Top 10: Terrible Launch Games

Kameo - The Elements of Power (Xbox 360)

A new generation of consoles is upon us and for the past few months, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about launch games and how they are usually not so good. Personally, I believe that most of those games need to be good enough to help sell a console, but seldom are those titles true gems that stand the test of time. In fact, most of them tend to be disappointing cash-ins.

Below, you’ll find a list with ten games that almost killed the console they were supposed to help sell (suddenly, the term “killer app” has a new meaning.) Please note that while I was doing research for this article, I read about some obscure titles I never played, so if you were unfortunate enough to play something like Sewer Shark for the Sega CD, feel free to share those memories in the comment section of the site. In the meantime, here are ten games that you should avoid at all cost.

10. Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)

Now here’s the problem with Perfect Dark Zero and the reason why most people who played it have strong opinions about the game. This isn’t an awful game, but this isn’t the Perfect Dark you remember from the Nintendo 64 era. Additionally, if you take into account that Perfect Dark Zero came out on the same console that saw the release of Halo: Combat Evolved (one of the games that set a new standard when it comes to first-person shooters,) there was no way that this game was going to satisfy those players that were really looking forward to something that revolutionized the genre in the same way the original Perfect Dark did.

Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)

9. Kameo: The Elements of Power (Xbox 360)

There was a time when big companies really cared about mascots: Mario, Sonic, Crash and so on. Enter Kameo, a poor attempt at making a mascot for the Xbox 360. Unlike most titles on this list, Kameo isn’t appalling, but it was simply a game that felt unnecessary. Developed by Rare, Kameo started as a GameCube title, but it eventually came out for the Xbox 360.

Kameo (Xbox 360)

8. Altered Beast (Sega Genesis)

Most of you probably have fond memories of Altered Beast and while the game does look impressive for a Genesis title, the rest of its qualities are as flat as they come. In the brawler, you assume the role of fighters who have the ability to transform into fierce animals. But only a few minutes after playing this game, you realize how poorly Altered Beast has aged.

Altered Beast (Genesis)

7. China Warrior (Turbo-Grafx 16)

China Warrior is a horizontal Beat ’em up that came out in Japan in 1987. The game was released in North America two years later and by that point, the game had to compete with several similar games, including Altered Beast and Last Battle. In terms of gameplay China Warrior is extremely limited (you always move right) and the gameplay was extremely repetitive.

China Warrior

6. Donkey Kong Jr. Math (NES)

Someone at Nintendo thought that it was going to be a great idea to make one of those games that are both educational and entertaining (you know, edutainment!) The thing is, the person who pitched the idea for Donkey Kong Jr. Math forgot about the “entertaining” part and the result was a game that nobody wanted to play. Nobody!

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

5. Mortal Kombat Gold (Sega Dreamcast)

Little by little, the Mortal Kombat series started losing the qualities that made the series what it was. Mortal Kombat Gold came out during that time and on top of that, this was the game that started one of the series’ most annoying tendencies, 3D. Titles such as Soul Calibur and Tekken had proved that solid 3D fighting games were possible, but instead of taking inspiration from those games, Mortal Kombat Gold tried to do its own thing. And what a mistake that was.

Mortal Kombat Gold (Dreamcast)

4. Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire (PlayStation 3)

Are there any good Gundam games? I’m pretty sure there are, but for some reason, the company behind these titles refuses to release the good ones in America. As you can imagine, Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire let’s you pilot giant robots known as Gundams. But outdated visuals, poor story, clumsy controls and technical problems prevent you from enjoying such a great premise.

Mobile Suit Gundam - Crossfire (PS3)

3. Street Fighter: The Movie (PlayStation)

Street Fighter: The Movie is a video game based on the movie that’s based on the video game. What could have gone wrong? For starters, the developers tried to emulate the look of real-life fighters, so extremely contrived photo realistic graphics were used. But that’s not all, since some of the main characteristics of the Street Fighter series were omitted, so forget about hearing the traditional sounds, seeing the classic sprites and making use of all the supers you know and love.

Street Fighter - The Movie

2. Night Trap (Sega CD)

There was a time when Full Motion Video was so big, that a lot of companies were releasing abominations that tried to emulate films, TV shows or music videos. One of those abominations was called Night Trap which is hard to describe. This is a survival horror interactive game where the player can see events that take place in eight different locations via hidden cameras. The main objective is to set up traps to capture monsters that creep into the house and save the women inside.

Night Trap

1. Marky Mark: Make My Video (Sega CD)

Do you remember the time when every single company was trying to include FMV as part of their video game? As its name suggests, Marky Mark: Make My Video was a title that let you make your own music video with the music that was included in the disc. That was in theory, now in practice, the only thing you could do with this application was switch between random videos and some visualizations that look remarkably similar to that of music players from the 90s (like Winamp.)

Marky Mark - Make My Video

These are some of the titles that didn’t make it to the final cut: Super Mario Land (Game Boy), Gradius III (SNES), Crusin’ USA (Nintendo 64), Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire (PlayStation 3), Army Men Advance (Game Boy Advance).