Eight crap games running on great technology

Soldier of Fortune: Payback

Great technology: CloakNT engine

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.

Sonic Adventure

Great technology: 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

Great technology: EGO engine

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.

Sewer Shark

Great technology: 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


  • Shuuvuia - July 8, 2011 8:07 p.m.

    Technically, spherical levels with their own gravity was done in Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando in 2003, way before Prey or Super Mario Galaxy.
  • ZigzMagoo - July 8, 2011 5:17 a.m.

    Cmon, am I the only one who had fun with Army of Two? It was pretty sweet
  • raptorak - July 8, 2011 1:28 a.m.

    OMG this Ben Griffin guy is a definite troll - Sonic Adventure was a beautiful game and really good fun to play.
  • raptorak - July 8, 2011 1:23 a.m.

    What the hell is Prey doing on this list? That game was great, not to mention having the best opening sequence of any game ever.
  • d0x - March 16, 2011 11:32 p.m.

    The thing that pissed me off the most about Dragon Rising was enemies shooting you that werent being drawn by the engine. They were too far away so the engine decided they didnt need to be rendered visually yet their bullets still managed to kill you. You could shoot directly at them but never hit them cause they werent there yet! Walk forward a bit and POOF!! Magic i tell you.
  • MaelstromKING - September 11, 2010 4:33 a.m.

    I'll probably get lynched, but... Mass Effect The story in Mass Effect is good, but the gameplay is half assed to all get out. Seriously it felt like I was playing a game that had less oomph than the game that started it all for them (Baldur's Gate).
  • LKabongUno - May 30, 2010 6:53 a.m.

    On Sewer Shark, I think you meant to say "Panasonic" 3DO.
  • wrapdump - May 29, 2010 12:32 p.m.

    I have googled "Sega 3DO", it does not exist.
  • xXGhostXx - May 29, 2010 7:26 a.m.

    Prey rly? That game was amazing, even if the multiplayer was unplayable!!!
  • JADENkOTOR - May 28, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    @ LIKEUCARE Man i was totally with you all the way on your bold but true first comment. Then you went and stuck up for Prey... and seeing how its gameplay is even shittier than some that you mentioned, I didn't get it... It looks like shit too. Spot on with gears and halo being the two most overrated games ever... eventhough they are still good games.
  • Snapp3r - May 28, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    I'm jumping on the prey bandwagon here. I thought it was a pretty decent game, albeit with a bad ending, but it did play nicely.
  • EnlargedSeagullGenetaila - May 28, 2010 12:51 p.m.

    I don't know what you are talking about. I quite enjoyed Operation: Prey of Solace and you did give it a good score. Ben Griffin you ar stupid.
  • CombatWombat101 - May 28, 2010 6:52 a.m.

    @ GodofPS314: 1) Go check the name of the person who wrote the Operation Flashpoint review. 2) Check the name of the person who wrote this article. 3) Hang your head in shame.
  • Spybreak8 - May 28, 2010 5:13 a.m.

    I loved Prey but unfortunately i got stuck and put it down. I never went back. Still haven't played Quantum of Solace but it's in my backlog.
  • GodofPS314 - May 28, 2010 12:03 a.m.

    You guys gave Operation Flashpoint a 9 and yet it is on a bad list of games. Wow you guys can never stick to anything
  • JuliePeesgood - May 27, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    I got mentioned in an article! Yay!
  • Samael - May 27, 2010 8:34 p.m.

    Yeah, Prey wasn't that bad. Not great, but not "crap" either. Doesn't deserve to be here.
  • yayer - May 27, 2010 8:24 p.m.

    quantum of solace was good in my opinion. it is a fps except when ur in cover it is a tps which worked well. the multiplayer wasnt bad either. it is a good rent or even purchase
  • LIKEUCARE - May 27, 2010 8:17 p.m.

    By the way, I don't understand how Prey was listed there. Sure it may had a few faults here and there but overall, the game was quite great and under id tech 4. Oh well, opinions changes from person to person... Oh my, I forgot Killzone 2. Truly outstanding graphics and tech, but I was quite disappointed in the gameplay. The aiming felt weird also...
  • LIKEUCARE - May 27, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    Nexus Jupiter Incident or something... awesome graphics, yet truly mediocre gameplay. BioShock 2... Aliens vs Predator 2010... Turok... Haze... Command and Conquer 4... Far Cry 2... Star Trek Legacy (So much promising... yet it sucked so BAD!)... Unreal 2 The Awakening (Awesome engine back then, yet the gameplay sucked overall)... Perimeter (Great looking RTS but crappy gameplay)... Lost Planet 1 and 2 (Great graphics/tech but shitty gameplay)... Heck, even if I'm an id Software fan, I'd still put there Quake 4. Great tech, but the game kinda sucked... I hardly replayed it about 2 times top... And to finish this... many, MANY will disagree with me and I don't care... but Gears of War is one of the most overrated game in history after Halo AND, it deserves to be on that list. Awesome graphics, but shitty story, gameplay is very average at best.

Showing 1-20 of 66 comments

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