Despite their ups and downs, video games have been around for a long time, and when a medium is around for a long time, certain benchmarks are hit in terms of groundbreaking entries that are considered genuine classics.
As it is for film, television, books, and music, so it is for video games.
The thing that’s kind of weird about this particular medium, though, is that something that is considered “revolutionary” or “classic” doesn’t always tend to hold up as well as a comparable entry in film or music.
Video games age fast, and what’s incredible one day is obsolete - or worse - the next, and that’s exactly what we’ll be discussing in our list of 20 “classic” games that actually really suck.
For some entries, their placement isn’t really their fault, but rather their fate due to the nature of the industry. On the other hand, there are a few on here that were simply never good to begin with.
Now that we’ve attached our flame shields, let us proceed.
20 Tomb Raider
For what it’s worth, Tomb Raider’s place in history is well-earned, particularly for introducing the beloved Lara Croft to the world and conjuring and atmosphere that is jaw-droppingly immersive.
Unfortunately, that’s about where all reasonable praise ends.
Elaborately clunky controls make it seem like you’re trapped in one of those dreams where you can’t move your limbs the way you want to, and perpetually murky objectives make Tomb Raider a hard experience to appreciate.
19 Star Fox
To be fair, the original Star Fox was the absolute best it could be at the time.
Using the FX Chip, Star Fox’s graphics were 3D polygons and it was a visual treat upon release, and found great success.
Alas, the game’s issues are almost impossible to forgive today: its framerate chugs and its controls can be unresponsive because of it, which leads to a number of failures when tight piloting is required.
18 Super Mario Kart
We’d like to start this one off by saying Super Mario Kart doesn’t “suck,” per se. In fact, it can still be a lot of fun today. The problem with Super Mario Kart is that it’s simply obsolete.
Almost every subsequent entry in the franchise has been exponentially better than the last, meaning that there’s simply no reason to go back to the original other than to satisfy your curiosity for the quaint.
17 Final Fantasy VII
Out of the many Final Fantasy games, VII is held in the highest of regards. It’s almost obsessively adored and has spawned spin-off games, films and even a long-awaited remake because of it… but why?
Our best guess is that Final Fantasy VII was the first JRPG for a multitude of players, and it’s been forever coated in the shield of nostalgia.
There’s no denying how iconic the game is, but its dopey graphics, overly-praised story, and archetypical characters all add up to being a far weaker entry in the series than its predecessors (particularly VI)
16 Metal Gear Solid
There’s denying the impact that Metal Gear Solid had on the video game industry, nor the fact that it’s an artistic triumph. That said, those reasons alone don’t necessarily make a good game.
In fact, we’d argue that MGS is more of an “experience” than a game, considering that the actual time spent playing it is incredibly small compared to how much time is dedicated to storytelling.
Worst of all, the gameplay itself is unique but lackluster, which is an issue that wouldn’t be fixed until the sequels.
Rayman 2 has been re-released a ridiculous amount of times for a ridiculous amount of console generations, with the reason being that it’s genuinely a great game.
But what about Rayman the first? Not so much.
While its aesthetic and graphics are undeniably gorgeous, it’s hard to defend the sloppy and difficult gameplay.
If you want a 2D Rayman fix, head for the superior Legends games and leave this disaster in the past.
14 Pokémon Stadium
There’s an undeniable joy that comes from raising a collection of pocket monsters and then having them wage war in full 3D using the N64 Transfer Pak. It’s STILL awesome, if we’re being honest.
That said, the problem with Pokémon Stadium is that it’s basically only waging war with your Pokémon in 3D.
Yeah, there are some minigames and other features, but the game is essentially nothing more than hours upon hours of battles, and that gets tiring.
13 Super Mario World
Put down the Fire Flowers and hear us out: there is certainly a level of artistic merit in Super Mario World, but the title’s core gameplay falters significantly when compared to its direct predecessor.
Super Mario Bros. 3 offered tight control, creative (but still logical) level design, and was an absolute joy to play.
Super Mario World, on the other hand, is bizarrely floaty and imprecise, causing countless demises, and its levels, while pretty, lack the perfection of SMB3, and that’s just not acceptable (despite all the cool secrets.)
While it’s not talked about much now, Driver was extremely popular on the PS1 and is still considered a critical component of the system’s core titles.
But there’s a reason it’s hardly mentioned these days, and the reason is that it’s laughably bad.
While the relatively big city environments are still pretty darn cool, the pitiful lack of mission variety and the overly demanding “tutorial” sour the experience.
If you really need to explore the series, check out Driver 2 instead.
The Bomberman series has carved out a very specific multiplayer niche, proving that pinning your friends against a wall with a bomb and gleefully watching them explode is a universal joy.
There are even Bomberman games that have superb single-player experiences to go along with the multiplayer, such as Bomberman 64.
That said, despite being considered a “classic,” stay far, FAR away from the original game on the NES.
It’s a repetitive slog with no multiplayer, and its successors have made it utterly obsolete.
10 Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage
The original Spyro the Dragon is one of the best 3D platformers of the era, using levels that function as navigational puzzles to further enhance the simple satisfaction of collecting gems… then comes Spyro 2 to ruin everything.
In an attempt to go “above and beyond,” a larger focus was placed on storytelling, but the real crime came in the form of adopting Super Mario 64-styled objectives, which robbed the series of its charm… and the series continued to go downhill from there.
9 Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat broke more than just ground upon its release, stirring up a sandstorm of controversy that had lasting effects on the industry while also turning itself into a preposterously successful franchise.
Unfortunately, the inaugural entries in the series aren’t that great, nor were they ever, thanks to the clunky and simplistic fighting system.
While modern-day MKs are truly superior fighters, the original’s flaws were completely overlooked thanks to the gratuitous blood and gore.
8 Sonic CD
The amount of people who tout Sonic CD as the ultimate title in the franchise is mind-boggling.
Both versions of the soundtrack are bizarre (at best), the game mechanics are unnecessarily complex, and the level designs are so haphazardly assembled that they might as well have been randomly generated.
We’re going to assume the love this game gets is due to how long it took for most fans to get their hands on it.
7 Resident Evil
We’re not afraid to say that the original Resident Evil isn’t a good game.
Conceptually, it’s incredible, but as an actual game, not so much.
The main issue comes not in the form of the controls or gameplay, but the puzzles.
Practically every puzzle has an almost random, abjectly illogical solution that isn’t satisfying to “solve” because there’s nothing cognitive about the entire process.
Coupled with the limited saves and items, running back and forth in the dangerous mansion to try and solve a puzzle that doesn’t make sense is simply an awful experience.
6 Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
People like to lambast the original Legend of Zelda for its aimless wandering and high difficulty, yet seem to forget the multitude of unforgivable issues with the beloved A Link to the Past.
For starters, the difficulty is far greater in ALttP than it was in the original, and this time it’s coupled with lengthy and complex dungeons that are more than happy to wear down your patience by the time you make it back to the boss that slew you.
Worse yet, the two overworlds, while large, are arguably more anonymous than their progenitor’s, which is just inexcusable.
5 Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot is an icon, and we’re not here to dispute that.
We understand he played an integral part in the formative years of countless individuals, but at some point, the truth has to come out: Crash Bandicoot is not a good game.
While its approach to “3D platforming” is certainly novel, it’s not user-friendly, and the developers seemingly knew it since they were happy to artificially increase the difficulty with sequences that demanded precision despite how imprecise controlling Crash was.
The sequels correct many of these problems, but nothing can undo just poorly the first Crash has aged.
4 Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Often hailed as a “must-have” for the SNES, there’s shockingly little about Zombies Ate My Neighbors that warrants any kind of adoration in any capacity.
Quirky premise and serviceable co-op aside, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a repetitive and simplistic affair that is undeniably dwarfed by a plethora of truly outstanding games within the SNES library.
3 Ghouls & Ghosts
Practically the embodiment of “arcade hard” video games, the Ghouls & Ghosts series is as bone-crunchingly difficult as the legends make it out to be… and that’s not a good thing.
In fact, “difficult” should be replaced with “unfair.”
Relentlessly spawning enemies, unwelcome surprise attacks, gimped movement and weak offensive abilities are all part of this disastrous experience.
The original Castlevania features similar design choices, but pulls them off in a way that’s never unfair, so we recommend you pay a visit to Transylvania rather than spend time with Ghouls & Ghosts.
2 Final Fight
Why Final Fight is held in such high regards is a mystery we may never fully solve.
Despite giving the world the glory of Mike Haggar, it does little else worth mentioning when compared to other brawlers of the era.
There are countless entries in the beat ‘em up genre, and nearly all of them are leagues beyond Final Fight, including console ports, so if you’re in the mood to bash some heads, play Streets of Rage of Golden Axe instead.
1 Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
While Ace Combat 04 would be the entry that brought widespread success to the franchise, Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere is often touted as being just as good as its sequel.
While its graphics are definitely impressive for the PS1, and its story was well-executed (at least on the Japanese version), the gameplay falls far behind that of the more straightforward Ace Combat 2, which is a much better bet for fans looking to explore the series’ history.