Battle of the GTA clones

They all tried to beat the best, but which one really did? We make 'em fight to find out

Just Cause
Eidos | PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC

The setup: As CIA operative Rico Rodriguez, it's your job to skulk around a tin-pot banana republic like a Latino James Bond, taking on missions from your CIA handlers as well as a guerilla army and a drug cartel (that you're secretly trying to undermine). It's all in the name of toppling the country's president, a dictator with drug ties whom the US disapproves of. The island is beautiful, the action is fast and the vehicle-and-parachute-and-grappling-hook stunts are so impossible, the Wachowski brothers would be embarrassed.

The rides: A wide array of military vehicles, a selection of cars and trucks that ranges from crummy-looking to slick, some zippy motorbikes and a variety of speedboats and Jet Skis. Those are all a nice complement to the hijackable attack choppers and planes, which to be honest are what you really want to be driving in the first place.

The violence: Bloody and relentless. The government-controlled police and soldiers of the tiny island nation of San Esperito will be on your tail constantly when you're on missions, or even if they catch you just acting suspicious in their territory. Lucky for you, you'll be able to find an arsenal's worth of guns and explosives to take them out, and your default paired pistols - which never, ever run out of ammo - do an excellent job of splattering the president's goon squads in a hurry.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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