The Top 7... worst video game ports that should've been taken out back with a shotgun

2. Mercenaries 2, 2008

The console it was crapped out on: PS2

Why it should have been great: It's been proven without a shred of doubt that everyone, aside from architects and Michael Cane's character in the Italian Job, loves to blow shit up. With that in mind, a sequel to a game that let you explode everything in sight to tiny bits of rubble, which promised even more destruction, should have been a hoot and a half. But then again, the poor old PS2 was on life support and was being given the last rights by its uncaring younger brother when 2008 rolled on by.

Why it was a conversion car crash: The image above doesn’t look too bad, right? Well, don’t pass judgement until you’ve seen this video…

Yup, that’s right; it’s the game that physically builds itself around you as you play. The PS2 port of Mercs 2 was so botched, we even gave it its own article condemning its very existence. Pop-up is one thing. But when it gets to the point where things are being rebuilt around you, so that your environment is constantly changing at your feet, we've just got to call bull and shit.

If you didn't quite grasp the extent of the 'Worst. Draw. Distance. Ever.' in the earlier video, let us show you how an average nine seconds of play usually pans out in pictorial form, which we may or may not have Photoshopped.

We believe that’s what they refer to as being Mount Kilimanjaro-ed.

Indeed, it was such a shoddy conversion that World in Flames on PS2 was somehow technically worse than its three year old predecessor. And that totally had Han Solo in it, too. Mind you, when the 360 and PS3 versions look like they've been made in MS Paint, we don't know why we're acting so shocked.

1. Pac-Man, 1982

The console it was crapped out on: Atari 2600

Why it should have been great: Pac-Man was to 1980s arcades what The Heart Attack Grill is to widespread coronary ticker failure. Simply put, it remains one of the most significant and downright addictive games ever made. So when it was announced that it would be coming to a home console for the very first time, gamers could hardly contain their excitement for all things waka-waka-waka-waka.

Above: Pac-Man as he should always be remembered in ace, eyeless arcade form

Why it was a conversion car crash: Over these last few pages we've highlighted some pretty crappy ports. Hell, no one likes to see a great game shat out in substandard fashion thanks to a horrible conversion. But there's being a rubbish port and then there's being the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man. A kind of rubbish so putrid, it's been widely cited as one of the main causes of the North American video game crash of 1983. Correctamundo, it started a goddamn market crash.

Under a huge amount of pressure from Atari, developer Tod Frye had to turn around one of the most highly anticipated games ever in just six weeks. And as you saw in the monstrosity above, the results weren't exactly exemplary. Unless the definition of exemplary has recently been changed to mean, and we're channelling Jeff Goldblum as we type this, 'one big pile of shit.'

Differences from the arcade original included the iconic white pellets being turned into squares that resembled brown bum biscuits, the fruit being changed to yellow squares and bafflingly sensitive collision detection that saw Pac-Man die if one of his pixels even comes close to brushing the pixel of a ghost. Oh yeah, and the fact the ghosts flickered about the screen randomly, making the game nearly unplayable. The latter problem was a sacrifice made to squeeze the title onto the 2600, which involved the four different ghosts being drawn at intervals. However, because the machine couldn't handle four onscreen enemies, only one appeared at any given time and this lead to the mega flicker of death.

Above: Also, he has eyes and that's just wrong on so many levels we can barely comprehend it

Before we end, though, we thought it would be good to get the opinion of someone who actually played the abomination in 1982. Enter one Mathew Cundy. Unlike the writer of these words and probably loads of you reading this, Monsieur Cundos was actually alive in 1982. And he has fond memories of playing the game for days at a time. So much so, he has seen to bestow the Atari 2600 version his official Cool Cat Cundy’s Seal of Approval…

And really, surely that’s all the endorsement any of us need.

Sep 6, 2010

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