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XBox (Games)

Don't Forget the First Xbox 99

Eurogamer wants to remind us that, before Microsoft's next-gen console, they had this large black box which was sold in stores. A few games were even made for it. They've come up with two lists, one detailing the twelve finest exclusives to grace the system and another to highlight poorly-selling but highly-entertaining 'cult classics' you may have missed the first time around. From the 'best of' list: "Halo made the Xbox - without it, Microsoft would have had a much tougher struggle in the console market, and it's really telling that five years on, almost everyone would still rate the first game as one of its top titles. Unsurprisingly, Halo spawned countless imitators, and the market is awash with the corpses of space-marine-shoots-aliens games which simply didn't resonate with the gaming audience in the same way. The reason is clear; Halo wasn't just a success because people want to be a space marine and shoot aliens. The game was the complete package; it had stirring narrative, great characters, epic, sweeping scale, and absolutely fantastic, haunting music. It may not have brought much to the table in terms of gameplay innovation, and many PC FPS fans turned their noses up at it for that reason - but the production values and the understanding of how to create an involving, cinematic experience which Bungie brought to bear were unmatched."
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Don't Forget the First Xbox

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  • huh? (Score:1, Funny)

    by chowdy ( 992689 )
    Don't forget the X-what?
  • Poland! (Score:5, Funny)

    by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:38PM (#16877894) Homepage
    Don't forget Poland either!
  • For many of those games, it seemed there was no hype, or the hype was amazing, only to be overshadowed a day or two after release. Its strange to think I may never have played Kingdom Under Fire if my father's friend hadn't done voices for it. It was such a great game and would have passed right under my radar if I hadn't been told about. I wonder how many games have passed under the collective radar like that over the last couple decades?
  • Wii (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trisweb ( 690296 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:47PM (#16877982) Journal
    Someone has to say it, so I might as well... Nintendo isn't forgetting the NES/SNES/N64/Gamecube when releasing their next-gen, they're embracing them all. Somehow I think that's a better business strategy, for the very reason this article points out-- there were some great games for older consoles! Fun > Graphics.
    • Its not because the games were better, its because Nintendo finaly relised they were losing out on making money from the Emulator crowd.
  • Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:48PM (#16877992)
    Halo spawned countless imitators, and the market is awash with the corpses of space-marine-shoots-aliens games which simply didn't resonate with the gaming audience in the same way.

    Wait, Halo didn't create the first marine-shoots-aliens games they have existed for a very long time; you could argue that Halo was mostly a rip-off of the delivery method produced by Half-life (1998) and similar content and style of Doom (1994) [replace Demons with Aliens]. All Halo did was introduce console gamers to the modern (story based) PC first person shooter; at the time most of the First Person shooters released to consoles were still level based (think of Goldeneye/Perfect Dark).
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      While I agree with what you are saying, I don't think that is the point the author is making. They are simply saying that Halo did very well on the Xbox. Due to this success, it spawned many other games that tried to follow the same formula (again, on the Xbox). It isn't saying it invented the marine-shoots-alien games. It's saying other companies tried to copy its formula by using the same format...and that those games failed.
    • Don't forget Alien vs. Predator for Atari Jaguar.. Halo 2 "stole" the idea of letting you play either the "good guy" or the "bad guy" (or the other "bad guy", and storywise it was pretty evenhanded actually).. Also, AvP was the first game that had me looking over my shoulder, flipbook-framerate and all..

      And IMHO Halo 2 should have also stolen more of the gameplay mechanic, such as the species-specific bonuses and penalties.

      But that's just being a pedantic geek I suppose..
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ectal ( 949842 ) *
      Um. Halo has more to do with the 1994 title Marathon ( me) [] ) than with Doom. And at the time Marathon came out, there was no FPS out with a story that came anywhere near Marathon's. And who made Marathon? Bungie.

      Halo is, in spirit, just a re-working of this earlier title. I'd actually say Marathon had the better storyline. But Halo definitely wins the gameplay prize.
  • Enclave? An overlooked classic? Give me a break, the reason this failed was because it was an unmitigated steaming pile of crap.
  • Psychonauts (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Hopefully, one day, Psychonauts will get the recognition it deserves. It's one of the most entertaining games I've ever played.
    • by amuro98 ( 461673 )
      I agree. Psychonauts was a very good game.

      But it wasn't an exclusive title, so it didn't make this list.
    • by Psiven ( 302490 )
      Psychonauts is getting released on Steam, so that seams like some good recognition.
    • by Salmar ( 991564 )
      I've been wanting to play that game for months! Once I get time, I'll get it from Steam.

      Notice what I just said. It's available from Steam, one of the most profitable game networks ever. If it's a good game, it will show.
  • I'm shocked to hear such a well-reasoned, articulate explanation of why Halo is such a great game. It makes my heart warm. Yeah, I'm a Halo fanboi, but it's because of the artistic vision of Bungie. They're one of the few game companies that I feel really elevate gaming to an art.

    Of course, Halo multiplayer is a different beast altogether...

    In any case, it's their legacy of refined story/music/narrative/character that make me hopeful for the eventual movie. That, and I Love Bees (

  • Console Market (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    the Xbox - without it, Microsoft would have had a much tougher struggle in the console market

    Well duh. Without it they wouldn't have *been* in teh console market!

  • 5 of games on their list are racing games. I hate racing games - control pads don't make good steering wheels.

    I found it odd they put KOTOR 2 on the list but not Jade Kingdom.

    Granted, Jade Kingdom felt like KOTOR in a fakey "asian" skin, but it was unique in that there just aren't many martial-arts RPGs out there.

    Furthermore, from what I've read about KOTOR2, it was released buggy and incomplete.
    • It's Jade Empire and I would agree that it doesn't get enough props. It's fun, well-produced, "linear-plus" RPG action. And, unlike the two KOTOR games I can't remember any showstopping bugs.

      KOTOR2 was good until you reached the endgame but then just fell apart. Had they given the game another 2 months of work, it might have ended up legendary, but everyone was anxious to cash in on the sequel (and they surely did).
    • by Azih ( 1027674 )
      That's Jade Empire, not Jade Kingdom. Nitpick aside Jade Empire was not a very good game, However KOTOR 2 was horrifically buggy and unfinished game. They're both not worthy of the list.
  • Don't forget halo was game develop for the Mac, (at that time Bungie was one of the biggest developer of games for the Mac, I remember Marathon as one of the best person shooters I have ever played and that was in 1995, and Myth as excellent game too).

    And I think this is true even for today, a majority of the best applications I ever used were created for then Macintosh and then ported/acquired to run on Windows (like Photoshop, freehand, myst)

    I think Microsoft knew they needed a killer app and bought bungi
  • I'm quite amazed by the short lifespan of the original Xbox - we're already talking about forgetting it? Sales are down to a few thousand units a month, 5 years after launch and only a year after the 360 came out! (Sales Stats) []

    Production of the PSOne was only halted March this year, 11 years after the playstation launch, and 6 years after the launch of PS2. I get the feeling PS2 will continue long after the launch of PS3 also. As the PS3 has PS2 on a chip inside it, I'd guess we'll be soon seeing anot

    • by Detritus ( 11846 )
      They are hard to find. I recently bought one to replace a broken xbox. I don't have a HDTV and didn't want to pay a lot of money for a semi-compatible xbox 360. They started disappearing shortly after the introduction of the xbox 360. I figured that Microsoft was eager to kill it, considering that they lose money on each one they sell.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bym051d ( 980242 )
      The way Microsoft kicked the XBOX to the curb as quickly as possible after the 360 was released after such as short lifespan is a disservice to their customers. Some of the best PS2 games are coming out as or after the PS3 is released. The PS2 was released a year before the XBOX and has lasted a least a year past. Sure, it keeps the fanbois and enthusiasts happy, but they don't win the console wars.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Osty ( 16825 )

      As the PS3 has PS2 on a chip inside it, I'd guess we'll be soon seeing another further slimmed down and cut price PS2 released.

      You've got it backwards. The PS2-on-a-chip in the PS3 is not a further miniaturization of the PS2 beyond the slimline PSTwo. It is the PSTwo (or close enough). So, no, you probably won't be seeing an even smaller PSTwo. It's the same thing Sony did with the PSOne. That was released prior to the PS2 from the effort needed to miniaturize the PS1 to a single chip for backwards

    • by donaldm ( 919619 )
      In Sydney Australia I have rarely seen an Xbox or even Gamecube in most of the stores I have been into lately. Due to this I think the most purchased console this Christmas will probably be the PS2 because it is still well supported and and has thousands of games. Buying a small TV, a PS2 console plus a few games will hardly break the bank. I don't think you will see a smaller PS2 though it would not be cost effective for Sony to do this and in many ways rather pointless.

      Even though many will say the Wii is
  • A great game that got overlooked by almost everyone was a game called Deathrow. It featured the most intense frisbee game on any console. It was half free fighting game, half sports game and wasted a good amount of my time. It got great reviews but I guess since it had lots of course language (the characters would curse at each other during the matches), and not much advertising it didn't do well. Still one of my favorite xbox games.
    • It's also, in true Halo style, not overly entertaining in single player while (at least in Deathrow's case) being a complete blast in multi. In SP mode the teams get ridiculously hard later on, and IIRC it was the robot team in an optional match that appeared to be virtually unbeatable. I can't deny though, it was a fun game, and I very much regret ebaying my copy back when I got sick of SP and didn't have much chance of MP.
      • by Osty ( 16825 )

        It's also, in true Halo style, not overly entertaining in single player while (at least in Deathrow's case) being a complete blast in multi. In SP mode the teams get ridiculously hard later on, and IIRC it was the robot team in an optional match that appeared to be virtually unbeatable. I can't deny though, it was a fun game, and I very much regret ebaying my copy back when I got sick of SP and didn't have much chance of MP.

        I like to believe that's why the game died an early death. Ubi released it just

    • My friends and I had some good times with Deathrow. There's nothing quite like an 8 player smackdown in it. The only problem is that after a few matches we'd all come away from it with black eyes, bloody noses, and hoarse voices. I don't think there was a more competitive game in that entire generation, and I for one would like to see a sequel on the Xbox360 or better yet, on the Wii. I imagine my weekly expenditure would have to include the price of broken Wiimotes from every friday night though :(
  • by Beefysworld ( 1005767 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @08:53PM (#16878710)
    I only picked up my Xbox at the start of this year. Strangely enough, it was bundled with three of the games mentioned in the second article (Voodoo Vince, Kung Fu Chaos and Crimson Skies) as well as the ever-present Halo. However, my primary reason for picking up a Xbox wasn't for gaming (I already owned a reasonable PC, a PS2 and a Gamecube). The main reason I bought the console is because it's one of the cheapest options for a media centre that I could find. A quick soft-mod later (after installing XBMC) and I had a console that could stream content from my PC straight onto my television. It was a blessing in disguise.
    Of course, that also allowed me to play games I hadn't necessarily purchased, but that's not the point. However, after playing around with it for a while I actually decided to pick up a X360 as well.
    Another reason the first Xbox was so successful was because it was the first console to truly incorporate online play. Xbox Live has been one of the biggest drawcards for the Microsoft consoles to date, though Sony and Nintendo have played catch up with the current generation of consoles.
    • by antic ( 29198 )
      Agree 100%.

      Have had mine for a few years and get loads of use out of it. Loaded up with games, movies, Family Guy episodes, etc. Bargain of the century.

      Still play Halo II with friends, still play a lot of FIFA World Cup 2002, Fusion Frenzy, etc.

      Only when you can hack/mod the 360 quite easily will I 'upgrade'.
  • no... I think I would rather forget it, thanks.

  • by PaganRitual ( 551879 ) <splaga&internode,on,net> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @09:39PM (#16879118)
    .. that it tells you if Microsoft themselves have forgotten about the games in question :

    2. Project Gotham Racing 1 and 2

    * Project Gotham Racing 1 review
    * Project Gotham Racing 2 review
    * Xbox 360 compatible? No - both
    • No, what that tells you is that Project Gotham 3 was a release title, and as such they didn't particularly want you still leaning on PGR2 as your main racer.
      • That's a pretty cynical approach. I always wonder how people arrive at this logic. Surely you could stretch that out to not wanting to release more than one iteration of a franchise per console so people don't abandon one at the expense of another. People like more of the same thing if it's done right. See : GTA.

        8. Forza Motorsport

        * Review
        * Xbox 360 compatible? Yes

        (Yes, I know you're right, I just wanted to argue for arguments sake)
        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          "(Yes, I know you're right, I just wanted to argue for arguments sake)"

          Me to, me too!

          The difference is that PGR3 was a launch title, and MS knew that to increase sales as much as possible, they should not have PGR 1 and 2 be compatible with the 360. Forza is being released more than a year after launch. It's far, far to late to worry about launch sales now. Instead, the opposite is true: With Forza being backwards-compat at launch, it could increase sales of those not willing to leave the game behind, b
  • ...but ultimately slapped down by our Tom for some slowdown and being way too easy - though you'll note he complains about it taking "only" 12 hours to finish...

    What the?

    Either this Tom fellow is a fucking liar or the greatest gamer EVAR.

    I've had that game 3 years, and I still haven't finished it, let alone 12 fucking hours.
  • Wow I feel like a loser now. I scanned through both articles just looking for my Steel Battalion. The controller sits prominently on top of my TV. I'm still pissed there won't be a new game for the 360!
  • The article touched on some interesting opinions and yes those are arguably the best exclusive games on the console. However, modding it gave me almost every emulator and they play quite well to this day on top of having XBMC. In a way the latest consoles are basically late on this stuff. Now all of a sudden downloadable classics,media center is the next "coolest thing". I think that if the Capcoms,Konamis,Squares,etc would've showed more love the original Xbox would've had a better showing. Imagine Devil M
  • I went through the list of cult classics looking for one game, and am quite happy it was there:

    Battle Engine Aquila

    Freaking absolutely fantastic game. If you haven't played it, you really owe it to yourself.

    Otherwise, there were a few games I was surprised to see... I always thought MechAssault was pretty popular, being the first Xbox Live game and all (and a great one at that). Also figured Fuzion Frenzy was considered a hit.
  • The Xbox was my favourite console of last generation - and I'm not an FPS fan. I thought it had a great mix of unique exclusives, PC ports, and better-than-ps2-and-cube versions of multiplatform titles.

    I think they were a little forgiving in picking out cult classics (XIII? Bleh) but there are still some good ones mentioned.

    Here are some of my favourite console (so I'm including PC ports that didn't see release on any other system) exclusives:

    Phantom Dust - it looks like a third-person action game but plays like a collectible card game in real time. The singleplayer game has a very unique atmosphere reminiscient of Panzer Dragoon Saga (not surprising, considering it was designed by the same person), but the real draw is the incredible multiplayer action via Xbox Live. I really hope this shows up on the 360 compatibility list in the future, as I'd love to play it online again. Inexplicably, this Microsoft-developed game was released here by Majesco after MS decided not to publish it in North America, so it's a little hard to find. Definitely worth tracking down, though.

    Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath - they mentioned this one in the article, but it deserves being mentioned again. Its unique blend of third-person platforming and first-person action will appeal to those who don't necessarily like either (or who love both). Toss in some of the most beautiful graphics on Xbox (and that's saying something!), a storyline with some serious and profound statements on tolerance, culture, and the environment, and incredibly satisfying boss battles, and you have one of the greatest Xbox titles out there. Too bad it isn't 360 compatible.

    OutRun 2 - This was one of the major reasons I bought an Xbox in the first place. It's an incredibly fun and beautiful racing game with the best drift mechanics since the glory days of Ridge Racer. Along with the original arcade mode, this home port adds a suprisingly long mission mode with a lot of unlockables and tons of fun and unique objectives. Coast 2 Coast was nowhere near as good as this game. C2C is far uglier (it looks like a PS2 game thanks to all jaggies and shimmering, a far cry from the clean look of the original), too easy (the time limits are much more forgiving and bouncing off of the wall doesn't kill your momentum), and very tedious (the new mission mode involves a lot of repetition and locks many of the same items as included in the original - but also locks some that were available from the start in the original!). Skip C2C, get this version. Sadly, this is another game that isn't on the 360 compatibility list.

    Xyanide - this looks like a rail shooter but plays like an arena shooter. If you can get over the twisting and turning camera and the somewhat repetitive backgrounds, the gameplay is excellent. It may look simple at first, but there's a lot of strategy involved in upgrading your two weapons (do you choose to focus on the capital ship killer or the fighter killer?) and choosing your four special powers (from a huge assortment - I still haven't even seen them all). This was a very recent budget release, so you may or may not be able to find it locally. I suggest ebay. Again, no 360 compatibility. Dammit.

    The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - I prefer this to Oblivion. While its fairly ugly and somewhat offputting at first, the atmosphere is far better. Vvardenfell is a unique and alien place unlike anything I've ever seen before or since. The attention to detail makes the land of the Dunmer feel like a real place. The gameplay is far less action-based and more stats-oriented than Oblivion, which may or may not be a turn-off. There are also more (and several mutually-exclusive) quest lines than Oblivion. Though the quests are often shorter and simpler than Oblivion, the sheer number of them is overwhelming. Despite a fair number of bugs and glitches, Morrowind remains one of the finest RPGs I have ever played. Yet again, it isn't compatible with 360.

    Metalwolf Cha
    • Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

      Yeah, I recently played this. It looks just amazing (and really shows why the graphics capabilities of the next-gens are overhyped). Fun game, really well done.

    • by Hubbell ( 850646 )
      Phantom Dust is where a lot of us from Asheron's Call: Darktide tried to go for a skillful game we could all play, and we weren't disappointed. Amazing game, sadly not popular enough to last :(
  • MotoGP 1 & 2? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sumday ( 888112 )
    No love for this amazing series of racing games? The dual analogue stick control gave the most alarmingly engaging simutated racing experience i've ever come across. Especially on xbox live! No game is perfect, but in my eyes this one came close. I've never felt such a strong desire to get that flawless lap.
  • Yeah, the "real" games are great, but with a modded xbox, the Xbox Media Center (XBMC) rocks. Also, checkout Super Mario War: []

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie