The other day I went over to my co-worker Joey Davidson’s house to hang out and record some Watch Us Plays, as we often tend to do. After we were done and I was on my way out the door, Joey picked up an old issue of Nintendo Power and drew my attention to an awesome feature story the mag did on Superman 64 where they said the game “looked promising.” This made me bust out laughing. Here and now, Superman 64 is often regarded as one, if not the worst video game ever made. And honestly, that isn’t an exaggeration. Superman 64 is really that bad.
So this got me thinking about other gaming flops. Titles that we had such high hopes for, yet they delivered on none of them. That’s where the idea for this list was born from. Here are five other games that failed miserably at meeting our lofty expectations.
Disney’s Epic Mickey
This wound still cuts deep. Epic Mickey was supposed to be Disney’s triumphant return to game development. They even secured Deus Ex creator Warren Spector to lead the project. And after a few pieces of concept art leaked onto the Internet showing us a darker side to the Mickey universe, expectations were at an all-time high.
But the greatest art direction in the world couldn’t save a game that sported horrendously monotonous gameplay and a camera system that reminded us of the N64 days, not 2010. As sad as it is to admit, Epic Mickey turned out to be a bust.
Shaquille O’Neal + fighting game = instant money. Or so that’s what developer Delphine Software and EA Games probably thought. Man, we are laughing pretty hard now at that error in judgment, aren’t we? There really isn’t much left to say about Shaq Fu and how awful an idea it was. But Shaq Fu gets bonus points for being the only game on this list where there’s a website dedicated to the destruction of every Shaq Fu cartridge on the planet. We need to erase it from existence! And that pretty much sums up how terrible this game is.
Expectations were quite high for Factor 5’s first foray into PlayStation 3 development with Lair. Hell, this is the same team that developed the much loved Star Wars: Rogue Squadron titles for Nintendo 64 and Gamecube. If there was any development team that could pull off a dragon-flight simulator, this was the one.
But then the game released in 2007 and controlled like a bag of crap. It was hard to believe this game was developed by the same masterminds that nailed flight combat so well with the Star Wars titles. Flying dragons around the battlefield should be exhilarating, yet that was far from the case with Lair. If Factor 5 was going for an authentic Dragon-flight simulator where it was purposely difficult to steer these scaly steeds, then mission success. But fun it was not.
Advent Rising was supposed to be the first chapter in a trilogy that would introduce an epic, brand new sci-fi universe. The ingredients for success where in place: the game’s script was penned by sci-fi writers Orson Scott Card and Cameron Dayton, the soundtrack was composed by Tommy Tallarico, and there was already a comic book mini-series hitting shelves to get the hype train rolling right into the game’s launch. A lot was riding on the success of Advent Rising. But then the game released and was met with mild fanfare, to say the least. It seems in all the shuffle to create the next big franchise, developer GlyphX Games forgot to make engaging gameplayin their premiere titles. Whoops!
After this point, publisher Majesco Games decided to cancel all future Advent Rising projects. Because of Advent Rising’s lackluster gameplay, we will never know what happens to lead protagonist Gideon Wyeth, and that chews us up inside. Spoiler: no it doesn’t.
Before Too Human, developer Silicon Knights was one of the industry’s premiere developers having created Eternal Darkness and the Gamecube remake of Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. But before either of those two games hit shelves, Silicon Knights revealed in 1999 that they were working on an ambitious Norse mythology action-RPG called Too Human for the original PlayStation.
But the game was met with infamous development snags that turned it from a PlayStation 1 game, to a Gamecube title, to finally releasing ten years after the fact as a Xbox 360 title. And as predicted, Too Human felt dated by 2008 standards, leading to poor critical reception and the game tanking at retail. The chances of ever seeing a sequel are slim to none. And honestly, I don’t think anyone will care one way or the other.