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The 18 worst videogames of all time

Technical failures, enormous disappointments, plain obnoxious...

Daikatana

The worst games ever foisted on to PC, laptop, console or mobile. Here's PC Advisor's list of the 18 worst videogames... ever! Let us know what you think in the comments at the bottom. And if this is the kind of list that you like, or just gets you plain angry, read our articles: the 39 best ever first-person shooter games, and the 18 best role-playing games for iPhone and iPad. Go on, you know you want to.

"Worst" can mean a lot of things, of course - there is no objective worst, and one player's poison might well be another's nectar. But if we accept "worst" as encompassing games which are technical failures, games which are enormous disappointments after crazy degrees of hype and games which are just plain obnoxious, there's no shortage of wonders/horrors to talk about. Here are just a few of our favourite terrible things.

Daikatana worst games

Worst Games: 1. Daikatana (PC, Ion Storm, 2000)

Perhaps the first go-to-name on any list of infamously disappointing games. This first-person shooter from one of the co-creators of Doom isn't quite as awful as the legends suggest, but after years of absurd promises and rampant egomania about how Daikatana would revolutionise gaming ("John Romero's going to make you his bitch," as one advert notoriously put it), the resultant dull, dumb and dated-looking shooter became the industry's definitive Ozymandias moment.

Duke Nukem Forever

Worst Games: 2. Duke Nukem Forever (Xbox 360/PS3/PC, 3D Realms/Gearbox, 2011)

If there's one game to steal the crown of shame from Daikatana, it's 2011's much-delayed sequel to revered 90s shooter Duke Nukem 3D. This obnoxious, arrogant mess of a game took so much time and money that the studio making it went bankrupt during the process, leaving Borderlands developer Gearbox to finish the 15-year albatross. The shooter that emerged was in most respects just a naff version Half-Life 2 with attention deficit disorder, but what made it unbearable was its clear and oft-stated belief that it was, in fact, an amazing videogame. That and its determination that the kind of misogyny even Sid James would balk at was somehow the root of all humour. Aggressive "the critics don't know what they're talking about" attempts at defence from Gearbox's boss rightfully elicited widespread mockery.

Plumbers don't wear ties worst games

Worst Games: 3. Plumbers Don't Wear Ties ( 3DO, Kirin Entertainment, 1994)

This 'interactive romantic comedy' for the doomed 3DO system is famous only for being bad. Really, truly, irredeemably bad. The reasons for that are two-fold: firstly, it's less a game and more a series of poor-quality still photographs accompanied by atrocious voiceovers and even worse jokes. Secondly, it tried to save itself by including lowest-grade and essentially nudity-free porn and a horrifying attitude towards women. To make matters even worse, it used Comic Sans on its box art. Widely blamed for the demise of the Panasonic 3DO console, the one thing Plumbers Don't Wear Ties did manage to achieve is living forever.

Superman N64 worst games

Worst Games: 4. Superman (N64,Titus Software 1994)

Superman is a superhero who can fly, fire lasers from his eyes, punch through buildings and shrug off bullets. Apparently someone forgot this, as Superman for the Nintendo 64 was a game about awkwardly steering an eerily rectangular Clark Kent through floating hoops as timer ticked down, like a Crufts finalist in a cape. Meanwhile, Supes' towering stomping ground of Metropolis became a playing field shrouded in fog, and the Man Of Steel's propensity to be easily killed by passing henchmen suggested someone had laced his breakfast cereal with Kryptonite.  The developers tried to redeem themselves with a heavily redone version of the game for PlayStation, but it never saw release. Probably just as well.

Limbo of the Lost

Worst Games: 5. Limbo of the Lost (PC, Majestic Studios, 2008)

Originally announced in 1993, this British-made point and click adventure game somehow took 15 years to a) be beyond terrible and b) wildly plagiarise art assets from a number of other games and movies.  Before Limbo of the Lost was withdrawn from sale and its lead developer (and one-time used car salesman) Steve Bovis pulled a disappearing act after unconvincingly blaming third-parties, eagle-eyed players spotted that the game was chock-full of imagery brazenly swiped from the likes of Oblivion, World of Warcraft, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and, with unwitting irony, Thief: Deadly Shadows. On the other hand, the bizarre musical number that serves as the game's conclusion is almost a work of art in its awful weirdness.

X-COM Enforcer worst games

Worst Games: 6. X-COM: Enforcer (PC, Hasbro Interactive, 2001)

X-COM: UFO Defense - a landmark, timeless strategy/management/roleplaying title from 1994, hailed in many quarters as the best videogame of all time. Its spin-off X-COM: Enforcer - a hideous, lurid, incoherent, maddening corridor shooter that appeared to have been created in a desperate hurry. A prime example of what can happen when rights to a series aren't owned by its original creators, Enforcer wasn't even the only joyless cash-in the X-COM name suffered. Arguably even worse is space combat game Interceptor, which was awful enough to essentially kill off the entire series. Fortunately, last year saw a resurrection in the form of the excellent, infinitely more faithful X-COM: Enemy Unknown.

ET Atari E.T. worst games

Worst Games: 7. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Atari 2600, Atari Inc, 1982)

Aka, the videogame which almost killed videogames. In truth, ET isn't that much worse than the flood of ropey platform games of the time, but it was made in just five weeks flat and it shows. This was and is an ugly, repetitive, banal and frustrating game with precious little in common with its source material. Sure, having ET endlessly collect bits of telephone from the bottom of wells was a terrible idea with terrible execution, but the real problem was Atari's absurd expectations for this spin-off of the at-the-time ubiquitous Spielberg movie. The inability to meet them all but killed off the Atari 2600 console, effectively ended the life of Atari's first incarnation and contributed to the great videogames crash of the 1980s. Legend holds that millions of unsold E.T. cartridges were crushed, encased in cement and buried in the New Mexico desert - a fitting end for a colossal folly.

Hellboy: Asylum Seeker

Worst Games: 8. Hellboy: Asylum Seeker (PlayStation/PC, Cryo Studios, 2000)

You don't need to be a dedicated Hellboy fan to know that the demonic hero has one giant hand made of indestructible stone, and one small, normal (if red) hand. Guess which hand he uses to hit stuff with in his first videogame? Yep, the little one. That probably says all you need to know. An incredible mess even after four years in development, Asylum Seeker (also known as Dogs of the Night or simply Hellboy) is at least a rich source of unintended comedy. From Hellboy's bizarre prattling about rice-hats to the bug that sees him slowly phase through the floor, it's a glorious trainwreck.

Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness worst games

Worst Games: 9. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (PlayStation 2/Xbox/PC, Core Design, 2003)

Another one for the 'not actually laughably terrible' category, the sixth Tomb Raider game makes this list because it made all manner of wild promises for years then just turned out to be a deeply tedious, risk-averse retread of what had already become over-familiar which almost ended the entire franchise. The addition of an entirely superfluous male hero also meant it undermined Lara Craft's already lad's mag-diminished status as a strong female role model, and a once mighty brand was left in tatters. Tomb Raider's original creators left the company in the wake of the game's negative reception, and what remained didn't last much longer. The disgraced series then changed hands and rebooted in the hope of salvaging the precious Lara name. It's due for another relaunch in March 2013 as, simply, 'Tomb Raider.'

NEXT PAGE: nine more truly dreadful games >>

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