Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Last week we discussed how glorious it can be when a game developer takes its time and reboots a franchise properly. Games like DMC and Tomb Raider were given a proper reboot, and the new versions are arguably better than the originals. When it goes down like this, it’s great. Gamers get to enjoy a beloved franchise brought to modern standards, and developers and publishers get to make some profit from an idea that already existed.
Of course, reboots are not always good. In fact, it seems like most reboots are actually much worse than the original. All too often, reboots feel like cheap cash grabs by the creators. Instead of genuinely trying to inject new life into a franchise, it often seems like the companies are just trying to milk every last dollar they can from it. The reboot gets a huge marketing push, and builds the hopes of gamers, only to pull the rug out from under then on release day when the game is an utter pile of trash.
These are the games we are going to look at today; the worst of the worst in terms of video game franchises being brought back to life.
Here’s a great idea: take a pen and paper RPG and turn it into a classic video game RPG. Here’s a terrible idea: take that very same pen and paper RPG and turn it into a generic first person shooter. It makes no sense, but it’s the reality poor Shadowrun was faced with. I will readily admit that I’ve never played the pen and paper variant of Shadowrun, but the classic role-playing game for Genesis and SNES was fantastic.
When I heard Shadowrun was coming back for modern consoles, I was thrilled. When I heard it was coming back as a FPS, I was appalled. As expected, the game came out to little fanfare, and while it was not the worst shooter ever made, it certainly did not live up to the gameplay of the original. It’s existence just doesn’t make sense, and thankfully gamers have moved on, with the servers for the game being shut down shortly after release.
Bomberman: Act Zero
Remember the cute characters from every other Bomberman game? Well throw those out and replace them with some sort of Master Chief wannabe, and you have Bomberman: Act Zero. Clearly, Hudson was trying to capitalize on the space marine popularity while making Bomberman an edgier character with this game, and boy oh boy did it fail miserably.
Everything about this game is bad. The story, the powerups, the camera, and the gameplay are just so drab it’s not even worth a second look. A quick scan around the Internet will show this game in all kinds of “worst” lists, and I would be insane not to include it here. Seriously, if you’ve never played Bomberman: Act Zero, count yourself among the lucky and never look back.
Duke Nukem Forever
What can I say about Duke Nukem Forever that has not already been said? The game had the longest and most laughable development cycle ever, and most gamers just assumed it would never actually see the light of day. Unfortunately, it did, and as expected, it is terrible.
Unlike Bomberman, there is some entertainment to be had with the Duke. Playing this game is akin to watching a bad horror movie. Sure, the writing is terrible, but it makes that turn where it’s so bad it actually becomes funny. You’d think working on a game for what felt like forever would be the recipe for something awesome, but you’d be sorely mistaken in the case of Duke Nukem Forever.
Space Raiders (a.k.a. Space Invaders: Invasion Day In Europe)
Space Invaders is, without question, one of the most important franchises in the history of video games. The arcade release defined gaming for a generation, and it’s a game that has received some awesome remakes, especially on iOS devices. So who in the right mind through that what Space Invaders needed was some generic and downright terrible 3D looking remake?
There is nothing positive I can say about Space Raiders. The game is boring, the visuals are dull, the music is garbage and it doesn’t look or feel anything like Space Invaders. Instead, it’s some kind of weird shooter that takes place in generic looking alleys in the ghetto. It’s just bad, and if you value your time at all, you will never even consider putting this game in your GameCube. Unless you’re a masochist, in which case, prepare for the time of your life.
As we’ve seen, video game reboots can go both ways. Sometimes, a developer is able to take the best parts of a game and improve them. In other cases, like the ones above, the developers seem to have lost touch with reality. These games would be bad even if they were not reboots of classic franchises but attaching the name of a great game to them and souring a legacy makes them feel even worse.
What do you think are the worst video game reboots? Hit the comments section below and let us know!