Scott's Top 10 Worst Games of All-Time
by Scott




"Why, did you ever know a conceited man dare to praise a picture? The one thing he dreads (next to not being noticed) is to be proved fallible! If you once praise a picture, your character for infallibility hangs by a thread. Suppose it's a figure-picture, and you venture to say 'draws well.' Somebody measures, and finds one of the proportions an eighth of an inch wrong. You are disposed of as a critic! 'Did you say he draws well?' your friends inquire sarcastically, while you hang your head and blush. No. The only safe course, if any one says 'draws well,' is to shrug your shoulders. 'Draws well?' you repeat thoughtfully. 'Draws well? Humph!' That's the way to become a great critic!"


-Arthur, Sylvie and Bruno (Chapter 17, p 1-2, Bibliomania.com Ltd 2000)

"Hate me, but do it honestly."


-Kain, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2


First, an Introduction

I grew up playing bad games. King of Kings (a Bible Adventure type game), Quattro Adventure, or even Fester's Quest to name a few. The amazing (or sad) thing is that I had fun playing them. No, I'm not suggesting that you play them. Hells no. It's just that I learned something; that anyone can find enjoyment in any game, no matter how bad it might be. So when I'm asked what games I hate the most, people are confused or even angered when I give my response. This is because I hate some very popular games. There is the belief that hating a popular game just because it's popular is somehow 'cool', which I've tried to stay away from. I believe that I have valid reasons for hating these games, and if I couldn't prove it, then I don't expect you to read this. This is why the write ups about the first two games are much longer than any of the other ones. To add focus to this article, I also put down some ground rules.

Rule Number 1: NO LICENSED GAMES. Games based on a license are all (with a few exceptions) uniformly bad. So putting one on the list would be like shooting fish in a barrel with no water.

Rule Number 2: I can not populate this entire list with only Nintendo 64 titles. I could, but I like to spread things out.

Rule Number 3: No nit-picking. You can find small little things wrong with every game. You can't make a list of things wrong with a game and put it against the list of good things like a weird mathematical formulae and use that as the reason for liking or disliking a game. That just doesn't work. Bad things have to make some sort of impact on the game as a whole for them to count.

Also, it was probably a bad idea to play many of these games again while making this list.

Finally, before I get started, these are just my opinions. I can not stress that enough. Please do not send me mountains of hate mail about how much I suck and please do not hunt me down to yell at me for dissing your favorite games.


10: Final Fantasy 7

Developer: Square
Publisher: Square (Japan and International), Sony (North America and Europe), Eidos (PC)
System(s): Playstation 1, PC
Date of Release: 1997 (Playstation 1), 1998 (PC)
Genre: Japanese RPG
Screenshot from: Pat FF7 Retrospective
Reasons for being on this list:
First off, go read this excellent write up about the game by Pat. Everything he says in there is right on the money. Final Fantasy 7 is not overrated. It is over-hyped, but it has left an indelible mark on the gaming industry. So why do I hate it so much? It starts with how I was introduced to the Final Fantasy series as a whole.

For the most part, I watched nearly every Final Fantasy game, from beginning to end, before I played it myself when I was younger. It was my brother who bought the first game, and since there was only one save file, he got the first crack at it. I spent my time using the free Nintendo strategy guide to play David Scott Freeman to his Max (Ok, no more obscure references from the 80s). This continued when he borrowed 4 and gave it back before I could play it, and then 6 allowed both of us to play it simultaneously with multiple save files. I still watched him get through at least 50% of that game before picking up the controller myself, however.

Then came Final Fantasy 7. Now, I was still a strong Nintendo fanboy at the time, so I don't think I gave it a fair shake when I first watched it. I did try it myself, but I stopped halfway through the second disk and never touched it again until I decided to do this list. There are two reasons why I picked it back up again. Number one was to see if the game really deserved to be on here (it was much lower), seeing as how I recently got the less popular Final Fantasy games, i.e. 2 and 5. The second reason was to refresh my memory about the game, and to actually finish it this time.

So why is 7 on this list if 2, and to a lesser extent 5, are worse games? Because this game ruined RPGs for me. Final Fantasy Legend 2 might be a horrendously designed pile of dog vomit, with its breaking weapons in a grind-centric game, but I still wanted to play future Final Fantasy games and other Square products afterwards. I think I'll start with what is known as the "Popeye field models." Oh, I know, all the 7 haters out there say, "They're so stupid looking, they don't have any fingers!" I don't mind that. Plus, if I wanted properly proportioned figures, I wouldn't be playing a Final Fantasy game. What I do mind is when the characters bend or twist, the polygons sink into each other and allow you to see right through the characters. Large models, such as Palmer, Heidegger, and even Barret suffer from this constantly. It happens to other characters less frequently, but it still happens. I wish I could get a screen shot of when Cloud falls from the explosion at Reactor 5, and Tifa nearly snaps in half while leaning over the side. So here's a video of it instead. It's both distressing and laughable at the same time. I understand that Square was not used to the 3D technology, but why did they have to make the main characters look like they were put together 5 minutes before the game shipped? Having such rudimentary models put on top such gorgeous backgrounds was incredibly distracting. It would be like renting out the Fox Theater to host a sock puppet show. Or for a comparison that doesn't involve being within driving distance of Detroit to understand, putting Final Fantasy 1 characters in Final Fantasy 6 backgrounds. And then randomly erase a few lines of pixels from their animations.

It's the battles where this game shines. The characters look fantastic, and so do the enemies and all the attacks. It also has a dramatic swooping camera, which shows off those flashy effects which I turned off immediately. I have no problems with the camera itself, but it clearly got upset whenever I tried to play the game. Since all I was doing was attacking, I just hit the circle button as fast as I could. So my fights went something like this: dramatic swo-cut to fixed posit-op, character atta-cut to fix-cking dramit-cut t-ic swoop, watch ene-cut to-my attack ani-cut to-mation. Five minutes of that and I either had turn the thing off or go get a bucket. The above video features this slightly, it was worse when enemies had longer attacks. Another problem was that the game wasn't designed for the fixed camera, so several fights had the camera in a position that made it hard to select party members for the all important cure spells. I even attacked (and killed) my own party members because they were attacking while I was trying to select a different monster to hit. It was also possible for some monsters (or parts of a boss) to move off screen, such as the boss fight just before you get the submarine. That should never fucking happen.

It was the summons that held center stage in the battles. And the developers wanted you to know this. They made each summon long and unskippable. My brother's big plan for when Jenova showed up? W-Summon Bahamut ZERO and mimic twice. And then do it again. The damn thing didn't even get to attack, or it only got to attack once. But the fight still took longer than when I just used normal attacks (boosted by haste). I even killed Red XIII by accident, and I still killed her faster. Thank God my brother never got Knights of the Round. Seriously, how long is that summon? Five minutes? Okay, it's only slightly over one minute, but it feels longer. What the hell do you people do when you summon for the entire fight? Play an actually fun game on the Game Boy? I'm afraid to have my question answered, because it might be: "sit there and go 'ohhh' and 'ahhh'", but I'm not cynical enough to believe that.

Moving slightly away from the battle system (which is where I spent most of my time) is the materia system. On paper it sounds like a good idea, with the mixing and matching of abilities to allow different types of attacks. Such as: attack all enemies with lightning, take no damage from lighting attacks, drain mp with every lighting attack, and perform a normal attack every time you cast lighting. The materia could be placed on any character, making them all the same, which was the crippling factor in this system. The only difference between characters was with the limit breaks, but most of them were 'do lots of damage.' So I wound up caring more for my materia setups then the characters. Hell, I almost named Yuffie 'Steal,' because that's pretty much all she did. Granted, if I didn't name Tifa 'Boobies,' then I shouldn't name any of my characters off of what they did for the whole game. After all, materia was the highly condensed form of mako, the planet's lifeblood. Which in turn was made up of the disembodied souls of the dead. Materia is...hey, I said no more references from the 80s, not the 70s, so don't look at me like that.

And don't kid yourself by thinking Tifa's anything but a pair of polygonal breasts, because she ain't.

It's really sad that Tifa is one of the more fleshed out characters, with much more screen time than anyone else besides Cloud, with her whole purpose being masturbation fodder for a bunch of lonely teenagers. Okay, that's enough of that. I agree with Pat that Red XIII is completely superfluous to the game's storyline. Despite that, I tried him out and found him to be a very solid character in battle. Barret I didn't like as a teenager since he was a walking cliché, but he's grown on me, and is one of the better characters in this game. Cid was cool, ditto to Vincent (even if he's a bit of an emo), Cloud was freaking annoying. Sorry Pat, but I liked him better after he stops being a self-centered jerk. Yuffie I freaking hated when I was younger. The whole 'steal your materia' side quest made me bury her deeper in the menu than Cat Sith, who had threatened to kill Barret's adoptive daughter if you didn't keep him on your party. That's a freaking accomplishment. I like Yuffie more now, mostly because I'm much more patient. Cat Sith still sucks out loud. Aeris was (and still is) my most favorite character.

There isn't much more I can talk about the characters, because they don't really change or develop during the course of the story. Cloud comes to grips with the fact that he's a clone and a failed experiment. Cid gets some progression with going into space, except that the game doesn't prompt you to have him in your party during that sequence, and I wonder if you can do that part without him. I forgot to test that. Uh...Barret wants to save the planet, no wait, he wanted to do that from the beginning. Crap. Oh! Tifa gushes about Cloud and...gets no where with him. He doesn't even look her way. I've got nothing.

At least in 5, the characters were goofy enough to distract you from their obvious stupidity.

I think the scene that bugs me the most is Cat Sith's 'death' scene in the Temple of the Ancients. He acts like it's a great sacrifice, and Aeris plays along with him, asking for one last fortune (is that the last one? I didn't notice anymore). He then dies with the temple and Cloud claims the Black Materia, which he then promptly hands over to Sephiroth. A new Cat Sith shows up, not even 2 minutes after the old one died, only to watch Cloud punch Aeris multiple times in the face. Aeris (as well as the rest of the party) acts like nothing is wrong right after that part, despite Cloud could freak out at any moment and kill all of them. And then Tifa says she believes in him, like any other flimsy RPG heroine.

And then there's me, frothing at the mouth while shouting obscenities over the sheer moronic stupidity of that scene.

Pat's already covered Aeris's death, so I'm not going to go into it. I will say that I was more pissed than sad because I liked Aeris's limit breaks the most (Free healing? What's not to like?). And personally, I think that when the writers sat down and looked over their game, a conversation like this popped up:

Designer #1: Ok, we killed Tellah in 4, Galuf in 5, Leo and if you jump off the Floating Continent too early, Shadow in 6. Who should we kill this time?
Designer #2: How about Red XIII? He only has one story segment and it happens pretty early.
Designer #3: What about Cid? We did it in 2, how about we do it again?
Designer #4: Guys, guys. I just looked over Aeris's limits. At level 3, she restores the party's HP and MP completely, even if they're dead. Or she makes everyone invulnerable for about a minute. Her level 4 limit does both. This means that you could put something heavy on the circle button and just walk away for the entire fight. That's not a good thing.
Designer #1: Well, I think we have our answer.

Granted, Aeris's limit breaks might be so powerful because she dies so early, but it can work either way.

There's more, like how the story introduces topics and then forgets about them later on. For example, the President of Shinra recognizes Cloud as a former member of SOLDIER, but Cloud was never in SOLDIER. Hey, that's in the above video as well...Or how everyone's shitting their pants about the Promised Land, but after meteor makes its appearance, no one mentions it again until the fucking ending. Oh, wait, Hojo said the whole thing's a lie. God damnit. It's like the story was written by two people who never talked to each other. Seeing as how there were two people credited with writing this game's story, I don't think I'm too off base here. And one of them was Tetsuya Nomura (he's credited with original scenario concept).

Since I've got 9 more games to go through and I've talked about this enough already, I'll skip to Shinra. At first, Shinra takes over the role of the 'evil empire' which is common in Final Fantasy games. However, after Sephiroth makes his appearance, Shinra takes a definite back seat to the game's storyline. Rufus might be freaking awesome and has one of the best boss battles in the game, but he doesn't do shit for the rest of the time. During the scene in the crater when Cloud hands the Black Materia over to Sephiroth (again), he just stands there, clearly at a loss for words while Hojo and the rest of the adults are talking. Rufus was usurped by Sephiroth before he was even mentioned, and since Sephiroth plays second violin to Jenova, that moves Rufus to an instrument I don't even know (a triangle?). Even his name sounds corny, not the caliber you'd expect from a major villain. I'm not surprised he doesn't even try to save himself during Diamond Weapon's attack.

Shinra itself is rather poorly designed. It keeps having these moments of 'Shinra is evil! You should hate them!' But when you think about it, it doesn't really make any sense. I think what sums up all of my feelings is an exchange between Barret and Cat Sith right before you fight Diamond Weapon:

Barret: Hey! What's gonna happen to Marlene!?

Cait Sith: Doncha worry none, Marlene's in a safe place. She's with Aerith's mama. Barret!! What was that scratching just now!? As long as Marlene is safe, who cares what else happens, right? I been itchin' to say this to ya fer a while now! When ya blew the Midgar No. 1 up, how many folks d'ya think died?

Barret: ...that was for the life of the planet. Ya gotta expect a few casualties.

Cait Sith: A few? Whaddya mean 'a few'? What may be a few to y'all is everythin' to them who died...... Protect the planet. Hah! Y'all sure sound good! Ain't no one that'd go against ya. So ya think ya can do whatever y'all want?

Barret: I don't want hear from no one in Shinra...

Cait Sith: ......nuthin' I can do 'bout that...

I love Barret's comeback when Cat Sith asks him about all the people he's killed. It sums up nicely to, "Well, you work for Shinra, so makes you more evil then me!" And Cat Sith has nothing to say to that. Tifa redeems this conversation by telling them about them accepting their pasts and such. But Shinra's is still made out to be evil just for evil's sake.

My main problem with Shinra is on the second disk, and the reason why I stopped playing the game when I was a teenager. Whenever you have more than one villain in a story, it's called 'the multiple villain theory.' The story must also employ shifting alliances, which is when enemies become friends or vice versa, to insure that no one villain takes center stage. Such as dropping a giant rock on the planet. 7 does not do this. When Heidegger and Scarlet shows up in the Proud Clod for their boss fight, I half expected Cloud to say, "You know, we're in the middle of something right now."

Wouldn't the story be much better if Rufus realized Cloud and co. were the world's best hope against Sephiroth? How cool would it have been if Rufus replaced Aeris as a playable character? Don't say that Shinra is too evil to team up with the player. The concept of multiple villains is used over and over again. And all of them have shifting alliances. In Babylon 5, Sheridan teams up with Bester and the PSI Core (which is way more evil than all of Final Fantasy's villains put together), GDI and Nod team up in Command & Conquer 2: Firestorm, Alphonse Elric and Scar (and later Edward and Lust) in Fullmetal Alchemist, and even Myer and Chris in 8 Easy Bits. I'm pretty sure Square didn't want to repeat 6's 'the Empire surrenders to later get their hands on the rest of the Espers' trick, but they could have gone with the whole redemption thing like with Golblez in 4. Repeating a plot thread would have still been better then what we got. Which was nothing.

Finally, the ending just sucks hard core. Oh yes, all of the lifestream comes out to save the planet in a climatic CGI sequence, despite that's what the game's been talking about it since disk 1. It was Sephiroth's big plan after all. What the hell happens the characters? Does Barret ever reunite with Marline? Does Reeve take over Shinra and make it a more planet friendly company? Does Yuffie steal the party's materia again? Does Tifa ever get to ride Cloud's balloonypony? Who the fuck cares. Now shut up and marvel at the graphics. I sat through the credits saying, "Well?! Did they stop meteor?!" And with Red XIII 'secret' ending after the credits, I said, "Well, I guess not. All the humans died. Oh well, they were the real villains anyway."

I then shut the game off and threw it somewhere I never had to see it again.

What you should play instead:
Well, this is kind of hard. All the RPGs on consoles before Final Fantasy 7 were grind fests with practically no story, and all the ones after are filled with pointlessly pretty CGI and have horrible stories. On top of that, most of the RPGs on the computer, like Planescape Torment or Baldur's Gate 2 are based on 2nd edition D&D rules. Which if you don't know intimately, you're going to have problems (lightning bolt reflects off walls? SHIT!). One of the newer RPGs I like, Golden Sun, is kind of a love-it or hate-it kind of thing I've noticed. Fire Emblem is the best, if you can get past the permanent death system. If not, I'll recommend RPGs that came out right before 7. Chrono Trigger (which I've haven't played yet), Secret of Mana, and against my better judgment, Final Fantasy 6. 6 might have the best story out of any Final Fantasy game, and the characters are the most creative and well defined, but the story disappears after you get the Falcon, unaware that there's still 10 to 20 hours of game time left, only to be dragged kicking and screaming like a dead-beat parent avoiding child support payments for the lackluster ending. What the hell happens after the tower escape, huh?! Both 4 and 5 showed what the characters were doing later!

Also, I'm going to recommend you play 7, if you've never played it. Yes, its impact on the gaming industry is that great. You could wait until Square-Enix remakes this game as well. Sorry Pat, it would be like Square-Enix turning away a dump truck full of free money, strike that, a whole convoy of dump trucks.


9: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): Nintendo 64, GameCube, iQue, Virtual Console
Date of Release: 1998 (N64), 2003 (GameCube, iQue), 2007 (Virtual Console)
Genre: Adventure
Screenshot from: VGM
Reasons for being on this list:
You know, for someone who wrote an open love letter to the most hated Zelda game and has this game on his list, it does question my stance that I do not hate games just because they're popular. First off, I like a ton of popular games, like Warcraft 3, Half-Life, The Sims, Super Smash Bros, and more. And second, I'm only getting started, so shut up and enjoy the ride.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was pushed for so long and so hard in pre-hype, it could have qualified for constipation. And then the game was rushed out the door by the end, in case you were wondering why Ganon just kind of stands there while you whack away at him. Of course the game looks great, they spent 1 and a half years working on the engine out of the 3 years working on this game, Shigeru Miyamoto said so himself during an interview in an issue of Nintendo Power.

Let's start off by explaining the two most oft-criticized portions of this game: Navi and the Water Temple. First up, Navi. As I made alludes to here, there is a concept I mentioned called 'holding the gamers' hands', which is the idea of constantly showing the player where to go next. I also said at the time, that it was neither the time nor the place to talk about it. Well, that time has arrived. I take it from your collective moans of pain that you just can't wait.

The most cited example of 'holding the gamers' hand' is in the differences between American and Japanese RPGs. We all know what those are, so I'm not going to regurgitate them here. Years ago when Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy first came out, there was the Ultima and Wizandry series on the PC. Guess which ones held the players' hands more? If you said Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, you're wrong. Yes, the JRPGs are so linear and restrictive that they make ARPGs look more flexible and free-spirited than Naruto and Sasuke at a Yoai Convention. In order to remind players where to go next, ARPGs invented something called 'the quest log' and 'the mini map'. In its pages, the quest log recorded countless bits of information and directions where the player should go next. And we all know what the mini map does. Early versions of these games had the player writing down all this information. Wizandry for example came packaged with graph paper to map out dungeons. A videogame that expects you to take notes?! And players today complain about freaking reading in a game. Instead of needing more recording devices in place to remind a player where to go next, JRPGs directed players by having much more restrictive mechanisms. You could only go north, so did we need a separate screen reminding us that we have to go north to rescue Princess Sara?

Zelda, with its go-any-where world, found itself needing to hold the players' hand more and more as it added more story elements after each dungeon as the series progressed. It began with the old men in caves that spouted riddles on what to do next or how to defeat a troublesome boss and then later with numbers on the mini-map. So, we can now understand that Navi (which is short for navigator) is just Ocarina's version of having a neon sign that loudly shouts out: GO HERE NEXT STUPID! And loud she was. Back in 1998, voice acting on Consoles was the next big thing. PC gamers had been enjoying it for a few years already, and it was time for Nintendo to try it for themselves. The main problem with Navi is that if the player wants to know where to go next, they'll ask. Even if Navi only prompts the player once or twice in the whole game, it would still be annoying. It didn't help that Navi's "Hey!" was also evidence of really annoying voice acting, something that still plagues the industry today. Tatl from Majora's Mask was slightly better, with a soft bell noise instead of voice acting, but I think everyone focused on the game's other, more crippling flaws (the three day cycle) to notice anything good about that game. Nintendo finally understood by Twilight Princess, where the player must summon Minda if they want any advice. Plus, Minda doesn't shout out really obvious crap. Oh, there's lava around here, Navi? I never would have guessed since we're in a live fucking volcano!

On top of that, Shigeru Miyamoto wanted Link to have a fairy from the very first game, if the comic books and cartoon were any indicators. I feel bad for the guy, he wanted something for so long, and when he finally got it, it was a complete disaster.

Let's move on to the Water Temple. I think the biggest problem with the design of this dungeon is that you could only raise or lower the water level in three places, which led to players 'looping' around the dungeon to find keys and move blocks around. The worst part is instead of walking up to a lever and pushing the 'A' button, the player must play Zelda's Lullaby and watch an unskipable animation of Link playing the slow-ass song. And you have to do this a minimum of 6 fucking times (go strategy guides!). It didn't help that there aren't that many enemies in this dungeon. Most of the time, you'll wind up fighting Shellblades (those clam things) and spikes (you know, the balls? Why am I explaining this?). Finally, the shadow fight is a big let down. It does freak you out when you first enter the room and find it to be a gigantic holographic courtyard, but the fight is nothing compared to one in Zelda 2. In fact, he can be defeated quite easily if you don't Z-target him. It actually says this in the strategy guides.

The problem I had was that none of the other dungeons were any better than the Water Temple. The puzzles, once the highpoint of the series, had been greatly simplified. All of the puzzles are now contained in one room. When you leave that one room, you don't ever have to think about what might happen in there ever again. The only, and I do mean only, puzzle that goes beyond one room is the puzzle involving mirrors that reflect light to open the boss room in the desert dungeon. Gone are puzzles like the block puzzle in the Ice Palace of Link to the Past where you had go through the dungeon a second time to drop a block to a lower floor. Or the puzzle in Eagle's Tower where you drop one level of the dungeon onto another, drastically changing the layout of the upper floors. Gone are even the simpler puzzles, like the red and blue crystal switches. All we're left with is fucking block pushing. And the first dungeon is a tutorial on real important stuff, like how to push said blocks or how to open a fucking door.

Which was all in the manual, for those who still read those things.

There's also a rather pointless repetition of information that's not needed to be given to the player. Really Mr. Owl? Time passes on the field? Like we wouldn't notice the fucking sun going down?! And the skip feature in conversations doesn't always work, so you'll sit there slapping both the 'A' and the 'B' button hoping to get out of a rambling character's monologue. Some of these people really need to shut the hell up. The game treats us like morons, color-coding words that are obvious. Of course Zelda lives in Hyrule Castle! Plus, this game tries to be a grand epic, but the series still hasn't evolved from the earliest games. It's always been: Ganon has kidnapped the Princess, go kill him and free her! Adding more lines of dialog does not make a plot better. Ever. The mark of a skilled writer is by reducing the amount of words being said but keeping the meaning intact. Nice to meet you Mr. Kettle, my name is Pot, what a lovely hue you are sporting today.

But, let's move back onto gameplay. Z-targeting was (and still is) praised for being one of the best innovations in 3D gaming. However, it has done more damage than good. What did targeting allow you to do? It allowed the player to keep the enemy centered on the screen at all times. But, since so much attention was given to the targeted monster, all the other enemies in the room were ignored. Watch them; they just hang back in the background, chilling by the water cooler. Clearly, after Link's Awakening when you had 3 to 5 monsters attacking you at once, Moblins underwent sensitivity training and deemed it's not polite to gang up on someone wielding a magic sword that shoots lasers. All the fights happen nearly the same way: target enemy, raise shield and wait for an attack, counter strike, repeat. The only fight that doesn't follow this is the IronKnuckle fights, because they can't freaking block. Wind Waker's counter system only proved how shallow Zelda's combat really was.

No one noticed how pointless Z-targeting was at the time, because you're only attacked by, at most, three enemies at a time. And sometimes a vast number of Keeses (Link, the killer of bats). Twilight Princess adds combat moves, but they're all pretty pointless, except for the roll-around-attack one. I wish Zelda would drop targeting in favor of Beyond Good and Evil's or Prince of Persia's combat system, which was you tilt the stick in the direction of the enemy and just freaking hit the button. Why does every enemy have to be some sort of freaking puzzle to defeat? With the newer systems, there is no excuse we should only be attacked by just 3 enemies at a time. The game just felt empty, especially the main field, which loses the Stalchildren when Link becomes an adult.

The boss fights were all pathetic. After you figure out how to beat them, they fold faster then a 10 year old in a school play with stage fight. What happened to Rebonack or Blind the Thief or even the Helmasaur King? No, the only bosses that are original, Morpha and Bongo Bongo, were easy once you figure them out. And so we're left with two Agahnim fights.

And what the fuck is up with the gold skulutlas? Why the hell are we searching all over Hyrule for spiders? Where they only added just to justify the day/night system which served no other purpose? After running across the field, the gates to the town didn't close in Link to the Past, forcing you to stand there for three minutes waiting for the sun to come back up. Oh, that's right, for collecting the skulutlas you get the rumble stone (which I never used), two wallets, and 1 freaking piece of heart. And an endless supply of money if you collect them all, which I didn't need, thank you very much.

Plus, every single mini game is atrociously bad. Just like in Final Fantasy 7, that snowboarding game sucked balls (turn Cloud, turn you son of a bitch!). The worst piece of heart to get in Link to the Past? The digging mini game one. Why? Because it was random and you had to blow countless rupees to play it. So Nintendo saw fit to increase the number of crappy mini games. Bombchu bowling was annoying and so was the fishing. Reviewers praised the fishing game, calling it a game that could be released by itself. You know what? I was released by itself. It was call Bass Masters 2000, why don't you play that, you assholes. Link's Awakening knew how to make a fishing game, throw the lure in, tap furiously for a minute, bam! Piece of heart. No wait for fish to bite, wait for fish to bite, wait for fish to bite, bite! Lost fish, damn it. Wait for fish to bite, wait for fish to bite, wait for fish to bite, wrong fish bit! I've dungeons I need to clear out; I don't want to be doing this pointless shit for a single fucking piece of a heart. And fuck any reviewer who said they stopped and started playing the ocarina at random moments. They are big fat liars, we all know the ocarina was a puzzle item and was only brought when needed. And there's something called a recorder, it's a freaking musical instrument and they cost 10 dollars. You can play all you want on one of those.

The Zelda games are in a rut, and Ocarina put them there.

What you should play instead:
Well, how about Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver? It came out at about the same time as Ocarina of Time and featured a better lock-on system. There's also Beyond Good and Evil (seriously, play this game) and Okami. If you really have your heart set on playing a Zelda game, go play Link to the Past. Or you know what? Twilight Princess is an exact copy of Ocarina of Time. It wasn't half-bad either. Still has piss-poor mini games though.


8: Resident Evil 2

Developer: Capcom (PS1, GameCube), Angel Studios (Dreamcast, Nintendo 64), GearBox (PC)
Publisher: Capcom, Virgin Interactive
System(s): Playstaion 1, GameCube, Nintendo 64, PC, Dreamcast
Date of Release: 1998 (Playstation 1), 1999 (PC), 1999 (US) 2000 (Japan and Europe) (Nintendo 64), 1999 (Japan) 2000 (US and Europe) (Dreamcast), 2003 (Gamecube)
Genre: Zombie Survival Horror
Screenshot from: The Official Biohazard 2 Website (I think)
Reasons for being on this list:
These last three games, Final Fantasy 7, Ocarina of Time, and Resident Evil 2, are the big three games that changed gaming. Star Fox 64 was also changed gaming, but more from a hardware perspective. Resident Evil 2, and to a certain point the first Resident Evil, were the first games that got praised by players and by critics for making them feel like they were in a movie. A campy, shoe-stringed budget, Z-grade horror movie with really bad actors.

First off, the play control for the Resident Evil games is, to put it nicely, less then enjoyable. Put bluntly, it fucking doesn't work. The directional buttons are based off of the camera positions, which were placed in arbitrary positions by a blind schizophrenic. It also didn't help that the characters turned at the rate of a stroke-victim snail. It was a major pain to even line up shots at approaching zombies, let alone for the occurrence when monsters came at you from two or more directions at once. Plus, the idea of holding down a button to attack has never sit well with me. I understand the need for it in Killer 7, since you barely control your character anyway, or the lock-on system found in WinBack. But you don't get a lock-on in Resident Evil, and there's only three angles to aim at: straight ahead, at your feet, or in the air. Getting the much needed head shots on the zombies is no where near intuitive a game that features ammo starvation needs.

And why? Why does it have to be so hard to control your character? Would Mario have been better if, to stomp on enemies, you had to push down on the control pad while in the air instead of just landing on them? Having a difficult control scheme doesn't make your game more 'hardcore' or anything like that. I think Resident Evil 4 proved that the entire challenge of this series was in the bad play control, since once you could (somewhat) easily shot zombies in the head with the shotgun, they became as threatening as a émon with a head cold. Okay, the Mercenaries side game was hard, but that was the point of it.

I can't believe that Capcom, which is filled with some very talented people, intentionally designed such a bad control scheme because they wanted too. Maybe they were unaccustomed to using the Playstation technology, or they just ran out of time while making the first game. But they were certainly surprised by the fan reaction. The bad play control was hailed as an increase in immersion, and that the lack of finite control increases tension and makes the game 'scarier'. Capcom has wisely ridden that wave for the rest of the series.

And don't say I'm too stupid to grasp the Resident Evil control scheme. I've played games with much more difficult controls. Terra Nova immediately jumps to mind. In which you had a form of mouse-look, but it was controlled by the keyboard, along with your movement. You used the mouse to aim independently of your view and could be used to select options between your four view screens. Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Using the keyboard hotkeys was much faster and easier, much easier than firing a gun in Resident Evil, which is the most basic thing to do in a video game. So fuck unintuitive designs.

And while we're on the subject, every single puzzle in this game was horrible. Granted, I didn't make it very far into the game, so I only know the ones in the police station, but after looking for several keys, I threw up my hands and vowed never to play this game again. I have never broken this promise, and I'm not concerned that I didn't beat this game, since there are three games on my most favorite list that I haven't beat yet. I admitted one, but about the other two I'm not telling. Back to Resident Evil's puzzles, they take them from bad point-and-click adventure games, which is a topic I'll hit later on, so moving on to the thing I hate most, the save system.

How the save works is that you can only save at typewriters. I'll pause for a minute so you can all look up what a typewriter is on Wikipedia. While limiting the ability save to certain spots instead of wherever you want is quite normal for a console game, Resident Evil went the extra mile to limit the number of times you could save as well. I've heard the defense of the limited save system is: it makes the game 'more immersive', 'scarier', and 'more realistic'. Really, a game in which you fight zombies is supposed to be fucking realistic. And the storyline truly drives this point home.

Whoa. You know what? I'll let the story speak for itself. It's bad. I know it, you know it, even Capcom knows it. They still play up the fact that it's bad for badness sake. But that's not how this game is remembered. If games let people play out roles in movies, why is it always the Z-grade horror movies you watch on the Sci Fi channel? Why is it always the big special effects filled bang bang boom boom movies of the summer? Since these are the types of games that sell amazingly well, my guess it's the type of movies that the average gamer wants to play in. So, if you need me, I'll be over here playing Syberia, which lets me play in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

What you should play instead:
Eternal Darkness. There you go, a game that shows up the Resident Evil series in every category. And has a lovely H. P. Lovecraftian influence. Or, if you're determined and can make it work in XP, System Shock 2 for you Sci Fi horror lovers. Or Bioshock. Look, not every recommendation has to have an explanation, I'm tired.


7: Homeworld 2

Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
System(s): PC, Mac
Date of Release: 2003
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Screenshot from: 1up.com
Reasons for being on this list:
If I have one regret about my favorite games list, it's that I didn't put any real time strategy games on it. I play a whole crap load of RTS games, and I even own one of the few that appeared exclusively on the consoles. Stick around, I tell you about that one later. However, when I was revising one of my many rough drafts, it came to my attention that the only RTS I put on there was the original Warcraft. Command & Conquer cheated way too much for my taste, and I didn't play Warcraft 2 until after Starcraft and found both of them to be a little too click-happy. Starcraft was good, but the entire plot is in the manual and Brood War kicked my ass, keeping me from getting any where in it (it's still 10 shades of awesome however). And most RTSs that I've played copy waaaayy tooooo muuuucchhhhh. Go play Warlords Battlecry and then try to argue that Blizzard didn't just copy & paste a whole lot while making Warcraft 3 (I still like Warcraft 3 better). Since I already had Heretic on there and complained that the FPS genre was stuck in the mud, I didn't want to do the same for RTSs.

Still, there are RTSs that break the mold and do something different. Majesty: the Fantasy Kingdom Sim removed direct control from your units. Sacrifice took squad tactics and infused it with Shiny's warped sense of humor. Battlezone 1 and 2, as well as Savage 1 and 2 have tried to marry RTS and FPS (to mixed results). And Kohan added so many new ideas that it would take a whole 'nother article to cover everything. And then there's Homeworld. Homeworld, in a broad sense, didn't bring that much new to the RTS table, except for being the first game to perfectly model three dimensional strategic space combat. To complete the package, Homeworld had a wonderful story that starts out as your ship being the lone survivors of your race journeying across the stars to reclaiming your homeworld. And you destroy your enemies, liberating the galaxy from an evil dictator in the process. The next game in the series, Homeworld: Cataclysm expanded the gameplay with improved units and refined controls. And it added what is one of gaming greatest enemies: The Beast.

Then came Homeworld 2, and it seemed like Relic not only didn't like the improvements that Barking Dog Studios made to their game, but they also didn't like what they themselves did in the first one. So they decided to strip everything of any redeeming value out their game and shoved it out into the waiting public. This game didn't just suck, it formed a black hole that pulled neighboring games into it (why hello Impossible Creatures). If you've only played Homeworld 2, or played a little of Homeworld 1 and skipped Cataclysm, then I understand why you might want to defend this game.

But in all seriousness, go play Cataclysm before attempting to do so.

While playing Homeworld 2, it's quite clear why it self-exploded. The main success of the first two games was the use of formations, each one useful in a different situation. The wall formation for large capital ships during assaults, the claw formation for fighters and bombers during attack runs, and broad for, well, I almost never used broad. Still, the formations allowed for easy control of your ships. In Homeworld 2, they removed formations from the game. Okay, they aren't gone, but rather well hidden. The only direct control you have over how your ships attack is with tactics. Don't get your hopes up about the defensive, neutral, or aggressive options. All they relate to is what formation your ships automatically use, and if they attack any enemy ships automatically nearby. Gone is the notion that the different tactics meant that a ship fights differently, i.e. more defensively or more aggressively.

In fact, while in the first two games, there was an advantage to using the 3rd dimension. With capital ships having most of their weapons in the forward arc, you would send your bombers from above or below. In 2, the game handles all that for you. You just assemble your fleet, give a general attack order, and sit back and watch as each ship attacks its proper target. The only thing you really need to stay on top of is building reinforcements. In fact, in later missions, I just had my 4 carriers following my attack fleet 'o death all set to build one type of ship. When a replacement was completed, I just paused the game and gave it an attack order. I played the game with the freaking touch pad on my laptop. And other strategies were removed as well. Mine lying? Cumbersome to the point of uselessness (it wasn't that important anyway). Ship capturing (the most important strategy in Homeworld 1)? Nerfed to obscurity. Cloaking? Hidden somewhere you'll never find (cloaking carriers is kinda cool, though). Gravity wells? Rolled up in a carpet and thrown off a bridge. I would also like to build multiple ships at the same time again. And don't even ask me about the ramming frigates, mimics, leeches, and linking ships introduced in Cataclysm. At lest we still have EMP bursts!

That was sarcasm, by the way.

The computer AI was also ripped out. I'm not talking about the AI attached to each individual unit or squadron, but rather the macro AI during the main campaign or skirmishes. The latter is your standard RTS skirmish AI: tread water, send some token offensive forces, and build a freaking overcompensating wall of defensive structures/units. In the main campaign, the AI is better off called 'Abandoned Installation', because someone over at Relic forgot to put it in there. What the computer does is after every mission, it scans your forces and then gives itself a force that perfectly counters yours, and with greater numbers. This led people to 'cheat' at the game by retiring most of their fleet after every mission so that the computer would not have too much of an advantage. Me? I kept my force at maximum capacity at all times, and just attacked the instant the mission started. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

And don't even get me started on the story. Homeworld Cataclysm started the game with the Taidani having split into two factions: the Republic that is your ally, and the Imperialist that want to see you dead. Plus all the former Imperial worlds that now have declared independence and are fighting amongst themselves. The Kushan people have splintered back into the many Kiith and are also squabbling for power and resources (but not outright fighting). And finally there is the Turanic Raiders who are attacking and stealing anything not nailed down. Homeworld 2? It starts with the Vayger attacking the Hiigarans (former Kushan). THAT"S IT. There's no mention of politics between the Kiith, no Turanic raiders, one Bentusi ship, no other space cultures at all. The imperial Taidani do get a mention, in the manual, once.

Okay, not everything is bad about this game. It does look pretty cool, the music is great, the module system is neat until you realize that destroying the damn ship is faster than destroying one module (and you would lose less ships in the process). Still, to the designers' credit, the game is 98% moddable, so there are lots of different mods out there, like Gundam. Did I just link to a Gundam mod video with the worst K-pop music I could find? Yep. Suck it.

What you should play instead:
I think I already listed all the games you should be playing instead at the beginning: Homeworld 1, Homeworld Cataclysm, Sacrifice, Kohan 1 and 2, Majesty: the Fantasy Kingdom Sim, Europa Universalis 3. Okay, that last one I didn't mention before. Plus, Relic has learned from its mistakes with the Warhammer 40,000 series, which is one of the best RTSs out there currently. Oh, wait, I said I would tell you about a console exclusive RTS. It was a little known game called Warlocked. It's best described as Warcraft 1 combined with émon. You have two sides: humans and beasts. You collected gold and wood using peon units, and then you built warriors or bowmen to attack with. In each stage, there was a wizard you could rescue and use, but you could only summon two wizards at any time. You could 'cheat' the game by first summoning two and then rescuing a third one. Each wizard either attacked the enemy with a unique spell or gave your army a passive bonus just for being on the battlefield. To collect all the wizards, you had to trade with someone else because there were more wizards than levels. The music even sounds like Warcraft 1. And do you know what system it came out on? The game boy color. That's right, the game boy freaking color. And it worked, oh how it worked. Granted, the path finding is the absolute worst in any game I've ever played, but come on, game boy freaking color! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 for Playstation!


6: Hexen 2

Developer: Raven Software
Publisher: Activision, id Software
System(s): PC, Mac
Date of Release: 1997
Genre: First Person Shooter
Screenshot from: The Official Hexen 2 Website
Reasons for being on this list:
I loved Heretic, and I immediately jumped onto Hexen as soon as it came out (on the N64). When Hexen 2 came out, I didn't have a computer that could play it, so I waited a few years until I got one. And then I finally played this game and wondered why the hell I spent so many years looking for it. Hexen 2 is comparable to a swift kick to the genitals.

And also, the more observant of you will notice that I'm halfway through my list and 4 out of the 5 have been huge let downs in game series that I loved. This did not escape my attention either. Call me crazy, but I don't think any game series stays popular forever. It will eventually piss off its fan base, which isn't very hard since we gamers tend to be a finicky lot. So the only way for a series to survive is to constantly bring in new gamers as old ones leave. And many series do this very well, while others do not. Besides, even after I called this game a fecal encrusted dime store stool with no back and only two legs, I still bought Heretic 2. Yeah, I'm weak, but that game was fantastic.

But, let's get back into focus here. First, this game boosts an expansion on the hub world system used in Hexen. This might be an improvement until you realize that the levels are rather poorly designed. On the macro-design level, all of the hub worlds are based on historical time periods, the first being Medieval (which was the first two games), the second was Mesoamerica (which is still kind of original), the third is Egyptian (which is one of the most whored out time period), and finally the fourth being Greek, or Roman (which is whored out a fuckton more than Egyptian). So we have one out of four levels that isn't something we've seen a whole crap load before. At least it's not more brown castles. As for the whole four horsemen theme, well, all I have to say is, after Terry Brook's Talismans of Shannara, nobody should really try anymore. Best representation, ever. Okay, maybe not as good as Robot Chicken's Apocalypse Ponies, but I'm only counting the versions in which the mortals defeat the horsemen.

Let's move onto the micro-design level, the puzzles. Okay, I suck at adventure game puzzles. I admit that. Still, I managed to figure (or guess) my way through Hexen with only needing help a few times, and I got through Deathkings of the Dark Citadel without any help. In Hexen 2, once I hit the Egypt stage, I wandered around for hours until I threw my hands up and looked for a walkthrough. This would be the first (and definitely not the last) time I hit up gamefaqs. But it was the puzzle in the final hub world (you return to the first hub again at the end of the game) that really drove me over the edge. After you find Tyrannith's body, you enter a portal. However, if you enter it too quickly, you'll shoot out over the ledge and have to try it again. And by too quickly I mean not crouching and tapping the forward button for 3 milliseconds at a time. Talk about poorly designed.

And if we want talk about poorly designed stuff in this game, that inevitably brings us to the enemies. At first, they're well designed and expanded upon the enemies from Hexen, which were an expansion on the enemies from Heretic. However, the farther you get into the game, the less innovative they become and the lazier the developers get. They all use homing attacks that never miss. THEY NEVER MISS. Especially the medusas in Hub 4. I run around a corner, they hit me. I run out of the room, they still hit me. I RUN ACROSS THE FUCKING MAP AND THEY STILL HIT ME. Here's a video of someone fighting against War, the fourth horseman. Yes, the boss just sits there throwing an endless stream of axes that track you relentlessly. And watch how he wins: he just whores out the tome of power and the icon of defender. This is not some cheap strategy, this is what you have to do if you want to win. Me? I just turned on cheat codes.

The Characters were also poorly designed. The game boosted an increased number of classes from Hexen's 3 to 4. Plus, characters could now 'level up' and gain more hit points, adding certain RPG elements to the game. This is the end of the positives, sadly. The Paladin is similar to the Fighter in weaponry, but is slowed down, so he can't dodge in/dodge out like the Fighter did in Hexen. The Crusader is the Cleric, but the fire and ice imps (two of the most common enemies) are nearly immune two of his weapons (the meteor staff and ice wand, respectively). The Necromancer is the new Mage, but he doesn't have the infinite ammo ranged starting weapon, his weapons (magic missile and bone shards) are two of the weakest weapons in the game (if not powered up), and he is also slow and has the lowest armor rating. There's no reason to ever play as the Necromancer. Finally, I didn't play as the Rogue since there wasn't a point to playing as a character that can hide in shadows when the enemies never missed.

In all seriousness, the indication that this game was rushed and wasn't worth my time happened within the first half an hour. When I got stuck in walls, windows, and when I got killed by a door. No, not monsters from hell or the ubiquitous crusher trap, a freaking door. I opened up a door in the floor and it swung upwards, pinning me where I stood and smooshed me into paste. When a door is more dangerous than the things that shoot fire, you need to ship that bastard back for more testing.

What you should play instead:
I'm never going to get tired of saying this: Tron 2.0. It has level advancement, upgradeable equipment, a talking main character (on top of a great plot), and truly innovative stage design. Go play the reformatting level, in which the world is being deleted, you along with it if you don't move fast enough. There's also Aliens vs. Predator 2, Shogo, No One Lives Forever 1 and 2, Half-Life 1 and 2, Serious Sam 1 and 2, etc. You know what? Go out and buy any first person shooter at random. They're probably better than this game.

In all my praise for Monolith games, I haven't mentioned F.E.A.R. yet. That's because the game was somewhat of a let down. A typical Monolith game has some rather constant negatives to them: you fight the same dudes over and over again, you only use a few guns throughout the game, and the multiplayer mode sucks compared to the single player mode (Discs of Tron, anyone?). This is always balanced out by having funny and/or smart dialog and other innovative features. F.E.A.R. lacks all the positives but still has all the negatives of a typical Monolith game. It feels more like any standard FPS: put lots of gore in, be a huge tech demo, have a swearing sidekick who dies before the game gets underway, make NPCs really annoying, and have only one twist which can be predicted from the very beginning. Plus the 'bullet time' was more of an instant win button than anything else. But, look at No One Lives Forever, which was released on the Playstation 2 and the PC and got crap sales, and Tron 2.0, which was released on the XBox and the PC and also got crap sales. F.E.A.R. was released on the PC, XBox 360, and the PS3 and actually sold rather well.

So, if I worked at Monolith, I would have looked at those two games that were highly innovative but sold poorly and looked at F.E.A.R. which cuts those innovations out and caught fire with the gaming public and say, "Fuck, we might as well not even try anymore."


5: Myst

Developer: Cyan Worlds
Publisher: Brøderbund, Midway Games, Mean Hamster Software, Sunsoft, I think even more
System(s): Way too many to list here
Date of Release: 1993 (Windows 3.1, Mac) to they're still fucking releasing this game!
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Screenshot from: The Official 10th Anniversary Web Site
Reasons for being on this list:
Ah, the Myst series. There's a very good chance that you've played at least one Myst game. And it's up to you if you liked it or not. Most of the people I've talked to did not like this game. Most people like to even say that this game killed the point and click adventure genre because all the people who played this game moved on to Quake or Tomb Raider or other such nonsense.

First off, I played this game on the Playstation 1, not the PC. So this game ran slowly...so...very...slowly. The pointer moved like you had two bricks duct taped to your hand. And between each screen, there was a short loading time. It took forever to get anywhere, and in a game designed about wandering around, this led the game to be very boring.

The puzzles in this game were horrible. It was all environmental manipulation. If you don't know what that means, you need to play more point and click adventure games. You had no inventory, the few items you do pick up (the colored pages) were held in you 'hand' icon until you used it. Maybe I'm just still bitter over the nasty sound puzzle to get to one of the ages. I'm tone deaf, and not even the strategy guide I had could help me solve it.

After failing to solve the sound puzzle, I flipped to the end of the book and discovered that you could beat this game without entering any of the ages. Just flip all of the switches around the starting island on and then turn the switch that you start near off (the dock one). Inside there is a white page, take it and enter the fireplace in the library. Push the switch on the left side, and put in the pattern from page 158 from the last burnt book on the right side of the middle shelf. Finally, put the white page in the white book. Congratulations, you just beat Myst in under 15 minutes.

So, was Myst the downfall of the point and click adventure genre like many people say? Well, no. So why did these game die off? Go read this article written by Erik Wolpaw (the guy who helped write Portal's story). Myst was one of the top selling games, until the Sims came out. It was also one of the first games released in the CD format, and people were drawn to it by the photo-realistic images that it could present. Sadly, the graphics haven't aged very well, so the appeal of this game might be hard to grasp now. The people who played this game were introduced to point and click adventure games for the first time. In it, they discovered how nonsensical puzzles in point and click adventure games were. The 'cat mustache' puzzle in the link above is not the worst puzzle in that game, I've heard there'reworse ones later on (I didn't play it). I did grow up playing Zork, so I know the terms 'lady or the tiger puzzle' or 'You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike'. So it's easy to see why none of Myst's sequels have had the same success as the first one. Because by that time, everyone had gotten used to pretty graphics and didn't want to put up with annoying puzzles anymore.

Still, the point and click adventure genre is far from dead. You can still find good games released every couple of years or so, and there is a large fan community working with Inform. Plus, there's even a renaissance happening on the Nintendo DS currently. The key point that people need to understand when making point and click adventure games is to make the puzzles make sense, provide enough clues for people to solve them without trying permutations randomly, and to replace flashy graphics with style and atmosphere. This is what Resident Evil and many other first person shooters (like Hexen 2) never figured out, and they suffered because of it. Told you I would get back to bad puzzles.

What you should play instead:
There's been plenty of good point and click adventure released recently. The Phoenix Wright series on multiple Game Boy systems, the revival of the Sam and Max franchise in an episodic format (play episode 104 for free here), and the genuinely scary games by Jonathan Boakes. Just because LucasArts or Sierra isn't making puzzle games anymore doesn't mean the golden years are over. The torch just has been passed.


4: Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

Developer: Iguana Entertainment, Bit Managers (Game Boy Color)
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
System(s): Nintendo 64, PC, Game Boy Color
Date of Release: 1998 (US, Europe), 1999 (Japan)
Genre: First Person Shooter
Screenshot from: Turok 2 wikipedia page
Reasons for being on this list:
There was a great deal of praise for the Turok series, believe it or not. It was technically advanced when it first came out (distance fogging notwithstanding) and the second game in the series was one of the most advanced games on the Nintendo 64. All of the characters in the game were created using a skeletal animation system that was new at the time. This system allowed the characters to have a large amount of realistic animations. It is also important to note that Turok 2 is one of the few games that used the Nintendo RAM expansion pack. While the game is playable without the pack, unlike Perfect Dark, the game does look significantly better with it.

The Turok games also boasted one of the most impressive arrays of weaponry ever seen in FPS. Like in any other FPS game, the guns are the most important element, because that is how the player is going to be interacting with the game world. You have the shredder, a gun that fires bullets that reflect off walls. The charge dart, which renders opponents immobile and ready for a shotgun blast to the head. The razor wind, a Frisbee of death. Turok's signature weapon, the bow and arrow. And the cerebral bore, the most famous gun, which fires a drill that bores into someone head and then explodes. Messily. Then you also get your standard energy rifle, chain gun, mine layer, rocket launcher that locks onto enemies and fires three rockets in quick succession, and a nuke that turns enemies into crispy critters. Okay, so even the basic weapons are different. Sounds totally freaking awesome, right? Well, no. So what was so bad about them? Probably the fact that to get the interesting and fun weapons, you have to get to level 3, and seeing as how this game only has 6 levels, that means you have to slog through some very painfully designed stages first. But let's hold off on the shameful level design and get back to the guns. They're also rather horribly unbalanced. An enemy that dies from one or two arrows seems to shrug off bullets like sticks or harsh language. The war blade (a melee weapon) is more powerful than a shotgun. Roll that around in your brain for a few moments before we continue. There are other problems, like the fact that some guns (the cerebral bore and the razor wind) are a bit too cumbersome to use on a persistent basis. There's also the sunstones, which stuns enemies indoors and only kills the ones in level 4, and are perhaps the most worthless gun in the game. And it also didn't help that you can only carry a very limited supply of ammunition for each gun. So what do you do for ammo? Well, there are 'ammo refilling points' that will spawn any ammo you need. I am fucking serious. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the spawn points also spawn health. I don't know why, but the need for spawning ammo and health seems to me like an early warning sign that the game is horribly unbalanced and needs to be taken back to the drawing board for major reworking.

To get back to an earlier point, the level design. The first two levels take place in cities under attack by genetically engineered dinosaur hybrids (seriously, I'm not making this up) and seemly made out of one type of stone. Each stage is broken up into smaller parts by warp portals, and each area looks (and is sometimes even built) exactly like every other section of the stage, making it extremely easy to get lost in. The map is next to outright useless, lacking important information such as elevation or the ability to zoom in or out. The third stage is placed in a jungle, and after two city stages, it's rather pleasant, until you start fighting giant mosquitoes. The most annoying part about this level is that you can see later parts of the stage early on. So you start hunting around for secret passages until you give up an hour later, and discover that you warp directly to those points later. The fourth stage takes place underground, like we haven't seen it a million times before. Finally, the fifth stage is interesting, since it takes in the hive of the insectoids, giant bug creatures (trust me, it was inventive in 1998). And the final stage is in the Primagen's crashed light ship. Yes, the final level is definitely the best stage in the game. Too bad you had to swim through a sewer of crap to get there. The designers also put too much detail into the levels and the enemies, so you get massive slowdowns and jerky controls constantly, even with the RAM expansion pack. Which doesn't help since many enemies will attack you relentlessly (hint: turn on auto aim).

To make the game more than just running around killing dinosaurs, the developers added mission objectives. Don't get your hopes up, they all boil down to: find item/put it somewhere, throw some switches and move to a certain place, or blow something up. Mostly they're the find items puzzles. I understand it's hard to come up with stuff to do in a FPS game other than "Shooting People in the Face." Still, GoldenEye proved that hey, you do more in a SPF, I'm sorry, FPS game then finding items or blowing stuff up. Taking pictures, for example. And while the opening cinematic for each stage lists all your objectives in Turok 2, they don't appear on your map or anything useful like that, there's no help what-so-ever. It's very easy to miss an item stuck in a corner somewhere. You know what else the developers forgot to put in? Music for deathmatch. Yes, there is no music for multiplayer, even with the expansion pack. Instead there's voice acting. Each and every time Turok gets hit, he screams out, even for 1 freaking point of damage. Yes, I know you put voice acting in the game, thanks for constantly reminding us, now shut the hell up already!

So why is this aberration even in my collection? Well, because when I rented this game, I thought it was freaking amazing. The technical aspects made me call this game the best ever. And the fact that you rip an enemy's head or limbs off, or even blow holes in their chests made me like it even more. So after looking over my complaints, you must think I was on some sort of illegal substances. No, I wasn't, I was just your average teenager. This is why I try to talk to people about things in games (and to a lesser extent, movies) other than graphics or physics or some other technical bullshit. Because I've been there, I was just like that, looking at how many polygons a console could push or marveling about special effects. After playing this game all the way to the end, (and some levels way too much using cheat codes), I realized that it was a crappy game. And to a certain extent, most of the gaming press feels the same way. The reviews of Rage Wars, Oblivion, and Turok Evolution have been less then kind, as if to make up for the fact that everyone gave this game high scores. Another company is attempting to resurrect this franchise, and I have to wonder, why? Is shooting dinosaurs with a bow and arrow really that cool? Reviews for the new one have been in the same vein as the old ones, and they'll probably going keep making more Turok games. All while Beyond Good and Evil is treated like a hooker with herpes. I've got to stop listening to that game's O.S.T. while I write this.

What you should play instead:
You want a good shooter on the N64? GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, end of discussion. I've already listed a whole truckload of good FPSs earlier under Hexen 2, so let's keep this gravy train a'movin'!


3: Bomberman 64

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): Nintendo 64
Date of Release: 1997
Genre: Arcade Puzzle
Screenshot from: GameFAQs
Reasons for being on this list:
At this point, I'm going to have to add a disclaimer. These next two games are going to be swirling caldrons of hate fueled bile, so go watch a Miyazaki movie instead. I recommend My Neighbor Totoro. No, I'm not joking around.

So first up, we have Bomberman 64, one of my most favorite game franchises. I couldn't explain the games' storylines, most had to do with saving the world, spreading world peace, and making the world safe for tasty cinnamon rolls. By blowing shit up. You played as a cute, super-deformed robot/person that could lay an endless string of bombs, but only so many at a time. If you got tired of blowing up random enemies, you could blow up your friends. Bomberman 64 fucked that all up. They fucked it up big time. In fact, they set the record high for fucked upness. Just look at the genre I've placed this game in: Arcade Puzzle. Does that sound like a genre that could actually work? That would be like a Gradius game where you didn't have a firing button, but instead killed enemies by luring them into a black hole that was following you around and could kill you if you stopped moving. If that sounds fucking stupid, stick around.

Well, to be fair, the game does start rather nicely. The controls are responsive, there are four camera angles (plus a zoomed out view), and the graphics are large, bright, and clear. However, what should have tipped me off early into this game is that there was a reduction of things to blow up. If you have a game based around the idea of blowing stuff up, removing said stuff would be a bad move. However, if you go the extra mile and collect all 100 gold cards (why the fuck are you always collecting shit in Nintendo games now?), you gain access to the secret 'final' level and the 'real' ending.

First, watch this video.

Did you see what he does at 00:50? Raise your hands if you knew what he was doing before he did it. If you said yes, you are either A) someone who worked on this game, B) the person who made this video, or C) some sort of advanced mind reader from the future. And yes, I am thinking happy thoughts. Please don't turn me into a Jack-in-the-box.

So why did he do that? Because, in their infinite, fucked up logic, Hudson Soft decided to turn Bomberman into a platformer, without giving us a fucking jumping ability! So how did you jump to new platforms? You had to make fucking stairs out of your fucking bombs that you fucking had to bounce along! And your fucking bombs bounced as well! You had to think 15 fucking steps ahead just to get up a fucking 5 foot step. THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH HUDSON SOFT! I spent two fucking hours in that level, only to discover that I did it wrong AND HAD TO FUCKING START ALL FUCKING OVER! THERE"S A 'FUCK YOU' MOMENT RIGHT THERE!

Excuse me, I have to go my happy place for minute.

So, you might have noticed that I haven't talked about the vs. mode yet. That's because it was shit. And I do mean complete shit. Gone are the innovative levels like pipe zone, power zone, speed zone, western zone, or pretty much every level from any of the Super Nintendo Bombermans. What did we get? A whole bunch of flat, empty rooms. Oh sure, there was that one that was made of super thin platforms over a pit of water that your friends are going to jump right into and die. Way to go, making the fucking controls kill you instead of your opponent Hudson Soft. There was an ice level, but to get to it, you had to collect all those damn gold cards. Where did anything that was good in this game go? The same place my love for the Bomberman series went: loaded into a cannon and fired right into the center of the sun. Multi-player was the whole draw of the Bomberman series, and it was fucking dead.

What you should play instead:
Super Bomberman. That is easily the best freaking version of Bomberman. As I said in the list opposite of this one, it has the most ingenious vs. levels and a co-op single player mode. I don't care about any other Bomberman games made since the 64 one, they all suck, and nothing is going to change my mind otherwise. And yes I did play a few of them. They suck. Next game!


2: The Adventures of Captain Comic

Developer: Michael Denio
Publisher: Michael Denio (PC) Color Dreams (NES)
System(s): PC, NES
Date of Release: 1988
Genre: Platformer
Screenshots from: VGM
Reasons for being on this list:
First, I would like to apologize to Michael Denio, the man who made this game. I've read interviews with the man and he's a rather nice guy. The DOS version of the game (you can get it here) was released as freeware and more of a proof-of-concept that you can make a platformer for the PC. So I shouldn't judge it too strongly against later PC platformers like Duke Nukem, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, and Bio Menace. After all, it did inspire those games to be made. No, it's the NES version of this game that will be the sole target for my wrath.

This was the second game made by Color Dreams, and is probably their worst one (Peaches might disagree with me). Not that any of their games were any good, but this one is shear inescapable fucking torture. It has led me to believe that Color Dreams was not founded by people who wanted to bypass Nintendo's draconian rules and more likely a group of robots made by anti-gaming advocates in the future and sent back in time to scar as many children as possible and destroy gaming as we know it. Luckily, their evil plan did not work.

This game was pure, unadulterated rapeage of my childhood. There are not many games that made me cry. At least, not for more than five minutes straight. Not that many games that make me feel like I've wasted my money. And not many games made me actually stop playing video games for an extended period of time out of sheer painful memories associated with that console and all gaming in general. Out of all of them, this one fulfills all three. And I played it both on the NES and on the PC. If it wasn't evident before, I fucking hate myself.

The start things off, this game was made in 1988, one year after Metroid (1987), which this game desperately tried to pass itself off as. You see, the premise is the same, you had a space hero, he or she landed on some strange planet, and had to gather up lots of strange tools that allowed the player to explore more of said world. While Metroid had interesting power-ups, such as the screw attack or the morph ball or the ice beam, Captain Comic had a power-up that allowed you to fire your gun. You just read that correctly. had to find a power-up before you could fire your fucking gun. That you fucking started with. Next, you couldn't hit enemies on the ground until you got the corkscrew (yes, an actual corkscrew that opens bottles of wine), which was a rip-off of the wave beam. Oh, and you could only have on screen as many shots as you had collected gun-firing power-ups, which was a can of cola. Don't ask about anything else or I'm coming over to your house to scoop out your eyeballs with a sharpened toothbrush.

Next, the whole 'free to explore the world' design of the game? Total bull shit. If you went somewhere without the right gear, you died, end of story. Luckily, there was only a few times the linear path through this abomination branched into instant death zones. One key point, you could enter the final area of the game, which was at the very beginning of the game, which was right after you got your first fucking can of fucking blasto cola that let you kill those fucking enemies. Oh, yeah, about those enemies, this game boasted 'different AIs for all of them!' Which translates to 'We stole our AI from lots of different games!' I've seen more intelligent AIs in Bubble Bobble. Here is all of AI:

Come right at you until you die!
Move up and down randomly while coming right at you.
I had a third one here, but I was wrong.

Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't want to populate the game world with enemies that the player can't kill yet. From the first area onward, you're assaulted by enemies on the ground, which you can't kill yet until you get that damn motherfucking corkscrew! And why the hell did Color Dreams move your first can of blasto cola away from the staring screen to a long distance away? Because they fucking hated you and killed Santa Claus.

Fuck you Captain Comic. Fuck you and your fucking horrible story of finding three shitty treasures and fuck your insanely fast enemies in that last area that killed me every fucking time I entered that place.

Go to fucking hell and fucking burn for all of fucking eternity.

What you should play instead:
You know, I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say anything fucking else. Even any of the other games on this list would be better than this piece of shitty fucking pound cake that was excreted by a hemorrhaging bull elephant.


So what could possibly be worse than that game? Well, the answer might surprise you.


1: Super Mario 64

Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
System(s): Nintendo 64, iQue, Virtual Console
Date of Release: 1996 (Japan, US), 1997 (Europe), 2003 (iQue), 2006 (Virtual Console)
Genre: 3D Platformer
Screenshot from: Super Mario 64 wikipedia page
Reasons for being on this list:
Told you that you would be surprised. You thought I was going to put Superman 64 in this slot, didn't you? Of course, that's a licensed game, and I forbade myself from using them. I wanted a game in the number one slot that I hated, but not only that, it also killed a console, and ruined gaming in general for years to come. Of course, I'm sure I just got mountains of hate mail for that last sentence, so just stick with me. "But Scott, Mario was one of the best selling games for the N64 system, and is one of the highest rated games, like, ever!" Again, stick with me.

First, the camera was a complete joke. Oh, it worked fine for the first couple of levels, but then it went straight to hell. The fixed camera positions in Big Boo's mansion suffer from the same problems that other games with fixed cameras (Resident Evil and Silent Hill) suffer from. Manly, the inability to see where enemies are attacking from and where you can jump to next. In some of the later levels, the camera would swing around while you were jumping through the air or walking across thin platforms, like the small plank that you had to walk across to get the star at the top of Little Island. Hot Hot Lava Land has another bad combination of piss poor camera and slippery controls as you hunt for 100 coins. There are coins under the bridge, and to get them, you can either use the wing cap or the green turtle shell. Sadly, the controls for both of these items are overly sensitive and you'll wind up crashing and getting Mario stuck under the bridge and dieing multiple times. The pole jumping inside the volcano is even more disastrous, with the camera refusing to position itself right behind Mario so you can jump easily to the next pole. Instead you fall to the bottom of the volcano (which doesn't kill you) and leaving you to climb all the way back up and try it again, and again, and again.

There was another part you had to keep doing repeatedly: those Goddamn flipper things in Wet Dry World. Who the fuck thought up those cancer inducing lemur spittle rejects? For those of you who didn't play this game (all three of you), I'll explain them. To get up to the higher parts of the stage while the water was lowered, you had to be flipped by these slow moving enemies that flung you backward into the air and liked to sneak up on you. They also had a wind-up key in the back, so they continually stopped and wound back up again, forcing you to stand there waiting. So to get to a higher part, you had to lure the flippers over to you from the right direction so you could get thrown into the air and land on the next elevation up. And they threw you high enough so it would hurt if you don't land exactly where you needed to go. And then you have to do it again. And most of the time, you land right on the second one, who throws back down. And there was one at the third level as well, serving no propose other than to throw you back down (again). If you happen to land on the middle one after being tossed down, you would be tossed down to the lowest level so you have to do it, say it with me, again. Then you'll probably swear Shon'Kar on everyone who worked on this game. 50 points for anyone who got that reference without using the internet.

More problems with this game include cramp, small levels. If you wanted a freedom of exploration game, go play Pilotwings 64, which was a so much better launch title. And why the hell haven't we seen a remake of this game on the Wii? Ahem, back to Mario. Don't forget about those bunnies and monkeys that you wasted fifteen minutes of your life chasing down. Who the hell thought that was a good idea? And I don't think any of the reviewers even entered Tick Tock Clock. Or if they did, they spent five minutes in there before saying, "Fuck this shit, let's go fight Bowser." In Tick Tock Clock, you had only two camera angles: at Mario's ass or up Mario's ass. And then in Rainbow Ride, you have to walk kick so fast to collect those blue coins that Mario moves off the screen. I'm very sure that if anyone even suggested that a camera should go slower than the main character in a 2D platformer to the point that the player could get off screen, all for the sake of being 'cinematic' or some bull shit like that, that person would find himself sucking cocks in the men's bathroom stall at an Olive's Garden to buy heroin to make the spiders go away that very afternoon. Here's a hint: most people switch to the never used 'Mario Cam' to bring the camera back to a useable position. Now, I'm not that good at designing a 3D game, but I have a few rules that I think any 3D platformer should follow:

  1. Your character should always be on screen at all time.
  2. The camera should be behind your character unless moved by the player themselves.
  3. The camera should only move when the player moves it themselves.
  4. If a wall or other such object (except an enemy) is between the player and the camera, make it transparent.
  5. The player should be able to see where to jump to next. Always.
And Super Mario 64 violates these rules so often it has multiple restraining orders.

So, how did Super Mario 64 kill a system and ruin gaming for years? Well, the defense of Super Mario 64 is that it was one of the first 3D platformers, so that any flaws in this game can be forgiven since the developers were experimenting with new technology. In that case, I can almost forgive it. Almost. Go read any review that sings praises for this game. Better yet, go read any review of any newer 3D platformer, including the newer Mario games. Notice anything? Yes, everyone says that Mario 64 set the standard for 3D platforming, that no game since then has matched its camera controls and play control in general. That's right, a game that was the first 3D platformer, which came out in 1996, over 10 fucking years ago has not been surpassed. I'll repeat myself: it came out 10 fucking years ago, and we have yet to see a 3D platformer that surpasses it. Mario 64 set the bar so low in terms of what 3D platformers could be, and the gaming industry is still fucking tripping over it! I didn't even believe a 3D platformer can even be made, well, until I played the Prince of Persia Sands of Time trilogy. Mario 64 gave the makers of every N64 game, and every 3D platformer in general, the permission to suck, and suck very hard. And that they did. Mario Sunshine is proof of this. If anyone asks why Nintendo wasn't the top video game company during the 6th generation consoles, the Nintendo 64 system would be the answer.

But what about the long term damage? Go look any screenshot from the first three Mario games, all of which came out on the NES. You can tell that each one is a different game from the first glance to the last level. Don't even try to tell me that Super Mario Bros. 2 is not totally awesome. Yes I know it was Doki Doki Panic with the Mario characters Bukkaked all over it, but that's what made it good. It was something new, different and exciting. Let's not forget that Symphony of the Night, one of the best Castlevania games ever made was simply Metroid with a Castlevania coat of paint. The sheer fact that the developers were willing to take a chance and do something different breathed a spark of creativity into the franchise, but it could be seen as incredibly lazy. But after playing the 'real' Super Mario Bros. 2, I would take this one a hundred times over. Would you want a world that didn't featured shy guys and snifits, Birdo and Princess Peach floating in the air? I sure wouldn't. And Mario 3 gave us the Koopa kids, the Takooni suit and Hammer Bros. suit, the gigantic overland maps, an inventory, P-switchs, and Kuribo's Shoe. Now go take a look at screenshots of Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, and Mario Galaxy. There's almost no difference between them, even through they came out on different platforms. Look, I still think Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the best designers out there, but he's not going to be making games forever. And Nintendo has got to stop simply copying his designs to make their next games.

What you should play instead:
I should clarify one point: I only consider games with a permanent jump button and the ability to see the 'game over' screen from falling down a pit or coming into contact with hazardous floors to be platformers.

One of the only good 3D platformers I have ever played so far is the three new Prince of Persia games. The only other ones that I can think of are Pysconauts and Heretic 2. And Prince of Persia had its own bad 3D game, but a different developer team went back to the drawing board and designed it from the ground up. What they realized was that the series was all about jumping from platform to platform and dodging traps. So they went through the game and made sure that in every part, the camera was exactly in the right part for every jump, with a few exceptions. This is what you have to do while making a 3D game. It is much harder than making a 2D game, and I hope people begin to discover that. Game designers have to try harder when making more complex games, and I guess as gamers, we should all put more emphasis on play control and camera positioning than graphics and flashy fight scenes when looking at a game. What can I say, I'm a foolhardy and optimistic bastard.






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