Further Disruptions Likely
Shifting Gears

Have Xbox, Will Play...?

To celebrate Microsoft's unexpected display of corporate responsibility, I went out to buy my "classic" Xbox. True, it doesn't make any money for Microsoft any more, but a gesture is a gesture. I still need a video to VGA adaptor to make it work with my monitor, though.

I have a copy of Jet Set Radio Future, which I'm very much looking forward to playing, and Counterstrike, so I can hopefully play with my friends back in the UK - but what else should I play? Do you have any suggestions? Let me put it this way:

If I was only going to play one Xbox game, what single game would you recommend?

Here are the restrictions.

  • No computer RPGs unless they are indescribably superior to every other cRPG you've played, and are less than 20 hours long - 30 at a pinch. I get sucked into these games, and since I work on making them from time to time, I have to be cautious about feeding this habit.
  • Nothing that ends with a punishingly difficult Boss battle. No exceptions.
  • No gratuitous hoop jumping, if possible.

If you have "Classic Xbox" game you'd strongly recommend, let me know!


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Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic

(or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II if you want to adhere to the <30 hours rule).

they *really are* 'indescribably superior to every other cRPGs you've played', with the sole exception of the Baldurs Gate series.

GTA: Vice City.
Or, Jet Set Radio :-D

Don't play KOTOR, you'll hate it (no reason, I just know you won't like it, despite many people saying it is better than even sliced bread) - though I never got to KOTORII...

Just go buy a handful of games from a cheap bin that look shiny, and see what you have when you get home... :-P

I would say Psychonauts, it's one of the best games I've played, well written, lovely game play too.


Some people complain about the last level being too hard, not the boss, but some of the platform-y bits. It is a bit frustrating compared to the rest of the game, but I managed, although it did take a bit longer than I expected it too.


The rest of the game is magical. And it had Tim Schaefer work on it, which is always a plus point.

My top XBox games are... NFL2k5, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, Gun Valkyrie.

Gun Valkyrie is the most general appeal title, but it's knocked out because it has some pretty tough boss battles. Although to be honest the learning curve is mean enough that if you can even get to the final boss it's not really that tough.

The other two are rather selective tastes as well of course, but both are the best of their respective genre's in my opinion.

I suspect my tastes are rather different to the common demographic on this site though, and your own. But it just goes to show... well, something or other. ;)

Yes I'm Type 1: Conqueror, obviously. ;)

Avoid KotOR. I enjoyed it, but it not indescribably better than every CRPG I've ever played. Neither is Jade Empire, but if you did want a beat of a beat-em-up in RPG clothing, that's the Bioware Xbox title I'd go for. KotOR II is indescribably worse than every CRPG I've ever played through, so give that a miss too.

My Xbox games which haven't been traded in for DS carts (and won't be) include Sphinx & The Cursed Mummy, Beyond Good & Evil, Psychonauts and Fable: The Lost Chapters. The latter is rather an odd man out, but I keep it around for purposes of critique.

It's not worth the money, even bought used, but all the same you should find an opportunity to try Steel Battalion at least once in your life if you haven't already.
ou know, that mech game that came with its own enormous custom controller? there are a lot of seemingly inexplicable design choices with that game, but equal to the insanity is a love and devotion seldom seen anymore... it was a honest coup to get the game produced at all. It'd be fascinating to hear your reflections after playing it.

Okay, so now my "real" suggestion: get one of the Burnout games, if you didn't for the PS2. Flashy, smashy arcade racin' fun, good for pairs or parties. If you'd like a more involved driving game, Forza Motorsport for Xbox is a lot of fun, too. Mercenaries if you want a bit of sandbox (and paramilitary organization) themed GTAishness. For the apex of the arcade beat-em-up, there's Ninja Gaiden Black, but don't get it; the very first boss is a killer, and that's a little less than 20-30 minutes into the game. I suspect I only bought the game to feel okay around my more fast-twitch muscle using friends. Halo 1/2 are to be avoided for obvious reasons.

So I guess a little less jokingly, since most of my last-gen console play was on the PS2 and Gamecube, I guess I -would- recommend Steel Battalion. :)

I've only got 3 XBOX games (The machine is mainly used as our DVD player):
KOTOR (It really is awesome - sucked me in for days though...), Halo 2 (I think there were a few fans of this game),
and Spiderman 2 (also great, the swinging through the city is perfect - don't play it in simple mode though).

I've never had an Xbox since there weren't many xbox exclusives around. Got my fill of Halo and Fable at friends. But if I was to get one I'd try to track down a copy of "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath". It looked pretty ace then and judging off the playstation Oddworlds it's all quality.

Though I wonder if the bounty system they have going in it is akin to a set of bosses? Anyone know?

I second Steel Battalion. With an ironing board, which seems to be the controller surface of choice. If my friend ever sells his copy, I'll buy an Xbox just for it - even though I never get past about level 4.

But then, I got utterly sucked into MechWarrior 3 on the PC. Not 4 - the controls sucked - but you could get 3 into a lovely state where you used a joystick to move and acquire targets and a mouse to aim and fire the weaponry, and never touch the ketboard at all. I've never managed to get any other game, before or since, into *useful* 4-axis analogue control like that.


Halo 2 has a boss battle at the end that's easyish and it's probably a better game but if you are at all suspicious, Halo.

I'm not sure on the specifics but I think it's the game that made the Xbox successful.

If you are interested in the Halo universe try out the now free Marathon games. They are slightly better than doom in terms of graphics.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

Halo - I already played most of Halo on a friend's machine. The first third of the game was great! Sound design is first rate, and the interface is nicely designed. Sadly, it seems to devolve into repetitive tunnel running. I kind of lost interest... Doubt I would play 2 unless it has an online co-op mode. I am interested in checking out the Marathon titles at some point, as people speak very highly of these games.

Psychonauts - I never got this for the PS2, although I intended to. I suppose I could get this for the Xbox. Worth considering... I'll see how expensive it is.

GunValkyrie - this is a Smilebit game... That alone tempts me! Let me play JSRF first (also Smilebit) and then I'll check this out.

KOTOR - sorry, I can't seriously consider this. It's clearly too long, and from what I've seen it doesn't actually do much different from previous CRPGs. I know some people love it, but I think I couldn't 'win' with this one - either I'll enjoy it, in which case it's 40-60 hours of my life in obsessive-compulsiveness, or I won't like it at all. Either way, I can't take the risk. :)

Oddworld Stranger's Wrath: I haven't enjoyed any of the Oddworld games so far - art design is gorgeous, but the one I played the most of frustrated me to the point of wanting to snap the disk. :(

Steel Batallion - believe me, I am tempted (I love mech games)! But at $120 bucks second hand, I'm not spending more for a game than I did for the console! ;)

Thanks again for the suggestions! Any more?

Well, I'm glad & astounded someone other than myself has =any= interest in Gun Valkyrie! I personally think it's an incredible, and completely overlooked, game. Most reviewers (like this one, although IIRC they re-reviewed it later upon 'getting it' and doubled it's score, but the re-review appears to have been lost in the archives: http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=3371 ) simply never grasped it's control system and the fact it's more like a learning wall than a curve... but if you do master it, an incredible game emerges.
Basically, if your feet ever touch the ground for more than a couple of seconds at a time in GV, "you're doing it wrong". ;)
It's still very tough and a hard agon challenge, but just the feeling of flight and feeling the sheer level of control you have (especially if you struggled previously, like most do!) is something wonderful in itself & you can replay and breeze through the earlier levels playing for high scores and kicks, when you were previously struggling to just get past these levels at all.

It's one of those rare games I sometimes go back to just to feel the 'experience' of playing it, as no other game has a control system anything like it that I've ever played. I suppose it brought out a very rare bit of "Hotshot" play in me too.

Anyway, I will shut up now, as I realise I'm quite clearly coming across as a ranting parochial GV fanboi. ;)

Perhaps oddly I've never played any of the JSR games though, but given the huge turn-off of the theme there for me, it's not so surprising... maybe I should go back and try them myself though..

Rik: Jet Set Radio on the Dreamcast was a favourite game of mine, and its this game which turned me onto Smilebit. They're not skating games in the style of, say, Tony Hawk, but something quite different. Highly recommended!

An odd observation, though: I didn't at the time realise just how "Hardcore" JSR really was. I couldn't at the time understand why it wasn't more successful. Now, I believe it's obvious why it wasn't successful. But I still love it. ;)

If you haven't, definitely play "Beyond Good and Evil". I don't remember how long it took me, but it wasn't too long.

Of course, now it's available on GameTap, if you have a computer-compatible controller...

Craig: I'm definitely curious about 'Beyond Good and Evil'... I played a little, but not enough to get a feel for it. As much as anything, I want to know how the title connects with Nietzche. :) Thanks for the tip!

Oh yeah, Psychonauts. For interesting platform fun you can take in chunks before leaving for a while... It surprises me when I enjoy a "modern" oldskool platformer-type thingy..

As for Jet Set Radio on teh Dreamcast, I believe there are some rather whippy maps somewhere on this tubenet for those that need help with this most awesomest of game experiences :-D

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