The Nintendo Wii may be debatable in terms of how positive its impact on the industry is (with motion controls and all), but there is no doubting its success in the seventh generation and position as one of the Big N’s highest selling consoles. That said, the Wii has plenty of titles that exist solely to cash in on its popularity. Rather than discuss those, however, I will be talking about games that, I for one, had higher expectations for. They may not quite be as utterly rancid as the Wii’s worst, but when considering their backgrounds, they arguably fare worse.
Hello, reader! My name is Ryan Silberman, and this is my third Top 5 list!
#5 – Kawasaki Jet Ski
There simply had to be a game by Data Design Interactive on the list! That development team has no standards whatsoever. Case in point is this footage from Kawasaki Jet Ski.
So what makes this game so unbearably disappointing? Well, when I think of Kawasaki and its association with the video game industry, I think of Nintendo’s very own Wave Race for the Nintendo 64. It’s an all-time classic racing game that was not only awesome but also showed the hardware back then was capable of displaying convincing water graphics. Fast forward to two console generations later, and Kawasaki puts their name on an atrocity while Wave Race comes to Virtual Console, unscathed and as fun as ever.
Kawasaki must have felt so dumb at the time.
#4 – M&Ms Kart Racing (aka M&Ms Racing Team)
While I wasn’t hoping for this one to be the greatest game ever or anything like that, I always appreciated the M&Ms commercials for being their silly little entertaining selves and giving the cartoon candies personalities. Not to mention the 75th Anniversary they’ve been celebrating this year is nothing short of exciting.
Even in the world of video games, developers were successfully able to deliver a clone of Naughty Dog’s platforming classic, Crash Bandicoot, under the name of M&Ms: The Lost Formulas for Windows computers (and it was also ported to Playstation as M&Ms: Shell Shocked).
So if developers could imitate Crash for an M&Ms game, then why couldn’t executives hire people to be able to the same thing with Mario Kart? Instead, the Wii got……whatever this is supposed to be.
This game is broken; the racing is very slow, the announcer says “APPROACHING SOUND BARRIER” every time the player reaches a maximum in speed (which is really easy to do), one mode is completely unwinnable, and the game can’t even decide whether it wants to be called M&Ms Kart Racing or M&Ms Racing Team! It’s absolutely stunning to see just how badly a game can crash and burn! Thankfully, after this, M&Ms Beach Party and M&Ms Adventure plagued the Wii library together, and Mars knew better than to trust low-rate game publishers like Zoo ever again.
#3 – Spongebob Squarepants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge
People that haven’t played video games starring television’s favorite sea sponge may not understand why there were expectations to be had, but believe it or not, Spongebob has always had a stellar lineup of titles. Particularly, the Battle for Bikini Bottom and The Spongebob Squarepants Movie games are legitimately and thoroughly fun games, especially for fans of the cartoon series. Heck, later titles like Creature of the Krusty Krab and even the game based off the crappy Truth or Square special are harmless and can be enjoyed.
And then the rights to the franchise’s game licensing got bought out by Activision when THQ closed…
Plankton’s Robotic Revenge is a soulless use of marketing, much like most of Activision’s properties. Spongebob and the crew get equipped with uninspired weaponry to destroy uninspired robot enemies to foil Plankton’s uninspired scheme to steal the Krabby Patty formula. Literally every aspect of this game’s design is boring and off-putting, and I doubt Spongebob is known for being such things.
The level designs are all extremely linear and filled with the same types of enemies throughout, and while the characters look freshly recreated with their new models, the cutscenes have clunky bare-bones writing and the characters don’t even face themselves or the screen the majority of the time they make said badly written exchanges. To think Spongebob once had games that followed the expansive platform-adventure formula Super Mario 64 popularized.
#2 – Major Minor’s Majestic March
If the art style looks familiar to you, then you may be reminded of a certain Playstation classic named Parappa the Rapper. Created by Japanese pop musician Masaya Matsuura and abstract artist Rodney Greenblat, Parappa is often credited for being the reason rhythm games exist. It’s highly stylized, highly likable, and highly influential.
Unfortunately, this series came to a halt after the release of Parappa the Rapper 2 on the Playstation 2. There were various inner troubles regarding who owned what for the franchise among other things, keeping it on ice until some random miracle calls for a Parappa 3 to exist. But Masaya’s team did get to work with Rodney on an original project altogether as an exclusive for the Wii. Majesco took publishing duties this time, but Masaya’s development team, NanaOn-Sha, was ready to provide a new rhythm game experience for Nintendo’s motion-controlled system.
The gameplay makes some sort of sense; the player rhythmically shakes the Wii Remote like a baton, but the execution seems unreliable to say the least, and could be better suited to the Nintendo DS’s stylus controls. Even if the controls aren’t that much fun to utilize, the game contains plenty of power-ups that exist to ease play, going as far as to automatically take control for a period of time so the player wouldn’t have to worry about screwing up! As expected, it nullifies any challenge one could possibly face in the game.
And since this is a rhythm game, it should be expected that there is a severe focus on the music. Problem is: Major Minor’s soundtrack is completely forgettable, with the lone exception sounding like a total ear grater. The Drill Mode bonus game is also pointless regardless of whether or not you succeed in it, and the presentation plays out like a preschool kid’s book.
So yeah, Major Minor’s Majestic March wasn’t really that majestic.
#1 – Heavenly Guardian
Here’s an interesting little title. Before games such as Mega Man 9 made the idea of a retro revival a common thought among gamers, Heavenly Guardian was a retail Wii game that wanted to feel like an oldschool gem. In fact, it was originally going to be a game in the Pocky & Rocky series, which is relatively obscure. However, it is unique in which the games play like shooters, except the characters walk around on terrain in eight directions and trying to reach the end of the stage. Heavenly Guardian is just like this, only the developers somehow lost the Pocky & Rocky license, and the game itself is massively disappointing.
In fact, part of the reason it’s disappointing is because of how it truly did have potential to be a hidden gem. The graphics have a clean pixel look to them, the music isn’t too shabby, and the basic gameplay would have been great and fun especially with a second player to play the co-op mode with! There are just two flaws. Two. Incredibly. Major. Flaws.
- The difficulty is absurdly steep. The first level is playable enough despite the boss battle being a bit of a pain, but then subsequent levels take the difficulty far beyond human capabilities to the point where the player could only wish to save his or her progress and continue later when more torture can be taken, but…
- THERE IS NO SAVE FEATURE! Rumor has it there’s a level select feature after the player beats the game, but good luck trying to even make it to the end in the first place!
These features should have been a cakewalk to fix, yet the game is left in this archaic, nigh-unplayable state, as late as the year 2007.
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All of the Game Party installments
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