In this week's round-up of cutthroat bargains. we pay homage to games that pay homage to other games by ripping their guts out and stuffing them hurriedly into their own, echoing, under-nourished abdominal cavities. It's tempting to censure developers when they transplant ideas from other titles - but at the end of the day, borrowing often entails improvement, and if an idea's good, why not have more of it?
Below are a few of our favourite rip-offs, copycats, clones and tributes, together with where you'll find them cheapest. Feel free to make your own suggestions.
1. Retro City Rampage
A throwback to 2D Grand Theft Auto with "all the charm, scattershot wit and entertainment value of a drunk, gabbling child", writes Log in our review, hopefully not speaking from personal experience. Expect a blend of familiar fetch-this, kill-that missions and more esoteric encounters e.g. a face-off with an individual reminiscent of the Bionic Commando. Lovely low-fi visuals, too.
1200 MP, XBLA
2. Lost Odyssey
I devoted a tearful retrospective to this recently. It's every inch the work of a man who used to make Final Fantasy games - the hairdos aren't so much eye-catching as nuclear-capable, the battles are random and awash with talk of elements, status effects, level-ups and the like, and there's even a restorative item known as Angel's Plume. But you'll forgive it that for the serene, stately plot and testing systems that underpin the derivative combat components.
3. Lootfest: Live Design
Matt had a proper old go at Minecraft clones on Xbox 360 in general the other year (prior to his sad departure, obvs). Lootfest is the specimen he appears to have hated least, though don't necessarily take my word for that: the mind of Lees is a tempestuous thing. In summary, it's "an oddly charming mess that features exploration, building and remote control cars." Apparently you can build yourself a beard, which may be the manliest activity yet conceived.
240 MP, XBLIG
4. Saints Row 2
What Retro City Rampage does to 2D GTA, Saints Row has inflicted on Rockstar's 3D efforts. The second isn't as sensationally over-the-top as the third (which itself pales to nothing alongside the unreleased, super-powered fourth), but I include it here because it's the quintessential triumphant sequel, bringing everything the original did well together with vastly more wit and flair. Your mileage may vary. Still, not bad at the price, eh?