6 awful fighting games we played as kids because we were morons

Cardinal Syn

What is it about?

So, the different Clans of the Bloodlands are always at war because everybody hates everybody else. That all changes when some dude known only as “The Wanderer” shows up and tells everyone to knock it off while brandishing some mystical artifact thingy called the “Book of Knowledge.” Everyone stops shanking each other and the Bloodlands experiences an era of peace. With his work done, the mysterious figure splits his book into multiple scrolls, doles out one to each clan, and disappears.

Soooo, everybody starts killing each other again...and they start a tournament. Winner takes all – et cetera et cetera.

Why did it suck?

Another absolute gem coughed up by Kronos Digital, Cardinal Syn was the developer’s last shot at grabbing their own little piece of the hyper-violent-fighting-game pie. What’s truly sad about this Soul Edge-inspired monstrosity is that it did have a couple nifty things going for it (in theory).

Above: Cardinal Syn’s version of fatalities

The game featured environmental hazards in certain stages, power-ups that you could use against your opponent, and a neat free running mechanic; however, the hazards were about as deadly as butterfly kisses and the free running was absolutely pointless because each stage was an uninspired box. Likewise, the character models were exceptionally terrible. Watching cardboard box alien-people chop each other to bits isn’t so much gruesome as it is comical.

Absolute lowest point?

(Arcade, N64, PS1)

What is it about?

Bio FREAKS (Biological Flying Robotic Enhanced Armored Killing Synthoids) are basically company-created super soldiers who are forced into gladiator-style corporate cockfights. Some of the FREAKS don’t like this, some don’t care, but all of them are murdering psychotics anyway.

Why did it suck?

This game is like a pixie-stick snorting fat kid with Attention Defecit Disorder; that is to say, clumsy, irritating and just not fun to associate yourself with. Honestly, the title acronym says it all. Biological Flying Robotic Enhanced Armored Killing Synthoids? Seriously?

Above: Little known fact: Bio FREAKS introduced the concept of the underboob. Maybe.

It’s seriously ironic that not even Midway Games can dish out a semi-decent Mortal Kombat rip-off. That’s right – this smelly hobo of a fighting game was published by Midway. Forget the clunky approach to 3-D combat, ridiculously ugly character design, and the irresponsibly complex plot (seriously, give it aread); the greatest sin committed by Bio FREAKS is that the game was released in 1998 – a time where Mortal Kombat rip-offs were considered WAY beyond cliché.

Absolute lowest point?

The last boss (Mutilator) is some sort of massive Transformers-reject.

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Jordan Baughman is a freelance journalist who has written for the likes of GamesRadar and Gamer magazine. With a passion for video games and esports, Baughman has been covering the industry for years now, and even hopped the fence to work as a public relations coordinator for clients that include EA, Capcom, Namco, and more.