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Hall of infamy: Xbox 360's most embarrassing guilty pleasures

Would you like some ham with your cheese?

It's a depressing truth of modern games development that strikingly good, original games often sell very badly. Partly that's a question of mean-minded publicity - I had to catch a bus to Neptune to lay eyes on an advert for Sega's sorely under-appreciated Binary Domain, for instance. Timing can be a factor, too, as the excellent DmC: Devil May Cry's probably going to discover next week.

But I suspect there's also a problem of consumer hypocrisy to reckon with. Oh, you'll say you're hell-bent on buying the latest, delicately shaded, engagingly abstract new IP de jour. You'll talk the hindlegs off any number of donkeys about how eager you are to lay hands on unconventional properties. But much as the smell of hot grease tends to lure me away from my superfoods lunch, so the sight of something uncomplicatedly lowbrow flashing a bit of thigh at CEX has a way of disabling arty aspirations. Here are some extra-smelly specimens to add to your pile of shame. Not all of them are terrible, but you probably don't want to be caught clutching a copy.

1. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
A toxic Wild Western shooter that's so hammy you could clamp a burger bap around the disc and slap it into a MacDonalds box. The eternally daft Techland conjures up a North American frontier that's one part indestructible crate to one part on-rails AI henchman to one part jowly, hard-breathing chunk of exposition. The highlights are probably the "breach" sequences, which see the McCall brothers blowing cowboys from their seats in slow motion, and the high noon duels, in which you keep one hand predatorily poised near your arsecheek till the clock strikes the hour.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood review


2. Dante's Inferno
A solid action game that just happens to be the most breathtakingly flagrant rip-off ever torn from the billowing coat-tails of a passing bandwagon. Visceral's debut brawler makes no bones of its borrowings from the God of War franchise, seeking instead to bury that odour of familiarity beneath high octane allegorical stylings and heaps of bustling, bursting cleavage. There are some pleasantly outrageous boss fights in store, though the concluding punch-up with Lucifer is a bit of a damp squib.

Dante's Inferno review


3. Dead Island
Another, more infamous Techland effort, which makes up in anecdote-friendly weirdness what it lacks in polish. I've not had a chance to play this one at length - mainly thanks to Mike, whose obscenely levelled character ran me over with a pick-up truck the second I entered his gameworld. Later, we fought a protracted fight with an extra-tough zombie which boiled down to endless kicking and throwing of boxes. Sort of like a round of Streets of Rage gone mad. Subsequently, I drove an SUV into a jacuzzi.

Dead Island review

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