what are the most essential xbox games?

I’m looking into the XBOX library, especially now witht he prices dropping since 360’s arrival. What are the must-haves?

I’ll offer up Halo 1+ 2, but I don’t have an XBOX so i’m afraid I can’t think of any more.

What kind of games do you like? FPS? Racing games? RPGs?

I admit, the Halo games have never done much for me, but I still own and occasionally play the first.

Another strong exclusive title was Fable, which had its moments, but was ultimately another “find Molyneux’s formula for the ‘right’ way to play” game.

Also in the RPG column, Jade Empire and the two KOTOR titles are all the same company, and all exquisite linear RPGs.

But I find that what I tend to come back to the most are multiplatform ports that just LOOK best with the XBox’s stronger hardware. Burnout 4 (and 3), various incarnations of Madden and NCAA football. Soul Calibur series and the Dead Or Alive Ultimate box (which, come to think of it, in that packaging with the graphic overhaul, gameplay tweaks, and general improvement, may technically be an XBox exclusive title).

One game that I got at the same time I bought the system, which was eclipsed by a later PS2 port/improvement, was Top Spin Tennis. Fun, pretty little game, but not much depth.

I like creative games. I adored Katamari Damacy for the PS2 and I frequently play Tetris and games like Super Metroid and Monkey Island.

Another must have title would be Morrowind, Game of the Year Edition if you do the whole RPG thing. I would say skip the second KOTOR game though. The first one is golden, but the second is rather disappointing.

Not your cup of tea but it’s all I play, Shooters:

  • Halo 1 & 2
  • Rainbow Six: Black Arrow
  • If your computer is from the mid-90s like mine and you can’t play the PC version, I’ll recommend Half-life 2.
  • PsychOps

The project Gotham series is very good for realism and excitement

I had an absolute blast playing Psychonauts. Very visually creative, with first-rate writing and voice-acting.

If by “creative” you mean “wow, I’ve never seen a game remotely like that before” then you’ll be hard-pressed to find an equivalent to Katamari Damacy on the XBox. If, on the other hand, by “creative” you just mean “a high-quality game with original characters and good writing and a non-derivative setting” then check out Psychonauts (if you can find it).

I don’t play RPGs, so I can’t suggest any of those that might be good, but I’ve always liked:

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds
Halo (Haven’t played the sequel.)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (There’s one more game in the series, but I haven’t played it. Sounds like fun, though.)
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb

The original Buffy game was, in fact, why I purchased my Xbox, but I’m not an avid video game player, so my selection is small.

Max Payne 2
This is a great, great game. People complain that it’s too short, and that’s why it’s good on the xbox; you can rent it or buy it used. I really should go play through both games again.

This one really depends on your taste. It’s an adventure game like Indigo Prophecy (a game that began brilliantly but turned into utter crap about 2/3 of the way in) only better. Some people don’t like it though.

People have differing opinions on this series. I didn’t like the first one when I played it alone, but it’s a total blast in co-op. With Halo 2 it’s better to play on your own first because they don’t have all the cutscenes in co-op, plus it’s better than the first with single player.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
If the content doesn’t bother you, this is a very fun game to play. You explore a city, steal cars, run over innocent people, fight with the cops, start gang wars, and do lots of other crazy things.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
An awesome game adapted from a movie that is by all accounts mediocre at best.

Beyond Good and Evil
One of the games that did things differently. I don’t remember it much, except that I really liked it.

I’ll chuck in Ninja Gaiden and Thief III.

The Simpsons: Hit And Run is a must for Simpsons fans - a very silly driving/exploring game with great character voices and dialogue: drive the Homer! the Malibu Stacey convertible! Willy’s tractor!

For serious drivers, Forza Motorsport is probably the best racing game on any platform - a huge selection of cars {fully upgradeable} and tracks, smart AI, a realistic damage engine, online play… Not quite as pretty as GT 4 for the PS2, but not as nerfed {ie a damage engine} and endless depth of play.

For RPGers and Star Wars fans, the original KoTOR is a must: the sequel was rushed out before it was finished, so while technically better in many ways {ie the combat mechanics}, is not so gripping, and the unfinished storylines are frustrating.

Me, I’m hanging out for Lego Star Wars - the original Star Wars, that is, which I think releases in September. That looks so cool.

Games I like a lot, though note that a big part of gaming for me is offline multi-player. (2, 3 or 4 people sitting in a room together.)

The X-Men series

Rallysport Racing 2 (Way better than Project Gotham.)

The Hitman series (I love these games, though they aren’t popular.)

Topspin (Which you already have.)

The Fight Night series (Very satisfying punches.)

Hunter: The Reckoning

NHL 2K6 (minigames are great, and the gameplay is solid)

ESPN NFL 2K5, if you can find a copy. Possibly the best football video game ever. It’s more realistic and faster than Madden, and the ESPN presentation puts it over the top, even with the old rosters. You can find new rosters online, but you’ll need an Action Replay MAX to use them.

Sonic Mega Collection Plus - Every Sonic game from the Genesis. Finally, Sonic 2 plays without all the slowdown (or at least without most of it.)

I thought about adding this one, but the Max Payne franchise has a major design flaw that lets you save whenever you feel like it, so you can save before going into a new room, charge in and get wasted, know where all the baddies are, and then come back and whomp right through. It only takes maybe 3 or 4 hours of gameplay to make it all the way to the end of the game. This pissed me off royally when I blew a Christmas present on it and the trade in value fell through the floor in about a week.

So in it’s stead, I recommend Dead to Rights. The hand to hand sequences get old after a minute, but this game can be seriously hard at points and it’s a great shoot ‘em up. Having an attack German Shepard at your disposal is also pretty cool.

Halo 1 & 2 (again)
The Splinter Cell series, even the Ghost Recons
Munche’s Oddessy is good, gorgeous fun.
My kids loved Fable.

You’ve gotta have Halos 1 and 2. You need yourself some Madden. If you don’t want such realism, the NBA/NFL “Street” games are fun.

I’m low maintenance when it comes to video games these days. For some reason, they don’t make Romance of the Three Kingdoms anymore… :frowning: