This is the ultimate gallery slide (yeah, sure it is)
Believe it or not, there are around 300 entertainment software titles that contain the word Ultimate in their name. Thats one heck of a lot of superlatives. Because ultimate is the best. Youre never going to get better than ultimate. Unless you said ultimate plus one!, but thats just stupid.
So heres our list of ultimate games that are categorically not ultimate in any way. Let the shaming begin!
Dizzy: The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure (Spectrum, 1987)
This was the inspiration for this feature. Meet Dizzy, a cartoon egg who rolls over as he jumps simply because his developers had gotten hold of some sprite rotation software. He starred in some amazing games, not least Treasure Island Dizzy, Fantasy World Dizzy and Magicland Dizzy. But, ironically, this is his first outing, which started everything off by boldly declaring itself The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure. No room for improvement there. Might as well go home.
Why it isnt the ultimate: Because weve had so many objectively better cartoon adventures since the original Dizzy, itd actually be closer to the truth if it was called Dizzy: The absolute worst cartoon adventure. Not strictly true (remember Bubsy 2?) but more true than what they actually went with.
Ultimate Band (Wii/DS, 2009)
Disney's Guitar Hero rip-off has this to say of its content: "You can jam and perform to 15 timeless songs on the drums, lead guitar, bass guitar or rhythm guitar. Become the best songwriter in rock history, as you lay down tracks in the recording studio and apply creative mixing effects to create that ultimate song which will make you the Ultimate Band!"
Why it isn't the ultimate: Because the ultimate band would be John Lennon on Vocals/Piano, Jimi Hendrix on lead guitar, Tom Morello on rhythm, Lemmy on bass and Ginger Baker on drums. Now look at the picture above and tell me that line-up of malformed blow-up Steps dolls is better. There you go.
Ultimate Basketball (NES, 1990)
Frankly, Im amazed the 2K Sports team even bothers making new basketball games. The 1080p lushness of the new PS4 version is all well and good, but it cant ever be the absolute best basketball experience around, because the NES called that in 1990. To its credit, all the ingredients are there, including some pretty snazzy close-up cinematics when the ball gets close to the hoop (inset), but the ultimate basketball game shouldnt ever garner critique containing the words to its credit.
Why it isnt the Ultimate: Not with those shorts, son.
Hitman: Ultimate Contract (PC, 2009)
This 2009 collection brings together all of Agent 47s misadventures under one cardboard lid (or at least the ones that had been released up until that point, obviously). Four games. And presumably the contract part of the title is that between you and the shop keeper when you buy this game. Its the best contract youll ever make.
Why it isnt ultimate: Never mind the fact more Hitman games would come later, surely the Hitman Ultimate Contract would be the one where someone pays 47 to kill himself. Right? Well, this collection doesnt do that.
Stop laughing, this was impressive tech for 1993. Minute details like the weight of the ball and how it reacts to the surface its rolling on are simulated, as is a pseudo-3D perspective of the pitch. Ive actually played it and its alright. A ringing endorsement if ever there was one.
Why it isnt the ultimate: Well, even on Mega Drive, by this point the ultimate football game had evidently been released in the shape of Sensible Soccer. Ultimate Soccer may have looked better and sounded better, but if it wasnt even ultimate at the time, its hardly going to stand up against FIFA 14, is it? Also, despite all the betters it clearly has to its name, at no point would anyone be able to say this game is best. Except whoever wrote the title, obviously.
Ultimate Wizard (Commodore 64, 1986)
Adding wizardy language like Prepare Thyself, Player 1 and Wizercise is obviously how you wizard up a supercharged Donkey Kong Junior clone on Commodore 64. And it does actually sound rather lovely when it first loads up with its wonderful 8-bit sound effects. Until you realise they used *all* the sound effects. All of them. Climbed a ladder? Sound effect. Cut your nails? Sound effect. Breathed in and out? Sound effect. They dont make em like this any more, folks.
Why it isnt the Ultimate: I highly doubt the ultimate wizard would always run like hes on fire. And besides, Gandalf is obviously the ultimate wizard. Look at this one. This one isnt even as good Ron Weasley.
Ultimate I Spy (Wii, 2008)
Ultimate I Spy is an I Spy game for Wii. In it, you must move the camera through a 3D environment to find objects suggested to you via some (very simple) riddles. It's aimed at children and seems harmless enough, although I love how they tried to illustrate I Spy by showing everything on the cover.
Why it isn't the 'ultimate': Because the ultimate game of I Spy was played between Fiona Applehart-Fauntleroy and her cousins Maisy Sinjun-Beechcroft and Michael 'Titch' Sinjun-Beechcroft at 2:18pm on August 24, 1954. A little-known fact, that one. Nobody ever guessed the final 'P' was for 'penis'. A secret she carried with her to her grave. Nah, not really. Let's go with 'because it's on Wii'.
Ultimate Ride (PC, 2004)
Ultimate Ride is a 3D rollercoaster-building simulation. You get to mould themed environments into whatever shape you like, run your rollercoaster track through it in any way you like and then populate the route with amazing incidental details, like this incredible low-polygon dragon. Awww, he's got a little house and everything.
Why it isnt the ultimate: Theres no Twitter integration. Or Oculus Rift support (now that would be cool or at least a surefire method of regurgitating whatever you just ate). And of course the RAM limitations of 12-year-old gaming mean that the experience is incredibly one-note from a visual point of view. Basically, it would be better if they added a third colour. Anywhere.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Multi, 2006)
Spidey, Wolverine and all your other cartoon pals team up to smash bad guys into next week. Solid 8/10 fare ensued (which is quite sad, really, if the ultimate Marvel alliance is merely quite good) but it was an impressive team-up event nonetheless. But let's just say for argument's sake it really was a 10/10 game. OK. Ready?
Why it isnt the ultimate: It had a sequel called Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. What did I say about Infinity +1?
Did we name the site wrong?
Who am I kidding? The word 'Ultimate' clearly makes all these games the ideal purchase decisions. Why play Ni No Kuni when you can play Dizzy The Ultimate Adventure? Exactly. So we should probably name GR 'GamesRadar Ultimate'. Or even 'Ultimate GamesRadar'. '2'. The petition starts here, folks. By the way, if you can think of any more 'Ultimate' games that aren't anything of the sort, do let us know in the comments.
And if you're looking for more, check out 10 incredibly interesting things you didn't know about Dizzy and 12 great games with god-awful boxart.