Top-10 Bad Games that I like anyway…

I’ve mentioned previously that there are some games which I don’t like even though I would want to. This time, I’m presenting a different sort of list, games which I know are bad but I still enjoy to some extent, even if strictly as a guilty pleasure…

MI2LeChuck10. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

Monkey Island 2 has always been my least favourite game in the Monkey Island series. Even though it had several noted technical improvements compared to the first game of the series, The Secret of Monkey Island, it’s one of the most intentionally cryptic adventure games from LucasArts, a game that was designed to trick players into jumping through as many hoops as possible to solve seemingly arbitrary puzzles for a finale that wasn’t even worth the effort.

That said, it’s not like Monkey Island 2 is all terrible. A few of the puzzles in it were actually quite clever. The comedic writing was definitely a step up from the first game which was still perhaps a little bit more straight-faced. Some of the characters in this game were also priceless like Wally, the Librarian, Governor Phatt, Phatt’s incompetent guard and of course Captain Dread.

What I particularly enjoy about this instalment is the excellent soundtrack composed by Michael Land and Peter McConnell. It’s easily the second best soundtrack of the series after the third instalment, The Curse of Monkey Island, with excellent Caribbean beats and memorable melodies. So yeah, I can have fun with the game and several classic quotes from the series also originate from it. It deserved its spot on my Bottom-5 Adventure Games list, but it’s still really entertaining despite its disappointing finale.

Sonic_3D9. Sonic 3D

I’ve given Sonic 3D a lot of crap for being an absolute lie as a 3D Sonic game. Traveller’s Tales’ quickly hashed together Plan-B for Sega’s failed attempt to create an actual 3D Sonic game can’t be blamed too much for not living up-to-its-name. Everything about it oozes of a rushed production, a game that was probably pieced together in a couple of months just so Sega had something to show for the impatient Sonic fans on the Saturn (and eventually PC and MegaDrive).

So yes, the game is just a bigger budgeted version of Sega’s own Flicky arcade game from the late ’80s. You collect birds to open the exit from a level and then every three levels you fight a boss. The isometric camera is disorienting, the controls are slippery and annoying and Sonic looks like a plastic action-figure.

Regardless, the game actually has a damned good soundtrack and despite its horrible controls and isometric view-angle, I can actually have fun with the game for a short while. It’s a definite guilty pleasure. Not a great game in the very least, but entertaining to some extent.

batman-forever-cover8. Batman Forever

Let’s just get one thing out of the way, Batman Forever is my favourite Batman movie. However, the game version is unquestionably terrible. It tries to have a cool exterior with its digitized actors alá Mortal Kombat, but is plagued by awkward controls, repetitive gameplay and confusing level design. Did I mention this game is supposed to be a beat-em-up? It’s difficult to imagine how you could fuck up a game genre where you literally have to just walk forward and punch enemies.

Even so, Batman Forever has a weird ’90s vibe that I really dig. Also, you’ll remember this as another entry in the Bad Games with Good Music list and that is yet again part reason why I actually enjoy it. The game is so terrible and choppy it actually becomes really entertaining because of it. Also, if you’re able to talk a friend into playing this garbage with you, you’ll actually find it to be much easier (like most beat-em-ups).

I’m not making any excuses on the fact that the special moves make no sense and about 90% of the bad guys are the same five standard thugs in different iterations. This game really could be decent with a few tweaks made to it, but I still enjoy it as a guilty pleasure title from the SNES.

MarioisMissing7. Mario is Missing

I mentioned this one as an honourable mention in the “Games I would want to like but can’t” list. This game intrigued me a long time ago for the sheer fact that Luigi was the star and Mario was the one who needed rescuing for a change. If I’d known it was an educational game back then, I might have been a smidge disappointed, but on the other hand, I think this game might have not had an official release in Europe so it’s unlikely I could have ever played it.

Eventually, I experienced the game on an emulator in the early 2000s and even beat it. Not much of a challenge since you literally can’t fail at the game but I did feel strangely accomplished even if I recognised that the game wasn’t really challenging. Mario is Missing should have included some penalties for running into enemies as well as more varied locations (rather than just the straight streets you saw in the game) and it could have actually been decent. As it is, it’s just a paltry educational title.

However, I sort of liked the idea of globe-trekking with Luigi and the game’s graphic and audio quality was still quite good. It’s a stupid game but I honestly get a bit of a kick out of it.

KungFu6. Kung Fu

Kung Fu was one of the earliest beat-em-up titles and sadly it was also one of the worst. The game was very loosely based on the Bruce Lee movie Game of Death, where you ascend a tower filled with enemies and take them down with your punches and kicks.

Kung Fu is a very unrefined title where your lack of attacks starts to make playing very monotonous and even though there’s at least decent enemy-variety, the game begins to get repetitive very quickly. Moreover, there are only four levels in the whole game, which honestly makes it seem extremely lazy for a beat-em-up title.

However, Kung Fu has a really odd charm about it. The gameplay is at least fast-paced enough that you wont get bored too quickly. Getting attacked by Kung Fu midgets and disappearing wizard guys keeps you on your toes long enough. The game is like a cheesy Hong Kong B-movie: you can best enjoy it by laughing at it.

International Karate5. International Karate

You’ll also recall this game from my Bottom-10 fighting games list but you may also remember it being an honourable mention on my Top-10 Fighting Games list. It should therefore not be a huge leap for anyone to make that this game would logically be on this list.

International Karate’s biggest problem are its clunky controls which were the result of the game being on a system where the controller was a single-button joystick. Not only do you only fight one opponent, the game decided to opt for realism with matches abiding to actual rules of karate. As such, it’s very easy to fail at the game and the challenge is almost pointlessly grueling.

Never the less, you can learn the controls pretty quickly after a fashion and I’ll admit that the graphics, music and even the sound-effects are really top-notch for the system. I can honestly have a bit of fun with the game in spite of its clunkiness.

Alex Kidd and the Lost Stars4. Alex Kidd and the Lost Stars

Alex Kidd was Sega’s mascot before Sonic the Hedgehog, but this goofy, enemy-punching, origini-munching, floppy-eared platform hero never became a mainstream success comparable to Mario or indeed Sega’s blue hedgehog. Of the canonical Alex Kidd titles (which besides this title are really just Miracle World and The Enchanted Castle), Lost Stars was clearly the worst out of the bunch.

Although technically a sequel to the first Alex Kidd game, it deviates from the established format of the games by forcing you to gather power-ups in order to attack, ties every level to a time-limit and is generally just not as much fun. The only positive element about it would be that you don’t die from just touching enemies the way you do in the other Alex Kidd games, but Alex’s loud scream when he gets hurt is pretty frustrating.

However, beyond that the game actually has really good graphics, lots of variety, decent music and generally wholesome and childish atmosphere. It doesn’t feel as panic-inducing as Miracle World and for that, it’s a nice and more laid back Alex Kidd title. Also, I have to give the game credit for the most hilarious enemy ever seen in any video-game: “The naked guy with a mohawk who farts out skulls.”

Street Fighter 1 Fighting Street3. Street Fighter (Fighting Street)

Here’s another familiar entry from the Worst Fighting Games list. Capcom’s first Street Fighter title suffered from immense clunkiness as a game which instantly made it inferior to its better known follow-up. The problems were two-fold. Firstly that moving around was so sticky and difficult, lacking the smoothness of the sequel. The second problem was trying to do six types of attack with only two buttons, based on how many tenths of a second you hold down a button.

The lack of precise control with this game is a real shame because otherwise it would actually be a decent fighting game. I quite like the selection of characters (though you only get to play as Ryu) and even the locations are actually quite memorable. I also think the music is really top-notch. Also, the muffled and hammy voice-acting actually adds a delightful cheese-factor to the game.

However, not being able to do special moves reliably is one thing that makes this an incredibly difficult game to beat. I see a lot of greatness in it though and I guess that’s why actually kinda enjoy playing it. However, it will inevitably get frustrating. This is one game that would seriously benefit from a less clunky remake.

Zelda_wandofgamelon_packaging2. Zelda: Wand of Gamelon

The Zelda games made for the Philips CD-i system (particularly the first two made by Animation Magic Inc.) have become notorious YTP-fodder. These games tried to make a more action-packed Zelda gaming experience with a side-view (alá Zelda 2: Adventure of Link) and by including humorous cutscenes which I imagine were intended to wow gamers who had not really seen anything similar on a home console.

Unfortunately, Wand of Gamelon and The Faces of Evil proved to be extremely clunky titles and not always a lot of fun. However, having played quite a bit of The Wand of Gamelon, I actually do find the game to have a charm all its own. It’s shitty game but I actually like it.

Much like with Zelda 2, I don’t mind the action being from a side-view since it’s more natural for me. The redesigns and sprite-art for the enemies is actually pretty good (same can’t really be said about the cutscenes) and I actually find the cutscenes to be delightfully cheesy. Also, the soundtrack is really awesome and it’s actually probably the highlight feature of the entire game.

The gameplay is definitely the weakest aspect of this game and one that will prevent most people from really getting into it. However, I actually kinda like this game and even think it’s cool that it lets you play as Zelda. But if you want a good game where you can play as Zelda, you should probably try Hyrule Warriors instead.

Castlevania 2 Simon's Quest1. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest

As a kid, this was actually the only Castlevania game I got to experience first hand and, truth be told, that might be the only reason why I have such fond memories of it. Castlevania 2 is the game with which Konami tried to expand the series’ horizons by making a vast adventure title rather than a straight-forward action-platformer like Castlevania 1 and 3. However, many will say that Simon’s Quest failed magnificently.

I wont deny that Castlevania 2 is a clunky adventure title, filled with cryptic puzzles and, at times, really frustrating level design. However, I’m actually able to admire the effort Konami put into this game. It wouldn’t really require much for this game to have been good and a stand-out title for the system. I love the idea of trekking through Transylvania in search of Dracula’s body-parts. The game has excellent atmosphere and, widely recognised even by this game’s detractors, one of the best soundtracks of the entire Castlevania series.

So while Simon’s Quest isn’t a “good” game, it is actually a game I enjoy very much. I really wish Konami could maybe remake the game to make it less clunky because it would nice to play a Castlevania game with Simon Belmont as the star which wasn’t just a remake of the first game (Vampire Hunter, Super Castlevania 4 etc.).