Cover Me Badd is my regular series looking at the worst video game covers in history. Each article will focus on a specific format. If you missed it, catch up on Part 1: NES games and Part 2: SNES games.
It was a mere month and a half ago that I regaled you with tales of the 20 worst SNES covers of all time. Oh, how we chuckled.
If you still pine for that lovely time some 40-odd days ago, now’s your lucky moment, as we both continue our journey through shit box art memory lane. This time, it’s the Nintendo 64’s turn.
64 Oozumou 2 (Japan) (Bottom Up)
The first 64 Oozumou game featured a large anime sumo wrestler, staring at you oddly with his huge sumo wrestler eyes.
Obviously Bottom Up decided this wasn’t disconcerting enough, so for the sequel it stuck ten of them on there, each with their own distinct personalities. It’s a bit like the seven dwarves except there’s ten of them and they’re all called Chunky.
Special mention has to go to the guy in the top middle, who’s clearly and ironically been bullying the guy below him for a long time about his weight (look at his mate to the right of him offering a sympathetic look).
If I had to pick a favourite it’d either be the weakling on the top row who’s so rubbish he can’t poke his own cheek without it hurting, or the second guy on the bottom row who thinks he’s smiling nice for the camera but doesn’t realise he’s looking the wrong way.
64 Trump Collection: Alice No Waku Waku Trump World (Japan) (Bottom Up)
Unfortunately 64 Trump Collection isn’t about a Presidential campaigner trying to offend people from 64 different nationalities, nor is it a game based on 64 men suffering from the effects of a dodgy lamb vindaloo the night before (which you’d expect from a company called Bottom Up).
Instead, it’s a card game loosely based on Alice In Wonderland, no doubt inspired by the bit with the Queen Of Hearts’ playing card soldiers.
The odd-looking anime Alice on the the left is disconcerting enough, but that huge bespectacled white rabbit’s sneering face is fucking terrifying. I think they were going with the ‘wise’ look but somewhere down the line it evolved into the ‘I think I’d like to discover what your kidneys taste like’ look.
Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage (UK) (THQ)
We love all a good mage regardless of where they sit in the mage timeline, so the fact that this one was the first is neither here nor there (even though he looks more like a warrior to me).
What disappoints me more here is the not-very-heroic situation our hero’s found himself in. After all, it’s sort of hard to look out over the land and stare intently at the giant single stalk of corn in the distance when your hair’s blowing over your face.
With wind that strong, his scantily-dressed female chum – whose decision to bring a cape means she at least reckons her back should be covered up – must be freezing too.
You’re a mage, mate. If you can’t conjure up a small breeze to keep your hair out of your eyes and a simple fire spell to keep your lady friend warm, then chances are when you meet your first goblin you’ll be picking lumps of his sole out of your arse for weeks later.
Big Mountain 2000 (US) (SouthPeak)
Before I even get to the cover, let’s dwell on something rather shameless.
Despite its title, Big Mountain was actually released in Japan as Snow Speeder a whole two years earlier, so slapping a big 2000 on it was actually a bit misleading.
Not that this is the biggest sin committed on this cover, of course. The more I look at it, the more things about it annoy me.
The three random fonts slapped on the title. The backwards baseball cap on the ‘rad’ dude on the right. The girl’s weird sideways mouth thing.
And the fact that no matter how much I try to figure it out, I can’t understand how her feet fit into those skis in that position unless she’s broken her shins.
Bust-A-Move 3 DX (UK) (Acclaim)
For the most part this cover doesn’t cause too much concern.
Yes, it’s filled with coloured balls but that’s Bust-A-Move, it’s accurate. There’d be no point putting a picture of Val Kilmer on there instead.
What irks me is the male and female symbols on the bottom. Not only are they completely pointless, but I can count six male symbols there compared to one female symbol.
That’s just rampant sexism on Acclaim’s part, and in this day and age that shit doesn’t fly. DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, ACCLAIM.
Hm? What? They died 12 years ago? Pfft, that’s just a likely attempt at mansplaining.
Castlevania: Legacy Of Darkness (US) (Konami)
“Oh hello there, I didn’t see you. What’s that? What am I doing?
“Oh, you know, I’m just taking the head off a skeleton. I’m a werewolf, that’s what I do… apparently.
“Sorry? My clothes? Well, I couldn’t decide whether to wear shorts or trousers so I decided to make one leg short and the other long. The belt’s Stella McCartney.
“Look, I’d love to chat more but my master is watching me suspiciously. He’s the chap who lives in the sky and looks like a Dragon Ball Z version of The Undertaker.
“I’d better get back to work before he realises I’ve been horribly rendered. Nice meeting you!”
Centre Court Tennis (UK) (GMI)
Good lord, that’s just horrific. I’m up for a little bit of blur to add to the action but just look at that, that’s ridiculous.
When your game is called Centre Court Tennis and you can’t even see the court or any tennis taking place then you might as well just give up.
I would seriously like anyone involved with this cover to get in touch with me (contact details are at the top of the page) and explain just how this was agreed to be an acceptable cover image.
That’s assuming they haven’t sadly passed away following continued use of the illegal substances they were clearly on back then (as proven by the tie-dyed logo).
Chameleon Twist (US) (Sunsoft)
As gaming approached the new millennium numerous studios were still creating games with anthropomorphic animal mascots, a hangover from the 16-bit era of the early ’90s.
I have no problem with this. Hell, I’m up for playing as a chameleon. It’s actually up there on my list of Top 7 Animals I’d Like To Play As. At least, it would be if I wrote one.
My issue here is the way in which lead character Davy (yes, that’s his actual name) has decided to ensnare his grub-like foe.
Just stick your tongue straight out, mate. There’s no need to wrap it around the back of your head first. Nobody likes a clever prick.
CyberTiger (US) (Electronic Arts)
CyberTiger was an arcade-style golf game where you could use special power-up balls to defeat a series of golfers until you met ‘CyberTiger’.
Regardless of the fact that at the time ‘cyber’ used to be slang for doing something rude with people on Yahoo! Chat (and we all know what Tiger got up to in the years following), this ridiculous box art just annoys me anyway.
It’s not so much the needless volcano in the background or the vacant stare in
Tiger Woods’ CyberTiger’s eyes, it’s more the fact that his golf swing is so ‘extreme’ that it’s sent him flying into the air.
There’s absolutely no way Tiger could drive a ball with any conviction with a swing like that, Cyber or otherwise. I’m a big fan of realistic physics.
Fighter Destiny 2 (US) (Southpeak)
Seemingly the sequel to Fighter’s Destiny (no, I don’t know why they dropped the ‘s’ either), this cover confirms what I already suspected: wearing a silly headband and dying your hair burgundy doesn’t actually make you look tougher.
In fact, I’m starting to think you don’t actually play as a fighter in this game.
I think your ‘destiny’ in this case is to study medicine and become a doctor so you can heal injured fighters.
It would make sense, since this lad’s clearly your first patient, nervously showing you his dislocated toe in the hope you can pop it back into place.
Forsaken 64 (US) (Acclaim)
Forsaken was a complicated first-person shooter set in an apocalyptic future where mercenaries travel from all over to kill each other and shoot sentry guns.
At no point does the game feature an attractive woman with a Forsaken tattoo on her cheek crying on the moon.
Acclaim have had their odd woman-based shenanigans in the past (I’m still waiting for that Bust-A-Move 3 DX apology) and this one’s just as bizarre.
Actually, it isn’t. Someone clearly decided: “Nobody gives an eighth of a fuck about some generic futuristic FPS pish, so instead of putting soldiers and the like on the cover let’s put a hot lady on there instead. And make her look like she’s crying so she’s all vulnerable and that.”
Remind me again why Acclaim went bust a couple of years after this?
Ide Yosuke No Mahjong Juku (Japan) (Seta)
While round our parts mahjong is usually the other name for Shanghai solitaire, in Japan it’s a four-player game a bit like rummy using tiles instead of cards.
Just as poker has its own stars in the West, mahjong has its own famous faces in the East, including Yosuke Ide. He’s an old chap who knows his mahjong and has had plenty of mahong training games over the years on different systems.
But that doesn’t mean I like the idea of buying a Nintendo 64 game with an old man staring up at me with a coy expression on his face while a horde of cartoon characters accompanies him.
When I look at this cover I feel like I’ve been trapped in an air vent and the fire department has for some reason hired Yosuke Ide to come and rescue me.
As a crowd of people gathers to watch the rescue attempt, Ide is just looking at me, muttering: “Well well Chris, what a mess you’ve gotten yourself into.”
Fuck up Ide, your tile-shuffling shite is no use here.
Lode Runner 3D (US) (Infogrames)
Ah, Lode Runner, that old-school classic where you had to dig holes to trap enemies while collecting piles of gold.
Except in this version you seem to be armed with a laser gun instead.
Hey, times change and things evolve so it’s not so much the weaponry that annoys me in this one, or the fact that you’re being pursued by a monk for some reason (take that, Christians!).
It’s more the fact that I can’t figure out what the hero’s supposed to be shooting at. Is he shooting the solid steel block that obviously can’t be destroyed, or is he actually trying to shoot the monk and failing miserably from point-blank range?
Either way, the guy’s a twat and shouldn’t be running any more lodes any time soon.
Madden NFL 2000 (US) (EA Sports)
I like John Madden. He’s a hero in the world of American football and though these days he’s more famous for the games named after him, he was also an amazing player, manager and broadcaster.
But this cover just makes me feel like I’ve disappointed him.
He looks like a kind uncle who’s been playing with his young nephew, having fun with him until the nephew takes it too far and throws one of his toys or something.
Then John looks at the nephew sternly, points his finger at him and says: “No”.
Now imagine picking this game up and considering buying it, then looking at John. “No,” he’s saying. “We’ve all had a bit of fun, but stop playing silly buggers now.”
Mike Piazza’s Strike Zone (US) (GT Interactive)
If you ask me, judging by that facial expression, it looks like Mike Piazza’s already been hit in his strike zone and is suffering for it.
Besides, given that he was a top Major League Baseball catcher, it’s a bit odd that he’d be pulling that face anyway even if it’s supposed to be a mean one.
As a catcher, Piazza’s role is to crouch behind the batter and catch missed balls thrown at him by his own pitcher. The batter never sees his face, so why would he be doing that?
If anything, he’d be putting off his own pitcher. Why would you make things harder for a teammate like that, Mike? You’re a horrible man and your teammates are scared to socialise with you.
Milo’s Astro Lanes (US) (Crave)
Hey Milo, you are without a doubt one of the raddest and most bodacious characters ‘teh kidz’ have ever laid their eyes on.
Your slicked-up hair is totally tubular and your bowling ball has a ring around it like Saturn! Yes, I suppose that does mean rolling it is nearly impossible but I don’t care.
Be careful though! I know you want to impress plasticine Katy Perry but look out for the weird alien version of Homer Simpson, he’s put a bomb on the track!
Oh dear lord, these zany hijinks are going to be the death of me Milo, you clearly are the living end. I fucking hate you, Milo.
PGA European Tour Golf (UK) (Infogrames)
Jesus Christ, got enough clubs mate?
I know, it’s supposed to be some sort of clever arty shot showing a golf swing in action frame-by-frame, but the whole thing’s such a mess that it just confuses me and makes me dizzy when I try to follow it.
Try it – pick a starting point and try to follow the golf swing. You couldn’t even find a starting point either, could you? It even curves down towards the ball at the bottom – surely that’s not right?
And just to add insult to injury, Infogrames chucks a couple more dark curves in the background, because the cover wasn’t busy enough as it was.
Saikyo Habu Shogi (Japan) (Seta)
In case you aren’t familiar with it, shogi is a strategic board game that’s sometimes referred to as ‘Japanese chess’.
In 1996, when this game was released, cover star Yoshiharu Habu won all seven major shogi championships that year. He’s a smart arse, basically.
No offence to the guy but look at his smug wee face. He looks like the Japanese version of him off Pointless, but he’s probably less witty.
Now get this – this was one of the three Nintendo 64 launch titles in Japan, alongside Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. That means for a while, shop shelves in Japan were filled with photos of this smarmy knob.
Uchhannanchan (Japan) (Hudson)
Aside from being easily the most erotic image you’ll find with the Google Image Search filter set to Moderate, this cover just confuses me.
Why is that big woman statue thing hooked up to all those rails? Is this a really elaborate version of those carnival buzzer games where you guide the hoop along the rail, one where they’ve put an admittedly gorgeous robot woman effigy thing in the middle to throw off your concentration?
The electricity effect would suggest so. If so, top marks to them for building the track around the woman (paying careful attention to the chest area) rather than building the track and just dumping her in there.
A woman like that needs you to pay attention to her, so it’s nice to see you’ve done that, Hudson. You treat women with respect, not like those Acclaim pricks.
Virtual Chess 64 (US) (Titus)
I love the odd contrast between serious and ridiculous in this one. On the left you’ve got a little seal proudly declaring that the Virtual Chess 64 AI is the 1996 and 1997 world microcomputer chess champion.
On the bottom right you’ve got a little panel informing the buyer that there’s an interactive chess tutorial included – perfect for chess beginners.
And then you look at the main image and see a big brute of a woman slamming a nasty-looking lady over the head with a giant fish.
She’s not just doing it for the halibut though (oh cod, I’m so sorry), Virtual Chess 64 does actually have odd capture animations like this.
Thankfully the UK version of this cover was much classier, featuring horses and that.
Stunning stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.
In a few weeks’ time I’ll be rocking up with Part 4 featuring, you guessed it, the 20 worst GameCube covers.
Until then, if you’re craving more and haven’t read the NES and SNES parts yet, there’s no better time to ravage the living piss out of them.
I want to know why, on the Chameleon Twist box, there’s some freaky Oreo-looking thing with eyes. It’s creeping me out
That Centre Court Tennis cover is GENUINELY making me feel sick. Really, actually, properly vomit-inducing.
“Hell, I’m up for playing as a chameleon. It’s actually up there on my list of Top 7 Animals I’d Like To Play As. At least, it would be if I wrote one.”
Well you’ve raised our expectations now, haven’t you Chris?