There have been several video games throughout history that have achieved near unanimous acclaim, embedding themselves permanently in our minds. And then there are games that don’t achieve commercial success but become cult classics. This is not a list of those games; this is a list of games that are so bad that they have very little right to even exist.
10. ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth
The original ToeJam & Earl was the first video game I ever played on the SEGA Genesis. So when ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth landed on the Xbox, I purchased it without hesitation. What I experienced was the worst form of racial discrimination I’ve ever had to endure in a video game. Originally two funky psychedelic aliens, ToeJam and Earl were transformed into the most aggravating stereotypes of hip-hop culture ever created. Thank goodness this game is not backward compatible.
9. Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis
It seems Aquaman just can’t get a break. Since his initial outing with the Super Friends cartoon in the early 70’s, Aquaman has struggled unsuccessfully to gain crime-fighting equality with his peers. Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis did nothing to help him, either. With disturbingly embarrassing gameplay mechanics and graphics, the best feature of Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis was probably his beautifully animated mullet.
8. Fight Club
Based on the hit movie of the same name, the video game version of Fight Club was a disaster. It attempted to re-create the gritty nature of the film, but this Tekken-style fighter brought nothing innovative to the table. Fights were dull and lifeless, and they hardly connected to the movie at all aside from a few familiar locations. Though, some may find it worth a chuckle to unlock Fred Durst, lead singer of Limp Bizkit, as a playable character.
I love testosterone-fueled action heroes as much as a guy can, but they don’t always make an easy transition into the virtual world. Starring Vin Diesel himself, Wheelman makes you an undercover agent trying to infiltrate an infamous gang. The game tries to capture the open world action of the GTA series, only it painfully removes everything that makes GTA so much fun. Wheelman focused mostly on driving, but its on-foot missions were a technical mess. I only still own this game because GameStop will charge me for trying to trade it in.
6. Superman Returns
We all knew Superman was going to be somewhere on this list, and Superman 64 would simply be too obvious at this point. I remember hoping that Superman Returns would be the game to break the Man of Steel’s bad video game curse. Sadly, I was proven horribly and depressingly wrong. Terrible controls made it difficult to traverse the massive city of Metropolis, and fights with even a single enemy were a grueling chore. To make matters worse, a health bar in the form of the cities’ collateral damage often caused enemies to run away from you to simply tear down a building and end your game.
5. Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Thankfully, the Caped Crusader has redeemed himself in recent years, but before the Arkham games changed everything, Batman wasn’t doing so hot. Dark Tomorrow featured the most sluggish Batman ever seen. In an attempt to cash in on the stealth game craze, you had to sneak around, pummeling enemies using the game’s lackluster controls that often got you spotted before you could deliver a successful attack. When grappling between large gaps, you would often find yourself falling to your death. The true hero of Batman: Dark tomorrow was its cinematic cutscenes rather than the awkwardly controlled Ba
4. Duke Nukem Forever
The most legendary of all sexist heroes went through fifteen years of development hell, only to see his eventual game become a massive critical failure. Pretty much everyone who purchased this title instantly regretted it. Childish potty humor and horrid controls broke our gaming hearts and proved that time actually can’t heal all wounds.
3. Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
The Zelda series will always be close to gamers’ hearts, as Link has been one of the most charming protagonists to be passed down through the ages. So imagine the reaction when years of gaming goodness was thrown out the window by a third-party developer and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon was spawned. This title put you in control of Princess Zelda herself as she went on a lone side-scroller quest to save Link and King Harkinian. What followed were some of the most uncomfortable and terribly animated cutscenes we’ve ever been subjected to. The game was a technical nightmare, and it stands as an example of how badly human ingenuity can fail us.
2. The Cheetahmen!
The Cheetahmen! may have been forgotten by most, but it’s a textbook example of how to rip off popular gaming franchises in all the worst ways possible. Hoping to compete with the popular Battletoads and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises, the Cheetahmen! featured three heroes and six stages of unforgivable glitches. The Cheetahmen! also came with a manual that elaborated on the back story of its heroes, which didn’t even match the in-game story.
1. Captain Novolin
Public Service Announcements can be great; they educate us on the effects of “Reefer Madness” or teach us about our environment and our health. But some PSAs fail hard, and Captain Novolin is perhaps the best example of PSA failure the video game world has ever seen. In this piece of gaming garbage, you play as the titular Captain Novolin, a hero with type 1 diabetes. The game was meant to educate players about eating right and keeping sugar levels safe, which is apparently accomplished by avoiding evil alien junk foods invaders and eating healthy foods that kept your glucose levels stable.