The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina ofTime, Commander & Conquer: Red Alert, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eaterare just some examples of fantastic games in their own right that also help to build on the backstories of other entries in their series
Dictionary.com defines the word prequel as a work that “prefigures a later work, as by portraying the same characters at a younger age.”
We here at TripleJump define it as “a chance for big corporations to squeeze even more money out of an existing franchise.”
But that first one is fine too, I suppose.
Gaming history is full of excellent prequels.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina ofTime, Commander & Conquer: Red Alert, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake
Eaterare just some examples of fantastic games in their own right that also help to build on the backstories of other entries in their series.
However, for every Snake Eater there’s
at least two or three Hopes and Dreams
Eaters. Look, that was a weak joke,
but you get the point.For this list,
we’ve taken a look back through gaming history to
find the prequels that left us feeling completely
dissatisfied. We’ve ranked these games
based not only on their overall quality,
but on how they stack up against
what they were acting as prequels to.
Some of these aren’t bad games by any stretch,
but they were all significant downgrades
from what came before them. Or after them,
if you’re talking chronologically. I can
see this is going to get confusing quickly.
I’m Ben from TripleJump and here are the
10 Most Disappointing Video Game Prequels.
#10: Batman: Arkham Origins
2013’s Batman: Arkham Originswas a bit like
getting a B on your Maths paper only to
discover that your goody two-shoes, older
sibling got an A+. And they’re captain of
the football team. And have just been
accepted to a prestigious university!
That is to say that it was pretty good,
but not as good as what came before it.
The third instalment in Rocksteady’s
critically acclaimed Arkham series,
Origins acts as a prequel to
the first game in the franchise.
Set eight years before ArkhamAsylum, Origins
features a younger, less experienced Bruce
Wayne who is forced to contend with the world’s
top assassins trying to kill him on the night
before Christmas. If that wasn’t bad enough,
he’s also got the ghosts of Christmas past,
present, and still to come
to deal with! Just kidding.
Arkham Origins was praised for
its story and vast open world,
but players felt like it was just spinning its
wheels, not really adding much to the series.
The first two games in the Arkham franchise
had been absolutely revolutionary, changing
the action-adventure genre for good. They
both have average review scores in the 90s,
whilst Originsonly managed a
respectable yet disappointing 76.
Not bad, but it’s never
going to get into Cambridge.
#9: Driver 76
The fifth instalment in the Driver series, Driver
76,is a PSP title that acts as a prequel to
Driver: Parallel Lines. I’m going to get really
sick of saying the word “Driver”, aren’t I?
Anyway, The D-Word 76 follows the exploits of Ray,
a wheelman operating out of
New York City in the year 1976.
Ray must earn money to impress his
lady love and then rescue her from
the clutches of a vengeful ex in
the game’s thrilling conclusion.
Gameplay is similar to that of Parallel
Lines, a decision that was made because
the third gamein the series had a lot of
on-foot sections and players reacted to
those about as well as a toaster reacts
to a full bath. D-word 76 was labelled as
shallow compared to its predecessor. It
lacked content compared to the previous
instalment and what content it
had was bland and repetitive.
It also drew comparison to the Grand Theft Auto
series which was never going to
work out in its favour, was it?
#8: The Inpatient
Not a game about someone who has trouble waiting
for things – that would be The Impatient,
which would be a very different
game – The Inpatientcame out in
2018 and is set 63 years prior to the
events of horror title, Until Dawn.
The story kicks off shortly after the
mine collapse that is referenced in the
previous game. Players start their adventure
inside a sanatorium and must try and escape
the Wendigos that prowl the area whilst
also managing their growing insanity.
Like Until Dawn, The Inpatient’s story changes
depending on the decisions the player character
makes. However, unlike Until Dawn, nobody made the
decision to reward itwith any real-life accolades.
Critics loved the game’s tense
atmosphere, especially in VR,
but felt that it lacked the diversity
of its predecessor. The game’s short
length was criticised too, as was its
poor pacing and sloppy control scheme.
In all, it felt more like a piece of
DLC for Until Dawn rather than a game
in its own right. The Inpatient
wasn’ta bad title by any stretch,
but it did fail to live up to what came
before it,which makes us a bit sad, really.
#7: Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
The first Five Nights at Freddy’s game was
a survival horror that put players in the
shoes of a security guard at a creepy fast food
restaurant.Thesecond Five Nights at Freddy’s game
was a survival horror that put players in the
shoes of a security guard at a creepy fast food
restaurant, only this time, the protagonist’s
name is Jeremy instead of Mike!Such variety!
Yes, the follow-up to the incredibly popular
Chuck-E-Cheese sim was very similar to the
series’ first outing. The events of the
prequel are actually hinted at when the
first instalment mentions the gristly events
of 1987, the year in which this game is set.
Other than that, though, Five Nights at
Freddy’s 2 does little to set itself apart
from its predecessor. Oh, aside from the
fact that it’s really bloody difficult! A
number of reviewers noted that Five Nights at
Freddy’s 2 was much harder than the original.
They worried that this rise in difficulty
would put prospective players off the game,
which is less than ideal for a title that
was supposed to establish a franchise.
Although, considering there are now about five
bajillion titles in the series, it
can’t have put too many people off.
#6: Dark Reign 2
Dark Reign 2was the prequel to
real-time strategy game Dark Reign:
The Future of War. So, does that
make it the History of War then?
Set in the lead-up to the first game’s
conflict, Dark Reign 2 is also an RTS
that was developed by Pandemic Studios
and published by Activision. Presumably,
Activision saw the title “Dark Reign” and
adopted it as a motto for their future CEOs.
The prequel comes with two campaign modes,
each of which follows a different faction
in the war. It also comes with several
multiplayer rulesets including Gluttony,
Bloodbath, and Deathmatch.Aren’t those
the names of the Powerpuff Girls?
The first game was praised for its 3D
landscapes and was a hit commercially,
becoming Activision’s fastest selling product when
it was released in 1997. As for the follow-up,
well, let’s just say there’s a reason why there
wasn’t a Dark Reign 3. It was criticised for its
bad AI and a lack of originality. In short,
fans of the RTS genre were probably better
off just sticking with the original as
the sequel had little more to offer.
Now I’m not saying we should all
laugh at Activision’s misfortunes,
but if you were to laugh, I won’t tell anyone.
#5: Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
Let’s clear one thing up before we get
started. Legacy of Darkness serves as
a prequel not to the first Castlevaniagame
ever – the one that debuted on the Famicom
in 1986 – but to the 1999 release of
the same name for the Nintendo 64.Oh,
and it’s not just a prequel; it also
contains a remake of that N64 game.
Has your brain stopped leaking out of
your ears yet? Good. Let’s continue.
The non-remake part of Legacy of Darkness lets
players assume control of Cornell, a werewolf
on a mission to rescue his sister from becoming a
sacrifice to Dracula. A Drac-rifice, if you will.
The game received fairly unflattering reviews with
NextGen calling it “Legacy of Mediocrity”. Gottem!
Whilst others praised the addition of a werewolf
character to the series, most fans and critics
agreed that this was not enough to make up for
the game’s dodgy graphics and unhelpful camera.
In fact, the game got more praise for its
remake of Castlevania 64 than it did for
its original story. When people have more
praise for your rehashing of an old game
over your brand new one, then perhaps you
shouldn’t have bothered with the latter.
#4: Grand Theft Auto Advance
Grand Theft Auto 3has received two prequels
in its time. One is Liberty CityStories,
an extremely well-reviewed game that sold
more copies than any other in the history
of the PlayStation Portable. The other
is Grand Theft Auto Advancewhich came
out in 2004 and is, umm, well it’s not
Liberty City Stories, that’s for sure.
Set within the canon of the 3D GTA universe,
Advance was a 2D adventure title for the
Game Boy Advance, presentedin the style
of the first two Grand Theft Auto games,
i.e., top-down rather than third-person.
As a result of the limitations of the Game
Boy Advance, a lot of what makes GTA so
good was missing from the game. There were no
animated cutscenes, no pedestrian dialogue,
no changeable radio stations, and no shooting
hundreds of pigeons for a pointless trophy.
Outrageous, I’m sure you’ll all agree.
Despite having a decent new story to play
through, players were let down by the lack
of features. The worst thing is that this
game dropped on the exact same day thatSan
Andreascame out for the PlayStation 2, so people
instantly had something better to compare it to.
Talk about shooting yourself
in the foot, eh Rockstar?
#3: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
Looks like we’ve got a bit of a
WILDCARD ENTRY on our hands here!
The three Sonic Boom games serve as prequels,
not to any existing Sonic the Hedgehog video
games, but rather to the Sonic Boom TV show.
Rise of Lyricfor the Wii U was released at
the same time as Shattered Crystal for the
3DS and it was so bad that it almost caused
its developer, Big Red Button, to shut down.
The game, in which Sonic and his pals
do battle with an evil snake thing,
was almost universally panned for a variety
of issues. It was riddled with bugs,
including one that let you jump infinitely
if you paused it at the right time,and was
also slated for its bad camera, poor level
design, and broken platforming mechanics.
It would go on to become both
one of the worst-reviewed and
lowest-selling games in the
franchises’ long history.
Although not a prequel for another video game,
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric did an awful job in
advertising the cartoon and was so painfully bad
that we just couldn’t not include it on this list.
#2: Fallout 76
Bethesda’s online multiplayer trainwreck,
Fallout 76, was supposed to give players
a chance to explore the world of
Fallout before the events of the
main games. They put a lot of work into
this project, creating new monsters,
building a huge new map, and adapting existing
gameplay to work in a multiplayer setting.
Despite the studio’s best efforts though, upon
release, the game was a complete disaster.
The quests were boring, there were barely any
people in the servers, it didn’t work properly,
and Bethesda straight-up deceived people
about the contents of the special launch
bundles. All in all, Fallout 76 was a
wasteland in every sense of the word.
The game’s launch will go down in
history as one of the worst ever,
surpassed only by Cyberpunk 2077. All of its
many failures are now notorious in the gaming
community and it has become a byword for something
that promises so much and delivers so little.
Now let’s never talk about it ever again… ok that
was a lie. It’s definitely going to
come up at some point in the future.
#1: Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
When it comes to hot messes of video games,
they don’t come any hotter or messier
than 2000’s Mortal Kombat: Special Forces.
The first 3D entry in the fighting game
series – except it wasn’t a traditional
side-scrolling fighter, it was an
action-adventure that looked more
like Resident Evil – Special Forces acted
as a prequel to the original MortalKombat.
Players control Jax as he attempts to track down
Kano, who has recently freed his Black Dragon gang
from prison. Perhaps if they’d known that they
were breaking out in order to become antagonists
in one of the worst prequels in gaming history
though, they’d have happily stayed behind bars.
Special Forces was absolutely savaged
by critics upon its release. IGN called
it “dead on arrival” in their review and other
publications lambasted the game’s poor graphics,
controls, story, and basically
everything else that it had to offer.
The game ended up being so bad because
it was rushed following the departure of
several Midway staff members in 1999. Still,
that is no excuse for an entry in one of the
biggest franchises of all time to end up so
tedious, ugly, and just downright horrible.
We’re not angry, Mortal Kombat: Special
Forces, we’re just disappointed…