We've already told you how celebrity involvement in video games can lead to pure, unadulterated awesomeness. From small cameos to larger roles as actors, designers, and producers, stars can often lift a game up to greater heights.
This article isn't about those games.
No, this article is about celebrity-led games that missed the mark completely -- disappointing fans of the star, fans of video games, and fans of things that aren't terrible.
And before you ask -- yes, Shaq-Fu is on the list. But hey, there are 4 other games we're covering that you might not have heard of, so read on.
Yes, we know you're aware of the travesty that is Shaq-Fu, so instead of delving into how bad the game is, let's talk about why it was bad.
Because on the face of it, there's no reason Shaq-Fu had to fail. It simply had to be a passable Street Fighter clone with a Shaq sprite pasted in, and it would have been thoroughly mediocre, lost to time along with Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City and Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball.
Unfortunately, the developers neglected the most important thing in a fighting game: the fighting itself. The game is sluggish, and closing the distance between characters is a chore. This, compounded with the fact that the AI is all too happy to sit in the corner and toss fireballs at you. makes for a very frustrating experience. In addition, combos, special moves, and finishers are incredibly difficult to perform, and even when you do, they're not satisfying.
The game doesn't feel good to play-- it feels like work. But hey, don't take it from me, you can play the game for free right here courtesy of The Internet Archive. See for yourself.
The only saving grace here is that Shaq is currently developing a follow-up to the game in an attempt to redeem himself, and he's apparently getting a lot more involved this time. Only time will tell whether or not putting more Shaq in Shaq-Fu will fix the problems the original game had.
Before Bruce Lee appeared in the UFC games, he was the main character of a little-known SNES beat-em-up-slash-fighting-game called Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Based on the movie of the same name, a highly fictionalized posthumous account of Lee's life, the video game saw players take control of Bruce Lee as he punches and kicks his way through enemies. Sounds fun, right?
Bruce Lee's movement speed is painfully slow, and though enemies don't really pose much of a threat, they take way too many hits to defeat. The game doesn't require skill, it requires patience. And for a game starring Bruce Lee, it doesn't really feature many special or impressive martial arts moves. Most players will just end up front kicking their way through the game until they get bored and give up.
Perhaps this is an example of a game that could have been better with more celebrity involvement-- had Bruce Lee actually been around to oversee the creation of the movie and game, we might be having a completely different discussion here. Unfortunately, we'll never know.
When gamers first got their hands on Destiny, it became clear that one of the title's selling points was actually one of its weak spots. After Peter Dinklage skyrocketed to superstardom by playing Tyrion on Game of Thrones, it was announced that Bungie's newest game would be bringing him on as a voice actor. It seemed like a match made in heaven, and nerds everywhere were giddy with excitement to get their hands on the game and hear Dinklage's soothing voice guide them to objectives.
When the alpha launched, however, things changed. Although he may be a great actor, Dinklage's performance in Destiny was lackluster, devoid of the wit and charm he is generally known for. The response was so great (well, bad) that Bungie made Peter Dinklage re-record dialogue after the alpha period -- but even that wasn't enough, as he was eventually replaced by Nolan North.
Though Dinklage's performance was nowhere near bad enough to ruin the game outright, it was definitely enough to leave a slight stain on what was otherwise a perfectly fun shooter.
Listen, in all seriousness, Pimp My Ride screamed out for a video game adaptation. The show's propensity for over-the-top and outrageous car modifications would have been a gold mine for developers keen on creating wacky, arcade-style driving experiences with deep customization options. The show practically begged for a game, one that let players customize, drive, and show off their own insane creations.
That's, um, not what we got.
What we got was a game where your goal is to crash into other cars to collect money to buy a hot tub to put in the back of a generic-looking car. Over and over and over again. There's no free customization, everything is linear, and even when the developers tried to break up the gameplay with minigames (remember ghostriding the whip? Yeah, that's one of them), it all boils down to pressing a string of buttons that appear on screen.
Again, this game didn't have to be bad. But Xzibit heard we like games, so he put minigames in his game so we could game while we game. It's too bad he forgot to make the games fun in the first place.
Yes, that's Fred Durst up there. Yes, the lead singer of Limp Bizkit was in a video game adaptation of the classic movie and book Fight Club. But as surprising as all that is, perhaps the most surprising part is that Fred Durst didn't even need to ruin this game.
The devs did it for him.
While the game did, admittedly, have a few things going for it (a novel bone-breaking mechanic, for one), at heart it was a bland, unpolished, and featureless Tekken clone. And for fans of the movie who were looking forward to seeing Brad Pitt and Edward Norton reprise their roles in the realm of video games...well, sorry, you get Fred Durst instead.
If the game weren't based on the Fight Club property, it likely would have been remembered simply as a pretty bad fighting game for its generation. Instead, the developers managed to piss off Fight Club fans everywhere by adding a healthy dose of Limp Bizkit to their uninspired game.
It's a real life case of going from bad to Durst.
What other games did celebrities ruin? Let us know in the comments!