To paraphrase Marty Feldman, I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I would gladly eat a lawyer. I hate lawyers. An actual, real-life lawyer at a party once told me about a case he was involved in. "I was defending a pair of men who'd been caught leaving a trout farm with stolen fish," he blurted, as I tried to sever my radial artery with a handful of postachios. "In court, I simply asked the prosecution to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, where the fish had come from. When they could not, the men went free." Very clever, you might think, and he certainly thought (I humoured him by going into anaphylactic shock). But it's not clever. Think about it. Go back a sentence and try changing "stolen fish" to "someone's kids", and "trout farm" to "playgroup". Not so funny now, is it? It also doesn't make any sense now, but you can see the point I'm not making. That's the sort of reason I hate lawyers. Also: Ally MacBeal.
Then again, you could argue that ninety-nine percent of lawyers are giving the rest a bad name, and the encouraging news for those who think so is that Capcom has given them a good name: Phoenix Wright. Phoenix is the Israeli diplomat of lawyers: flashing his badge to confuse the police, talking to dead people, and lurching between sweaty terror and euphoric hand-slams in less time than it takes to shout OBJECTION. Or rather, in that exact amount of time, since that is the game mechanic used to precipitate lurching. In either state, Phoenix is the least plausible lawyer since every single character in a John Grisham book, with hair caught in that popular middle-ground between "Hoxton Fin" and "HMS Ark Royal". He's priceless for it. Fortunately his game only costs about 30 quid.
Which is roughly the same amount you can expect to pay for EA Replay, a collection of classic Electronic Arts games (so that's where they've been hiding them). Desert and Jungle Strike are the ones I can imagine bothering to play again. And Syndicate, and maybe Ultima: The Black Gate, if a crane ever falls over and crushes my legs and I need to spread the pain over my entire body until the ambulance crew have finished taking pictures with their phone cameras.
So really in some senses it's "EA Games By Developers We Bought And Then Gutted" (although perhaps they're saving that for Volume 2 - actually, what am I saying? EA Replay 08). Admittedly, some of these were laid to rest of their own accord, like Road Rash, but that's no guarantee of their being left alone in the future. Just look at Command & Conquer, which is currently on its eighth full-body transfusion of rat's blood, jolted to life every two years or so by the lightning arc of electrified piss snaking across its corpse into the nearest railway siding. And while we're on the subject, someone needs to put a stop to these retro compilations, and somewhat urgently, because they will consume the games industry if left unchecked. In ten years time, when every game has a dropship and a chainsaw in it, they will be all that's left to recycle; and then in fifty years you'll probably be able to buy the entire medium on one disc. They can name it after today's column if they like: Mostly Sewage.
P.S. Speaking of piss, Pimp My Ride is out this week.
P.P.S. Thank you very much to everyone who wished me a happy holiday. I did have one. In fact, judging by today's word-count, I still am.
- Championship Manager 2007 (PS2, Xbox 360, PSP)
- EA Replay (PSP)
- Frontline: Fields of Thunder (PC)
- Harley-Davidson (PS2)
- Lionel Trains 'On Track' (DS)
- Lunar Knights: Vampire Hunters (DS)
- Pac-Man Rally (PS2)
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice For All (DS)
- Pimp My Ride (PS2, Xbox 360)
- Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS, PSP)
- Rapala: Tournament Fishing (Wii, Xbox 360)
- Rayman Raving Rabbids (DS)
- Safecracker (PC)
- Samurai Warriors 2: Empires (PS2, Xbox 360)
- Shrek Smash 'N' Crash (DS)
- SSX Blur (Wii)
- Spectrobes (DS)
- Test Drive Unlimited (PC, PS2)
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (Wii)
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 (Wii)
- Uno Skipbo/Uno Freefall Compilation (DS)
- World Series of Poker: Tournament Champions (Wii)