25 Video Games That Really Missed The Mark
What makes a video game bad? For some it might be bad graphics, for others it might be clunky or unintuitive gameplay. Sometimes a game fails to meet the high expectations of the fans. Some games are just made as cash grabs, trying to exploit a hit movie or product, with little concern for quality.
This list compiles 25 worst-reviewed games in the history of Metacritic. Since Metacritic didn’t start until 2001 you won’t find some of the legendarily bad games like E.T.: the Extra Terrestrial, Custer’s Last Stand or Shaq-Fu on this list. But you will find some most stupefyingly terrible games made in the 21st century that are guaranteed to make your eyes bleed and throw your controller out the window in disgust.
Gravity Games Bike: Street Vert Dirt (24%) - 2002
Gravity Games Bike: Street Vert Dirt was Midway Games attempt to cash in on the dual wave of popularity in extreme sports and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The kids love BMX amirite? Gravity Games Bike missed the mark on every level, starting with a wordy and confusing title. The game features a mix of real world BMX legends like Fuzzy Hall and fictional characters like Hotty Babe (guess what her deal is). Combine that with a brutal rap rock soundtrack, clumsy gameplay, terrible sound effects, muddy and dark graphics, and lack of playability and you have a total dud.
Postal III (24%) - 2011
The Postal series built a following by creating a crass and crude world to serve as an antidote to political correctness run amok. By the third installment, the games creators went even further by not only subverting PC culture, but also subverting video game conventions like making the game entertaining, interesting, rewarding, or memorable. Great jorb edgelords!
Game Party Champions (24%) - 2012
A general category for many games on this list is that they represent lazy cash ins on popular video game trends. Designed for the Nintendo Wii, Game Party Champions fits this category to a tee. The controls are slow, unresponsive and give no feedback. The camera work is erratic and the game loads incredibly slowly. There’s also a grim storyline about a grieving kid who is sad because his dad died and his awful friend who tries to cheer him up by participating in a series of arcade games. I am grieving for anyone who had to play this game.
NBA Unrivaled (24%) - 2010
Tecmo were the badasses behind 1987’s Tecmo Bowl, arguably the first great sports game in video game history. In 2010, they were the force behind arguably the worst sports game ever made, NBA Unrivaled. Tecmo’s attempt to make an arcade style basketball game in the vein of NBA Jam or NBA Showtime was an unmitigated failure. The player models are grotesque, the player movements are slow and unrealistic, and the game lacks anything resembling the flair of its influences. The game is true to its title at least, since it is unrivalled in its awfulness.
Terrawars: New York Invasion (24%) - 2006
Terrawars: New York Invasion is a first person shooter set in post-apocalyptic New York City. The game’s development team modelled their virtual world using 5,000 real life photos of the Big Apple. You wouldn’t know it from the graphics, which look like the kind of visuals that would be used for the fake video game that appears on an episode of CSI: New York about violent video games. The game’s sound effects are repetitive and shrill and the controls are clunky. Considering this game used the same engine as the excellent No One Lives Forever 2, the end product can only be categorized as a huge miss.
Pulse Racer (24%) - 2003
Pulse Racer has been described as the worst game in the history of the XBox. That’s a pretty tall order, considering Kabuki Warriors was a thing. What makes Pulse Racers so bad? Well it looks generic, it sounds obnoxious, and plays tediously. The only unique quality of the game is a bizarre feature that causes your racer to have a heart attack if they drive too fast. So it’s a racing game, where you are penalized for going too fast. Because that is a thing people want.
Fighter Within (23%) - 2013
XBox One’s Fighter Within was one of the launch titles for the console in 2013. The title was envisioned as a fighting game that would showcase the power of Kinect, but instead it just highlighted how abysmal the technology was. The idea of a Kinect-controlled fighting game seemed like a promising one, but in practice it proved a dud. Players who tried Fighter Within found the controls unresponsive and the game play repetitive and not too long after, the Kinect went the way of the Power Glove. It’s so bad.
FlatOut 3: Chaos and Destruction (23%) - 2011
The FlatOut series had found a nice little niche for fans of demolition derby style racing games. Smashing cars into each other and blowing up stuff is fun. Released in digital only format, FlatOut 3 featured a different development team than the previous installments and they somehow made smashing cars into each and blowing up stuff unfun. Fail. The game was marred by poor controls, a dismal collision detection system and completely unrealistic in-game physics.
Homie Rollerz (23%) - 2008
Made for the DS, Homie Rollerz combines questionable racial stereotypes with abysmal controls and pixelated graphics to make for a dreadful play experience. There is nothing redeeming about this game. Next…just next.
Charlie’s Angels (23%) - 2003
My favorite genre of bad video game is the hamfisted movie tie-in. These games are usually ultra-clunky and poorly designed rush jobs meant to capitalize on a movie’s success. Charlie’s Angels was released as on Playstation 2 and GameCube as a companion to the 2003 film Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Terrible game play, ultra annoying sound effects, and poorly animated cut scenes ensured that this game bombed as hard as Full Throttle did. Yikes.
Rambo: The Video Game (23%) - 2014
Hey another movie tie-in! Rambo: The Video Game follows our hero John Rambo, through the key scenes of the first three Rambo films. The final product is a lazy first person shooter featuring cut scenes with dialogue ripped straight from the DVDs. The in-game action is annoying and repetitive with tonnes of poorly executed quick time events. The game also features an overdone on the rails mechanic that makes the player feel like a spectator rather than a participant.
Fast & Furious: Showdown (22%) - 2013
The movie adaptations continue! Fast & Furious: Showdown is a forgettable racer with bad controls, mediocre controls, and laughably ridiculous in-game physics. The game also intersperses a story set between the movies Fast 5 and Fast and the Furious 6. This narrative is comprised of ugly cut scenes and lifeless dialogue voiced by none of the actors from the movies. The game is a pointless mess.
Drake of the 99 Dragons (22%) - 2004
Drake of the 99 Dragons was created as a launching pad for a presumed multimedia empire that would feature the titular character in a comic book and a TV show. That beautiful dream came crashing down with this abysmal game. Marred by hideous cut scenes that render the character a grotesque humanoid voicing generic and cliched dialogue. The gameplay is unintuitive, frustrating and erratic. It plays like a video game designed by someone who actively hates humanity.
Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma (21%) - 2015
Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma was so bad that the game’s publisher, Versus Evil, publicly apologized for it, stopped selling it, cancelled the rest of the series and issued refunds to disgruntled customers. That is pretty epic. While the game is decidedly underwhelming, it is hard to understand why the publisher tried to wipe the game from the face of the earth. Then you see that the game was developed by Redacted Studios. They were just living up to their name.
Infestation: Survivor Stories (AKA The War Z) (20%) - 2012
The zombie invasion game, The War Z was an unmitigated disaster on several levels. Firstly, the game was removed from Steam just a couple days after release due to claims of false advertising. The game promised a bunch of features including private servers, multiple large game worlds and a skill point based levelling system, none of which were available at the time of release. Secondly, threats of trademark infringement by the creators of World War Z, forced the game’s name change to the clumsy Infestation: Survivor Stories. Thirdly, the end product was a poorly designed and unfun mess of a game.
Deal or No Deal (20%) - 2006
Deal or No Deal was a popular game show featuring the comedic stylings of host Howie Mandel. The way the show was structured called for 90 seconds of action and a lot of banter between Mandel and the contestants. In other words, the game show lacked action and relied immensely on whether you liked Mandel or not. Not surprisingly, the video game adaptation did not work on a structural level, since it was hard to replicate what made the show so popular. Add on to that an incredibly glitchy gameplay experience and hideous graphics, and you have a dud. No deal on this one, Howie.
Alone in the Dark: Illumination (19%) - 2015
The Alone in the Dark series began in 1992 and deserves more credit than it gets for creating the template that made Resident Evil a phenomenon in both the video game and movie worlds. By 2015, when the seventh game in the series, Alone in the Dark: Illumination was released, the franchise was ready to be put out to pasture. Illumination is a dismal final nail in the coffin in the franchise and final proof that the world passed it by.
Spogs Racing (18%) - 2008
A gyroscopic racer released in 2008 via the much maligned WiiWare, Spogs Racing holds the distinction of being the lowest rated game in the history of the Wii. The game featured inept and erratic gameplay alongside inexplicably poor graphics. The game highlights the vast range of quality in games put out for the WiiWare, where Spogs Racing was available side by side with excellent titles such as LostWinds and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King.
Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons (17%) - 2013
Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons was shelved for two years from its scheduled 2011 release date. That is always a bad sign. The final product ended up being a brutal 3D beat ‘em up that deserves all the criticism it has received for not only being a crap game, but also besmirching the brilliant legacy of the legendary Double Dragon II: The Revenge, on which it is loosely based. This one’s personal.
Vroom in the Night Sky (17%) - 2017
One would think that by 2017, it would be impossible to release a truly awful video game for a major system. Developers are more technically skilled and have more tools available to them than ever before. Yet games like Vroom in the Night Sky still get made. Chalk this failure up to being a rushed launch title by an indy designer trying to get the game out in time for the debut of Nintendo Switch. The end result is an awful mess that benefits no one. But hey, at least they got it out in time for launch. Mission accomplished?
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (17%) - 2009
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is the eighth release in the long-running series of edgy, adult-themed video games that chronicle the exploits of Leisure Suit Larry. Box Office Bust was a bust literally, receiving overwhelming negative reviews and wasting the talents of talented voice actors like Larry Tambor, Patrick Warburton, and Jay Mohr. The game abandoned the cheeky innuendo of its predecessors for full-on softcore trash. The game is the equivalent of a bad joke told badly and then the joke teller explains the joke in great detail in case you didn’t get it.
Yaris (17%) - 2007
Hey, you what kids love? Video games that are commercials for subcompact cars. That is a direct quote from the Toyota executive who pitched this. This is the kind of game that just makes no sense on any level. First off, the Yaris is not a cool car. Second off, why would someone want to race a Yaris? Third off, why would anyone spend money on this? The game does allow you to equip your car with lasers, but even that doesn’t make it any good. Imagine how crap your car has to be that adding lasers to it doesn’t make it cool?
Ride to Hell: Retribution (16%) - 2013
Ride to Hell: Retribution attempts to mimic the Grand Theft Auto series, this time with motorcycles. The end result is mostly notable for the meme-worthy “love scenes” which feature fully-clothed and lifeless renderings attempting to fornicate. The game’s portrayal of women drew the ire of many reviewers including Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of The Escapist, who described it as “explosively, apocalyptically bad” and gave it his “Lifetime Achievement Award for Total Abhorrence.”
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade (11%) - 2012
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade is abomination released in 2012 for WiiU. There is really nothing to recommend about this game. It features graphics that are 10 years out of date, shrill voice acting, and ultra-poor game play. As a rule of thumb, if a game features the word great in its title, it probably sucks. This is no exception.
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (8%) - 2003
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing has the proud distinction of being the only game on Metacritic with a sub-10% score. The end product is brutal and unfinished masterpiece of ineptitude. It is the Citizen Kane of bad video games, legendarily and transcendently bad. Developed in Ukraine for a staggering low $15,000, the game has taken on cult status with devotees congregating at yourewinner.com to celebrate the game’s unmatched futility. The website’s title is derived from the broken English used in the game. You’re Winner indeed.