There was a time when Journey was known for more than just writing songs that drunk assholes love to sing at karaoke bars. In fact, after the release of their albums Escape and Frontiers, they had managed to become one of the biggest bands in the world. Gearing up for a massive tour to support the two albums, Journey settled on an unconventional way to promote the tour: by teaming up with Midway to release an arcade game starring the bad. Naturally titled Journey, the game tasks players with stepping into the shoes of the members of Journey, guiding them through different planets (how did they get into space? They’re Journey, that’s how) as they collect their various instruments. Once all of the instruments have been collected, the band will then put on a show as terrible digitized versions of their hit songs are piped through the speakers. To ensure the band can focus on a-rockin’, you must play as their trusty bouncer, who is entrusted with keeping screaming groupies away from the stage. Should a groupie sneak by you, one of the band members will lose an instrument, and you must journey back into space to retrieve the instrument.
The game is universally regarded as being awful, but has become an interesting footnote in the history of the band.
4. Wu-Tang: Shaolin Stlye
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style had an interesting path to becoming reality. Originally, a game called Thrill Kill was announced by EA; it was a four player fighting game where players duked it out as various disturbed individuals, such as a dominatrix nurse and a leather daddy midget on stilts. Because it was a different time, the game was met with moral outrage, which almost seems cute in hindsight. Faced with overwhelming pressure, Thrill Kill was scrapped, but EA found itself with a full game they couldn’t release. Refusing to cut it’s losses, EA decided to retool the game into something they could release. In a bizarre choice, the company decided to swap out the fetish characters with the beloved rap group the Wu-Tang Clan. Yes, now fans of the group could find out who would win in a fight between The RZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. When the members had punched each other enough, they could finish off their opponents with a grizzly finishing move similar to Mortal Kombat’s “Fatalities.” The game also featured a challenge mode called “Enter the 36 Chambers,” named after the groups classic album.
It was a weird game, with weird origins. But it’s gained a cult following amongst fans of the games, who have embraced the sheer weirdness of the game.
3. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
50 Cent was such a terrible rapper that he depended on the fact that he was shot several times to achieve fame and fortune. Playing off his ability to be shot and not die, Fiddy (as his friends called him) decided to star in a video game titled 50 Cent: Bulletproof. The game starred the sour faced rapper and the G-Unit, because who doesn’t wanna shoot generic bad guys as Tony Yayo? The game was poorly received, but managed to sell well, so a sequel was planned. But somewhere along the line of designing the game, the decision was made to make the next 50 Cent game batshit insane.
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand found Fiddy and his crew playing a bangin’ show in the Middle East. In exchange for services rendered, 50 Cent is promised a diamond studded skull. But oh no! The skull is stolen by a paramilitary group, so it’s up to 50 and his pals to recover the skull. Yes, really. So players must shoot, stab, and destroy ancient monuments to retrieve the skull. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but Blood on the Sand managed to be a pretty fun game, especially when played with a friend. It’s loud and stupid, but that’s pretty much what you expect when you play a game called 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
2. Seikima II Akuma no Gyakushū!
Unless you’re a big fan of Japanese Kiss rip-off bands, chances are good you’ve never heard of Seikima II. Billing themselves as demons who have come to spread the gospel of Satan through heavy metal, the band managed to become somewhat popular during the 80’s, because the Japanese eat that kind of weird shit right up. To capitalize on their popularity, the band was asked to star in a game for the NES, or the Famicom as it was known in Japan. Fans expected a game that would make ample use of the band’s heavy metal stylings, but were instead treated to a generic Mario knock-off. Players could play as the various members of Seikima II, making their way through dark words populated by ghosts, bats, and ghost bats. The soundtrack was composed of bloopy versions of some of the bands popular songs, but Seikima II’s glam metal stylings didn’t translate well to the NES.
The game has the distinct pleasure of being the only NES platformer based on a metal band, but that couldn’t save it from being a pretty terrible game.
1. Revolution X
Someone somewhere, presumably in the throes of a week long coke binge, thought it was about time that someone made a rail shooter starring aging rock stars Aerosmith. Surprisingly, no one thought this was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard, and Revolution X was eventually born. Set in a war torn future where music and happiness has been made illegal, the player must team up with Aerosmith to take on the evil New Order Nation and their terrible leader Olga. Utilizing an uzi that fires CD’s, the player mows down thousands of faceless soldiers, all in the in the name of rock ‘n roll. Along the way, the players gets to travel through seedy nightclubs, a decimated Hollywood, and even the Great Pyramids. After defeating Olga and her giant robot, the player is rewarded with a thank you message and a reminder that it’s time to “really get the party started,” before being treated to Aerosmith playing “Walk this Way.”
Revolution X is easily of the most 90’s games ever made, with excessive blood, repeated references to “Generation X,” and attempts to be edgy and cool. The game is monumentally stupid, but manages to be a fun rail shooter, and is always good for a laugh.