Top-10 Good Games That Are Too Short

We’ve all played one, a game that was a lot of fun and just as it was about to get great *BAM!* it’s over. There’s nothing more frustrating than a game that is really good but then ends when you really would have wanted to play it for a little while longer. These are the games where I felt the game ended too soon before they had a chance to show their full potential…

10. Yoshi Story

Okay, so I’ve given Yoshi Story some hell with the game making a list of bad games by good companies and another list for bad games with good soundtracks. However, as I’ve said before, the reason I’m so sour about Yoshi Story to begin with is not because the game itself is actually bad, it’s because it’s just way too short considering it was the official follow-up for Yoshi’s Island.

The reason this game was so disappointing was because it clearly had the potential to be a worthy successor to the best platformer for the SNES. The graphics, music and even gameplay were heavily improved. The graphic look was even more cartoony and cuter than the previous game. The music was soothing, cheery and well-produced. The gameplay added a ground-pound and now you could actually aim your eggs instead of waiting for the cursor to move to the right spot by itself.

All that Yoshi Story would have needed to be an awesome game and not a disappointing let down, would have been at least half the amount of levels from Yoshi’s Island. We didn’t even get a quarter of the levels. And sure, Yoshi Story does encourage replay, but for me the challenge in a game is measured by how long it takes me to finally beat it. And in this regard, Yoshi Story failed miserably.

9. Adventures in the Magic Kingdom

I have a lot of fond memories of this game and it was also the first video-game I ever beat. In hindsight, I unfortunately don’t come back to it as often as other games, simply because of its length. Of course, it also doesn’t quite have the star-quality of Capcom’s other Disney NES titles like Ducktales or Chip N Dale’s Rescue Rangers, but the game had loads of variety and a lot of fun-factor.

Considering though that there are only five actual levels in the game, I don’t think it was that surprising that I was actually able to beat the game so easily. Like a lot of people, I really wished there had been more levels like the Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion levels. But what it really all boils down to: There should have been more levels. Period.

The reason this game gets such mixed opinions from gamers is because it’s almost good. The potential is there. The variety is there. The effort was clearly there. All that’s missing is the content.

8. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

I’m sure this is one of those classic cases of a game I like that everyone else hates, but I really did enjoy Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Wii. It was creepy, it was disturbing, it had clever puzzles and it even offered a lot of replay value with the way you could affect the game-world. There were even many different possible endings to the game. The only reason I didn’t play the game through that many times though was because the game was just so short that I knew it like the back of my hand after playing it through twice.

Shattered Memories has a lot potential just in the way you can find out so many things about the world around you. Especially how you can dramatically change the world around you is interesting, but what sucks the fun out of it is that none of the actual tasks you do in the game change. A little bit more variety would have done the game good and more importantly a little bit more length.

The game has a very strict structure and comes to a rather sudden finale. You never quite feel like you got all out of the game you could have and that’s disappointing, because the game does have a lot of potential.

7. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

This one may seem a tad odd, but honestly, I don’t measure fighting games by how many times I play them against friends, I measure them by the same standards as any other games – how much content there really is. MK vs. DC was a really awesome game in the over-all. Bringing the MK and DC universes together was a brilliant idea and I loved getting the chance to pit Scorpion against Batman or Superman against Liu Kang.

However, the gameplay content was rather quickly expended and it all came down to one thing: The game had no extras to speak of. You can play through both of the story-modes in a day and it took me only about a week to play through the arcade mode as all of the characters. But there was no artwork, no alternate costumes, not even unlockable characters. This was the game’s biggest flaw in my view. Why should I keep on playing a game when there’s no reward for doing so?

I’m really disappointed about this because otherwise I’d gotten a lot more gameplay hours out of MK vs. DC. However, Netherrealm Productions is now working on a new DC fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, and I hope this game will succeed where MK vs. DC failed. Based on MK9 though, I’m feeling optimistic.

6. Brütal Legend

Tim Schafer’s latest game wasn’t the massive success he had hoped for, but even found it greatly appealing despite my extreme dislike for Real-Time Strategy games. Especially during the first half of the game, I was digging the characters, gameplay and the genuine heavy metal atmosphere which made me really excited for the rest of the game. Then it turned into a massive RTS-fest and all of a sudden I felt very removed from the action. But it’s okay, we still had those kick ass cutscenes in the midst of all the fights, right… right…

Well, to be honest Brütal Legend kinda flopped towards the end story-wise which really disappointed me after I got so hyped up during the first half of the game. The character-drama wasn’t as convincing after the middle point and even the comedy decided to hide under a rock for the longest while. I’m really surprised because if Grim Fandango and Psychonauts taught us anything is that Schafer is the master of the three Act video-game story. What we got in Brütal Legend was two-and-a-half acts.

Maybe it was simply that the game’s focus towards the end was only on the huge battles, but I really felt underwhelmed when you finally took down Doviculus and saved the day. Had the final act of the game been layed out a bit differently and if I had been given more solo play-time as Eddie, I could have really loved the game. Brütal Legend wasn’t a criminally short game, but it’s short in the one section where I think it mattered the most: The Finale.

5. Duke Nukem Forever

To anyone who said that DKF was let down, I give a huge STFU. Duke Nukem Forever was everything I could have hoped for: over-the-top gory action, bad-ass one-liners, chicks and aliens. It really felt like the Duke from the past was back and kicking massive ass once again. Duke Nukem still has one thing that no other First Person Shooter honestly has: a sense of humour. Hell, games would be so much more fun these days if the developers didn’t take them so god damned seriously.

However, there was one big weakness with DKF that kept bugging me once I finished the game and that was the fact that game’s ending came so suddenly. It’s almost like you hit a padded wall at high speed. You didn’t crash or hurt yourself but were bemused by the sudden stop. Especially since you had been having so much fun up to that point.

Now, DKF did have an acceptable number of levels and even some variety, but I was sort of hoping to get behind the wheel of the AC car as mini-Duke one more time (though thankfully there were plenty of mini-Duke segments regardless) and maybe slightly more boss fights with giant monsters and less segments dodging battleships and mini-boss style fights with regular enemies. DKF wasn’t any worse of a game because of its lack of length but I could have really gone on playing a bit longer than the game honestly let me.

4. StarFox 64: Lylat Wars

This N64 classic blew my socks off back in the day, which I’m still a little surprised about. It was a very straight-forward space-shooter game, but everything from the music, gameplay to the relatable characters made it one of my all time favourite games for the system. There’s just one big problem with the game which I’m sure everyone recognises. The fact that you can beat it in about an hour.

I was shocked at the short length of the game even back then and although I knew the excitement in this game came from discovering alternate routes through it, I was always bemused that the game couldn’t simply take me through all the different levels but instead forced me to take one of three paths which were all quite short in the end.

This is what made me wish for a more story-drive StarFox game, which I thankfully got with StarFox Adventure, but considering how not everyone really liked that game, I think a game that was more like Lylat Wars, only longer, could really have an adoring audience.

3. Mirror’s Edge

Out of the first few games I bought for my Xbox 360, Mirror’s Edge left the most permanent impression. This was exactly what I had hoped for the system, a novel and exciting gaming experience to set it apart from the other platforms. I loved figuring out the routes through the game and was both excited and frustrated when I had to cover up for a failed jump and climb for my life to avoid enemies.

Then less than ten levels after starting, the game just stops. This was the most criminally short gaming experience I’ve had. I was really getting into the groove of the game and enjoying every moment of it. I kept on getting more and more pumped about seeing the next level and challenging myself. This game would have had the potential of being in my top-5 games for the system, but its criminally short length makes it one of the most quickly expended gaming experiences for the system.

EA should definitely get their heads out of their asses and push to have the Mirror’s Edge sequel made, because the Xbox seriously needs more games like this and fewer games like Modern Warfare and all the other generic shooters. We need visceral excitement and less gun-blazing idiocy. We need more Mirror’s Edge.

2. Full Throttle

Another Tim Schafer title. Full Throttle is still one of the most badass games out there. The odyssey of Ben the Biker and his gang, The Polecats, was a brilliant cinematic adventure filled with clever puzzles, biker battles, demolition derby and that trade-mark comedic writing Schafer is known for. Plus, a brilliant voice-cast containing Maurice LaMarche, Kath Soucie, Mark Hamill and the late Roy Conrad as Ben.

Sadly, Full Throttle is also one of the shortest games in the classic LucasArts Adventure Games library. I’ve never considered it too bad of a thing because the game is so awesome and well-crafted that you do get a triumphant feeling from finishing it. However, like so many of Schafer’s other games, it does leave you with the nagging feeling like you would want to see more from the game-world in the form of a sequel.

As discussed in a previous blog, there were no less than two separate attempts to get a Full Throttle sequel done. I think it’s a shame Full Throttle is such a short and even forgotten game because the only reason it doesn’t have a cult following on par with Grim Fandango or Psychonauts is because of its shortness.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

I’ve discussed before how I was never the biggest fan of Majora’s Mask simply because of its length, although I’ve since come to appreciate its gameplay content. Majora’s Mask is a crowning example of a game that is made for those who love doing side-missions in games. The game is almost 75% side-missions. You even get a booklet to help you keep track of all the side-missions. And I don’t think anyone can deny that Majora’s Mask is an extremely well-crafted game for a spin-off.

It doesn’t change the fact that the game’s main-quest is extremely short by Zelda standards. With only four dungeons to its name, Majora’s Mask falls short of the main-quests of every other Zelda game in the series. The dungeons themselves are all high quality, with plenty of puzzles to test your skill, but the game is still over much more quickly than you expected. It’s painful since all the game really would need is one more dungeon.

That sounds kind of odd, but considering that each dungeon requires quite a bit of figuring out before the player can even get in, it makes sense from a length and pacing point of view. And it’s a shame that a Zelda game like this would be so handicapped in the main quest’s length-department because, as stated before, it does everything better than Ocarina of Time.