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15 big 2009 games you've probably forgotten about

Quake III Arena, in a browser. That’s like putting an elephant in a briefcase, a Ferris wheel in a teapot, or a roll of carpet in a sock.. We can’t say enough good things about id’s forthcoming Rage, yet we easily overlook this entirely free work of technical sorcery. Of course, Quake won’t quite be the same when some chav-baiting ad for ringtones pops up over it – unless you can shoot the ringtones with a gun. Now that really would be magic.





THQ | Swordfish Studios
Out: Q1
On: 360, PC, PS3

Stop that laughter at once. All right, we really are putting our necks out here, even if Epic’s Mark Rein once told us this was the best use of Unreal Engine 3 he’d seen to date. In the plus column, though, you have Birmingham’s underappreciated Swordfish Studios, creator of lively PS2 shooter Cold Winter and basically a very talented bunch. Given its bonkers Fiddie-goes-East story, even if this isn’t the best action game of next year, it’ll surely be the funniest. Good with beer, etc.





Sega | Gearbox
Out: Q1
On: 360, PC, PS3

Assholes and elbows, people, that’s all you need to know. Were it possible to look past the shadows of Killzone 2 and Halo 3: Recon, you might have remembered the existence of this belated tie-in. To recap, this is Brothers In Arms developer Gearbox doing the best it can to bring the classic movie to life, from pulse rifles and motion sensors to Face Huggers and Chest Bursters. At last glance it looked pretty damn convincing – except for all the bugs, of course. A-haw-haw.





EA | EA
Out: TBA
On: 360, PS3

Fight Night creator EA Chicago doesn’t exist anymore, though we do have some of its people to thank for the atrocious button-mashing, kitten-killing FaceBreaker. Let’s count our blessings, eh? After it scored a clean knockout of pretty much everyone with that incendiary demo, Fight Night Round 3 fell afoul of the same problem as its predecessor: awesome controls but glitchy visuals and a crap career mode. If EA can fix those, we’re talking one serious contender for sports game of the year.





2K Games | 2K Czech
Out: TBA
On: 360, PC, PS3

A lot of people out there didn’t like Mafia. We dropped them in the lake with original Xboxes tied to their ankles. Rich in period detail, with a compelling story, superb visuals and well-conceived missions, it’s a fondly remembered alternative to GTA that’s sure-as-hell better than EA’s The Godfather. Early screens of the sequel suggest more of the same, 2K promising the right things: “strong, believable characters” and an “engaging narrative”.





Codemasters | Triumph Studios
Out: TBA
On: 360, DS, PC, PS3, Wii

Looks like some of us made the mistake of championing the first Overlord, charming and peculiar as it was. Now we’ve got a whole army of minions building sequels for every platform under the sun, ready to wreak havoc on gamers everywhere.

Overlord II leads the charge, using a next-gen engine to bring epic battles and mounted units to a more destructible world. Wii game Dark Legend lets you throttle your minions with the Remote and use them as flaming missiles. TV insurance, anyone?



2K Games | 3D Realms
Out: TBC
On: 360, PC, PS3

In an age of metrosexuals and Orlando Bloom, you have to wonder about the Duke. When he stomps into action after 14 years in development hell, chompin’ that cigar, flexin’ those arms and feelin’ up those big boobies, won’t it seem a little... wrong? Fear not, because DNF has been so long coming that it’s gone clean through political correctness and out the other side. We’re “retrosexuals” now, desperate for some big dumb rootin’ tootin’ mayhem. And boobies.





Codemasters | Codemasters
Out: TBA
On: 360, PC, PS3

If only Formula One were more like the obligatory titty shots abovethat are rolled out as 'publicity' to promote each new F1seasonand less like the most boring spectator sport on Earth.(That's how we get around nor having a screenshot of the game yet).

The interactive versions haven’t fared much better since Geoff Crammond left the track. But what’s this, an F1 reboot from Codemasters, creator of the greatest racing games on Earth? Good God, man, it might just work. Finding out how, exactly, should be half the fun.