The Best Games on the OG Xbox

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The original Xbox turns 15 today (In the UK and Australia) and I’m tugging on your nostalgia strings with this massive throwback post. When I started this list I didn’t think it would end up so damn large. Holy shit, there is a lot of good games for the original Xbox. So many original and exclusive IP’s I would absolutely love to see come back either via remasters or sequels. If Voodoo Vince can make a triumphant return April 11th there’s hope for the rest of these games.

When creating this list I also saw a theme. The Dreamcast and the original Xbox were very similar consoles that both shared connections too Peter Moore. Peter worked at Sega during the Dreamcast years and corroborated with Microsoft on the Dreamcast. He then jumped ship to Microsoft when they started the Xbox project since the writing was on the wall at Sega. The similarities between the systems are pure speculation on my part, but the controller ended up as a more robust version of the Dreamcast controller with two top-loading memory card slots and USB signaling based. They both ran Windows (CE on the DC and a modified 2000 on the Xbox. The code might even be very similar). There were also several games that started life as Dreamcast games but ended up being released for Xbox, like  Jet Set Radio Future, Gun Valkyrie, and Shenmue 2 (which technically did also release for Dreamcast in some markets). Project Gotham Racing was also an unofficial sequel to MSR on the Dreamcast. Xbox was also the platform of choice, at first, for Sega games like House of the Dead 3.

In a way, the Dreamcast was a great system that served as Microsoft’s beta test.

I tried to stick with exclusives and originals but had to include a few other games as well. The memberberries made me do it. Let’s start with the game everyone who had an Xbox probably played.

Let’s start with the game everyone who had an Xbox probably played. The console seller.

Halo: Combat Evolved

I’ve been playing a lot of Halo: Combat Evolved these past few days and am loving every minute of it. Halo released way back in 2011 and was the reason I wanted an Xbox. To this day, there are few games that top Halo’s co-op feature and that’s why it was so disappointing that it was removed for Halo 5. Thankfully it’s set to come back in Halo 6 and I can have my pals over to game with me. For the time, this was one of the most graphically impressive games out there on the market. It also introduced the default control scheme and open environments in FPS that you still see today. Halo: Combat Evolved still holds up now, and the open world can get a little confusing, and there is quite a bit of backtracking but it’s an absolutely wonderful game.

Fun fact, Halo was originally going to be a Mac exclusive.

Fuzion Frenzy

I loved Fusion Frenzy. When the gang and I weren’t playing co-op Halo, we were staying up late playing FF. This was one of the first games released on the Xbox and included 45 different mini-games (not including the titular Fuzion Frenzy). Up to four players can compete in two different game modes: “Tournament” or “Mini-Game Frenzy”. Mini-Game Frenzy is the simpler of the two, involving players selecting individual mini-games while an ongoing tabulation of wins per player is maintained. In contrast, the Tournament mode is the core game mode, where players attempt to earn the highest number of points after playing through two or more play zones.

This was one of the best party games on the Xbox and was a great break from Mario Party 2.

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

Crimson Skies, I hated you at first, but you grew on me and looking back I really miss you. It’s crazy that we don’t see more flying games on the market. Crimson Skies which came out in October 2003 is set in an alternate 1930s in which the plane and Zeppelin become the primary means of transportation. The game focused on the adventures of Nathan Zachary, leader of the Fortune Hunters air pirate gang, who’s role was to undertake a crusade to avenge the death of his old friend, “Doc” Fassenbiender. I’m shocked we haven’t seen a remake yet, but I’d love to see a follow-up that is a mix of Uncharted and massive air fights.

Brute Force

Brute Force was the last game developed by Digital Anvil and it was a hell of game. Bruce Force is a squad-based third-person shooter that uses four members of a team which fight in numerous battles. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses. The game takes place in the year 2340, when the human race has spread out across the galaxy and settled around 50 star systems, which are collectively known as the “Known Worlds”. There was so much hype leading up to the release of Bruce Force. The game broke Xbox sales records of both first day and first week sales, beating out even Halo. This was a fun silly shooter that had a great cast of characters.

Fable: The Lost Chapters

I beat this game somewhere around 32 times. It ranks as one of the best games I’ve ever played even if it’s not that good. It had elements of greatnesss and it’s so sad that the sequels couldn’t capture the same magic of the original and give us the Fable game we had been promised from the very start.

Breakdown

One of the best stories on this list hands down. I had a hard time tracking this game down as a kid, but when I did, I loved every minute.

Deathrow

My mom would have been so pissed if she discovered I had this game. I believe I bought this off a kid on a video game messaging board back in the day and it was worth every penny. Deathrow was published by Ubisoft in 2002 as was based on the fictional extreme sport Blitz. You had to move a disc through your opponent’s goal using any means necessary. It was extremely violent and was a very quick frantic game that ended up on IGN’s “Best Game Nobody Played” list.

Blinx: The Time Sweeper

Blinx was the very first Xbox game I owned because my mom wouldn’t let me get Halo at the time and I can’t say I enjoyed it very much. Blinx was advertised as, “The World’s First 4D Action Game” where players would control the titular character, Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat, who is on a mission to prevent the end of Dimension B1Q64 and rescue the princess from the evil Tom-Tom Gang. Blix is outfitted with the TS-1000 Vacuum Cleaner (yep), with which he can exert control over time itself through five unique, “Time Controls” slowing down time, speeding it up, recording himself, reversing time, and stopping it entirely via pausing.

It was a really weird game and it’s hilarious to think that Blinx was proposed as a possible mascot for the Xbox. Blinx was certainly no Sonic or Mario. Despite not liking it as a kid, mainly for not being Halo, and having pretty difficult controls I would love to see Blink come back all growed up. Think Conker in Conker’s Bad Fur Day.

Jet Set Radio Future

It’s such a shame we haven’t seen anything from the world of Jet Set Radio in years. It was one of the best games around thanks in part to its killer soundtrack and incredible cel-shaded style of animation. Let this JSRF Spotify playlist transport you back to 2002.

Toe Jam And Earl 3

I’m pretty sure I smoked my very first joint playing this game, sorry mom. Players could play as either Toejam or Earl and the new character, Latisha on a mission to collect the twelve “Sacred Albums of Funk” and defeat the big bad, “Anti-Funk”. This was a really weird game and looking back I don’t think it was very good, I was just really high.

Halo 2

Ok, Halo 2 is better than Halo 1 in every possible way. The dual wielding, the story, the cutting-edge-for-the-time graphics, man Halo 2 was so damn good. I just about finished playing through Halo again and will follow it up by finishing 2 later this week.

Oddworld: Strangers Wrath

Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath came out in 2005 and was very different than the other Oddworld games. You played as a character named Stranger who’s mission was to capture outlaws, dead or alive. It was a mix of action/platformer/RPG and was quite the unique experience. It’s available on IOS and Android now if you wanted to give it a go.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Still the best Splinter Cell game ever. I’m still waiting on a Chaos Theory 2. Next to Halo, Splinter Cell had some amazing co-op experiences.  My money is on a new Splinter Cell project being announced at E3 this year to debut on Xbox Project Scorpio.

MechAssault

Titanfall 2 is probably the closest we will get to playing another MechAssault game anytime soon. It was a simple game of blowing up robots with other robots and was one of the first games on Xbox Live.

Voodoo Vince

Voodoo Vince is back to torture himself all over again in April! In the game you play as Vince, a voodoo doll who can perform an assortment of moves to make his way through the levels. Vince can perform standard moves such as jump, punch, and a spin attack. The game revolves around Vince’s ability to use voodoo powers, which the player can get by finding special voodoo icons scattered through the game. When Vince’s voodoo power meter is full, the player can use a voodoo power to destroy every enemy nearby. Each voodoo power hurts Vince in a unique way, but they all have roughly the same effect on Vince’s enemies.

Knights of the Old Republic

Knights of the Old Republic is the BEST Star Wars game ever. Still waiting on a third one, probably never going happen. I’ve been tempted to try the mobile version but haven’t pulled the trigger.

Jade Empire

I believe Jade Empire was the last game I ever played on my Xbox as it wasn’t released until 2007. That’s only 10 years ago! Jade Empire was an action RPG developed by BioWare and published by Microsoft. It was a really damn good game, but unfortunately, BioWare has no plans to develop a sequel. It’s a shame because it had all the trappings of franchise material thanks to its engrossing characters, magnificent settings, and a unique take on martial arts-fueled RPG combat.

Honorable mentions:  Dead or Alive 3, Kung Fu Chaos,  Ninja Gaiden, Pariah, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x, Amped 2, Sudeki

Now tell me what I missed, your Xbox stories and your favorite games in the comments on Twitter. I’m going go fire up my Xbox.

Happy 15th anniversary Xbox!

 

Brock McLaughlin

Brock McLaughlin

Brock McLaughlin 🕹 🎮 Twitter @brockmclaughlin New Media (B)Rockstar. Blogger. Video Gamer. Podcaster at the Game Moose. UnBrocxer. Host/Producer at @comedygamers4u. Somewhat Charming.

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