My Top 8 Worst Parts of Great Games

Posted: May 28, 2014 in My Top 8
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Battletoads

Rarely do you find the game that doesn’t have some section that just doesn’t feel designed well. No matter how much you enjoy the game, you just can’t enjoy that one part. This list goes a bit further than that though. This list is about those sections that make you shake your head and wonder exactly how they were allowed to exist in the first place. The order here isn’t really based on the games themselves, but by the sections and their general offensiveness when compared to the rest of the game.

Ninja Gaiden8. Ninja Gaiden (NES) – Birds
Do I have to explain this one? The programmers of this game were just sadistic. You’ve fought through a level, navigated absurdly difficult obstacles and annoying enemies. You have one last jump to make so you leap…and a perfectly timed bird appears on screen and knocks you backwards, down the hole you were attempting to leap over. Life gone, restart the level. What made this even worse is the fact that lives and continues were limited on the NES Ninja Gaiden games. Losing a life actually meant something in this game, and I often found myself losing more than a few by plummeting down a hole thanks to these carefully placed irritants.

Dead Space7. Dead Space (Xbox 360) – Zero G Basketball
I adore Dead Space. I’ve never played a more atmospheric and creepy game. I dreaded every corner and every new room, yet couldn’t stop myself from moving ever forward. That said, why in the world does a basketball game show up? I’m enjoying the game wonderfully, honing my skills, and then, out of nowhere, I find that I need to learn some odd mechanics to sink a few baskets and proceed. It isn’t even that the game is all that challenging. Yes, it is annoying, but still passable. It’s more that it breaks up the flow of the game. It would be like RE4 requiring you to kick a few soccer goals on an empty field. It’s just filler. Also, to make it worse, there’s actually an achievement for this game, which forces you to actually get good at it. I have to also point out that this is an optional portion of the game, but it’s inclusion still mystifies me.

Mario Galaxy6. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – Trash Cleanup Star
The Galaxy games still remain my favorite 3-D Mario platforming games, and for good reason. Both are brilliantly crafted and feature some of the best platforming and most entertaining levels I’ve ever encountered. That said, the original contains a couple of stars that you can only get by clearing up some trash for a little robot guy…with bombs…working under a very short timer. The timer is such that one mistake will ruin your attempt, and when you fail, you have to listen to the the speech again. And it only gets more infuriating each time you fail. It also doesn’t help that the bombs have to be almost perfectly placed, so it becomes a timed puzzle game. I’ve played through this game a few times, and this mini-game (ha!) always raises my blood pressure.

Bioshock5. Bioshock (Xbox 360) – Being a Big Daddy
Yet another of my personal favorites. Bioshock does so much right that it seems almost wrong to nitpick about anything, but there is a sequence late in the game that commits one of the gaming sins. After hours of fighting through Rapture, being betrayed and lied too, and encountering numerous tank like Big Daddies that put up a major fight, you are tasked with becoming one yourself. Initially, this sounds like fun. You get the power of the most powerful enemy you encounter…except you don’t. You may be dressed like a Big Daddy, but you’re lacking their power and weapons. That alone, wouldn’t be too bad except for that gaming sin I mentioned above. Like other Big Daddies, you have to summon a Little Sister, and protect her from splicers as she gathers Adam. In the history of video games, I can recall no enjoyable escort mission, and as amazingly crafted as this game is, it is still no exception. It may just be a slight ugly spot on an otherwise stellar experience, but it is still there.

Mario Kart4. Mario Kart 7 (3DS) – Blue Shell
I chose Mario Kart 7 here, but it could have been almost any entry. I love racing games, and I love the Mario Kart series. Even the items are fun because everyone is on the same footing. That is, until, someone near the back grabs the blue shell and turns it loose on the leader. No matter what you do, there is almost no way to dodge this weapon. It is all powerful and allows you no way to evade as the other items do. This item also seems far too common and it’s not unusual to have two or three hit you in one lap. It’s terribly frustrating to be doing extremely well, only to be hampered by something that you can’t defend against. Nintendo, at least give us a fighting chance here (as a side note here, it appears that there is an item in Mario Kart 8 that will do just that).

Skyward Sword3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) – Motion Controls
Oh, this one will raise some eyebrows. Skyward Sword was heralded for its motion controls. It was the entire basis of the game and the primary selling point for both the game, and for what the Wii (and by extension, the WiiU) was fully capable of. Let me explain though. I’m not speaking of aiming mechanics here, nor rolling bombs or strumming the harp. No, specifically, I’m speaking of the sword controls. Perhaps it was just me, but all too often, I would move the sword to the proper area to strike an enemy, only to have the game read it as an actual attack. This wasn’t too bad with normal enemies, but when bosses required precision in this area, it became a major frustration. I would try to move more slowly, but the enemy(s) would then shift before I was in position. In later battles, it simply became a guessing game. I appreciate what Nintendo wanted to do with this game, but from my experience, it just didn’t work. Maybe I’m alone here, but I’ll take a button press for sword attacks over the frustration of motion any day.

Tropical Freeze2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (WiiU) – Underwater Boss
Few times have I felt frustration at a game like I did during one portion of this game. This game re-introduced swimming to the DKC games after it was absent in DKCR. The controls were…okay, but as with most swimming levels in games, lacked the tightness required in a platforming game. Still, they were manageable and completing the primarily underwater world wasn’t a terrible task until you reached the boss level. First of all, you are surrounded by the equivalent of spikes, meaning your playing field is immediately limited. Secondly, the boss likes to enlarge itself, giving you even less room to maneuver. Finally, to top all of that, you have to watch your air supply. All too often, my Kongs seemed to refuse my input, all too often wandering in the wrong direction, or deciding that I was trying to get them to boost for a moment, resulting in the loss of a heart. As much as I enjoyed this game, I actually set it aside for four days after first trying to beat this boss. Once I did best him, it was completely by accident, and I was left to ponder how such a terrible battle could have found its way into such a well designed game.

Goldeneye1. Goldeney (N64) – Protect Natalya
Goldeneye redefined what FPS games could do on a console, and is still enjoyed for both it’s incredible design and absurdly fun multiplayer matches. Still, in spite of all of the joy and fun that can be had with this game, like all games on this list, it has one major black eye. One particular mission requires you to protect Natalya while she hacks/downloads info from a computer. As expected, you soon have a couple of enemies appear, but nothing major. Then, a few more appear. You off them, wondering how much longer you have to do this. Too long. By the time she is finished, you’ll have enemies coming from all directions, not to fire at you, but to take out Natalya. As I mentioned before, no game has yet been able to make an escort or protection mission fun, and this mission drives that home. There is zero fun to be had protecting Natalya and, once you are finally finished, you’ll most likely never look back at this level, except to shudder for a moment and recall the frustration of having to repeat it again and again until you finally tasted victory.

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