Microsoft may have just announced one of the biggest console wars game changers at E3 this year with the announcement of original Xbox game backward compatibility. The original Xbox had many great games so I decided to take off the no-brainers like Halo 1 and 2 and Knights of the Old Republic; those are givens. I decided to pick titles that either only came out on the Xbox or only Xbox and PC, games that made it onto the PS2 don’t count because they may be turned into PS4 classics like Manhunt and Destroy All Humans.
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
I poured hours into this game, mostly due to the fact it is very, very difficult, but also because I love the world that H.P. Lovecraft created. Headfirst Productions really outdid themselves when they created Innsmouth and the creatures that inhabit the town. They also crafted a great story following Lovecraft’s iconic The Shadow Over Innsmouth short story. Yes, the game is not that pretty and yes the controls need a lot of polishing, but I can safely say I had a blast playing this game. I know I died a lot and I got to the progress restricting bug, but this game NEEDS to be played. It is one of the best adaptations of a short story that I have played and I cannot wait for the next Call of Cthulhu game. I also secretly hope that making this backwards compatible will rid my game of the bug thus allowing me to finally complete it. Wishful thinking.
Bioware’s Jade Empire franchise seems to be the red-headed step-child in their entire catalog. The game takes place in a fictional world based on ancient China and follows your character who begins as a student under Master Li. Once the town is attacked and decimated you set off on an adventure of revenge, growth, and romance. I remember that this game had a slow start, but once I got out of the village and into one of the main towns I saw the true magic of this world. Bioware’s jump into the past with ancient wonders and magic was what the doctor ordered, even though some people were upset this title wasn’t another Knights of the Old Republic game but once I got my hands on this title I became a believer. I have hopes that Bioware will jump back into this franchise but after the fiasco with Andromeda maybe I should just play the Xbox version over and over.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Since Todd Howard is on a Skyrim port binge, I don’t see why he cannot turn his sights to earlier entries in the series. Oblivion was made backwards compatible on the Xbox One quite sometime ago, so it looks to me as if Bethesda and Microsoft have a good working relationship. Why wouldn’t Microsoft try to be the only console to have three Elder Scrolls games playable on its Xbox One. That seems like a great idea to me, I would love to travel back to Morrowind and relive my adventures from the turn of the Century. I actually was excited when I heard rumblings of Morrowind only to be dismayed that it was just for Elder Scrolls Online, I game I enjoy but just doesn’t have the same magic as the stand alone titles. I had hoped Howard had his team on a remake of Morrowind to announce at E3; instead, we just got more Skyrim ports.
I recently picked this title up after reading a brief write up on it on the Internet and I can say that I am not disappointed in my purchase. Koei Tecmo is a very underrated developer to me, they’ve got some great franchises out there and some great games that you just have to go digging for because no one really talks about them. Crimson Sea is such a game. I’ve had my Xbox since 2002 and I only just heard of this game this year, I know that I’m fifteen years late to the party but the sci-fi, futuristic world that Koei created for this game is amazing. I know that game doesn’t look like futuristic games now, but man I can only imagine how amazed I would have been at 23. The premise of the game is that the universe is being invaded by the Muton Void and you are suddenly enlisted to stop them. This RPG leans more towards the action RPG than usual, but that’s what makes it great, gone are the turn-based battles which allows the combat to flow and make you look like a badass. Any RPG or Koei Tecmo fan should pick this title up.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
This is one of the best Star Wars games on the original Xbox, hands down. If you don’t believe me you can read my Retro Review of the title here. You are part of an elite squad in the Clone Wars and get shuttled around various worlds helping the Jedi’s defeat the Separatists. I remember battling on worlds like Kashyyyk and Geonosis and just in disbelief at what I was seeing. These worlds are usually just one-offs in the Star Wars universe but I was about to command my Delta Squad and succeed in surviving. I remember when I first heard about this game I was put off because I don’t like tactical shooters, LucasArts, however, made the controls very simple. I was allowed to control myself and my three companions, which proved to be very fun, I could tell members of Delta Squad to move to a certain position, go heal up and do certain tasks all with the press of the button. It is too bad the Xbox One won’t allow this game to be multiplayer should it be backwards compatible. Either way, I wouldn’t mind replaying this title on my Xbox One.
What original Xbox games would you like to play on your Xbox One? Let us know in the comments!