Number ten on my countdown goes to a game that is as undervalued as it is excellent fun. Rather than having anything to do with Final Fantasy as we know and love, The Final Fantasy Legend is in fact the first game in the SaGa series, named as such in order to sell more copies overseas. Regardless of this fact, meat is an important mechanic in the game, allowing for excellent customisation of your team of fighters.
When you defeat an enemy in the game, you are occasionally presented with a miscellaeneous piece of meat. Rather than wondering whether it will give you some form of food poisoning, you naturally give it to your character. And that character will undergo a remarkable transformation: their element, abilities and stats all change as the monster becomes something better than ever. All thanks to that mysterious lump of flesh you picked up from the floor.
My favourite food is meat! See also: Although slightly more obvious, meat is even used in the first person shooter genre as a quasi-powerup. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 allows the player to use hunks of dripping meat in order to lure zombies. Why you would actively want to lure zombies towards you, I don't know.
Surprisingly for such a successful RPG series, the Final Fantasy series has little emphasis on the excellence of meat. In fact, as mentioned in my previous list, vegetables are given far more prominence as the gateway to minigames, items and gameplay larks. However, the sixth game in the series finally gave some love to delicious meat, and allowed us to collect a character who, with the right amount of love, could be the strongest playable character.
During the course of the game we end up on a vast, monster infested plain known as the Veldt. There, a young boy named Gau stumbles across the party, but is immediately scared off. There is only one hope to being able to even talk to this wary and lonely young man: venture in the nearest town, collect a piece of Dried Meat and throw it at him to gain his trust. One issue I have with this is that it is just 'meat': is it beef? Duck? Fox? Seal? Behemoth? Regardless, Gau loves you for it, and in return gives you the ability to coast through the first part of the game. They can even be used to heal you for the paltry sum of 150 HP. Great!
Cheese is a type of meat. A tasty yellow beef... See also: Final Fantasy IX also makes mention of meat, as bumbling Captain Steiner notes how delicious the beef is at the end-of-Festival feast in Lindblum. Sadly, said beef is laced with sleeping grass... but never mind.
Psychonauts is one of those incredibly creative games where literally anything is workable if you put your mind to it. Mind-bending scenarios and creative uses of objects and scenery is nothing new in games of course, but this particular gem is one that is recognised for a reason. Case in point: the Meat Circus. Because as we all know, there is nothing better than literally walking through a barrage of freshly minced produce.
The final world in Psychonauts' already bizarre landscape, the Meat Circus is where main character Raz's mind goes into true meltdown. It is a world of his own creation, combining his own fears of the circus with that of fellow character Oleander's father, who was a butcher. A world full of meat products, from huge racks of ribs to other meaty goodies, the level is one step into the realm of insanity that is breathtakingly surreal and unusually beautiful. A must for anybody who dreams for their own land of meat to become reality... similar to Homer Simpsons's Land of Chocolate, in that regard.
There's the town's oldest street. That's the Museum of Meat... See also: Dozens of other games feature some kind of meat based setting. Drakan: Ancient's Gate features a level made up of human meat, skin and bones, for example. A future game on this list is also well known for it's meaty location... but that would be telling.
I suppose in some ways, being a child of the PlayStation generation definitely has its advantages; I have played some incredible platformers over the years, and cult classic MediEvil is no exception. Sir Daniel Fortescue's adventures have enthralled many a youngster, and nothing is as impressive as when our favourite skeletal warrior comes across a weapon of mass deliciousness.. the mighty chicken drumstick!
After completing a sidequest, Sir Dan will come to possess 30 of these aformentioned meaty sticks of doom. When you fling them recklessly at your enemy, it turns the enemy into a roast chicken, which you can then consume for health. However, this weapon is limited to the original number... regardless of this fact, the weapon is unique, fun, and just plain awesome. From now on Sir Dan shall be known as "Colonel Daniel Sanders-Fortesque". That name doesn't exactly have a good ring to it though, does it. How about Sir Da-Nando's? Shhh, SirLoine....
Meat is murder. See also: If it was living livestock I would count the Worms series' variety of sheep and cows, but I won't. However, Soul Calibur's Lizardman has weapons that are made of meat, therefore I can count that. Hooray!
Multiplayer online games are nothing new. In fact, they are considered by some to be the way forward in terms of how all gamers will play. However, I have never come across one before that is still considered unfinished, yet has over 100,000 active players, and has been open for business since 2003. Intrigued? I certainly was, and when it was brought to my attention that meat is used in a particularly novel way, I just had to find out more.
The definition of an online novelty, Kingdom of Loathing is a triumph of independent developing. Taking on the role of an adventurer in a fantasy realm, this witty and humorous game is a sight to behold, if not for the stick figure characters. And how does one purchase items in this game? Well with pieces of meat of course! Bartering is a dying art, and so I am glad that its spirit is kept alive and well in this gem. Please, give it a go when you get the chance. There's obviously enough meat to go around!
Did you know that the Wagyu ribeye steak was the most expensive steak in the world, valued at $2800 and weighed 40 pounds? See also: In cult classic Earthbound, in order to get monkeys to move in the Monkey Cave they have to be given a specific item of food, in some cases hamburgers. There's more trading here than we bargained for! (Poor pun, SirLoine, poor pun...)
A few games out there use bait for a variety of purposes. In Pokémon, for instance, bait is used to lure in unsuspecting creatures to be smacked on the noggin with a ball in the Safari Zone. I'm not sure whether that is necessarily meat, however, and so I go for one of the original uses of bait which is most definitely meat, as seen in the first game of an iconic series.
In the original Legend of Zelda, bait is used to great effect in order to lure monsters: this seems to be a running theme with bait in gaming. However, its essential use comes in dungeons in these games, where bait is necessary to get the Goriyas enemy out of your path in order to progress. See, even the most foul-tempered of beasties cannot resist the aroma of a delicious cow leg, which is why it deserves a spot on this list.
No, I wasn't supposed to put beef in the trifle! See also: Two other games use meat as bait to good effect. Monster Hunter and Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter both contain meat as bait in order to distract enemies. On the subject of the former, it also contains meat as a weapon in the form of ham Hammers, while Breath of Fire IV had a hunting mini-game where the quality of the meat you recieved dropped as the enemy bled to death. Fun!
I think many survival horror games have missed a trick. Zombies are an incredibly popular form of enemy, appearing in games since seemingly the dawn of time. However, it takes a certain kind of genius to create zombies out of literal hunks of meat, and that's where TimeSplitters: Future Perfect's Carrion Carcass takes centre stage. Because there is literally nothing more horrifying than being chased down by a mooing dead cow, which has no hands or feet. Or head. With guns.
As the time-travelling Sergeant Cortez and teenage caricature Jo-Beth Casey approach a mansion containing unimaginable horror, they are faced with the deformed faces of the scientist's victims: zombies. But it seems that it was not only the maids, chefs and homeless citizens that Jacob Crow experimented on: descending to the kitchens brings you face to face with the beheaded carcasses of cows that take literally dozens of shots to kill - and there is no possibility, therefore, of the traditional headshot. A humorous game by nature, this game certainly still knows how to bring a scare or two. Watch out!
SirLoineStake is a play on words, as you probably gathered. See also: A future entry on this list will see enemy meat take prominence, but in a completely different way altogether. You'll just have to wait and see...
This entry will come as no surprise to any of you. If you are even the most casual of casual gamers (how you are still alive is anyone's guess), you know of the fact that in order to heal yourself in the beat-em-ups in the 80's and 90's, you had to rummage around your local alleyway and hope beyond hope that some leftover (or in some cases fully intact) roasted or barbequed meat will make its way into your hot little hands. Final Fight is just one of dozens of examples, from Streets of Rage to Tekken 3 where healing with meat is possible.
Picture the scene. You have just been punched in the face by an enormous brute of a man. You are floored, and you need to get up pronto or your may just end up on the receiving end of another kick in the unmentionables. Just then, you spot the holy grail: some festering meat borne of bin that you immediately consume. The result? Regeneration! It's an iconic image in gaming, and one that I love to see over and over again.
Meat, glorious meat! See also: Plenty of other games other than beat-em-ups use meat as a healing source. The Star Ocean series allows you to pickpocket and create meaty products from the Tough Steak to BBQ Ramen, while Yakuza does the same. Both games give you questionably long detailed descriptions of these items. And how could I leave out Castlevania's delicious wall meat? Lovely!
The original holder of this spot belonged to Super Meat Boy, the adorable hero being apparently a piece of meat. Sadly while I was writing I discovered that he is not made of animal meat, and thus could not be considered for the list. However, this final boss encounter is certainly meat, and is one of the most creative final bosses in the history of gaming.
'Splosion Man is a platformer and puzzler where the titular character must navigate a series of levels and traps through exploding himself... naturally. Making your way to the final boss lets you come across a nameless meaty monstrosity, a giant four armed monster made of processed meat. In order to defeat him, you most get the monster to cook his own hands in order for him to eat himself; a particularly grizzly end to one creative enemy. If there's one meaty game you should pick up on the XBox Live Arcade, it's this one.
Princess! Dinner time! Got some lovely wriggling meat! See also: For similar reasons to Super Meat Boy, I could not accept Meat from Mortal Kombat due to the fact he's not animal meat. Never mind!
Any of the previous nine entries on this list could have been placed in any order. However, late on in writing I felt like this game just had make the top spot. This game, I realised, is filled to the brim with meat, and is used in a way that highlights the awful greed of humanity, wrapped in a fun and engaging adventure. As is always the way.
Abe is a Mudoken. The Mudokens are a race being used as slave labour to help run the meat processing plants on their home planet Oddworld. An intelligent and tribal race, their use in such a role is horrendous, as they are also tasked with annihilating the other fauna on the planet such as Scrabs and Paramites, with Meeches already extinct. It gets worse, however, when the tyrannical, cigar smoking Glukkons decide to use the Mudokens themselves as their next product. When Abe discovers this plot, he vows to save the lives of his colleagues and free the Mudokens from their life of slavery.
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is one of those games where everything just works. The plot, although simple, is made better through the plucky Abe, who we do not want to see turned into a meat-pop. Coming across Scrabs and Paramites, although sometimes scary, makes us realise just how our meat is sources and that seeing them in cages, much like battery hens, is an awful indictment of our culture. And falling to your death in a blender is another element altogether. A deserving top spot, and certainly the most interesting use of meat in any game.
We used to make Meech Munchies, but now the Meeches are through. We still make Paramite Pies, and we make some good Scrab Cakes too. See also: I thoroughly recommend you play both this game and its sequel, Abe's Exodus. They are among my favourite games of all time.
So there we have it, the top ten is over and I am feeling in a pensive mood. All this talk of meat is making me in the mood for something large and meaty. So go and grab yourself a bacon sandwich, fry up some sausages or peruse the butcher's counter for some excellent local produce. Because if there's anything I couldn't support more, it's the local farmer's market.
Breath of Fire
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Blade of Darkness
Metal Gear Solid 3
Jackie Chan: Stuntmaster
Drakan: Ancient's Gate
Alice: Madness Returns
Soldier of Fortune
Shadows of the Damned
List by sirloinestake (04/21/2014)
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