I believe it was Theodore Roosevelt who said, “With a large game library comes a large selection of terrible games.” I may be paraphrasing but the point is the same. While the Genesis was an extremely successful console with a massive amount of games, many of which are true classics, there’s also quite a few games that even the nicest grandmother in the world wouldn’t say nice things about. We’ve decided to highlight some of low points in our Genesis gaming career with the hope that we save many of you from performing the same mistakes.
Hit the jump to read our list of terrible Genesis games!
Tom Kyzivat: Fighting games were a dime a dozen by 1992. Mainly because everybody and their grandma were cashing in on Street Fighter II. Well, apparantly somebody’s grandma worked at System Vision when they made Deadly Moves because it has all the style and edginess you’d expect from your grandma. Everything about this game screamed “cash-in”: nearly every character was a direct knock-off of Street Fighter’s characters (except in really poor sprites), and every special move was completely derivative. If I remember right, the only real unique aspect of the game is that you could move up and down in space a little, similar to Fatal Fury, but it didn’t add anything to the gameplay and was an obvious gimmick. Other than that, its only claim of originality was that it was probably the first game to sport a character from Hawaii, named Warren. He earned the title of “Warren the Big Dork” during our two-day rental stint with the game, and his awful selection screen picture is what I remember best from that game. That pretty much says it all.
Scott Morrison: Road Rash was an amazing series on the Sega Genesis/Megadrive with its simplicity and unrealistic nature. It would only make sense that another game to come from the makers of Road Rash would be equally awesome, right? And what better way to kick up the “baditude” in a game than by putting you in roller blades, flannels shirts and backwards hats? That’s right, I’m talking about Skitchin’. The sorry attempt at an extreme sport turned into a racing event. Skitchin’ threw you on the highway against other skaters where you had to “skitch” on the back of cars to gain speed for the hopes of wining some sweet cash monies. Where Skitchin’ first went wrong was its level of depth compared to simplistic racers like Road Rash. The ability to customize your skates, kneepads, elbow pads, and choice of weapons was more than any rad skater wanted to deal with. During races, you can perform tricks to earn extra points and impress the judges at the end, but this didn’t make up for the random cars running you over from behind, and the fact that once you wipe out the race could be completely lost. Skitchin’ took everything that was awesome with Road Rash and added too much depth for the sake of expanding on something that did not need expansion. The traps and obstacles during races made you feel as if you were playing a Home Alone-based racing game. The only thing graphically amazing about this game was the fact that more than 3 buildings were in the “realistic cityscapes.” I still find it hilarious that they somehow got away with putting the word, “Bitchin’” on the back of the box, because this game is anything but.
Super Thunder Blade
Michael Westgarth: So you fly forward, dodging enemy fire and fixed objects such as building and pillars, shooting as much as you can on the way. Sounds good, yeah? No, no it’s not, not at all. The sheer number of bullets that fly towards you means that shooting enemies and bosses becomes a secondary objective, and the entire game boils down to simply moving around in a circle, going through levels, each of which look like a different shade of vomit, listening to the same three sound effects over and over, while being subjected to some horrifically boring music. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there’s some top-down sections where you have to dodge projectiles by going side-to-side. Way to jazz things up Sega.
There’s so much stuff being thrown at you in Super Thunder Blade that at a glance you would be forgiven for thinking that this game is exciting. I bet the game sure looked cool on telly adverts and in game shops, but I shed a tear for all the little boys and girls, including myself, that had to endure this bland excuse for a game.
At least you can put pandas in at the high-score screen the game doesn’t save. At least that’s something for the kiddies, eh? Super Thunder Blade, more like Super Blunder Blade, am I right?
The Adventures of Mighty Max
Alex Riggen: Remember how fun it was playing with your Mighty Max toys and how you would make Max carry around a giant rock thing everywhere he went? Then, weren’t you amazed at how well that rock carrying mechanic was adapted into the morning cartoon show? And then, didn’t you almost wet yourself in excitement when the Genesis game used that same mechanic of getting rock from Point A to Point B!? Neither was I…
I’m not sure how the developers managed to make a licensed Mighty Max game worse than anyone would have expected but they did. Even if it was a generic platformer with locations and characters from the show/toys it would have been somewhat endearing for fans. Unfortunately, they decided that Mighty Max’s true mission in life was to lug a rock around with poor controls and dull level designs. Fun.
Alex Riggen: I’m a huge fan of beat ’em ups. So much so, that before I played Toxic Crusader I could not think of a beat ’em up I didn’t at least enjoy playing a little bit. I remember purchasing this game at a used game store and being excited to get home and play it as it was from a favorite genre of mine and used a license that had a lot of potential. That didn’t last long.
Toxic Avenger gets nothing right. The graphics are terrible, the controls are nearly impossible with everything feeling like it takes place on an ice rink, the difficulty level is nearly impossible even early on, etc. etc. etc. Avoid this game if you want to continue to have faith in the holy genre of beat ’em ups. I know I’ve never been the same since.
Tom Kyzivat: Why did I play this game? Seriously. Why did anybody play it? Were our standards that much lower in 1990? I remember playing this game quite a bit, and seeing it at pretty much every arcade. C’mon! What were we thinking? Terrible, digitized graphics, practically non-existent gameplay, several frames of animation per character–the list goes on. And that’s the arcade version! Imagine the horror of playing a 16-bit port. I’m taking my glasses off dramatically right now and saying, “Dear God…”. This game is and was cheesy and terrible, and it must have only survived because everything in 1990 was cheesy and terrible.
Stevie Grant: I’m actually in the minority when I say that Bubsy as a character isn’t as awful as people say. He’s an acceptable target now a days which I don’t think is fair. His first game wasn’t even that terrible, so I don’t think i9t’s fair to bash it. However bashing his awful sequel? Well that is warranted.
Using an awfully executed and literally unexplained hub world was never going to be a step forward for the Busy franchise, but god damn does this game try and force it on you. I mean granted it is neat for a Genesis game to use something new but it really doesn’t work. As I said it is confusing and unexplained so where you’re supposed to go is constantly a mystery. Add to the fact that the levels are horribly designed and this doesn’t make it any better.
Confusing and annoying as hell this doesn’t even have any of the charm that made Bubsy’s first game at least memorable. And that’s saying something. I will always try to stand by Bubsy as a totally not that bad retro game figure of the past, but I refuse to stand for this awful sequel. I have nothing left to say. I guess cat’s got my tongue! (Hey it’s better than any of the other 3000 bad cat puns in the Bubsy series.)
Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy’s Invention
Michael Westgarth: It’s quite clear that the developers for Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy’s Invention wanted to bring the bizarre surrealism of the source material into the game, but it’s also quite clear that they didn’t have clue as to how design and develop a game that actually works. Normal things like running and jumping are practically impossible as you slip and slide around poorly designed levels. The game itself can’t even be bothered to keep up with you, with you often having to stop to let the screen itself catch up. Parts where you have to ride the tandem bicycle or propel an inflated Ren & Stimpy using their own farts are really quite funny at first, but the almost impossibility of the levels means you’ll be stuck doing them again and again.
The only way to survive the actual playing of this game is to have a good friend or sibling at hand to play it in co-op mode. Not to make it more fun, no, just to stop you from beating yourself in the head with the Mega Drive power adaptor or trying to inhale the controller wire in a desperate attempt to leave the world of the living, far away from the horror that is Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy’s Invention.
Stevie Grant: Batman Forever by far has some of the worst controls I’ve ever endured in a game. Imagine if you will Mortal Kombat. Now I know what you are thinking and yes, Mortal Kombat does have good controls.. for a fighting game. However Batman Forever is not a fighting game. If it was it might be fine. However this game is a platformer. How does that work with stiff Mortal Kombat controls? It doesn’t. I absolutely 100% guarantee you that this game is only bad because of it’s controls. But oh boy. Is that a bad problem. A bad problem that ruins a potentially fun game.
Wait. The levels are dull and repetitive and awkward to navigate? Oh. Well surely the music is lively and cool? It’s not? Oh. Well surely the visuals will more than make up for it… oh. It’s dull and lifeless. Oh. I guess it didn’t really have potential.
Well in that case I take it back. Batman Forever has many, many faults. It’s awful and non functioning controls are just a part of it which add up to one horrible package. Just like the awful movie you should stay far away from Batman Forever.
Scott Morrison: If you are on this site, then I can safely assume you have heard of Shaq-Fu through some sort of channels, because goodness knows I hope you haven’t actually played the game. I have, and I have lived to tell the tale. Shaq-Fu tainted the Earth in 1992, a time when anything became instantly awesome with the addition of martial arts of any form. Shaq was big in the 90s, and he needed a video game. But there were already too many basketball games out there apparently, so why not throw Shaq into the “Second World,” where the game takes place. Shaq must save our dimension from some sort of evil explained by the same Chinese old man in Gremlins. The controls in Shaq-Fu are abysmal as you will spend the majority of a match jumping around aimlessly just to get close to your opponent simply because walking forward can be difficult. Fighting games need responsive controls and Shaq-Fu’s are too stiff to do anything adequately, not to mention the horrible hit detection. Each stage fits the typical fighting stereotype with dragon statues, ancient temples, and the laboratory with giant tubes of experimental creatures. The game is uninspired, unoriginal, ugly, and just plain insulting to the existence of good fighting games everywhere. I wish I could tell you if the ending was worthwhile, but do you really think I would sit through this game? No, and you shouldn’t either. Although I did look up the ending where you are treated to horrible puns and one of the alien fighters showing up on the basketball court to play Shaq. I pray that this game is not somehow the ironic inspiration for amazing movie Space Jam. There is even a website attempting to collect every copy of the game for the sole purpose of destroying them. Check it out (http://www.shaqfu.com/main.php), and pat yourself on the back for helping a good cause: to rid the world of Shaq-Fu.