10 Worst PS2 Games of All Time

Cinderella PS2

The PlayStation 2 is often regarded as one of the best console generations to date. It spawned beloved series like God of War, Kingdom Hearts, and Devil May Cry and helped the likes of Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto elevate the industry as a whole. Despite all of its successes — and there are many — the console wasn’t without its duds.

While video game budgets increased and access to modern tech prompted video game spectacles, some developers just couldn’t capture the magic the PS2 allowed for. In fact, for many of these titles, it’s like they didn’t even try. In fact, a lot of the PS2’s vast library of games amounts to shovelware, terrible tie-ins, and impressively bad ports because the console was almost too popular. Just like the Wii, if you build a platform for people of all ages and tastes, there are going to be some developers and publishers trying to capitalise on a super chaotic market with low-effort rushjobs.

Despite having access to what was an advanced piece of hardware running on the impressive Emotion Engine processor, these ten games were pushed out in a state that could be considered even poor quality for the PS1.

10. Miami Vice

Miami Vice PS2
Miami Vice PS2

Developer: Davilex
Publisher: Davilex

Released only in the European market (for some reason), the PS2 version of Miami Vice is an altogether different beast compared to the more widely-released PSP tie-in of the 2006 Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell film. While its cinematic inspiration had a mixed reception, Miami Vice: The Game on the PSP was largely considered a decent bit of fun. The PS2 version, meanwhile, which takes more from the TV show, was just pretty awful.

It would have been easy for Davilex to emulate some of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City or Max Payne for moderate success, but the developer went the expected route for tie-ins. It’s a rather basic third-person shooter with floaty controls, an ugly aesthetic, and poor attempts at capturing the entertainment value of the genre’s staple mechanics.

It’s never surprising when video games based on movies or TV shows are bad. A game like Miami Vice, though, borderlines on egregiously subpar, especially when they fail to capture any of the charm or magic of the source material. Most surprising of all, Davilex were also given the rights to Knight Rider for two games, both of which were also pretty not great.

Take Vice City, strip away all of the good bits and basically make it worse than a cocaine hangover and you get this adaptation.


9. Made Man

Made Man
Made Man

Developer: SilverBack Studios
Publisher: Mastertronic

What if The Godfather was a bad video game? Yes, we did get an official Godfather video game the same year as this PS2 “gem”, but Made Man far surpasses any negativity the licensed game received.

Crafted from a collaboration between crime author David Fisher and former mafioso Salvatore Bonanno, who was basically destined to be in the mob with a name like that, Made Man had all the makings of an engaging, rich game about life in organized crime. The result was a very generic third-person shooter with voice acting as flat as its gameplay and some of the worst weather effects you could ever imagine.

Move from one room to the next, clear out the bad guys, listen to some really bad acting, and repeat ad nauseam. While Fisher tried to ground the game in Bonanno’s real-world stories of organized crime, the developer opted to go heavy on the action. Wielding dual pump-action shotguns and performing overly gory executions really diminish the potential realism of Bonanno’s influence, and all of it just feels absolutely horrible to control.

Why was this made, man?


8. Empire of Atlantis

Empire of Atlantis
Empire of Atlantis

Developer: The Code Monkeys
Publisher: Phoenix Games

The best video games are the ones that feel like thrown-together Flash games, right? Well, someone should have warned The Code Monkeys and Phoenix Games that the exact opposite is true before they released Empire of Atlantis. Unlike cinematic wonders like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, it seems as if absolutely no effort was put into piecing together this “gem”.

Empire of Atlantis is a collection of brainteasers, from a slide puzzle to a jigsaw puzzle. There’s even a coloring book that takes absolutely no effort to color. Just choose a shade, point, click, and that entire area will be blanketed in a harsh hue.

The real selling point is the animated short, which reads like a haphazard cartoon used to teach about some historic event or a verse in the Bible. If you ever played any of Phoenix Games’ repertoire as a kid, there’s a good chance that you grew up thinking that god is dead.


7. Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop PS2
Beverly Hills Cop PS2

Developer: Tynesoft
Publisher: Tynesoft

Things are really bad when your game looks and plays like the early stages of an alpha build. They’re even worse when your licensed video game has virtually nothing that links it to the property it’s based on. Shockingly, it gets even worse when you race-swap a character with a design that’s the literal opposite of the original actor, almost as if done in spite of not being able to secure rights to the character’s likeness.

Somehow, Beverly Hills Cop is painfully guilty of all of this. Why Eddie Murphy was swapped out for D-grade Vin Diesel is only one of the game’s many affronts. Stiff controls make GoldenEye look like a modern marvel by comparison, despite being 11 years older, and hitboxes are all over the place. If you’ve ever wondered what a “bullet sponge” was, just play a few minutes of Beverly Hills Cop. There’s a very incomplete air to the game, which is only amplified by the complete lack of any voice acting.

The lack of Eddie Murphy’s charm and the comedic writing of Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr. are so evident in the finished build, but it’s the absence of Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” that pains us the most. That, and actually playing it.


6. Anubis II

Anubis 2
Anubis 2

Developer: Data Design Interactive
Publisher: Conspiracy Entertainment

The guardian of the underworld deserves better than a soulless, cutesy platformer, but that’s, unfortunately, all he got out of Data Design Interactives’ failed attempt at whatever it was trying to pull off. Anubis II is egregiously boring. Unless you enjoy running through the same level design for over an hour, listening to the same guitar rift repeat ad nauseam.

The one thing Anubis II does have going for it is that it could have been a good-looking, cartoonish game. The model for the titular Egyptian god is kind of fun. It’s just a shame nothing fun is done with him. From an aggressively bad camera that gets caught on walls to boring enemies, Anubis II is one to leave in the “never play” pile.

Worst of all, this is basically the same as Ninjabread Man and Rock ‘n’ Roll Adventures, two other Data Design games that were probably cranked out in an afternoon while half the team trawled MySpace. Should have kept this one in the Underworld.


5. Hidden Invasion

Hidden Invasion PS2
Hidden Invasion PS2

Developer: Toka
Publisher: Conspiracy Games

Camera angles were the bane of so many PS1 and PS2 games. Some titles, like Tomb Raider, were able to overcome them with entertaining gameplay and narratives. Others, like Hidden Invasion, offer little to help distract from glitchy, stiff, and awkward cameras.

The game plays out like a mix between Tomb Raider and The Bouncer , with players shooting and brawling their way through hordes of enemies. The fact that we’re comparing it to The Bouncer probably isn’t a great sign, is it.

Even if the gameplay weren’t clunky, you wouldn’t get to enjoy it for long as every level is timed and has the same basic goal: find the bombs before they explode. Sometimes things get really exciting, and you have to locate keycards instead of bombs to progress. It’s a shame the whole thing comes together so poorly because some of the melee combat is at least mildly entertaining. The most disappointing part is that it’s not even a bad concept. It’s just so blatantly unpolished.


4. Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror

Fugitive Hunter
Fugitive Hunter

Developer: Black Ops Entertainment
Publisher: Encore Software

Nothing says tact like turning a real conflict into an arcade-style shooter. That’s essentially what Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror did, but it’s so poorly developed that it feels like a cash grab attempting to cash in on the political strife in the Middle East. The 2000s feel like they took place in an alternate dimension sometimes.

Later packaged as America’s 10 Most Wanted for its European release, Fugitive Hunter is a first-person shooter that sends players into the heart of Pakistan, Utah, Paris, and Miami to fight back against terrorist threats. Players eventually wind up in Afghanistan to go toe-to-toe with Osama Bin Laden. Yes, you get into a Tekken-style brawl against one of the 21st century’s worst terrorist leaders.

The somewhat insensitive subject matter aside, Fugitive Hunter is nothing noteworthy. Its gunplay is dated even by PS1 standards, and its engine doesn’t utilize the power of the PS2 at all. Its strangest feature, outside of the concept, is the soundtrack. Some levels are accompanied by really weird, out-of-place groovy tracks that don’t even remotely match the game’s tone.

Who doesn’t love a bit of James Brown while they’re fighting for freedom?


3. MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch

Celebrity Deathmatch PS2
Celebrity Deathmatch PS2

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: Gotham Games

Some premises sound like they’ll land so well as a video game. MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch was one of them, but Big Ape Productions fumbled the ball more than a little bit.

Instead of a fun fighter with an expansive roster of clay celebrities, we received something painfully cringy and incredibly empty feeling. When you play a wrestling game, for instance, there’s always a lot of noise to keep the energy up. Celebrity Deathmatch has no soundtrack and virtually no ambient crowd noise. So basically like a Carrot Top gig, then.

Even the fighter-specific attacks are dull and don’t always make sense for the fighter. It’s very possible the developers had a dart board of different moves and simply used that to create each fighter. MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch does a fine job matching the visual aesthetics of the show, but with none of the (now pretty dated) charm, it doesn’t ultimately matter.


2. Little Britain: The Video Game

Little Britain game
Little Britain game

Developer: Gamerholix
Publisher: Mastertronic Group

Based on the Little Britain sketch comedy series, which has aged with the same kind of gracefulness as the kid from Terminator, this party game was available on the PS2 only in Europe, saving the rest of the world from experiencing its awfulness. Not only is it downright ugly, Little Britain is extremely repetitive and features some of the most aggressive sound effects ever heard in a video game.

Little Britain is divided into offensively bad mini-games that range from throwing plants at people to riding a bicycle through the city, slapping flamboyant pedestrians while touting “I am the gay.”
Everything is so uninspired and weird that there’s even a mini-game fashioned after Pac-Man, which is a sign of being creatively bankrupt, but what makes it worse is that there’s no ghosts chasing you. Instead, you’re just eating cake while the same four lines get repeated over and over.

It’s clear you need to be a fan of the series to even remotely appreciate the humor (and even then it’s a task), but it’s safe to say that even familiarity with the source material isn’t enough to make the game fun, or at least not one of the absolute worst games on the PS2.


1. Cinderella

Cinderella PS2
Cinderella PS2

Developer: Aqua Pacific Ltd.
Publisher: Phoenix Games

Who doesn’t love a good Walt Disney classic? How about one released by a publisher historically known for shallow, awful interactive experiences? Don’t be fooled by the title. Cinderella for the PS2 isn’t attached to the original Disney animation. Instead, it’s a collection of dull puzzles accompanied by a terrible, cartoonish retelling of the age-old tale.

Unless you love digital jigsaw puzzles, slider puzzles, or matching games, you’ll find little to no redeeming value in this title’s interactivity. Even calling it a “game” is a massive stretch, as it’s actually an atrocious port of a Polish educational game. Anyone who critiques walking simulators should spend an hour with whatever Phoenix spit out and see how long they can hold the screaming in for.

As with many Phoenix Games releases, the experience is anchored by a poorly animated cartoon with horrible audio synching, acting, animation — basically everything is horrible. You can’t even quit the game without turning off the PS2, Phoenix clearly wanting to trap you inside this nightmare forever.

Even if Cinderella is one of your favorite stories ever, you’ll get no joy out of watching this crude retelling.

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