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Five of the best free games on the web

The net's not just for work you know

Sony's PlayStation Network may still be down, but fear not. You can get your gaming fix with these free downloads from the web.

Streets of Rage Remake 5.0

Streets of Rage Remake is a side-scrolling fighter game, and what the authors call a "tribute" to the original saga of the Sega Megadrive/Genesis series.

If you've never played the original game, then it doesn't really matter: the plot is quite familiar. A formerly happy city has been taken over by an evil crime syndicate, the police and city officials have all been paid off, and it's up to a small band of heroes to save the day.

Forget the standard storyline, though, the sheer scope of this project is what really matters. The game includes 103 stages, 40 cutscenes, 19 playable characters, 64 enemies and 8 different enemies, so there's plenty here to keep you entertained.

SuperTuxCart 0.7.1

SuperTuxCart is a free 3D kart racing game.

The authors say the game is more about fun than realism, and that's plain from the selection of tracks: you can race underground, or in space, for instance, while opponents try to put you off by throwing bowling balls, bubble gum and cakes, amongst other objects.

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is an exciting real-time strategy game, and a sequel to the first Command & Conquer story. It was first released back in 1999 and so looks basic when compared to the latest releases, but Tiberian Sun is still packed with playability, a perfect way to spend a few spare hours.

The story once again pitches good guys the Global Defence Initiative against the global terrorist group the Brotherhood of NOD, whose use of the deadly Tiberium substance is beginning to lay waste to whole areas of the world. Full motion video clips using big-name actors like Michael Biehn and James Earl Jones explain the details as you go along. And before you know it, you're pitched into a lengthy and interesting campaign game.

Pingus 0.7.2

Pingus is a free clone of the classic Amiga computer game, Lemmings - only this time, you're guiding penguins.

The basic idea is a simple one. Each level opens at a landscape with increasing levels of danger. Cute penguins then appear, and start marching across the screen. Left alone, they will usually fall prey to some horrible fate, for example falling to their deaths off a steep cliff, or walking into a booby trap (these penguins aren't bright). Your task is to guide them safely to the exit, so they can progress on to the next level.

MAME 0.141

MAME, or the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, emulates the hardware that powered old coin-operated arcade games machines - Space Invaders, Pacman, thousands of the old favourites - which may allow you to play these on your own PC. It's a great way to bring back the memories of your youth, as they'll look and sound almost exactly the same.

There are complications, however.

The first is that to play these ancient games you'll need images of their ROMs, and perhaps other system files. While MAME itself is legal, distributing the ROMs usually isn't, as most are still the property of their creators. There are sites that make these available, but it can take a while to find the required files for a particular game.

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