The Top 7... Disappointing games of the decade


Year: 2003
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC
Developer: Shiny Entertainment

What we expected: The original theatrical run of The Matrix was as mind-blowing and horizon-expanding as the 1977 premier of Star Wars. Everyone who saw it left in slack-jawed awe of the seemingly impossible special effects or was stunned by the film’s intriguing, potentially franchise-igniting premise. Word quickly spread of a sequel, then two sequels to make a complete trilogy. Expectations were astronomical, obviously, both for the films and the videogame adaptation that would finally let us take control of the excruciatingly awesome Neo, Morpheus and Trinity, or in our wildest dreams, leap from rooftop to rooftop as the undying Agent Smith.

Above: What the fu… who the hell is this?

What we got: Two brand new characters (Ghost and Niobe) who would play minor roles in the tie-in sequel film (The Matrix Reloaded). So, right off the bat we’re not playing as the superhuman heroes of the first film, which was an instant “WTF?” for most of the gaming populace. This was kind of balanced out by the fact the game was treated as a serious part of the Matrix story, with plot points that crossover with the film and directly influence future events in the series. Sounded like a decent compromise… until it actually came out, revealing a sloppy, buggy, indefensibly unfinished mess. Even if it were a smooth experience, the gameplay devolved into using the same bullet-time kicks over and over again, while never once letting us perform the dazzling acrobatics that made the 1999 movie a permanent part of pop culture.

Above: Hope you like doing this… and only this

The main run, gun and a kick game was dull, but anytime the game tried to diversify, the results were even worse. Driving levels (meant to lead directly into Reloaded’s hectic highway scene) looked, sounded and handled like ass, and the final area played exactly like Sewer Shark, a Sega CD title that’s mostly remembered for being, well, shitty. Oh right, then there was the whole “lesbian kiss” fiasco…


Persephone (Monica Bellucci) and Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) are supposed to lock lips for a (VERY IMPORTANT) plot point. Naturally this captured everyone’s attention, prompting we’d guess thousands of people to play through to just that point and witness two very attractive, very popular actresses make out in a videogame. As the video shows, Smith couldn’t be less interested in the scene, which sucks for people who paid to see this, and even more for those of who were actually attempting to suspend our disbelief for the sake of an action movie. When you’re this stoic, this unwaveringly disinterested in the performance you agreed to, how can you expect anyone else to care?

Despite all of these crippling issues and venomous word of mouth, the game still sold five million copies in 2003. However, this botched game and its two film counterparts did enough damage to the Matrix brand that it’s never fully recovered. From 1999 to 2003, this was poised to become a major cross-media juggernaut on par with Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Instead, it fizzled in the span of six months (May to November 2003) and to this day remains stuck in the “oh the first one was cool but the rest sucked” camp. Subsequent games have been better (Path of Neo, Matrix Online) but thanks to the jumbled nonsense that was Enter the Matrix, far fewer people are willing to bite.

Dec 28, 2009

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  • somerandomchap - December 28, 2009 10:31 a.m.

    oh poor video games, you people are very mean, but so true, oh the lulz
  • k1ng94 - December 28, 2009 10:57 a.m.

    Great artical as always, however I was a bit suprised when Haze wasnt there. That game was hyped a hell of alot and turned out meh.
  • ryno - December 28, 2009 2:05 p.m.

    lair was great
  • Ironarm - December 28, 2009 3:48 p.m.

    I'm gonna say it. Here it goes. I liked Enter the Matrix. I enjoyed that game for whatever reason. Go your worst internet.
  • Ridgley - December 28, 2009 4:46 p.m.

    I'm not gonna lie... SWG was great. People didn't leave in droves until the CU and subsequent NGE.
  • dante1924 - December 28, 2009 5:02 p.m.

    Don't worry, Gamesradar, the too human sequel will come out... in 20 years! And it will be even worse than the original! My crystal ball doesn't lie! Also, my crystal ball says that project needlemouse will be a cruel, cruel letdown. And it will have even more trapped in the sky moments! Red steel sucked. But so far, the reaction to the sequel has been positive! Let's cross our fingers, because my crystal ball can't predict if it will be good. ReCaptcha: he Hence
  • GameManiac - December 28, 2009 5:02 p.m.

    Do the words "Common Sense", "Review", and "Improve" mean anything to those game developers? Will Sonic EVER rise from the dead?
  • toastedmilk - December 28, 2009 5:08 p.m.

    i agree with ironarm, etm was a good, or at least decent, game. it wasn't what it could have been, but #1 most disappointing game of the decade is a bit harsh.
  • JustTheBoBreaker - December 28, 2009 5:23 p.m.

    Sonic's the walking corpse of a different era of videogames. I still think a badass next-gen Sonic game is possible, but it's never gonna happen. Sega should put that Hedgehog down before they damage the brand any further.
  • Yeager1122 - December 28, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    Red Steel and Enter the matrix FOREVER...........................................................jk they both sucked.
  • speno93 - December 28, 2009 6:10 p.m.

    so true, i hope your other decade articles are more uplifting and be full of awesome stuff.
  • Hurricrane - December 28, 2009 7:07 p.m.

    I;m glad you guys always take the "anti-game of the year" approach with your articles. They're always more fun to read and there are WAY to many sites doing exactly the same thing right now... slowly churning out GOTY awards and it's FUCKING BORING. I can always come to GR and laugh at Sonic's expense
  • axis56 - December 28, 2009 7:23 p.m.

    i agree with the decision on ETM, the word for that game is gray. it was so dull in one of films most bizarre universes. shame. sonic was a write-off from the word go.
  • Dexsus - December 28, 2009 8:05 p.m.

    Hmm, I liked Enter the Matrix and actually taking on the agents instead of pissing it away from them, It looks horrible now though. Path of Neo was great as well as mentioned. I definitely agree with everything else on this list, R.I.P. Sonic.
  • lovinmyps3 - December 28, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    It was still a fun decade. =)
  • BAMchucknorris - December 28, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    the decade wasnt all bad! I mean, there was halo, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty (all the ones except for the terrible wii and DS versions), and countless other great games including Bioshock and the second Assassin's Creed!
  • twishart - December 28, 2009 10:41 p.m.

    I would have hoped to see an entry titled "96% of Wii games". Is that too generous? I don't think I've played ANY of these.
  • Master_Leep - December 28, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    um, spore should be number 1 or at least make the list :P biggest disappointment for me ever after watching that GDC conference....
  • vitoruss - December 28, 2009 11:43 p.m.

    I gotta agree with Ironarm. I liked Enter the Matrix. Granted the plot was shit and it was buggy as hell and got really redundant, at the time I was young and highly entertained by the bull(shit)et-time gunplay. Looking back, the game wasn't that great and I could never beat it due to a gamebreaking glitch, but whatevs.
  • Defguru7777 - December 28, 2009 11:57 p.m.

    Red Steel was a big letdown for me. But if one thing was fun in that game, it was shooting guns out of people's hands. And the worst part for me was the horrible "cutscenes." I don't know if it was one of the most disappointing of the decade though. But it is one of the worst games I own.