Independence Day: Resurgence has arrived in theaters, and it hasn’t gotten the warm reception that the original ID4 got in theaters back in 1996. But hey, even if the aliens or Bill Pullman aren’t as great as they once were, remember that Independence Day could always be worse. You need only look at the forgotten video game adaptation to see an actually terrible ID4.

Of course, the kids of 20 years ago had no clue this game tie-in would be so crappy. Just look at how publisher Fox Interactive advertised the game.

I’m sure we said back in the 1990s, “Whoa, you fly around and shoot alien spaceships?!? Radical!” But the game itself was decidedly un-bodacious. Your first clue of the game’s quality is that it missed the film’s release date, coming out many months later in February 1997. Movie tie-ins like this sell well when they’re in stores around the movie’s release, not close to a year later when most people are done renting Independence Day on VHS.

Late releases like that of ID4‘s are sometimes used to make last minute improvements to the game, but if that’s the case here, you really have to wonder just how bad this was before. As it stands it’s certainly as abysmal now as reviewers felt back in the day. Take a look at some of the game’s first stages.

After some film clips that I’m sure were much more impressive back in 1997, you’re dropped into the 3D skies promised in that flashy commercial, only it’s a lot uglier. The hideous textures and clunky physics looked bad next to contemporary games like Ace Combat, and they look downright primitive by current standards.

Not only that, but your meager selection of stages and planes makes Independence Day not just ugly, but boring. The cities may change, but every dogfight is just a variation on the first. Like in the movie, you slowly take out shield generators until the main one is open, then you blast that into oblivion and sink the mothership. No matter if you do it in Area 51 or Tokyo, ID4 a big ugly mess. But at least it’s over quickly. Oh, and it goes without saying that Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and every other star are nowhere to be seen in the game.

independence day game 20th fox

So, while Resurgence might not be number one at the box office, keep this game in mind when you remember that things could be much, much worse.

Henry Gilbert
Henry Gilbert is Senior Games Editor at Fandom. He's worked in the gaming press since 2008, writing for sites as diverse as GamesRadar, IGN, and Paste Magazine. He's also been known to record a podcast or two with Laser Time. Follow him on Twitter @henereyg.