Last week, we brought you a list of popular, classic games... that we despise. But that's easy; for every work of genius, there's a hater (with good arguments.) This week, we're doing something much, much weirder. We've compiled a list of games that range from "totally sucky" to "mostly sucky" that we... well, we love them. A tough task? We agree. That's why we've roped in editors from three other top game publications - PC Gamer, Official Xbox Magazine and PSM to help us out. Hey, they're just down the damn hall...
Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance
Loved by: PlayStation Editor Mikel Reparaz
Coming in at the tail end of an urban-crime craze, Beat Down was one of the industry's most laughable attempts to create something "street" - mostly because it apparently got its ideas about American organized crime from Final Fantasy VII.
Its five mobster anti-heroes were young, effeminate and decked out in matching suits. Almost nobody carried guns. It was always night, presumably because the Japanese development team didn't know how else to make the game's city seem "American." The plot was something insanely stupid about a drug lord who betrayed his closest disciples before they could become powerful enough to defeat him. And the script was peppered with so much wildly inappropriate profanity that it was like listening to a five-year-old who'd just learned to swear.
Above: Behold the new face of crime on these gritty urban streets of gritty streetwise urban gangsta urban street-ness. Also, we're totally about to write the word "shit"
So yeah. So what? Every jaded critic from here to Vice City might have torn it to pieces, but Beat Down still managed to be crazy awesome. Let the haters and their rarefied palates whine about its "repetitive action," because here's a revelation: if you don't like repetitive action, you probably don't like brawlers as a genre. But if you want the raw, thudding sensation of crushing a man's face and spirit with your bare hands, then Beat Down is where you want to be.
Few games make defeat as total as Beat Down did. After smacking down a defiant thug, you actually had had the option of forcing him to work for you. He'd then immediately begin a life of humble servitude, following you around or waiting to be summoned from an ever-growing list of "on-call" henchmen. Collecting those henchmen wasn't just fun, it was maddeningly addictive, and it wasn't long before the game started to feel like some violent urban take on Pokémon.
That wasn't the only cool feature Beat Down stole from another game, either. Structured like an overambitious River City Ransom for a new generation of gamers, it gave players free rein to roam its city as they pleased and pick fights with whomever. You also had total control over your mobster's appearance, and could dress him or her in anything from natty suits to leopard-print halter tops and stiletto heels. Yes, even the guys. Did we mention that humiliating defeated enemies is one of this game's big draws?
"The thug in me likes the violence, but the obsessive-compulsive in me likes collecting as many gang members as possible. And neither one realizes that this is a terrible, terrible game." - Mikel