Late last week we took a look at the phenomenon of "undubbing": the act of hacking a game and replacing the English voice track with the Japanese one. This, in turn, got me me thinking about some of the games most deserving of an undub—and let me tell you, there are many to choose from.
What follows are four games that—while perhaps not having the worst dubs ever—have one major flaw each that elevated their dubs from "bad" to "terrible."
So prepare yourself and click through the gallery to make your ears bleed!
Mega Man is a big-name series, which makes it all the more puzzling why the voice cast in Mega Man 8 is just so terrible. By far the worst of the bunch is Dr. Light. Not only does he pronounce all his Ls and Rs as Ws, but also he speaks with an odd accent. Worst of all, the voice acting seems like it was recorded all in one take as stutterings and mispronunciations are left in the final product. This is a dub so bad that anyone with a few hours and a microphone could make a better one.
The voice acting in tactical RPG Chaos Wars is generally stilted and unemotional. But what makes the dub really bad is the voice actor for Tonaty. Unlike in most games where kids are voiced by talented adults, the dubbers of Chaos Wars opted to use a real child to voice the part. That the result is so bland and unemotional that it sounds like it was being read right off the page (which it no doubt was) is a given. But what really drives this dub home is how the kid speaks in nearly unintelligible baby talk. Chaos Wars is the poster child for why you should never hire a real kid to play a kid (unless you pay the big bucks and hire a really good child actor).
Some of the characters in the SHMUP Trouble Witches Neo! are pretty normal for your average bad dub: that is to say bland and stilted. But where Trouble Witches Neo! transcends from "bad" to "worse" is in the characters who are clearly voiced by non-English speakers. Layla and Sakurako, for example, are clearly Japanese people reading English. It's also apparent they have no idea what they are saying or where they should be putting their inflections. Thus they are constantly putting the em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble and adding pauses where there should be none.
Suda 51's Michigan: Report From Hell was never released in America, but it did get a European release. And the English dub is just plain terrible. But instead of sounding bland and lifeless like most bad dubs, the script in Michigan is insanely overacted. The game is clearly designed to be a horror game along the lines of Fatal Frame (but with a video camera). But the voices are so over-the-top that they make the horror into comedy. Though oddly, that makes this game playable: You keep on playing just to see how bad the acting is going to get.