Everyone has their gaming regrets, and I’ve certainly had my fair share over the years. So I thought I’d share some of the turkeys that I’ve wasted hard earned cash on. Games that I tried to love, but were completely and utterly unplayable. Now, I wanted to give an unbiased cross-section of games, so I’ve divided my top ten into licenced games and original IPs. Also in the interest of fairness, I’ve omitted any games that I didn’t buy with my own money, so birthday and Christmas presents out of the picture. Without further ado, here are the worst five licensed games that I’ve had the displeasure of playing:
Jurassic Park: The Lost World – PS1 1997
Jurassic Park: The Lost World was released in 1997 for the PS1 and Sega Saturn. The game was a 2.5D side-scrolling action adventure, and largely ignored the plot of the movie. The game cast the player as both human and dinosaurs over thirty levels, set on Site B (the one link to The Lost World). The box promised the opportunity of playing as a rampaging Velociraptor or T-Rex, but I struggled to get any further than the first level, playing as a chicken-sized Compsognathus, due to a frustrating combination of unresponsive controls and the Compy having a single leaping/biting attack to dispatch enemies, and if mistimed would leave her prone to attack. The graphics were a little ropey, with the green Compy barely visible on a smaller TV, lost amongst the jungle foliage of Site B. I think I managed a few weeks of trying and failing to make it to the second level before conceding defeat and trading it for something more playable. There have since been other attempts to make a decent, playable game out of the franchise, with only TTG’s Lego Jurassic World succeeding (which oddly enough stuck to the plots of the movies)
Men In Black: The Game – PS1 1997
Men In Black: The Game was also released in 1997 for the PS1 and PC, and as with Jurassic Park: The Lost World pretty much ignored the plot of the movie. The game was a third-person action adventure game with a plot involving Will Smith’s character James Edwards being recruited into the secretive agency after foiling an alien bomb plot, before travelling the globe busting intergalactic ne’er do wells as the last line of defence against the worst scum of the universe. Despite developer Gigawatt Studios nicking a lot of Resident Evil’s game mechanics, such as tank controls and fixed camera angles, the game was a complete polar opposite in terms of playability – movement was awkward and clunky, and gunplay was awful as I don’t recall ever making a shot. I do remember making it past the first chapter, but the plot was so uninspired that it ended with another trip to my nearest video game store. If you want an enjoyable quasi-gaming Men In Black experience (and you can afford a trip to Orlando) check out the Men In Black: Alien Attack ride at Universal Studios Florida!
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – PS1 1999
TV game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was a revolution when it debuted in 1998 – there had been very few shows that actually gave the contestant the answers, as well as three ways to narrow down their choices and of course the opportunity to be £1,000,000 richer. The show was a hit and made for compelling viewing, so a video game version was inevitable. The game was a couch party game for up to four players, taking it in turns in the hot seat, with the show’s host Chris Tarrant providing voice-overs. I bought the game to play with my family at Christmas, thinking it would be good for a bit of friendly competition. The game would’ve been reasonably fun had it not been for unskippable cutscenes that bookended each player’s turn, recapping how far away they were from the top prize and how many lifelines they had left. Every. Single. Turn. I also remember thinking that Tarrant must’ve recorded his lines during his lunch hour, as they repeated themselves after the first playthrough. Needless to say, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s case soon began to gather dust on my shelf, only being dragged out the following Christmas when we had relatives over.
Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon – Xbox 2002
Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon was a side-scrolling beat ‘em up released in 2002 as an exclusive title for the original Xbox. The game was one of the reasons that I traded in my PS2, as I was (and still am) a massive fan of Bruce Lee. The game followed in the footsteps of classic side-scrollers such as Double Dragon, Streets Of Rage and Final Fight, which I’d played through and loved. Alas, Quest of the Dragon failed to live up to its lineage, as the game expected the player to be a kung-fu master from the very first level. The game had no tutorial as it was assumed the player could handle overwhelming enemy attacks from multiple foes from the get-go. The annoyance factor was increased further by developer Ronin Entertainment adding Bruce’s signature “Wah-Tah” battle cry to every damn move he made, regardless of whether the blow actually connected or not. I could have handled this if the cry and come at the end of a combo rather than every punch or kick Lee threw. It’s fifteen years later and as you can no doubt tell that I’m still incredibly bitter, as the game was so bad it’s highly unlikely that Lee’s estate will be willing to lend his likeness to his own standalone title again.
Michael Jackson: The Experience – Xbox 360 2010
Michael Jackson: The Experience was released across multiple platforms in 2010, but only really made sense on consoles that were in some way motion-enabled, namely the Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii. The game was essentially a Just Dance clone, giving players the opportunity to dance like Jacko whilst singing along to some of The King Of Pop’s greatest hits. Being a child of the 80s I’d mastered the moonwalk and was keen to learn the moves to Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal. Unfortunately, Jackson’s moves were lightning fast, and keeping up with the on-screen avatar was damn near impossible. The game offered a tutorial mode that broke down the moves into sections, but even then the player was expected to fluidly pull off a dozen moves. I should’ve saved my money and watched a tutorial on YouTube, as at least it can be paused without waving frantically at the screen whilst I attempted to catch my breath.