Bad game bad; bad game good

Those who follow us on Twitter – to whom we are eternally grateful – will know that I had a bit of trouble procuring a copy of Halo 4. My copy was dispatched the weekend before its Tuesday launch but it didn’t arrive on our doorstep until Thursday.

With a day off work to play though 343i’s space shooter, I was left to rummage through my unplayed game pile to try and find something short to whiz through. Two titles fit this bill – Brave: A Warrior’s Tale and Crash Time III. That’s SouthPeak’s Brave from 2009 – not the recent Disney tie-in.

Both these games are pretty bad and I knew this when purchasing them. At £4 and £6 respectively though, they hardly broke the bank and the Crash Time series is one that I’ve always been curious about. It’s based on the German TV show Alarm for Cobra 11 and, would you believe, is about to receive its fifth videogame tie-in. Brave? I just wanted to play a platformer without some stupid license attached.

Now, what really struck me when playing these two – and thus prompted me to write this article – is that they’re both bad in different ways. Brave, which is a mere HD re-release of a late-life PlayStation 2 game, is bad in the sense that it’s lazily and sloppily made. Crash Time III however is bad because it’s so bizarrely designed. It’s almost as if the developers have never played a similar game.

Brave: A Warrior’s Tale really did test my patience on more than a few occasions. I can look past the fact that it’s by far the ugliest thing to grace the Xbox 360, but I can’t forgive the fiddly platform jumping sections and terrible camera. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of times I died was in triple figures – that’s how frustrating and glitch-ridden some parts are. The 500G achievement for defeating the final boss seemed to be the developer’s way of saying sorry for shipping an inexcusable mess.

Crash Time III on the other hand is the videogame equivalent of a movie that’s so bad it’s good – cheesy voice acting, appalling dialogue, rubbish special effects. It has all of those things and more. I have never ever heard somebody pronounce the word ‘siren’ in the way as Crash Time III’s tutorial.

Then there’s the mission objectives – the first is to drive to a bakery to pick up some breakfast, followed by a jaunt to a petrol station to fill up with fuel… even though the tank is almost to the brim. The billboard adverts meanwhile include some real-life anti-virus software which we assume is from the same publisher, and an incredibly random photo of some bog-eyed pug dogs. The achievements are worth a mention too – there’s one for sounding the horn for the first time and another for activating the siren. Both of these I unlocked while randomly bashing buttons to try and skip the opening cut-scene. Yes, they unlocked during the cut-scene.

Here’s the thing – all of the above are very bizarre design choices, but they don’t inconvenience the player one bit. The graphics are surprisingly accomplished for a game that’s come from a small studio, and the handling is serviceable. Whether you’d want to play a game where you’re mostly carrying out daily chores instead of busting bad guys in something like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is another thing entirely.

Do bad games have their place? I’d say yes – I think all reviewers should purposely go out of their way to play a bad game every once in a while, just to put into perspective how good some games really are. I’ve quite had my fill of them for now though.

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