Top 10 Worst Video Game Strategy Guides

Strategy guides can be a wonderful thing to have. You're having major trouble with a video game; a boss keeps kicking your rear from here to Timbucktwo, you just can't find that one item to complete your collection, or some other strategy to help you get back on top. You just flip through the pages to the needed sections and bang! You know all you need to know. And a lot of them have some pretty awesome visual art as well. At least when they're written by competent authors. While some guides give you your money's worth, there are some that feel like a total waste of paper best sent to the recycling bin in hopes the recycled material is used for something better, like say a better strategy guide. Here are a few pics of some of the worst strategy guides.
The Top Ten
1 Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide by Brady Games Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide by Brady Games Product Image

Was there any doubt this would be on the list? Final Fantasy 9 was an awesome RPG that allowed people to enjoy their PSones a little bit longer after the Playstation 2 made its debut. It had a lot of content as if the four discs weren't already an indication. And the strategy guides for the previous two games were pretty good so you'd expect the same level of quality here, right? Not with this bone-headed idea Squaresoft had to make your guide "come alive". What it did is left out a lot of information about the game on purpose and you had to go to the website with the keywords to find out what information was excluded from the pages. And every page had these ridiculous codes that you needed to input to get the additional information. Even more infuriating is that the website that had this info is now offline. According to Strategy Guide veteran Doug Walsh, no one at Brady Games wanted to write the guide in that fashion and tried to get Squaresoft to reconsider. In his own words in a ...more

2 Pokemon Leafgreen Version and Firered Version: Prima Official Game Guide Pokemon Leafgreen Version and Firered Version: Prima Official Game Guide Product Image

When you remake a game, it's no secret that developers are going to add more content than the original. Apparently someone at Prima Games didn't get the memo. While it does a good job of explaining things in the original game, it only briefly dots on three of the Sevii Islands that were added to this remake. And in these versions, you need to restore the Network Machine in this archipelago before the man guarding the entrance to the Unknown Dungeon will leave, allowing you access and thus allowing you to catch Mewtwo. A strategy guide should include post-game content as well as the main quest.

3 Wild Arms Unauthorized Game Secrets by Prima Wild Arms Unauthorized Game Secrets by Prima Product Image

What's one thing you need in a strategy guide for a video game? Pictures of course. They're not there just for decoration. They help the players get a sense of what to look for and what to watch out for. And give the book some flavor to it. That was the one thing this guide was missing. According to a video on Youtube, this guide was just pure text. Just how plain is that? If you're going to be stuck with a text-only guide, there are plenty of websites that you can check out.

4 Grandia Prima's Official Strategy Guide Grandia Prima's Official Strategy Guide Product Image

What's another thing you need in your guide besides pictures? Maps of course. And the guide for the original Grandia was sorely lacking in that department. While it did have some nice pictures in it, there were no maps at all. This is crucial when making a guide for an Adventure-RPG like Grandia. Instead you have to go through the text very carefully. You'll notice that there are a lot of guides on this list by Prima Games and there will probably be plenty more to come.

5 Final Fantasy VII Official Guide by Brady Games Final Fantasy VII Official Guide by Brady Games Product Image

I usually try to avoid having more than one game per franchise on my lists, but I'm going to have to make an exception here. While the official guide by Brady Games did a good job of revealing a lot of secrets, it revealed more than that. It was missing some secrets and weapons. But the biggest gripe I have is that it reveals the game's biggest plot twist in all its glory, among other segments. When Versus Books came out with their strategy guide, they had no qualms with making fun of the one published by Brady Games in terms of missed content and spoilers.

6 Golden Sun & Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age (Prima's Official Strategy Guide) (v. 1 & 2) Golden Sun & Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age (Prima's Official Strategy Guide) (v. 1 & 2) Product Image

A strategy guide for two games. Just how could you go wrong? As it turns out, quite a bit. You'll notice that the guide doesn't have a world map and when making guides for RPGs that have a world map, you'd want to map it out. Well, there's no world map to be found and that's important here because some of the Djinn in the games are only found via random encounters on the world map. They show you what land areas you need to walk around but nevertheless, a visualization on the world map would be helpful. They also don't go into any detail about Crossbone Isle; just how to get there and what Psynergy to use. Any Golden Sun veteran would tell you that accessing the final optional dungeon Anemos Inner Sanctum, requires you finding every single Djinn through both games. When even accessing an optional dungeon requires you to find everything of one kind, especially anything that's miss able, there's no room for error.

7 Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition by Nintendo Power Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition by Nintendo Power Product Image

Sometime in 2003, Nintendo made their first Legend of Zelda Compilation which consisted of the original Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Naturally, they had a guide to go with it. But why? If these were straight ports of their original game, there's really no need to print out a guide for the collection. And you can tell that this was kind of rushed. There were some errors in the map in The Adventures of Link and a lot of info is relegated to the back of their sections like the Golden Skulltulas in Ocarina of Time. Versus Books strategy guide for Majora's Mask was thicker than this and it only covered one game.

8 Prima's Unauthorized Guide to Diddy Kong Racing Prima's Unauthorized Guide to Diddy Kong Racing Product Image

How many of us have heard the old expression you can't judge a book by its cover? How many of you have also heard that there's an exception to every rule? Well, here's Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64 as a prime example. I mean, just look at the cover. All it shows is Diddy's hat with banana peels as he burns rubber. According to a NeoGaf user, it had some spelling errors and entire levels were missing. He felt like the staff played the game for five minutes and wrote a guide in the bathroom before showing it to the boss. And well, if you can't get the cover right, it really paints a bad picture.

9 Starfox Adventures Nintendo Official Player's Guide Starfox Adventures Nintendo Official Player's Guide Product Image

When Nintendo Power created their own strategy guides, you were usually getting a good quality guide to all the secrets in one convenient book. While the guide for Starfox Adventures was good, there was a major problem I had when first reading it. The satellite areas surrounding Dinosaur Planet were at the back of the guide. If you had to do things in a certain order, then the guide should be printed as such. I thought the trek through Dark Ice Mines would be a simple jaunt because it wasn't where it should be.

10 Resident Evil 4 (Wii version): Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides) Resident Evil 4 (Wii version): Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides) Product Image

How many strategies guides for one game do you really need? One. Unless you're playing any Pokémon games from Generation 4 onward. When Brady Games released their guide for the PlayStation 2 it was done quite well. The maps were well detailed, they gave you hints and tips on how to defeat enemies you didn't know and it was the overall presentation of it all. The Wii version done by Prima is not only missing quite a bit of information and has grammar issues, but the white text against black pages and the maps are just ugly and not pleasant to look at. The only extra things this guide has is a preview of the then upcoming game Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and a poster for the movie Resident Evil: Extinction which netted a nice profit but wasn't exactly a hit with critics. The WIi Version basically plays the same as the PS2 version with a few differences that make it easier such as using the Wii Remote to aim so if you have the guide for that version, there's no reason at all ...more

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