The Top Thirty-two Worst Horror Games, Ever, Part Six
Matt Yeager here, welcoming you to the sixth part of the Top Thirty-two Worst Horror Games, Ever. Mark would normally be here to assist, but I haven’t seen him since Wednesday, so-
GAH! What the- where the hell have you been?
I’ve no idea. But I’m ready for the next part of the list. Sorry I’m late, by the way; I had to stop at the local EBGames to put down a pre-order on Pokemon Ranger.
Well, hey, whatever, I mean, I’m just glad to see you’re back. Wait, Pokemon Ranger?
Yeah. I don’t know why, but I suddenly felt the need to buy it. Along with, y’know, Pokemon Channel, Mystery Dungeon and Trozei, and a bunch of the GBA games.
Uh… okay. You, uh, you want to get started?
… right. I’m just… gonna… gonna start.
#16: SILENT HILL 4:
Silent Hill broke into the horror scene with a bang. The creepy lighting effects with the flashlight and exploring a freaky Midwestern town while trying to figure out what exactly was going on made it one of the most interesting survival horror games on the Playstation after the original Resident Evil.
So of course they completely screw up a formula that mostly worked in the first three games. Sure there were some issues in the first Silent Hill and the second had some anti-climatic story telling, but Silent Hill 2 is still one of my favorite horror games, ever. Silent Hill 3 was a bit underwhelming to me but it continued the story from the first game. Silent Hill 4 went in a direction so completely different from the others that it wasn’t surprising to later find out that the game wasn’t originally meant to be a Silent Hill game at all.
Gone was the fog and radio static of the earlier games, taking away much of the atmosphere they had. In its place was first person view that was interesting for about 10 minutes, and a string of J-Horror clichés that nobody is scared of anymore after seeing the same pale child and long haired woman in a dozen different movies. In fact one of the only things that Silent Hill 4 shares with the previous games in the series is a clunky melee system, and some character names and places are dropped in here and there throughout the game, but they honestly had no real impact on the story.
Oh, and the story? What is the motive behind this fearsome killing streak? It’s all because some dead guy believes the main character’s apartment is his mother. Yeah, that might have spoiled some of the game if you haven’t played it, but it’s a pretty retarded plot twist anyway.
I dunno. One of my friends thinks his mother is a mattress, so it’s not that far-fetched.
It’s like every bad J-Horror movie ever made, only longer and with some frustrating control and AI issues.
Almost as painful as: Accidentally doing a Google image search for Tubgirl.
Conceptually, SH4 was my favorite of the bunch. The theme of imprisonment in one’s own home, where one considers themselves “safe”… the parallels to “House of Leaves”… and I consider myself a big fan of the franchise; hell, it’s my personal favorite Survival Horror franchise on the market. And yet… SH4 was surprisingly underwhelming. I played through all three of the prior titles to get the various endings (even the Flying Saucer ending in SH1), but I could only barely bring myself to finish SH4 before it went back to the game store as a trade in. It just didn’t… FEEL like a SH title to me, and that, ultimately, is the reason this belongs here.
Of course, I’m of the impression that we should have a survival horror Pokemon game. What? It’d be great. You could run from Gyrados and hide in lockers to avoid Gengar, and… and… oh never mind.
#15: KILLING ZONE:
Picture a game that features monsters ranging, time period-wise, from Ancient Greece all the way to modern day. Sounds good, right? Okay, well what if I said it was a fighting game? Curious? Okay, now imagine that it’s a 3D fighting game, similar in design to Virtua Fighter. More curious? Okay, now imagine if I told you it was published by Acclaim.
If I just broke your little heart, I’m sorry. If it helps any, they only published it, but as with most Acclaim games, it sucked regardless. You can tell it’s a Japanese title by the voice-overs, such as they are (imagine Mushmouth announcing Street Fighter 2) and the fruity music (one stage is, I swear, aurally populated by what sounds like Victorian-themed Christmas music).
Anyway, Killing Zone was just that game. The gist of the idea was that monsters from all planes of existence were fighting it out for… well, some prize or another, I don’t remember. I think they were trying to be the King of the Monsters or something. The game featured a fairly interesting monster variety, including a Minotaur, Frankenstein’s Monster, a Werewolf, a Ray Harryhausen-esque skeleton, a Naga (think Medusa) and uh… a fairy. I don’t know why. Anyway, the idea was also fairly interesting, because hey, no one had really made a fighting game where monsters beat the crap out of each other (save Darkstalkers, which was a far superior attempt). 3D fighting games were all the rage at the time, and the monster theme was fairly fresh, so why not try to cash in on such a concept with something different?
That does sound like a pretty good idea. Why not do it?
Because it sucked, that’s why.
Oh. I see.
The graphics made the original Tekken look like Tekken 5. The character animations were stiffer than Mark Foley at a Young Republicans convention. To call the controls “unresponsive” would be a kindness. And while there were a few combos here and there, most of them were unusable, ineffective, or not terribly interesting. The instruction manual was even broken; Frankenstein’s Monster was listed as a “good character for beginners”, which if you’ve ever played as any block of meat character in any fighting game ever, you can immediately determine this is a factually suspect statement.
Perhaps worst of all was the actual treatment of the concept, however. Darkstalkers had attempted to present the concept of horror-movie monster fistfights in an artistically pleasing style; characters were represented in amusing Japanese fashion, and their combat stages were wonderfully represented, and relevant to the characters themselves. The character models in KZ were bland and uninspired; you’ve probably seen better monsters in knock-off RPG monster manuals. And the stages? Ugly looking jagged or monochromatic backgrounds and flat battle surfaces, ala Virtua Fighter, something the genre had stepped beyond by the time KZ hit the scene. Conceptually a neat idea, in actual execution KZ was a nightmare, both artistically and functionally.
Fans of fighting games would play this and long for the days of Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi or Iron and Blood. Yes, really. Fans of old-school monsters would be better off watching Monster Squad than playing this. If anyone ever asks you why Acclaim went out of business, this is a perfect example of why: a promising concept, flushed down the john from the word go. Pitiful.
Almost as painful as: Breaking your own fingers with a tack hammer.
Never played this one either, but damn, Masters of Teras Kasi sucked, and if this is worse than I don’t think I’ll ever bother trying to find it.
#14: RESIDENT EVIL: SURVIVOR
Few things in life are guaranteed. Death, taxes…
And awesome new Pokemon games every year!
… um, and whenever Capcom creates a spinoff to the Resident Evil series, the first game is going to suck. Resident Evil: Survivor was Capcom’s first attempt to cash in on the FPS genre with the Resident Evil name, or an attempt to kill the franchise. The game starts with a mess of pixels that might be a helicopter, which crashes. Amazingly the main character survives with amnesia and a gun that never runs out of ammo, ever. Lucky for him he landed in an area chock full of zombies and other Resident Evil monsters for him to shoot.
The graphics for the game are worse than just about any other Resident Evil game ever made, which is sad since this game came out years after Resident Evil 2. The game is uglier than watching the Elephant Man make love to a midget, and almost as fun. Controlling the game with a lightgun was awkward, using a controller even moreso. It was as if they took any of the advances made in FPS of the time and ignored every single one of them (kinda like Doom 3).
Only the most delusional Resident Evil fan could bring themselves to like this game. Like people who like those hairless cats.
Almost as painful as: Dry humping a cheese grater.
Well, the PS2 Survivor game amused me quite a bit, but the first one, I must agree, was pretty pitiful. The gameplay was hard to swallow, and the graphics were pretty pitiful, and needlessly so by all indications. I guess they needed to start somewhere, and in theory the RE franchise lends itself well to the FPS genre (shooting zombies and whatnot), but even as a first attempt this was all about unacceptable. The whole “I’m a bad guy wait no I’m not” storyline kind of made me nauseous too, now that I think about it. You’d be better off with a copy of Pokemon Channel any day.
… okay, now you’re scaring me.
#13: FEAR EFFECT 2:
Ooh, look, lesbians!
Fear Effect 2 was supposed to be the wildly successful sequel to, unsurprisingly, Fear Effect, a one-trick game that managed to garner attention despite being thoroughly mediocre. Now, I didn’t HATE the original FE, largely because there wasn’t enough there to hate, but it was equal parts fanservice, unimpressive “trying to be John Woo” gunplay, and survival horror thanks to the Fear Meter. The gimmick, you see, was that you had a EKG (electrocardiogram, so don’t say I never taught you anything) meter in the corner, and as you were injured or “scared”, it began to beat faster until, ultimately, you had a heart attack and died. This was cute, as was the overall presentation of the title, but not enough to really merit a sequel. Sadly, a sequel WAS produced, and not only was it less interesting, but it was also MORE insulting. Go Eidos!
Where to begin… well, first off, let’s start with the lesbians, why not? Hanna and Rain, the two females in the game, were paired off as lesbian lovers for… well, for the purposes of titillation. Let us, as adults, disqualify the mildly amusing subtext of being aroused by polygon characters; I don’t frankly care what floats your boat. Furries, polygon women, Clefairy… mmmm… whatever, y’know?
Dude. Seriously. Stop that.
Sorry, lost my train of thought.
The fact that the characters were placed into such a relationship, NOT for the purposes of good or interesting storytelling, but rather for the purposes of interesting horny teenagers in an otherwise poor product… well, that’s really kind of telling. The fact that Eidos drew a ton of flack for it hardly helps matters.
For the record, I’m all for alternative lifestyle representation in video games, but not because you want teenage boys pitching a tent, kay? It’s not like this was done for the purposes of advocating such a relationship; it was done in accordance with the porn principle, IE “two hot chicks making out kicks ass”, so let’s not confuse the issue. And in that regard, it was lame, stupid, and a complete waste of time.
Aside from that, FE2 was for all intents and purposes the same exact game as FE1. It did nothing new, original, different, or interesting, and the graphics that had at one time looked interesting and neat now looked dated and ugly. The gimmick of the game, the Fear Meter, was still as broken and non-user friendly as ever. In short, second verse, same as the first, a little bit lamer and a whole lot worse. It’s not hard to see why Eidos would have done such a thing, of course; Tomb Raider was their template for such behavior. But when you have a franchise like FE, which didn’t exactly set the world aflame like TR did… and you make a sequel that’s identical to the original, only with more insulting sexual innuendo… well…
Plain and simple, FE2 killed the franchise dead. There’s nothing else that needs to be said about it.
Almost as painful as: Cutting off a hangnail with a saber saw
Personally, I really liked the first Fear Effect. I thought it had one of the coolest visual interpretations of hell in a video game, and besides who doesn’t like shooting demonic hookers? Eidos seemed to get the wrong idea of what people liked about the first Fear Effect and made some extreme efforts to get as much M-Rated content as they could into the game. There’s stuff in there that probably would make Jack Thompson’s head explode like that guy from Scanners. Too bad the game sucks in every other way imaginable. I’m still holding out hope for Fear Effect: Inferno, but hey, some people think Duke Nukem Forever is actually going to come out someday too.
You what you could buy to ease that pain of disappointment, don’t you?
I can only imagine.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, new for your DS! It’s… it’s… uh…
… you alright?
Jesus! Not on my shoes!
Ugh… hey, uh, hey Matt. What happened?
We just finished part six of the horror list. Also, you puked on my shoes and lusted after Clefairy.
Oh. Oh, um, okay, well, join us next week when… wait, I what?
Puked on my shoes.
No, the other part.
Clefairy, lusted after?
I think I’m going to be sick again.
Alright, well, join us next week when we look at more bad horror games. We’ll be getting into the top ten next week, and next week will be the last week, so be sure not to miss it!
Oh God, not again!