We all have fond memories with video games. Whether it was spending your platforming days with Super Mario 64 or getting your RPG fix in by playing Final Fantasy VII, we all have those moments in our minds that developers love to cash in on (though for some reason that remake of FF7 still doesn’t have a release date). Many times, we can be so fond of a game that we will even go out and buy the old copy and console just so we can relive all those great times. If you say you’ve never done this, you’re probably lying.
Sometimes, however, it’s best just to leave a particular game alone. Not because they’re bad, but because the memories you have and the reality you’ll experience will leave you simply disappointed. The old sound of a Playstation One firing up will give you a few smiles, but once you start to play that old game you and your friends loved as kids, that nostalgia can quickly turn into boredom. There are many games that simply aren’t quite as good as you remember they are. And many that are outright awful.
To be honest, it’s one of the worst feelings for a gamer. We play all kinds of current games, but once we fire up an old classic, we expect the same greatness that we felt back in the day. When it doesn’t deliver, our dreams and nostalgia are crushed. Here, then, are 15 games that don’t do wonders for your nostalgia and aren’t as good as you remember.
15. Halo 3
Kicking off our list is the youngest title, Halo 3. After the painful cliffhanger at the end of Halo 2, there were countless young fans who wanted to know what happened in the next part of the story. The pre-orders for the next entry in the franchise were wild, and many copies of the game were sold. There was a lot of time spent playing Halo 3 and for me, it holds some of the fondest memories I’ve ever had while playing games. However, on a revisit of the game, fans began to realize that it did have its fair share of issues. First of all, the game is really slow. Having no way of increasing speed other than getting in a vehicle (some of which are fairly slow as well), games can take a long time to get through, and deaths are all the more frustrating. Then the campaign was also incredibly short, and full of weird moments involving the flood. While it was cool to see them in their full glory, it didn’t exactly work in the context, especially considering that Cortana ended up in their hive somehow. The forge mode is decent and second only to Halo 5: Guardians, but in comparison to other Halo games, this one doesn’t have the same lasting appeal.
14. The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
After Ocarina of Time, Nintendo knew they would have to follow it up with something a bit different for the series. If they did a similar project, there was a slim chance that it would surpass the critically acclaimed adventure. This led them to create Majora’s Mask. Set in the world of Termina as opposed to Hyrule, the game functioned on time traveling and a three-day mechanic that was meant to serve to one of the most interesting Zelda games to date. It was well-received and people still look back on it fondly. After going back to it (especially with the 3D remake), there are some problems that rear their ugly heads however. First of all, the three-day mechanic is one of the most complicated and frustrating mechanics to play with. Keeping track of all of the events and tasks to do at certain times is incredibly difficult, and can nearly make you go crazy. Furthermore, the game only has about four dungeons for you to explore, which is a travesty when talking about Zelda. Then the controls on the mask transformations aren’t as tight as they could be in reality.
13. Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is often cited as the greatest game in the franchise, and at the time, that very well might have been true. There was a great cast of well-written characters, a villain that still lives on in gaming today, and a soundtrack that could rival The Legend of Zelda. The turn-based gameplay also worked in its favor, providing a good deal of strategy without being overly complicated. That said, the game doesn’t hold up as well as it did back in the day. First off, the art style is quite painful to look at. Where the backgrounds are hand-painted and beautiful, the character models themselves are blocky and hard to grasp. It’s a horrible clash that we never really get over. Then the turn-based combat is a function that is practically all but dead in today’s era. RPGs are constantly figuring out new and inventive ways to fight monsters (see Child of Light to know what I mean), and the “I attack, you attack” battle style is getting a bit old these days. Not to mention that it can be difficult at times to know where you need to go.
12. Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario Sunshine was one of the most beloved titles on the Gamecube. Following the nearly perfect Super Mario 64, there was a lot riding on this game’s shoulders. Despite things going against it, the game was praised across the board, earning scores of 90 and above, and was loved by pretty much everyone that owned a Gamecube at the time. In today’s time though, there are quite a number of people who now actually dislike the game. Why is that? Well, it boils down to a number of factors, the biggest one being the control system. When shooting FLUDD, you are required to use an inverted system while aiming, which is clunky and doesn’t always get the job done. Then Mario himself has been criticized for being entirely too slippery, making the precise platforming that is a staple of the series become ridiculous and frustrating. Then there is the structure of the game itself. Many have pointed out that Super Mario Sunshine has a lot of glitches and camera problems that went unnoticed when it first came out. This results in numerous deaths that don’t feel earned-they’re just cheap. There are those that still love this game, but it’s not on the level it was when it was released.
11. Crash Bash
I’m sure many of us can attest to how great it was when Crash Bash came out. A party game starring Crash Bandicoot and his friends? Sign me up! It’s no secret that there are a large number of people who genuinely loved this game and played for a very long time. That said, it has since lost a lot of popularity. After some have revisited this game in more modern times, it’s clear that Crash Bash doesn’t hold up like it used to. It was the first Crash game that wasn’t made by Naughty Dog, and believe me, it shows. The various minigames are fun for a little while, but quickly lose their charm. Some of the minigames aren’t fun to play at all, such as the Pogo series. Then there are others that simply don’t control very well, such as the Tank Battle and Crash Dash series. You can unlock more minigames as you progress in the story, but make no mistake, acquiring them is nearly impossible. You have to beat all of the minigames in various conditions stacked against you in order to get enough gems and relics to unlock more. There are some minigames that I still haven’t seen to this day because I couldn’t unlock them.
There’s a lot to love with the quirky little game Q-Bert. The game has you take control of an orange character of the same name on a stage filled with blocks. Your goal is to color all of the blocks in a different color, while avoiding the many hazards that come after you, such as coiled snakes and bouncy balls. The game has a few platforms that can help you re-position and is filled with new mechanics as you progress through the game. It was a good time, but a quick replay of the classic shows that it isn’t as good as it might’ve been back in the day. Q-Bert himself can be difficult to control at times, and you have to make sure you’re always pointed in the right direction so you don’t make a move you’ll regret. The biggest issue is in the layout of the blocks. The way they’re put on the screen is offset to the directional input on your controller. As such, you’ll be guessing a lot as to what direction will lead you to a particular block. Naturally, this will lead to you dying a lot, and it’s really annoying.
9. Donkey Kong 64
DK Donkey Kong! Donkey Kong 64 is pretty famous for many reasons (the greatest among them being the DK rap). Developer Rare definitely implemented a lot of unique and innovative features to not only distance this game from Super Mario 64, but to make it stand out among its competition. This game features more than just Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and Dixie Kong. It includes many new members of the Kong family that each have their own unique abilities which are useful in the various levels. Sadly, the end result doesn’t hold up as well today as it did back then. The collectibles are primarily frustrating to get, because many of them require a different Kong in order to collect them. As such, you have to replay many parts of levels in order to collect everything (including things in secret rooms, which take separate Kongs to find in the first place). Top it off with some boss battles that are less than memorable (apart from the final fight with King K. Rool), and Donkey Kong 64 isn’t as good as many people remember it.
8. Metroid (NES)
These days there are a lot of fans of the Metroid franchise. Ever since the Prime Trilogy people have been yearning and begging for a new proper entry in that series. The most recent game we got was Metroid Prime: Federation Force which isn’t anything close to what we asked for. Hopefully we’ll get something for the Switch. Many fans have suggested that instead of taking an approach similar to Metroid Prime, to instead revamp the classic NES Metroid. That game created a new genre after all, full of exploration, new weapons, and great music. Like most NES games though, Metroid doesn’t quite stand the test of time. Samus doesn’t control very well, and shooting enemies on the ground in front of you is very difficult (you have to try and hit them with the morph ball bomb). The world itself is fairly drab, featuring your standard fire, ice, and temple areas respectively. There isn’t a lot in the environment that makes it stand out. One thing I will say is that the music is largely excellent and is still quite a treat to listen to. If only they had continued that trend with Metroid 2: The Return of Samus.
7. Spyro The Dragon
When it came out, Spyro the Dragon was mesmerizing. Developer Insomniac (now famous for the Ratchet and Clank series) had found a way to create an excellent 3D platformer to complement the hardware of the Playstation One. The fantasy setting was largely to the game’s benefit as it featured several hub worlds- each with new and interesting creatures to fight and dragons to save. The entire game culminated with a battle against Gnasty Gnorc and he is no pushover. That said, times have changed and platformers have grown a lot. Revisiting Spyro the Dragon will plague you with wonky controls and endlessly frustrate you with a camera that you cannot move, making you die in some pretty stupid jumps. As such, this makes it incredibly difficult to find and save all of the captured dragons (not to mention collecting all of the gems). It is also even more challenging to control Spyro while he’s dashing, and considering that is the only way you can beat Gnasty Gnorc, it easily becomes a bit of a problem. Many of these problems were fixed in the next two installments in the franchise, and this means that the first one definitely aged the worst out of the bunch.
6. Pokemon Snap
Remember that old episode from the original Pokemon anime that saw a kid named Snap meet up with Ash and his friends? Remember when Game Freak decided to make a game based off of him? Pokemon Snap is a well-loved spin off of the main Pokemon franchise. In it, you take control of the kid Snap throughout his journey across the Kanto region. Your goal is to photograph various Pokemon in unique or interesting poses. You also want to make sure you take a picture of every single one of the little critters. It was fun for what it was, but it doesn’t exactly leave a big legacy today. Pokemon Snap suffers from being too boring overall, and doesn’t offer a lot to keep players interested. Pokemon games are generally fun, but when you take everything that makes those games excellent in favor of something a bit more out of left field, it almost never ends well for the consumer. Game Freak even included a feature in Pokemon Sun and Moon that harkens back to this game. Needless to say, it’s probably one of the least-used features in the entire game.
5. Guitar Hero
Guitar Hero definitely captured a certain demographic when it first came out. People want to learn how to play the guitar, but to be able to simulate it in a game was revolutionary. There were countless numbers of young teens and adults who all wanted a piece of the action, and it led to some very fun times. Complete with a campaign and multiplayer battle mode, Guitar Hero was set to stay for a long time. After all this time, though, the series has lost nearly all of its steam. The trick of having instruments that you could play has long been forgotten and isn’t as exciting as it was. Then, every game is essentially the same. You are given a list of songs that you then have to play on a range of difficulties. The game could have a series of expansion packs that add more songs to the mix, and you wouldn’t really have anything different on your hands. When compared to other rhythm games like Rhythm Heaven and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Guitar Hero just isn’t as fun or interesting as it used to be. And name one guitar controller that didn’t end up breaking. I thought so.
4. Final Fantasy VIII
In many ways Final Fantasy VIII actually betters Final Fantasy VII. Why is it on this list then, you ask? Because the game still has a few problems that were hard to overlook after we played it again after all these years. When it came out, FF8 had a lot of interesting combat mechanics that really made it feel fresh. The graphics were also much better this time around and fit with the art style. Triple Triad is still one of the best minigames in the series. The problem with this game is in its story, which is way more confusing than it needs to be. Many people still argue as to what the ending means, and if you can’t make it clear, then you’ve done something wrong. The game progresses pretty well through the first half, but once the sorceress Ultimicia enters the picture and it’s revealed that all of your party members were once in the EXACT SAME ORPHANAGE together, it gets really ridiculous. All of the monsters you fight actually herald from the moon as well, and that gets used later in the plot. Then Ultimicia compresses time itself in the world, making you only able to go to certain areas near the end of the game. It’s silly and frustrating.
3. Tomb Raider
Don’t get me wrong, Tomb Raider was amazingly mind-blowing when it first came out. Featuring a female protagonist (something that wasn’t done very often) who raided ancient pyramids and temples using various methods of combat and Parkour was pretty awesome to say the least. This game spawned multiple sequels, a current rebooted franchise, and even a few feature length films (don’t watch them). Like most games in this era, Tomb Raider is filled with problems that we weren’t attuned to back in its time. For example, whereas most Parkour games these days do everything they can in order to make the stunts feel real, Tomb Raider is filled with convenient platforms and ledges that remind you you’re only playing a game. Then there’s the fact that the controls are very archaic by today’s standards. This requires you to muddle through a lot of different commands in order to traverse large gaps and ledges, which is barbaric when compared to games like Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Assassin’s Creed. I can’t be too hard on the graphics, but there’s something to be said about how uninspired everything looks now.
2. Super Smash Bros.
You notice a lot of old Nintendo games are on this list and there’s a good reason for that. Many of their classic games are excellent, but they just don’t hold up in light of the advancements they’ve made since then. The perfect example of this is Super Smash Bros. for the N64. While the game was perfect at the time, replaying it now shows just how unbalanced it is. Some characters are clearly better than others. Then there’s the fact the button inputs simply aren’t as snappy or easy to use than in later installments. There are also only 10 fighters total, and that makes the game feel incredibly sparse. Introducing items also takes what balance the game had left and stomps on it. Granted they do that with every entry in the series, but it’s at its all-time worst on the Nintendo 64. Couple all of that with the controls on the N64 controller. While having an analog stick is great, the way the controller is designed just makes the entire experience feel awkward and unnatural to play. It’s a good thing they’ve since perfected their formula on the Wii U version- apart from Bayonetta, because she’s broken.
1. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
I could’ve easily put the first Sonic the Hedgehog on this list, but after playing through both games, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 deserves this spot even more. The game is MUCH harder than its previous installment, despite only having two levels per world. While it was fun in its time and stands as one of the greatest Sonic games of all time in the eyes of the fans, it has a number of frustrating issues.
First off, the special stages are a huge pain in the butt. As you try to collect all of the rings, the draw distance and rendering is terrible, making obstacles hard to see, and you will likely lose many times before you finally get all of the emeralds. Tails also turns these sections from difficult to impossible. Also, there are a lot of cheap traps for Sonic where the game urges you to travel fast (this happens the most in the Aquatic Ruin Zone).
When the game ups in difficulty, it’s almost impossibly unfair. The Badniks in Metropolis Zone will almost always hit you, and the platforming in Sky Fortress Zone will likely be the cause of your “Game Over” message. Then if you can pass all of that and make it to the final area, you get faced with the Death Egg- the final boss. However, the game gives you no rings and expects you not to get hit. Also, the boss is incredibly hard to beat if you don’t know what you’re doing. Considering that the game doesn’t explain how to do it, you’ll likely die to the final boss many times before figuring it out (assuming you don’t lose all of your continues first).