The Handheld That Ruined Your Favorite Games games

The list of contenders to the throne the Nintendo Game Boy line held for over a decade is a long one. Alongside names like the N-Gage and Gizmondo, the handheld is just one of the many, many failed bids at even putting a dent in Nintendo’s dominance, and it’s one of the most interesting examples of all. If for no other reason than how impressively this little device from Tiger Electronics screwed up some of the biggest games on the planet.

This in spite of the fact that the had some innovative flourishes, including being an early adopter of the stylus pen, and being the first handheld console to offer internet connectivity. It’s just that these features were greatly outpaced by, well, everything else about the The only thing possibly worse than the handheld was the other major effort by Tiger, known as the R-Zone.

Frankly, the less that’s said about the R-Zone, the better.

The saw just 20 games released over a miserable three-year lifespan of poor sales and bad reviews. Not a single title among them, with the possible exception of the system’s built-in Solitaire game, were worth playing, let alone at a price tag of as much as $30 in 1998 money ($57.05 when adjusted for inflation). That’s a Helldivers 2 or like 5 Lethal Companies today.

When we say is the handheld that ruined your favorite games, we aren’t kidding. All we can do now is stare in wonderment at this weird piece of plastic nonsense and take a look at some of the biggest games it rendered virtually unplayable. We can also be thankful that the system died before it could adapt Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Command and Conquer: Red Alert, or Metal Gear Solid. All were slated for release on the system, so let’s breathe a collective sigh of relief that someone mercy killed this thing in time.


Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 saw a number of ports from the original PS1 release, and easily the worst of them all is this 2.5D abomination that made its wretched way over to the console in 1998. While the game’s graphics are relatively impressive at times, the overall presentation is jarring and becomes visually unpleasant before long. That certainly sucks, but at least you’ll be able to take a break from the game’s migraine-inducing screen to scream at some of the most frustrating controls over created for a video game system.

Yes, the controls for the were almost universally terrible across those 20 games, but it’s especially noticeable with ports of games from major franchises. It’s something we’ll be touching on again before long.

Resident Evil 2 looks underwhelming, but the sound quality is atrocious, and the consistent issue of slowdown never fails to derail what little momentum you may gain from slogging through this trash.

Interesting bit of trivia though: Resident Evil 2 for the is the only commercially released title that had a save feature, which came in the form of the series’ famous typewriter ribbons. There’s some motivation in case you feel compelled to hate yourself enough to play Resident Evil 2 to completion on one of the worst handhelds ever made.


Duke Nukem 3D

Part of us admires the ambition of trying to adapt a first-person shooter like Duke Nukem 3D for something with the technical limitations of the console. However, that still doesn’t forgive how dismal the experience of playing Duke Nukem 3D on the proves to be.

You can start with the fact that you can’t turn around. Yes, you can’t turn around. Your time with Duke Nukem 3D will be spent exclusively walking down endless corridors, shooting everything that gets in your way. This is fun for about a minute and a half. And while this is once again a game that at least visually looks like what it’s supposed to, the graphical and sound limitations of Duke Nukem 3D become apparent very quickly.

This is more of an extremely linear dungeon crawler than an FPS. Whatever you want to call it, make sure you call the game boring. There are some dreadful Duke Nukem games out there, but none of them are as dull and frustrating, particularly due to unresponsive controls, as Duke Nukem 3D. March forward. Shoot. March forward. Shoot. Again and again and again. And again. The whole game brings to mind a concept of purgatory we wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Duke Nukem 3D didn’t have a save feature to protect your progress across its three butt-ugly stages, but it did offer passwords that were completely useless because no one bothered to finish programming the game. We wish someone had finished programming Duke Nukem Forever all those years ago.


Mortal Kombat Trilogy

Mortal Kombat Trilogy was an imperfect game on any console. On the handheld, it was an absolute embarrassment.

Promising “hundreds of animations”, Mortal Kombat Trilogy was particularly undone by the hideous controller of the Good luck doing much of anything, let alone pulling off a complicated move or, god forbid, a fatality. Basic movement is probably better than the infamous Game Boy port of the original Mortal Kombat, but that’s really not something anyone should be proud of.

What it all comes down to for Mortal Kombat Trilogy is that it’s a game drowning in compromises. Obviously, some changes needed to be made for the game to survive in some form on a significantly less powerful system than the PS1, Sega Saturn, PC, or Nintendo 64, all of which received a version of MK Trilogy. You accept these compromises to a point, but so, so much was slashed from this game to make it fit on the handheld. The animations are at best ugly, the move set is extremely limited, and the sound and music are effectively non-existent.

The trade-offs for playing Mortal Kombat Trilogy on the go are just too insurmountable. The deck is completely stacked against any hope you might have of enjoying yourself. Everything you like about Mortal Kombat has been so dramatically modified to make it possible on the hardware, all you have left are some graphics that are as crisp and clear as if you’re a Victorian chimney sweep playing it on your 3 minute lunch break. Because you’re sure as hell not going to feel like you’re actually playing something resembling a Mortal Kombat game.


Sonic Jam

While the port of an underrated Sega Saturn Sonic collection isn’t directly responsible for Sega’s problems in the late 90s, part of us wants to blame all of Sega’s woes on this unfathomable waste of time.

Where do you even begin with the many, many problems Sonic Jam presents from the moment you boot it up? Let’s start with the graphics. There’s Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Allegedly. You can at least tell them apart, so that’s something, but the blurring that you’ll experience once the game gets going makes playing a unique challenge that you’ll soon regret even attempting. It gets worse.

“Lazy” is a word we rarely use to describe something as intensive as designing and developing a video game, but it’s the only word that accurately describes Sonic Jam. A combination of Sonic 2 and 3, as well as Sonic and Knuckles, the level design is atrocious, and every facet of the game feels incomplete. This was clearly a rushed effort to have a Sonic title for the and calling it “playable” is like calling Sega’s mid-90s strategy “smart”.

The first Sonic game ever released on a non-Nintendo console, Sonic Jam is so bad it’s almost surreal. It’s a miracle the even lasted three years with dreck like this.


Batman & Robin

We cap off this bleak tribute to one of the worst handheld consoles ever with a stupefyingly bad licensed game. Regardless of how you feel about the infamous 1997 film directed by Joel Schumacher with George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell as the leather-nippled caped crusaders, there’s at least entertainment value with that movie. However, it says a lot about a game when one of the nicer things you can think of is that it reminds you that the PS1 Batman & Robin game isn’t the worst possible game based on the film.

Yet again, we’re trapped in Hell with nothing to get us out except the’s sadistically unresponsive controls. So you’d better invest in a big fan, then. There’s plenty of frustration for a game that’s mostly a side-scrolling fighter, but that’s not even close to the only thing wrong here. The graphics and sound both feel underdeveloped, borderline nonexistent. Four terrible levels take either Batman or Robin to the streets of Gotham, a boss fight with Bane and Poison Ivy, and a shooting gallery-style stage that’s brief and yet still feels as if it’s dragging on for an eternity.

You’ll also be able to look forward to noticeable slowdown. Slowdown on basically a slideshow. It’s almost impressive, really. This happens pretty much whenever there’s more than one character on the screen at any given time, which is much of the game.

Slowdown was yet another problem for the, which might have had a chance if anyone thought to work within the limits of the software, instead of cramming established properties into a system that could only make these games look shoddy and poorly developed. might have had a chance if it had just managed its expectations and lowered some prices. Instead, it gave us a bunch of games that were genuinely better off not being made at all.

READ NEXT: Grand Theft Auto on Nintendo 64: The Daily Mail Headline That Nearly Happened

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site.