Companies used to just love making awful video games to capitalize on the success of some franchise's popularity or promote and market the original IP. I'm unable to tell you how many terrible tie-ins dominated my youth. My spirit is still haunted by the memory of repetitively smashing my head against a level of The Polar Express video game on my navy blue Game Boy Advance.
Thankfully that trend of thoughtlessly allocating some budget to half-heartedly make a crappy game has been dying off slowly since its anecdotal peak during the aughts. Hopefully, it stays in that death spiral so we can avoid games like ...
It's pretty ironic, given the premise of Fight Club, that the execs who owned Fight Club's rights created this piece of consumerist trash. This time, instead of making up some bizarre story that exists within the plotline of the original medium, the makers behind the Fight Club video game cloned out a very standard 3D fighting game where you can play as a variety of characters from the movie and pit them against each other in Jack's complete lack of understanding the point.
While the game is largely just the arcade mode of endless fights, there is something of a story mode. You play as a character called "Hero" and fight your way through the fight club ranks, working to become Tyler Durden's right-hand guy and delve further into Project Mayhem.
And your reward for completing the gauntlet of trials? You unlock ... Fred Durst. Yes, the lead singer of Limp Bizkit, Fred Durst. As a playable character. In a fighting game. Given that Meat Loaf is the voice actor for Robert Paulson, I guess this is the only game where you can pit Limp Bizkit and Meat Loaf against each other. In an ideal world, the champion of this battle of the bands would receive a $25 Hooters gift card, courtesy of the Brotherhood of Sad Divorced Dads, but in the world of Fight Club, wiping your blood off your face is a grander reward than wiping off decent, if not overrated, wing sauce.
The only problem is ... how were you supposed to invite your friends over to play against you in Fight Club, when you're not supposed to talk about Fight Club? Just kidding, there's no possible way people purchasing this game had any friends.
Now this one is an interesting string of events. Street Fighter, the original arcade game, was such a popular success that Capcom decided to make ... Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. Now that game was so successful that they decided to make a movie based on it. So Street Fighter II spawned Street Fighter (which is, again, the movie, not the game).
That movie loosely follows the plot of the game that it was based on. Hoping to cash in on its inevitable success ...
... they made a game based on that movie based on that other game, called Street Fighter: The Movie. Yes, the movie based on Street Fighter II was called Street Fighter, and the game based on the movie Street Fighter was called Street Fighter: The Movie.
What made this game different from the game that the movie was originally based on was that it used digitized versions of the actors as the characters in the game. Now that's not even the game we're really here to talk about.
Street Fighter: The Movie was popular enough that it spawned its own evolution, console games for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation titled Street Fighter: The Movie. These were not the same game. They were both based on the movie Street Fighter, and they both used digitized versions of the actors, but they were mechanically separate games. Now, if you find that confusing, you honestly aren't the only one. Most of the critics reviewing these games didn't even know that the console game was not just a straight port of the arcade game, not that it really mattered all that much, because both games were received incredibly poorly by the critics.
Street Fighter: The Movie as a whole had essentially become a Zangief nesting doll of failure.
You'd think that a movie inspired by video games would have put in a little effort to make a video game adaptation somewhat palatable. You'd be wrong.
In the original press release, The Executive Vice President at Activision, David Oxford, stated, "Wreck-It Ralph, as a brand entity, is perfectly suited for video game stardom." You were right, David, so how did you botch this so bad? This game dropped in 2012, but you would not have guessed by looking at the graphical eyesore it contained. It looks like it was made for N64 (and not good N64, we mean like Superman 64), but this was released on the Wii.
TThe story of the Wreck-It Ralph game picks up shortly after the movie ends, where Ralph and his cohort of game cabinet characters rush off to defeat the apparently now continued Cy-Bug threat. It's definitely regurgitated plot garbage that doesn't quite fit into the story-line very well, but it's meant to be a narrative continuation of the movie. Which it does poorly.
The silver lining of this whole game is that the painful experience is short, and I mean short. We're talking sub-two hours from start to finish. You could literally play this game while watching the movie, beat it, then watch the last ten minutes of the movie so that your night doesn't end on a complete low note.
It's truly an insult to people everywhere that Activision and Disney had the gall to sell this game as a full-priced release. If you wanted to sell something that people might actually enjoy, why not just recreate the arcade games that these characters were meant to be in, add a little world-building, and give people a chance to experience the universe in a way that they haven't already, rather than a half-hearted movie continuation.
This is an abomination. If you haven't heard of this awful game adaptation from the equally awful reality TV show, then consider yourself lucky. The Duck Dynasty game is nonsense. The level of nonsense is hard to explain. There really isn't a plot, though the game attempts to tell one through a series of disjointedly connected clips from the show and in-game animated cutscenes. I have criticized other games on this list for their poor writing, but this is truly the cream of the crap.
In an attempt to give an explanation to what this game is: you play as Willie's son, John Luke. John Luke has to wander around their estate, talk to various cast members, and do some various Duck Dynasty-themed jobs. This ranges from driving a car, driving a boat, hunting some ducks, catching some frogs, and killing some beavers. It would really be more apt to say that this game is just a series of loosely strung together and unenjoyable to play
This game is also as ugly as a cameo suit. I mean, it was never going to be Game of the Year or anything, but looking at other games that came out at the same time (Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, and Shovel Knight), it's weird to think it was developed in the same calendar year, let alone decade.
It's truly a laughable game, and somehow, as poorly received and put together as it is, GameStop has the audacity to continue to list it for $50 in their online store.
Who doesn't love the Sopranos? I don't think I've had a single conversation with some wannabe film guy who didn't end up giving me a solid 15-minute lecture praising the series. Heck, when I first moved to NYC, I lived right above Mulberry Street Bar, the real-life location of the Averna Social Club, and got to see firsthand all of the Sopranos tourists clogging up the sidewalk like blocked heart arteries after too much gabagool. It makes sense that HBO would have wanted to take this major hit and milk it for as much cash as it was worth.
So it seems that David Chase, the man behind The Sopranos, had said in an interview that he didn't really want to make a game, but had thought of a story idea "about a regular Joe from nowhere who decides he wants to be in the Mafia and how you go about joining."
Well, what ended up coming out of this idea was an HBO Exec pushed Playstation game, where the illegitimate son of "Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, Joey LaRocca (the player), is offered up a chance to join up with the Mafia. The story feels like fan-fic scribbled together from notes pulled out of Chase's dumpster. Something about you accidentally killing the nephew of the boss of the Philadelphia Mafia family. You then kill a hitman that the mob boss sends after you. Then a car gets stolen, then you steal it back, then the car gets stolen again, but this time by the opposing mob boss ... then the mob boss rapes and beats your girlfriend?
Ultimately, you kill this mob boss, all while the ghost of your dead father, who was killed by Tony Soprano, is talking to you and giving you advice.
Woke up this morning, played a piece of shit.
Then you officially join the Soprano Clan, your ghost dad is super happy for you, and everyone lives happily ever af--
Top image: Capcom, Vivendi Universal Games