The 2000s gave us a lot of great video games. I didn’t know a single person who wasn’t playing Guitar Hero 2 or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Halo: Combat Evolved is the game that changed my mind about first-person shooters. The motion controllers of the Nintendo Wii gave rise to games like Super Mario Galaxy. And with games like Bioshock, The Sims, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, the decade had a little something for everyone.
Along with all those brilliant games came some really bad ones, though. Hey, they can’t all be winners, right?
With so many consoles popping up during the past two decades – the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 all hit shelves between 2000 and 2010 alone – it felt like new games were coming out in rapid-fire. It’s inevitable that some of them would be duds.
From sluggish controls to glitchy effects, bad graphics to lack of substance, these games were no good.
They are all so bad, in fact, that I didn’t even rank them. They’re all tied for last place. Instead, I listed them in order of release, so we can crawl through the muck year by year.
Take this list as a warning. These are the games you don’t want to play – and if you already have, I am so sorry.
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (2000)
The Mortal Kombat franchise has played a big part in revolutionizing the fighting genre over the years, but the franchise unsuccessfully tried to take a few detours into other styles. Mortal Kombat: Special Forces was one of those ill-fated detours. It was an attempt at an action-adventure game featuring MK characters instead of the usual fighter but flopped thanks to poor level design and tedious gameplay.
The Simpsons Wrestling (2001)
If you have high hopes for a Simpsons video game, don’t look here. This wrestling-meets-beat-em-up game could have been fun if it was done right. Unfortunately, it features horrendous animation and simplistic gameplay that requires zero skill. It won’t even keep young kids entertained for longer than a few rounds.
Charlie’s Angels (2003)
Video games based on existing movies don’t usually turn out so well, and 2003’s Charlie’s Angels for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube definitely proves it. There are not really any redeeming qualities here, as the graphics, sound, and gameplay are all dismal. It’s even worse than the movie Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (2003)
Racing around in giant 18-wheelers instead of race cars sounds really cool – and it probably could have been, if it had been done properly. Instead, we got Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. It’s loaded with low-quality graphics and abnormal physics, and there’s no computer AI so opposing vehicles never leave the starting position. You can’t even crash into stuff, as the trucks just barrel through other vehicles and buildings. At least all the grammatical errors and typos gifted us the “YOU’RE WINNER” screen.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003)
Batman is one of my favorite superheroes, so why wouldn’t I want to assume the bat-role and fight crime? Well, if it’s with Batman: Dark Tomorrow, I’ll pass. I can think of a million other things I’d rather do, including a root canal. It’s littered with repetitive missions, terrible camera angles, and poor controls. It was bad enough that the PlayStation 2 version was canceled.
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)
I have very fond memories of 1996’s Tomb Raider, one of the first action-adventure games I really got into. I will not let Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness ruin my love of Lara Croft. The premise sounds pretty cool: Croft is a suspect in the murder of her former mentor while also investigating a black magic cult. Alas, the game suffered from bugs, poor controls, and wonky camera movement.
Ninjabread Man (2005)
In theory, a gingerbread ninja seems like it could be fun. In reality, Ninjabread Man couldn’t cut it. The game looks like it was designed by a kid, with terrible gameplay to match. A sequel was in the works, but the game company went out of business so it never saw the light of day.
50 Cent: Bulletproof (2005)
You can’t knock 50 Cent’s hustle, but perhaps he should have done something – anything – besides a video game. Dr. Dre, Eminem, Young Buck, and DJ Whoo Kid are in on it, too. Although it featured a pretty solid soundtrack, it suffered from poor gameplay mechanics and awkward graphics.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
It’s wild to me that Sega’s golden child could wind up in a game as appalling as Sonic the Hedgehog, but here we are. From a technical standpoint, the game features poor camera angles, tons of glitches, and extremely long loading times. The game was also criticized for a crappy storyline riddled with plot holes and bad voice acting, too. A winner all around!
Postal III (2011)
The first two installments in the Postal series were already mediocre, but Postal III came along to really drive the nail in the coffin. It’s another violent third-person shooter, but apparently, the game’s technical issues and crappy gameplay were more offensive than the game’s content.
You would think that a survival-horror game featuring an autistic girl with superpowers battling zombies would be an interesting game. Unfortunately, Amy missed the mark. It was heavily criticized for poor controls, technical issues, buggy gameplay, and terrible voice acting, among many other things. To top it all off, save points were so far apart that players had to repeat giant chunks of the game over and over again.
Double Dragon 2: Wander of the Dragons (2013)
Double Dragon 2: Wander of the Dragons was first announced in 2011, but then shelved for two years before seeing a release. I can only think that the developers spent that extra time at their day jobs because clearly, no one put any thought into the game. It’s difficult, sluggish, and doesn’t even look great. Perhaps it should have been shelved indefinitely.
Star Trek (2013)
There are a lot of games based on the Star Trek franchise, but none are as bad as 2013’s Star Trek for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. It was the first in-house video game development by Paramount Studios, and boy does it show. Even Star Trek director J. J. Abrams called the game a “big disappointment.”
Ride to Hell: Retribution (2013)
Remember when Sons of Anarchy ruled the small screen? All of a sudden, the public was foaming at the mouth for lawless motorcycle culture. Fans of the show were excited when Ride to Hell: Retribution was announced in 2008 as a Grand Theft Auto-styled motorcycle game set during the late ‘60s. Somewhere between then and the eventual release in 2013, Retribution dropped the open-world format and wound up a painfully awful, unfinished mess.
Fighter Within (2013)
2013’s Fighter Within was intended to let the Xbox One’s Kinect flex its muscles. Instead, the very cool premise was ruined by rampant technical issues like unresponsive controls and bugs. Was it a problem with the game, the Kinect, or a combination of the two?
Fast & Furious: Showdown (2013)
Just how bad is Fast and Furious: Showdown? Vin Diesel refused to appear in the 2013 video game. This is the same guy who starred in the likes of Babylon A.D. and The Pacifier. Let that sink in. Take all the time you need.
The franchise should be a goldmine for game developers, but instead, we got… this.
Rambo: The Video Game (2014)
Rambo: The Video Game promised players they could step into Rambo’s shoes during scenes from the first three films. But much like most other video games based on movies, it fails to recreate what fans have seen on the big screen. Instead, it’s just a mess of low-quality graphics and repetitive gameplay.
Alone in the Dark: Illumination (2015)
There’s nothing worse than a survival horror game that isn’t scary. This one was aimed at online players with a co-op mode, which is entirely different from previous installments in the franchise. Maybe that’s why it was so terrible. The dialogue is awkward and clunky, the graphics are really bad considering when it was released, and it’s not frightening in the least.
Vroom in the Night Sky (2017)
I would expect a lot more from a launch title for the Nintendo Switch. The game came out only five years ago! Instead, it feels like it could have been a Nintendo 64 game from 20 years prior. On top of the low-quality graphics, the game is laggy, nonsensical, and full of bugs. At least the game’s lack of content means that it’ll be over in an hour or two of gameplay.