Monday, March 24, 2008

Top 10 Regretable Game Purchases

Just because I am very selective about my games, it does not mean that I am immune from picking up terrible ones. In fact, I wish that my library consists of only the gaming greats but if that was really the case, I probably would not have a lot of games in my collection at all. The following are the games that I regretted ever purchasing them. These were the moments when my passion got the best of me. I do keep these games in the hope that they would serve a higher entertainment purpose somewhere along my journey. Though painful, this list will be updated if I encounter worse offenders in the future. [Latest Update: 03-25-2008]

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1999)
Platform: Dreamcast
Developer: Capcom Co., Ltd.
Genre: Fighting

Until recently, Capcom has been known to milk its successful fighting games to the very last drop. For the most part, the sequels they developed are always better than their predecessors. Then came MvC, the second sequel that is also a new direction for Capcom's clever and energetic cross-over fighting series. That first game, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, was a revelation - who would ever thought that the two factions would ever meet in such a fashion. It was dreamy, surreal, and frenetic. When Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter arrived, the whole thing was still kind of fresh... With the arrival of MvC, I was expecting a major overhaul but it ended up being a major step backward because I have seen it all before and there were just several new characters introduced. I should have waited for its eventual sequel. Still, one can never be sure of when the milking process would end and I would have missed out on the amazing MvC2 since I would be waiting for MvC3 or 4 or 5...

Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution (2003)
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Developer: Sonic Team
Genre: Card/Strategy

When Phantasy Star Online was first released on the Dreamcast, I was a true believer of the game. It was a great instanced massively-multiplayer game that also happened to be free! Then Sega got greedy and started charging a monthly subsription fee with Episode II. I played that on the X-Box for several months. Episode III was supposed to revolutionize the series and the Nintendo GameCube by (a) changing the direction of the series and (b) make the 'Cube's online friendly. The (a) reason turned out to be a bit suspect but I like the prospect of (b). I played the single player mode and waited until more online games arrive on the console before I would pick up the broadband adaptor for it. That day never arrived: the game's lack of success as well as Nintendo's diminishing interest of venturing into the online era left this game's true potential completely unexplored.

Yoshi Touch & Go (2005)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Score Attack/Platform

The back of the case describe this game as follows: "With countless perils waiting in the air and on the land, it'll take a golden touch to lead Yoshi through his latest and greatest adventure!" I expected this to be stage driven in its structure but actually there is technically just one stage in the game and your goal is the stay alive as long as you can before your total score is tallied. You don't get to control the lovable Yoshi... Instead, you use the stylus to clear the obstacles that lie before him. There is that refined Nintendo gameplay here in the form of its accurate touch screen mechanics but what is certain is that this is not even close to being Yoshi's greatest adventure. Being on the earlier DS titles, this game serves more as a tech demo, as if Nintendo was trying to test their audience with this release. This could have been so much more.

18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker (2000)
Platform: Dreamcast
Developer: Sega/CRI
Genre: Racing

I love arcade racing games and when this was announced, I thought it was Sega's Outrun reinvented. It has all the same elements that were similar to that Sega classic like the misguided take on the all-American sensibility, the stage to stage racing, the thrilling action... What you have instead is an extremely cheesy game -even to Sega's standard- complete with some terrible voice actings from the announcer and your trucker rivals and nothing much happening as you race. The goal of the game is to travel from the East Coast all the way to the other end of the West Coast. The stages are inventive and they capture the key elements of each of the real life areas they are trying to mimic though I don't see why you have to race through a terrible tornado in Dallas. The game's problem is that you cannot choose your route and it is all very llinear. Though that may be a necessity in the real world for these truckers, Sega should have known that they were already bending reality since you get to smash into cars and your opponents at high speed in the game so why not make it crazier by adding the ability to visit all the different states? At least Sega did learn some lessons from this awful tragedy when they released the excellent Outrun 2006. Sometimes, a crazy idea only belongs to an already existing crazy license.

Last Bronx (1997)
Platform: SegaSaturn
Developer: Sega
Genre: Fighting

With the success of Virtual Fighter and Fighting Vipers, Sega just couldn't contain themselves from developing LB and a big fan of both of those games, I jumped on it as soon as it was released on the console. Infusing the punk sensibility found in FV into a mainstream cast of characters, the game's most distinguishing feature is the weapon-based fighting. Each character is equipped with their own unique weapon like sais, sticks, nunchucks and the likes. The fighting is repetitive and the characters are just not very attractive. The game feels like a lazier, less polished version of Namco's great Soul Edge that was released before it. Tekken or VF? The latter is superior. SE or LB? Namco wins that round.

Lumines Plus (2007)
Platform: PlayStation 2
Developer: Q Entertainment Inc.
Genre: Music/Puzzle

The problem sometimes of being a completist is the desire to pursue something with such a conviction that I fail to see the logic of the situation. I love Lumines, it is a simple fact. I owned the two Lumines titles on the PlayStation Portable and the X-Box Live version of it on the X-Box 360. Then, I actually picked up this highly inferior version of the game for some odd reason. I was hoping that the version would include more exclusives but it didn't. The game looked worse on the big screen because it was a straight port of the PSP version. This wouldn't be a problem if I was a collector first before a gamer but I am the other way around. What was I thinking?

Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament (2004)
Platform: PlayStation 2
Developer: Digital Fiction
Genre: Fighting

When the name Yu Yu Hakusho comes up, the first thing I think of is the delicious import only 4-player fighting game made by Treasure on the Genesis. Maybe that was how I was able to convince myself to pick up this trash. I also thought that the publisher, Atari, Inc., had released the first two Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games at that time so this game couldn't be that bad. What I ended up with was a slow and stiff fighting game that was quite unplayable. The game is button mashing all the way and it is hard to connect your limited special moves against your ever moving opponents. It is a shame really since the cell shaded graphics are not bad at all and all the characters look the way they do in the anime.

Resident Evil: Director's Cut (1997)
Platform: PlayStation
Developer: Capcom Co., Ltd.
Genre: Survival Horror

Actually, this is not a bad game at all. You get new remixes to the gameplay and additonal features not found in the original that made it worth revisiting. The reason why this made it to the list was because of its grandiose lie about the game featuring uncut and uncensored cinematics that were heavily altered on the first release. The same censored cinemas unfortunately were attached to the game and how an error this fatal made it through quality check is beyond human comprehension. Capcom tried to appeal to the angry masses by offering free downloads of the footages from their website. Pitiful. They should have paid for their mistakes with blood... or money!

Sonic Adventure (1998)
Platform: Dreamcast
Developer: Sonic Team
Genre: Adventure

The fact that there was no original Sonic platform game on the SegaSaturn made this one so irresistable to ignore when it was released. Goodness, who wouldn't want to play Sonic after his last adventure? We will definitely get more platforming goodness even though it's presented in full 3D, right? Dead wrong! Sonic Team's obvious Mario-envy had turned our lovable platforming hero into a free-roaming hedgehog! They were probably thinking... If Mario can do it... So can Sonic! The one thing that they failed to understand is Sonic is about speed... It's about rushing from point A to point B, then defeating Eggman/Robotnik in his unique and crazy contraptions. In Adventure, you get to walk around, a Sonic blasphemy, in the hubs searching for the next action stages where you can really experience the sense of speed you have been craving. But then what is this? You have to play other slow characters while you are on it too? Sonic Team, stick to the old formula and you will see Sonic rise from the ashes on the next generation consoles. Well, I think Sonic Team may as well be closed down since the last Nintendo DS Sonic game aptly named Sonic Rush Adventure went into that whole "exploration" territory again and the recent sequel to Nights was a complete disaster.

Nights: Journey of Dreams (2008)
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer: Sonic Team
Genre: Score Attack/Adventure

Speak of the devil... Here we have the sequel to one of my top 10 greatest games, Nights: Into Dreams... Early gameplay footages cleverly hid the evil intent and the nasty infection in Sonic Team's rotting heart by only showing mostly the flying sections of the game. The many fans would eventually find out that even JoD was cursed by the exploration elements recently found in the next generation Sonic games. I braved the game critics as well as the terrible tales and picked up this game with the conviction that Sonic Team must have already came to their senses by then but oh it was all just wishful thinking. It is so repulsive that Sonic Team had the nerve to include stages where you don't even get to play Nights but the kids instead! In the original game, the kids' free roaming element is optional and is just there for those score crazy fools like myself to take advantage of it. How ballsy and yet they missed the target yet again. Nights is about fast action, free flight, chains, beating your previous score, and time management: we don't have to be forced-fed with long-winded cinematics and boring hubs to fully get the meaning of the game. Adding salt into injury, the game also features a tutorial level - disgusting. Why spend money on producing an instruction manual with the game at all and allow a gameplay this simple to be over-explained in-game? Also, they added a racing element to some of the stages where you have to chase a number of enemies to clear the stage. What the heck? Can't we just enjoy Nights the way it was originally meant to be played? Even the brilliant boss battles failed to save this one from being an extreme failure and an utter disappointment.

---10 Dishororable Mentions---

Bleach: Shattered Blade (2007) - Nintendo Wii
Online Chess Kingdoms (2006) - PlayStation Portable
Def Jam Icon (2007) - X-Box 360
Capcom Fighting Evolution (2004) - X-Box
Madden 07 (2006) - PlayStation 3
Star Fox: Assault (2005) - Nintendo GameCube
Kirby: Squeak Squad (2006) - Nintendo DS
State of Emergency (2002) - PlayStation 2
G-Police (1997) - PlayStation
Fighting Vipers 2 (2001) - Dreamcast

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