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8 Games That Were Surprisingly Bad
As I discussed in my 8 Games That Were Surprisingly Good article, one must always give video games the chance to surprise you. After all, what you think will be a horrendous exercise in frustration and disgust could turn out to be fantastic fun. But sadly, it seems far more likely that a game you think will be pure joy wrapped in awesome will turn out to instead be a turd wrapped in used condoms.
Like my “Surprisingly Good Games” list, this is not a “top” list, just a selection, so they’re placed here in order of how much I disliked the game.
8. MEGA MAN X7 (PS2)
I love Mega Man. Not as much as Ron does, but then, who really can? And I can’t fault him. The Little Robot That Could is one of gaming’s best icons for a reason: Capcom made a lot of good games starring the Blue Bomber. I rank Mega Man 2 and 3 among my favorite NES games of all time.
Having said that, the Mega Man series had a definite trend of starting strong on a new system, and then going downhill from there. Mega Man 4, 5, and 6 weren’t as good as 2 and 3 were, and when Mega Man got the “X” reboot on the SNES, the first one was great, but X2 was just good, and X3 merely decent. When Mega Man moved to the Playstation, X4 was fantastic, X5 not as much, and X6 less so.
So when Mega Man finally appeared on the Playstation 2, I expected the same; first game would be solid, further sequels not as much. But X7 defied those expectations by being utter rubbish right out of the gate. The new character “Axl” was more annoying than a 7-year-old hopped up on sugar and methamphetamines, the gameplay was pleasantly difficult, but sadly uninspired, and the selection of bosses wasn’t terribly imaginative. An onion?! Really, Capcom?!
7. FINAL FANTASY XIII (PS3)
Final Fantasy is another venerable franchise that keeps coming back time and again, and it’s always been up and down as far as I’m concerned. For every sweet game, there’s always one or two “mehhh” titles, but then, my taste differs from most. For example, I liked Final Fantasy VII, but didn’t think it was the be-all and end-all that most fans do, and I even liked Final Fantasy VIII. I know, I know, what the hell was I thinking?
But between all this, I was genuinely looking forward to Final Fantasy XIII. Despite missing out on the online only XI, and never getting a chance to play XII, for whatever reason, I had my hopes up for lucky XIII. Right up until I played the game, at which point those hopes were dashed into a million pieces.
Like every Final Fantasy, it was absolutely gorgeous to behold, but that’ll only carry you so far. Endless amounts of linear corridors, uninteresting or annoying characters, blah combat, this game was so phenomenally tedious, I never finished it, and I don’t particularly care to. Now that I think of it, this game’s a lot like my imaginary ex-girlfriend: pretty but boring.
6. CRACKDOWN 2 (360)
The first Crackdown was a brilliantly fun game, most easily described as Grand Theft Auto: Superhero Edition. Your “Agent” could collect different colored orbs that acted like experience points. Gaining a level’s worth of orbs would make him jump higher, become stronger, or shoot better. And you get these orbs by climbing and exploring, killing enemies with melee or thrown items, or killing enemies with weapons. Simplicity itself, and addictive as hell. I really enjoyed taking down the gangs piece by piece, wiping out lieutenants in their growing-ever-larger strongholds, until I’ve weakened the gang enough to go after the boss. Hell, just talking about it makes me want to pull out the game and play it again.
So, understandably, I was psyched for Crackdown 2. Maybe there’ll be a good story this time, where the sinister narrator would reveal the evil plan he’d put into motion through the events of the first game. Maybe it’ll just be another open-world romp where it’s fun as hell to climb buildings and shoot bad guys. And maybe I’ll get world-famous for my interpretive dance exploration of a sex change operation.
Crackdown 2 is one of the laziest sequels I’ve ever played – it made extremely marginal changes to gameplay and graphics, it’s the same damn city as the first game, maybe a little more torn up this time, and there’s still no real plot to speak of. This game was less a sequel, and more an expansion of the original game, and even that’s being generous. While there was some fun to be had, it was the same stuff that was fun the first time around, so I could’ve saved myself $60 and just played the first game again.
5. DOUBLE DRAGON 3 (NES)
Double Dragon still gets my respect to this day. It’s one of the great classics of the beat-em-up genre with a standard plot (rescue the girl), enjoyable butt-kicking action, and some iconic music. The second game was great fun as well, finally allowing two-player co-operative martial artistry on the NES, even if the awkward platforming sections occasionally tempered our enjoyment.
If the third game had been excellent, it could’ve propelled Double Dragon to truly iconic status alongside such franchises as Metroid and Castlevania. It COULD have, but it didn’t. Because the third game was a pile of ass and frustration.
For reasons I can’t fathom, the devs decided that the previous games were too easy, therefore you only get one life. Die at any point, and the game is over. This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if it weren’t for the insta-kill chasms I kept falling into and the enemies doing more damage than in previous games. I hear getting far enough in the game will net you another character who can take over if you die, but I don’t remember ever getting that far. I just remember returning the game to the rental place and never wanting to play it again.