TWENTY years ago, Xbox brought out a pretty amazing console which had a number of classic and fondly remembered games on it.
As the Xbox became the Xbox 360 then the Xbox One X then the Xbox Series X, there has been a concerted effort by Xbox to keep as many of the older games available on the newer consoles
It was a great move on Xbox head Phil Spencer’s behalf to give the green light (pun intended) to the backwards compatibility game preservation program to help open up the library of Xbox titles and ensure newer gamers can still enjoy a large back catalogue.
Unfortunately, not all titles were created equally and for whatever reason, a number of games from the OG Xbox era still haven’t been given the backwards compatibility treatment – and some of them are sorely missed.
With this in mind: Here is my list of 8 Awesome Original Xbox games that were not made Backwards Compatible – in no particular order.
With no shortage of 007 games in this generation and most of them being first person titles, it was great to see this action packed third person perspective released with a star studded cast of its time included, Pierce Bronson, Shannon Elizabeth, Mya, Heidi Klume, John Cleese and even Dame Judy Dench! This title had action packed shootouts, levels and driving sequences that made it such a fun title to play. It even had a cover system!
The Follow up to the Xbox Only title Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this title added much more in terms of fan service and overall polish. Not only could you play as the title character, but now you could play as the rest of the Scoobies and Sid.
While most of the tv shows cast reprised their roles, the absence of Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) and Allison Hannigan (Willow) were missed. This game’s combat was much improved then the few special moves in the Slayers handbook of the 1st and the difficulty spike was much better than the original.
The title also included many unlockables for multiplayer as well as interviews with the cast as serving as a missing episode from series 5 of the show. It definitely proved that a tv show tie-in could be achieved via video game.
Scarface: The World is Yours – (2006)
Well before Marvels ‘What if’ series, this game played on the fantasy of What If Tony Montana survived the end shootout of the movie Scarface (1983) and escaped?
Well I’ll tell you what, he didn’t pack his bags and head back to Cuba! NO NO! Tony licked his wounds, reflected and then came back to reclaim his Money, Power and Respect in Miami, all while getting his revenge on the cartel that would attempt to bring him down.
Clearly trying to compete with the success of the GTA titles of its time, the game had the licensed soundtrack and locations of the original movie.
While some of the drug running missions could get a bit on the repetitive side, players were tasked with taking over businesses and turning them into fronts and gaining territories by taking down (in a bloody fashion) rival gangs.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within – (2004)
While this one may have been the most divisive in the series, this was by far my favourite. It did abandon the Disney style of game from the original Sands of Time, I personally loved the changes made to the game as it added to the overall story arc of the series.
I loved how Ubisoft tried to have the game age with its players, the combat was much improved, replacing the last games formulaic hack and slash for the new free-form-fighting system.
Couple that with the darker tone to the game, gritty soundtrack (i loved the rock rift music) and sexy characters. This was the definitive Prince of Persia title for me for the combat and story of trying to defy his fate.
Obscure – (2004)
This game shared the same sort of combat as Remedy’s Alan Wake in regards to you could use your torch to weaken the mutated monsters that served as the main cannon fodder enemies thought the game.
But that is where the similarities end as it is set in a high school, where you control five students who are trying to get to the bottom of what is going on.
The game had a co-op element where you could control one of the two characters at any time. What was great about this style of game was that if any of the characters died, the game would still continue – so much like Supermassive’s teen horror games, protect your favourites, but expect for some to die along the way to discovering the truth behind the conspiracy.
Lord of the Rings: The Third Age – (2004)
This turn-based style RPG doesn’t seem to get spoken about enough on the Original Xbox as we were starved for Final Fantasy-esque titles back on the console. While the band of misfits were not big players in the books or movies to the point your casual gamer would know who they were, this story took a parallel route to the main story of Middle Earth and had to occasionally run into a few of the main characters of the franchise as well as see some things that the movies didn’t show.
This game is a must for Rings fans who didn’t want to just play out the movies and take in some extra lore along the way.
Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus – (2003)
Now I get it, this wasn’t the most technically sound fighter out on the market, nor did it have a huge roster to rival the Street Fighters or Mortal Kombats, but it did have something in common with Mortal Kombat – it was designed by one of the Mortal Kombat co-creators.
You could see this in the game’s design when it came to violence. This ‘Only on Xbox’ title also features progressive clothing damage, like seen in 2011 Mortal Kombat but also had limb damage; the more you took away hit points to a particular part of the body, the more likely it was that you would break that arm or leg – obviously giving you an advantage if they only have one arm! Not only was this game multiplayer but also featured a story driven mode. Obviously not a New York Times best seller, but it was alright.
Sudeki – (2004)
I want it known that while I never finished, or even sink hours upon hours into this game, the time I did spend with it back when it came out stuck with me.
The charm of the characters in this Action-RPG and the fantasy setting always has this game looking at me, telling me to return, if not whispering in my ear every time I parooze by my game collection. If this game had been backwards compatible, i would have been all over it like KOTOR and Too Human.
But one day i hope to return to this title, like i hope that if you do have access to an Original Xbox, or an Xbox 360 for some of these titles (i’ll never get over only Sand of Time being the only Prince game made BC) your able to find these games and give them the go they so rightly deserve.