Ah, spin offs. Those titles that are somehow related to that series you love so much, but feature different mechanics or belong to a completely different genre. Naturally, spin offs either work (Pokémon Snap, The Typing of the Dead) or they don’t (keep reading.) Here’s a short compilation of those that don’t and those you should definitely avoid. As usual, take into account that this is a personal list. So if you disagree, feel free to share your own list in the comments down below.
5. Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight (Nintendo Entertainment System)
I remember reading about this game online and when I finally had a chance to play it, I was sorely disappointed. “Wait? This is a platformer?” As its name suggests, Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight is set in the near future. Wait, in the near past. Well, it was the near future when it came out, so you get the idea. This is what you should know in terms of story: Ken retired from his fighting career after winning the most important tournament in the world and soon after that, he became a scientist. An alien invasion takes place and naturally, he’s the one in charge of saving the world. As you can see from this description, the story is stupid, the concept is stupid and the fact that this isn’t a fighting game is stupid.
4. Shadow the Hedgehog (GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox)
A friend lent me a copy of Shadow the Hedgehog back in the day and I didn’t like it at all. The action was hard to follow, the camera couldn’t keep up with everything that happened and the inclusion of guns and a dark tone felt completely unnecessary. Sometimes I think Sega simply gave up on Sonic… By the way, this might be a spin off, but Sonic games that belong to the main series aren’t very good either. Yes, I said it.
3. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation 2, PlayStation Network)
Square Enix refuses to work on a high-definition remake of Final Fantasy VII, but for some reason, the company keeps making titles set in that universe. Dirge of Cerberus is a spin off that tries to capitalize on the popularity of first-person shooters. Sadly, every mechanic that’s related to shooting is poorly executed: enemy AI is poor, enemy design is repetitive and the gameplay is weak.
2. Death By Degrees (PlayStation 2)
Is it a coincidence that most fighting game spin offs are absolutely terrible? Death by Degrees puts you in the shoes of Nina Williams from Tekken. The core concept was promising, but a handful of serious problems prevented this action adventure title from taking off. Some of those problems were related to the poor controls, long loading times and bad camera angles. I’m glad I didn’t buy Death By Degree when I saw it in a local store’s bargain bin.
1. Soulcalibur Legends (Nintendo Wii)
After the release of Soulcalibur III, Namco Bandai decided to step away from the fighting genre and create an action adventure title set in the Soulcalibur universe. They shouldn’t have, because the result wasn’t very good. Reviewers called Soulcalibur Legends “dull, embarrassing, repetitive, unexciting, a let down” and I could go on and on. But I won’t. Just don’t buy it.
These are some of the games that didn’t make it to the final cut: Halo Wars, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, Street Fighter: The Movie, Hotel Mario, Pokemon Channel, Castlevania Judgement and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.