Must not buy

5) Speedy Eggbert

Perhaps the single most heinous fault in game design is allowing the player to be killed and then reincarnated in a position where they immediately die again. Platform games of old were rife with this sin, but by the time Speedy Eggbert was released, it was long since unforgivable.

Oh, yeah, and this was released in 2000. Sure, we have a soft-spot for old school freeware platformers, but freeware games don’t cost $40. They also don’t normally look this horrible. With level design consisting almost entirely of blocky, textures that make it hard to discern background from foreground, this is one of the ugliest platformers we’ve ever seen. Combined with a deathmatch mode (yes, deathmatch) that’s nigh unplayable due to lag (yes, lag) and you’ve got yourself one hell of a bad game. Naturally, it got a sequel.

4) Expect No Mercy

The worst film tie-in ever is, appropriately enough, tied into a terrible film of which no one has ever heard. Expect No Mercy is set in the “Virtual Arts Fighting Academy,” a school that teaches ninjas and is home to “a deadly group of mercenary assassins willing to kill for a price.” These are not to be confused with those non-lethal mercenary assassins who work for free.

Being set in a virtual world is mostly an excuse for poorly digitized characters and horrible backgrounds, but taking its cue from Mortal Kombat, Expect No Mercy also features gruesome finishing movies and three entirely unrelated characters distinguished only by different colored hats. Best of all - and when we say “best” we mean “worst” - is that, due to crippling bugs, it’s actually difficult to even get the characters close enough to hit one another. In a fighting game.

3) Bass Avenger

Fishing mostly involves standing or sitting around for long periods of time while holding a stick, so as a pastime it’s a natural choice to turn into a videogame. But have you ever wondered if maybe the fish are planning some kind of revenge? No? Oh.

Bass Avenger is about vengeful bass. The fish, not the low-frequency rumbling emitted by speaker equipment, though that idea would be no less stupid. We digress. The point is it involves throwing beer, pizza or bras onto the shore and trying to lure in fisherman - because presumably all fishermen like getting drunk, eating pizza and cross-dressing. They like these things so much, in fact, that they’re happy to drown to get them.

Once you’ve reeled in your catch, you can either stuff their corpse or throw them back. That’s it. It cost $50.

2) Forbes Corporate Warrior

“Business is War!” is the tagline, but they mean it a lot more literally than you’d think. Set in a series of flat, grey rooms, it’s your job to beat your competitors by shooting customers with one of numerous business-themed weapons, including Ad Blasters, Price Bombs, Marketing Missiles, Head Hunters or Takeover Torpedoes. No, we’re not joking and, judging by the complete lack of humor or irony, neither were the developers.

The clever part was supposed to be picking your weapon based on the demands of your opponent’s customers: if they wanted cheap goods, you’d use the Price Slasher to lower prices. A level was only complete when your market share and stock price had gone through the roof, giving new meaning to... Nothing. Absolutely nothing was given new meaning.

1) Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties

Put simply, your goal is to get the imaginatively named John and Jane into bed together. Put more complicatedly, it’s your job to get them into bed together by looking at amateur photography, listening to terrible voiceovers and making occasional choices that steer the direction of the narrative.

That these choices are few and far between is actually a relief, given that each one only leads to more moronic, insulting, sexist drivel, now with the added knowledge that you caused it. What’s that? Jane’s boss is offering her a job in return for sexual favors? You turn him down, and cue the “hilarious” rape scene. Hilarious because it’s all so tongue-in-cheek, you see. Ho ho.

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties is a shallow, hateful waste of a game, and may very well be responsible for having killed the 3DO, interactive fiction and the whale.

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