In every glorious moment in video game history, there's also a gaming blunder waiting around the corner. Some games left us with good memories and an unforgettable experience. However, there were also games that were so bad that we just couldn't forget their sullied reputation. If there was a point in time that defined the ups and downs in gaming, it's going to be the in the early 2000s. This is the time when video game advertising rose at a rapidly increasing rate, thanks to the internet.
Gaming ads weren't just limited to TV screens anymore, they were proliferating through computers around the globe! From TV commercials to gaming forums and internet ad banners, video games were virtually everywhere the fans looked. All of this media coverage formed the proverbial gaming hype train we see today. Of course, hype can be a double-edged sword that can ultimately make or break a game. Unfortunately, there were loads of games back then that rose to notoriety instead due to not being able to deliver on the fans' massive expectations.
Games that were supposedly the next big thing turned out to be quite underwhelming, while some sequels would've been better off if they were never made in the first place. Good thing this wasn't always the case as there were also some gaming greats that came out of nowhere! Here, we take a look at 20 popular 2000s gaming titles that should've been left in the dark and 10 hidden gems that shined brighter than expected.
30 Bad: Daikatana
There was a lot of attention surrounding Daikatana when it was first announced. It was a project of Doom pioneer John Romero, after all. Unfortunately, it fell victim to a myriad of development issues, delays, and a whole lot of hype.
It went from a potential win, to the garbage bin.
The game was heavily criticized for looking dated and having a plethora of technical issues. Even worse, it suffered from delays, even taking years before it was finally ready for release. Once it arrived, however, fans wished it was never released in the first place.
29 Bad: Enter The Matrix
It's really hard to trust any game that's based on a movie and Enter The Matrix showed fans why. It's a game that felt like it was rushed just so it could be released alongside its film counterpart The Matrix Reloaded. The question now is, did fans really expect it to be as good as the movies?
If they did, then that would be the game's major downfall, expectation. The game was met with a slew of criticisms, even earning itself a spot on a list of the most disappointing titles of 2003.
28 Great: Mega Man Legends 2
Some sequels are so bad, they're considered as unnecessary, not Mega Man Legends 2 though. This spin-off series is often considered by fans as a diamond in the rough. Despite having various improvements over its predecessor, the game never really got the recognition it deserved.
It's certainly a different take on the franchise but it captured the hearts of fans nonetheless. After all, it gave Mega Man a full 3D world to explore! It's a shame that the Legends spin-offs weren't nearly as popular as the series' main Mega Man side-scrolling games.
27 Bad: Silent Hill 4: The Room
If there was one game that could make fans doubt the direction of a series, it's going to be Silent Hill 4: The Room. There was a lot of hype especially since the previous games were regarded as masterpieces. Unfortunately, the game dismayed hardcore fans while technical flaws frustrated series newcomers.
Sometimes, change is bad.
Sure, it gave a fresh perspective on the series, but at the same time, it also ruined elements that made the series great in the first place. It also didn't help that fans were expecting it to top the brilliance of the previous games either.
26 Bad: Manhunt
Rockstar Games is no stranger when it comes to using controversy, whether intentional or unintentional, to help build hype for their games. Manhunt servers as the perfect example. The game's ultra-violent and visceral gameplay had fans talking.
Of course, that doesn't mean the game actually turned out to be great. In fact, it was criticized for being nothing more than a simplistic stealth game that heavily relied on gratuitous violence as its main selling point. Other critics bashed the gameplay for being too shallow, but that certainly didn't stop fans from seeing what all the fuss is about.
25 Great: The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
A video game that's better than the film it's based on is almost unheard of, until The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay came along, that is. This first-person shooter successfully blended action and stealth in a game that trumps its blockbuster counterpart. The thing is, fans didn't really expect it to be good, to begin with.
A movie-game adaptation surprisingly done right.
Ironically, the game even won a Spike Video Game Award while the movie barely won any! Perhaps it's because the game was made by Starbreeze Studios, the developers behind the multiplayer hit PayDay 2.
24 Bad: Devil May Cry 2
Sequels are supposed to be better than the last game, and should show major improvements over its predecessor. Unfortunately, Devil May Cry 2 didn't get the memo. The highly-anticipated DMC sequel did anything but that, even feeling like a step backward than a major leap forward.
The game had mixed reviews at best. At this point, most hardcore fans are torn between sticking to the franchise or just leaving it to its demise. How could we blame them when the game basically suffered from uninspired visuals and underwhelming gameplay?
23 Bad: 50 Cent: Bulletproof
Action game 50 Cent: Bulletproof benefited from a lot of promotion. How can it not when it features hip hop artist 50 Cent? While it's cool to have your very own game, Fiddy would've wished his never existed if he had a chance.
The game's title pretty much speaks for its worth.
The game was unsurprisingly bashed for its lackluster gameplay. Although its only redeeming factor is its music, which is pretty much the only thing fans can expect from a rap artist-based game.
22 Great: Conker's Bad Fur Day
For a game that has won the prestigious BAFTA Interactive Entertainment award, Conker's Bad Fur Day isn't exactly as popular as it should be. This exclusive Nintendo 64 platformer boasts some of the best visual aesthetics at the time. Despite its accolades and high praise from critics, its fan-base never really grew beyond cult status.
Perhaps this might have something to do with its target audience. The game was basically made for adults, but was released on a console that's primarily known for wholesome games so, go figure.
21 Bad: Ultimate Spider-Man
Free-roaming game Ultimate Spider-Man turned out to be an ultimate let down. Fans were psyched when the game showcased its open-world approach. Just when fans thought it was going to be the next big Spider-Man game, it failed to deliver.
Both critics and fans alike shared the same criticisms of the game, saying it was too repetitive and shallow. It would've been a decent game too. That is, if it didn't carry the massive expectations that come with the Spider-Man branding.
20 Bad: Aliens Versus Predator: Extinction
There's been an uptick in Real-Time Strategy games in the early 2000s, thanks to games like StarCraft. That said, it's no surprise that Aliens Versus Predator: Extinction also tried its hand in the RTS genre around this time. It already features a familiar premise of war meets aliens, so why not turn it into an RTS game, right?
Unfortunately, not even AVP's massive fan-base saved this game. Aside from being quite similar to other RTS titles, the game didn't really offer anything new. Its simplistic nature leaves little room for strategy, which, ironically, is the main point of these games.
19 Great: Peter Jackson's King Kong
Any game that takes its premise straight from its movie counterpart is doomed from the start. Surprisingly, that's not what happened with Peter Jackson's King Kong. The game's story is almost identical to that of the movie.
Players fight their way through Skull Island FPS style before going on to the city and becoming King Kong himself. While it's quite predictable for anyone who's seen the movie, it's executed so well that gamers didn't mind! Quality is the key to its success, something that's severely lacking in most film-based games.
18 Bad: Dead To Rights 2
When the first Dead To Rights game came out, everyone was hyped to see another action-packed game that wasn't Max Payne. However, that hype eventually faded once the sequel came out. Gamers realized that the game didn't really offer much aside from being a generic shooter.
By taking out mini-games and downplaying its story, the game basically destroyed its identity. Fans felt like the sequel was a downgrade compared to the first one, which is basically as bad as it sounds. The only place it's heading is straight to the bargain bin.
17 Bad: BloodRayne
Action-adventure game BloodRayne featured a riveting vampire heroine who's both stylish and vicious. That alone managed to captivate fans before its release. That is, until they realized that the game was mediocre at best.
The game's hack-and-slash elements got old real fast. It really didn't offer anything beyond its repetitive gameplay and fidgety camera. To make matters worse, the game didn't even last that long. It's quite surprising for a game to have moments of tedium when it's not particularly lengthy to begin with.
16 Great: Way Of The Samurai
Before there were stylish samurai games like Sekiro or Ghost Of Tsushima, there was Way Of The Samurai. This action-adventure game might come off as quirky but there isn't any game like it. Anyone who has played this game can agree on one thing, that it's criminally underrated!
It gives players numerous places to explore, a customizable samurai, day-night cycle and choices that affect the game's multiple endings. Sure, the game might be short, but it's one sweet ride that opens up enough possibilities to warrant multiple playthroughs.
15 Bad: Area 51
Anyone who played the old-school Area 51 light-gun arcade game will be amped up for its remake. How could we not when it features stars like David Duchovny, Powers Boothe and even musician Marilyn Manson? While it was indeed a star-studded affair, the end result was more lackluster.
They must've mistaken mundane for extraterrestrial.
Despite its star power, the game's voice acting wasn't particularly outstanding. The only thing that's out-of-this-world about it is its enormous hype spaceship. Given its lukewarm critical reception, the game was destined to be a rental at best.
14 Bad: XIII
It's hard for FPS game XIII to not garner attention especially when it features stars like David Duchovny and Adam West. With a game that has this much production value, much is expected from it. However, the game itself leaves a lot to be desired.
While it managed to awe players with its visual flair and cell-shaded graphics, it lulled them to sleep with linear stages and unimpressive AI. Not even its star-studded cast can help mask its predictably dull gameplay. As a movie? It could be great. As a game though? Critics believe it should've been better.
13 Great: Ecco The Dolphin: Defender Of The Future
Who would've thought that a dolphin would make the perfect hero? Well, Ecco The Dolphin: Defender Of The Future certainly proved just that! The game was considered by critics as one of the best games of 2000, after all.
Despite being critically acclaimed, not many have played the game. Sure, Ecco is certainly a name that old-school gamers would recognize but it wasn't exactly a household name. It's a shame that the series never really picked up despite this title's massive success.
12 Bad: True Crime: New York
The main attraction of the True Crime series is its accurate depiction of the world it's based on. True Crime: New York somehow pulled that off. However, what good is a game with an accurate map when the game itself is no good?
Releasing a game this unpolished is the only true crime here.
There's a good reason why the game received backlash for its plethora of technical issues such as poor optimization, glitches and framerate issues. It's kinda hard for players to fight crime when they're fighting bugs as well, right?
11 Bad: Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro
Fans expect a lot from Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro. Especially since the previous game was widely considered as one of the best Spider-Man games ever made! Just when fans thought there's enough bad Spider-Man games as it is, this game showed that there's still room for one more.
While it's not a terrible game, it wasn't worthy of being called a sequel either. Sure, it could've been a decent stand-alone title, but it pales in comparison to the quality of the last one. At the end of the day, it became yet another example of how not to do a sequel.
10 Best: Obscure
Survival game Obscure had fans asking, why aren't there more 2-player co-op horror games out there? This underrated gem certainly delivers all the scares of a Resident Evil game albeit with a bit more B-movie slasher vibe. It didn't revolutionize the genre but its fun factor was undeniable.
Sure, the controls are iffy but it wouldn't matter much when we can get our buds to watch our backs. Bringing a friend along into this nightmare can be so enjoyable that we can almost forget the game's cheesy moments! Too bad the game's presence is, well, pretty much obscured.
9 Bad: 187: Ride Or Die
The idea behind 187 Ride Or die is simple, race and win by any means necessary. Yes, that includes blowing the opposition to smithereens in doing so. The problem is, the game's filled with stereotypes, cliches and cheesy dialogue.
As if that wasn't enough, it's also riddled with pretentious “street” lingo, lyrical bombast and worse of all, mind-numbing repetitive gameplay that dragged on more than it should've. The game wouldn't have been so popular if gangster culture wasn't so prevalent in the media during this era.
8 Bad: The Getaway
The Getaway was touted as the next-generation version of GTA: London. Although the end result was far from a masterpiece. Instead, it turned out to be nothing but a GTA clone albeit with less substance.
Its title alone serves as a good warning for players.
While the game's excellent production value is quite evident, the game had little to offer in terms of gameplay. It somehow lost its identity by trying to become more of a movie. In the end, critics felt like the game bit off more than it can chew.
7 Great: Drakengard
Riding a dragon across battlefields is a thrilling concept, something that Drakengard revels in. Fans can basically recreate their own Battle of Winterfell within the game! Being able to call upon a dragon at anytime during a battle is a novelty that certainly never gets old.
The game's problem wasn't in its gameplay as it was generally well received. The thing is, it was overshadowed by more popular Square Enix titles like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. Too bad only adventure game veterans were able to dig up this hidden gem.
6 Bad: Tomb Raider Chronicles
For fans who've missed Tomb Raider Chronicles,well, they didn't miss much . It's probably the least popular game in the series, and for a good reason too. The game was criticized for being too bland compared to its predecessors.
Fans were concerned about the series' future as it badly needed a face-lift. It felt like the game served as nothing more than filler content to prepare fans for the next one. When a sequel features linear gameplay that barely adds anything new to the franchise, perhaps it would've been better if it never existed.
5 Bad: State Of Emergency
Many gamers were hoping State Of Emergency would become a more chaotic version of a GTA game. The game had a lot of promotion and its hype was rapidly building up. Little did it know that it was only setting itself up for massive failure.
While there's a lot going on in the game, there's not much to do in it. It's like a nicely wrapped gift box that's ginormous but hollow on the inside. Players basically repeat the same thing. Sure, it gets old quick, but even that statement isn't enough to describe the monotony of its shallow gameplay.
4 Great: Radiata Stories
Radiata Stories is a charming JRPG that's loved by many but unheard by most. It was undoubtedly a certified sleeper hit! When a game is being developed by Tri-Ace, JRPG fans know it's going to be good.
How could it not when it gave players such a scintillating world to explore? What's even better is that there's also an array of costumes to collect, a myriad of unique-looking weapons to wield and dozens of recruitable characters. Unfortunately, the game will always be overshadowed by the developer's more popular titles like Valkyrie Profile and Star Ocean.
3 Bad: Driv3R
Action racing game Driv3r was notorious, not just for being a terrible game, but also for the controversy surrounding it. First of all, the game was heavily criticized by both gamers and critics alike. The fact that it's a well-known series only made things worse.
It should've been renamed to Steer Clear.
It exemplified shoddy development with its underwhelming gameplay, poor graphics, and an assortment of bugs. Furthermore, it was also part of the “Driv3rGate scandal,” wherein the game was accused for having fake positive reviews! Just when fans thought the game itself wasn't enough of a mess already.
2 Bad: Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain
For such a reputable developer like Sony Bend, it's quite alarming how their Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain game turned out to be a mega disappointment. The series is known for having topnotch quality and production value. Needless to say, the pressure for this sequel to be nothing short of great was considerably higher.
The end result was more of a mixed bag. Some enjoyed the game while others absolutely abhorred it. One critic bashed it for looking as dated as a PS1 game, while another even called it as the worst PS2 title ever, yikes!
1 Great: Eternal Darkness
Who would've thought that a company as wholesome as Nintendo could publish some of the best horror games ever? Eternal Darkness certainly established itself as one of the elites when it comes to survival horror games. Its presentation is almost bordering art!
It's a shame this game's name fits its fame.
Despite its shining accolades and critical acclaim, the game didn't really get the worldwide recognition it deserved. Perhaps its GameCube exclusivity hampered its market, limiting gamers from getting their hands on it, or maybe, its presence is just stuck in, well, an eternal shroud of darkness.