The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Most Overrated Games #1

Final Fantasy 7 (PSX/PC, 1997)

I know, I know. You all knew it was coming. Well, why the fuck shouldn’t it be coming? What kind of list of awful, overrated sacred cows would this be if it didn’t top off with the awfulest, overratedest one? And Final Fantasy 7 fits the bill perfectly: it is praised around the internet constantly, to this day, for being the absolute pinnacle of the video game field. And it is thoroughgoing crap.

First, let’s start with the obvious: it looks bad. I mean, really, really bad. Even for a Playstation game it looks bad. I guess Square wasn’t able to master the art of making models out of more than six polygons, and the results are not pretty. The prerendered cutscenes look better — when they actually work. There’s one that is completely broken and won’t load.

Which I guess is maybe fine, since the entire game is prerendered cutscenes anyhow. I mean, the entire game. Did you just get on an elevator? Time for a cutscene of the elevator going up! Did you get on a plane? Time for a cutscene of the propellers spinning! And so on and so on. I know I bitch about cutscenes a lot, but Final Fantasy 7 probably has a greater density of utterly useless cutscenes than any other game ever.

The story is what people really praise about this game, though. And that is because they are stupid. Here it is in capsule form: a mysterious, angst-ridden amnesiac joins a group of eco-terrorists. They blow up some stuff, and a lot of people die. They’re the good guys, though, because they’re Fighting The Man. The evil corporation they’re fighting against tries to have them killed over and over again while they just, like, wander around a bit. Then a crazy dude decides to blow up the whole world because he figures out that he’s an alien (which, by the way, he actually isn’t). Meanwhile, the earth is spitting out giant monsters to murder everybody in revenge for environmental damage caused by heartless corporations. The heroes kill everything, and then everybody dies except lions. The end.

Sound good to you? Of course not. Because it’s awful. And to make matters worse, the translation is nearly incomprehensible; you might suspect that I’m just missing something because it’s so awful, but ha ha at you: I’ve played it on the PC too, with the "corrected" translation, and the story isn’t any better. It’s just a lot easier to figure out why it sucks is all.

So, okay, it looks bad and the story’s stupid. But you know me: I’m happy to forgive trivial faults like those as long as the game’s fun. And I promise you that if Final Fantasy 7 were a fun game, I’d forgive it all the "this guy are sick" it wants to print on my screen. But it isn’t. It plays a lot like any other Final Fantasy game, except you only get three characters at a time. That’s enough, though, because none of them are actually any different from any others; they all have pretty much identical stats (Cloud is like 10% better overall than anybody else), pretty much identical gear, and exactly identical skill sets: Fight, Item, and Defend. So, hey, all the characters are the same, and nobody does anything fun? Awesome!

You wander around the world in pretty much a straight line (at the very very end of the game there’s a tiny amount of optional content, but, except for that, it’s 100% linear), fight repetitive battles, solve really boneheaded pseudo-puzzles, and then play awful minigames like the chocobo races and the stupid tower defense thing. Meanwhile, you’re being interrupted by cutscenes every few minutes.

Why people think this game is good is a mystery to me. It is not. Final Fantasy 6 was better in every conceivable way. My only guess is that they all like it because it’s just one of those things that the idiot gaming press tells us we’re supposed to like. I honestly wonder if most of the people who rave about this game have even played it. I suspect that, if they had, they would maybe reconsider their adoration for it.

Oh, final quick note: if you tell somebody that Final Fantasy 7’s story is garbage, prepare to be rebuffed with some snooty nonsense about how you just don’t understand "Japanese storytelling." Fuck that. It’s garbage, and that’s not a matter of cultural differences. It’s a matter of angst not being nearly as awesome as fucking teenagers think.

November 9th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | no comments

Most Overrated Games #2

Fucking Myst
Myst (PC, 1995)

Oh God. I’m going to need to go back to therapy after writing this one. Why do you think I kept putting it off?

Seriously, fuck this game. Myst is the most obnoxious entry in the awful "multimedia CD-ROM game" genre that popped up about as soon as CD-ROM drives became cheap enough that everybody had one. This was a genre of games that consisted of nothing but FMV cutscenes interrupted periodically for stupid minigames. If that sounds a lot like every video game to you, well, now you understand the depth of loathing that I hold for the multimedia CD-ROM genre, since I consider it responsible for everything that’s awful about modern games.

This genre produced exactly one game that was any damn use at all, and it sure wasn’t fucking Myst (for reference, it was Trilobyte’s The 7th Guest, which wasn’t a masterpiece, but had some decent Layton-y brainteasers and cutscenes that were both acceptable quality and fairly short). Myst was quite possibly the worst of a bad lot. Nominally an adventure game — never a good sign — Myst actually turns into nothing so much as a whole lot of random clicking while you wait for something to happen. If that sounds like fun to you, consider that, when something does happen, all it means is that you get to watch a movie that makes no fucking sense at all and has no context.

Myst has no gameplay. None at all. You transition from static screen to static screen as you walk around the "islands," and periodically you find the correct pixel to click on to start a "puzzle." The puzzles are utterly inorganic and lacking in context, but, worse than that, they are frequently arbitrary and senseless, and you are generally given no guidance at all, so you end up stumbling around in circles until you hit on just the right sequence of actions to solve a puzzle. True story: the game is so heavily dependent on aimless wandering and confusion to pad out its length that you can actually complete the whole thing in ten minutes if you know the solutions to the puzzles. There’s that little substance here.

Plotwise, the game is about some damn thing. Who knows, really? It’s one of those fucking "arty" games that tries to make a big secret of what it’s actually about, but it’s so disjointed and boring that, by the time you find out, you don’t really care. You read this book called Myst, and it transports you to an island, where you bumble around looking for magic books. Then the game ends and you can go play something else, which is the best part.

For some reason, people went completely bullshit for this game. I can kind of understand it at the time — the popularity of games like Myst and The 7th Guest was rooted in the fact that, until the CD-ROM drive became a common item, game developers didn’t have enough storage space to tart up their games with hours of prerendered cutscenes and voice acting, and so, when those games finally started hitting the market, they were exciting mainly because they were something new, which I dig to an extent. But come on; when was the last time you thought about The 7th Guest? Phantasmagoria? Return to Zork? But some people apparently think there’s a reason to play Myst in the year 2010, since it’s just recently had a DS remake, and just today launched on fucking Steam. These people are bad and wrong, and nobody should ever go anywhere near this thing again. It’s not even worth the five dollars they want for it on Steam.

August 6th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | 2 comments

Most Overrated Games #3

Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 (N64, 1996)

Blah blah blah changed the face of gaming. Yeah, it sure did. Specifically, it changed it to a face that was all about open-world scavenger hunting dotted with stupid racing minigames. Thanks a lot, Mario 64!

Okay, let’s be fair for a minute. When Mario 64 came out, it was legitimately revolutionary. So all the praise it gets for that is, I guess, warranted. But all the praise it gets for being one of the best games ever made is, in a word, not. In two words: fucking not. And in four: fucking not, ’nuff said. I’m using 362 words, though, so I suppose I can’t just leave it at "’nuff said." Here’s the deal. Mario 64 had some good moments — specifically, the Bowser levels, when the game was about running and jumping and stomping on turtles and mushrooms. But, in between those levels, it had an awful lot of running around in huge open arenas trying to find stars. Is that what anybody bought Mario 64 to do? Run around hunting for hidden objects? Did you think you were buying Waldo 64 instead?

No. Nobody wanted that. What we wanted was something that was more about, you know, jumping than it was about trying to navigate the ice slide and staying ahead of the fat penguin. But Mario 64 just taunted us, providing us with glimpses of the gameplay we actually wanted, and then hiding it behind doors that said we needed to go play scavenger hunt 15 more times before we could go to the next fun part. When we weren’t playing scavenger hunt, we were doing even less fun things like awful flying courses and awful race courses and awful lava surfing courses and absolutely not, for any reason, jumping on any damn mushroom men.

The worst part, of course, is that ten years of 3D platformers did nothing but copy Mario 64. How lame was that? It took ten damn years before somebody finally put out a 3D platformer that was actually about platforming (which, ironically, was also a Mario game). Every Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, Jak and Daxter, or what-have-you was just trying to be Mario 64. The bad part is that, mainly, they succeeded.

March 31st, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | one comment

Most Overrated Games #4

Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid (Playstation, 1998)

Let’s get this out of the way to begin with: this game looks like complete shit. I’m sorry, but it does. I get that the Playstation couldn’t handle as much 3D as they wanted for this game, but it seems to me that the better solution would be to use a bit less 3D and make the stuff you have look not so much like ass, yeah? Especially since, hey, riddle me this: is there any reason to make your game in full 3D if you’re not going to allow the player any kind of camera control anyhow?

Beyond the fact that the game looks like shit is the fact that the controls are extremely ornery. Aiming is a severe chore due to the game’s unwillingness to allow you to move the camera (which means no first-person aiming mode) — I don’t just mean precision aiming, but even just, like, shooting straight ahead. When you do get the game’s one aimable weapon — the sniper rifle — you’ll find that its aiming controls are even worse; the aiming reticle sloooooowly drags its way around the screen as you haul on the stick, and you end up getting your face shot off since you can’t get the gun pointed at the damn boss fast enough to accomplish anything. Which is exactly why nobody does the second Sniper Wolf fight with the sniper rifle.

While I’m talking about the bosses… holy shit. There are a few good ones here and there, but the garbage is laid on thick. In addition to the Sniper Wolf fight, there’s the Revolver Ocelot fight, where you run in circles around and around and around and then try to aim at him, and if you miss a step it’s instant death. Or there’s Liquid Snake, who you have to punch off of a giant robot within a time limit, and, if you fail, you get to watch a ten-minute cutscene all over again. But, most importantly, there’s Psycho Mantis. Psycho Mantis has a gimmick, you see: he can read your mind! Which basically means the game is a big damn cheat, and he’ll avoid all of your attacks. To get around this problem, what you have to do is (are you ready for this?) switch the controller to port 2 on the Playstation during the jabberjaw cutscene before the fight starts. I mean, yeah, that’s a retarded gimmick, but it’s okay, because the game gives you plenty of clues to help you figure it out.

What’s that? It doesn’t give you hint fucking one? You have to look it up on the internet? Oh. Well, in that case, fuck you, Hideo Kojima.

Plotwise, the game is fun, and doesn’t get into the really absurd loony-land metaphysics of the later series entries, with with their magical mind-controlling arm transplants and so forth. The cutscene density is really thick, though, and the acting’s not so good, so you might be ready for the game to stop yammering long before it’s ready for you. And the ending is goddamn insulting, what with the final boss who you kill four times, emerges from the base unscathed, and then dies of a heart attack right before he kills you and wins the world. Seriously, Hideo Kojima. Fuck you.

March 1st, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | no comments

Most Overrated Games #5

Tetris (Every fucking platform, every single year)

Do I even need to tell you why Tetris is overrated? No I do not. Every single human being born since June 6, 1984 knows intuitively exactly why Tetris is overrated. Tetris is overrated for exactly three reasons, and, just for the sake of form, I’ll spell them out for you:

1) Tetris keeps getting released and released and released ad infinitum. I mean, hell, Civilization was pretty good, but I don’t recall every game company in the world making a Civilization clone for every platform that’s ever existed.

2) Tetris choked and murdered the puzzle game genre. For about fifteen years, every puzzle game anybody made was just goddamn Tetris with a new coat of paint. The only reason that’s not the case anymore is because Bejeweled came out, and now everybody’s ripping that off instead.

3) Recently — and hilariously — people have begun attempting to enforce intellectual property rights to the name "Tetris," which has the same sort of logic as Bayer suddenly trying to crack down on all these assholes calling their product "aspirin."

I mean, Tetris is a fine game, I suppose, if you’re a big fan of games that just keep going on and on until you lose. Nintendo was very smart to pack it with the original Game Boy, since, hell, it’s a decent enough time-waster while you’re on the train, and I guess a Flash version you can play at work is reasonable, but that’s really about it. And yet, some idiots keep putting it at or near the top of "best game ever" lists, where it clearly does not belong (aside: holy dick is that a ridiculous top ten, IGN). It is an amusing novelty that sold seven billion copies. There’s nothing wrong with that, but come on now. Best? Game? Ever?

I’m trying to be reasonable here, but, seriously. There are exactly seven pieces, and exactly two ways of manipulating them (translate or rotate). So you do the exact same two things over and over again on the exact same seven pieces until — and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet — you inevitably lose. There’s no goal at all, there’s no positive way to end the game, and there aren’t even any goddamn goombas or anything to stomp on. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that any serious candidate for best game ever has some type of stomp-on-able mushroom men.

February 28th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | one comment

Most Overrated Games #6

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, 1998)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a game that pretty much everybody remembers fondly. We were all crazy-excited for it while it was in development (for a then-unprecedented two whole years!), everybody bought it and played the shit out of it, Gamespot gave it a perfect 10, and it provided a great source of ammunition for the "N64 does so have RPGs!" fanboys who couldn’t tell the difference between Dragon Warrior and an action-platformer.

The real problem is this. If you think about Ocarina of Time, your train of thought probably goes something like "yeah, that game was awesome. Well, except for the overworld. That was pretty lame and boring. Oh, and the first dungeon was just some dumb training level with nothing much to do. And the second dungeon was all about going through the same rooms over and over again trying to get all the elevators turned on. And I guess the third dungeon was that stupid fish dungeon with the chick you have to carry around. The fourth dungeon… oh, right, the fucking maze of locked doors with that sliding block puzzle. And the fifth dungeon…" and you’ll never ever be able to name a part of the game that was actually good. So we’re left with two options: either Ocarina of Time is a game that has some unique and magical ability to be a lot better as a whole than the sum of its parts should allow, or else it’s an average game coasting on a whole lot of hype and nostalgia. I guess it’s clear which side of the issue I’m on.

The overworld is lame, and the dungeons are lame, but what about sidequests and such? Well, yeah, it has those. Mostly they’re endless fetch chains or stupid minigames where you have to jump the horse over some hurdles, but the controls are really twitchy and sometimes it just won’t go even though you’re sure you were lined up right that time. Or maybe you have to throw the stupid bombchu through the hole in the board. Or figure out who wants which mask. Did you solve the second mask without looking it up? No you goddamn didn’t.

Also there is fishing. Just like every game.

The ocarina itself seems pretty cool — you actually play the thing using different buttons for different notes, and you can even use the shoulder buttons to bend pitches if you want to — but it doesn’t amount to much in the long run. There aren’t very many songs, and almost all of them either trigger scripted events at obvious event triggers or else just warp you to dungeons. And since the game pauses while you’re playing, it’s not even like you need to learn to play in tricky situations; ultimately, by the end of the game, you probably wish you could just pick the song off the menu instead.

Some of the boss battles are excellent; they’re definitely the game’s greatest strength. Unfortunately, this does not apply to the game’s final boss. I think the fight was supposed to be cool. It seems like it. Ganon (omg spoiler!) does his thing, turns into a big pig, and then he golfs your sword away to the other side of this wall of fire. Then you need to dodge around him until you can get your sword back and kick his ass. It seems pretty fun, but the real problem is that, for whatever reason, Nintendo left a glaring hole in the design: he knocks only the Master Sword out of your hands. So if you’ve done the endless series of fetch quests to get the Biggoron’s Sword, you’ll still have that one. And you can just kind of ignore all the actual fight mechanics and slash him to death. It’s super anticlimactic. Fuck the heck is that all about anyway, Nintendo?

The next Zelda game to come out was the truly shitty Majora’s Mask, so, compared to that, Ocarina of Time is an amazing masterpiece. But on its own, it’s about 40% game and 60% hype. And those great fairies will scare you shitless the first time you see one.

February 17th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | no comments

Most Overrated Games #7

Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat (Arcade, 1992)

Here is a true fact: when I was eleven years old, my brother and I and a friend decided it would be the ultimate act of punk badassedry to go out into the street in the middle of the night (which, to us, was like 9:30) and yell "Mortal Kombat!" at the tops of our lungs. So that’s what we did. Absolutely nobody cared, as you’d expect, but it made us feel like righteously bad dudes. That’s the kind of game Mortal Kombat is: the kind of game that’s designed more for shocking your neighbours than for actual playing.

As shock factor goes, Mortal Kombat was pushing the envelope back in 1992. The game was brutal. It was full of blood and gore, and featured the now-legendary "fatality" mechanic; each character had a special move he could perform after defeating his opponent that would dismember the poor fool in some absurdly graphic fashion. At provoking a reaction, the game was superb: parents were outraged, teachers were outraged, outrage-centric political action groups were outraged, the First Lady was outraged. Which is why the people who created Mortal Kombat are certified geniuses: all this impotent outrage provided them with tons of free advertising, and it was the most effective kind — the kind that makes kids think they’re being rebellious by sticking quarters into the machine. And this is exactly what occurred.

The parents or legal guardians around the nation were so busy being outraged, and the kids were so busy being righteously punk, that nobody bothered to notice that the game’s a piece of shit. There are not very many characters to choose from, they don’t play very differently from one another, they don’t have many attacks, the stages are fairly nondescript, and the structure is absolutely standard tournament-fighter nonsense. Street Fighter 2 had been in arcades fully eighteen months by the time Mortal Kombat came out, and it was a vastly superior game in all respects. Except, of course, that you couldn’t rip your opponent’s head right out of his body and watch his spine twitch around.

Now, a lot of you are probably thinking "hey, Mortal Kombat 2 was pretty good." And you’re right; Mortal Kombat 2 was pretty good. This is mainly because they built a game to transport the gore that time around. The first Mortal Kombat, however, was bland and uninteresting as a game, and had really stiff controls on top of it. And as if that weren’t enough, Mortal Kombat is also to blame for inflicting the ESRB on us: attempts had been made for years to establish a ratings board for video games, but they always failed because Nintendo held out. A ratings board without Nintendo’s cooperation would not be good for much. The reason Nintendo was holding out wasn’t what you might think, though; they didn’t want a ratings board because they were afraid it would create precedent for gory, sexual, profane, or otherwise non-family-friendly games, which they simply did not want around. In keeping with this policy, Nintendo insisted that the SNES port of Mortal Kombat be cleansed of blood and gore and guts and intestines, and it got completely demolished in the marketplace by the Genesis port, which allowed Sega to regain a decent chunk of its then-dwindling market share by advertising that the Genesis had the "real" Mortal Kombat. Nintendo quickly rethought its position, the ESRB was born, and now video games are saddled with the same moralistic groupthink bullshit that movies have been for decades. So fuck Mortal Kombat.

February 10th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | no comments

Most Overrated Games #8

Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem 3D (PC, 1996)

Duke Nukem is the third in the "holy trinity" of old first-person shooters (Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D). Everybody played Duke, and it’s not hard to see why: the game looked incredible in 1996, and the levels of gore, swearing, and sex pushed the envelope for video games — they’d even be considered cutting-edge now, fourteen years down the road. To top all of it off, the Duke Nukem character is one of the most easily-beloved in gaming, with his instantly-recognisable pumped-up G.I. Joe appearance and liberally-ripped-off B-movie one-liners. The game also shipped with the Build editing utility, so players could make their own levels right out of the box, which proved highly popular. Did anybody not make the "big room full of naked women" map when he was fourteen? No. Nobody didn’t do that.

The gameplay, unfortunately, was getting on toward dated by the time the game came out; Duke 3D was a rather late entry in the old-school FPS genre, back when it was mainly a cross between rail-shooters and scavenger hunts. Goldeneye and Half-life were right around the corner, and would totally redefine what a first-person shooter should be with their focus on tactical thinking and stealth; Duke Nukem was still stuck in the old run-and-gun, search for the key mentality. Worse still, Duke takes it a step farther than most such games; you don’t just have to search for keys, you also have to search for weak spots in walls to blow up (and hope you have some rockets left when you find them), riddle out proper sequences to press buttons in, and find numerous "secret passages" that involve walking straight through seemingly-solid walls.

And of course there’s fall damage. If there’s anything that just simply isn’t fun, it’s a game that includes a jetpack and also fall damage, so you can zoom way the hell up in the air, but then you have to land super-carefully or you’ll get hurt. Not only is there fall damage, there’s a shitload of other types of environment hazards; when people make fun of video games for including giant rotating gears that crush you to death if you don’t time your movements just right, well, they’re talking about Duke 3D; it’s pretty much the game that started that shit.

Duke 3D was a fun game, but almost in spite of itself; the setting and the character and the interactivity and the sex were all fun, but the gameplay itself was hopelessly lacklustre. The real tragedy of 3D Realms’ closure is that they had a chance to take the style of Duke 3D and transfer it to a more well-developed game concept, but it never quite happened.

February 8th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | one comment

Most Overrated Games Ever #9

Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis, 1991)

Sonic the Hedgehog was bright and fast and loud. Those are the main selling points that it had over Super Mario World, and they worked pretty damn well. Super Mario World, in comparison, had a dopey little-kid sort of look to it, compared to Sonic’s edgy, rad-to-the-max visuals. Sonic played faux-metal at high volume in the background, whereas Mario played, well, goofy Mario music. Sonic ran real fast, and had spikes and huge eyes, whereas Mario was mostly just a fat guy with a mustache.

Unfortunately, Sonic’s game wasn’t very good. It plays broadly like Mario, with the same general platforming conventions, but significantly devolved; all Sonic can do is run and jump. There are some powerups available, but none of them add any new abilities or fundamentally change the gameplay; only one of them does anything but increment a resource, in fact. Every level is fundamentally the same; Sonic runs to the right, and you struggle to keep him under control, since he moves far too fast; therein lies one of the game’s problems. Since every level gives you ten minutes to clear it, there’s really very little incentive for flying along at full speed, and you’ll end up playing an annoyingly tentative stop-and-go approach, trying not to go too fast. Which, you may recall, was the game’s whole appeal in the first place.

The game also features the most annoying bonus levels in any game ever in all of history. They’re like a rotating maze, and you bounce around constantly, and try to make your way to this stupid emerald. It’s nearly impossible to control, and even if you’re the best Sonic player in the world, it’s still going to be largely a matter of luck if you can make it through. And your reward for collecting the emeralds? Not a goddamn thing.

By Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sega had nailed the formula a bit better, and the games actually started being fun. The first one, though, is pretty much a stinker, but it’s still widely regarded as a classic. Super Mario World was way better, even if it did look pretty young in comparison.

February 8th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | no comments

Most Overrated Games Ever #10

Earthbound (SNES, 1995)

Earthbound is an adorable RPG released in North America in 1995. The graphics are technically unimpressive, but have a certain charm to them; the charm and cleverness of the visual and audio style, combined with the well-written and humorous dialogue, have led Earthbound to have a giant fan community even to this day. This is odd, considering that, when the game came out, Nintendo couldn’t give it away; they put a huge marketing push behind it, and nobody bought it. But, in the fifteen years since, it’s taken on a life of its own, and is now one of the most highly-regarded games of the SNES era.

Which is the problem, because, really, the game’s not that good. Don’t get the wrong idea, now; it’s cute, and it’s charming, and it’s amusing, but the gameplay was extremely dated even in 1995, and certainly hasn’t held up well. Earthbound is, fundamentally, a very basic RPG, about on par with Dragon Warrior 2 (JP 1987, NA 1990) in sophistication. You control a party that builds, over the course of the game, up to four characters, and you travel around talking to people and fighting monsters. The battles are structured exactly the same as the NES Dragon Warrior games, with party info visible (but the party itself hidden), and static images of the mobs filling the majority of the screen. Unlike the old Dragon Warriors, however, the mobs are standing against psychedelic backgrounds. Combat is completely turn-based, with no interrupts available, and the player characters don’t have a wide variety of abilities.

Outside of combat, the game is also very basic; you walk around and talk to people, get hamburgers out of trash cans, and then you have to spend time managing your inventory. Earthbound came out almost a year after Final Fantasy 3, which was totally free of inventory management bullshit, and yet failed to learn that lesson. Plotwise, the game is fairly loose; the dialogue and characterisation are excellent, but it’s not really very clear what’s going on or why. You wander from town to town fighting crime, then you end up fighting dinosaurs for a while, and then you go to the evil boss’ lair and fight robots. It’s more clear if you played the original Mother on the NES, but, since that game was never released in North America, that’s sort of a tough sell.

On the subject of the final boss, the fight itself is an incredibly stupid and frustrating gimmick, and you might not even figure it out if you don’t look it up.

So there you are. Earthbound: adorable, silly, charming, but pretty weak, gameplay-wise. And a shoo-in for this list, since it has one of the largest and most active fan communities of any game ever.

February 6th, 2010 Posted by | Most Overrated Games Ever | no comments