Sequels are both the bane of the industry and its lifeblood. Healthy franchises allow studios the breathing room to occasionally experiment with new ideas and approaches. Too often, though, a sequel-driven mentality has led to what amounts to the 'milking' of several franchises and left a sour taste in the mouth of gamers and journalists alike. Below we've listed some of the more egregious offenders:
The spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark quickly captured a large following of console FPS gamers. The storyline is fraught with confusing and often conflicting main points so we won't bother to go into detail. What we can say is that the series' presentation suffered from it. Perfect Dark Zero, for instance, was in development for nearly five years. This should have been enough time to iron out any outstanding issues with the presentation, as well as with the A.I. This resulted in an experience that was passable but not as good as it should have been.
It's too bad too. The first Perfect Dark was great. They should have left it at that.
Nintendo's current generation console, Wii, offers some of the most accurate first-person shooter experiences available in gaming. When you take a look at sales figures for the genre, however, gamers in general seem to have sided with dual analog for the time being. Though it may sound strange today, there was a time when the subject wasn't even up for debate.
Part of that was thanks to Turok's revolutionary control scheme, which now seems antiquated. The setting was also singular for a console game: kill dinosaurs in first person. Released right around the same time as Jurassic Park 2, there were very few games that had the appeal of shotgunning velociraptors. Fast forward a few sequels too many, and we're wondering what we ever found entertaining about the series. The latest entry, a reboot, had a mixed reception. It was by no means a bad game, just one we'd played through enough times for the 'new' feel to have worn off.
Personally, I don't think there should be another game in the Turok series until they release another Jurassic Park movie. Fair?
Beat 'em ups were a staple of the 1980s game scene. They continued to hold importance on into the 90s before waning slightly during the early 2000s. Some franchises in the genre had the good fortune to age gracefully and bow out before it got weird. Double Dragon was not one of those. Featuring Billy and Jimmy Lee, players could battle their way through four main sections, ending in the hideout of the Black Warriors, who've kidnapped Marian, the brothers' love interest. As an interesting twist, if both players survived the final boos fight they would be forced to fight each other for Marian's affections.
Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls, the latest numbered entry in the series, was a fighting game in the vein of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, a far cry from the series' roots. Game Boy Advance saw a release of what was basically an updated port of the original back in 2003 and hopefully that's the last we'll see of the Lee brothers.
The early 90s saw prime action for platformers. Games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Sonic the Hedgehog made the genre one of the most attractive, both to gamers and developers alike. Developer Accolade saw a chance to cash in on all the fun everyone was having by releasing Bubsy. The developer clearly admired (read "wanted to copy") what Nintendo and Sega were doing with their franchises, which led to Bubsy being an amalgam of Mario-style platforming and Sonic-style level construction. Sounds great, right? It didn't work.
The gameplay was unforgiving, granting death for touching enemies or falling too far without gliding. This would have been fine if the character himself controlled with the precision of his platforming brethren. Instead Bubsy had no traction. This made the gameplay maddening, to say the least. What we can't figure out is games like Mirror's Edge don't warrant a single follow-up, while in this case four additional games were produced and released to the public. With subtitles like "Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind" and "Furbitten Planet" we can't see how these were greenlit without some sort of hallucinogen present.
A mini-game compilation with a generally good reception, Fusion Frenzy is one of the titles on this list that might have a chance at greatness, if not general acceptance, sometime in its future. If we were to guess, we'd be wiling to say that Microsoft is probably readying some sort of Kinect-based Fusion Frenzy remake right now. It'd be a terrible idea, though, since the sequel to Fusion Frenzy, cleverly titled Fusion Frenzy 2, was decidedly less well-received than its predecessor. We didn't even review the game, and videogame magazine Game Informer awarded it the "Worst Game of the Year."
We'd like to think that we're safe from any more of these popping up any time in the future but we were robbed of our naiveté a long time ago by a series of games much, much more sinister…