Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
The Notorious ABC's
B is for Bad
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 24, 2004   |   Episode 2 (Show Archive)  


Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is a "B" Movie, we gamers could only be so lucky!
Quick: Name as many memorable games starting with the letter "B" as you can think of!

Need some help? How about Blasto? Hmm, maybe not. Okay, how about the Bouncer? Alright, alright, so that's not a good example either. There's always Billy Hatcher, right? Oh goodness ... this really is a lot harder than originally thought! With so few good "B" games, this episode of I've Got Your Number should be a cinch. But what are the worst "B" games of all time? The games that aren't just a little horrible, but reeking of awfulness?

As I set out to answer this question I noticed something strange very early. The more I researched the "B" games, the more apparent it was that most of the offenders were none other than games based on movies and other licensed products. Heck, even the good "B" games were based on licensed goods, like Buffy and Baldur's Gate. Strangely enough, the most prolific character is none other than the Caped Crusader himself.

Even with several big name companies as developers and 15 years of technology advancements to work with, Batman is still regarded as one of the worst video game franchises on the market. Games like Batman Returns on the Lynx went a long way to give the Bob

It's times like these where Bruce regrets not buying up some property on the beach!
Kane creation a tarnished reputation. Here's a game with terrible game play, a sluggish fighting system, and uninteresting graphics, yet Atari sunk more money into its advertising than anything else, on the hopes that the name alone would sell it.

At one point Atari went as far as packaging the game with the Lynx in hopes of luring unsuspecting consumers with the promise of a hot movie license pack-in. But they fooled nobody, since even non-gamers could see that Batman Returns was not at top form the screenshots alone. In a Summer filled with horrible movie ports, Batman Returns stood managed to fall right to the bottom (it's still one of the worst reviewed games on this very website).

Compared to Batman Returns, the PlayStation port of Batman & Robin is a masterpiece on the level of Beethoven's Fifth or Orson Well's Citizen Kane. Based on Val Kilmer movie that was hijacked by

Before she decided to Kill Bill, Uma tried to take on the Bat in one of his worst movies!
Jim Carey's overacting, Batman & Robin attempts to use visuals straight from the movie to set tone and mood, only to find that it ends up just looking creepy and ugly. This game is not inviting, and has more in common with Bram Stoker's Dracula for the Sega CD than anything else.

The characters are extremely stiff, perhaps a reference to the actual actors performances in the movie it's based on. Everybody fights kind of like they just woke up from a year-long nap ... which reminds me, the pace of this game is surprisingly slow, for being an action game and all. It never ceases to amaze me how little is done to test the control, especially when it's so buggy and problematic. I can only hope their excuse is inexperience or time restraint, because I can't imagine anybody is happy with the job they did on this "video game."

On the PlayStation's competition things weren't much better; in fact, things were much, much worse. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is a Final Fight-clone that advertised itself as a 3D game but never quite lived up to that promise. And while I loved Final Fight, Batman & Robin is easily the worst brawler of all time. Before you whine and bitch about the Bouncer, play Return of the Joker, and you'll never be bothered by those constant cinema's again.

By the time Kemco got around to releasing this embarrassment to action games, arcade brawlers were a thing of the past. It had been an entire generation since Capcom's heyday, and people were much more interested in 3D adventure games and first person shooters. But Return of the Joker didn't just seem dated, it seemed archaic. The combat is even more limited than the original Final Fight, and makes Streets of Rage 2 look a lot like Street Fighter II. The enemies are constant and repetitive, with very little various of attack or look. You can spend much of the game simply pushing the same button over and over until either your thumb hurts or you decide it's not worth your time.

It's not enough to simply show up, you gotta do something to impress us!!
To make matters worse It's only a one-player game, even though everybody knows the fun of games like Final Fight is the multi-player mode (why do you think everybody hates Final Fight on the Super NES?). It's not like the Nintendo 64 couldn't handle a second player, hundreds of games prove that the N64 is powerful enough to do much more than what this game gives it credit for. It's just a mess all the way through.

Believe it or not, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is not the worst Batman game ouit there. The worst comes in the way of Batman: Dark Tomorrow for the Xbox and GameCube (wisely cancelled for the PlayStation 2). Once thought to have some promise, Dark Tomorrow was in development for a couple of years before it was unleashed on an unsuspecting audience. The game is laughably bad from the start, and never even gets good enough to be "average." If their intentions were to play homage, and in some ways outdo all the ugly development flaws found in the other Dark Knight titles, then HotGen got it right.

When the title says "Dark" it should be a warning, because the game really is dark, and kind of bleak, too. The game makes you feel like there's no hope, and very little to live for. You start to remember that dog you had as a kid, only to be crushed when it gets hit by a car who doesn't even bother to stop and apologize. You think about your alcoholic uncle who used to write commercial jingles, but now beats himself

up for never learning to play a musical instrument. You think of anything you can to take your mind off of the dull, dull nature that is Batman: Dark Tomorrow.

Before I fly off the handle and condemn every Batman video game every created, I suppose I should recognize a few of the better titles. In the early days of the NES and Genesis, Batman was a pretty strong license; but judging by his recent outings he's about ready to hang up the cape and get back to watching his stocks. One can only hope that with Chris Nolan's upcoming Batman movie some company can reenergize the video game franchise.

Gotham City wasn't the only video game location to be troubled with the bad game curse. Even the peaceful suburbs of Hill Valley were torn apart with ugly graphics, frustrating game play, and no sense of the fundamentals of game design. That's right, not even Back to the Future could catch a break! At the box office Michael J. Fox's time traveling adventure was on fire, but gamers looking to jump into the shoes of

When it comes to time travelling, you should just stick with Chrono Trigger!
Marty McFly on a home consoles were out of luck. Don't get me wrong, if they wanted to, they could play any one of the ports, but they were putting their enjoyment at grave danger.

For me it all started with the horrendous Back to the Future 2 and 3. Believe it or not, playing this game is a lot like attending your fathers wake. There are a lot of familiar faces, but they aren't quite like the way you want to remember them. Moreover, there is a general lack of control you feel and a need to let out a lot of anger and inappropriate times. It's an experience so bad, you never want to go through it again, and you will never be able to get it out of you mind. If you can avoid the pain and suffering that is Back to the Future 2 and 3 on the NES then by all means do so!

But why stop with the sequels when you can go ahead and avoid the entire NES series? If you thought it couldn't get much worse than Back to the Future 2 and 3, then it's probably because you haven't played the original Back to the Future for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Unlike parts 2 and 3, the original Back to the Future is a series of mini-games.

Problem is, not a single one of these mini-games will keep your attention, and some of them will haunt you in your dreams. I still can't get the terrible frustration that is assembling a milkshake and delivering it. If I wanted to work fast food I would have taken my fat ass and got a job at McDonalds for three bucks an hour. The other parts of the game are equally troublesome; it's as if the game dares you to find something redeeming about it. So far the developers are winning this dare. [MORE]


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