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Electronic Gaming Monthly's Worst Reviewed Games of 1991
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 19, 2017   |   Episode 107 (Show Archive)  

The year is 1991 and Jerry Springer has crowned himself television's ringmaster. This was the year when Kevin Costner couldn't be bothered to give Robin Hood an English accent, Dr. Seuss passed away and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch were giving us "Good Vibrations." But we're not here to talk about how my body is healthy and how my rhymes make me wealthy, because today we're counting down Electronic Gaming Monthly's worst reviewed games of 1991. Come on swing it!

Dragon's Lair
I was blown away the first time I saw Dragon's Lair. I can still remember walking into my local 7-Eleven and being floored by graphics that looked like they were pulled straight out of a cartoon. And then I played the game, and all that excitement went up in smoke. This early full-motion video game was barely playable and more about memorization than fun. It's one of the most disappointing video game moments I had as a kid.

So how do you turn Don Bluth's incredible animation into an 8-bit NES game? You don't. The developers at Sony Imagesoft were wise to take the basic spirit of Dragon's Lair and turn it into a side-scrolling action game with traditional gameplay. This should have been a great way to improve on Dragon's Lair, but Electronic Gaming Monthly thought it was a miserable failure. Here's Martin disagreeing with my take on the arcade game: "This is an insult to one of the most spectacular laser disc games ever."

While Dragon's Lair was hated by most, neither Steve nor Ed felt comfortable giving it a score lower than 4 out of 10. And then there's Sushi X, who either gave the game a 3 or a 4 depending on which issue you're reading. "Yeech!!! The only thing saving Dragon's Lair from 3-dom is the decent graphics." A few months later, EGM reprinted the same review in their holiday buyer's guide and accidentally mislabeled the score. Either way, Dragon's Lair averages a 3.9 out of 10.
Navy Seals
Randall said it best. Yeah, Navy Seals wasn't a very good film. It was a chance for Charlie Sheen to play dress up for the guy that directed Cujo. Critics instantly dismissed it and it was ignored at the box office, where it debuted in fourth place behind Arachnophobia, Die Hard 2 and Ghost. Given how thoroughly forgettable this movie was, it should surprise absolutely nobody that Navy Seals is also a terrible Game Boy game.

"Why??" Martin asks. "The movie wasn't all that exciting, so how could anyone expect a killer cart?" Martin expands on this line of thinking: "The game lacks any real substance, the graphics are substandard and the game play is horrible."

Once again, Steve and Ed weren't ready to go below a 4 out of 10. "This game is about as much fun as the movie on which it's based, which doesn't say a whole lot." Truer words have never been written. With a 4, 5 and a couple of 3s, Navy Seals averages out to a miserable 3.75 out of 10.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Between the cartoonish characters, the twisted story and the time travel conceit, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a movie that should have translated well to home consoles. You would think that this is a game that would practically make itself. But that wasn't the case, and this is yet another terrible game from LJN.

Sushi X thought the game was "Bogus! The graphics and play control are most undesirable for the present game at hand, dude!" I would like to tell you that he's the only EGM critic who felt a need to imitate the movie, but you and I both know that's not true. "What a most un-triumphant new RPG for the NES," says Steve. "Bill and Ted is bogus, bogus, bogus." I think Martin sums it up perfectly: "A total flop from beginning to end." Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure for the NES averaged a pitiful 3.75 out of 10.
Now this is where things get real interesting. Despite showing up at number 2, there was no game called Bombuzal released in 1991. In fact, there was no game called Bombuzal released in North America or Europe at all. This game was renamed Ka-blooey when it finally hit retail shelves ... in August of 1992. That's right, a full year after Electronic Gaming Monthly decided to review it. In order to get a jump on the competition, EGM decided to review a game released in Japan in 1990 that wouldn't come out in the U.S. until 1992.

To make this story even more head-scratching, EGM didn't review in their usual four-person style. Yes, they still had Steve, Ed, Martin and fake ninja Sushi X take part, but that's where the similarities end. Bombuzal was reviewed as part of the Super NES Video Game Buyer's Guide supplement found in EGM's August 1991 issue. Instead of letting the four critics voice their opinion, they simply offered a synopsis of the game and published the four scores. In this case, it got 3s from Steve and Martin, and 4s from Ed and Sushi X for an average of 3.5. This is the worst score ever given to a Super NES game by Electronic Gaming Monthly, tied only with that Aerosmith shit fest Revolution X. Yeah, this game sucks.
Skate or Die: Tour De Thrash
Let's be honest, skateboarding games were a little rough before Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. This was especially true on the Game Boy, where the skateboarding games went from bad to worse. I mean, you know something is wrong when Skate or Die: Bad 'N Rad is considered a good option. But if you're brave enough to dive to the very bottom of the garbage can to find the absolute worst skating game on the Game Boy, you'll eventually find Skate or Die: Tour De Thrash. I hope you brought kneepads for this one.

"Is this all that there is?" Martin lays out everything you do in Tour De Thrash: "Lots of action in a halfpipe setting. Move around and build up speed. Do lots of flips, score lots of points depending on your techniques. Move on to the next scene. What!?! No more scenes? Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive." Steve agreed rationalizing that "there are plenty of moves that you can do in the halfpipe, but when you consider that this is all the game really is, with little graphics or sound support, it appears weaker." Sushi X summed it up more succinctly: "In one word, boring." It's hard to disagree with that. Skate or Die: Tour De Trash averages a 3.5 out of 10, making it Electronic Gaming Monthly's worst reviewed game of 1991.


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