sega Master System version had its problems, but it's a masterpiece compared to the NES version.
Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft
OK. I acknowledge that fighting games were still trying to figure things out at the dawn of 3D. Even the original Tekken was rather rough in hindsight. However, even taking all that into consideration, Iron & Blood is STILL the worst one-on-one fighting game I ever played. Just the idea of making a fighting game based on Dungeons and Dragons is stupid when an actual D&D game could've been made. However, the realization is worse than the idea. The mechanics are a joke. There are no real combos and no real strategy. Just swing your pointy stick at your opponent, and hope he/she falls down first. Battle Arena Toshinden was no prize, but it handled the concept better! Also, the game outright cheats. If you're playing on any difficulty higher than the easiest setting, the computer will outright cut through every defense you attempt. It's endless boredom and endless frustration in one package!
Links: The Challenge of Golf
During my time doing the "Defunct Games Golf Club", I played and reviewed 72 different golf games. Counting the stuff I haven't reviewed, I've played almost 100 golf video games. I could consider myself an expert in the genre. With that, I can safely say that Links on the Sega CD is the most godawful time I ever had on a virtual course. How would you like visuals that are so muddy that they can cause eyestrain? Maybe you'd like a game that takes almost a minute to load every time you adjust your aim just one degree. Playing this game to review it was absolute torture. This is the nightmare that people who regularly bash golf video games think all golf video games are like. Not even using the golf club controller for the Genesis could make this game fun.
Dynasty Warriors and its spin-offs are very much "love it or hate it" games. I enjoy most of them myself. While constantly hammering the attack button can be hell on the thumb, their cheesy, goofy nature made them fun. So, what happens when you take all the personality out of Dynasty Warriors? You get Ninety-Nine Nights. This game takes itself WAY too seriously. It tried to tell a grandiose fantasy story, but I just didn't care. Without the silly dialogue that's fun to laugh at, all that's left is just pounding one button over a thousand times in one thirty-minute level. This game is boring and painful. Just stick to Koei Tecmo's stuff.
Ninja: Shadow of Darkness
I've always enjoyed the Shinobi games (though the one on PS2 does test my patience quite a bit). I'm not opposed to a 3D take on the idea, but Eidos royally screwed up with this one! How would you like to play a platformer where the camera refuses to cooperate? Seriously, I lost most of my lives and all of my patience trying to complete angled isometric platform jumping. The combat is no better. Like the worst beat-em-ups, the enemies shake off your attacks like nothing and easily pound you into the ground like a tent stake. Sure, you have infinite shuriken to use, but the camera makes aiming them nearly impossible. I couldn't finish this game without a GameShark, and, when I did, I wanted to drive a wakizashi through the disc.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Everyone wants to bash E.T. on the Atari 2600, but it really isn't that bad. Most of its problems are technical due to the extremely rushed development. I knew exactly where I needed to go and what I needed to do. I can't say that for Raiders of the Lost Ark. I reviewed this one a long time ago, and my issues still stand. The controls are annoying, putting lives in the game was a boneheaded idea, and, without a walkthrough, the game is virtually impossible to finish since absolutely no clues are given anywhere. The SwordQuest games are easier to figure out than this one! Raiders of the Lost Ark is worse than E.T. on the Atari 2600, and I'm not even close to kidding!
Ride to Hell: Retribution
Let me be clear. I REALLY didn't want to play this one, but Ally pushed me to. She couldn't believe that is was really as bad as everyone on YouTube said it was. YES, IT IS THAT F***ING BAD!!! The story is crap. What starts as Jake getting revenge for his brother's murder at the hands of a rival biker gang turns into non-stop cringe as Jake murders innocent cops and screws just about every woman he meets. The fighting is crap. The melee combat is glitched to where spamming the guard break kick wins every fight, and the shooting is impossible unless you pull off nothing but headshots. The driving is crap. Vehicles have no physics; they're nearly impossible to control. The aesthetics are crap. Everyone looks hideous, and the voice acting is some of the worst in history. I don't care how morbidly curious you are, don't touch this one!
Superman: The New Superman Adventures
Don't recognize the title? You probably know it better as Superman 64. While I was inclined to be lenient towards E.T. because of its rushed production when I reviewed it, I wasn't as merciful with this one. Everyone attacks the parts where Superman flies through rings, but... I'm dead serious here... those were the best parts of the game! They still sucked, but the fighting and puzzle solving were a whole lot worse than the flying through rings! Even with Kal-El's horrible reputation in video games, this one is still pure kryptonite!
The Uncanny X-Men
I played through every LJN game to see if any were salvageable. Most were just the wrong side of meh, but The Uncanny X-Men was easily the worst of the bunch. The gameplay may be more cut-and-dry than Bill & Ted or Friday the 13th, but the audio/video package was FAR more torturous. The mish-mash of graphics make my eyes hurt even in screenshots. The sound effects, especially from Iceman and Cyclops' projectiles, are so piercing that I'm sure they'd make me go deaf. The partner AI is the worst I'd ever seen. They will always walk right into deathtraps. Worse, you're forced to take an AI partner, unless you can extort a friend into playing with you. LJN would deserve its reputation for this game alone!
I feel so much better. It was nice to get this stuff off my chest. What do you think? What are the worst games you've played? Let me know, and best wishes for a better year in 2021.