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The 50 worst Xbox 360 games

We've played them so you don't have to

Take no notice of the people who bang on about the "good old days" - this is truly gaming's golden era. More great games are released each year than we have time to play, and that trajectory doesn't look like it's tailing off any time soon. But just so the games industry doesn't get too big-headed, we've made a list of the worst games ever to sully the Xbox 360.

We've not gone for the easy targets: we've put aside the casual game tot-fodder, horse-hugging sims and Hannah Montana tie-ins, and focused only on the games from which we had a reason to expect more. It's a shower of bilge, but it makes one heartening point: the only way is up.

In no mood for vitriol? Here are our best Xbox 360 games of 2012 so far - the list probably needs updating, come to think of it. Oh, and here are 10 of our favourite Xbox Live Indie games.

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1. Duke Nukem Forever
(2K, Gearbox, 2011)
You can have fun in Duke Nukem, but it's not often because you're playing it. Instead, you have to approach its mortified remains as an archaeologist might examine a freshly exhumed bog-man; a Time Team special on a '90s satire of '80s action heroism that somehow fossilised well before it died. Turf through its calcified guts and you can see which stale memes it ingested as it staggered on through the millennium, each leathery fold concealing a once-new FPS mechanic: recharging health, QTEs, destructible cover and so on.

In its ugly and shambling frame you can see a development long gone sour, a desperation to patch over the decay with gaudy new features, every addition more hurried than the last, eventually compromising a focus on the basics. It even struggles to offend: its frat-house humour might once have been noxious, but this old boy doesn't have many teeth left.

2. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth
(THQ, 2007)
As is now famous, you are able to earn The Last Airbender's full 1,000 Microsoft Points in the very first level by standing in a single spot and continually pressing B for two minutes. That's two minutes longer than anyone should have to play this heinous, cynical guff.

3. Sonic the Hedgehog
(Sega, 2007)
The arrival of Sega's mascot on this generation of consoles had every reviewer simultaneously reaching for a roadkill pun. Ghastly, twitchy controls and a camera keen on facing the wrong way are not a happy match with instant death plunges.

4. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust
(Codemasters, Team 17, 2009)
In the original adventure game, if you decided to romance a prostitute without using the appropriate protection, Larry keeled over from a horrific STD. So, in one sense, this ghoulish cash-in has stayed true to its roots: it's every bit as funny and sexy as knob-rot.

5. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
(EA, EA Bright Light, 2010)
Touted as 'Gears of Wand', this was the first Potter game to try to go after the 'hardcore' gamer. "Stupefy! Stupefy! Stupefy!" Harry shouts. We agree, Harry - it does.

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