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Producing sequels to classic game video games is one helluva balancing act. If you deprive gamers of sequels, you risk irrelevancy (hello, EarthBound). If you flood the market with shoddy crap, you'll ruin the brand (hello, Sonic the Hedgehog).

That balancing act means even the most beloved gaming franchises have farted out a trainwreck of a game once or twice in their lives. The results range from simply unplayable to laughably insane.

6
Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game (1995)

The Classic Game

In Street Fighter 2, a motley gang of martial artists travel to exotic locales to vie for the title of The World Warrior. These fighters are far from conventional--they range from "man in white pajamas who shoots fireballs" to "man in red pajamas who shoots fireballs" to "Chinese woman with Warren Sapp's thighs."

The Crappy Sequel

In the early 1990s, Street Fighter 2 was such a mammoth success that it warranted the creation of five more games also surnamed Street Fighter 2. In 1994, Hollywood jumped on board and gave us Street Fighter, the movie, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and a "we can't believe he once won awards for his acting" Raul Julia as the main characters from Street Fighter 2, the game.


A definite step down for the visionary who soulfully portrayed Gomez in "The Addams Family" movie.

This all culminated in a game based on that movie called Street Fighter: The Movie. Yes, the game was called Street Fighter: The Movie where the movie was simply called Street Fighter. Which remember was based on the Street Fighter games. It was at this exact point that the Street Fighter phenomenon promptly looped around and blew itself.

Street Fighter: The Game of The Movie of The Game was released at a time when digitized graphics--a la Mortal Kombat--were all the rage, so it made sense to use real footage of the film's stars. The game's designers were savvy. Who wouldn't want a game in which you could repeatedly punch Jean-Claude van Damme in the grill?


If he's American, why's he have a Belgian accent - oh, fuck it. None of his movies explain this.

In theory, digitized graphics required programmers to film the actors on a green screen and then fluidly reanimate them into gameplay. In practice, digitizing made the street fighters look like alcoholic marionettes pooped out by MS Paint

Thus you wound up controlling actors playing the parts of the characters you controlled in the previous games. And the game played like the pasted-on imitation it was--the fighters were spasmodic shadows of their formers selves, as if you really were trying to with a fight with a remote-controlled Raul Julia.

It also didn't help that Blanka looked not like a bioelectrical jungle warrior, but rather that kid from Mask.

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5
Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (1994)

The Classic Game

An engimatic half-moon crescent consumes oblate spheroids until the heat death of the universe.

The Crappy Sequel

We expect certain things of our video game heroes. For example, when we play a Donkey Kong game, we've signed on for the big galoot throwing barrels, not pontificating on the finer points of Rimbaud and cunnilingus.

Similarly, when we play a Pac-Man game, we anticipate endless, godless labyrinths, implacably angry poltergeists, and a deluge of non-prescription pills the likes of which this planet has not seen since the Electric Ladyland world tour.


It's no coincidence that the most of the Xanax generation grew up playing Pac-Man.

And when you pop Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures into your Super Nintendo, well, you've volunteered to baby-sit a manic-depressive family man with limbs. Liiiiiiiiimbs.

Seriously, you don't even get the joy of playing as Pac-Man. You are instead an omniscient slingshot that must guide the Pacster through his banal daily tasks, whether it be milking cows or checking his mail. Unluckily for the player, Pac-Man is a moody little prick and it's your job to put up with his frequent spells of middle-class melancholia.

This is why we hate character development in video games. We dug Pac-Man in the 1980s. Sure, he was just a faceless pill-head, but he was our faceless pill-head. After witnessing the poor guy's psychological meltdowns in Pac-Man 2, we're willing to bet that those Power Pellets were Zoloft.


This looks vaguely familiar.

Also, why's he a harried husband? Going-through-the-motions marriage sex with Ms. Pac-Man doesn't make for an exciting game. This game would've been way radder had our hero been a model-bedding commodities broker or, hell, ex-NFL superdouche Adam "Pacman" Jones.

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4
Mega Man Soccer (1994)

The Classic Game

A good blue robot must kill nine evil robots. He then fights the same damn mad scientist. Spikes always kill him, and the futuristic soundtrack always sounds like it was composed in 1987. The games' cover art also used to be uber-prog rock.

Mega Man is the golden mean of video game franchises. The game's formula has remained essentially unchanged--and perfect--for the last 20+ years...

The Crappy Sequel

...other than 1994, that is, when Mega Man developers Capcom used robot-on-robot warfare as window dressing for a soccer match. Was this game a metaphor for mid-1990s futbol violence? Who cares? This game was violence against the human soul.

The game's premise is simple. Dr. Wily, the Mega Man series' perennial villain, has given up his goal of world domination. He is now seemingly content to dominate a single soccer stadium:

Instead of prancing about a small square room until Mega Man shows up, Dr. Wily's evil robots resign themselves to kicking a ball around a field until Mega Man shows up.

And instead of shooting Dr. Wily between the eyes and saving society the trouble of having to put up with him ever again, Mega Man opts to challenge each of his robot minions to tedious, crudely animated soccer match.

We suspect soccer hooligans invaded Capcom's HQ one weekend, designed this game, and choked to death on their own vomit. When Capcom's designers came back on Monday, they discovered some bloated, booze-soaked corpses and Mega Man Soccer. Capcom--not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth--released the game, only taking time to edit out the tits.

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3
Donkey Jr. Math (1985)

The Classic Game

After Donkey Kong dominated arcades when, to be fair, there were only like three games in the world, 1982's sequel Donkey Kong Jr. was an absolute mindfuck. Mario was...the villain? Donkey Kong was...the helpless captive? Our hero was a gorilla...wearing a t-shirt?!?

For real, if you grew up during the Reagan years, Donkey Kong Jr. was like The Matrix, The Communist Manifesto, and the day you discovered masturbation all rolled into one. It changed the way you looked at the world, man.


WHOA.

But it was hardly the shameful stepchild of the franchise. No, that was still to come...

The Crappy Sequel

Imagine it's Christmas 1985 and your parents are the sort of magnanimous people who've already bought you a Nintendo Entertainment System. You know one of the NES' 18 thus-released games awaits you under the tree, but which one could it be? Excitebike? Duck Hunt? Motherfucking Ice Climber?

Wait! You suddenly find a game-shaped gift in your stocking. You tear the wrapping off, apoplectic with 1980s excitement, only to discover...Santa decided your stocking was the one he would take a dump in.

Congratulations, you're the proud new owner of Donkey Kong Jr. Math. Along with being perhaps the first educational game for the NES, Donkey Kong Jr. Math holds the distinction for being maybe the first wholly wretched game for the NES.

A single player could sloooowly solve math problem all by his lonesome, and two players could compete to see who could solve equations the fastest. The two-player mode was the only upshot of DK Jr. Math-- it allowed nerdy kids to sublimate suck-up behavior that might otherwise get them wedgied after class.

In truth, we'd be surprised if anyone learned arithmetic from this game. After all, kids were being taught by a goddamn primate.

So what did Nintendo to apologize for ruining countless Christmasses with their tedious education? They stooped even lower...

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2
Mario is Missing! (1992)

The Classic Game

The Super Mario Bros. franchise has one of the most unfuckwithable track records in gaming history. Hell, even the Super Mario Bros. movie is fairly tolerable...if you've been huffing glue.


And the Blu-Ray comes with free pint of turpentine!

The Crappy Sequel

Like Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Mario is Missing! is both an educational game and marks an important gaming milestone (Luigi's first marquee role). And like the former game, this game is painful. But whereas Donkey Kong Jr. Math is like shoving an algebra book up your urethra, Mario is Missing! is on par with cramming an entire atlas up your pee sluice.

The game opens with Bowser kidnapping Mario. Luigi must rescue his mildly obese brother by playing the world's dullest game of Trivial Pursuit.

It would be easy to mock Mario is Missing! for being an educational video game. After all, edutainment games are categorically abominable with the exception of Lara Croft: OB/GYN, which you can sadly only find at the Gamestop in the darkest corners of our minds.

No, this game earns our scorn for being the dumb child's version of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? Did you once see the cover of a National Geographic at the dentist's office while reaching for US Weekly? Good, now you're patently qualified to beat Mario is Missing! in an hour or two. That is, as long as you're good with getting your clues in the form of ham-fisted racial stereotypes:


Hint: YOU'RE IN ITALY.

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1
The Legend of Zelda Phillips CD-i series (1993-1994)

The Classic Game

The Legend of Zelda series is basically the Criterion Collection of video games - very rarely is a Zelda title not "Game of the Year" material.

Yet...

The Crappy Sequel

In the early 1990s, Nintendo allowed the Phillips CD-i gaming console to develop their own games using Nintendo properties. Phillips produced three Zelda titles: The Faces of Evil, The Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda's Adventure.

After all, the characters and gameplay are established as gaming gold. How badly can an outsider fuck it up?

Hoo boy. Let's just say that the previous five games in this article combined are still--by our sophisticated Cracked metrics--far and away less shitty than one Phillips CD-i Zelda game.

Why is this? The CD-i developers poured their budget into live-action and animated cut scenes. This gimmick could've been somewhat memorable, but production values were still so creepily low-budget that these cut scenes can easily be compared to the early oeuvre of David Lynch.

Witness the totally incomprehensible beginning of the Wand of Gamelon...

...the retinal-stigmata-inducing intro to The Faces of Evil...

...and the Monty Python-lite opening sequence of Zelda's Adventure.

Again, these horrid cut scenes took up a good chunk of this CD-i's computing prowess. The developers put even less effort into the actual games, which were Zelda games only in name.

After their trilogy of Zelda games, Phillips went on to make Hotel Mario (another game worth looking into if your childhood hasn't been irrevocably trashed yet) and discontinued the languishing CD-i in 1998. Nintendo has since ignored these games' existence, but the internet has a much longer, much stranger memory.

Benjamin also writes for Gunaxin.com

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For more on things video games do wrong, check out 7 Commandments All Video Games Should Obey and 5 Plot Devices that Make Good Video Games Suck.

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