Now that MLG Orlando is done, we can continue our final romp through the 25 must own original Xbox games. We're finally in the first half of the top ten. Did your favorite Xbox game make the cut?
10. Psychonauts (Majesco Games)
We’re suckers for original games, especially ones that present far-out experiences that change the way we play. Psychonauts was such a game, introducing us to the inspired Raz and the other lunatics around his camp, as he did a little mind-jumping, fighting through people’s nightmares in an effort to improve his skills. What follows are some tremendous platforming segments and adventure themes that still remain fresh today, thanks to Tim Schafer and his talented team at Double Fine. The gameplay is second-to-none, introducing memorable sequence after memorable sequence (wait till you battle the fish!), and the design is so inspired, you’d think that Tim Burton had a hand in it. We’d love to see more of Raz someday, and considering Schafer just bought back the rights to the series, we just may.
9. Burnout 3: Takedown (EA)
Like it did on the PlayStation 2, Burnout 3: Takedown stands out as a crowning achievement in racing thanks to one primary ingredient – destruction. Not only are you supposed to outrun your opponents in the game, but you’re supposed to run them off the road, turning them into wrecked heaps as you shoot for the finish line. This level of aggression ascends the gameplay to new heights while introducing countless new vehicles and races to take part in. What’s more, the Crash mode is phenomenal, as you could not only set up multi-million dollar destruction sequences, but share them with your friends online. Oh Burnout, how we never tire of you.
8. Ninja Gaiden Black (Tecmo)
The original Ninja Gaiden game, when it first came out for Xbox, brought back the “hardcore” feeling of games, which we haven’t seen since, ironically, the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy on NES. It was hard as hell, but worth the effort. Then, Ninja Gaiden Black stepped into the picture, with a nastier, more brutal take on the saga. It came with a few challenges that would have you gnashing your teeth and wondering if your sanity was going to remain intact. Still, if you stick with it, this is the kind of game that really brings out the best in your gaming skills, all while flashing beautiful visuals on the screen and plenty of bloodshed for your efforts. Also, it’s set to continue next year with Ninja Gaiden 3. We’re down.
7. Jet Set Radio Future (Sega)
Smilebit could’ve just been content with creating Panzer Dragoon Orta and been done with Xbox development, having earned some praise from dedicated fans of that series. But it went the extra mile by bringing back its league of futuristic skaters for a bigger, better follow-up to the Dreamcast classic Jet Grind Radio. In Future, you’ve got a larger city to explore, more objectives to complete, and mind-boggling graphics to gaze upon, as the game runs at a feverish pace with all sorts of cel-shaded details. What’s more, the soundtrack is completely inspired and definitely worth downloading. Now if only this would make a comeback on newer consoles…
6. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Ubisoft)
The Splinter Cell series helped define how stealth and action could go hand-in-hand with a game, as Sam Fisher snaps necks and completes objectives while making sure no one else interferes. The first two games, the original and Pandora Tomorrow, are testaments to the Tom Clancy label, and Chaos Theory is the best in the series to date, thanks to unequaled gameplay that’s deep and affecting, depending on how you approach it. The visuals are a knockout too, and snapping someone’s neck never felt so good. The competitive multiplayer also brought a degree of fun to the game, as you hunted down spies or got the best of the soldiers in third-person vs. first-person matches. This is one stealth-action game that deserves that coveted spot on your gaming shelf.