10. Ride to Hell: Retribution
While it's not an official fact, there's definitely evidence that the longer some games are in development, the worse they'll be when they finally release. Duke Nukem Forever is a famous example, but there's no better game to showcase that trend than Ride to Hell: Retribution. For a game that spent six years in development, Ride to Hell is a - well, it's a ride to development hell.
After more than six years of development, Ride to Hell looks like a PS2 launch game, lacks a single manageable control scheme, and the soundtrack is nothing more than the same guitar solos repeated ad nauseum. That doesn't even begin to touch on things like the games treatment of women and the so-bad-it's-hysterical dialogue. This is the perfect game to use when you want to get some retribution on a friend; send him or her on a Ride to Hell and watch them cringe at every turn.
9. Link: The Faces of Evil
Every gaming family has the odd black sheep, but the Philips CD-i's string of Zelda games are more akin to a hideous race of mutant offspring that deserve to be locked away Nintendo's attic. While not the worst in the CD-i series, Link: The Faces of Evil was the first of the Nintendo-licensed Zelda games for the Philips console, thus making it responsible for the equally misguided CD-i sequels: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure.
What makes Link: The Faces of Evil and its kin so dreadful? It's merciless beating of the Zelda brand, for one. Had the developers at Animation Magic started from scratch with an original IP, the game may have simply faded into obscurity without leaving a large skid-mark on our childhoods. Instead, Link: The Faces of Evil transformed the beloved Hyrulean universe into a cheesy, Saturday morning cartoon (that still wasn't as good as Zelda's cheesy, Saturday morning cartoon), while distilling the series's exploratory mechanics and diverse gameplay down to a middling side-scroller that plays like a choose-your-own-adventure DVD. Even the animation misses the mark a feat made worse by the fact The Super Mario Bros. Super Show did it better years before. Oh, and as for Link's voice? Just...wrong.
8. Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis
In the most academic sense, Aquaman is a video game. It's a program run on a console connected to your television. It is manipulated (notice, we didn't say played) via an external controlling device. Things happen when you push buttons, to a greater or lesser extent. If one was so inclined, they might search the far-reaching internets to discover the goal or point of it all. You would then emerge refreshed and even amused, knowing that we had to do far more research into this subject than you ever needed to.
If Aquaman knows anything, it's how to kick and punch. This is actually it. Aquaman swims around in a confined underwater space and plods from one bad guy henchmen to the next doing nothing but that. Yes, there is a shooting level where he pilots so sort of Aqua... sub man-thing, but this will only distract you from the matter at hand: kicking and punching. While underwater. Ugh, we can't even string together complete sentences while talking about this. CAN'T YOU SEE WHAT IT'S DONE TO US?
7. Homie Rollerz
Evidently franchised from dolls found in vending machines across various grocery store empires, the "Homies" were the racially stereotypical brain child of an ex-LA gang member whom tried to teach the youth of America the downside of being pumped full of lead in urban landscapes (or so the story goes). How does an idea like this get turned into a game? Crappy kart racing, obviously!
Granted, comparing just about any portable kart racing game next to Super Mario Kart DS is tough, but HoRo (we're trying it out) came a solid three years later, meaning there's no excuse for these terrible graphics and hollow racing mechanics. The character models (we recommend the talking red chili pepper for maximum ethnic sensitivity) don't even lean into the turns. Some games are so bad they're good. Some games, though, are Homie Rollerz.
6. Fugitive Hunter
Pretend for a moment that a video game about brawling with Osama bin Laden was a good idea (it wasn't), and that the world needed another military FPS in the early 2000s (it didn't), you'd think Black Ops Entertainment would have at least waited a tad longer to cash in one of the worst periods in American history. True, we don't believe Black Ops intended for Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror to be an offensive chapter in video gaming history, but it nevertheless managed to squander its patriotic street cred on a game that looks like it had been pulled from a bunker, roughed up, and forced to stutter its way through an exploitative Call of Duty clone.
Maybe we're being heavy handed. But then, Fugitive Hunter didn't exactly trade in subtleties itself. Starring 10 of America's most wanted fugitives, the game wore its flag-waving bravado on its sleeve. Even the gameplay felt like an afterthought, sporting endlessly drab environments, repetitive gunfights, and absolutely zero deviation from the "run here, shoot this" formula. Oh, there was one - the final capture sequences that involved button-mashing your way through a fist-fight with the fugitives. Why? 'Cause that's how 'Murica does it! (cue: guitar riff).
5. Custer's Revenge
We absolutely wish this wasn't real, but here's the gist of Custer's Revenge: You are a naked, engorged General Custer that must walk from one end of a playing field (loose term) to another while dodging (also loose) arrows that fall from the sky so you can go ahead and rape the native woman tied up on the other side. Yes, it's a cocktail (no pun intended) for disgusting idiocy.
Just let that sink in. Actually, don't; please actively try to forget that you've even heard of this game. Universally reviled for being a mechanically shallow game with very little to do, it also has the whole rapey, racist thing going for it. Meaning, nothing's really going for it at all. It's horrible, offensive, and one of the worst things to ever happen to gaming.
4. Superman: The New Adventures
We could open this entry with a witty barb about how video games are Superman's kryptonite, but that would be spending far more creativity and effort than Titus Software afforded this N64 mouth-fart. Apparently taking its quality cues from the dismal Atari 2600 Superman game, Superman: The New Adventures (aka Superman 64) managed to hunt down everything thrilling about being an immortal demi-god and banish them to the Phantom Zone of missed potential. In lieu of a free-flying Superman game which the N64 was capable of producing players roamed Lex Luthor's virtual metropolis; a puke-green wasteland governed by shoddy visuals, frustrating controls, and a kryptonite fog that failed to disguise the game's negligible draw distance. Even the most loyal Clark Kent followers had a hard time seeing past the game's main gameplay, which primarily consisted of flying through hoops and saving virtual citizens from certain (and arguably preferable) death.
Oddly, the lack of quality didn't stop Superman 64 from ahem soaring off retail shelves. Shortly after its release in 1999, Titus reported its N64 superhero title had become the third best-selling N64 title, and had garnered over 70% approval rating from its core demo. We don't know what kryptonite fog those kids were smoking then, but we're sure the verdict would be different now.
3. Club Drive
We could make a perfect case for why Club Drive is so bad just by saying that it was an Atari Jaguar exclusive. However, while most of the Jaguar's lineup didn't satisfy the dozens of people that bought it, Club Drive is in a league all its own. Most of the other Jaguar games are ugly or have bad controls; Club Drive has both and then some.
The game is near unplayable; it's a feat to keep your car going in a straight line without running into the backgrounds really awful polygonal environments. Take that screenshot above for example; the orange blob there is supposed to be a cat that lives in the giant house you're driving through. That doesn't look like any tabby cat I've ever seen. We'd rather go on a Sunday drive through the Sahara with no AC then cruise around Club Drive.
It makes sense that E.T. exists. After all, licensed video games weren't new in 1982 and the movie was big deal. But that couldn't save it from being one of, if not the all-time worst video games to ever be touched by Man. Equal parts foolish suit-driven cash-in and developer hubris, E.T. was something of a coup for Atari in the early 1980s when it acquired the rights to adapt the beloved film into a game. The downside? Programmer Howard Scott Warshaw (handpicked by Spielberg himself) had only five weeks to complete it before production deadlines for the Christmas season.
What that month of development shat upon us was an arguably high-concept adventure game starring a cobra with legs, a variety of pits to fall into, and creepy old men that give chase. Given that description, anyone that tells you that they know exactly what to do in it is a liar. E.T. did more than become the butt of jokes, though. It was a large contributing factor to the video game crash of the 80s, as well as set a precedent for awful licensed games (see: much of this list). But burying millions of copies in of E.T. in a New Mexico landfill did more than get rid of piles of unsold cartridges; it tried to bury some of the industry's worst mistakes.
1. Big Rigs: Over The Road Racing
Stellar Stone's Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (aka Big Rigs or The Game That Ruined Christmas 2003) pitched 18 Wheel of Thunder through 1000s of miles of American road, but delivered about 36 tonnes of balls stretched over some of the most broken and uninspired gameplay to ever be on PC. Promising a virtual recreation of life as an illegal hauler, what players actually got was a racing game devoid of any actual police and AI opponents that couldn't be bothered to cross the starting line. Add in the lack of collision detection, text that seemed to be written by GTA IV's Roman Bellic ("You're winner!"), and only a casual adherence to the laws of physics, and Big Rigs was a colossal wreck on every scale.
There's a reason Big Rigs has become a staple in every Worst Video Games Ever list since its release, and why we've picked it out of the wreckage on multiple occasions. If you're still intent on playing this one ironically (we're looking at you, hipsters), just don't call us for a pick-up when the ride goes south.