Box art that got it all wrong

Ah, the box art story. Ol' R'liable we like to call it, always good for a laugh and sure to inspire conversation about what makes cover art good, bad or legendarily awful. This time though, we're going a different route and focusing on covers that totally botch the simplest rule of box art - it should reflect the product cleanly and clearly. These poor examples couldn't even keep it together long enough to be regular old "bad box art."

Offender - Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Crime - Spider-Man swinging with a goddam rope

Spider-Man, perhaps the only fictional character in history known for swinging from rooftop to rooftop via his own stringy webs, is here depicted using a rope. A rope. What the blistering hell is this? That's like putting Wolverine on the cover brandishing knives instead of, you know, the foot-long claws already growing in his arms.

We could go on about how Spider-Man generally doesn't hold his hand like that while shooting webs (it should be palm up, unless in the black costume), but this rope nonsense is enough. But if you want proof...

Yes Spidey, it was a dumb thing to do, putting your hand like that on the cover. Glad we're on the same page... of Spectacular Spider-Man 93.

Offender - Mario Kart Wii

Crime - Um, karts please?

The name is Mario Kart Wii. Mario's on there. You know Wii is on there because of all the blinding white, but where are the karts? In other words, where is the thing you'll actually be doing? You're not running and jumping with Mario, so "kart" is the key word here. Wait, wait a second... oh there they are, buried under a mountain of logos and copyright bullshit.

Even with all that white coating the cover, and an extra large package designed to accommodate the Wii Wheel (which does receive proper attention), they still couldn't sneak a kart in anywhere? No, instead let's get the wheel in there four times plus wrist straps on Mario and Luigi. Their quest for details ended up omitting the one thing that should have stayed.

Offender - Dragoneer's Aria

Crime - Favoring smoky dragon over sexy upskirt shot

No disrespect to the talented Juno Jeong (who provided the game's fantastic artwork), but this is boring as hell when it comes to covers. However, blandness simply makes this bad box art, not necessarily something that misses the point. But compare this sleepy cover to the instruction booklet and it's clear which should have received top billing:

One has a tired dragon lying in total darkness... the other has gorgeous characters and an elven upskirt shot. It's an RPG, and what's one of the most important aspects of any RPG? The cast, not monsters, and that's why Aria makes the list - for nixing sexy character art in favor of a steamy-mouthed lizard.

Hey dragon, I have a prediction for your crystal ball: FAIL.


  • DryvBy - April 28, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    Memories of that Fabio box cover. That game was sick too!
  • TruckThunders - November 24, 2010 2:14 a.m.

    I know is in an old article, but I just found it linked from the "13 Biggest Failures" and I really enjoyed this. Especially the Marvel Alliance boxart.
  • Imgema - March 9, 2010 2:05 p.m.

    Everytime i see this Megaman box art, i'm trying to figure out how it actually got the green light. How did this happen? This isn't just a box art of bad taste, its also badly drawn, as if a 6 year old kid tried very hard to draw something cool and badass for his school project.
  • The4X - February 25, 2010 11:39 a.m.

    You're definetly good at writing and photoshop, but you definetly bad in Russian :) It must be "БезумнОЕ ОРУЖЕЙНОЕ шоу". Word "пистолет" in russian is used to identify handgun only, now you know the right word. And yeah, i'm definetly bad in english. :|
  • FanofSaiyan - December 28, 2009 1:03 a.m.

    Once again, some really good stuff. Keep up the good work! XD
  • hybrid616 - October 11, 2009 8:02 p.m.

    that's true, douchemcgee. in his normal costume, he shoots a web, then quickly catches it. that's how he webswings...
  • DoucheMcGee - October 11, 2009 5:02 a.m.

    To be fair to Ultimate Alliance. Spider-Man is clearly shooting another web, so he could be holding his previous web strand which looks like a rope.
  • robantor - August 11, 2009 5:32 a.m.

    gozillas eyes freak me out
  • Kikyabut2 - July 16, 2009 12:25 a.m.

    uh, 10th :P and also, i AM sick of hearing about megaman >.< it was bad, but everyone knows about it. and also, bub and bob, lol
  • killemall - May 13, 2009 8:28 p.m.

    i hate to break it to you but its true, the first couple of godzilla's do in fact have the pointy ears,,,
  • drunation - May 13, 2009 5:34 a.m.

    I love these blast from the past articles. Its great to see the things we may, or may not, have been into back then.
  • CashWheel - December 19, 2008 4:11 a.m.

  • afrosamurai3838 - December 14, 2008 1:06 a.m.

  • Godmode990 - July 4, 2009 7:28 a.m.

    OMG godzilla pisses out of his mouth
  • Maikeru_Go - February 12, 2009 9:04 a.m.

    The Megaman on the cover seems like a really bad cosplayer who never played the game, but conveniently had stuff lying around that sort of looked like what he once saw in a picture.
  • TheWebSwinger - February 5, 2009 7:45 a.m.

    Correction: Godzilla does indeed have pointy lil' ears.
  • kaleb-mayhew - August 2, 2013 9:27 p.m.

  • iboy314 - January 15, 2009 8:53 a.m.

    Fourth? Also, the mario kart one is simple. Mario and Luigi have the wrist-straps, meaning they're supposed to be PLAYING the game. Not in the game itself. So the shadows of the karts is implying that when you play the game it's as if you're driving, even though you're gaming. It still sucks hard though
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - December 12, 2008 6:29 p.m.

    did anyone actually know whish one was bub and which was bob in the original gameboy game? actually, come to think of it, which are they? First! =D

Showing 1-19 of 19 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000