You might not realise it, but for every game you've played where aliens and terrorists are the cause of untold trouble, there's another in which the real problem is poor family dynamics.
The issue may be caused by sibling rivalry or might stem from daddy hurling junior into a volcano. Either way, immediate relatives can create an awful lot of sticky situations. Just check out this little lot...
THE MONROE FAMILY
As seen in Siren: Blood Curse
If you were investigating a Japanese village famed for rumours of human sacrifice, would you really bring your six-year-old daughter along for the ride? That's what Sam Monroe and Melissa Gale do. It takes all of five seconds for disaster to occur, culminating in Bella - the unfortunate child in question - being blasted back through time and transformed into an evil, immortal, fl esh-eating nun. Message to parents: Centre Parcs is both exciting and safe.
THE MCREARY FAMILY
As seen in GTAIV
Format PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Drugs. Corruption. Violence. That's GTA's McReary family. There's corrupt cop Frankie, mob boss Gerry, thug Packie and down-and-out Derrick, whom Frankie decides to have assassinated on the off-chance he might tell the press about his brother's penchant for backhanders. Despite living among these nut-jobs for years, sister Kate stays free from trouble for quite a while. But the very second she marries Niko Bellic, she gets gunned down on the church steps. See, ladies - bad guys may be glamorous but they're also dangerous. Why not try games journalists instead?
ORVUS AND CLANK
As seen in Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time
Orvus and Clank are a bit like Geppetto and Pinocchio, but are a scientist and robot instead of a carpenter and puppet. In A Crack In Time, it transpires that Orvus built The Great Clock to heal the universe and then made a robot - Clank - to look after it, promptly passing his guarding responsibilities to his 'son'. If we were Clank, we'd be pretty peeved at this. But then, if we were Clank, we'd be able to make multiple copies of ourselves and travel through time. Which
must be some sort of consolation for years of zero parenting.
THE SNAKE FAMILY
As seen in Metal Gear Solid series
Format PS2 / PS3
After Big Boss falls into a coma in 1972, he must be surprised to wake up and discover three sons he didn't have before. Unfortunately, the boys - Liquid, Solid and Solidus - have been created from his DNA to become genetically enhanced supersoldiers. Liquid ends up dying before having his mind taken over and his arm transplanted onto Revolver Ocelot, and Solidus somehow lucks his way into becoming president of the USA. And Solid? He smokes a lot of cigarettes and kills his father. Well, among other things...
THE WANDA 'FAMILY'
As seen in Shadow Of The Colossus
Oh, so you don't think Wanda and his girlfriend Mono are a dysfunctional unit? How else would you interpret the game's climax? Wanda's transformed into a baby - containing, perhaps, some of the evil spirit of Domus - while Mono awakes, finds her boyfriend is an infant and has to bring him up. This means that Wanda's girlfriend is now, in effect, his mum. If that's not twisted, we don't know what is. God only knows what Agro makes of it all.