Video game cutscenes play an important role in our gaming experience. Though not all games are as heavily story driven as others, these scenes help establish characters, set the mood, explain a games lore and plenty of other things that are key to fully integrating the player within that games virtual world. Some are obviously way higher end than others while some take more of a lo-fi approach to how they present themselves. There’s an audience for either option, and just because a cutscene doesn’t look like it had a huge budget, doesn’t necessarily make it bad. Some pretty basic looking cutscenes can be way better than the most extravagant looking ones.
One thing that’s interesting to do is look back on older cutscenes and really think about how they would’ve been received today. We’re not just talking about how they’ve aged graphically – though that does play a pretty big hand in some of these entries – but how the scene as a whole looks now that you’re looking at it years and years later. Is the voice acting off? Are the animations still at least decent? Does the scene as a whole add anything to the story?
These are all cutscenes that wouldn’t pass at all today. You might recognize some of them so without further ado, let’s take a look.
This list may contain *Spoilers,* so keep that in mind.
15 Okay? – Muppet Monster Adventure
Most of you might not remember Muppet Monster Adventure, and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve probably never heard of the game either. Now, being a PS1 title you can’t really expect this game to have really aged that well. Most games on Sony’s first console don’t exactly have to most impressive animated cutscenes looking back on it. But the opening scene from the aforementioned Muppet title isn’t great, even by that generation’s standards. The whole thing is just awkward. The cast sounds like they’re really phoning in their lines and it never gets any better from there. Things get really bad towards the end though, with Pepe just going off.
14 The Master Of Unlocking – Resident Evil
Well, some of you might have seen this one coming as the original Resident Evil wasn’t really known for its great voice acting in the first place. Though it’s well known for being what really established what we know as the survival horror genre, Resident Evil is pretty famous for its absolutely horrendous voice acting. You can’t really say anything good about it. From the dialogue to the delivery itself, you can’t help but laugh at the awkwardness that transpires throughout the game’s cutscenes. One of the more entertaining one’s happens between Jill and Barry and involves some of the most memorably terrible dialogue you’ll ever hear.
13 Bathroom Death Scene – Night Trap
Night Trap wasn’t that great of a game but is something of a cult classic, enough of one to warrant a rerelease anyways. So what is it about this game that made it so famous? Controversy. The game did have an interesting concept and did try some cool things for its era, but it’s also one of the games that’s responsible for the creation of the ESRB – so you know that it had people fuming. One of the more infamous scenes in the game involves a woman being attacked in the bathroom, after being cornered by a group of weird harvester vampires. Can you imagine this coming out today? The internet would be filled with people complaining and whining to no end. It didn’t receive a particularly warm welcome at the time of its release, but it would’ve been buried in today’s gaming climate.
12 Did She Just… – Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)
The bane of many Sonic fans existence Sonic 06 is one of the worst games you’ll ever play. At least, one of the worst ones made by a major developer that is. Recent Sonic titles don’t have the best reputation, and you can thank this hot mess for that. The game is often unplayable. Between the game-breaking glitches, infuriatingly long loading screens and subpar controls, it’s no question as to why 06 has the terrible reputation it does. But that’s not all there is to it. The most off-putting thing about this game by far is the romance between Sonic and a new character, Elise – a human princess. It goes from bad to worse towards the end of the game, when Elise kisses Sonic – culminating in one of the most infamous and distasteful cutscenes in recent memory.
11 Fill Your Dark Soul – Devil May Cry
Graphically, the first DmC game doesn’t look all that bad, and still holds up in some regards. It still shows its age of course, but it’s more or less fine despite that. The series as a whole seems to be dead in the water despite an attempt at a reboot in 2013. While there have been plenty of great moments in the games, the series has also come to be known for its edgy nature and often unintentionally hilarious dialogue. This scene, in particular, became a meme online due to the amount of cheese the writers were trying to shove in the players face, combined with the poor delivery from voice actor Drew Coombs. If you’re in the mood for a laugh, take a look at this melodramatic mess.
10 Enclosed Instruction Book – Hotel Mario
Despite hailing from one of the biggest franchises of all time, Hotel Mario was a result of Nintendo giving Philips the rights to some of their characters in games for the Philips’ CD-i. The results weren’t good. The first scene in the game is a pretty strong indicator as to the kind of quality you’re going to be seeing throughout the remainder of your adventure. Mario and Luigi with actual dialogue and gruff voices is not a good combination. Not a good combination at all. It just looks bad and while different, isn’t really all that enjoyable to watch or play.
9 QTE Scene – Fahrenheit
There are a good deal of games out there with mature scenes, believe it or not. While it might’ve once been thought of as an unconventional and maybe even daring move, we’ve grown pretty numb to the idea of it in recent years. Though certainly daring, Fahrenheit’s scene is remembered more due to how uncomfortable it was to watch more than anything else. Playing out in the form of a quick time event, the whole thing is pretty dated and actually hilarious – and really awkward to boot. This scene wouldn’t get that much love if it came out today, of that you can be sure. The whole thing would be treated like some big joke.
8 The Dinner Dance – Infinite Undiscovery
It’s no surprise that the Xbox 360 didn’t really do all that well in Japan. While the console enjoyed success over here, it was clear from the get-go that Sony and Nintendo were king in the land of the rising sun. In most cases, you’ll see games made by Japanese developers released there first, then make their way west after a given period of time. But Infinite Discovery was released in North America prior to its Japanese release. The 360 exclusive didn’t really do all that well in either region and scenes like this show you just how much of an awkward mess it is. Shouting Dinner at the top of your lungs might seem cute at first, but it gets really annoying pretty quick.
7 Tali Sings – Mass Effect 3
Before Andromeda pretty much ruined its reputation among the majority of the gaming community, the Mass Effect franchise was one of the best respected in its genre. That’s not to say that it didn’t have any noticeable flaws though. Most Bioware cutscenes are pretty janky and awkward, and the Mass Effect games had their fair share of them. Among the most cringe-inducing though is Tali’s little singing solo that you can see in Mass Effect 3. The whole thing is already pretty uncomfortable but it takes a weird turn once she starts belting out the lyrics to some in-game musical Romeo & Juliet clone – making it one of the most uncomfortable scenes to watch, and yes that’s counting the adult scenes.
6 Goofy’s “Death” – Kingdom Hearts II
The Kingdom Hearts series is one of the most popular franchises out there right now and the heavily anticipated release of Kingdom Hearts III is only helping its popularity soar. The idea to mix in Disney characters with a Square Enix inspired world was pretty revolutionary. Though initially pretty lighthearted, the game has had its fair share of dark moments. This one could’ve been a pretty emotional scene – had Goofy actually stayed dead that is. But you can’t really do that to a Disney character now, can you? The death itself is pretty stupid. Goofy pushed Mickey to save him from a falling boulder – taking the brunt of the hit himself. But if you re-watch the scene you’ll see that the boulder was never even close to hitting Mickey due to his short stature. Pathetic.
5 Megaman X4 – Iris?
This one is just laughably bad. There are quite a few emotionally charged scenes in this list that really just fall flat and make complete asses of themselves either through bad voice acting or terrible dialogue (sometimes both). Chalk this up to a bad dub. The Japanese version of Iris’ death scene seemed pretty decent, and if you go and look for the English redub with Lucas Gilbertson it actually sounds good. But the original dub made this emotional scene utterly hilarious. The voice acting is stale and both voice actors don’t seem to know how to emote properly as the whole thing is one huge monotone mess. Thankfully, it gave us some pretty good laughs.
4 Lazy Acting – Chaos Wars
While a lot of these games have some pretty bad voice acting going on, none can really compare to Chaos Wars. The PS2 game was a pretty obscure title upon its launch and ironically would’ve been forgotten had it not been for the laughably bad voice acting that plagues its English dub. The game is something of a cult classic for this very reason. The voice acting is just terrible. It’s probably the worst you’ll ever hear. The translation seems pretty subpar as well, but man, that delivery is just god awful. Go to YouTube and look click on some random abridged series and you’re likely to get a good idea of the level of crap you’re dealing with. Fun fact — a lot of the voice actors for this game shared last names with members of the English publishing team, making some people speculate as to why (nepotism) it was so bad in the first place.
3 Pretty Much Anything In Link: The Faces Of Evil And Zelda: The Wand Of Gamelon
Much like Hotel Mario, these two additions to the Legend of Zelda universe were the result of Nintendo giving Philips the rights to some of their characters, and it’s pretty much the same story from there on out. This time in the form of two games, both The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon have terrible animation and voice-over work that makes the games more of a joke than anything else. Like most of everything on this list, these old games have survived complete obscurity due to how god awful they are. Terrible gameplay aside, the ridiculousness of the animations really make these titles worth forgetting. They’re good for a laugh, but not much else.
2 Tidus’ Laugh – Final Fantasy X
This seems like another initially emotional scene that was just ruined by bad execution. Being the first entry in the series that featured voice acting, Final Fantasy X had its fair share of hiccups. That’s only normal seeing as this was Square Enix’s first attempt at having their scenes voiced. This one has lived on in infamy due to how piss poor it was. Another scene that turned into an internet meme, Tidus’ laugh scene was supposed to be pretty emotional – with Tidus forcing laughter and thus showing us how much of a sympathetic character he is. Instead, we get an awkward and obnoxiously loud laugh that seems dead for all the wrong reasons. No thanks.
1 Becky’s Death – Deadly Premonition
One of the most famous examples of being “so bad its good,” Deadly Premonition has amassed quite the following since first being released in 2010. It’s not really a good game by any stretch of the imagination, but is still pretty imaginative and so off the wall that it has a certain charm to it. What can best be described as a video game attempt at recreating Twin Peaks, Deadly Premonition has awkward voice acting and really weird dialogue with the execution of the cutscenes being equally clunky. Becky’s death scene looks like something that was supposed to be way more fluid and have much more of an impact than it actually had, but was just ruined by the aforementioned chunkiness.
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