Top 10 Black Sheep of Popular Video Game Franchises
2. Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3 / Xbox 360)
It's rare that a game is such a let-down that the developer has to release it again in a new, improved format, but that's what happened with Ninja Gaiden 3, the first of the 3D games to lack Tomonobu Itagaki's direction. Ninja Gaiden 3 cut down the series' difficulty, and by doing so alienated most of the fans who loved the series for its brutal challenge. Like Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, Ninja Gaiden 3 tried to simplify the series and failed in doing so. In an attempt to save face, Team Ninja released a thoroughly revamped Wii U port in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge. The new game restored the wide array of weapons and upgrades to the series, as well as offering an actual challenge and some new missions. Reviews were more positive, though some critics commented that there wasn't much they could do to salvage the original Ninja Gaiden 3.
1. Metroid: Other M (Wii)
If Metroid: Other M isn't already the black sheep of Nintendo's beloved sci-fi franchise, it's very likely that video game history will remember it as such. Team Ninja tried to make a 3D Metroid more similar to the 2D games than the Metroid Prime first-person shooter games. However, unlike Retro Studios' take on the series, Team Ninja didn't make Metroid: Other M entertaining. Instead, they made an awkward mixture between 3D platforming and first-person shooting (done by tilting the Wii Remote towards the screen, in a transition far-less-than-comfortable). Some critics took to the gameplay, but practically nobody enjoyed the story, which took strong and silent Samus and made her into a weepy, navel-gazing mess constantly nattering on about her daddy issues. It was a degrading and misogynist treatment inflicted upon the first heroine of video games, and though the game itself wasn't terrible, the backlash against Metroid: Other M should ensure that the next time we see Samus, she'll be able to take control of her life without a man guiding her every move.
Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
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