Over the next ten weeks I’ll be sharing my top ten games of all time.

A near impossible task for any gamer, I set myself this challenge a few years ago, and I am only just now comfortable with how it reads, so let’s get into it before I lose my nerve.

My number ten spot goes to:

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Sonic-Sega-All-Stars-Racing-box-artMario Kart Klone 2.

Like ModNation Racers and Cars 2, Sonic & Sega: All Stars Racing borrows many ideas from (and owes it’s very existence to) the Mario Kart franchise.

Unlike ModNation Racers and Cars 2 however, S&SASR brings virtually nothing new to the party.

Everything in the game is lifted from Mario Kart, but if you’ve played MK to death and you’re looking for something new- there is quite a bit of fun to be had here.

The game is available on DS, Wii, PS3 and 360. It looks prettier on PS3 and 360 of course, and in the 360 version you can race with Banjo & Kazooie.

There’s plenty of tracks to choose from, plenty of characters and nicely balanced weapons and karts to race with.

The tracks are also fun and have a good range of difficulty. It’s pretty much everything you want in a Mario Kart klone -including a 4 player split screen mode, and it’s one of the few games to come remotely close to capturing the essence of Nintendo’s franchise.

The omission of any multiplayer “cup” or tournament mode is baffling, however, and going back to the menu every time you want to race a new track is quite annoying.

The sequel, All Stars Racing Transformed fixed many of this game’s niggles, going on to be the best Mario Kart Klone of all, but this first entry is still worth picking up.

Thanks to retryquit.com for the box pic.

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GEARSBig men, big guns, big action.

From the opening minutes of Gears Of War, you knew you were playing something truly special.

If Resident Evil 4 defined the third person action genre in 2005, and Gears Of War re-defined it in 2006.

You play as Marcus Fenix, a member of a super tough group of mercenaries whose mission is to defeat a devastating array of angry alien types known as The Locust.

Many a game has pit its hero against an alien race in a post apocalyptic world, but Gears Of War does it so much better. A fairly run of the mill story is made interesting thanks to top notch cinematic sequences, as well as allowing the characters’ dialogue to provide background information throughout the adventure.

Fairly standard fair these days, but back in 2006 it was a novel approach, and really immersed the player in the bleak, almost hopeless situation.

From the (at the time) cutting edge graphics, to the awesome gun and explosion effects- Gears has it all going on.

Not to mention the accompanying musical score, which helps to raise and lower the tempo and the tension at key moments to really add to the atmosphere.

But awesome graphics and sound alone do not equal innovation, nor do they redefine genres.

Gears of War innovates by introducing a one-button cover system, which allows for pillars, ledges, fallen statues and a wealth of other things in the game environment to become cover at any given time.

Taking cover in games is nothing new, but so dynamic and successfully implemented is the cover system in Gears, that it allows for some of the smoothest flowing and intuitive gameplay ever seen.

Similar cover systems immediately began popping up in many other action games, and in the sequel Gears Of War 2, this system was further refined.

Big weapons, a big, angry protagonist, and a host of incredible set pieces combine with awesomely powerful enemies (including one of the most memorable final boss battles ever) to make Gears Of War an absolute must play for all 360 owners.

There’s an easy difficulty setting for the less seasoned- another staple of modern games given “street cred” by Gears Of War.

Did you play Gears Of War? Leave a comment!

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The latest addition to the Mortal Kombat X line-up, wild west gunslinger Erron Black, bears a striking resemblance to another video game gunslinger, the unnamed protagonist others call “The Swordsman”, from Ubisoft’s Wii exclusive, Red Steel 2.

It turns out the character of Erron Black appeared in a Mortal Kombat comic book series, and that version of Erron bears even a great resemblance to The Swordsman.

Take a look at these pictures and disagree.

The unnamed hero, or "The Swordsman" from Red Steel 2

The unnamed hero, or “The Swordsman” from Red Steel 2

Erron Black from Mortal Kombat

Erron Black from Mortal Kombat

I suppose in the days of the old West it was hard (and probably dangerous) to be an individual when it came to fashion. Just ask John and Cole:

Colton White from GUN

Colton White from GUN

John Marston from Red Dead Redemption

John Marston from Red Dead Redemption

I’m being facetious about Erron and The Swordsman, and two pics don’t tell an entire story, but do a quick Google search and you’ll see what I mean.

Thanks to www.designntrend.com, gematsu.com,  and lady-eklipse.livejournal.com for the pics.

You can follow me on twitter: @rustyshell and Miiverse: zinger_AU

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I’ve told you before that Jurassic Park is my favourite film franchise of all time, so my excitement for LEGO Jurassic World went through the roof when I saw the trailer.

It’s coming to every platform, including Wii U and 3DS.

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Is it me, or is there something not quite right about the facial animations and lip syncing in the new MKX trailer?

The faces seem stiff and expressionless, and the movements of the mouths in relation to what the characters are saying are unconvincing.

I’m not hating, I’m a huge Mortal Kombat fan and I’m as excited as all get out about the new game, but it just seems a bit last generation-y to me.

Is this the best the new consoles can offer at this stage? Surely not, but I’m pretty sure I saw comparable work in gamed like Uncharted 3 and GTA5 on older machines.

I get it’s only a trailer and there’s time to tweak things, but gross NetherRealm. Fix it please.

Also, here’s the fanboy alternative to the fourth sentence in this post:

“Is this the best the new consoles can offer at this stage? Surely not, but I’m pretty sure I saw comparable work in Dead Space Extraction on Wii six years ago.”

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mkxLogoWith the news that Mortal Kombat X will have platform exclusive fighters, I wondered who from Nintendo’s universe would be bad ass enough to take on Scorpion and co. if the game was to come to Wii U.

I might preface this by saying this is not a serious list, it’s fantasy. Just like the prospect of Mortal Kombat X appearing on Wii U is fantasy.

 

. . .

Ganondorfganondorf

The most obvious choice, (besides a realistic Bowser) Ganondorf is the ultimate Nintendo bad guy whose look and attitude fit right in with the Mortal Kombat universe.

His flaming red locks should be used to hair whip, a la Sindel, and he should also be using Fi in sword form and she can speak in gibberish as she tries to come to terms with just having sliced Kung Loa into triangles.

ZantpicZant

Zant appeared in Twighlight Princess, and was as memorable for his indiscriminate fury as he was for his  scary ass helmet.

Who better to join the Mortal Kombat roster than a magic commanding, beast summoning lunatic known as The King Of Shadows.

Travis Touchdowntravis

He doesn’t exactly have the dark, malicious swagger of most Mortal Kombat fighters, but isn’t it time a bit of humour came to the Dark Realm?

Johnny Cage tried to charm us by keeping things light, but Travis can take it one step further and be the ultimate insouciant kombatant.

ridleyRidley

Although Ridley isn’t exactly humanoid like all other Mortal Kombat fighters, I reckon it’s time for a flying purple dragon to make an appearance.

She’s one of Nintendo’s most enduring villains, and her maniacal penchant for the blood of everything and everyone makes her a good fit, as well as her having a cold blooded ally in Reptile.

King Gorongoron

There was Goro, so why not a Goron?

I’d love to see him dark, angry, and hairy like the Goron Chief we saw in Hyrule Warriors, and with the anger factor dialled up to twenty.

Shao Kahn isn’t the only one who can do some damage with an oversized hammer.

It’d be interested to see him in Xray though… what would be in there?

lizalfosLizalfos

Before this turns into a list of Zelda baddies, I just want to say being able to control Lizalfos would be a dream come true for me.

Give us a dark, realistic version of the character complete with machete and rock arm.

He can be reptile and Ridley’s hideous lovechild who’s coming back to exact revenge on his parents for abandoning him on a hot rock when he was an infant.

Brigadier Bettybrigbetty

Don’t let her cheery demeanor fool you, no one’s that happy all the time.

Battalion Wars’ Brigadier Betty could be the ultimate bad bitch.

She’s new Sonya Blade- all tongue, all attitude and all woman, and if Sonya can mysteriously shoot energy rings out of herself as a human, so can Betty.

empressEmpress Lei-Qo

And as for Empress Lei-Qo, It’s about time there was a “traditional” Asian female in the Mortal Kombat roster. 

Although I don’t remember Qo and Betty showing any specific animosity toward each other in the Battalion Wars series, you can create a “you slept with my brother then killed him” contention between the two, just for a touch of spice.

. . .

Who deserves a start in Mortal Kombat? Ghirahim? Shadow Mario? Leave a comment!

Thanks to zeldawiki.org and metroid-database.com  for the pics.

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PUREPure risk. Pure fun.

PURE is 4 wheeler racing with huge jumps and insane tricks, set across breathtaking real world locations.

It’s the PURE world championship, and it’s up to you to get to the top. The game allows players to build their own ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) from scratch, and you’ll need to customize one for each style of race: stunt, race, and sprint.

Steering your ATV couldn’t be simpler- just hold the right trigger to accelerate and move the left stick to steer. There’s a few other control options, and one allows you to use the A button as accelerate- more akin to Mario Kart.

I recommend trying all of them first off to see which one you like best, because as you get into the more advanced trick combos, being comfortable with what button does what becomes super important.

Steering may be easy to grasp, but to progress through PURE you’ll need to master the stunts.

Stunts consist of a “pre-load” and a well timed button press to perform basic jumps, then more complex button presses for more complex stunts and combos.

The scenery is spectacular

The scenery is spectacular

You’ll also need to remember which stunts you’ve done recently, because the game will penalise you for repeating tricks or playing it too safe.

The pre-load in PURE really just means as you approach a jump you must pull back on the control stick until you’re almost in the air. This steadies your ride and prepares you for the jump, and that’s when you’ll use the left stick and press buttons to perform stunts.

The bigger the jump and the better your pre-load, the more air you’ll get and the more time you’ll have to pull off awesome stunt combos.

It’s an absolute blast, and trying to fit in one more trick before you hit the ground is always nerve wracking fun.

The racing action is some of the best of the generation

The racing action is some of the best of the generation

Just wait till the first time you see your player mess up a stunt and come crashing violently (this is a Disney game, so no blood) back to earth. Awesome stuff.

There’s an intuitive create-a-vehicle feature which you’ll have to use to make an ATV for each of the three different race styles- race, sprint and freestyle.

It’s a shame there’s no two or four player split screen in this kind of arcade racer, but it’s an even bigger shame there hasn’t been a sequel.

Did you enjoy PURE? Leave a comment!

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VIVAWhack it open and taste the gaming goodness.

Create your own virtual garden and attract an amazing array of wild animals, known as Pinata. Use your knowledge of the species to cater to their every need.

Buy and sell at the local store, make friends with your neighbours and trade tips.

The colourful art style and seemingly child-friendly interface left Viva Pinata largely overlooked when it was released in 2006.

While it may not be as complex as some other strategy/simulation games, Viva Pinata is a great starting point for beginners interested in the genre.

Provided you have a half decent memory that is, because at times you have a lot going on. Multi tasking is the key to most games of this type, and Viva Pinata is no different.

You’ll also need to think outside the box when it comes to attracting new species of Pinata to your garden. You’ll need to understand the food chain and be brave enough to venture out at night to collect the nocturnal Pinata, some of which are cute, but not exactly friendly.

Don’t worry though, you can literally beat the stuffing out of them and allow the other Pinata to feast on their insides. Funniest of all, you’ll need to provide love nests for the Pinatas to mate, or ‘romance’ as the game calls it.

Viva Pinata is a great buy for 360 owners looking for something different. Even if you only play through once and disregard the online features, it’s still worth it.

There’s also a sequel called Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, and a game for Nintendo DS- Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise.

Be sure to use the advanced camera setting instead of beginner. You can change it in the options menu and I recommend you do from the start because it makes the game much more playable.

Did you enjoy Viva Pinata? Leave a comment!

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50centbox50 Cent’s second foray into video gaming may be self aware and self indulgent (it’s 50 Cent after all), but it’s still surprisingly good fun.

Good variety of missions and an intuitive cover system combined with a kick ass ‘fiddy soundtrack- Blood On The Sand is a great solid third person shooter and something a little different.

If you missed it and still have your PS3 plugged in (where’s that backwards compatibility, Sony?) you should pick it p off eBay for about $20.

Did you enjoy Blood On The Sand? Leave a comment!

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