8: Grim Fandango
A gaming treasure such as Grim Fandango must surely have one of the most bizarre storylines as well as the best title. The point and click from LucasArts was a massive hit with adventure gamers. You played as Manuel Calavero, a travel agent for the underworld, a grim reaper of sorts. The premise is that when you die, your resulting trip through the underworld will be dependent on how good a life you led. However, what you quickly discover is that even in the underworld there is corruption.
It’s a brilliant, zany storyline that really wraps you up in a whole ‘other’ world. Not only do you take on the odd identity of a mild mannered grim reaper but you get to experience breath taking (especially for the time) rendered environments, witty dialogue and a genuinely engrossing storyline. Despite all these oddities, the games most bizarre addition is your rather dumb, but definitely endearing, mechanic best mate. A giant teddy bear of sorts who acts as your partner in crime, he squeezes himself into a cool black car that he pimps out before driving Manuel around wherever he likes. That’s the kind of fun they have in the underworld.
Games like Grim Fandango don’t come along too often: original, unique, bizarre but still possessing a top notch story. It wasn’t trying to be different for the sake of it. All too often the modern gaming experience ignores the storyline aspect and attempts to try something quirky; quirky is good but with a storyline it can be brilliant. If only Lucasarts was still making games of this quality, the world would be a better place.
7: Metal Gear Solid Series
The iconic series of Metal Gear Solid games also provide some of the strangest moments in gaming history. Solid Snake is James Bond on drugs, not only is he his own father (in a kind of clone styled way) but he also has an evil twin brother, is part of a crack government agency, has weird abilities as well as strange relationships with the women involved in co-ordinating his missions – in the heat of battle Snake has a penchant for striking up conversations about old, Japanese film classics such as Godzilla.
You see crazy people produce crazy games, and the developer of Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima, is certainly crazy – in a good way. Just take a look at some of the enemies he’s created to battle with Snake. Psycho Mantis
is a telepathic psychotic who enjoys wearing a gimp suit, Vulcan Raven
is an Alaskan Indian who shoots people with an aircraft sized machine gun, there's a cyborg ninja who wields a sword along with, of course, the battles with the massive walking Metal Gears. Snake certainly doesn’t have it easy and neither do the gamers, with the storylines having more twists and turns than 24.
The real sign of how crazy this series really is comes in two parts. Firstly, take a look at the E3 trailer for Metal Gear Solid
from this year, the kind of thing you will only see from Kojima. Then consider that despite Metal Gear Solid 3 being a fairly serious game about the Cold War, Nuclear Weapons and espionage, Kojima decided to include a game called Snake vs. Monkey. This game involved Snake, a highly trained assassin and spy, creeping round the jungle in an attempt to capture monkeys. What impact this had on the plotline exactly I’m not sure, but it still is truly odd.