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Question of the Week: What "classic" game did you think wasn't so great?

Posted by: Randy at 2/6/2009 2:49 AM
Bestowing the term "classic" on a game is a prestigious award.  Classic games survive the test of time--despite or even due to their inherent flaws--proving seminal to entire genres, spawning entire clone armies, creating touchstones for entire generations.  Having said that, those points are also all debatable. 

What "classic" game (classic as in everyone thinks it's fantastic) did you think was not that great or straight up did not enjoy?

Ben Berry
:  Cyril stole the one I was thinking of, but here's the other one: Ms. Pac-Man. This is a game that was a knockoff of the biggest arcade hit of all time, and from the very beginning I saw no reason to play it. Now when you see the "Classic" arcade machines that are actually re-releases, you only see this game and not the original.  (Currently Playing:  Civil War: Secret Missions)

Sean Colleli
:  I'd have to say Halo. It's heralded as this beacon of FPS innovation but I've always considered it extremely overrated. Sad, too, considering the original idea--a free roaming guerrilla warfare game on an alien world--sounded really cool.  The first couple hours riding around the ring in a Warthog were promising, but then it degenerated into a bland, empty corridor shooter with levels so monotonous and repetitive that rooms were literally copied and pasted ten times in a row.  It was like Bungie had this great 3-hour tech demo, and then Microsoft devoured them and slapped a deadline on the project, forcing them to phone in the rest of the game.  I expected Bungie to realize their vision in the sequels, but Halo 2 and 3 were both just as generic if not more so, except with a more convoluted and pretentious story.  (Currently Playing:  Team Fortress 2, Gears of War 2)

Charles Husemann:  I'm not sure if you consider it a classic but the Super Smash Bros. series is grossly over-hyped unless you're a Nintendo die hard.  The combat controls are weak and only hard core players have the knowledge it takes to get into the games.  Sure there's a large variety of characters to play but the game isn't approachable unless you've played every game before it.  I'm not even talking about the plot when makes Gears of War look like Shakespeare.  (Currently Playing:  Flower, Killzone 2, and hopefully something rhyming with Beat Writer More)

Randy Kalista:  "I tried to think of the most harmless thing.  Something I loved from my childhood.  Something that could never ever possibly destroy us.  Mr. Stay Puft." (Dr. Ray Stantz, Ghostbusters)  Actually, I thought of The Sims.  It was only days after Y2K.  Everybody marveled at the possibilities The Sims presented, yet everybody told the exact same sadistic little story about how they put their Sims in a pool and then removed the ladder so that they swam themselves to death.  Or walked their Sims into a closet-sized room, deleted the door, and let them wander around until they pissed themselves, starved, and died.  Once those two creative options were used up, The Sims turned into nothing but a dollhouse stuffed with filthy, hapless, whiny Tamagotchis that had to grind incessantly for every square inch of their personal attributes and poverty-line salary in order to succumb to the consumerist mentality of endlessly purchasing more and better furniture/wallpaper/garden gnomes.  Though I continued to build lavish homes with the "rosebud" money cheat code, after about two weeks?  I never brought another Sim into my game again.  (Currently Playing:  Fieldrunners, Slotz Racer (both for iPhone), Afro Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: Conquest)

Cyril Lachel:  There are a lot of old school fighting games that shouldn't be considered classics, from Fatal Fury to Killer Instinct.  But the truth is, I don't see that many people calling those games "classic."  One game that would fit into that category would be the original Mortal Kombat, the ultra-violent 2D fighter that introduced the games industry to blood.  There's just one problem, it's a really terrible fighting game.  Yes, the graphics are good and the fatalities are novel, but the moves are sluggish, every character controlled exactly the same and, worst of all, it required almost no skill to beat seasoned veterans.  It just wasn't a good fighting game, especially when compared to other fighters at the time.  The game's sequels improved on the formula, but that first Mortal Kombat really is a sorry excuse for a "classic" fighting game.  If you don't believe me, go back and try to play through the entire story mode.  I dare you.  (Currently Playing:  Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Rock Band 2, Skate 2)

Dan Keener:  My personal choice for this topic, and I am sure it will be an unpopular one, would have to be Dragon's Lair.  Before you get started bashing me, I put a lot, and I mean a LOT of quarters into that machine over the years.  So yes, I enjoyed it (and still do), but it is still a highly overrated game.  The catch was that it used animations instead of sprites, and used those cut scenes to attract players two to three deep.  But much like the "instant classic" that the Wii has become, once you get past the hype and the gimmick, the game left you stunningly unfulfilled and especially light in the pocket for the time and effort expended trying to get a crack at it.  At $0.50 a pop, it was twice the going rate at the time for a game, and it was hard to get another crack at it if you screwed up in the barrel section or god forbid when you made it into the Dragon's Lair.  (Currently Playing: Rock Band 2, Dungeon Siege, Yahtzee Adventures and Bejeweled 2)

Nathan Murray:  Admittedly there are a great number of games out there that could be considered "modern" classics like Half Life 2, God of War, Guitar Hero, and Super Mario 64. The ones that should NOT be considered classics are those platform adventure games with animal or animal like heroes. Jak and Daxter, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Rachet and Clank, and dare I say Sonic the Hedgehog were entertaining but can't count as classics because they won't die! All of these franchises (with the exception of Jak I think) have had games come out within the last two years. Of course you could argue that Mario and friends have been around for a long time but then who has more good games than the Mario franchise? I don't know maybe I'm wrong and there is some gleaming gameplay in those crappy franchises but can they be considered classics? Hardly.  (Currently Playing:  Quantum of Solace, Rock Band 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One)

Sean Nack:  Listen, if anyone wants to take a swing at me for this one, well, you're welcome to try, but I understand your rage because I might just rock some socks with this one: I hate, abhor, wish a plague upon the makers of: Metal Gear Solid and all of it's horrid, horrid offspring. First of all, I don't like sneaking, because it's not manly. I take the Captain Mal Reynolds approach: "If I'm going to shoot you, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed." I'd rather fight the good fight, hound the glory, crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentations of...you get the idea. Sneaking is for people who can't fight. Second: I pretty much hate Japanese-influenced anything, with the obvious exception of anything martial arts related, because those are awesome. Other than that, j-games make no, zero, nada, sense plot-wise. Here's a little spoiler alert for you: the main villains, at the end? Pretty much robots. Specifically, robots who start wars and things because, I don't know, they're evil, I guess? The villainous AI thing worked in Fallout 3, but in Metal Gear? Fail. And all the ridiculous cloning, the terrible dialogue...honestly. For this buckaroo? No banzai. Finally: the controls are terrible. There, I said it. Everyone can admit it now, it's all out in the open. I hope we've all grown from this experience.  (Currently Playing:  Far Cry 2--it's even better the second time, because I'm taking my time and doing all the side-quests, Call of Duty 4)

John Yan:  For me I think it's Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. I reviewed the game actually for Nexus Gaming Online (Yes, the name before GN). LucasArts finally put in the lightsaber but I thought the implementation was horrible. The multiplayer battles were bland for me and the way the characters moved compared to other games at the time seemed subpar as well. I played it through and was pretty underwhemled by it all. I know many people love the game but I just didn't like the feel of the game as well as the story. Thumbs down for me on this one.  (Currently Playing:  Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Gears of War 2)

This question generated a lot of (mostly good-natured) friction amongst our staff.  Think we're full of it?  Tell us about it.