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1. Super Mario World 64 for the Sega Genesis
Honestly, you could go insane just from reading the title for this one. Super Mario World...64? And it’s for the Genesis rather than the SNES or N64?
Yes, yes, and yes. This game looks like Super Mario World with some terrible twists, including the fact that Mario’s top speed feels like he is crawling. Oh, and you don’t fight Bowser at the end...you fight a giant ball with eyes. Sadly, defeating him doesn’t bring out the fireworks of Super Mario World, but it does give you the chance to hear a badly-digitized version of the Jeopardy theme song.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 for the Super Nintendo
Fans eventually got a proper Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Before that came out, though, all you could really get was this terrible bootleg of the same name.
Debuting on the SNES instead of Genesis, this dumb game isn’t really a Sonic game. Instead, it is Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Banditos (no, really) with a few sprite swaps. By the time you make peace with how awful the controls and graphics are, you’ll have the spare time to wonder why Sonic is spending all of his time liberating Mario from cages.
3. Angry Bird 3 For the Nintendo Entertainment System
There are many things that can make a bad bootleg. In this case, it’s porting a good mobile game in such a way that it loses all of its charm.
At first glance, Angry Bird 3 for the NES doesn’t look that bad. But the graphics are still much worse than the original games, and the in-game physics are completely awful. Eventually, you have to ask why you’d play an uglier version of this title that plays worse instead of just downloading it for your damn phone.
4. Titenic For the Nintendo Entertainment System
Despite the movie’s massive success, Titanic never really had much in the way of official tie-in video games. Bootleggers decided to fix that, and the most insane game produced is “Titenic” for the NES.
The weirdest thing about this bootleg is that they turned it into a brawler. There is a certain amusement you can get from kicking ass as Jack and Rose. But it’s hilarious that this bootleg both plays terribly and makes no effort at recreating the romantic story of the movie.
5. Puckman Pockimon for the Arcade
Remember when we said that bootlegs were around basically forever? Well, few games have been bootlegged as much as Pac-Man. But maybe no bootleg is dumber or lazier than Puckman Pockimon for the arcade.
In terms of gameplay, it’s...well, it’s Pac-Man. Kinda hard to screw that up. But the graphics are generic, with Pac-Man looking like your kid brother’s first pixel art. The strangest thing, though, is that the game also lets you play as a disembodied Pikachu head, lending the bootleg an unexpected boost of body horror.
6. AV Pretty Girl Fighting for the Nintendo Entertainment System
The core idea behind AV Pretty Girl Fighting isn’t so bad. It’s basically about bringing female characters together (including characters from Sailor Moon and Street Fighter II) into their very own brawler.
There are just two big problems with this: first, the graphics look terrible because they were basically trying to recreate SNES sprites on the NES. And the gameplay is often stiff and unresponsive, leading to plenty of blisters for anyone playing this crap on an actual NES controller.
7. Sonic Jam 6 For the Sega Genesis
Sometimes, tracing the lineage of a bootleg game feels like going down somebody’s weird family tree. For example, “Sonic Jam 6” is a hack of “Super Mario Bros. 2” which, confusingly, was just a crappy bootleg of the original Super Mario Bros.
But what is Sonic Jam 6 all about? Simple: you are Sonic going through the original Mario levels. This one could have had potential, but it’s tough to make it through a single level without encountering a game-crashing glitch.
8. Street Figiter II Pro For the Famicom
Ever sit back and think “I wish I could experience the absolute worst version of Street Fighter II?” Well, this bootleg is here to make your dreams come true, and it combines crap gameplay with crap translations.
For example, it’s fun to laugh at the names like Zangiff and how he fights for the USSA instead of the USSR. But you’ll stop laughing once you try to play and encounter stiff controls, disappearing sprites, and graphics that make you want to puke.
Once you do, rest assured: the puke will look better than this game.
9. Somari For the Nintendo Entertainment System
Bootleggers just can’t stop mashing Mario and Sonic together. While this leads to some good games on occasion, most are hideous. And Somari for the NES may be the worst offender.
The core idea is kinda played out: you play as Mario trying to make his way through Sonic the Hedgehog (hence, the dumb name). But Mario has terrible controls and the enemies are insanely difficult, making this whole thing an exercise in frustration.
Whether intentionally designed this way or not, Somari quickly earned a reputation as a rage game.
10. World Heroes 2 For the Nintendo Entertainment System
No, fighting fans: you can put that nasty comment down. This isn’t the World Heroes 2 you know and love. Instead, this is a bad bootleg for the NES.
The premise is like Smash on crack: the creators made a fighting game filled with characters from Mario, Dragon Ball Z, Ninja Turtles, and many other properties. While that kind of mashup has potential, you’ll quickly discover the characters are seriously unbalanced, the AI cheats, and there are countless inconsistencies in terms of graphics and even character names.
Basically, this game is like throwing all the bootleg toys you’ve ever seen together and making them fight. Trust us: you’d be better off throwing those toys and this game directly in the microwave!