The 5 Worst Fighting Video Games of All Time
For a genre that has been around for so long, it seems like there would be a ton of fighting games at both the high and low ends of the spectrum of quality. But surprisingly, there aren’t a whole lot of truly awful fighting games — not nearly as many as there are horrible shooter games. This suggests that it’s a pretty hard genre to really mess up. However, as this list will highlight, it’s not impossible.
Whether it’s in a 2-D arena, a 3-D cage match, or some modern, motion-controlled slugout, gamers playing fighters want a chance to show off their “1337″ combos, astronomically lucky button mashing skills, or insane parrying a la Street Fighter III. If a game fails to offer those things, there’s a chance it could find its way onto this list in the future.
At present, there are only seven fighters with a critic score low enough on Metacritic to even meet our Below-30 qualification for these lists. Here, we’ll look at those that are truly the lowest of the low — the bottom five of all time — and combine their critic and user scores to create a composite score. Interestingly enough, they’re all from later than 2000. Seems clueless fighter game devs are only a recent occurrence.
5. Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 (PlayStation)
- Composite Metacritic score: 40.5
Adoring fans saved this one from falling even lower. It received a critic score of 25 — the third lowest here — but fans gave it a 5.6 user score. Lucky, lucky. Once you get past the crowded (and not in a good way) player selection menu, you’re faced with the uncomfortably slow-mo-like combat that doesn’t feel much like blazing fast fighting of the TV series.
Helping in no way is the uncomfortable placement of completely cartoon characters onto boring, low-res, 3-D combat environments. Perhaps part of the problem was the fact that it took the better part of a decade for the game to come to the U.S. from Japan. At least it has a good selection of Dragon Ball Z characters from various sagas. Considering looking for one of the titles in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series for a DBZ fighter worth playing.
4. Legend of the Dragon (PlayStation 2)
- Estimated composite Metacritic score: 38.5
What at first appears like it might be at least an OK fighting game thanks to a semi-large character roster and pleasant enough cartoon 3-D graphics turns out to be a good deal less than OK. Not enough gamers could even have been bothered to give it ratings for there to be a consensus, so we’ve taken the user rating for the Wii version of the game, which is only doing it a favor, since that version had a higher critic rating.
Sadly, the one thing the game would have seemed to have going for it — that large roster — IGN notes wasn’t super impressive, because all of the characters felt the same. What should we have expected from a video game based on a TV show? Evidently, no more than we could have expected from a video game based on DBZ.
3. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots (Game Boy Advance)
- Composite Metacritic score: 29.5
It seems video games can get even worse when they’re based on real-world, physical games. Maybe it came across as reasonable to port Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots to a Game Boy. After all, the two-button dynamic of the original would translate perfectly, right? Nope.
What resulted was instead a super basic fighter where you can throw some jabs, haymakers, and a couple of other unexciting attacks against an underwhelming set of opponents whose only difference seems to be color and name. All the game modes feel the same. And to top it off, IGN noted that simply holding right and hitting A for 20 seconds will always guarantee victory — talk about a challenge. If you find a copy, get ready to wish you instead weren’t playing a video game.
2. Fighter Within (Xbox One)
- Composite Metacritic score: 26
Ready to whip out that Xbox One Kinect for an awful gaming experience? Then Fighter Within is the game for you. Sure, it might be fun to swing your own arm or kick your own leg and watch the character on the screen repeat the motion, but the fun will likely end there for you. Almost none of the blows appear to impart any kinetic energy into opponents until a combo is performed, and when a combo is happening, you just stand idle. Slathered on top of the bad and clumsy controls and equally sad AI is a weak story. Don’t expect much from this game. At least the graphics are tolerable.
1. Dragon Ball: Evolution (PSP)
- Composite Metacritic score: 20
Remember when we suggested not much should be expected from video games based on TV shows? Well, even less should be expected from video games based on movies that were in turn based on TV shows. The Dragon Ball: Evolution movie was already a heinously bad adaptation of the cartoon, and in that respect, maybe this game didn’t stray too far from the source material.
This game is crammed with bad music, bad cutscenes, and the absurd chance to beat up the protagonist’s girlfriend at the end of the game. In an odd twist, this game’s fighting gameplay might be the best of those on the list, but that wasn’t enough to keep it from being the worst fighting game of all time and among the top 40 worst games of all time in any genre.
If you’d rather play a good fighter, check out our list of the 10 best fighting games.
Have you had the misfortune of playing any of these games? Hop on twitter or get at us on Facebook and let me know about your experience.
Follow Mark on Twitter at @WallStMarkSheet
More from Entertainment Cheat Sheet:
- How Video Games Are Bad For You and 5 Ways to Fix That
- 10 Best Games Ever Made for iPhones and iPads
- 13 of the Weirdest Video Games You’ll Ever Find