15 classic Xbox games to celebrate 15 years of Xbox
It's been 15 years since Microsoft decided to jump into the games console market with the Xbox.
Since 2001, gamers have been split into two allegiances: are you PlayStation or Xbox? Sorry Nintendo, but this kind of isn't your arena anymore. To celebrate, we're looking back at 15 of the best games to hit the console. The Xbox might be looking slimmer these days, but let's not forget where it all started.
1. Ninja Gaiden
A brilliant action-adventure game, with a near-perfect combat system and mega hard enemies, the combination of which makes for an extremely satisfying game - and there's plenty of blood and guts too. It's hard, but rewarding, and a hell of a lot of fun. Come on, you're playing a ninja, how could it not be?
2. Project Gotham Racing 2
PGR2 wasn't about crash physics or over-complicated car technicalities - it was a pure driving arcade game. The Kudos system gave you extra things to consider when bombing it round the track - you still needed to win, but if you could pull off some cool drifts while you're winning, you were rewarded for your efforts.
3. Halo: Combat Evolved
Though maybe not the best of the series, Halo: Combat Evolved did something that few shooters do: it redefined the genre. GoldenEye was once the standard for multiplayer shooters but Halo snatched the crown and ran with it. The depth of storytelling and use of vehicles were groundbreaking - remember the first time you drove a Warthog? You never forget.
4. Read Dead Revolver
With Red Dead Redemption 2 now officially confirmed, we had to give a shoutout to the original. Red Dead Revolver was a very different game to it's successor: no open world gameplay, with more of the feel of an arcade platformer, and a story that was less engrossing than the tale of John Marston. That said, it was still a heck of a lot of fun, with enough OTT violence to keep any cowboy happy.
It was supposed to be the biggest RPG of its time, but what we got was actually just a very solid fantasy action-adventure game that posed a simple but important question: are you good or evil? Unlike a lot of RPGs, Fable was very straightforward and easy to get into, more about fun and adventure than relentless upgrades and tedious questing.
6. Jet Set Radio Future
There aren't many games like Jet Set Radio Future - can you name another game about a gang of rollerblading graffiti artists taking on the police in Tokyo? Didn't think so. In the race for graphical realism, the anime-like cell-shaded graphics were a breath of fresh air, and the gameplay was so simple and enjoyable that you could sink hours into this game without ever realising.
7. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
After the shitshows that were The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, it was starting to look like Star Wars was a lost cause. Thank goodness for Knights of the Old Republic, then. Everything that was missing from the prequel movies - characters, story, conflict, interest, competence - could be found in KOTOR. One of the best RPGs ever.
8. Halo 2
Halo: Combat Evolved took shooter campaigns to the next level, but Halo 2 made console online mulitplayer the new norm for gaming. The single-player cliffhanger ending was a bit of a kick in the balls, but Halo 2 really shone on Xbox Live, way before Battlefield and Call of Duty were the accepted faces of online FPS. No wonder it was the Xbox's biggest-selling game.
9. Spider-Man 2
Who didn't spend hours and hours swinging around NYC as Spidey? Like the film, Spider-Man 2 was a massive improvement on the first game, particularly the web-slinging gameplay which was just so ahead of its time. At the time, we'd never seen anything as huge as New York City in a game before, and flinging yourself around the place, beating up baddies, then flinging yourself around some more was just amazing (unlike The Amazing Spider-Man game, funnily enough).
10. Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond Good and Evil wasn't a smash hit, but everyone that owned it knew what a special game it was. It successfully managed to fuse different gameplay elements into a seamless whole - stealth, puzzles, dungeon exploration, RPG and combat all come together to make an interesting and unforgettable experience.
11. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Talk about games that you could lose your life to, the world of Morrowind was so huge that you could fall into it and not even realise a week has passed. We've seen Oblivion and Skyrim come and go, but Morrowind will always hold a special place in our hearts as the first Elder Scrolls game that we could plonk ourselves in front of the telly and lose ourselves in.
12. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
What needs to be said about Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? Nothing. You know how good Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was.
13. Jade Empire
Exploring the beautifully-realised Imperial China was one of the many joys of Jade Empire. The combat system was smooth and effective, the script was sharp and funny, the story had interesting twists and turns, and the world felt open and explorable (even though there wasn't that much to explore). Like a good martial arts film, Jade Empire was engaging, exciting and damn entertaining.
14. Panzer Dragoon: Orta
We don't really play rail shooters these days, but Panzer Dragoon: Orta was a unique and creative example of the genre. Unlike a lot of rail shooters, the story was actually rather affecting, and the design of the game was imaginative and frequently stunning. Plus, flying a dragon around blasting baddies (or are they baddies? Hmmmm...) is never a bad thing.
15. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was the game that brought us the revert, and God bless us for it - combos were never the same again. And damn, that soundtrack - you can't hear CKY's '96 Quite Bitter Beings' without thinking of this game (though let's be honest, the only time you hear it is playing this game).
Feature: Microsoft / @xbmcXBOX