Sometimes nostalgia blinds us into thinking amazing games from yester-year are still amazing, when in fact they have aged badly. Whether it is outdated mechanics, a rubbish control scheme, or just the game is just simply not good by todays standards, the realization can be quite heart breaking, but we still love them anyway. Here are the top 10 amazing games that have aged badly.
1. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 (PS1)
You know when you haven’t played something for many years, in this case nearly 20 years for me, and your memory of it is so much better than reality? Well, the recent Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Remastered is basically how the original games are in my head…..and they’re really not. After falling back in love with the series with the THPS 1+2 Remasters, you can check out my review here, I decided to jump back into the PS1 classics and they’re……..not good. Back in 1999 these games were revolutionary and they were a truly incredible experience to play, these games shaped so much of my life. But going back to them 20 years later, graphically they look dreadful and the controls are extremely clunky by todays standards. With the Tony Hawk’s 1+2 Remasters available on current gen consoles & PC, it is best to play that and leave these games as nostalgia filled memories.
2. Grand Theft Auto 3
GTA 3 was the first attempt at bringing the GTA series to 3D, having only been a top down experience before then. While for its time it was a revolutionary game, revisiting it today isn’t a very pleasant experience. The controls are very clunky, especially when on foot. A lot of the staple aspects of the game are missing, such as swimming and riding motorcycles. But despite it not being fantastic by todays standards, we still have to appreciate the marvel that it was for the time, and a game I put more hours into than I care to admit, just some things may be best left in the past.
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Admittedly this one was quite hard for me to include, because it is one of my all time favourite games, in fact most of these are. Goldeneye will always hold a special place in my heart, but I have to admit it hasn’t aged the best. Graphically the game hasn’t really stood the test of time, the textures are blocky and the superimposed faces are more laughable than realistic. And people always complain about the N64 controller not being good, but I don’t see, I think the game plays fine, but I may also be biased. So since no-one else can seem to figure out how an N64 controller works, it deserves a spot on this list. But even with the fact it hasn’t aged fantastically, it can’t denied the influence that this game had on FPS games, especially console FPS games. Goldeneye 007 laid the groundwork for games such as Halo, and later Call Of Duty, to come in and shake things up even further. Many modern mechanics were first seen, or at least first noticed, in Goldeneye 007 and then were improved as the years went on. And who can forget about the awesome split-screen multiplayer, this is where scores were settled. Ask any child/young adult from the 90s and they will more than likely have fun memories of Goldeneye multiplayer.
Also, Goldeneye > Perfect Dark, fight me.
4. Sonic Adventure
In the 90s you were in one of two camps, Team Mario or Team Sonic, the correct choice was Team Mario. While the 2D Sonic games were fantastic for the most part, the 3D offerings have rarely been great and Sonic Adventure is a great example of that. The controls are clunky, the camera sucks, and a lot of the experience is more frustrating than enjoyable. Give me Super Mario 64 any day, once again fight me.
5. Donkey Kong 64
Ok, I bashed Sega a bit in the last entry so now its Nintendo’s turn. Donkey Kong 64 just isn’t that good, it wasn’t even that good in the 90s, which pains me to say because this is a game near and dear to me. Compared to the SNES Donkey Kong Country games, DK 64 is just mediocre. In this instance I can see why people don’t like the N64 controller. The controls aren’t fluid by todays standard, the level design is confusing, and having all of the different Kong’s at your disposal became more annoying than fun. I can remember enjoying the game as a kid, but never quite enjoying it as much as I did the other entries in the series, or similar 3D platformers such as Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie. But for its time it was a big deal, the game came with the N64 Expansion Pak which increased the ram to a whopping 4mb, and it was one of the more impressive looking games on the system.
6. Tomb Raider
Hello Miss Triangle Tits, we meet again. Tomb Raider was one of the biggest selling franchises on the Playstation 1, as well as other platforms, and is still a much loved franchise today with the most recent Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. But going back to the 1996 classic, it hasn’t aged well. The controls are some of the most clunky and awkward of any top video game franchise. Being the fact it has a heavy emphasis on exploring, it isn’t the easiest thing to do. The game allows you to run and jump across long gaps, grab onto a ledge and shimmy yourself to safety, except it sounds more fun than it is. Most of the time if you run and jump Lara will just fall off the ledge. Instead you have to press another button in addition to moving forward to slowly walk, walk right to the edge of the ledge, take a jump back and then run and jump. But all can be forgiven because locking Winston in the freezer is a childhood memory shared by millions, someone should really let him out now.
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7. Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot was Sony’s answer to Super Mario, and while it was a great game and spawned a great selection of sequels, it was far from perfect. Graphically it still holds up pretty well for a PS1 game so no complaints there, but the controls and camera were far from perfect. Crash Bandicoot is a 3D platformer with a non controllable camera, meaning you are at the mercy of whatever camera angle the game gave you. This meant quite often it was difficult to judge the distance of an upcoming enemy or gap, meaning you’d either get hit by the enemy or fall straight into a bottomless pit. The game eventually saw a remake in 2017, which brought the game into the modern era, but some of these issues are still present, but largely corrected. Crash Bandicoot will always a great game, but it can also be a punishing experience through bad game design.
8. Final Fantasy 7 (PS1)
I thought I would reserve these final few entries to really roast some of my favourite games of all time, starting with Final Fantasy 7. By todays standard the game largely doesn’t look good, in fact most of it didn’t look fantastic in 1997 either, but that didn’t stop it from being a truly amazing game. The story is great, the battle system is awesome, the pre-rendered backgrounds still look really good today, even better if you can mod the uncompressed versions into the game, the cutscenes also look great still, but man those character models. The character models are incredibly blocky and just look downright dreadful, especially when placed on top of stunning pre-rendered backgrounds. The character movement outside of battles can be a bit hit and miss too, sometimes its fine, while other times it feels like you’re running on a grid and can quite often struggle to get your character to follow the direction you want it to. But largely the game is fantastic and it is one of my all time favourites, but I can’t defend the character models.
9. Resident Evil
The Resident Evil series is my favourite of all time, I truly love this series. But by modern standards the original trilogy, plus Code Veronica, hasn’t aged well at all. The tank controls are very clunky by todays standards, many people dislike the fixed camera angles, the character models don’t look that great, and the voice acting is so bad it won a Guinness World Record. I could totally understand if a gamer today tried the original Resident Evil game and hated it. But I do have to say that the story is fantastic and the pre-rendered backgrounds still largely look good today, once again they would look so much better uncompressed. The games soundtrack is also really good, except most of the American version of the Directors Cut, that soundtrack is as bad as the voice acting. The game’s mechanics and visuals was vastly improved the second time around with Resident Evil 2, smoothing out a lot of the issues, but it would still be difficult for a new gamer to play.
10. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time is my all time favourite video game, a true 10/10 game for me, so it pains me to say that it hasn’t aged that great. By 1998’s standards this game was virtually flawless, it was a rich a vibrant game with a great story, excellent fighting mechanics, graphically it looks really good and the music is some of the best ever in a video game. But by today’s standards, not so much. The game is actually a lot more bare than you likely remember it. Hyrule Field is a vast area of land and there is literally nothing there, its like for a lot of the game outside of towns and dungeons. If you’re not comfortable with an N64 controller you might struggle with the fighting too, although Z-Targeting was one of the best fighting mechanics in a 3D adventure game, in my opinion. And would it really hurt to add a skippable text/cutscene function. While the story is great, there is so much dialogue that I would forgive you for eventually not caring about the story. The characters ramble on and on, much like me with this list, that you find yourself constantly just spamming A to get through the text as quickly as possible. Ocarina of Time also doesn’t look amazing as we remember. Many of the textures are simply stretched over an area, meaning a large piece of flooring could have 1, already low resolution, texture just stretched across it, making it look even worse. The game was remastered for the 3DS and that is definitely the best way to play it in the modern era. It would be fantastic if they ported the 3DS remaster to the Nintendo Switch too, especially now the 3DS is discontinued and the Switch is essentially a hybrid between a home console and a 3DS.