SCE Studio Liverpool (formerly Psygnosis)
Creators of: Lemmings, WipEout
Crime against gaming: Spice World
The late ’90s were a dark time for pop music, and growing up with a sister one year younger than me meant that I had to hear a whole lot of it. Unfortunately, 1998 was the year that the awful music invaded my means of escape by infecting my PS1, when my mom rented Spice World for my sister at the local Blockbuster.
Worst of all for me was seeing who was responsible for this atrocity when the game booted up. How could Psygnosis, the developers who had delivered the excellent WipEout and WipEout 2 just a couple of years prior, be capable of such evil? Besides the obvious difference in genre, Spice World was everything WipEout wasn’t – ugly, boring, and paired with a godawful soundtrack. The only thing that was tolerable about the group was that they were easy on the eyes, but the game took even that away. Seriously, the demonic caricatures representing the Spice Girls are the stuff of nightmares.
I still haven’t forgiven my sister for her aggravated assault on my beloved console, but at least SCE Studio Liverpool have righted ship and are focusing on continuing the excellent WipEout franchise. But if I ever hear even the lightest whispers about a Justin Bieber game, there will be blood.
Creators of: Syphon Filter, Resistance: Retribution
Crime against gaming: Bubsy 3D
Finally, here’s the absolute worst for last. As established above, Spice World was pretty horrific. It looks like high art when compared to Bubsy 3D, though. Once again, just look for yourself:
When people call it the worst game on the PS1, you can see that it’s no joke. This was the first game made by the studio formerly known as Eidetic, so it’s not like people were expecting any sort of masterpiece. But when that game is a 3D sequel in a series starring a mascot that only irritated everyone he came in contact with … well, let’s just say people weren’t waiting with bated breath.
Even with those things factored in, it’s hard to get around just how bad the game is. Each object in the game world seems be made of six polygons or less, with a horrible fog there to do a bad job of hiding the ridiculous pop-in and general ugliness. The control is absolutely atrocious, requiring you to stop moving and turn the camera if you want to maneuver in anything other than a straight line. Possibly worst of all is Bubsy himself, driving people just that much closer to lunacy with every word he uttered.
In a surprising turnaround, Eidetic’s next project was Syphon Filter for Sony, a game better in every single respect. After Syphon Filter 2 they were acquired by Sony and rebranded, and they’ve gone on to make every game in the SF series, as well as Resistance: Retribution for the PSP. Who says you can’t turn it around?