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Nintendo Power's Five Worst Reviewed Games of 1991
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on November 03, 2015   |   Episode 88 (Show Archive)  

The year is 1991. Garth Brooks is Ropin' the Wind, the term "going postal" is coined and Cool As Ice is freezing the box office. But this is no time to talk about the filmography of Vanilla Ice, because today we're counting down the worst games of 1991, based solely on the reviews found in Nintendo Power.

Chase H.Q.
When Chase H.Q. first hit arcades, critics heralded the Taito release as more than just another racing game. Setting itself apart from OutRun and Rad Racer, Chase H.Q. had players racing down a single opponent, doing your best to stop them from escaping. Unfortunately, this killer concept didn't translate well to 8-bit consoles. Nintendo Power found both the portable and home console versions to be lacking, though the Nintendo Entertainment System rated worse. They enjoyed the play control, but had the opposite view of the challenge and presentation. The scaling effects were rough, even when compared to other NES racers. The series fared better on Sega Master System, Game Gear and TurboGrafx-16.
Crystal Quest
With Robotron 2084 exclusive to Atari Lynx, Crystal Quest was about the closest Game Boy owners got to a dual-stick shooter in 1991. While it may sound like a fantasy-based role-playing game, this Game Boy oddity offers fast action in a science fiction setting. This wasn't enough to impress Nintendo Power. The editors seemed intrigued by the play control, but were left cold by the graphics, sound, challenge and theme. GamePro strongly disagreed. Even though they noted the ho-hum graphics, sound and challenge, critic Earth Angel ended up giving the game a perfect 5 out of 5 in fun factor. She called it "fun" and "addictive," two words missing from Nintendo Power's review.
HAL Wrestling
From the Adventures of Lolo to Kirby to Smash Bros., HAL Laboratory has created some of the most memorable games of all time. They also published HAL Wrestling, a poorly-received sports simulator released on Game Boy. Developed by Human Entertainment, HAL Wrestling is a slow-paced fighting game with plain graphics and clunky controls. Nintendo Power hated the way the game played, and also called out the unbalanced difficulty. Not even the ability to link Game Boys together helped keep HAL Wrestling from finding a spot on Nintendo Power's worst list.
Bases Loaded 3
In 1988, Jaleco was able to win over critics and fans with a half-way decent port of Bases Loaded. Two years later, they followed up the success with an even better sequel, Based Loaded II: Second Season. However, by 1991, critics were tired of the series' cliches. Bases Loaded 3 scored significantly lower than its predecessors, with Nintendo Power giving the edge to newcomer Roger Clemens MVP Baseball. Electronic Gaming Monthly concurred, giving Bases Loaded 3 low marks. Sushi-X gave it a 3 out of 10, complaining that it felt rushed and only offered "minor improvements." Apparently this was a fluke, as Jaleco was able to right the ship with Bases Loaded 4, as well as a series of well-received Super NES installments.
After developing one of the most influential games of all time, Alexey Pajitnov settled into a life of trying to reinvent the puzzle genre. While most of his ideas would eventually find a way out of Russia, it was Hatris that hit North American shores first. This puzzling spin-off is every bit as bad as Tetris is good, and Nintendo Power agreed. Reviewing the Nintendo Entertainment System version, the magazine gave Hatris a 2 out of 5. To put it in perspective, that is tied with two other releases as the lowest scoring NES game. In fact, Hatris held the record as Nintendo Power's lowest scoring game well into the 64-bit era. For what it's worth, the Game Boy port scored a more impressive 2.8, keeping it out of contention of the worst game of 1991 prize. Perhaps you're better off just skipping Hatris altogether.
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