After telling us his 10 favorite CRPGs, Matt Barton proceeds to give the top 10 treatment to what he considers to be the worst computer role-playing games, including older titles like the infamous Descent to Undermountain, and the very recent - and discussed - Alpha Protocol and Dungeon Siege III. The dubious honor of the first place goes to Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor. Here's a sampling:
#10. Lands of Lore III. The Lands of Lore series was created by Westwood Studios, the legendary developer responsible for Eye of the Beholder and plenty of other epic CRPGs. The original Lands of Lore debuted in 1993 to critical acclaim, offering an interface similar to Dungeon Master or EOB that holds up well even today. The franchise was brought to an intestine-blocking halt in 1999 with the arrival of this boring game with terrible graphics and enough bugs to keep an entomology department busy for decades. Perhaps the biggest problem, though, is that the game tries to be an FPS, ratcheting up the "action" because that's what all gamers want, righhhht? Uh, nope. Don't worry, though, it's a pattern we'll see repeated. And we all know that the definition of genius is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, right?
#6. Alpha Protocol. Chris Avellone, what have you done? How could the same guy who gave us Planescape: Torment produce a flop like this, particularly when the premise (an "espionage RPG") sounds so fascinating? Just hearing that phrase alone makes me want to buy it. But, yeah, we just got another mess with more bugs than a public lavatory without any soap left. Like Dungeon Siege 3, I'm kinda reminded of a bunch of frat guys trying to bake a cake. But they didn't plan well, and now they're out of time, so they turn up the oven to broil thinking it'll turn out just as great in half the time. What really makes this game so galling is that you can't help but see that it could have--should have--been so much better. Perhaps the "alpha" in the title is a not so subtle clue?
#1. Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor. Sigh. I once said that I would never mention this game because I was afraid that somehow, even by dissing it, I would be drawing attention to it and some idiot out there would be curious enough to seek it out. I'd like to think this game didn't really exist, and that I could somehow alter history so that it never existed. As you know, Pool of Radiance was my first long-term relationship with a role-playing game, and man I always wanted to go back. But when you do go back ten years later, your sweetheart has put on 300 pounds, lost her teeth, and is rolling around Wal-Mart in a motorized wheelchair with a confederate flag jutting out the back.