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The gaming world has absolutely come a long way since pressing up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-select-start guaranteed “unlimited life” on Contra. And to think it’s not even on this prestigious list…

WORDS: ED GERONIA JR.

ODDWORLD: STRANGER’S WRATH

Xbox
In a remarkable departure from the Oddworld series, Stranger’s Wrath puts you in the boots of a rogue bounty hunter known only as The Stranger. A cross between Animal Farm and a spaghetti western, nothing is what it seems in this game. Stranger’s Wrath is a graphical wonder on the original Xbox and features an ingenious weapons system which gives new meaning to the phrase “live ammo.”
MUST-SEE MOMENT: The Stranger, for all his athletic prowess, hides a terrible secret. When it’s finally revealed, you can’t help but root for the poor bastard.

LUMINES
PSP
After the puzzle giant that was Tetris, only few dare call themselves heirs to its throne. More than just a falling-block puzzle game, Lumines emerged as the PSP’s first great hit, becoming the Tetris of the current generation. Combining hypnotic visuals, addictive gameplay, and a seductive electronica playlist, Lumines approaches the level of video game art.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: Unlocking new songs and backgrounds. Some levels can be very challenging so you have to work really hard at perfecting your game.

FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 3
Xbox/PS2
The most visceral boxing game ever created, Fight Night Round 3 is a knockout. Unique to the game is its Total Punch control scheme which requires true skill to master. The game features a roster of famous fighters from Muhammad Ali to our very own Manny Pacquiao. Or you can create your own fighter to see how far he can go up the ranks. Use your earnings to upgrade your boxer’s kit.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: Recreating Pacquiao’s fights. Step into the ring and control Pacquiao yourself…then beat up Eric Morales mercilessly.

PSYCHONAUTS
Xbox/PC/PS2
While Psychonauts didn’t laugh its way to commercial success, this instant classic remains one of the funniest games and most irreverent ever. You play as Raz, a kid with an ultrapowerful mind, enabling him to perform in the real world mental tricks such as telekinesis and other shenanigans straight out of Scanners. He can also enter the subconscious, which looks different from person to person.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: When Raz enters the mind of a lungfish. Once he’s inside its mind, Raz becomes a giant monster called the Goggalor, the very creature the lungfish is afraid of in reality.

PIKMIN 2
GameCube
Created by Japanese superstar game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, Pikmin 2 defies classification. This part-strategy, part-adventure and part-creature/item game features little vegetable/animal critters called Pikmins, which are ruled by hamster-sized aliens. The game in set in gardens and underground areas. Very quirky.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: There are loads of bric-a-brac to collect in the game—from bottlecaps to batteries. At some point, you’ll discover a Nintendo Game & Watch.

GRAND THEFT AUTO: LIBERTY CITY STORIES
PSP
Rockstar delivers all the thrills and notoriety of the GTA games in the palm of your hands. Liberty City Stories is the prequel to GTA III starring small-time mobster Tony Cipriani. The game’s greatest achievement is the free-roaming city where you take a variety of missions on foot or in a vehicle such as cars and bikes. It features full-voice acting and a brand new soundtrack and supports wireless multiplayer for up to six players
MUST-SEE MOMENT: The last mission. You’re on a speed boat and being chased by other boats and a chopper.

TEKKEN 5
PS2
Tekken 5 is the standard by which all fighting games of its kind are measured against. The undisputed king of the tournament circuit, Tekken 5 dazzles with silky smooth fighting animation and detailed characters. Giant kung-fu-fighting bears and wooden dummies also provide a humurous touch.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: Unlocking the ending cinematics for several characters. It’s an ample reward for finishing the story mode, especially those of Nina, Asuka and Heihachi.

SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS
PS2
The PS2 hardware may be a bit long in the tooth, but when you’re running a game like Shadow of the Colossus, you’d soon forget about next gen. The game environments are spectacular to behold, reaching out to as far as the eye can see. In the game, you play as a lone hero in search for towering Colossi. Each Colossus has a different weak spot which you have to figure out through the course of the battle. Playing the game is one of the most intense video game experiences in recent memory.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: The game’s ending. We’d rather not spoil things for you. You must go out, get this game, and finish it. You won’t regret it.

PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 2
Xbox
Straddling the fine line between an arcade racer and an all-out racing simulation, PGR 2 is a must-have game for every racing fan. From compact sports cars to super exotics, the game is easy to drive, yet hard to master. The graphics still stand out even when compared to next gen racers such as its own sequel, PGR 3. A full-blown online mode gives the game tons of replayability
MUST-SEE MOMENT: Overtake a rival just at the right moment and rack up Kudos points. Don’t worry too much about your rival; they also make mistakes sometimes.

PAPER MARIO: THE THOUSAND-YEAR DOOR
GameCube
The game graphics bring new meaning to the term “two- dimensional” as everything in this world is seemingly made out of colorful paper cutouts. This charming role-playing game has all the ingredients of a modern classic: involving plot, inventive gameplay, and memorable characters. Cute and humorous, it’s one of the best Mario games you’ll ever play.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: Boss battles with gigantic origami-style enemies occur on a stage in front of an audience. Get more applause to use your special moves more often.

FOR THE FULL LIST, READ THE SEPTEMBER 2006 ISSUE OF FHM

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