Hello fellow Axeheads! Happy new year to all of you. It's not been such a happy new year for all those poor souls over at THQ, however. Poor business decisions (that Wii draw monstrosity) and floundering IPs (Homefront, Darksiders) have acted as the iceberg to their wayward Titanic. All that is left of THQ are bits of scrap and driftwood, now being sold off like carrion to circling vultures. Oh well... Here is my little tribute to this onetime gaming giant; The Top 5 THQ games that have entertained me.
Ripping off pretty much every Nintendo related property and cramming it all into one title doesn't seem like the best way to make a success. No-one told the developers of Darksiders that, though! Part Zelda, part Metroid, part Gears of War, part Soul Reaver, Darksiders was most certainly not original. But it was still a well crafted title that paid homage to it's influences in a respectful way. This was a game made by hardcore game fans for hardcore game fans. I personally had a rough ride with Darksiders. I enjoyed the game up until about the final third when my interest just kind of ebbed away and never returned. Note to game developers; Please don't make perpetual dungeon crawlers too long... They get boring!
Do you hate bikers? I do. They roar down the main road at 3a.m with absolutely no consideration for the fact that you've got to be up early to attend a business meeting / wedding / sexual addition therapy group. Road Rash 64 was the best way to get revenge without the threat of being beaten to death by a gorilla with a crowbar. Riding up alongside someone at high speed and spoke-jamming them with a pipe so that they flew into oncoming traffic was a cherished childhood memory. Extra points if you can run over their mangled body as you race past! Thanks for inspiring today's youth, THQ!
THQ invented the modern wrestling game. Their early WCW games raised the bar to new heights of control and accessibility. When the company switched licenses over to the WWE, they continued to improve and evolve their brand with the Smackdown series. Whilst today's WWE games are numbered yearly installments like Madden, they are still fun to play, stocked full of options and essential purchases for hardcore wrestling geeks like myself (but don't even get me started on the DLC shenanigans!)... P.S - WHY IS DREW McINTYRE NOT IN THE FUCKING GAME TO BEGIN WITH!? *Ahem*
Although it was never going to set the world on fire, the first PS2 Red Faction title was a solid FPS that I enjoyed the hell out of. Sure, it had it's faults; it ripped off Half Life to a shameful degree and had some of the most appalling load times in the history of gaming, but it was a good console FPS when good console FPS's were hard to come by. I never got around to playing the sequel and all the third-person malarkey that mired the back end of the franchise was like a dirty workhouse tyke flobbin' in me bangers n' mash. Put me right off! Still, that first game was one of my fondest memories of the PS2.
I LOVED this game. It is without a doubt the best third-person shooter that I ever played. The world is so lovingly crafted that you can tell the devs had a real passion for the source material. The story is simple but is acted with such vim (by a cast led by Mark Strong) and scripted with such old world vigor that it's hard to pull your attention away. The game's combat is also very compelling. The weapons feel really meaty and have great feedback. There's also a lot of strategy involved on the battlefield. Picking priority targets and using correct weaponry for a given situation is a must. All of the battles in Space Marine feel intense and urgent; if you take your eyes off the ball and wonder in complacently, you're gonna get your ass handed to you! I had so much fun playing this excellent sci-fi feast that after I finished it, I immediately restarted and played it through one more time. That is an unbelievably rare thing for me to do in this generation! In fact, the only other title that springs to mind is Sonic Generations (there's a 'generation' pun in there somewhere, someone get DK on the blower STAT).
So there you have it. Goodbye THQ! We hardly knew you. Ba ba ba. Ba ba ba baa. Ba baaa ba ba (It's the sound of trumpets, goddammit! The same tune that plays in Predator: "same kinda moon, same kinda jungle").