If there is one universal truth that all gamers must accept it’s this: if a game is based on a movie or TV show then the likelihood of it being terrible is greater than it being great. With the recent release of the Pacific Rim game, we once again have a game that lives up to the standard of other bad licensed games. And there’s a reason why they are considered bad: the game is rushed to tie-in to the movies release or cash-in on a popular franchise, the studio then slaps together a makeshift barebones game to cash in, no one cares about quality but hopes to sell enough copies before the reviews comes out, and so on. But the results are usually the same–an awful game that will make some kind of profit before the first reviews come out, acknowledging the one thing we all hold to be true. You’ve already seen out list of the Top 10 Best Licensed Games, so here’s my list of the top 5 worst licensed games.
5. Dirty Dancing (PC)
Nostalgia is a pretty popular thing these days and nowhere is that made more clear than this game. Now let me just say that I love the movie, as Dirty Dancing is frequently on my watch list on rainy days at home. But this game has nothing to do with having the time of your life. It has nothing to do with dancing dirty or the basic concept of a girl falling for a boy on the wrong side of the tracks. Instead what you get is Bejeweled with a Dirty Dancing theme with the added bonus of extra mini-games. And don’t think that you’d get to listen to the iconic soundtrack because you don’t. It’d be far to expensive for a cash-in title so you get an almost but not quite taste of what you loved about the whole movie. Apparently somebody did put Baby in a corner.
4. Fight Club
We all know who Tyler Durden is, but making a fighting game about Fight Club seems to be missing the point of what the movie is ultimately about. The game is completely broken, from the mechanics to the character customization. I say character customization but what I mean is lightly changing a few select features before getting shoved into a ‘plot’ that has you searching for Tyler and having to fight random characters who weren’t in the movie. The fighting is incredibly repetitive with the AI characters repeating the same moves, and when you’re lucky enough to connect a punch, the animation is so unsatisfying that you’ll be questioning what ill you’ve wrought on the world to deserve this. Let me give you a piece of advice: watch the movie and save yourself the headache.
Ghostbusters is to this day one of my favorite movies, and I wonder how such a fun ride could translate in one of the most boring games I’ve ever played. The gameplay isn’t that problematic and there aren’t that many glitches; the problem is that it’s incredibly repetitive. Catch a ghost, go somewhere, catch more ghosts, go somewhere else, climb etc… Sure it’s an Atari game and we must make some allowances, but a little more effort would have gone a long way.
2. Superman 64
This was very close to being my number one simply for the fact that Superman is my favorite comic book character next to Batman and Cyclops (he was right!), but this game is practically infamous for how bad it is. It’s got everything we expect: bad level design, terrible controls, and constantly flying through rings. Superman 64 is widely considered to be one of the worst games of all time and has made a variety of lists, including winning The Worst Game of 1999.
I know it may seem hack because this game has made every bad list but you just can’t leave it off. You can’t leave it off because it’s not only a bad game, but it also spawned an infamous legacy. E.T. was rushed out after six weeks of development to cash-in on the movie’s success and to capitalize on the video game boom. They sold a ton of copies during the Christmas rush and every single one was returned, causing in many ways the downfall of Atari and the video game crash. I mean, Atari lost over $500 million because of this game. People hated the game so much that all the remaining copies were taken to a remote location, crushed, buried, and covered in cement where I am informed nothing ever grows. Though that didn’t stop it’s notoriety. No game to this day has achieved the fame that E.T. has, and its curse has infected the licensing game genre ever since.
Unfortunately bad licensed games are the rule and not the exception in this day and age, and the announcement of one has always been received with groans from the gaming audience. For every Arkham City there’s a Charlie’s Angels game, for every Ducktales there’s a WWE Crush Hour. But I have hope that one day the great games will outshadow the awful.