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Wadmodder Shalton

Porting Disasters Thread

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Wanted to make a thread on console, handheld/mobile, PC & multiplatform games that suffered from porting disasters from one system to another, since there wasn't a forum thread about it.

 

I had the idea while reading TV Tropes' Porting Disaster pages, so why not make a forum discussion about it.

 

A few porting disasters I can think of are these:

 

Pac-Man - Atari 2600: Despite being the best-selling Atari 2600 game selling over 7 million copies, it was panned by critics & gamers alike for it's low-quality graphics, ugly color choice, altered maze design, clunky controls & gameplay, inclusion of two-player support, bad sound effects, and the most infamous being it's annoying flickering of the ghosts. It was released in a prototype form in March 1982, which is an abysmal way of releasing a game. Heck, even Atari advertised the game in catalogs as being quote "Differs slightly from the original" which of course would've been an understatement, and Phil Wiswell of the magazine "Video Games" criticized the game's poor graphics by mockingly referring to it as "Flickerman". This crappy low-budget Pac-Man port makes the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial game for the Atari 2600 look like a masterpiece in comparison. Fortunately, the Atari 2600 ports of Ms. Pac-Man & Jr. Pac-Man were better received than the Pac-Man port with none of it's flaws intact and cutting out the two-player support.

 

Mortal Kombat Advance - Game Boy Advance: An inferior port of the SNES & Genesis versions of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 plagued with bad controls, awful graphics, average sound quality, and broken enemy AI, meaning that attempting to do a full longplay of all characters on all 5 difficulty settings (Easiest, Easy, Medium, Hard & Hardest) on a YouTube video is nearly impossible. The game was so bad that Electronic Gaming Monthly editor Dan Hsu gave the game the first zero rating in the magazine's history, & GameSpot named MKA the worst Game Boy Advance game of 2002, dubbing it "violently broken". Thankfully, Midway knew their lessons and polished the GBA port of Deadly Alliance which lead to a sequel to that port called Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition.

 

Race Drivin' - SNES: a terrible port of the Arcade racing game that is hard to play because of the controls, short draw distance, oversized HUD & the awful framerate.

 

Pit-Fighter - SNES: Easily the worst port of the Arcade fighting game, you get only one life without any continues, complete with unresponsive controls, repetitive soundtrack & muffled sound effects.

 

Lego Star Wars II - Nintendo DS: Many pathetic bugs & glitches, awful framerate & graphics, stripped down content & and reusing the GBA version's soundtrack with minor differences.

 

Myst - Nintendo DS & 3DS: text that are barely readable, use of the touch screen on the DS version, and an inconvenient control scheme especially on the 3DS version. These kind of look like a crappy pirated port of Myst.

 

Hard Drivin' - Commodore 64: a nearly unplayable port of an Arcade racing game with very short draw distance, poor graphics, awful controls, and bad framerate.

 

These are some of the porting disasters that I can think of right now. If you have any other porting disasters you can think of, feel free to comment on this discussion.

Edited by Wadmodder Shalton

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Definitely Wolfenstein 3D's GBA port. No music, worser draw distance which actually makes the disappearing sprites bug much more prevalent, can only save after you beat a level.

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Mortal Kombat on the original gameboy. Never played it but the idea anyone thought it would possibly not be a complete dumpster fire makes my brain hurt.

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Just now, Murdoch said:

Mortal Kombat on the original gameboy. Never played it but the idea anyone thought it would possibly not be a complete dumpster fire makes my brain hurt.

Even the awful censored SNES port of Mortal Kombat was better than the Game Boy version.

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39 minutes ago, Artman2004 said:

Half-Life: Source. A port so bad, Valve would rather support a fan-made one instead. 

Half life 2 for the original Xbox.  While impressive, still shouldn't have existed.

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The Orange Box on PS3, which was handled by an internal Electronic Arts studio. Came with a few bugs & exploits for Half-Life 2, Episode One & Two, Portal & Team Fortress 2. Also suffered from downgraded graphics, framerate issues & long loading times in some instances.

 

Edited by Wadmodder Shalton

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2 hours ago, [McD]James said:

 

 

 

What the hell happened here... This looks worse than your average Sega Genesis bootleg! That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this. Looks unplayable, nearly.

 

To add to the thread, the Chinese bootleg port of Zelda: Link to the Past looked cool in screenshots, but when I actually played it and heard it.. I quickly realized it was pretty much worthless. All the fun of hitting stuff with your sword is gone, and the game is barely functional:

 

 

Edited by Doomkid

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19 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

the game is barely functional

You're damn right! They replaced all of the dialog with hieroglyphics, how am I hell am I supposed to know what to do?

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4 hours ago, NuMetalManiak said:

Definitely Wolfenstein 3D's GBA port. No music, worser draw distance which actually makes the disappearing sprites bug much more prevalent, can only save after you beat a level.

there is technically music but it wasnt programed to play in the game lol i wonder what is the story of that source port it probaly is very similar to the doom 3do port

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The Steam and Mobile ports of GTA SA. Dude, fucking Rockstar hasn't done shit for the mess they made of those two ports and will do nothing about it. There's videos by Vadim M. who goes over what's so awful about those two ports. The fact that you have to resort to downgrading the pc version and installing a fan patch to GTA SA to fix the bugs in the game is wack. However, God Bless Silent (the man behind the Silent Patch) for making that patch for pc so the game would run pretty damn good w/ almost 0 bugs.

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23 minutes ago, VoanHead said:

Mobile ports of GTA SA

Yeah, they kinda suck.

Spoiler

That was the first GTA I played, the iPhone 5 port, and yeah, it wasn't that great

 

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i think the idea of this thread is really cool and im thinking about making one where the contrary happens when a port is a lot better then the original would anyone be interested in a thread like that?

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2 hours ago, Doomkid said:

 

What the hell happened here... This looks worse than your average Sega Genesis bootleg! That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this. Looks unplayable, nearly.

 

At least the soundtrack was good. 

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Very few of you haven't heard about this fact, but five games developed by Aqua Pacific & published by Phoenix Games on the Playststion 2 and to a rare extent the Nintendo Wii released exclusively in Europe are actually crappy pirated ports of five of the Familijny CD-Romek series of games released between 1999 & 2000 by Polish game studio Longsoft Multimedia.

These games were Snow White and the Seven Clever Boys, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Peter Pan & Hansel and Gretel.

Yes, that was not Phoenix Games & Aqua Pacific's own original product. So therefore, I've managed to find the original source material to five of Phoenix Games' PS2 & Wii shovelware games.

 

Edited by Wadmodder Shalton

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Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (GBA Port)

 

Butchered sounds, music, a framerate that tanks on a whim, glitchy physics, and a screen so insanely tiny that you can't react to any hazards in time.

In other words, yes, they somehow made Labyrinth Zone worse.

 

This is probably the laziest thing Sega has ever done, and it came from Sega's low point in 2006 to "celebrate" the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Sonic Advance for the GBA came out at the tail end of 2001 with none of the issues this port has, so there's no excuse for why this bootleg quality port exists.

 

 

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Arcade ports in the 8-bit and 16-bit era were pretty much hit and miss, and on some platforms (like Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum or pre-VGA MS-DOS) you could count on most of them to be crap, but the ones that first came to mind was done 10 years after the games were released, and had already received quite acceptable or even near arcade-perfect ports on some platfoms.

 

I'm talking about "Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands Enhanced" for PC, Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn, all released in 1996.

 

I can hardly remember being more disappointed in my life up to that point.

 

Rainbow Islands was actually OK if you ditched the "enhanced" version with the garish graphics, as the gameplay subtleties were all there. Too bad they left the three secret islands out....that would have actually made it near arcade-perfect gameplay wise (but only the PC Engine CD version had them, AFAIK). So that played pretty much like a souped-up Amiga or Atari ST version.

 

But, BOY, did Bubble Bobble get the short end of the stick. I would need an entire thread to list most of its shortcomings, but let's just start from the fact that they keyboard controls were not configurable. That's right, you only got a choice between WAD + Tab (!) and Numpad with fire on '5' for player 2. I'm not making this shit up. You can imagine how "well" the rest of the game played.

 

The story in the media went that the arcade's source code had been lost, and that the gameplay was recreated by observing an arcade machine. Dunno to what extent this was actually true, fact is, it played incredibly stiff. Basic mechanics and physics were wrong, monster behavior was wrong, a lot of advanced arcade techniques didn't work (even "riding" bubbles was harder, and you could not use them to emerge from the bottom of the screen), scoring was wrong, power-ups didn't work like they were supposed to, etc.

 

Now, my experiences were exclusively with the PC version, but reviews of the time suggested that other platforms were virtually identical (with maybe a few more fixes for Bubble Bobble).

 

A rumour said that Graftgold (who did the conversion) considered the game incomplete and not ready for release, which I now fully believe. Truly, a lost opportunity and a merciless violation of a classic.

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Roller Coaster Tycoon (Xbox Original) - A direct port of the first Roller Coaster Tycoon. Some of the parks like Evergreen Gardens or that one micropark scenario would be a nightmare with a controller and trying to view on a TV screen while sitting several feet away.

 

Ultima V (NES) - I could make an entire post dedicated to ports of the Ultima games to Nintendo systems but I want to talk about the worst. So something to keep in mind is that this port began development after Ultima 6 had released so Origin decided to backport new mechanics from that game into their new version of Ultima 5. This decision in addition to the ever increasingly outdated NES hardware lead to a myriad of bugs and altered, if not outright removed, content. One of the more immediate changes is the inclusion of a single scrolling map instead of the more traditional overworld mechanic present in all of the Ultima games before six. Due to this change both Britannia and the Underworld were shrunk to accommodate storage restrictions. A less immediate source of problems was the inclusion of a keyword based dialogue system that is more reminiscent of something from Ultima 7. Due to technical restrictions all text a person can know was known immediately to the player even upon first encounter. While that may not sound bad, part of the charm of the older Ultima games is conversing with Britannian citizens and discovering clues leading to victory, something which may require the player to talk to one person multiple times upon finding new conversational topics . Additional story elements were changed as the intro had to be shortened and the NPCs that weren't removed found themselves relocated due to NES hardware not being up to the task.

 

Silent Hill Collection (Xbox 360 & PS3) - Faced with an unreasonably short deadline and only beta code the developers did the best they could but ultimately created a horrific port of Silent Hill 2 & 3. You read that right, despite being called "Collection" only the middle two games of the tetralogy were included. Bugs, performance issues, noticeable artistic changes as less fog (in a game series associated with heavily foggy areas no less), different voice actors due to legal reasons, and worst of all comic-sans on the Silent Hill Ranch entrance sign. 

Edited by Denim Destroyer

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1 hour ago, Denim Destroyer said:

 Silent Hill Collection (Xbox 360 & PS3) - Faced with an unreasonably short deadline and only beta code the developers did the best they could but ultimately created a horrific port of Silent Hill 2 & 3. You read that right, despite being called "Collection" only the middle two games of the tetralogy were included. Bugs, performance issues, noticeable artistic changes as less fog (in a game series associated with heavily foggy areas no less), different voice actors due to legal reasons, and worst of all comic-sans on the Silent Hill Ranch entrance sign. 

I have played SH2 from the "collection" (still missing the first game) on PSNow. I think it's the version you reference. It plays like an inferior Resident Evil wannabe and the camera angles are often wretched, but it is creepy and interesting when it's working.

 

If you want to talk about truly awful ports, a ton of ZX Spectrum games were ported directly to C64. Somehow despite the Commodore's vastly superior performance, the games ran much WORSE on C64. The Great Escape is a horrible experience compared to the Speccy version, the game runs at an absolute crawl.

 

Alien Trilogy on the PC was meant to be a horrible port of the PSX game.

 

Most ports I've played have good features to balance out the bad. For example, X-COM TFTD runs agonisingly slowly on PSX compared to PC, but has much better graphics and vastly improved music and sound effects, making it scarier. Ironically, these are the same traits I believe PSX Doom has...

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Arcade Classics on the Philips CD-i is quite frankly the most forgotten Namco arcade game compilation and for good reason. It contains nearly inferior ports of Galaxian, Ms. Pac-Man & Galaga.

 

Galaxian resembles the Famicom port instead of it representing the original arcade game. Galaga is cropped into a window while the status bar (lives, score, etc.) is moved into the outer frame. Ms. Pac-Man resembles Tengen's ports of the game and even includes the extras from their ports (multiple sets of mazes, simultaneous multiplayer, etc.).

 

Few of you ever heard about this Namco compilation, since this was only released in Europe in 1996.

 

FrameRater did a review of this compilation awhile back. Here's his review of the compilation:

 

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saints row 2 for the pc was absolutely atrocious. sometimes it worked okayish, albeit at a fairly low framerate cuz it wasn't optimized whatsoever, and other times it was just...sped up? it was weird, for whatever reason sometimes the game would play at a faster speed, and it made it practically unplayable. i've heard that the xbox 360 only being limited to a certain amount of cores was the culprit (because the port barely had jack shit done for optimization), but my memory is really foggy cuz it was years ago.

 

that's not to mention how buggy it was and how often it crashed, which it did a fuckload.

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23 hours ago, JustCallMeKaito said:

Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (GBA Port)

Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis on GBA actually used the same engine as the Sonic Advance games rather than the original Genesis version's engine. 

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10 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

If you want to talk about truly awful ports, a ton of ZX Spectrum games were ported directly to C64. Somehow despite the 

I don't know how much of the ZX code and assets they could reuse on the C64, but they sure could reuse ALL of them on the Amstrad CPC, and they did -oh so often  Same CPU (Z80), and a comparable graphics mode (Mode 1 on the  Amstrad). The games "ported" in this way looked as well as you can imagine, but at least they played nearly identical. Garbage in, garbage out.

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Valve's macOS ports of their Source engine & GoldSrc engine games, they were the victim of deprecation and as such their 64-bit updates still remain in development hell since October 2019.

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On 7/2/2021 at 6:46 AM, Maes said:

I'm talking about "Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands Enhanced" for PC, Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn, all released in 1996.

I always liked to think they blew most of their budget on the horrible FMV that opens the game.

Another thing laughable about Bubble Bobble in the PC version are the horrible quality .WAV files they used for the game's music. At least they rectified that for the PSX and Saturn versions.

 

I've collected quite a few bad ports of games over the years, but one of my personal favorites would have to be FIFA 98 on Sega Saturn. Pushed out right at the end of the Saturn's lifespan, it's clear to see the game was released in an unfinished state. The pitch is left untextured, the framerate is choppy, and the weather effects are missing despite still being select-able from the menu (The manual tries to cover for this by stating weather only effects ball physics, and not on-screen graphics, sure...). I've also encountered several graphical glitches like disappearing players when in certain arenas as well.

 

A few other honorable mentions would have to be:

 

- Hexen (PSX): I've already gone in-depth into this one in the past, the long loading times and choppy framerate kill this one.

- Myst (PSX): Decent at first, but postage stamp sized screen and long load times kill this one too. I even had the game crash to an error screen at one point as well!

- WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game (SNES): Two missing characters (Yokozuna and Bam Bam Bigelow) and sluggish action make this the worst port, even the Genesis version plays better!

- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (SNES/Genesis): Pushed out towards the end of the 16-bit era, both of these ports are buggy and don't really add that much new content compared to MK3 which was only released one year prior.

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