THEXDER / Sierra & Game Arts / PC
Sierra partnered up with Game Arts of Japan in the '90s to port a handful of their MSX titles to the PC; Thexder was the worst short of Sorcerian. Actually, they are arguably equally bad, since the problem in both cases is the same - horridly clunky control and level design partnered with ridiculous difficulty.
At lest Sorcerian broke its sequences up into manageable chunks, and gave you a fairly neat job system to play around with. Thexder demands that you run from beginning to end with only one life and no continues. It is the absolute worst of the Japanese "NO. 1 OR DISGRACE!!!!! CAN YOU FIGHT THE CHALLENGE?!?!?!?" approach to game design that just completely and totally defeats the purpose of playing games.
Anyway, you are a mecha that can transform into a jet with the tap of the down arrow. While a robot, you have a laser that automatically tracks enemies when you fire. This seems cool until you encounter sequences where there is an enemy right in your face raping you, and an enemy way off in the corner hidden behind a wall, and the laser decides to auto-target the guy behind the wall. As a jet you can only fire straight forward. The usefulness of being a jet is also mitigated by the fact that the entire game takes place in a series of caverns and claustrophobic tunnels.
The one thing the game really had going for it was it's music - well, at least the title theme, which was a nice rendition of the Moonlight Sonata. The tune that plays through seemingly the rest of the game is actually a bit irritating. You also need a Tandy 1000 computer to get any enjoyment at all out of it, as the PC sound comes through the internal speaker and gets drowned out whenever you fire your laser, which is pretty much the whole time you are playing the game.
I liked this game when I was a little kid, which just proves that little kids are often really stupid. This is a very, very cumbersome game.
* Gameplay Video from a Tandy 1000 SX
* Official demo