The Top 10 Least Suckiest Games!
#10 – Baldur’s Gate
Why it made the Top 10:It would be hard to describe a game where you cast magic missiles with your wizard as “realistic”, but Baldur’s Gate certainly offered a very believable RPG experience. People objected to you barging into their houses and taking their things, the equipment you recovered from defeated enemies was the equipment they were actually using, and battles took place seamlessly in the game world. The combat system was easily the best part of the game; featuring a Diablo-style interface, you were allowed to move your party members freely about the battlefield, use terrain as cover, set up ambushes, and actually take advantage of your ranged attacks. This innovative battle system opened up a lot of strategic options, and made players put quite a bit of thought into every skirmish…
Why it didn’t get #1:
Brad Hates Games: …which was also part of the problem. Sure, carefully planning out a battle against a tough boss might be cool, but it gets downright tiresome when you have to do it for every small group of kobolds or skeletons. This was a part of a larger problem: everything in Baldur’s Gate was very time consuming. Not only the battles, but also simple tasks, like traveling across a town or buying equipment, took forever. There’s nothing better than spending a long time playing a great RPG, but not when most of that time is spent watching your guys walk around.
#9 – Civilization II
Why it made the Top 10:Few strategy games have ever attempted to be as huge as Civilization II, and almost none of them have actually pulled it off successfully. In Civ II, you can start with a small prehistoric tribe, and then evolve into a powerful civilization to eventually take over the world and colonize space. Not only do you have to run a proper military, but it’s equally important to manage your economy, society and do scientific research. This might sound completely overwhelming, but the game manages to do all this in a way that makes everything playable, though not overly simplistic. The result is a game that is mind-blowingly deep, yet still a lot of fun to play, even for those of us who aren’t hardcore strategy fans.
Why it didn’t get #1:
Brad Hates Games: Sometimes in sports, a great player will get to that point where he should retire, and the team that he’s had so much success with releases him. However, instead of retiring, he finds a new, less-respected team to play for and keeps competing even though he’s nowhere as good as he used to be. More often than not, the player ends up embarrassing himself with poor play and tarnishing his legacy. Think about Jerry Rice’s time with the Seattle Seahawks or Gordie Howe on the Hartford Whalers, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Civilization II did the videogame equivalent of this when it was ported over to the PlayStation. It was a once-great game that had gotten too old, and was trying to compete in a place where it really didn’t belong. The interface was nightmarish, the control was sloppy, the load times were extensive, and the graphics looked awful. But worst of all was the motivation for this ill-advised return. At least the athletes I mentioned before genuinely loved their sport and didn’t want to stop playing — the only reason Activision resurrected Civ II was to make a quick buck.
TheMadSpin: I can’t understand how the hell Sid Meier made some of the gameplay elements in Civ II so damn frustrating. You’d think once I create a caravan it would just sort of stick around for a while. The awful micromanagement, arbitrary pollution problems and (often as arbitrary) battle system really hurts this game. I never knew whether my upgraded veteran army behind a wall was going to survive an attack by bandits or not. Also, I really hate roving bands. There is enough to deal with that we don’t really need roving bands, especially near the end of the game. I guess Sid was trying to predict the, “New War” of the 21st century, but I can do without terrorism in my turn based strategies, thanks.
#8 – Sid Meier’s Pirates!
Why it made the Top 10:Sid Meier’s Pirates! is a pirate game where, get this, you actually get to act like a pirate. This might not sound like a big deal, but most video game pirates have spent their careers as little more than flamboyantly dressed characters in platforming games. Pirates! allows you to do things like attack ships on the high seas, plunder coastal towns, and even hire yourself out as a privateer to various warring nations. That’s not all, though. The game actually gives you the freedom to make a living doing non-piratical things, such as being a trader or hunting pirates for rewards.
Why it didn’t get #1:
Brad Hates Games: You can do pretty much anything you want in Pirates!, but not really. The only way to get a nice boat, big crew, or a lot of money is to work as a privateer for one of the four nations in the game. And since the Spanish control almost all of the good targets in the area, you’re going to have to pick a nation that is constantly at war with them. Especially since about half of the ten pirate quests involve attacking the Spanish, anyway. This obviously rules out working for Spain, and also makes the relatively peaceful Dutch an unprofitable choice. It’s nice that the game gives you the option to do things other than be a privateer for either England or France, but these other possibilities end up being little more than things to try out of briefly when you’re bored.
#7 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Why it made the Top 10:Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is quite possibly the last great 2D platformer, and a perfect example of how the genre could have evolved if the public’s gaming tastes hadn’t shifted to other areas. This game takes classic Castlevania gameplay and enhances it with Metroid-esque level designs, a huge game world, and RPG elements. That could have turned into an ugly mixture of half-developed ideas, but Symphony of the Night follows up on all of its grand intentions and blends everything together perfectly. As if that wasn’t enough, the game has an abundance beautiful artwork, including astoundingly detailed levels, and both characters and enemies with staggering amounts of animation. This should come as no surprise to Castlevania fans, but it’s also worth mentioning that the soundtrack is fantastic.
Why it didn’t get #1:
Fatsquatch: “Hey! You got your Metroid in my Castlevania!” “Well, you got your Castlevania in my Metroid!”
That scenario — obviously inspired from the old-tyme Reeses TV spots — pretty much sums up the Castlevania: SotN experience; only the end result isn’t nearly as tasty as those scrumptious peanut butter cups.
By the time Castlevania showed up on the PSX, the series definitely needed some new elements, but simply adding Metroid‘s style of gameplay did little to truly freshen things up. As a result, Symphony feels more like a game with an identity crisis, than the groundbreaking title most claim it to be.
But then again, you could play through the game a second time with the castle being turned upside down (OMFGBBQ!). That never happened on planet Zebes. In your face, Metroid!
Brad Hates Games: Actually, ‘Squatch, I think you meant to say “Die Monster! You got your Metroid in my Castlevania“. This game is a shining example of what I call “new Engrish” — the translation doesn’t have the grammatical and contextual errors often seen in older NES and 16-bit games, but the dialogue still ends up being a collection of awkward sounding lines that nobody would ever actually say. This is then emphasized by poor voice acting, but I can’t really blame the voice actors for their performance. I mean, you try saying things like “What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets?” in a convincing way.
TheMadSpin: While this is the last great 2D platformer, it should be noted that Konami has made it about 15 times already. I’m playing the most recent version on my DS right now.
#6 – Super Mario Bros. 3
Why it made the Top 10:Super Mario Bros. 3 redefined the traditional 2D platformer with a variety of powerups, tight control (something which was often a problem is NES games), and state of the art graphics. However, even today, when such achievements are commonplace, if not dated, the game still holds up. Every stage is expertly designed, the gameplay is fun, and each world follows a consistent theme and gives players some choice about which stages they do. Also, there were enough secrets and levels with unique little portions (such as the shoe level) to keep the game feeling fresh from start to finish.
Why it didn’t get #1:
RoyalRanger: Nintendo had already used passwords for Metroid and save files for The Legend of Zelda, so why didn’t they implement either of these systems into one of their biggest releases? Super Mario Bros. 3 could have been a great way to pass the time, if only the time required to play through the whole damn thing wasn’t over four hours in one sitting. Please, Nintendo, I can barely find the time to sit in front of my television for one hour at a time, let alone four. Yeah, sure, you could beat the game in under an hour with a couple of warp whistles, but who honestly wants to play SMB3 just to get through the Grass Land and Dark World?
Brad Hates Games: This might just be me picking on a game for purely personal reasons again, but my memories of this game are not fond ones. I didn’t have an NES, so I’d have to go over to my friend Dan’s house to play SMB3. For whatever reason, he was obsessed with the Tanooki suit, so every time we’d play, we’d warp to the ice world right away. Needless to say, the ice world wasn’t the easiest place for someone who almost never played the game to succeed. While I spent my turns slipping around and dying right away, Dan would go through the stages until he got the Tanooki suit, which he would generally have for about 10 seconds before getting hit and losing it. Then we’d have to start all over again. Dan was a jerk.
Loogaroo: I’m sure many people around my age got to play the Super Mario All-Stars anthology for the SNES. That’s where we got to see the previously unreleased Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, a game that’s so freaking hard from start to finish it can leave physical scars. My guess is that the folks at Nintendo felt so guilty at coming out with such an evil game that they overcompensated with SMB3 by saturating the game with extra lives, as if the bottom fell out of the 1UP market or something. There are parts of the game that are tricky, even challenging, but by the time you get that far you’ll have 93 lives to spare. And if you can’t beat a level in 93 tries, you might as well just shut off the machine altogether and try a hobby less demanding. Like macrame.
TheMadSpin: No save feature, it scaled down the characters from Super Mario Bros. 2 by removing Peach and Toad, and it rehashed the same old “Princess is in another location” line we’ve heard many times before and since. By the way Nintendo, you’re telling me that Peach kicked everyone’s ass in Super Mario Bros. 2 and then can’t avoid capture in Super Mario Bros. 3? I just don’t buy it. To top it off, the game was glorified to the point of absurdity in the movie The Wizard. Remember my thing about hating a game on sheer principle? Well, if Fred Savage made a movie just to promote it, I’m gonna have to hate it as hard as I’ve ever hated anything before.
#5 – Final Fantasy III
Why it made the Top 10:Considered by pretty much anyone who isn’t a complete idiot to be the greatest RPG of all time, Final Fantasy III (also known as Final Fantasy VI in Japan) combined great characters, story and soundtrack into an unforgettable gaming experience. The game reached unparalleled levels of depth by not only giving players fourteen characters to use, but also by developing elaborate back-stories and sidequests for almost every one of them. Character development was also well done, with players being able to equip “Espers”, which taught the characters spells and also determined which stats went up when they gained a level.
Why it didn’t get #1:
Loogaroo: If you’re going to have fourteen different characters in an RPG, and each of them is going to have their own personality, subplot, and innate abilities, it might serve you well not to have all of them merge into the same person by the end of the game. By allowing everyone to learn magic, that’s what happens: everyone becomes the party wizard, instead of that role being reserved for a few select characters. Meanwhile, teaching everyone magic does nothing to remedy the fact that some characters are woefully overpowered by others. A party of Sabin, Edgar, Cyan and Terra can handle themselves substantially more easily than a party of Setzer, Gau, Strago, and Mog. The gulf is so wide, in fact, that chances are you’ll never use the lower-tier characters unless you’re forced to. So an RPG with fourteen unique characters ends up using only about five of them.
Brad Hates Games: Square has always been known for having a lot of random encounters in their RPGs, but Final Fantasy III took it to a whole new level. There were times when I’d get lost in dungeons simply because I kept getting into battles and couldn’t remember if I was coming or going anymore. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to go a short distance to open a treasure chest, getting into five or six battles along the way, and then opening the treasure chest only to receive a potion, some damn eye drops, or even better, another battle.
RoyalRanger: You hit the nail on the head, Brad. I’ll never forget entering a dungeon, walking two steps, fighting a battle, walking two steps, fighting a battle, walking three steps, fighting a battle, walking twelve steps (the game was suddenly being generous), fighting a battle, walking two steps, fighting a battle. Then, I would realize that I was in the wrong dungeon. So I’d have to walk two steps, fight a battle, walk one step, fight a battle, walk three steps, fight a battle, walk four steps, and fight a battle just to find my way back out.
TheMadSpin: Like every Final Fantasy before it, I just counted the plot points until I discovered that the guy I’ve been chasing for twenty hours of gameplay was really just a diversion. The game also takes the entire point of the first half of the game and then completely pisses on it at the halfway point. Aside from that, it’s hard to forgive Square for treating the American public like a bunch of idiots when they released Final Fantasy IV and VI here and called them II and III. Thanks to this title, for the rest of my life I have to type “Final Fantasy III America (VI in Japan)” every time I refer to it, just to keep from confusing RPG nerds and novices alike.
#4 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Why it made the Top 10:This game excelled above the other two Zelda games in contention because it took the original Zelda and basically made every facet of it better. Better graphics, better music, a larger kingdom to explore, more dungeons, more items, better enemy layout, and most importantly, much less wandering around wondering what in the hell you’re supposed to do next. If a game has Zelda in the name, chances are it’s pretty good to begin with (well, unless it’s The Wand of Gamelon), but A Link to the Past stands head and shoulders above the rest of games in the Zelda series.
Why it didn’t get #1:
Loogaroo: Not many people liked Zelda II. I did, but a lot of other people don’t. Even so, if there was one thing I’d want to see brought over from the Adventure of Link to this game, it wouldn’t be the way enemies could knock me into pits all the time. Also, while the puzzle-solving element in A Link to the Past is improved over the original Zelda (which isn’t saying much), this part of the game gets ruined by the fact that most of the puzzles are just the same three repeated over and over. They might as well have called this game “The Legend of Zelda: Light All Four Torches in the Room“.
TheMadSpin: First of all, I should kick Nintendo “Square” in the nuts for putting a lame ass pun right in the title of a blockbuster game. Secondly, the world in this iteration of Zelda is fairly lifeless when dealing with anything but enemies. Turns out that in a world big enough to warrant a king, a castle and several virgins, there are only like eight other people in the world. I mean, if there are only eight other people, then it’s either really easy to explain why there are so many virgins, or really hard to explain why Link hasn’t gotten any.
I also have the same problem with this title that I have with nearly every Nintendo title of the last fifteen years: It spawned about ten games that aren’t that different from the last. Link’s Awakening, and most of the other Gameboy iterations of Zelda, have been A Link to the Past with a twist, and frankly not much of one. If the Zelda series was the Tony Hawk series, Minish Cap would have pissed off thousands by now.
Brad Hates Games: A lot of people love this game for its challenging puzzles and dungeons, but I can sum up the entire Link to the Past Strategy Guide with these three helpful hints:
- Use the mirror to go to the other world, then look for a teleportation spot.
- The dungeon boss’ weakness is whatever item you picked up inside that dungeon.
- Light all the torches
Really, that’s it. No matter what part you’re stuck on, or how far you are in the game, all you have to do is those three things and I guarantee one of them will solve the problem.
#3 – Katamari Damacy
Why it made the Top 10:Just when it seemed like game designers were all out of new ideas, along comes Katamari Damacy, a game that truly plays like nothing else that has come before it. There’s really no way to compare Katamari to other games, and the most accurate way to describe is, quite simply, fun. Push a ball around collecting small items such as paper clips and erasers, and as the ball grows, you can pick up larger objects until you are eventually rolling up skyscrapers, land masses, and clouds. Add in a unique visual style, and a quirky, yet wonderful, soundtrack and you have one of the most original titles to be released in several years. Katamari Damacy is not just a great game; it was also the right game at the right time.
Why it didn’t get #1:
Loogaroo: Show of hands, please: How many people out there beat the game on the same day they bought the game? I’d imagine there are quite a few of you out there. I would’ve been in that category myself, but I bought the game late in the afternoon so I didn’t have as much time to play it as others. Not only is the game undeniably easy, it’s also undeniably short. Sure, you can play those constellation stages over and over again (including the Taurus and Ursa Major stages that are the epitome of cheese), but what happens when you peak on those levels as well? Katamari Damacy may be an incredibly fun game when you first play it, but it’s not going to take very long to mine it fully of its potential.
Brad Hates Games: You roll a ball around, collecting progressively larger objects. Once you get big enough, you can even roll up people, who will run away and scream as you chase them down. When you finish a stage, the Katamari, with the people still in it, is launched into outer space, which is an environment that humans typically find disagreeable. If you have a really big Katamari, you can even roll up entire buildings, leaving the landscape a desolated, ruined mess. This isn’t a game — it’s a simulation of a never before seen, horrific natural disaster.
Fatsquatch: Ask any gamer what Katamari Damacy is like, and after they tell you how much fun the game is, they’ll most likely follow-up with how the game’s style is soooooo very Japanese. While that is certainly a correct assessment, I can’t help but notice how nearly everyone has missed the underlying theme to this title: homosexuality. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Not only are you pushing balls around in an attempt to make them bigger, but have you seen “The King of All Cosmos”? Sporting wildly colorful and flamboyant clothing, tights instead of proper pants, and striking some of the most effeminate poses to be seen since Freddie Mercury rocked the stage, there can be no doubt that this cat likes to take a walk on the gay side. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Oh, and let’s not forget about how the King is always wanting you to take a ride on the “Royal Rainbow” after you make him a big enough ball. I think we all have a good idea as to what that’s about. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.)
RoyalRanger: What most Katamari Damacy freaks won’t admit is that there are two particular levels in the game that are so mind-numbingly irritating, that they are capable of making your head explode into hundreds of tiny pieces after your brain melts and oozes out of every pore of your body. One such level requires you to collect the biggest bear that you can find. The other level asks you to collect the biggest cow that you can find. Problem is, each of these levels comes to an abrupt end as soon as you pick up one item that even remotely resembles a bear or a cow. If you roll up a small toy that’s shaped like a bear, the bear level is over. If you roll up a white traffic cone with black spots, the cow level is over. Some of these items are so small that you can barely distinguish them from any other object. Other related items are strategically placed within a few feet of your starting position, so a level may surprisingly end on you when all you’ve done is tapped your katamari forward once. To make matters worse, We Love Katamari combined these two stages into one doubly-frustrating stage: “Collect a bear or a cow!”
#2 – Mega Man 2
Why it made the Top 10:The best installment of one of the most highly-regarded series to debut on the NES — before the plot got too formulaic, before the programmers started trying to cram too many levels into one game, before passwords lost all their usefulness. Some of the most popular level music to come from the NES can be found here (notably the opening Dr. Wily stages and the Bubble Man stage). The graphics were more vibrant than its prequel without being caricatured like in later installments. Control was spot-on. What’s there to not like in this game?
Why it didn’t get #1:
Loogaroo: Well, there is something people may not like: MM2 is my second favorite video game ever created, and even I’ll admit that the game was easier than hell. When yours truly can beat the game with two lives (and only because I employ a specific strategy late in the game do I die at all), that’s a sign that the game is quite easy. In fact, it’s the only Mega Man game to offer two levels of difficulty, and I can beat Difficult mode almost as handily.
Brad Hates Games: How easy is Mega Man 2? Well, I’ve never actually tried attempting this, but I’m pretty sure I could put my NES controller on the floor and beat Mega Man 2 with my feet. Most of the bosses can be defeated simply by standing in place and trading hits with them, and about every fifth enemy or so drops an item to refill your health. But although 95% or the game is laughably easy, Heat Man and Quick Man’s stages are almost impossible without the proper items. Why the designers decided to make those two stages so much harder than the rest of the game is anyone’s guess, but I can tell you right now that I’ve only beaten Quick Man’s stage without the Time Stopper once, and I don’t ever plan on trying it again.
RoyalRanger: The one thing that really ticks me off about this game is the lack of passwords for Wily’s Fortress. Every stage that comes before Wily’s Fortress provides you with a password that allows you to continue from the point where you last left off. However, every one of Wily’s six stages have to be beaten in one sitting with only one set of lives. If you happen to lose your last life on the fifth stage, you’ll be sent all the way back to the beginning of the fortress. Thanks a lot for wasting thirty minutes of my time, Capcom.
TheMadSpin: Can I be totally honest for a second? If Mega Man 2 came up to me in a dark alley and stole my car, I probably couldn’t pick him out of a lineup of other Mega Man games. I’d point to some other Mega Man title, and then, when he was later acquitted with his alibi of being “at home oiling his pistons”, I’d shrug and say “They all look the same to me.”
I did the math earlier and there have been about 147 different Mega Man games over the last few years, and most of them still look and play just like Mega Man 2 (if that’s its real name). How the hell did this game make it this far? I guess someone out there said “You know, I think I liked one Mega Man game once, but god help me if I know WHICH game it was”, so we had to dump one on the list for good measure.
The Least Suckiest Game of All-Time!
#1 – Super Metroid
Why it’s #1:
Super Metroid excels in more ways than just about any game we can think of. The game world is expertly designed with branching levels that make you look forward to getting the items needed to unlock the next area. Music and graphics are both used in such a way that they not only are pleasing in their own right, but also fit the mood and style of the game brilliantly. The gameplay is fast-paced, engaging, and well balanced. Super Metroid also manages to have a fairly interesting story, which is told almost entirely without text or cut-scenes, instead using the events that occur within the gameplay to tell the tale. This creates a wonderful framework while leaving enough open to interpretation to allow players’ imaginations to wander just a bit.
Why it almost wasn’t #1:
Loogaroo: Well, well, well… So this is our pick for “the least suckiest video game of all time”. It’s dodged the axe 99 times, avoided elimination where others have faltered, and come out as the king of the hill. You think we’re now going to shower Super Metroid with praise since it’s the least crappy game ever, right?
You apparently don’t know us very well. Even the least crappy game of all-time has its flaws.
Take, for example, the fact that just like its NES counterpart, there’s way too many instances where you have to find a secret passage to get to where you need to go. In fact, thanks to all the new accessories they give you (namely the X-Ray Scope), the capacity to hide everything in a most unobvious way becomes even greater. Or how about the way they give you so many energy and reserve tanks that it’s practically impossible to die in the later stages of the game? What about the fact that between the opening scene at the space station and the fight against Ridley, there’s absolutely no plot-forwarding?
Super Metroid is The Jaded Gamer’s least crappy game of all time, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It just hid its flaws the best.
Brad Hates Games: Loog pretty much hit the nail on the head. If you’re playing Super Metroid and you get stuck, chances are there’s a secret passage you haven’t found someplace. And if that’s the case, get ready to spend an hour backtracking through the entire game world, using your X-Ray scope on every single room and passageway until you figure out what you missed. Maybe I’m being just a bit too conventional here, but I really don’t see how that’s supposed to be more fun than, say, putting a door in plain sight and letting you continue on in the game.
RoyalRanger: Wait a minute. Do you mean to tell me that Ridley appears in this game? I could’ve sworn I destroyed Ridley in the original Metroid. I also remember destroying Kraid. And I’m pretty sure I already defeated the Mother Brain. Besides, wasn’t Samus already a female in the first game? Damn you and your lack of originality, Nintendo!
Fatsquatch: Super Metroid almost failed to get my pick for the least sucky game based on one little event: the breaking of the glass tube/corridor thingy near Maridia. I was progressing fine through the game, discovering many areas and items, when everything just seemed to stop. No matter what I tried, I could never open up any more of the game world, and I spent a ton of time backtracking, backtracking, and backtracking. Now, I’m not exactly sure what I was trying to do when I planted a Power Bomb while running through that glass tube (there are no enemies or anything to give you reason for firing off some rounds), but luckily I did, and the game opened up, allowing me to access the rest of the map.
Nintendo, would it have killed you to at least put a “Geemer” in that tunnel, to help encourage the use of firepower, so that, oh I don’t know…MAYBE THE SECRET WOULD HAVE BEEN A BIT EASIER TO FIND?! Gah!
TheMadSpin: Ah, the dreaded moment in every Metroid game since 1994…it’s that moment when you roll Samus up into a ball and bomb every room you’ve been to, looking for that single spot you have to uncover to reach the next area. Everyone here has talked about it, but it’s so infuriating that I’ve got to echo the sentiments. Still, Nintendo has put plenty of titles in the top 100, including the number one, least crappy game of all-time. That means that, unlike in recent times, Nintendo really does know what gamers want…or at least they did in 1994. In a way, that pisses me off more than anything else.
So there you go. We’ve taken a look at 100 titles that are most often touted as being the best, and explained why they aren’t exactly “all that and a bag of chips”. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this little production, and remember: No matter how awesome a game may seem, there’s always going to be something in it that’s pretty much crap. Keep that in mind and you’ll be fine; avoiding the terrible affliction known as “fanboyism” that affects millions of moronic gamers each year.