WORST OF THE WORST:
The BOTTOM 50 Console Video Games
Part I

Updated Jan 20, 2018

Introduction

I love video games but let's face it - they can't all be winners. I haven't be shy about doling out F's in my 20 years of running this site. The good news is, bad games usually make for some pretty entertaining reviews. So sit back and relax as I systematically dismantle the 50 most helacious titles ever to masquerade as legitimate video games.


#50 Steep

Playstation 4 (Ubisoft 2016)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2017/2/10

Worst 50 Remarks: Combine pitiful gameplay with shady business practices and you get Steep. I wouldn't accept this one for free.

screenshotNo, Steep is not a game about making tea, but that's an honest mistake. I'm always up for a good snowboarding title but was dismayed to discover this game requires you to be connected to Ubisoft servers at all times. They don't really advertise that fact, and the tiny "requires Internet connection" blurb on the packaging might be the understatement of the year. Once you register your account and curse Ubisoft under your breath you're obliged to sit through a time-consuming connection process. My friend Brent inquired in disbelief "You have to go through this every time you play the game?!" As I've always said, if a game requires permission from a remote server to play, you don't even own the game. I tried to make the best of a bad situation but things were about to get a whole lot worse. The premise of Steep is free exploration of an expansive mountain range via skis, a snowboard, wingsuit, or paraglider. The lack of structure is supposed to be a good thing, but Steep is a disorganized mess. There are objectives scattered all over the place but little sense of progression. You can use binoculars to scout out new locations, but what's the point when you can just access the overhead map? The game itself is a colossal bore. There's no sense of speed whatsoever - even when soaring headfirst down a cliff in a wingsuit. While skiing or snowboarding it feels like you're just going through the motions while weaving around trees and rocks. The narrator's insistence that "This is our time! This is living!" is a little hard to swallow when you're wedged in a crevasse. I can't believe the game gave me credit for finding "points of interest" and "memorable moments" considering I never noticed anything even vaguely interesting. The featureless, repetitive slopes must be generated by some kind of algorithm. We Ski (Wii, 2008) had more to see. The controls are terrible. Figuring out how to come to a stop is a never-ending challenge. During one ski run I found myself turned around and and couldn't figure out how to face forward again. In paraglider and wingsuit mode your character tends to obstruct your view, which is especially annoying during "proximity challenges." The parts of the game where you're flying through hoops rekindled painful memories of Superman (Nintendo 64, 1999). If there's a point to playing Steep it was completely lost on me. I'd rather watch tea leaves sit in hot water. At least there's a payoff.


#49 Golvellius: Valley of Doom

Sega Master System (Sega 1988)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2015/3/13

Worst 50 Remarks: The name Golvellius sounds like a stomach ailment, but rest assured it's far more unpleasant.

screenshotGolvellius: Valley of Doom is structured like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES, 1989), offering a mix of overhead exploration and side-scrolling stages. But if this was Sega's attempt to create a Zelda franchise of their own, they failed miserably. The title screen states "reprogrammed by Sega", but I think they should have started from the ground up - beginning with that atrocious name. The box cover depicts a musclebound hero but the main character is a green-haired kid with a huge noggin. As you move between contiguous screens bees, snakes, and frogs materialize from nowhere and relentlessly sap your health. You can hack them with your sword, but they continuously respawn and will overwhelm you. The controls are disgraceful. You can't can't move diagonally and you get stuck on every rock, bush, and grain of sand. It's infuriating when you can't enter a hole because you're one pixel off. I'm going out on a limb to declare these the worst controls of all time. Unfortunately you have to slay several creatures to reveal any hidden holes. Inside a hole you'll typically find an old woman or fairy. The old woman will try to sell you something, but your only options are "want" or "don't want". Well... what if I just don't have enough money?! In that case you'll get chewed out either way. Fairies try to offer clues but you can't trust them! One instructed me to "move a blue rock" to reveal a dungeon entrance. In fact, you need to strike the rock with your sword five times! Thank goodness for the FAQ! The side-scrolling dungeons aren't much better. You can only face forward (what?!) and bats fly through walls to drain your life. During boss fights you can't tell if you're inflicting damage until the boss finally explodes into sparkles. The game's primary claim to fame seems to be its password feature, but jotting down that 32-character code isn't much fun. Even when you use a password you start back at the beginning. I'll stop short of saying I hate Golvellius, but a game this poorly designed will bring you nothing but pain and misery.


#48 Looney Tunes: Back in Action

GameCube (Warner Bros. 2003)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2016/7/9

Worst 50 Remarks: Games like this put people into mental asylums.

screenshotI loved seeing my favorite cartoon personalities come to life in 16-bit titles, but that fascination didn't extend into the 3D era. Looney Tunes: Back In Action takes beloved characters from your childhood and imprisons them in a wretched 3D platformer. You begin by navigating Daffy Duck across a busy freeway, and while it may look like Frogger (Atari 2600, 1982), there is zero fun to be had. The camera icon in the corner of the screen is an ominous indicator that sometimes you can adjust your view and sometimes not. Most 3D games suffer from one or more camera problems, but this game suffers from all of them. The camera's never available when you need it, and when it is, it's all over the place. The depth perception is abysmal and the stages have all sorts of invisible walls. You're constantly wondering what you're supposed to do. You toggle between Bugs Bunny who is good at jumping and Daffy Duck who can swim. And when I say "swim" I just mean he won't instantly die upon contact with water! I always find it curious how buddy games tend to be one-player only. In each confined area your primary goal is to collect cash by grabbing coins and smashing crates. Pesky adversaries include Porky Pig cops and annoying tourists with cameras. Pay attention to any text instructions because they sometimes clue you in on an unlikely course of action. Who would guess you need to press the right trigger and A button to burrow under a wall? How would you know that hitting a mailbox with a hammer summons your partner? In the first area, you can't even make progress until you buy a monkey from Foghorn Leghorn. It's bad enough the game makes no sense, but it's remarkably unfunny to boot! The jokes are really hard to stomach ("What am I wanted for? Dinner?") If you can tolerate this garbage the game lets you visit Paris, Area 52, and some jungle ruins. I love classic Looney Tunes but Back In Action is the absolute worst. After this you may never want to play a cartoon game again.


#47 Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Wii U (Capcom 2012)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2015/6/4

Worst 50 Remarks: People dedicate hundreds of hours of their lives to this?! I don't get it.

screenshotI'm told legions of gamers love this game, so good for them. I despise Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. The RPG Critic warned me that the first few hours could be painful, and that was an understatement. You'd expect a game with "3" and "Ultimate" in the title to be finely tuned, but it seems hastily tossed together. You are a warrior visiting an island inhabited by prehistoric creatures. Embarking on tedious missions, you'll collect mushrooms, slay creatures, and gather monster guts (yummy!). The combat system is terribly clunky. Counter-intuitive buttons and laggy response times make the simple act of swinging a sword feel like a chore. God help you if you embark on an underwater mission. The buttons normally associated with actions are used to cycle items, so when you try to do something you end up swapping items instead. Monster Hunter 3 is run by arbitrary unwritten rules. You can only use an item when the game deems appropriate, and even then it doesn't register half the time. The interface is a nightmare. I can only view my items at the shop, and only equip armor and weapons between quests. That's one of many crucial details you'll need to figure out on your own. The instructions for "turning kills into resources" are poorly explained, referring to options that don't even exist. An old man told me to acquire a pick axe, and I ran all over God's creation before realizing I already had one. If you like picking up stuff you'll love Monster Hunter 3. When you come across ten mushrooms you'll press A and watch an animation of your guy picking one. You'll have to repeat that nine more times to gather them all. And why does it say they are blue mushrooms when they are clearly red? Nothing in this game makes sense and nothing is consistent. The scenery is sparse and I couldn't help but notice there were no trees in the forest area. Missions refer to areas by names yet your map identifies them with numbers. You'll hike across the same stretches of land over and over but sometimes hit an invisible wall. The missions are bewildering. Slay five Jaggia? What the [expletive] is that? This game was programmed by twelve people who never talked to each other. I know some swear by Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, but I feel like the only guy at the party who's not in on the joke.


#46 Darkwing Duck

Turbografx-16 (Disney 1992)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2015/2/22

Worst 50 Remarks: So bad it became a collector's item.

screenshotThe Turbografx library doesn't have many licensed titles. Most of its characters are of the home-grown variety like Bonk or Keith Courage. So when you see a character that looks like Daffy Duck in a Turbografx game it kind of draws your attention. Darkwing Duck is a highly sought-after title, but you should think twice before breaking your piggybank. The title screen is intriguing enough, with the hero decked out in a trench cost as catchy music plays in a minor key. Start a new game and you're presented with a picture of villains sitting around a table. Guiding a magnifying glass over the character's faces serves as a stage select feature. So far so good, right? One stage takes place on a San Francisco street with skateboarders jumping ramps. Another is set on rooftops with electrified fixtures. The third takes place in generic caverns. If only any of these were actually worth playing. The gameplay is painfully lackluster as you duck under flying objects, pounce on enemies, and time your leaps between floating platforms. The uninspired stage designs are populated with cheap, one-hit deaths and fatal drop-offs. You're armed with a pop-gun that's completely worthless! The controls feel terribly mushy, causing Darkwing to hesitate at times when precision is required. The collision detection is atrocious. Touching an icon with your hands isn't good enough. No, your entire body needs to pass over it! Even the graphics and animation are substandard. Darkwing Duck is the sort of game you want to like, but the more you play, the more you realize the game simply blows enormous chunks.


#45 Revengers of Vengeance

Sega CD (Absolute Entertainment 1994)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2012/9/23

Worst 50 Remarks: The publisher must have realized how horrendous this was and tried to play it off as some kind of joke! Not funny!

screenshotboxDoes Revengers of Vengeance know how bad it is, or is the joke on me? Its sensationalized box art ("Fight or Die! Freaks! Freaks! Freaks!") feels like a desperate attempt to attract unsuspecting impulse buyers. This weird fighting game/RPG hybrid straddles the line between "bad" and "huh?" You select one of ten remarkably unlikeable characters including a knight, ninja, werewolf, and a bird-woman. Your journey begins in a small town that comes across like a parody of every RPG ever made. The local pub serves coffee and you earn attributes by working out in some kind of medieval gym! In order to embark on a mission, you'll need to pay a pretty steep fee! Who thought that was a good idea? Upon departing town you're presented with a number of destinations, each of which has a warrior opponent waiting for you. The ensuing one-on-one battles are reprehensible by any standard. The characters are rendered in a lame cartoon style that just looks as if they were scribbled in the margin of a notebook during English class. The static dragons and castles in the backgrounds look like toys. The controls are absolutely pathetic, and the larger characters are practically unresponsive. Fighters float across the screen in slow motion, and any blows you land deal minimal damage. In one case I keeled over in the middle of a fight for no apparent reason, as if the game took a while to realize I didn't have any health left. And just when I thought things couldn't get more bizarre, I was awarded 100 gold coins - for losing! Revengers of Vengeance makes me feel as if I'm in some kind of Bizarro universe where video games try to be bad. File this one under F - for freak show!


#44 Roadsters

Dreamcast (Titus 2000)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2014/9/16

Worst 50 Remarks: I don't know what the designers were going for. This game has no angle, unless you count those 180 degree turns!

screenshotThis racing title is so incredibly bland, it makes me ill! I've never seen a more uninspired set of vehicles, tracks, and characters. I hate them!! You'd expect a stage called Pleasantville to be dull, but the Hoover Dam?! Area 51?! You really have to make an effort to [expletive] those up! The only track that's remotely interesting is the ski resort thanks to its wintry conditions and crunching snow. The steering controls are responsive enough but the physics is non-existent! The boxy cars have zero mass so it feels like you're steering around a plastic toy. And the track layouts are infuriating! If you think 90-degree turns have no place in a racing game (true), you'll want to brace yourself for 180-degree turns in this piece of [expletive]! Alternate routes open up during certain laps, but most are longer and harder to navigate than the main route! What is the point?! The wooden barricades look like invitations to plow right through, but doing that is like hitting a brick wall! Since there's no reverse button to help you back up, you're forced to fiddle with the gears which will leave you wallowing in last place. The characters could not be more obnoxious, spouting idiotic lines like "I'll get you next time!" Oh, there won't be a next time - trust me on that! The sparse elevator-style background music is revolting. Roadsters has a split-screen mode that supports up to four players, but it feels like four times the misery. Roadsters is an utter atrocity and I just want it to die in a fire.


#43 Bram Stoker's Dracula

Super Nintendo (Sony 1993)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2014/10/30

Worst 50 Remarks: This makes the lukewarm Genesis version look like a [expletive] masterpiece.

screenshotBram Stoker's Dracula (Genesis, 1993) was a serviceable platformer but this SNES edition is an utter abomination. I refuse to believe someone actually play-tested this steaming pile of donkey excrement. Unlike the Genesis version, you begin with a dagger instead of a sword, and it has a range of about a half inch. Stuck in a wooden lodge with rampaging wolves and spear-toting lesbians, you'll suffer plenty of damage before you'll even locate the sword. It doesn't help that every creature takes at least three hits to kill. The stunning visuals of the movie have been replaced by lackluster stages rendered in muted brown tones. As you forge through cottages, forests, and castles you'll come across foes never seen in the movie like giant spiders and skeletons. For some reason every enemy explodes when you kill it - including a swarm of flies! That's just stupid. The number of cheap hits is outrageous. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to deal with those spear traps. On the Genesis I could sprint through them and sacrifice some life, but in this game you suffer too much damage and instantly die. Other cheap hazards include boulders and giant spiders that fall directly on your head without warning. This game is so sloppy I actually encountered a knife-wielding thug on a bridge who was facing the wrong direction, stabbing away at thin air. Outside of Dracula and his maidens, the bosses are random and generic. The soundtrack reminds me of that old song "Take My Breath Away" (by Berlin) but the audio is marred by constant random grunting sounds. Who in the [expletive] is making those noises?! At least the Genesis version of Bram Stoker's Dracula was playable; this doesn't even feel like a finished product.


#42 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Ubisoft version)

NES (Ubisoft 1993)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2008/5/23

Worst 50 Remarks: See screenshot. That is all.

screenshotWhen I showed this to my friend Chris, his incredulous reaction was, "Wait a second - is this a GameBoy game?!" Yes, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is an atrocity of outrageous proportions. Not only are the graphics horribly grainy, but the first stage is rendered in about two colors! Okay, maybe three - if you count black! This is definitely the most hideous game I've seen on the NES. Indy looks even goofier than he did in Temple of Doom, if that's at all possible. The film provides for plenty of interesting stage ideas, but this shoddy game even makes jumping the cars on a circus train seem dull! The first stage, entitled "Exploring the caves", is about as unimaginative as you can get, with all the obligatory cheap hits including falling stalactites. It's hard to grab onto ropes, and fights with bad guys amount to trading punches until somebody falls over. The controls are so stiff that I might as well be controlling C3PO. Last Crusade is one truly pathetic piece of trash, and for a 1993 game (by LucasArts no less), it has absolutely no excuse.



#41 Aquaman

Xbox (TDK 2003)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2008/7/16

Worst 50 Remarks: Every bit as exciting as you would expect underwater crime-fighting to be.

screenshotMy expectations were astronomically low for this bargain-bin title, but I try not to let price tags ($4 in this case) sway my opinion. Aquaman is about as unimaginative and cookie-cutter as they come. You won't see our hero on the box cover, probably because he's not same clean-cut guy we grew up watching on Superfriends. No, this is an older Aquaman who looks more like a Greek god with his long beard and flowing blonde hair. Apparently he's the king of Atlantis, which is under attack by a force led by arch-villain (even worse than a regular villain!) Black Manta. Maybe I was spoiled by the spectacle of Imagic's Atlantis (Atari 2600, 1983), but this undersea kingdom seems downright boring! The buildings are mainly domes that all look the same! The water effects aren't bad, with objects appearing appropriately blurry in the distance. The sound of bubbles provide sparse audio for a game that's otherwise eerily quiet. The missions are pretty straightforward as you methodically beat up goons, disarm bombs (with a tape measure no less), and protect strategic locations. Enemies tend to congregate in groups, and when you get close enough, they'll float over to you one at a time to get their collective asses kicked. Once a thug comes within punching distance, just whale away on buttons until he vanishes. Rinse and repeat. I can tolerate a certain level of repetitiveness in my games, but Aquaman pushed me to the limit. There are dozens of fighting combos, but they all look exactly the same! Enemies sometimes apply a hold to Aquaman, and the sight of the two floating, intertwined bodies looks totally gay. You have the special ability to call upon sharks and dolphins for assistance, but they simply carry off the current foe. It's a crime the developers didn't use this opportunity to incorporate some gratuitous violence. It would have been worth at least a letter grade to see these goons get ripped to shreds by a man-eating shark! Aquaman's missions are mercifully brief, and an arrow always keeps you headed in the right direction. Breaking up the monotony are occasion submarine shooting stages which look like fun but play like crap. I was expecting the explosions to be a little less fiery, being underwater and all. In the final analysis, I can only recommend this game to die-hard Aquaman fans, but since there are none, I recommend this to nobody.


#40 Skate It

Wii (Electronic Arts 2008)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2009/9/15

Worst 50 Remarks: You'd be better off trying to play this with an actual skateboard.

screenshotYou'd expect the Wii balance board to be the perfect controller for a skateboarding game, yet Skate It feels so counter-intuitive, you might as well be using a light gun. The tutorial gradually introduces the moves, but the further along it gets, the more overloaded and cumbersome the control scheme becomes. After a while I started asking myself, "How am I even going to remember all of this stuff?" The board is divided into six sections that are pushed to initiate tricks. There are several problems with this approach. First, the simple act of steering the board is crazy hard, so when you start incorporating tricks, you're falling all over the place. The action is constantly interrupted by the warning "do not jump off the board!" - even when you don't completely leave your feet. You have the option of using normal controllers, but those are even worse! The movements rarely make sense and there's a pronounced lag between your motions and your character's reaction. Skate It tries to compensate for its rotten controls by making the challenges exceptionally easy and forgiving. The tutorial is a prime example. During one trick I shook the controller wildly and ended up doing a painful face-plant on the concrete, only to have the game exclaim, "Now you're getting the hang of it! Tutorial complete!" The grinds are pretty much automatic - you just need to initiate the jump. The core of the game is a series of challenges around a deserted city, such as scoring a certain number of points or performing a combination of tricks. This city is a really, really boring place! There's plenty of unlockable sponsors and gear, but does it matter? Maybe the balance board controller doesn't make a good skateboard after all. Or many Skate It was simply too ambitious. All I know is, this makes me want to play Tony Hawk.


#39 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Super Nintendo (Sony 1994)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2014/10/30

Worst 50 Remarks: The actual Frankenstein monster was less miserable than this game.

screenshotFrankenstein's monster was one seriously miserable bastard, and thanks to this game, you can be one too! Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the most deplorable platformers I've had to endure. The first stage is set in a village during a rainstorm, which seems like a reasonable place for the monster to be on the prowl. The problem is, the manner in which he limps around in that cloak makes him look like an old woman trying to catch a bus for crying out loud! And when he stoops down to smack kids in the ankles with his cane, it just looks pathetic. Considering his haggard walk, it's quite a revelation when he leaps about ten feet into the air! He's the Air Jordan of monsters! Getting through the first level requires a degree of perseverance unknown to man. You'll aimlessly hop around window ledges, ride moving platforms, walk through empty hallways, and pull random switches. Due to poor jumping controls you tend to either over-jump or hit your head on something and fall short. And there is no rhyme or reason to these switches. Pulling one might trigger something in a different part of the stage, but who the [expletive] knows?! The effects seem to be on some kind of time delay so there's never any positive reinforcement. I truly hate how defeated enemies disappear in a little puff of smoke - that looks so cheesy. The second level is set in a catacomb where you stumble around in near total darkness. This time you slide around blocks that cause ledges to randomly appear and disappear (*barf*). In the third stage you're running around the great outdoors experiencing the joy of getting caught in bear traps while being pummeled by birds. The music is pretty good, but not in a scary way, and that's a problem! I noticed there were no FAQs available for the game, which doesn't surprise me. No human could withstand the pain of seeing this one through to the bitter end. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein may be God's cruelest mistake.


#38 Destructor

Colecovision (Coleco 1984)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2006/5/11

Worst 50 Remarks: Living proof that drugs and video game development do not mix.

screenshotHave you even heard of a "must-have" game for a system? Well, Destructor is the opposite of that. Trust me, this cartridge will do nothing but take up valuable space in your collection. Had Coleco not been so hard-pressed for another title to support their Driving Wheel controller, this dreadful piece of excrement would have never seen the light of day. Destructor offers an overhead view of a small tractor you steer around a scrolling maze. The title of the game is utterly misleading, as the crux of the "action" involves finding crystals and hauling them back to your "starcruiser" (which resembles a psychedelic shack). You'll be pestered by wandering bugs, but these are easy to avoid. The instruction manual seems to indicate there's some underlying strategy involved, but it never became apparent to me. The sprites look awful, the screen scrolls in a choppy manner, and unsightly artifacts litter the screen. The crystals and bugs seem to appear at random, giving you little incentive to wander far from your shack. The audio is equally horrendous, with all sorts of irritating beeps and blaring sirens. Once you gather enough crystals, you're off to the next monotonous level, which looks and plays just as poorly. Destructor is one of the those games that's so pointless that you switch it off well before depleting your lives.



#37 Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble

Genesis (Warner Bros. 1996)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2017/5/31

Worst 50 Remarks: Not even a walk-through can save you from this infernal hell.

screenshotHaving been raised on Bugs Bunny Saturday morning cartoons, I was totally pumped to review this, only to have all my childhood memories come crashing down. Double Trouble is so devoid of fun it's astonishing! The opening stage may be the worst ever devised. While navigating Bugs around platforms in trees you try to avoid the ever-pursuing Daffy Duck while flipping "duck hunting" signs. So I'm running all over the place hitting buttons like crazy but the signs aren't moving. As it turns out, Daffy needs to be right next to you for a sign to turn. Just think about this for a second. He will drain your life, yet this game requires you to keep him by your side! Why in [expletive] would his proximity have any impact on my ability to turn a freakin' sign? This game defies logic. And just when you think you've survived the nightmare, stage two offers more of the same. The third stage is a welcome reprieve... or so it would seem. This level commemorates the classic scene pitting Bugs against a raging black bull. This had potential for fun, but the stage is incomprehensible. Your initial task is to uncover holes in the ground, so how do you do that? By letting the bull buck you into the air of course! There are sticks of dynamite just hanging up there up in the air! Once underground you need to lure lions into cages. Once again, this is about as far away from "fun" as you can get. Using a cheat code to skip ahead, I found myself in some Aladdin-style village, bumping my head on every damn platform in sight. Even the animation sucks. Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble is such an atrocity I'm left to assume it was designed by a bunch of boardroom executives who didn't know the first thing about video games... or fun.


#36 Joe Montana's NFL Football

Sega CD (Sega 1993)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2000/9/21

Worst 50 Remarks: My buddy Keith was the biggest Sega CD advocate back in the day, yet even he was making excuses for this mess, assuring me the next Joe Montana game was going to be BAD (meaning good, obviously).

screenshotThis overhyped trainwreck of a game was probably the first nail in the Sega CD's coffin. How did this monstrosity even get out the door?? This game is actually far worse than any previous football game released for the Genesis. Let's start with the graphics. The extreme pixelation is unforgiveable, and the blockiness reminded me of some old Atari 2600 titles! The framerate is so poor that it's hard to figure out what the heck's going on amid the choppy mess. Just keeping track of the football is not easy. Next the pitiful controls have the worse response time I'm ever seen in my life. The game is consistently a step behind your commands. Then there's the sound, which may be the biggest crime of all. You'd think that being a CD game, this would at the very least offer some decent live play-by-play commentary. But no - commentary is only heard when you're choosing your plays, and it talks about about the previous play. Heck, even regular Genesis games had live commentary in 1993. The sound effects are practically non-existent, with the exception of the water-faucet crowd in the background. Finally, I have to mention that the computer opponent is incredibly slow and stupid. Often the cpu-controlled player will just stand there after a hand-off or catch. The game's one redeeming feature is the "Ask Joe" option, which is available during time-outs and displays a video of Joe giving advice for the next play. That's cool, but it's the only bright spot I could find. Sega must have been under a lot of pressure to release such a half-baked game.



#35 Revolution X

Super Nintendo (Acclaim 1994)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2016/3/2

Worst 50 Remarks: The first and last time a rock band ever designed a video game.

screenshotIn 1994 Aerosmith was a hit-making machine that could do no wrong. Then they tried their hand at a video game. Oy! What a reprehensible piece of [expletive] this is. The intro screen features the band playing the song "Rag Doll", giving the player a sense of false hope. The contrived premise behind Revolution X pits you against a totalitarian regime called "the New Order" who has banned Aerosmith among other things. The gameplay is best described as a light gun shooter with no light gun support. Instead you move a squirrely crosshair around the screen, gunning down an endless parade of shirtless clones. At least they're considerate enough to line up in neat rows so you can continuously fire in one spot, mowing them down by the dozen. The scene in the club with bikini-clad chicks dancing in cages adds a touch of class, but most of the time you're staring at pixelated brick buildings. Bad guys don't just fall from the windows - they hurl themselves through the glass! Holding down the button to spray bullets sounds like fun but the action is repetitive to the max! In addition to lousy control Revolution X suffers from horrible slowdown and even muffled audio. Did Aerosmith record the soundtrack at the bottom of a well?! This is one game you'll shut off long before you run out of lives. Not only is Revolutionary X mind-numbing but it's broken to boot! In my game the helicopter boss was literally impossible to destroy. Unfortunately Aerosmith programmed the game too. Maybe this New Order had the right idea after all.



#34 Sonic the Hedgehog

Xbox 360 (Sega 2006)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2007/1/10

Worst 50 Remarks: Needless to say, Christmas 2006 was a bitterly disappointing morning for one particular critic.

screenshotSega's famed mascot has had his ups and downs over the years, but there's simply no excuse for this outrageously bad game. The fact that it bears the same name as the original Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis, 1991) is a slap in the face to long-time fans. Presented in high definition but unplayable at any resolution, this ill-conceived debacle is structured like Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast 1999), but lacks the charm, polish, control, and element of fun. As if the developers were trying to emphasize the worst aspects of previous Sonic titles, you'll endure pointless chatting with townsfolk, brainlessly "bop" the heads of countless robots (just keeping pressing A), and barrel through stages while almost completely out of control. The idea of integrating the cartoon-ish Sonic characters with realistic human figures is as creepy as it is idiotic. The "touching" cut-scenes between Sonic and the shapely female character are so utterly embarrassing that they had me reaching for a barf bag ("All I need... is your smile"). Back in the day, the Sonic games featured light-hearted themes, imaginative stages, crisp controls, and simple gameplay. This new Sonic, on the other hand, is bogged down with pointless dialogue, confusing objectives, idiotic stage designs, and abysmal control. The "hub" of the game is a little town where you buy items from LL Cool J and chat with people who have nothing interesting to say. The "action" stages aren't much better, thanks to a spastic camera that makes it impossible to keep your bearings. In the desert stages, you instantly drown when you touch the sand!! Think about how stupid that is! Still, it was quite amusing to hear a friend yell, "Oh no!! SAND!!" The new "ring attacks" are a confusing mess, and the boss battle with "Silver" is the worst ever ("Take that! It's no use!!"). The ill-advised new "super speed" stages have you whizzing through long stretches so fast that you can't properly steer or anticipate obstacles. Evidentally, Sega fired their entire Quality Assurance department, because the game's obvious bugs and general lack of polish is astounding. Besides the jumpy camera, there are collision detection glitches, inexcusable pop-up, clipping problems galore, and kung-fu quality lip-syncing. It's not unusual to suddenly lose control of your hedgehog as he momentarily moonwalks in place. The loading screens are so excessive that I had to sit through a 15-second load screen just to watch a lame, 5-second clip. The graphics are high-definition, but no more detailed than the Dreamcast titles - only sharper. I find it hard to believe that somebody at Sega thought this game was a good idea. This is a disgrace. Sonic the Hedgehog has been defeated.


#33 Batman Forever

Genesis (Acclaim 1995)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2005/11/27

Worst 50 Remarks: On paper the concept may have seemed reasonable. Too bad you have to play it on your TV.

screenshotDespite knowing full well the dreadful legacy of this infamous game, I tried to keep an objective mind when doing this re-review. After sitting through the game's annoying intro screens (DC, Acclaim, Warner Bros, Probe Entertainment, etc.), the game presented a "credits" segment which introduced the "actors". See, Batman Forever uses digitized actors (a la Mortal Kombat) instead of hand-drawn sprites, and I must say, they look pretty good. Unfortunately, the developers must have spent most of their time in the digitization process, because the rest of the game is absolute garbage. It feels like an awkward attempt to fuse platform action with a second-rate Mortal Kombat engine. Batman Forever is practically unplayable, largely due to its deplorable control scheme. Outside of simple jumps, blocks, and punches, executing any move requires a complicated series of button presses! Considering the game supports the six-button controller, this is unforgivable. Even simple moves like tossing a Batarang, performing a leg sweep, or falling into a hole are inordinately difficult! In the first stage, I had to pull myself through a hole in the ceiling, and it took me a good ten minutes to figure out how (and I'm still not sure how I did it). Later, I had to drop down through a hole in the floor - a no-brainer in most games. But incredibly, it took several minutes of button mashing to do it (the manual is worthless). The stage design is equally appalling, with doorways that magically become unblocked on one level after you defeat a group of thugs on another. In one instance, I walked behind a wall, and found myself staring at total blackness, unable to determine what was blocking my progress. Fighting each character is like a short game of Mortal Kombat, except without the fun. The bad guys sport un-intimidating names like "Mad Dan" and "Billy", and each has a long life meter. Batman Forever does give you the opportunity to play as Batman or Robin, but Robin looks like he's wearing a cheap costume. Two people can play at once, but it's too awkward due to the size of the characters and the fact that you can't walk past each other (somebody's always in the way). And while the characters look sharp and colorful, the rest of the presentation is lousy. The backgrounds look boring and hand-drawn. Couldn't they have digitized some sets from the film? The music is not good, and the voice synthesis is horrendous. After listening to a clip, it'll take you a good 10 seconds to figure out what the heck the static you just heard was trying to say. The game's box has the gall to claim the game has "over 80 stages" and "over 125 moves". Even if that dubious claim were true, I doubt any gamer would have the patience to see them all. Batman Forever was widely heralded as the "worst game of 1995" by magazines of the time. In my book, it's the worst Genesis title ever.


#32 Dragon's Lair

NES (Bluth Group 1990)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2004/9/10

Worst 50 Remarks: The play tester called in sick and now we're stuck with this piece of [expletive] for all of eternity.

screenshotIt's ironic that an arcade game known for its ground-breaking graphics and audio is probably the worst game ever to grace the NES. A 2D adaptation of the famous (infamous?) laserdisc game, Dragon's Lair excels in terms of presentation but is an utter nightmare to play. You assume the role of Dirk the Daring, a knight attempting to rescue a princess in a mysterious castle. The graphics are beautifully illustrated, with very large characters and detailed castle interiors. Impressive classical string music also complements the theme. It's a shame that the game is practically unplayable. Like the arcade version, cheap hits abound and only through tedious trial and error will you forge ahead. Actually, it's worse than the arcade because you have a lot more options available at any given time. It doesn't help that Dirk is so freakin' unresponsive - it takes a full second for him to duck after you press the directional pad down. The stage objectives are completely counter-intuitive, and luck plays a critical role. The very first screen involves crossing a bridge to enter the castle, and I was so baffled that I had to resort to a walk-thru just to survive it. Dirk is so fragile that even jumping into a wall causes him to shatter into a pile of bones! Dragon's Lair for the NES is a complete debacle, and I can't imagine anyone deriving any degree of enjoyment from this.



#31 Irritating Stick

Playstation (Jaleco 1999)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2001/6/8

Worst 50 Remarks: There are no words I can say that would be more derogatory that the title of this game.

screenshotFinally - a game that lives up to its name! This oddity is based on a Japanese game show, and I find it remarkable that it ever made it to the shores of America. Without a doubt, Irritating Stick has the worst title ever conceived for a video game. It sounds more like a bad porno film! And if you think the title is bad, wait until you play the game! Basically it involves moving a dot through an electric maze without touching the sides, and your time is limited. It's stupid, repetitive, and... well...okay... irritating! The only thing worse than running out of time after working your way through a lengthy maze is having to start over! I don't think I've ever played anything so aggravating.




#30 Bubsy: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

Genesis (Accolade 1993)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2006/1/4

Worst 50 Remarks: No "worst game" list would be credible without Bubsy being well-represented.

screenshotIn 1991, a spunky little hedgehog named Sonic won over the gaming masses with his dizzying speed and loveable personality. But in 1993, a goofy cat with a scratchy voice burst onto the scene. Now who would be the most beloved video game character? Oh yeah - still Sonic. If anything, Bubsy was more of an embarrassment than anything else. The game's large characters and mountainous backgrounds tried to mimic the Sonic formula, but the results were pretty pathetic. How can waterfalls pour off of the tops of trees?! Unlike the popular hedgehog, Bubsy is a complete loser, and his antics are more irritating than amusing. Bubsy's adversaries are equally unlikable, and some are actually creepy in appearance. The audio is borderline offensive, with hokey music and rough voice samples that are guaranteed to make you cringe (that cat must be a chain smoker). Oh, and wait, it gets worse. Fans of Sonic's hyper style of play will roll their eyes in disgust when they realize Bubsy is so fragile that he can't even withstand falls. Hell, he can't even roll down a hill without dying! And with so many inconspicuous objects being deadly to the touch (including water), you'll keel over time and time again for no apparent reason. The inexact controls and poorly designed stages won't do you any favors either. It's hard to tell where you can or can't jump, and the game expects you to make a too many "leaps of faith". Bubsy does have the ability to glide through the air, although that makes little sense considering he's a cat for Pete's sake! He also rides down "water flumes", but in general the gameplay is slow and tedious. I'm still trying to determine how Bubsy managed to grace the cover of Electronics Gaming Monthly in February 1993, or spawn a few sequels. If you're tired of fun games with imaginative graphics and catchy music, give Bubsy a try. He's the anti-Sonic!

#29 Mister Mosquito

Playstation 2 (Sony 2002)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2008/8/13

Worst 50 Remarks: What does this game have in common with a mosquito? BOTH SUCK.

screenshotI appreciate a little originality in my video games as much as the next guy, but let's face it people, bad is bad! In Mister Mosquito you play the role of a cute little mosquito attempting to suck blood from a family in a typical suburban household. Upon pressing Start at the title screen, a woman's voice explains basic facts about mosquitoes and a typical day in their life. Not only does she talk very slowly, but she goes on and on, and incredibly, you cannot skip this sequence. That's right - every time you turn this game on, you have to sit through that crap. Thank goodness you can skip the cut-scenes within the game - which take forever to load by the way. The game employs a behind-the-mosquito view as you look for places to bite unsuspecting humans. You'd expect to have your pick of juicy spots, but no, you have to wait for red "targets" to appear on the skin. These aren't always visible and tend to be hard to find when they are. As a result, you'll spend most of your time buzzing around aimlessly. When you do apply a bite, you need to continuously spin the right stick around to draw blood, and it's one of the more uncomfortable maneuvers I've ever been asked to perform with a controller. The steering and camera controls are terrible, and when you touch any object, there's a loud "bang!" as if you hit a brick wall at 100 miles per hour! When a human sees you, you enter an absolutely pointless "battle mode". As the human stomps around the room like Godzilla, you can only calm him or her down by attacking them above their crotch. Hey, don't look at me - I just review the games! Mister Mosquito tries to convey tongue in cheek humor, but there's little substance here. There are even sexual overtones including scantily dressed women and suggestive dialogue ("How was the first time?"). Playing this game? Awful! When all is said and done, Mister Mosquito is just a novelty item that will look far better on your shelf than in your PS2.


#28 NHL All-Star Hockey

Saturn (Sega 1995)
Grade: F
Reviewed: 2007/12/31

Worst 50 Remarks: My buddy Eric is still dealing with the emotional scars of playing this on Christmas morning 1995.

screenshotMy buddy Eric got a Saturn for Christmas in 1995, along with this video game equivalent of a lump of coal. For weeks Eric rationalized that NHL All-Star Hockey wasn't bad, but he eventually would admit it was awful. Twelve years later Eric and I revisited the game so he could reassess his opinion of it. He now regards All-Star Hockey as repugnant. Sadly, this game set the tone for sports titles on the Saturn, which consistently paled next to their Playstation counterparts. All-Star Hockey's ugly intro intermingles game graphics with video clips as "The Power" blares away in the background. I can only assume that Sega intentionally made the video clips extra grainy so the game's dreadful graphics would look halfway decent by comparison. The main menu looks sharp, thanks to a digitized Marv Albert who prompts you to select a game mode. Sadly, his talent is wasted because there is no in-game commentary. On the ice, the low quality of the graphics is glaring. These flat, pixelated players would be more at home in an Intellivision game! The animation is so minimal that players will go from standing positions to flat on their backs in two frames! There's a wide range of selectable camera angles, but none provide a decent vantage point, and most aren't even playable! Even at the closest camera setting, you feel distant and never have a good angle of the goal. All-Star's control is pitiful, and the act of shooting the puck is needlessly complicated. The action is so choppy that when a goal is scored, you'll find yourself wondering what the heck just happened. The crowd sounds realistic enough, but the player grunts are repetitive. After the first period, some fat guy named Coach Labou rants about how badly you suck - even when you're winning. There are plenty of options and modes, but would you really want to customize your roster in a game this bad? The best thing about NHL All-Star Hockey is its edgy menu screen music. If you get a chance to pick this game up, then by all means do. It will give you renewed appreciation for every other sports game ever made.


#27 Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift

Playstation 2 (Crave Entertainment 2006)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2015/5/15

Worst 50 Remarks: Tokyo Xtreme was once a proud racing franchise. RIP!

screenshotOkay, this has got to be the worst racing game I've ever played. After several attempts to review this steaming pile of [expletive] I felt like I had suffered enough to bang out a review (call it a cautionary tale). Previous editions of the Tokyo Xtreme series focused on highway racing at night, but Drift is about power-sliding through twisting mountain roads. The intro is pleasantly relaxing, but when you attempt to race you find yourself mired in layer upon layer of menus. What a mess! Are all these dead-end menus really necessary? You'll select "adjust part" only to be told "no adjustable parts available". You're told to select an opponent in a parking area, only to find the area is completely empty! Adding insult to injury, you're constantly bombarded with load screens. You'll sit through at least a dozen of them before you see an actual road! The career mode saddles you with a pathetic hatchback and expects you to painstakingly work your way up. Gran Turismo might be able to get away with that formula, but not this game. The races are one-on-one snore-fests. Your car doesn't want to go, and once you get rolling you'll wonder if you'll ever reach 40 MPH. Even with faster cars the races are downright laborious. At least they tend to be mercifully short thanks to the confusing "spirit point" racing system. The game's use of pressure-sensitive face buttons doesn't help. In order to reach top speed you must mash the X button with your thumb the entire race. Who thought this was a good idea? The pathetic lack of speed completely undermines the drift concept, and the narrow tracks don't give you any room to work with. The most interesting aspect of the game is the music, offering a wide range of eclectic Japanese tunes. You're better off just listening to Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift, because playing it only leads to sore thumbs, tears, and recriminations.


#26 Fighting Masters

Genesis (Treco 1992)
Grade: F-
Reviewed: 2010/2/18

Worst 50 Remarks: I know game companies were trying to cash in on the early-90's fighter craze, but they could at least pretend they were making an effort!

screenshotI've seen my share of sorry-assed fighting games over the years, but Fighting Masters lowers the bar to alarming depths. How low? Bubsy the Cat could trip over this friggin' bar! That's low, people. I knew I was in for a perfectly miserable time when I witnessed that horrible title screen with its seizure-inducing lightning flashes and cringe-worthy thunder effects. Fighting Masters is a case of someone trying to cash in on the one-on-one fighting craze of the early 90's. Its controls are minimal, the characters are embarrassing, and the stages are devoid of detail. The fighters are a weird hodgepodge of humans and monsters including a crab monster (Zygrunt), a guy with an elephant head (Mastodon), and a miniature Easter Island statue (Goldrick). The boring stages typically place the fighters in front of a stone wall or a plain red building. The controls are extremely shallow, utilizing only two buttons! That's right - the A button isn't even used! You are pretty much limited to jump attacks which involve one fighter grabbing the other, jumping a mile in the air, and body-slamming his opponent to the ground. It's hard to tell who's taking the brunt of the damage as matches degenerate into repetitive slam-fests. The physics is best described as hilarious and pitiful collision detection will have you taking hits from unseen forces. The game doesn't even bother keeping score, and it doesn't need to, because when a gamer plays Fighting Masters, we all lose.



Proceed to Worst 50 Console Video Games Part II