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The most insane moments in gaming

These are the ones that brought the crazy

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Nobody would suggest that Sega's Condemned 2 was one of the highest quality games they've ever played - but by crikey, it's weird. One level, for example, is set in an abandoned doll factory. But for our money, the Magic Theatre level is even creepier. For a start, it kicks off with you confronting your own, shadowy alcohol-demon. Then all sorts of dark vaudeville-inspired weirdness kicks in, forcing you to defeat bosses with the sort of stage contraptions beloved by magicians and judicious lobbing of Molotov cocktails.

The Meat Circus

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It may not have sold that well, but Tim Schafer's Psychonauts retains a status among discerning gamers that is nothing short of legendary. On the face of it a cute action-adventure effort involving fat kids, bunnies and the like, it is in reality a dark, psychological mind-f***. And nowhere more so than in the Meat Circus. Which does exactly what it says on the tin - it's a circus, and it's made of meat. Vegetarians, look away now. As well as contending with various boss-battles with the Butcher, it was fearsomely hard, testing your platforming skills to their very limits (and beyond). Exactly the sort of thing that gives kids lifelong phobias.

Seeking the Portal cake

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All the way through Portal, GLaDOS has promised to reward you with a cake. Of course, at first, you have no reason to doubt her sincerity. But as you progress through the game, it becomes steadily apparent that she is, frankly, a few bars short of a pop-up toaster. And then, as the climax arrives, the extent of her insanity finally becomes starkly obvious. And finally, when the promised cake does materialise, it really doesn't provide any consolation whatsoever. Portal-geeks have generated a whole cake-baking sub-culture and Portal cake recipes (the one in the game delights in being inedible due to its ingredients) abound on the Web these days.

Stalking Gary Coleman

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Yes, that Gary Coleman, the late, diminutive actor from Diff'rent Strokes. Not the first person you'd expect to see in a game, but then the game in which he featured wasn't exactly run-of-the-mill. It was none other than the infamous Postal 2 - nowhere near as shoddy as its gratuitously violent and unforgivably amateurish predecessor, but rather crap and attention-seeking all the same. At one point in the game, you had to go to the mall to get Gary to sign an autograph, before you could get on with more mindless killing. Which was weird, but also pretty amusing.

Tea with the Mad Hatter

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Our favourite mind-bending scene in Batman: Arkham City saw Batman and Alice In Wonderland collide, with added hallucinogenics. Batman thinks he's injecting himself with a cure for the Joker's virus, but wakes up strapped to a chair in the Mad Hatter's lair, surrounded by deranged weirdoes wearing rabbit masks. Severe trippiness ensues (the Mad Hatter has, naturally, injected Batman with mind-altering substances). But Batman's sheer force of will prevails, and once he has flattened the Hatter's titfer, reality slowly, mercifully returns.

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