We all have that one character or game that left an impression on us from a young age, be it the '90s kids with Sonic, Mario, or Metroid, or the '00s kids with Half-Life, World of Warcraft, or Max Payne. Either with their main characters or the gameplay, these are the franchises that got us into gaming. As time goes on, series die out or go dark, older generations begin begging for reboots and remakes of their favourite games.
Sadly, with the gaming crash on its way, what we get for our hopes and dreams is gritty reboots, rushed development or just poor representations of our childhood. While we do get some good re-releases, HD remasters and ports of the games we love, companies will always make a bad turn or decision along the way. From changing the genre to even changing the characters we loved into something we now hate.
It is easy to find people who used to love Sonic, who now utterly despise him and head straight to the comment section of YouTube to leave hateful remarks about his newest trailers. Or even creating change.org petitions to revert character designs, like Dante’s now black hair or the endings of Mass Effect to suit what they wanted. It is often easy to see where developers go wrong, or the decisions that lead to these outbursts, but what are some of the worst and most blatant? Well, my friend, this list shall give you a quick look at 15 of them.
15 Sonic Unleashed – Sonic
Sonic is iconic for his design, gameplay, and speed. The hero is known across the globe for going at the speed of sound (and faster). With his first spotlight in Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis, all the way back in 1991, he was a speed demon, running through long platforming 2D levels. While Mario was more laid, Sonic was for those gamers who just wanted to get it over and done with in a flashy manner.
Rude and full of attitude, Sonic met his downfall with Sonic 06 followed by a series of bad ports and then Sonic Unleashed. In Unleashed, they took away what made Sonic… well, Sonic, shifting again to a 3D world, the game focused more on platforming and fighting. What was even worse was when they hopped on the Vampires and Werewolves craze, giving Sonic a Werehog form. Stretchy limbs, combat combos and more.
14 Super Mario Run – Mario
For whatever reason, “Run” games hit it big on the mobile market, from Temple Run to a plethora of copycats. That craze died down a bit over time, with fewer and fewer games releasing in that genre for mobile and console alike. So, when Mario decided to hitch a ride on the hype train it was no surprise he had missed its departure.
Mario was never meant to be fast, while speed runners will always find a way, the whole concept of Mario was a platformer with items to collect and enemies to stomp on. After creating a hit with Mario Maker, the best thing to have done was to make another true Mario game, not a side-scrolling runner. Super Mario Run was forgotten almost as soon as it debuted. Its first week of release went great with favourable reviews, but it all went downhill as people realized what the game really was.
13 World Of Final Fantasy – Final Fantasy Cast
Announced just before the Final Fantasy VII Remake, WoFF was forgotten almost immediately. Hoo boy did they get so much wrong in this one. Advertised as a game for the fans, WoFF is chock full of tutorials, asinine rules, forced tropes, bad voices, and stereotypes. Fans of Square Enix have been calling for crossovers for years, which was done rather well in Record Keeper, but WoFF just did it so poorly.
Combining worlds, messing up names, having weird pronunciations, badly implemented ATB system, stupid storylines and unnecessary guides all lead to this game delivering less than required. The summons and attacks from the original cast of FF all look stunning, with reworked music and effects, which all in all are awesome. However, they messed so much up with their voice acting, lines and personalities that they never really felt like the true characters.
12 Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball – Their Female Fighters
Dead or Alive was never really known for its great portrayal of women. In fact, the series is known for loose and revealing clothing, as well as boring storylines. While we could have gotten a side-story game that delved into their backstories or life besides fighting, Team Ninja and Tecmo instead decided we needed more titillation.
Beach Volleyball was nothing more than a perverse oogle-simulator, with unlockable outfits that barely covered up the necessary parts. You could put the girls into relaxation mode and go wild with the camera in one hand, and the other… you know. That 'plot' was the worst part of all, with Zack clearly perving on all the women who beat him in the tournament. Beach Volleyball got two sequels, so clearly it was enough for 'fans.' Sadly that means we may never see any true development for these ladies besides their tanning schedules.
11 Mass Effect: Andromeda – Old Cast
Possibly the game to put Mass Effect into cryo, Andromeda was met with negative reviews, hatred and laughs from fans and newcomers alike. Putting aside its poor animations, graphical style, and bugs (which the game is overflowing with), Andromeda took away what made the series great, its cast. Pushing us onto a new cast that was lackluster, Andromeda felt the need to pull on fan's heartstrings with “cameos” of its old cast.
The one thing that could have saved this game was its solid cast from the previous trilogy, which was squandered on voice recordings. Set 600 years in the future, most of these characters are dead by now, with only voices to remind us of their existence. It’s a shame that most of their dialogue is exerts about experiments or helping Papa Ryder. Full of distortion and heard over the radio, their voices are only an echo of what they once were.
10 Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – Leon Kennedy And Claire Redfield
Now here is a series that has made an impression. Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield —who were first introduced in Resident Evil 2— are two of the most iconic characters in the series. While Leon has made more appearances throughout the franchise, both are strong characters in the universe of Biohazard.
Such strong and loved characters must be treated with care, as we saw the debacle with Chris and his rolled up paper muscles and boulder punching antics. However, the developers saw fit to bring back both Leon and Claire in the spinoff game Operation Racoon City. Setting aside the flaws in the game itself, it portrayed the two characters as weak and vulnerable, with the option of killing them. Both of these characters have survived cities full of zombies and terrible sequels, why would a bunch of “operatives” be any different.
9 DMC: Devil May Cry – Dante
Another game to have possibly canned its series, moving development from Capcom to Ninja Theory, DMC: Devil May Cry had a lot to change about the beloved series. Releasing in 2013, we have yet to see any news about a new game, besides re-releases and HD collections. Rebooting a series that really did not need it, with a new cast, combat system, world, and main character design.
Dante’s look was iconic, and while it did go through several changes throughout the series, due to him aging, it has been unique and memorable. The change of his aesthetic and personality had a major effect on fans all around, cursing the game for destroying their favourite Demon Hunter. While he may be an alternate universe version, fans didn’t see it that way. Combined with the overhaul of the game and its general feel, fans were left with a bad taste in their mouth.
8 Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands – The Prince
Prince of Persia is of the few series to have survived a genre and system change. Originated on the Apple II series of computers back in 1989. Starting off as a 2D fantasy cinematic platformer, morphing into a 3D platformer and hitting the mainstream with Sands of Time. The Prince had been met with adoring fans and several game awards, with no sign of stopping in his subsequent sequels.
It wouldn’t be long until he ran out of steam though, with some spin-offs and remakes we eventually got to The Forgotten Sands in 2010. Set between the two games of the main trilogy, we saw what The Prince was up to in the 7-year gap. Elemental powers, a new combat system, and a story shift led to this game receiving majorly mixed reviews.
7 Metroid Prime Hunters – Samus Aran
Held in high regards by some reviewers, this release in the Metroid franchise was met by much hate in the fan base. It even reached number 8 on our own listing of the franchise, from worst to best. The best thing to come from this game was its multiplayer functions on the DS.
Sadly, this inclusion of multiplayer might have hampered it in other areas, from complaints aimed at the controls to a shift in design. While other games have put Samus into a first-person shooter style before, Hunters combined that with terrible bosses and graphical style. Adding a myriad of characters to a single character game really took away from the tension the series is known for.
6 Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures – Pac-Man
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Tetris stuck to this saying heavily. Not much has changed in the series over the years. Still, it is a fun and rewarding game.
On the flip side, you have Pac-Man. While the origin of Pac-Man is legendary, plenty of its spin-offs, “sequels,” and reboots have fallen into darkness and myth.
One of the most forgotten (and rightly so) is a sequel that took Pac-Man out of the 2D top-down maze world, and threw him into a 2D point-and-click adventure game. Taking away the fast pace action in favour of a slower puzzle game was a bad move, especially since it gave such a weird personality for our yellow, pellet eating friend.
5 Duke Nukem Forever – Duke Nukem
With 15 years of development hell, Nukem released with outdated graphics, humour, mechanics, gameplay, story… and mostly everything. It failed to stay up to date on its release, betting on its fame and nostalgia to do well. A sorry end for a man stuck in the 90s. Nukem will forever be remembered for just how terrible Forever turned out to be. Although, in 2017 it's hard to imagine a world where such lame jokes and bravado would ever find an audience. By today's standards, Duke Nukem is incredibly lame. The series deserved the harsh criticism it received. Too bad Gearbox is stuck holding onto the license.
4 Mario Is Missing! – Luigi
The 1990s were a strange era for Nintendo, the company saw massive success, but continued to experiment all the same. Luigi has always been a fan-favourite, so what did Nintendo decide to do with him? They commissioned a game all about Luigi trying to find his brother. Well, that could be good… but it wasn’t. The story made no sense and was riddled with typos — not a good start. Moreover, the game downplayed Luigi's prowess even further. Thankfully Luigi got a better game later on (in Luigi's Mansion), but this one will always stand as a testament to Nintendo's ignorance about their own character.
3 Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games – Mario And Sonic
Banking on brand recognition alone is a great way to anger fans, and with Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Nintendo did just that. Setting aside the plainly obvious winner in most of these sports, the Olympic Games did rather poorly in reviews and fans minds. That being said, the iconic characters did help Nintendo sell a boatload of copies. While its handheld version was much worse off, the Wii release had aggravating controls, erratic movements, and was an all around terrible game. That Nintendo managed to release so many sequels to the original without improving the quality dramatically is shocking.
2 Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon – Link
When your game is the subject of hundreds of YouTube poop videos, you know you’ve hit rock bottom. Moving away from its top-down roots, Wand of Gamelon combined a new animated approach to storytelling between levels. Creepy faces, annoying voices, and stupid story aside, the worst decision of all was giving Link a voice. Coming off almost as annoying as Navi, we had to sit through hours of grating dialogue from a guy who had never said a word until now.
While their first release was met with some great reviews, looking back on them reveals their true flaws. If the cutscenes weren’t bad enough, the gameplay was clunky and unforgiving, leading to even more frustrations after the cutscenes had ended.
1 Hey You, Pikachu! – Pikachu
Each new Pokémon game has been met with incredible sales, reviews, and fan adoration, but every family has a black sheep. Hey You, Pikachu! was meant to allow young fans of the series to interact with a cute Pikachu, befriend it, and invite it to your house. Teaching owners some valuable pet skills all along the way.
The worst thing about this was the personality of the Pokémon, being vastly different than its show appearance. The voice recognition on the N64 also hardly ever worked properly, only picking up specific words or voice pitch. Putting aside the depiction of Pikachu and bad voice recognition, the game itself was rather straightforward and boring.