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Battle of the GTA clones

The verdict:

After that rundown, we're left with Crackdown, Saints Row, Just Cause, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction,The Simpsons: Hit & Run and Scarface: The World is Yours as surviving contenders. Of course, this all has to be leading somewhere, so it's time for us to finish the Battle of the GTA Clones by anointing a victor.

We'll do this elimination-style, beginning with a three-way brawl between the last-gen challengers. Here's what each brings to the table:

Scarface: The World is Yours

* Extreme violence, beautiful visuals and lots of stuff to break
* Interesting, empire-based mission structure
* Completely obliterates the movie's central message simply by existing

The Simpsons: Hit & Run

* Mild violence, endless stuff to break and a script by the show's writers
* Missions revolve mostly around races, fetch quests
* Has a frigging soul, unlike certain other games on this list

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

* Nonstop military violence and no shortage of things to bomb to hell
* Missions usually revolve around killing guys and blowing up buildings
* Enables you to hijack and drive tanks like it's normal

Scarface and The Simpsons make compelling arguments, but ultimately neither one is as much fun or as rewarding as Mercenaries' wilderness-scouring hunt for North Korean war criminals. Also, there's something about being able to level whole cities that not even Scarface's over-the-top psychosis could hope to match. And while roaring around in Springfield is immense fun, Hit & Run is ultimately too shallow to really hold its own against either of these.

Finalist: Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

Mikel Reparaz
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.