2nd Power's Top 10 Worst Games of All-Time
by 2nd Power




10. CLOCK TOWER



Given that this series didn't get introduced to the states until the sequel, it's rather unlikely that anybody reading this has actually played the game.

That's a good thing.

For a bit of basic overview, this is a survival horror game (yes, the genre existed before Resident Evil). You're a weak, sissy little girl with large eyebrows, walking around in a mansion trying to escape from a blue-skinned schoolboy with a pair of hedge clippers. Strong emphasis on walking. You can run, but that usually depletes your health. When you encounter the schoolboy, the "Scissorman," you run and hide, contrary to the battle oriented "survival" horrors of the modern day.

The atmosphere of Clock Tower might hold you in suspense, for a little while. There are definitely a few creepy moments, when you're first starting out. Then you'll realize that nothing ever happens. Ever. EVER! It sure is a lot less scary after you know that you'll only see your favorite scissors monster a handful of times. He'll only show up at a few select locations throughout the mansion. Death is never waiting just around the corner. In fact, there's not going to be very many times your life is actually in danger, and most of those times you'll easily be able to escape or run to your favorite hiding spot. Can't find a hiding spot? That's ok! If he doesn't see you for a while, he'll get bored and go away. Of course, there's not a whole lot to do on your end, either. There are a few clues and items scattered about, but not nearly as much as there should be. This game doesn't spend a whole lot of time throwing you in thrilling life-or-death situations, or providing you with enigmatic puzzles to figure out.

Instead, you spend the majority of your time walking down empty hallways. Fun.


9. SWORD OF MANA



I really have nobody but myself to blame for my ownership of this one.

There were two factors that made me buy it. Both of them relate to the fact that I've been a Nintendo fanboy most of my life. I went for the NES back when I bought my first system, and I only recently lost that mentality from back when the console wars actually meant something. I never regretted that choice, but there were a lot of games that I didn't get to play because of it. So I jumped at the chance to catch up on the Mana series, seeing as how the last entry I had played was Secret of Mana for the SNES. The second factor is infinitely more stupid. This was one of the first games Square Enix made for any Nintendo systems upon their return. I very much enjoyed my RPGs, so, I wanted more. My stupid high school mind came up with the idea that if I did my small part by buying their early games, those extra dollars would be the small push they needed to start releasing more. So I didn't bother to check it out beforehand. No reviews, no content, nothing.

If I had, I would have realized that this was just a remake of Final Fantasy Adventure before I bought it. In this case, I had already bought it and played through the first fifteen minutes before I found it out. Oh well. I was cool with that. After all, I already owned a number of ports and remakes. Besides, I loved Final Fantasy Adventure. It was probably my favorite game for the Game Boy, and I might have bought this remake anyways. So I kept playing. After a short while, I realized that Square Enix had really fucked this game over.

It wouldn't have taken a whole lot to make me happy. They could have just added a fresh coat of paint on there, embellished the same old areas, and tightened up the weapons and magic, and I would have been happy. No. Instead, they decided to change things. And not in a good way. The magic system is just dumb as hell. Now, instead of just casting a spell, you have to charge it up, during which time you can't be doing anything else. When you release it, the spell usually has limited effect. It's hard to justify using magic when your pointy stick works just as well, and generally gets things done faster. The plot's still intact, with exceptions, but the characters have been "modernized", meaning that the male main character has become more of a Mary Sue, the female main character has become "sassy", and everyone else has become shells of what they once were. Combat is effectively the same hack and slash it used to be, but somehow it's just not fun anymore. The only kind of strategy you really need is knowing which weapons work and which don't.

Screw you, Square. You had a game that was gold, and you fucked it up.


8. SUPER MARIO BROS. 2

For the most part, I try not to judge games from the 8- and 16-bit era too harshly. The cheap production costs and rampant me-too-ism of those times created many, many games that just weren't up to snuff. Still, someone had to say it.

This game is crap.

Well, actually, I think a lot of people had already said that. Oh well. Doesn't change anything.

With this game early on in Mario's blossoming career, I'm surprised he took off at all. America's replacement for Japan's Mario sequel is only slightly better. Oh yeah, I hear all you whiners, "well it's not really a Mario game, Japan had something different, blah blah blah". Back in those days, it was. See, we didn't have the internet to tell us everything we know, back then, and video game magazines were just starting up at that point, and they wouldn't likely disclose that information soon either. To us, living in America at that time, it was a proper sequel, and Nintendo had ripped away everything we knew and loved about our Mario Bros.

The goombas and koopas were gone, replaced with egg-spitting transvestites and robed guys with masks. The enemy design was kind of hit and miss, with some great creatures such as the shy guys and whatever you call those flying masks, but also some completely retarded ones, like Birdo and Wart. I hate Wart. Bowser was a fear-inspiring, fire-breathing monster, whereas Wart sure was just a big frog that was allergic to turnips.

But the biggest change was to the gameplay. The elegant and precise platforming of yesteryear was replaced with a sluggish system with more importance given to the game's crappy combat than to maneuvering over and around obstacles on your way from point a to point b. Play as Luigi or Toadstool, and there's not really any gap that can't be overcome. The combat is much less than enthralling. If it was at a bit of a faster pace, it might be worthwhile, but no, your enemies just plod along, sitting ducks for a well-placed vegetable. Unless you're playing half-blind, there's not a whole lot of challenge, there.

While I am glad the Japanese SMB 2 didn't reach our shores for another couple of years, I think that this may be the only good contribution this game made. Well, that and a few characters that get better treatment in later games. Still, I'm really glad Mario 3 took away the sour taste this game left soon afterwards.


7. EVERY WRESTLING GAME NOT DEVELOPED BY AKI

Really, you can take your pick. They're all pretty much the same.

Before the N64 era, wrestling games played a lot like fighters. You picked one of a cast of characters, used a bunch of special moves executed by button combinations, and beat down your opponent until his life bar was all gone. It was always like that. Except sometimes you didn't have special moves. Most games distinguished themselves from fighters by giving you tag-team modes, and making you pin your opponent to win. Pinning provided an extra bit of challenge because you didn't know which of the 2-6 buttons would do that, and you couldn't read the instruction booklet because you were only renting/borrowing that game.

Then came WCW vs. NWO World Tour, which ruined the genre with its awesome. AKI created a beauty of a game engine, setting itself apart from other wrestling games by actually providing fast paced, responsive gameplay. This game actually felt free and light, as opposed to all other wrestling games, which moved at about the pace of Yokozuna waddling through tar. AKI had done the impossible, and actually created a wrestling game that was good. THQ was involved, too, but nobody cares about them.

They made four or five games, ditching the WCW license for the WWF one about halfway through. Electronic Arts picked up the WCW license about as soon as it was freed, I believe, coming up with WCW Mayhem, a complete rip-off of the good WCW games with a bit better layer of visual polish. Man, was that game horrible. Gameplay was "based-off" what was seen with AKI's engine, but we were back to that fat-wrestler-in-tar feel. Somehow the grapple engine just made the sluggish gameplay even worse, with huge delays in between any sort of meaningful move. In what must be an easily communicable virus of incredible stupidity, nearly every wrestling designer since has copied them, ripping off the AKI engine and pairing it with sluggish, awkward gameplay. Very few games to come out of that union have actually been good. Ironically, Rumble Roses is one of those few good ones, but frankly, if you buy that game, you're not buying it for the gameplay.

So yeah, wrestling games suck, and with AKI now focusing on games that nobody else cares about (Def Jam, anyone?) they're not going to get any better.


6. MORTAL KOMBAT ARMAGEDDON



The entire problem here is that Midway tried to do too much, and to compensate for that, they cut back in all the wrong areas.

I quite enjoyed Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Deception was a bit of a disappointment, but I held out hope that Armageddon would make up for that. When Armageddon came, it was rather disappointing. Yes, they have nearly every character in the series there. However, they do sacrifice quite a bit for it. The fatalities, which are pretty much the heart and soul of the series, are husks of what they should be. Everybody has access to the same, bland, generic "custom" (or kustom) fatalities. No longer does Liu Kang drop an arcade machine on his victim, nor does Scorpion light them ablaze or Reptile eat their face. Instead, it's just a series of random body strikes and dismemberments that plays about the same throughout. It's rather boring. Mortal Kombat without fatalities is like... a Star Fox game where you play half of it on foot. Oh wait...

They removed one fighting style from each character, as well. Normally, I'd be ok with that. After all, they each still retain one distinct martial art style, and one weapon style, right? Nope. Rather that in Deadly Alliance, where the martial arts actually had a bit of resemblance to their real life counterparts, hear, each style grabs from a collective pool of moves. Very few basic attacks are unique to a character. Same with the weapons, and the special moves. Weapons are a bit more unique than the fighting styles, but I wish there were more options than just having sword-type and big-stick-type weapons. Most specialized moves can be categorized into types, projectile-type, rush-type, etc., and all moves of the same type do pretty much the same thing. All this similarity usually devolves the fighter into some sort of button masher. Victory is more dependant on the amount of attacks you use, rather than being dependant on strong, well-placed maneuvers. Simple combos will help you out. Long combos won't, on the off chance you actually pull them off. Consecutive hits decline in power to the point where you may as well be fighting with a feather duster.

Armageddon does have a few things I'd like to see in future Mortal Kombat games. Kreate-a-Fighter is nice, even though you can only have one created character per profile. Konquest mode is the best one yet, and not just because it's the only one that's not simply a long, drawn-out tutorial. The motion activated moves could be cool, but they sure didn't work out in the Wii version of Guilty Gear, and I'm sure as hell not spending any more money whatsoever on this game to find out. Midway did say that the Mortal Kombat franchise was changing after this game, that it would become something new. I really hope that's true, because for the most part, I'm not sad to see games like this go.


5. SUPER MARIO STRIKERS



I bet the designers spent maybe two or three days working on the code for this game. The rest of the development process, they spent at strip bars while their sweatshop of computer science students made a couple of texture maps and short scenes.

There is absolutely no depth in this game. Go ahead, play it for about ten minutes. That's about as long as the average match is, right? Congratulations, you've just seen all that this game has to offer. There are eight potential team captains you can play as. They're all the same. The game tries to pretend that they're not, saying that they each "specialize" in some area, but they don't. Donkey Kong's just like Peach who's just like Mario who's just like Yoshi, and on and on. You can choose your partners, as well. They're all the same, too. It doesn't make a difference who you play as. The only difference comes once you unlock the Super Team. They're different in that everybody on the team is a captain, and can shoot the special captain's shot. Oooooooo, thrilling! There are a couple unlockables elsewhere, too. They typically give you the ability to specify what kind of items you want to appear. So, instead of actually adding something to the game, you instead get to unlock the ability to not use some items. So, the more you unlock, the less of the game you get to experience. With this game, that's not actually a bad deal.

Matches are extremely basic. You run, shoot, pass, or shove. Goalkeepers are CPU controlled, and block shots based on whether they feel like it or not. Except for the inclusion of a couple mostly insignificant items, it's extremely simple. So much so, that it feels like it belongs on the NES or SNES, more so than the Gamecube. So why the hell did I just pay $50 for a prettied-up NES game?

In fact, I think the NES already has a couple soccer games that were better. Yes, even that Mega Man one.


4. QUEST 64



About 20 minutes after this game was first released in the U.S., a loud rumbling sound could be heard throughout the country. It wasn't an earthquake, no, it wasn't an alien invasion, or a stampede, or anything like that. It was the collective groaning of the thousands of RPG fans who never jumped ship to the Playstation.

To be fair, this is a decent enough game. About as good as any of the Dragon Quest/Zelda clones of the SNES era. However, it was unfortunately the first real RPG to come out for the N64, and thus, was highly anticipated. People had great expectations. For a lot of those Nintendo fans, it'd be the first 3-D RPG they played. I imagine that most players, myself included, put way too much hope in this game, that'd it be an epic, involved affair, with a great storyline and elegant yet complex battles.

Instead, the game's kind of an exercise in simplicity. You have one character. He can attack physically, or use one of several spells. The spells are very direct, most of them simply dealing damage. Your enemies usually have two attacks, one close-range and one long-range. The plot is pretty much the same as the first Final Fantasy, except it throws in a missing father. It was kind of a basic, average game, but that was exactly the problems. Everybody had expectations of what the first RPG on the N64 would ideally be like. Frankly it shattered the hopes of every RPG-loving Nintendo fan out there. If the developers had put any sort of creativity or ambition anywhere in the game, it might have been acceptable, and we may have just taken it and moved on. But no, this game hurt us so much, we all started dressing purely in black out of mourning, started wearing crappy hairstyles and writing horrible poetry, and became desperate for others to give us attention and validate our existence, because the game we had been waiting for sure as hell didn't. And that, my friends, is how the Emo clique was born.


3. BATALLION WARS



Take one part real-time strategy, one part third-person shooter, and you'd have this game. It's really not a bad idea in concept. It just puts the player down with the rest of the troops, rather than having them flying up above at a 3/4s view.

However, the concept royally fails in execution. Somewhere in the fancy game-making process, somebody forgot that the key to most any real-time strategy is the ability to multi-task. You want to be able to set some units to guarding one point, another to flank the enemy on their left side, and the main force to drop the heavy end of the hammer on them by coming up the center, destroying all in their path like a little chibi version of Rambo. But no, you can't do that, here. Even assuming you could, the inferior AI of your comrades would get them wiped out long before they even fire a shot. The most you can do is assign your troops a target, then hope they'll live. The method of selecting your units is clunky and a bit confusing, and completely out of the question if you're in the middle of a firefight. Once again, you just have to hold out hope that they'll live through it. A hope that will soon be dashed against the overwhelming stupidity of your partner AI. Why doesn't any game ever have smart partners? That's why escort quests suck, because everyone you have to count on to survive is a complete dumbass. It's no different in this game. In fact, your units will often be completely overpowered by the enemy's amazing ability to pull the freakin' trigger! You'll often have better luck going desperado against them yourself, hopping into the biggest, baddest unit available, then riding straight into enemy camp. When that unit falls, do it all over again. Repeat until the game is won.

If you want a real-time strategy, there a plenty of good games out there. For third person shooters, it won't be too hard to find something. Just go to your local game store. They're everywhere. If you want them both at the same time......break a disc of each genre in half, then tape two halves together. Really, it'll be better than this piece of crap.


2. KINGDOM HEARTS



So, do you like Final Fantasy? Do you like Disney? Than this is the game for you!! Watch, as we give you bastardized, half-hour long levels based on your favorite Disney movies! Your favorite characters from Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and X show up, too, and you can feel delight as you watch us bend them over the table and rape them up the ass!! With a fork!!!

If that wasn't Square's sales pitch for this game, it should have been.

Seriously, what exactly were they thinking when they brought over those Final Fantasy characters? FFVII Cid's a nice guy. Squall is now named Leon Leonheart, and willingly helps people. Cloud acts....pretty much exactly like Squall did in VIII. And yet hordes of Final Fantasy fans love this game, in spite of the fact that nobody is anything like their original forms. Eh, oh well. At least they didn't bring in the belly shirts, yet.

In this game, you play as Sion from The Bouncer, a Square game that everyone but I hated. Except this time around, Sion's five years younger, named Sora, and considerably more homosexual. The story revolves around the love triangle between Sora and two of his friends, Riku and Kairi. Riku loves Kairi, Kairi's infatuated with Sora, and Sora lusts for Riku. You spend half the game wishing you were playing as Riku instead, before you finally give up hope and learn to live with Sora. The story is pretty much what you would expect of the Square Enix writers pretending to be Disney writers trying to write a Final Fantasy story. You pal around with Goofy and Donald going short adaptations of several classic Disney films, all with only a bit of plotline connecting them. It all comes together towards the end, kind of, but until then a lot of factors are rather unrelated.

Most of the gameplay is either fighting, or running around, looking for a fight. The limited worlds don't promote a lot of exploration, and what exploration there is usually wraps up in a few minutes. Combat is usually handled by pressing the X button until everything is dead. You do have spells, but for the most part, you won't really need them. The boss battles do require more technique, usually, but most of them are so freakin' long that you're tired of it long before the end. I'd be willing to take more damage per hit, or better yet, have more bosses, just so long as each boss battle ended sooner.

Nearly all Kingdom Hearts fans hate Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and I have to admit, it probably is indeed a worse game than this one. However, the original is more deserving of this list. Why? Chain of Memories tried something new, and failed horribly. The game sucked ass, but at least I can respect it for reaching out into new territory. The original Kingdom Hearts, on the other hand, was really nothing new, and it still failed horribly. It's essentially Final Fantasy menu driven gameplay applied to a third-person action game. Other than the crossover, they broke no new ground, and they still sucked. That's why this game is on this list.

The sad part is that I'm fairly certain I'll end up buying the sequel, because I am a sucker for a continuous story.


1. KILLER7

Imagine you're playing Resident Evil 4. Pretty cool, right? Hear the growl of the chainsaw, see the angry mob of villagers rushing at you, but hey, no worries. You've got your fully upgraded weapon of choice at the ready. Yeah, take away all that. In fact, take away anything cool or fun about the game. Then take the retardation process a step further, and put it on rails. That's pretty much Killer7.

The game's rather entertaining, for the first thirty minutes or so. Then, about halfway through the first mission, after you've adapted to seeing exploding zombies, talking severed heads, and ghosts giving you the finger, the shock value wears off. Then, there's not much else to keep the game afloat. Capcom's succeeded in creating a game that provides absolutely no gameplay entertainment whatsoever.

Most of the time, the game is played by holding a button. That button will make you walk forwards. Sometimes you might have to choose which way to go when the path splits. Other times, you might have to press a button that will make you turn around. It's all very exciting.

Oftentimes, your adventures in walking forwards will be interrupted by a noise, usually laughter. In that case, it's time for battles. The basics of the battle system work much like they did in producer Shinji Mikami's other little project at the time, Resident Evil 4. However, where RE 4 succeeded, and this game fails, is in the variety. Throughout the whole freakin' game, almost all battles are the same. The enemies change, but they always work the same way: shoot the enemy at a certain point on their bodies. Most basic enemies have a weak spot you can only see if you're already aiming at it. So it's pretty much a race to run your crosshairs all over their bodies before they get close to you. Boss battles are different only in that their weak points are the only places that take damage, and they don't have the same telltale sparkles when you aim at them as do the normal enemies. The battle mechanics as they were intended work just fine, but it sure is a boring concept in the first place, and after a couple hours of nothing but this you'll be ready to turn those guns on yourself, just for something fun to do. Or maybe you'll put in another game. Whatever your preference is.

There are puzzles in this game too. They're dumb as hell. Usually, they require equipping a ring or changing to a different character, then going to a certain location. That's it. And in those cases, the answer to that puzzle will be shown right on your map, unless you're playing on Hard mode or higher. Which is its own pain in the ass entirely. Occasionally, they're a little more involved than that. In that case, the challenge is usually figuring out what the hell you're supposed to be doing. After you've figured that out, or paid the hint-man to tell you, it's rather simple. If you're looking for something to challenge your mind, you'll not find anything even close, here. All in all, the puzzles only serve to distract you from your quest to walk forwards for a few seconds at a time.

The only possible saving grace this game has is in its plot, which is either an intellectually engaging story of east vs. west and good vs. evil where both sides are shown as shades of gray, or a retarded mess of anti-American tale-telling, depending on your patience and point of view. In the interest of keeping the plot "open" a lot has been left to the player's interpretation and imagination. The problem is, most of the plot actually provided is rather shaky and uncertain. The developers tried to cram a lot of story into a rather short game, and it shows. A lot of it's only relevant at certain points in the game, anyways. In the main game, there are eight characters you play as. MASK de Smith, an American-born luchadore, is the only one approaching any level of awesome. There's just something to be said about a man that will suplex inanimate objects out of his way, or headbutt bullets out of the air. The rest of the cast consists of a cutter, a paraplegic, a blind kid, an albino, and a couple of rather bland characters. Personally, I find the plot intriguing, but it's not worth trudging through the game a second time to find out more.

I really wish this game was a book, instead. Then they could have done more with the plot, and avoided all the suck that was this game's gameplay.






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