The dark side
James Fryer rolls up his sleeves and delves deep into the grim world of the most controversial video games ever to have graced our shop shelves.
50 Cent: Bulletproof
PS2 | PSP | Xb
Whether it’s a blinging car, fountains flowing with bubbly or chunky gold medallions, rappers flaunt their penchant for the finer things in life. But hip hop culture has a seedy underbelly, claiming the lives of artists such as Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. So for wannabe rappers not content with cruising past Spinneys late at night in VW Polos, this rapper release could be their new, er, role model. Play 50 Cent as he gets caught in a web of corruption that leads him on a bloody path through New York’s underworld, based on a story written by The Sopranos’ executive producer Terry Winter. Authorities worldwide condemned the game’s violence – so it’s okay to sing about poppin’ a bullet in some fool’s a**, but it’s not okay to unleash fury with a semi-automatic in the animated hood. Westside.
PC | PS2 | Xb
From Duke Nukem and Doom to Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Max Payne, gamers have become increasingly desensitised to the virtual carnage thrown their way. But for spectators not au fait with firstperson- shooting mayhem, Manhunt may be the ultimate shock to the morals this side of the millennium. Blamed for a series of violent real life crimes, it’s another game that didn’t go down well with the banhappy censors in Australia (or in many other countries around the world for that matter). The premise is simple – kill. But the variety of ways the (admittedly usually evil) victims meet their maker is horrible enough to make the most hardened gamers look away in fright. With machetes, axes, baseball bats and hooks, little is left to the imagination as RockStar’s infamous title takes it more than a little too far.
PC | PS2 | Xb
Although trailing way behind Quentin Tarrantino’s 1992 cult classic, the new release of Reservoir Dogs fired up anti-gaming activists, as fans of the film were given the chance to play the colourful characters. While it might sound like a top plot for a game, the flick’s triumph lay in its script and casting. Sure, cutting off someone’s ear and dousing them in petrol is a hoot on film, but in a game it will barely hold your attention long enough for a rendition of Stuck in the Middle With You. The designers’ attempt to thicken the plot is trite, and despite the fact that you can play without killing anyone, the attraction is in causing a bloodbath. The Australian ban only whetted the appetites of a new generation of wannabe black suit wearers.
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
PC | PS2 | Xb
Building on the PC games known for racy humour, born in 1987 lovable loser Larry is one of the most recognisable cyber characters of all time, grossing $35 million by 1997. In Magna Cum Laude his nephew Larry Laffer joins a TV dating show to meet college girls and continue the family ‘legend’. By pointing and clicking you can chat up the ladies, with cheap hilarity always prevailing. Scantily clad babes were enough to get Larry a series of bans (yes, including Australia) but it has kept loyal fans rubbing their sweaty palms together.