Here we are again: The Sega Addicts Top 10 feature: a staple of your Saturday morning media intake.
Last week, we counted down our favorite licensed games on the Genesis. Unlike the current generation’s situation, there were quite a few good licensed games released back in the day and there were many other great licensed games released beyond the ten we mentioned in last week’s feature.
However, that wasn’t always the case. There were tons of bad licensed games on the Genesis as well and this week’s feature points out ten of the worst.
Hit the jump to find out what games to avoid putting on your Christmas list this holiday season.
10. Toy Story
Scott Morrison: You would think that in a game where you control Woody, the playful leader of Andy’s toys, that he would be able to overcome anything with the help of his toy friends. Not so much with Toy Story. For some reason, every toy you encounter is actually an enemy you must avoid while accomplishing your goal in each level. The problem is that Toy Story is not your simple “run from left to right” platforming game. Most levels can be explored in all directions to the point that the game felt the need to have the Etch-A-Sketch on the screen to tell you the final direction that you need to be heading. To break up the platforming levels, there were moments where you gained control of RC, the remote-controlled car, only it felt like you had no control over the car at all. I spent more time on the first RC level than I did on the majority of the game, which may explain why I never actually saw the end of this game. Regardless, I would love to see this game on the receiving end of the Big Red One.
9. The Adventures of Mighty Max
Flake: As a kid, Mighty Max was one of my favorite cartoons. It was one of those rare cartoons that had decent writing, a great plot, and an actual series finale. The toy line was not bad either. This just served to make The Adventures of Mighty Max for the Sega Genesis all the more disappointing. It stands as a testament to everything that was terrible about licensed games during the 8-bit era but on a 16-bit console.
The gameplay is a mess with Max able to jump about 125.6 feet into the air and brandishing some weird golf ball gun to fight enemies that look nothing like anything in the show. The relatively dark story line and catchy sound track that made the show interesting are nowhere to be found, replaced with next to no plot and bland, repetitive blurps and bleeps for music. If the game did not have the words “Mighty Max” on the cartridge label, it would be next to impossible to know this title had anything to do with the awesome cartoon or toy line. There is simply nothing redeeming about this game.
8. Revolution X
John Doherty: Have you ever dreamed about saving Aerosmith from a terrorist organization with the powers of Rock and Roll? Me either. Revolution X is one of the worst rail shooters ever made. Not only does it feature terrible Sega Genesis rendered Aerosmith music, but it also controls about as well as a wet eel. The only saving grace to the game is the ability to save strippers from cages by throwing CDs at them, and that’s only entertaining for so long. I do however like to imagine a drugged up Stephen Tyler helping out the games creators with core design decisions. I like to think he would chime in to every design discussion with the advice that the game isn’t Aerosmithy enough. That’s what I tell myself when I have the misfortune to play this stinker. The sweet emotion makes me want to dream on about missing a thing, boy that was horrible.
7. Last Action Hero
Alex Riggen: Back before I had a Genesis of my own, I would regularly visit my Uncle’s house and play his. However, there was one problem. For awhile there were only two games to choose from in his library: Sonic 2 and Last Action Hero. Of course, Sonic 2 was an amazing game but even playing that for countless hours can get old and I would need a palette cleanser. So, against my better judgement I would pop in Last Action Hero, get about two minutes in, get killed, try again, get killed, make it a little further, get killed, go back to Sonic 2. I’ve literally never made it past the first level as the game design is so poor and unbalanced that it feels nearly impossible. It’s a shame too because the license is from one of the greatest movies of all time…
6. Alien 3
Tom Kyzivat: This game proves that a video game can be just as disappointing as the property it’s based on. Not that I had high hopes for either the Alien 3 film or game, but you would hope that being based on one of the best film franchises of all time would at least make it decent. Not so! We only rented the game back in the 90s, so my memory’s a bit hazy, but thanks to YouTube I can confirm that the game delivers bland scenery, bland gameplay and bland bland. Yes. It’s that bad. Running purely off of its property, it feels like no attempt was made to actually make a good game, but to recycle all the old standbys of platformers in the 90s. While the sprites were animated smoothly, Ripley looked like a pink skeleton and the aliens really didn’t resemble the single alien that appeared in the movie. Also: no Aliens raping dead prisoners. Disappointing, to say the least. Alien 3 is just another example of a weak game made to cash in on a movie, paying little to no attention to the property it’s actually referencing.
5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Mike Kyzivat: Now I’m not sure I’ve even played this game before. I vaguely remember maybe renting it, so to jog my memory I watched some videos on youtube, and I realized I have played this game before, but it was named Castlevania, or Batman, or Decap Attack, or EVERY PLATFORM GAME EVER MADE. So, I may have never played Bram Stoker’s Dracula on Genesis but anyone who’s ever played a platformer has played this game. Generic jumping over inexplicable gaps in homes, forests, or graveyards? Check. Generic sword attack? Check. Generic enemies? Check. Fighting things that have nothing to do with the movie (rats, spiders, dorks with knives)? Check. Even the bosses are boring and stiff. A carriage driver with a whip made of circles who stands in one place, or a floating Lucy that looks like she has back problems. And I learned all this from just 3 minutes of gameplay footage; I can’t imagine what would have happened had I actually played this game all the way through. I’d be in a coma. I think they have actually trumped the novel in boring-ness. It is so boring in fact, that it’s a wonder I haven’t fallen asleep just writing about this boring ga…zzzzzz.
4. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Scott Morrison: We have a hot cartoon on our hands and we need to make a video game out of it, so what do we do? We make a platforming game somewhat remotely resembling the world of said cartoon. That can actually be said for most of this list and the pattern follows suite with Nickelodeon’s gem: Aaahh Real Monsters! Being a huge fan of the show as a kid, I had to try to the video game and barely made it through the second level before turning off the game. You control one of the three main monsters Ickis, Krumm or Oblina, while the other 2 follow you mindlessly through various levels from the show including “The Dump,” as well as a school. If you couldn’t reach something, the monsters stood on each other’s’ shoulders. If you couldn’t clear a chasm, the monsters somehow formed a sling to jump across. Wonderful teamwork aspects… if the game was not a single-player game. Why this game did not even have 2-player options absolutely boggled my mind let alone some sort of crazy 3-player mode. You ate bugs for stamina as the monsters did in the show, but that and ability to scare people seemed like the only correlation to the cartoon. The ability to scare enemies was entertaining, but seemed like an afterthought. This game felt like a rushed out movie tie-in and only made me want to watch the show more to forget the game ever existing.
3. Crue Ball
Mike Kyzivat: Ah yes Crue Ball I know ye well. Not that there is much to this game. Someone in marketing had the brilliant idea to combine video pinball with the band Motley Crue, but none of the know how to make a fun or interesting game. There is only one table to play on and it’s incredibly sparse, I’m talking a game from the 1950’s had more things on the playfield then this game. It has a series of 3 screens starting at the bottom, you can shoot the ball up to the next screen with the next set up flippers and then again to reach a sort of stage looking area. If you ever played the far superior Dragon’s Fury (Devil’s Crush) then you know the layout. The problem is that there is nothing to shoot the ball at. No ramps, no spinners, not even pop bumpers (even the 50’s games had pop bumpers). Instead there are two skulls with feet in the second screen that you can hit, and on the first screen is a set of small red drop targets that spell rock and roll (how clever) there are also structures that just get in your way but don’t do anything.
Each screen has a “special feature.” The first screen has a diamond shape in the middle that is cut into segments and lets you play a sort of retarded version of breakout. The second screen has two structures in each end with drop targets in the middle. And yes it’s as boring as it sounds. The third screen has a stereo output gauge in the middle and a floating head with sunglasses. Huh?
The game also featured bad versions of Motley Crue music, which I guess is redundant since their music is bad anyway; as well as the bands mascot Alistair Fiend. Yeah that’s right, Motley Crue had a mascot. He’s no Eddie that’s for sure. Do yourself a favor and play Dragon’s Fury instead, or better yet go out and play yourself a genuine Stern brand pinball machine (shameless plug). They’ve actually made some games based on bands like, Guns N’ Roses, The Who’s Tommy and recently The Rolling Stones (even more shameless plugging). Speaking of Stern, imagine my surprise when I looked up Crue Ball on Wikipedia and found out it was designed by ex-Data East Pinball (now Stern pinball) employees. Cosmic…
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
Tom Kyzivat: On the subject of disappointing property-based video games, this game failed to deiver in every aspect known to man. As the World’s Biggest TMNT Fan (and that’s a capitalized title), and a self-proclaimed fighting game nut, nothing made me more excited to know that there was a fighting game coming out based on the Ninja Turtles. But even in an era where fighting games were a dime a dozen, TMNT: TF couldn’t even bring the basics: the mechanics and gameplay were terrible, the special moves predictable and unoriginal, and the roster surprisingly boring considering the property. Rocksteady and Bebop were snuffed for a terrible rendition of Ray Fillet and some dumb beetle that looked like a reject from King of the Monsters. And no Shredder. Ball. Dropped. The worst part was that the SNES version of the game–also by Konami but developed by a different team–was really, really good! While I was happy to see that a good TMNT fighting game existed, I always lamented the fact that it went to Nintendo while Sega got screwed. And I won’t lie–at the time I had a SNES, and we bought that version. You can’t really blame us. It’s a testament to how bad that game was, that it drove us to Nintendo.
1. Shaq Fu
Pat Reddick: How do you summarize the problems of a game like Shaq Fu in just a few sentences? It’s like when birds eat a bunch of rice and then they explode – there’s just too much stuff going on to contain. Actually that’s a decent analogy; this game will make your brain explode.
First of all there’s the thinly veiled cultural insensitivity of finding a Kung Fu dojo in Tokyo (because I guess all Asian stuff is the same), the foolish old man, the poor grammar (although you would think this game would be free from that since it’s an American game), and a story that makes no sense whatsoever. Once you get into the game you’re in for more than a few treats. The game gives you no real direction; you just kind of go to places and beat the shit out of some random person for absolutely no reason.
The games combat system is janky as all hell. Blocking barely works, combos are impossible to pull off (unless you’re a computer controlled character), and half the time the buttons you press don’t seem to do anything. It’s one of those games that make you think your controller could be broken. Your opponents are as derivative and stereotypical as the old man you meet in the dojo to the point where it’s almost insulting. Actually Shaq is so basketball oriented that he’s practically a stereotype as well. It’s pretty sad.
Also why is it called Shaq Fu? Shaq doesn’t know kung fu! Why did he even go into the damn dojo? Who enters a freaky dojo in downtown Tokyo when they have a basketball game? You ever heard of a shopping mall? This should be Shaq Buys Shoes or something. God, with a concept like this it’s no wonder the game is a failure. I guess in a sense since there is no possible way to be good at the combat because of how broken it is it’s one of the most accessible and fair multi-player fighting games in the world.