Biggest Letdown

2002 was a big year for gaming, and a big year for RPGs. Unfortunately, more RPGs hitting the shelves also means more potential disappointments out there. Do not think that a game can recieve this award just by being a particularly bad game. This is about letdown, ladies and gentlemen, and that implies that at some point, we all thought we might enjoy these titles. It's also worth noting that all but one of our "winners" is a Game Boy Advance title.

The Staff and readers showed some real division between themselves in this category. For instance, the Staff found it was most disappointed by Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. While not a completely horrible game in its own right, it suffers from the burden of its Castlevania name, and its complete inability to live up to previous installments in the series. Besides being quite short, it was also pathetically easy, and its music was quite honestly some of the worst ever produced on the GBA. Although the game managed to include brighter, more colorful backgrounds, the decision to enhance its asthetics at the cost of its gameplay is one that ultimately hurt Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance a great deal.

Our readers, meanwhile, found they were most letdown by Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku. At the outset, the game did look somewhat promising. Screenshots showed a fairly accurate depiction of the Dragonball Z world, allowing fans to overlook the fact that publisher Infogrames' best selling game to date was Deer Hunter 4. Unfortunately, the final product was a mediocre action RPG that featured continuously re-spawning health and enemies, useless special attacks, an ability to save anywhere, pedantic level design, and a storyline that only loosely recreated the material it was based on. Despite the game not receiving a single positive review, it sold very well, leaving thousands of gamers to discover the sheer disappointment of Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku for themselves. This game represents a lesson in one of the cardinal rules of gaming: Rent before you buy.

In the runner-up positions, the Staff was disappointed by Breath of Fire II, an uninspired port of an already uninspired game. Our readers simply didn't warm to Grandia Xtreme, the dungeon crawling take on the Grandia franchise. It appears, however, that there is one letdown that the Staff and readers could agree on: The Lord of the Rings, Part 1. Although it's probably safe to say that no one expected too much out of Universal Interactive's game, one shocking problem managed to elevate the game from the simply mediocre into a title everyone knew about for all the wrong reasons. The Lord of the Rings, Part 1 was allowed to ship with a bug that causes the game to crash at a specific point about 3/4 of the way through the game. While Universal Interactive did immediately release a method for circumventing the bug, no sort of recall or replacement program was ever put in place. This sort of problem, practically unheard of in a major console release, was not only stupid, it was also incredibly irresponsible on the part of Universal Interactive. Thankfully, the bug was not present in the European release.

Biggest Letdown
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance Reader
Dragonball Z: The Legacy of Goku
Staff Runner-Ups
Breath of Fire II The Lord of the Rings, Part 1 Reader Runner-Ups
Grandia Xtreme The Lord of the Rings, Part 1

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