Is there any greater gaming term than "boss fight"? Nothing's more satisfying than a titanic struggle against a powerful enemy that's been making your virtual life hell. And that's why it's baffling that developers will sometimes throw in a battle that feels like the boss wandered in from a totally unrelated story, like a stripper that shows up at your grandma's funeral.
5 Shinobi Is Copyright Infringement: The Game
Starring the world's most visible ninja (white clothes? Why not just wear neon?), the Shinobi games are your typical "stroll to the right and stick throwing stars into the organs of everyone you encounter" beat-'em-ups. The first was a modest success, but one of the sequels, The Revenge Of Shinobi, decided to build on the simple premise in the most illogical and illegal way imaginable. Does this villain look familiar?
Seasick Batman V Fashion And Strategy Inept Ninja actually sounds more promising
than Batman V Superman.
How about this one?
Hell, F&S Inept Ninja would have been a better villain for the new Spider-Man movies too.
And all these fuckers right here?
A game about a ninja taking down a criminal syndicate that kidnapped his bride originally doubled as a playable copyright-violation guide. The game's manual hilariously tries to pass off Batman and Spider-Man as a single shapeshifting enemy known as Web-Bat, because apparently in Japan copyright law doesn't apply if the copyright infringement is done by a shapeshifting mutant. They don't even bother trying to explain the presence of mini-Godzilla, skinny-jean-wearing Incredible Hulk, a Terminator dressed like a maintenance worker, and an army of Rambo clones, because those are obviously just the sort of foes a modern ninja encounters on a daily basis.
To the surprise of no one except some very naive Sega programmers, the game had to be altered several times after its initial release. Rambo and Batman were the first to go, with the former getting his head shaved and the latter becoming a bat-winged devil.
They wandered out of low-budget hell and a leather bar, respectively.
Godzilla then became a legitimately freaky skeleton monster. Shit, it's almost like putting in 10 seconds of thought can produce better results than mindlessly ripping off existing ideas.
Still not sure what this has to do with ninjas, though.
Incredibly, the fake Spider-Man actually became the real Spider-Man. Sega got the license (to make a game where he fights Kingpin's gorilla -- foreshadowing alert!) and Marvel had no problems with them turning their beloved web-slinger into evil fodder for a ninja hero, possibly because Sega had the loved ones of Marvel's CEO tied up in a Kyoto basement. But when the game was re-released in 2009, Spidey got a bright pink dye job, presumably because the license had expired and the developers took the opportunity to humiliate him further.
It's the one combat color less practical than white!
Meanwhile, the Terminator and the Hulk were somehow never altered, proving that if you steal enough ideas at once a couple will slip through the cracks unnoticed.
4 True Crime: Streets Of L.A. Ditches The True Crime For Zombies
In 2003, when the term "open-world sandbox" was basically a magic spell that made people throw money in your face, True Crime: Streets Of L.A. was released. The game revolves around Nick Kang, an LAPD detective who wants to find out what happened to his missing detective father. Because if you want to discover your dead loved ones, repeating their exact mistakes is technically one way to go about it.
Based on the title, the premise, and the fact that Kang's new partner is shot so fast Dirty Harry would find it appalling, you'd expect your standard by-the-numbers police story. And, for the most part, you'd be right -- Kang investigates a series of bombings, tangles with the Triads, and confronts a counterfeiting ring. And then there's the part where you battle a horde of zombies.
After a lead takes Kang to a gang-run Chinatown restaurant, a zombie stumbles into the kitchen out of nowhere, which seems like a no-no even for L.A.'s health code standards. After dealing with the undead attack like he's issuing a parking ticket, Kang descends into a series of zombie-filled tunnels that lead him to a face-off with Ancient Wu, the telekinetic leader of the Triads who's basically Fu Manchu but somehow even more racist.
It's a pleasant surprise that he doesn't run a laundromat.
Wu insists that instead of that "arrest and interrogation" nonsense, he's going to put the cop through a series of mythical tests. And so a game that had been all about car chases and shootouts suddenly turns into Big Trouble In Little China. First Wu summons fire demons from the giant lava pit that apparently lies just beneath L.A. yet isn't mentioned in the travel brochures ...
"Hi, we're fire demons, and it's so great to meet you, and OMG what a cool gun!"
... then you fight his figuratively and literally hot kung-fu concubines ...
"We'll make it burn when you pee, one way or another."
... and then he unleashes a giant goddamn dragon.
"I'm based on the dragon.jpg clipart that came with my designer's computer!"
As soon as the dragon is slain, the game cuts to Kang talking to his superior about the information Wu gave him, with absolutely no mention of the fact that he had to fight his way through a horde of D&D rejects to acquire it. Wu is never mentioned again, nor is there any further sign of the supernatural, leaving gamers to wonder if the 15-minute sequence was all just a fevered hallucination.