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.
6Street 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.
5Pac-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.