Gaming's most ludicrous storylines

We adore Trauma Centre's neat surgery gameplay. But the original's storyline doesn't simply jump the shark - it lines up twelve of them and performs cartwheels over the top.

The short version
In 2018, previously incurable diseases are nearly history, thanks to advanced medicine. But people can still suffer at the hands of the healers, as young doc Derek Stiles discovers when his negligence nearly kills a patient. Distraught, Derek leaves the hospital, but chances upon the scene of a car crash. While saving the victim he unlocks a powerful healing touch which his superiors accept without question as the powers of the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius. But this power weakens Derek, and he resolves never to use it.

But when Derek saves a girl infected with a man-made disease called GUILT, Derek brings his healing touch to bear in the fight against this quickly spreading deadly epidemic, spread by nefarious organisation Delphi. In the process, he defuses bombs set by terrorists, crosses the globe saving people infected with GUILT, and eventually tracks the origin of the disease. Finally, Derek and his assistant Angie save the seven children used to incubate the different strains of GUILT, ridding the world of the vicious virus.

The short version, shortened
Young doctor discovers surgery superpower, but refuses to use it. Then, in the face of a bio-terrorist threat, he embraces his power to save the world. He still gets ticked off by his hot nurse assistant, though.

KILLER 7 | PlayStation 2
Suda 51 strikes again in this mind-boggling but brilliantly innovative action adventure weirdfest. It's easily the oddest on the list.

The (not so) short version
Harman Smith is a 60 year-old assassin and also a demi-god. He can transform into seven different manifestations, the Killer 7 - all dead assassins bound to Harman. The Smiths are called into action to battle the forces of Kun Lan, another demi-god, and his monstrous troops - cackling invisible creatures called Heaven Smiles.

Harman is caught in the middle of a political war raging between the United States and Japan, and carries out a number of missions that highlight the growing international tension. Then, abruptly, it is revealed that Garcian Smith is actually Emir Parkreiner. Emir had been taught as an assassin by Harman Smith, at a training facility run by the Japanese United Nations Party. Except Emir committed suicide after a job, but Garcian is still alive. Isn't he?

In an encounter at Coborn Elementary School, where Emir's training had taken place, all the Smiths except Garcian die. Garcian, however, discovers a Golden Gun, kills the Heaven Smiles that murdered his already-dead alter-egos and leaves. In leaving, Garcian relives Emir's memories, discovering that actually the Killer 7 were just a figment of his mind, and that he was the assassin (as Emir) responsible for killing the other Smiths and Harman - after doing which Emir had killed himself.

Three years later, Garcian/Emir tracks down the leader of Japan's UN Party, Kenjiro Matsuoka, and has to choose between killing Matsouka or letting him lead the Japanese assault on the United States. If Matsouka dies, America will attack Japan to destroy evidence that US elections are orchestrated by an outside force, but if he lives Japan will invade the US.

After making his decision, Garcian finally tracks down Kun Lan and kills him, ending the Heaven Smiles threat. But that's not it. 100 years later, Harman and Kun Lan return to Earth in Shanghai to battle once more, where undoubtedly Harman won't actually be real as he's really an invention of Garcian's, even though Garcian (or Harman's old pupil Emir) has been brought back into existence by Harman (who's a lower deity, remember) who can transform into seven already dead assassin's, except he's not actually doing that because he's already dead. Simple, really.

The short version, shortened
Wheelchair-bound assassin manifests into seven psychotic personalities to fight evil demi-god. Or does he? No, really he's already dead. Erm, nope, he's someone else. Actually...

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.