Soldier of Fortune: Payback
One of the few current-gen console games to boast full and bloody body damage (for delicious meat cubes in seconds), yet strangely glossed over by ultra-conservative protectors of decency such as Alan Titchmarsh and Julia Peasgood (YouTube ‘em if you don’t know). Why? Probably because it was rubbish and no one played it. For the sadistic, however, the limb-ripping action courtesy of the CloakNT engine was worth the price of admission, lending the game a Red Faction vibe – if bodies were leveled instead of buildings. Gory, yes, but about as exciting as tearing the legs of your sister’s Barbie dolls without the bonus of watching her cry afterwards.
Above: Remember this part? Of course you don't, who the hell does
Worst bit: Enemies seemingly made from wet tissue paper that fall apart at the slightest touch.
Dreamcast’s 128-bit power
Deep down we all know one simple truth about Sonic: he just doesn’t work in three dimensions. As countless 3D Sonic games with awkward cameras, terrible controls and an irritating bunch of moronic cartoon critters can attest, the hedgehog has lost his edge. And it all started to go wrong at the launch of the Dreamcast with Sonic Adventure. Sure, it had spectacle – majestic, jumping Orca whales! – speed – I can’t see where I’m going! – and sass – Sonic now has a voice! Er, thanks, Sega – but beneath the excitement and gloss of any launch title comes the slow realisation that maybe, maybe we had been blinded to its shortcomings by very pretty graphics.
Above: Reflections. That's 128-bit power right there
Worst bit: Fishing with Big the Cat. Fishing. With a cat. In a Sonic game.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
Operating under command of the Ego engine, early demonstrations would have you believe 2009’s Flashpoint would include multi-mile battlefields, complex and realistic AI and dynamic lighting. In fairness, it did – but it was still mediocre. Dated, jaggy visuals, unnecessarily unwieldy controls and a difficulty that, on harder levels, made Dragon's Lair actually feel forgiving were great big friendly-fires right to Flashpoint’s skull.
Above: Even aiming straight requires extensive training
Worst bit: Getting your vehicle destroyed and having to hike miles to the extraction point.
CD-ROM, full-motion video
For this last entry we’d like to, if we may, take you on a trip back to 1992. A time when the Sega CD, which could only display 64 colors simultaneously, had the audacity to implement full-motion video into a game called Sewer Shark. Compressing video sequences (mid sentence fact: they were directed by Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor John Dykstra) to work on the Sega CD’s, and later the Sega 3DO’s limitations in a glorious 60 frames per second was no small feat in the early '90s, when dungarees were worn even when there was no interior decoration to be done. What little interaction there was came in the form of blasting bats and scorpions from the comfort of your in sewer pod as your colleagues, played by real actors, interrupted with typically brash '80s sound bites.
Above: This is the '80s condensed into a rectangle
Worst bit: The shameless sci-fi movie quotation rip-offs: ‘Don’t get cocky, kid!’
Did we miss any crappy games with great tech? Sound off in the comments!
May 26, 2010
The Top 7... Most embarrassing live-action game scenes
Oh 1992, you were too pure for this world
5 failed attempts at motion controls and 3D gaming
We compare past failures against their modern (and successful) descendants
The Top 7... Trendy game-design crutches
What do developers love? Falling back on these new-school clichés