There’s no shortage of exceptional game series to get excited about, but these series certainly don’t stand among them. Whether they’ve been buried and forgotten or have yet to kick the can, these series have long overstayed their welcome and it’s about time they stopped. No, seriously. Stop. Please.
Once hailed as the undisputed king of both street and vert, the Tony Hawk franchise eventually slipped into a deep slump, releasing more and more mediocre titles as the years went on. Tony Hawk’s pro skater 2 and 3 are still held dearly by fans as some of the best games ever, while Underground gave players the chance to live out the fantasies their predecessors had rooted in fans; rising from rags to riches and proving their skateboarding mettle to the whole world. It’s too bad these days all fans can expect from the franchise is a buggy, dysfunctional, ugly disaster of a game. Looking at you Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 8. Disgusting.
What do you get when you try and ripoff two juggernauts of the industry, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario? The answer is Bubsy. This Bobcat was loud, obnoxious, and terribly annoying, and not just because he would keep making useless comments throughout the game but because he didn’t exactly control all that well either. Precision movements were all but impossible as it felt like you were walking on ice the whole time. The levels were simple and often frustrating.
Really, there were hardly an redeeming qualities to these games, and yet the world was subjected to four terrible releases nonetheless. It seems the developers weren’t content with going out on just three awful games but thankfully Bubsy 3D brought an end to the reign of terror in a blazing crescendo of terri-bad.
Medal of Honor
Once a valuable and beloved franchise, this series has really fallen hard on its face; so hard, in fact, that EA decided to leave it alone for a while thanks to the abysmal failures that were Medal of Honor (PS3, 2010) and its sequal, Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Back on the Playstation one and two the franchise was centered around the Second World War and had great controls and solid narratives.
Not long ago the franchise was revived and shifted to focus on modern conflicts and wars, attempting to “authentically” capture the events on the Afghan front. The game takes itself and it’s story so seriously that it makes the dumb enemy AI and bad writing stand out that much more. This franchise can stay off the radar for a while, there’s certainly no shortage of similar games out there.
Leisure Suit Larry
Starring a pervy middle-aged, balding man on an endless quest for some hanky-panky, this series never really took off. The original games were point and click adventures which focused on Larry Laffer trying to seduce women, usually unsuccessfully. The occasional wit would put a smirk on your face but these games were nothing to write home about. Not that you’d want to even if they were, considering the subject matter.
A reboot in the form of Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude back in 2004 didn’t exactly take off. This time around Larry Lovage, the new hero(?) runs around a small sandbox university campus participating in mind numbing mini games and rhythm games to, you guessed it, get laid. Both Magna Cum Laude and 2009’s Box Office Bust were received and sold poorly but that didn’t stop 2013’s Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded from rearing its ugly head, which was promptly smacked around in terms of both sales and critical review. Thankfully the franchise has quieted down as of late. Let’s hope it stays that way.
A hack and slash vampire hunting game that tried to ride in the slipstream of games like Ninja Gaiden and God of War, Bloodrayne was an unnecessary franchise with underwhelming aesthetic design, action, and story. Coming off as something akin to a Blade ripoff, this series saw two releases and quietly faded into obscurity after getting the cold shoulder from gamers and critics alike.
The combat shared only the bloody flash of games like Ninja Gaiden and God of War but none of the substance or depth. It pretty much boiled down to a messy flailing of blades and awkward camera rotation followed by Rayne’s inevitable leaping onto enemies and draining their blood. Things got boring really fast and the plot wasn’t any help at all. After two main entries and two cancelled ones, Bloodrayne went into hiding until the 2011 release of a side-scrolling 2D release on the PS3 and Xbox 360. While the latest game wasn’t abysmal, there’s probably no need for a revival of this series.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Back in his glory days Sonic really gave Nintendo’s plumber a run for his money. Sonic games were fast, like really fast. The breakneck pace was a joy to try and keep up with and master. The aesthetic feel of his adventures was colorful and inviting, while also offering a variety of sights to see and playgrounds to run around in. But somewhere along the road the blue bugger took a wrong turn and really, really lost his way.
The decline of Sonic began with the end of the Sega Dreamcast era. Since then no Sonic game has adequately performed in it’s 3D worlds, failing to give players any sense of control or speed, the foundation the franchise was built on. In the haze of confusion and critical failures, Sega thought it was a good idea to give Sonic a human love interest in 2006’s Sonic the Hedgehog, sparking an endless torrent of bestiality jokes which will probably never die.
Sonic may still be getting games today, but the franchise has been dead for a very long time. It’s about time someone broke the news to Sega already.
Shamelessly cloning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise in the hopes of stealing a piece of the hyper-success pie, Cheetahmen was a side scrolling beat em up lacking all of the appeal of the games it was trying to plagiarize. The controls were so far beyond broken it would be difficult if not impossible to describe them. Your Cheetahmen faced such deadly foes as birds, bugs, monkeys, and skeletons with missing textures. Yes, seriously.
To be fair, the sequel, Cheetahmen II, was never completed. Only 6 out of the 10 proposed levels were ever completed but yet somehow the few cartridges made found their way onto the market to forever scar some very unlucky buyers. But hey, at least they hold a copy of one of the rarest games of all time. Too bad it’s a worthless stain on the video game industry.
Batman Arkham Series
There is no possible way gamers and fans of the Dark Knight could ever adequately thank Warner Brothers Games for the legendary Batman Arkham Asylum, City and Knight. These games captured the Bat’s essence like no other before them. They were near flawless, manifesting all of the caped crusader’s beloved skills with intuitive and entertaining gameplay.
But perhaps it’s time for old Bruce to take a break from the Arkham Series, as it seems that bag of tricks is all but empty by now. The combat is not as exciting as it was in the series debut, nor is the exploration. It feels like justice has been served as far as the Arkham franchise is concerned. Maybe it’s time to take a break, to let players miss their favorite hero before he makes another glamorous return in Telltale’s upcoming Batman game. Hopefully.
Resident Evil (main series)
Resident Evil had a good, long run. The franchise birthed the genre of survival horror with the masterfully crafted original on the PlayStation, then proceeded to refine the formula to perfection by Resident Evil 3. After a dramatically long hiatus and development process, Resident Evil 4 kicked through the industry’s doors in bad ass style and with a fresh new camera angle to boot; the over-the-shoulder look would become third person genre staple thanks to RE 4.
Since then, however, the franchise has seen two very weak followups, RE 5 and 6. The former was accused, and rightfully so, of steering the series too deep into action shooter territory and failing to produce a single scare in even the jumpiest of fans. The latter and most recent main title entry is so awful that it is difficult to find the words in the English lexicon to aptly describe it. The people have spoken loud and clear: the Resident Evil (main title) franchise is in need of a serious face lift. It’s just getting embarrassing now.
Metal Gear Solid
With Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami the future is bleak for this controversial franchise. The tensions between the developer and the brainchild behind the franchise scarred the development of the latest entry, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Kojima announced his departure shortly after it’s release.
There’s not a great chance Konami could pull off the series signature absurdity and grounded gameplay without the help of the genius behind it all. Any such attempt may just be met with torches and pitchforks around the globe. Kojima may himself take to recreating the series someday, which would be exciting to be sure. But, it wouldn’t hurt the series to duck into anonymity for a few years after more than a decade of Metal Gear Solid games.
What series would you like to see disappear? What unwanted series revival announcements give you nightmares? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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This post was originally authored by Ahmed Khattab.