Best Parts of Crap Games

The redeeming rays of light in sloppy software

As seen in: Jurassic Park

The worst parts: It. Is. Nails. Seriously. You have to complete the game in one go because there are no saves; the shittiest, most unrewarding ending you can imagine – it’s an effing screen of text!; the level design is horribly maze-like and confusing; maddeningly repetitive collection tasks.

The BEST part: They might not look like much now, but JP's horribly ugly 3D sections were seriously impressive back on the SNES in 1993. Based on the Wolfenstein engine, the game’s 3D corridors were genuinely atmospheric, and battling raptors and dil… diloph… eh, the spitty ones, felt like being in a piece of Spielberg’s celluloid.

Above: Look, back in 1993 this was a seamless film to game translation. You just have to... erm, squint your eyes a bit. That or mace yourself first

OK, so the objectives in these bits were terrible – why do people always keep their keycards in horribly convoluted mazes crawling with dinosaurs? And only having a turning circle of an arthritic 90 degrees was also a Prehistoric pain. Still, considering this was on a console less powerful than your mobile phone, it captured the tension of the film admirably.

Honourable mention: Pegging it away from a pissed-off T-rex was alright.

As seen in: Sonic Adventure

The worst parts: Anything that didn’t involve Sonic pelting along at 100mph; any bit were Sonic spoke; Tails; Amy Rose; Big the Cat; E-102 Gamma; Tikal the Echidna.

The BEST part: You might have been impressed by this after frantically unpacking your shiny new Dreamcast, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. And in hindsight… this sucks. Almost every one of the above criticisms laid at the hog’s hateful latest games originated here.

Above: Willy finally snaps after years of Sea World oppression

The semi on-rails platform bits were the only sections of the game that captured the essence of speed and exhilaration that made the 2D games such a success. And nothing sums up the spirit of the old Sonic games better than running across a collapsing bridge as an angry Orca devours everything in its path. Simple, streamlined and fun. Everything the rest of this game, and every Sonic game to follow, isn’t, then.

Honourable mention: Raising your Tamagotchi through the Dreamcast’s VMU was the only use of the peripheral that wasn’t totally pointless.

As seen in: Spider-Man 3

The worst parts: Any mission that wasn’t tied to the film’s plot; anything involving Arsenic Candy; anything involving fighting lizards or sewers; anything involving balloons; anything involving carrying Mary-effing-Jane home from work.

The BEST part: Just like Maguire’s pitiful performance in the film, most of Spidey 3 is dull, monotonous and unconvincing. And, with a whole virtual New York at your sticky fingertips, you’d have thought the developers could have created more epic set pieces to fully utilize such an impressive virtual metropolis.

Above: No, my performance in Spidey 3 was the most shit and comically misjudged! No mine was!

The fight against the New Goblin over the skies of Manhattan, thankfully, does use the sheer size and daunting verticality of the skyscraper-strewn island. Encompassing a massive area, you have to swing, somersault and leap to avoid Harry’s aerial assault. And taking the fight from the paths of Central Park to the peak of the Empire State Building creates the only real epic moment worthy of the web-slinger.

Honourable mention: The swinging mechanics are fun, if a little redundant thanks to the repetitive missions.

As seen in: FIFA 96

The worst parts: Gameplay that would make your average Sunday five-a-side game look like the World Cup Final; vintage cheap FIFA goals; it had Jason McAteer on the cover.

The BEST part: The first proper footie/soccer game for the PlayStation and Saturn, FIFA 96’s graphics are now as appealing as Wayne Rooney’s face and play is as slick as a Diana Ross penalty. Still, it was the first title to really feature proper player names and positions, which deserves some credit, right?

Above: Check out '1:32', '1:58' and '2:22' for the very cutting edge of 1996 multimedia magic. Oh, and the goalie scoring from inside his own box at '2:52'. Good times

Not impressed, by Ronald De Boer and wingbacks? Don’t worry. The goal celebrations just about made FIFA’s action on the pitch bearable… well, not really. Seeing the stadium’s big screen light up with little cartoons and stupid animations – usually involving cannons or some other form of explosive device – was quite fun, though. And, after a generation of being reared by multimedia-neutered cartridges, it felt like there was some dark, CD voodoo going on inside our consoles. Still not convinced? Read this. Oh, and try to be kind.

Honourable mention: Easy. David Hayter uttering the following words: ‘EA’, ‘sports’, ‘it’s, ‘in’, ‘the’ and ‘game’.

As seen in: Futurama

The worst parts: Sub-standard platforming bits; sub-standard shooting bits; sub-standard Dr. John Zoidberg M.D. racing bits; epilepsy-inducing frame rate

The BEST part: This game really should come with a health rating from the Chief Surgeon General; that’s how bad the choppy, nauseating frame rate is. The plaforming and shooting that make up most of this are also thoroughly uninspiring and share none of the wit or imagination of, arguably, Matt Groening’s funniest show.

The cutscenes, and more specifically the humour, on the other hand, capture the spirit of the show perfectly. And we challenge you not to grin from ear to ear when you see everyone’s favourite impoverished, starving lobster doctor for the first time. The game’s script was penned by the show writers, and it shows. Concise, edgy and genuinely funny, they nearly make the almost unplayable game playable. Almost.

Honourable mention: Respawning from a giant toaster when you die is a clever two fingers up to the concept of multiple lives.

Above: Nothing like a bit of toasted space crab and erm... whatever the hell she is, to start off your morning

As seen in: Too Human

The worst parts: Years of pointless, futile hype; stupid, inbred, duelling banjos-style camera; shorter than a midget who’s been fed growth represents.

The BEST part: The long, agonising wait is finally over. And we’ll admit this isn’t quite the ‘BEST GAME IN THE HISTORY OF EXISTENCE. EVER.’ that the PR promises made it out to be. But there is one element that almost salvages all those long years of Peter Molyneux-shaming build-up: the fighting.

Above: The words 'overcompensating', 'tiny', and 'penis', spring to mind

The innovative combat, handled by pointing the right stick in the direction you want to vanquish space-Vikings, is like a cross between Fight Night and Devil May Cry. And, when you get over that awkward settling in period, it's a genuine thrill, getting rid of much of the arthritis-bating button bashing so common to dungeon crawlers

Honourable mention: Well, you can never really go far wrong with Vikings. Can you?

As seen in: Genji: Days of the Blade

The worst parts: Rubbish, repetitive button bashing; the power of PS3 wasted on a glorified Dynasty Warriors; any bit where a giant, developer-shaming crab wasn’t on screen.

The BEST part: Giant enemy crab. Weak point. MASSIVE DAMAGE! ‘Nuff said.

Above: ... MASSIVE DAMAGE!

Can you think of anymore excellent moments in excruciating games? Share your examples below.

Sept 12, 2008



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