Feeling hot, hot, hot…
Feeling the cold? While away a few tropical moments in the lushest, greenest game levels ever…
It's cold outside, so put on your virtual reality goggles and pretend you're somewhere much warmer. These are the lushest in-game locations around.
1. Tropico series
An economy management sim series set on a banana republic – which you can rule with a velvet glove or iron fist. Either way, beautiful pacific weather and hot sandy beaches ahoy.
2. Just Cause series
The other side of Tropico's dictators? The resistance guerrillas – with Just Cause's US operatives sent in to help overthrow the big bad boss. And a grappling hook mechanic that let you get way up high in the blue blue skies before parachuting back down.
3. Far Cry/Crysis series
The original Far Cry really upped the ante for first-person lush lagoon swimming and jungle crawling. Both series continued the realistic foliage trend (except Crysis 2 – which was all grim New York greyness).
4. Sonic Adventure
The brilliant UK:Resistance created a Blue Sky In Games campaign that could have been written for Sonic's pacific adventures. Emerald Coast, Green Hill Zone etc.
5. Uncharted series
More even than Lara Croft, action-adventure hero Nathan Drake seems to end up hanging off waterfalls, skinning up palm trees and mucking about in reef pools far more than he does messing about in Siberian Tundra.
6. The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Zelda games have never been shy of a bit of greenery, with several also adding in holiday pursuits such as fishing. But The Wind Waker probably topped the lot for lush scenery.
7. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift
No collapsing concrete canyons for this one – just beachside drives, leafy jungle and sunset-drenched races.
8. Monkey Island series
Nautical, piratical (see also Sid Meier's Pirates!) old-school comedy adventures, with twinkly starry skies and lush jungle-covered islands.
9. Diddy Kong Racing
Another pacific island raced over in hovercraft, cars and stunt planes. Beautiful old-school gaming at its warm and sunny best.
10. Resident Evil 5
Travel to exotic places, then run away from the local populace a lot – Resident Evil 5's sunny, dusty African adventure looked great, while simultenously keeping the fear and action quotient high.
Feeling too warm? Here's last year's list of the iciest in-game locales…
Top 10 snow-themed videogames
1. SSX Tricky
Huge drops, perfect crunchy ice sounds and beautiful berms – fantasy snowboarding doesn't get better.
2. Lost Planet
Brr – wading through arctic blizzards flitting from building to building and conserving thermal energy made this action sci-fi shooter a chilly blast.
The iconic first-person shooter series has periodically done snow beautifully – including the original game, flying a banshee in a blizzard.
4. Uncharted 2
Undoubtedly one of the biggest, slickest blockbuster action games of recent times delivers Heart Of Ice, a nigh-on perfect snow and ice action level.
High-end PC-power munching first-person shooter gets awesome ice-on-the-gun-barrels visual effects.
6. The Thing
This PS2/Xbox game saw you and a team of cranky survivors battling it out in Arctic wastes (and was based on the infamous John Carpenter horror movie). Great trust/fear AI for teammates upped the icy ante.
7. Metal Gear Solid 1 and 4
Shadow Moses, the icy nuclear base, is the frigid centrepiece of both games. Sneaking in snow, leaving tracks, frosty breath – it's all present and correct.
8. Super Mario 64
Several snowbound levels are to be found in this truly classic platform game (see also Freezeezy Peak in Banjo-Kazooie).
9 Christmas Nights
About the only half-decent Christmas-themed videogame add-on ever. Sega's classic Nights platform game got a two-level add-on that added wintery and Xmas-themed touches.
10. Splinter Cell: Double Agent
You start the game coming up from under the ice, dragging enemy goons to a watery frozen grave, in an exceptionally cold and cold-hearted stealth action game.
Simon Munk has been playing videogames since 1976. He has written on games and technology for over fifteen years for titles including MSN, The Times and FHM. He has won the GamesMediaAwards for Consumer Magazine Writer twice. Simon's favourite game ever is Gauntlet.