November 15th, 2017 is an important date in history for Xbox. That date marked the 16 year anniversary for the platform. Also, it’s the 15 year anniversary for Xbox Live. This got me thinking about my earliest memories of the original console. It was Christmas and the year was 2004. My brother got a PS2 and I got the limited edition crystal Xbox, a thing of beauty. We were both fighting for turns to play Final Fantasy X but my Xbox got plenty of love as well. The console launched in 2002 so I was a little late to the party. However, this meant that it had built up a more than decent catalogue of games for me to try out.
5 years after the Xbox launched, its final game was released. It seemed like the end for the Xbox and the many hours of entertainment that it had delivered. In 2017, Microsoft announced that it would return in the form of the backwards compatibility program. This delighted fans across the globe and got people talking about which games might become available. 13 games have been announced so far which is a great start.
What were the best games that appeared on the original Xbox? Here’s a list of my 10 favourites.
10 – The Sims: Bustin Out
I’ve always been a huge fan of The Sims franchise, all the way back to the very first game. The Sims: Bustin out expanded in ways that every fan had hoped for. The game featured several add-ons from older expansion packs that had only released on PC. This was the first time that you could leave your neighbourhood and visit other locations on console.
The Sims has always been a major entry point into gaming for a lot of people. The Sims: Bustin Out was really fun and seriously addictive. It may have released on every platform out there but personally, I enjoyed it on my Xbox.
09 – Championship Manager 01/02
I know what you’re thinking, Championship Manager in the top 10 Xbox games!? To this I say, absolutely. This list is made up of games that I played and loved on the platform, Championship Manger was one of those games. I know that there are others out there that share my love for this game. While it may have had issues, there was no denying the ridiculously addictive nature of the gameplay. In my opinion, no game since has managed to better replicate the feeling of being a football manager.
08 – Red Dead Revolver
Red Dead Revolver is a Western action-adventure third-person shooter video game developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games; it’s the first entry in the Red Dead series.
07 – Shenmue II
Firstly, let me just start by saying that I prefer the original Dreamcast version of the game. However, this version looked great with the visual enhancements. Also, it was really cool to hear the dialogue in English. None the less, Shenmue II is a fantastic game. It was really great to see its lifespan extended beyond the Dreamcast.
06 – Burnout 3: Takedown
Gameplay carries on the high speed gameplay of previous entries in the series, in which player’s race through various courses, earning boost by driving in oncoming traffic lanes, narrowly avoiding other vehicles, and drifting. The main new addition to the series gameplay is a focus on ‘Takedowns’, in which players are encouraged to try and take down their opponents by knocking into them and causing them to crash.
In a time before achievements or trophies gained every single gold medal in this game, it was just that fun. Slamming your opponent into a wall and witnessing them crash into pieces in glorious slow-motion never failed to entertain. Also, the crash mode game type was ridiculous fun. Your only goal was to crash and cause as much damage and chaos as possible!
05 – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a third-person action-adventure puzzle-platform video game developed and published by Ubisoft.
This game had a lot of innovative mechanics but none more so than the ability to rewind time for up to 10 seconds. Also, the Prince could slow time during combat and even freeze time altogether. This might not sound particularly impressive in 2017 but it blew my mind back in 2004, I’d never seen anything like it.
04 – Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
Fatal Frame II is a survival horror video game. For most of the game, the player controls the protagonist Mio as she and her sister Mayu explore a ghost town. As they explore the town and uncover its secrets, they defeat enemies in the form of ghosts and spirits by taking pictures of them with an enchanted camera, the Camera Obscura.
I recall knowing very little about this game when I purchased it. However, nothing could have prepared me for what was in store. The game is genuinely unique and a must play for fans of the horror genre. While it does depend a little too much on jump scares, it still manages to deliver some extremely effective shocks and scares. Crimson Butterfly is absolutely dripping in atmosphere. This is to be expected for a game dubbed “one of the scariest video games ever made”.
03 – Fable
Fable is a role-playing video game where players control their character from a third person perspective. The main character, known as The Hero of Oakvale, can interact with people and objects as well as battle foes.
The Fable franchise declined after the first game, there’s no doubt about that. Still, it pains me to see just how far it has fallen. The original Fable was a brilliant game that had some serious depth. The gameplay was open-ended and the story was surprisingly solid.
02 – Ninja Gaiden
What the heck happened to the Ninja Gaiden franchise!? It just goes to show how times can change. In 2004, this game being an Xbox exclusive was a huge deal and a massive selling point for the console. It garnered critical acclaim and it isn’t hard to see why. It was packed full of relentless action and slick visuals. However, I remember it being hard as balls! I doubt that would be the case today. Still, I actually managed to complete it which was a big achievement back then.
01 – Halo 2
Halo 2 is a 2004 first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie Studios. Released for the Xbox video game console on November 9, 2004, the game is the second instalment in the Halo franchise and the sequel to 2001’s critically acclaimed Halo: Combat Evolved.
It would be easy to put the original Halo on this list but for me, it has to be Halo 2. I have many fond memories of blasting my way through the fantastic, yet rather short campaign. However, the game was more important for the fact that it is credited for bringing online multiplayer matchmaking to the console masses.
Well, there are my top 10 Xbox games. What essential games would be on your list? I know I missed out on some amazing ones.