We’ve condensed ‘Microsoft’s mighty debut home-console gaming catalogue’ into the 30 best original XBOX games of all time (that was just as hard to write as it was for you to read!).
Are you the type of person that has alerts set up for the Xbox Mini release date? Was your first console an XBOX One and you’re now looking for the games that helped to launch the XBOX brand to greatness? Are you just bored of reading the same news on the Series X? Either way, you’ve come to the right place.
The best GameCube games reigned supreme in my eyes (even though the PS2 sold 155-million units), and this new console was trying to sneak in and steal a piece of the pie. Not only did it steal the pie, but it ate the whole lot, baked some pretty gnarly sequels, and went on to become a household name.
Shows how much I knew back then!
(N.B – for employment purposes and a clause in my contract, I must stress that I know a lot more now…!)
Crimson Skies: High Road To Avenge is another mandatory pick up for anyone that loves flying games. It was developed by FASA Studio which was part of the Microsoft Game Studios and released in 2003.
It’s set in 1930 and your plane, also known as the Zeppelin gets into a bunch of trouble with air pirates. It’s your job to avenge the death of an old friend called “Doc”.
It was originally going to be launched in 2002, but the team postponed it for a year to add XBOX Live features which gives the game the much loved multiplayer mode it deserves.
Even the graphics were somewhat “ahead of their time”, with stunning visuals, huge mountains, stunning beaches and the planes had many different designs for you to explore.
The mechanics were natural and it genuinely felt like you were flying planes in a competitive nature. What we personally loved about it was the satisfaction of taken down air pirates in a way that looked as if it was a scene out of Top Gun.
This is a game to pick up for those that are really into their flying games. This is no Flight Simulator but we can assure you that you’ll enjoy every battle you come across.
Turns out that Mars is pretty scary in the year 2145! Doom 3 is a monster-hunter lover’s dream come true, with more sci-fi topics than you can shake a cosmic stick at.
A scientific facility messing around with teleportation and insane weaponry ends up opening a portal into hell. Demons breach the portal and flood Mars, hiding in every corner just waiting to tear players limb from limb.
It wouldn’t be a Doom game otherwise!
Doom 3 is classed by some as a prequel to the original game despite it being the 3rd title in the canon. Others say it’s a stand-alone reboot and isn’t linked at all.
All that really matters is that Doom 3 is a Doom game through and through. Gamers move through creepy levels while blowing the heck ‘outta hordes and hordes of demons, ghouls, and zombies.
Get from one end of the level to the other using insane firepower such as the BFG 9000. Handy hint; the ‘F’ doesn’t stand for ‘friendly’.
MechAssault takes the 29th spot on our list of the best original Xbox games of all time!
Aside from being a bad-ass title and a futuristic version of Iron Soldier, one of the best Atari Jaguar games of all time, MechAssault was one of the very first games to offer Xbox Live compatibility.
Just imagine seeing online modes such as Quick Match and Optimatch available for the very first time and that excitement when your mates joined a battle from a completely different city. We take such standard features for granted now, but this was big news back in early 00s.
MechAssault is set in a friendly ‘ol neighbourhood called the BattleTech Universe. Any readers akin with the Pacific Rim franchise should know all about walking battle bots, and the gargantuan fighting machines in MechAssault are out of this world!
As the captain of the Wolf’s Dragoons, gamers must explore the planet Helios in search of a technology worshipping cult, The Word of Blake. TWoB, as I will now call them, employ a large force that stop at nothing to make sure players meet a swift end.
If any readers ever watched the Battle for Zion scenes in the Matrix and wanted to be right there in the action, then this game should recreate the terror and excitement quite nicely!
LucasArts games bring home the bacon every time, and Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction remains an extraordinary game to this very day!
Before Fortnite or PUBG, gamers flocked to the Playground of Destruction, one of the best original Xbox games for blowing off steam. It’s an open-world adventure where explosions and heavy artillery make up 99% of the action.
The game itself revolves around a fictional war with North Korea, Russia, and three other nations. Scarily, gamers have to complete missions while trying to prevent a nuclear war.
Sounds as though it could become a reality in the not-too-distant future!
The thing I love the most about this game is the number of possibilities open to the player from the outset. Pick any mission, complete any side quest, or blow any building to the ground in any order.
It’s a treasure trove for those lacking in the attention span department.
Gamers control mercenaries hired for the highest price. ‘Pick and choose’ is very much the feel of this game, resulting in no right or wrong way to play. Fans of Call of Duty and the loud Transformers movies should feel right at home here.
I am one of those people that has never needed much persuasion to buy a Star Wars game. I’m a huge sucker for any game with a blaster or a Tie-Fighter, especially ones where I can play as Darth Vader!
Star Wars Battlefront 2 improved on the success of the first Battlefront game with an in-game narrative worthy of the Star Wars movie series. Rather than playing as Luke or Han, gamers control an Imperial Stormtrooper while reliving parts of the famous canon through his eyes.
Gamers have the choice of playing as Sith or Jedi as they move through two different eras; the Clone Wars, and the Galactic Civil War. Control everything from Droideka to Wookies in multiple modes.
As well as the classic campaign mode, other battle modes such as capture the flag and team death-match feature in Battlefront 2. The graphics are crisp and clean, and all of the iconic sounds and effects from the movies can be heard throughout the game’s many levels.
Star Wars fans need this game; it’s a must-have for any collection and a true ‘force’ to be reckoned with.
Forza Motorsport takes the 26th spot on this list of the best original Xbox games of all time!
With over 200 cars and multiple courses both real and fictional, this Xbox live race is also a ‘forza’ to be reckoned with (how many times can I re-use that joke?).
Forza Motorsport remains one of the most important and influential racing games on the Xbox. It spawned a further 12 Forza games, branching off into Forza Horizon and Forza Street titles.
Any North American release that sells 100,000 copies in its first month is well worth looking at; Forza means ‘Strength’;we chant it when Italy take to the pitch, a it’s what gamers need to tackle some of th insane corners in this title.
Starting out in a Honda Civic, gamers train to become a Forza Champion by either competing in career mode or building skills in arcade mode. Like Need for Speed, vehicles can be pimped up with sponsor decals, bodywork improvements, and engine upgrades.
Before the likes of Destiny and Overwatch, Timesplitters 2 brought multiplayer-madness into the homes of thousands of Xbox owners. It was seriously ahead of its time and brought weapons to the fold that made Turok’s cerebral bore look like a cuddly toy.
Come to think of it, this game was also behind its time too, though that is an occupational hazard if you’re a time travelling space marine.
It’s fair to say that while the N64 took the multiplayer crown with Goldeneye, the Xbox wrenched it off Ninty when TimeSplitters 2 dropped. The dual guns, the camera angles, and even some of the weapons have a very Bond-esque theme about them.
Gamers control one of two space marines while stopping the Timesplitters from messing around with time.
The game itself includes ten levels spreading back as far as the Wild Wild West and shooting forward into future. And with more firepower than War Machine at a Playground of Destruction multiplayer party, it more than deserves a place in Retro Dodo’s best original Xbox games of all time!
Sticking with the time-travelling theme, this next character in our list of the best original Xbox games is a cat on a mission to save the very fabric of time itself.
Cat’s apparently have 9 lives, though this one can rewind, fast-forward, and stop time altogether, which means he’s pretty much immortal.
Blinx is an agent at a Time Factory, a facility that mends glitches in time before they mutate into time monsters. When too many time monsters infiltrate and cause havoc in one of the dimensions under the factory’s care, time is stopped, and the inhabitants frozen in time.
Blinx: The Time Sweeper fills the friendy-platformer space in the Xbox catalgoue. Fans of Spyro and Mario games on their respective consoles will no doubt love Blinx’s antics and the weird and wondeful monsters blocking his path.
And although Luigi may now be the most famous hoover-wielding character in a computer game, Blinx’s TS-1000 Vacuum Cleaner has tonnes of cool features to help gamers complete various tasks or replay certain sections.
Think of it as Prince of Persia: Sands of Time with a time-cleaning cat intstead of a dagger-wielding Persian.
EA Sports games always come aim big, and SSX 3 is a true snowboarding tour-de-force!
1080 Avalanche fans need this entry in our best original Xbox games list in their lives immediately. Unlike Avalanche which concentrates solely on racing, players earn points from tricks, collectables. and the successful completion of certain Tony Hawk’s-style events.
Racing plays a big part too, and cash earned by winning races may be traded for new gear, boards, or other extras.
The original Xbox graphics never fail to surprise me; take a look at that background scenery and tell me this game doesn’t look amazing!
Watch the all-important adrenaline gauge on the right of the screen as points rack up. A full meter means access to fancier tricks and speed boosts. There is no better feeling than successfully pulling off an ‘über’ without lading face down in the snow.
While the servers now lie in the tombs of time, this game once allowed users to play online. Maybe Blinx could get his vacuum out and sort tha tout!
Panzer Dragoon Orta more than deserves a place in this list of the best original Xbox games of all time.
Regular readers may know these games from our list of the best Sega Saturn games, and Orta marks the fourth and final title in the series.
Miss the Khaleesi and her dragons? Panzer Dragoon Orta follows the story of Orta, an imprisoned girl freed by a powerful and mysterious dragon. She looks so bad-ass and is just as ruthless as the Mother of Dragons when it comes to beating back all those who oppose her.
Rail shooter games always tend to do well, and those one’s that include dragons certainly tend to catch out attention. Panzer Dragoon games tend to have pretty intense storylines to follow, though the gameplay mechanic is simple to explain.
The game plays very much like Lylat Wars, or the segments of Twilight Princes where Wolf Link passes through thewater cavern hitting coloured balloons. Going backwards isn’t an option as Orta’s dragon flies continuously forward, though she can turn and fire her pistol behind her.
Orta’s dragon can glide and attack thanks to a glide gauge and a beserk gauge. These fill up throughout the level and can be used to speed up (glide) or carry out an insane Pow Block-style attack on all on-screen enemies.
Vin Diesel is back with his tiny swimming goggles in The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. With elements of Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, and Half-Life, this game is one that everyone should play at least once.
Riddick could well be everyone’s favourite non-hero hero, with Venom coming close second. This title is essentially a spin off of the popular film, though the video game has a different theme to movies to give fans a-whole-new adventure.
Players control Riddick as he attempts to escape from Butcher Bay, a ruthless prison with Alcatraz and Azkaban vibes that no one has ever escaped from.
Like Turok and Goldeneye, gamers see Riddick from a first-person perspective with weapons or fists shown on screen. Some levels do revert to a Syphon Filter-style third-person stealth-a-thon (that was a mouthful) with gamers sneaking up on guards or solving puzzles.
Riddick fans won’t need telling twice to buy this game. Hit the Buy Here button and grab a bargain!
Few games look as richly textured as Oddworld: Strangers Wrath., and few bounty hunters, with the possible exception of Django, are as ruthless as Stranger.
Stranger takes down bountys for money. I don’t mean the coconut chocolate bar that I hate so much; I’m talking about killing people for money. He’s saving up for a life-changing operation and needs the cash, and he won’t rest until he’s found his prey.
This is an Oddworld game, so expect centaurs, creatures called Grubbs, and a town called Buzzarton. Nothing about this game feels remotely normal, and that’s why I love it so much.
One of the cooler features is the way that Stranger uses live creatures to turn into ammunition for his weapons. It adds a BOTW-style collection element to the game, or maybe Stranger added an Oddworld-style collection element to BOTW…?
I’ve confused myself now!
Conker’s Bad Fur Day remains one of my favourite-ever N64 games, and Conker: Live & Reloaded is a great remake of the original for the Xbox.
I did originally want to put this title a little lower down the list, but the fact that the Xbox version has censorship when the N64 version doesn’t stopped me from rating it higher.
The N64 was pretty much the only console to censor Duke Nukem, for crying out loud, and they had no problem with the Mighty Poo Song or any of Conker’s other weird antics!
The main improvement on the original game came in the form of the Xbox live multiplayer. Imagine Donkey Kong 64-style mayhem with Conker and pals, and you should have a good idea of how amazing it is.
The Xbox multiplayer has multiple modes and styles. Gamers have a choice between all-our-war, capture the flag, and other cool modes that provide hours of fun.
Conker, his pals, and the Teddiz all have different styles and guns that work well against some enemies but are useless on others. Someone, preferably the player, will have to use their head to help this drunk squirrel come out victorious without a singed tail and burnt bollo… erm… fur balls.
Bought Star Wars Battlefront 2 yet? Good, now add this next Star Wars title on our list of the best original Xbox games into your collection!
Star Wars Republic Commando uses the Unreal Engine, a fact instantly apparent by checking out the image below. This game both looks and feels incredible to play and gives Star Wars fans more of the blaster-toting action that we all know and love.
Set in the clone wars, players control a troop of ‘clone-mandos’ (I’m very proud of that) while completing various missions. The game has a strong ‘Halo meets Metroid Prime’ vibe about it, making it an instant classic in my book!
There are a couple of features that stand out in this game, the first being the fact that the squad has to work together to achieve an objective.
Some readers may be pleased to know that players do not die resulting in a game over scenario. The squad can resuscitate players or save them from drowning if they can be reached. If one clone dies, play continues with one of the other two commandos.
Secondly, the game display screen shaped in the style of a Clone commando helmet made this game even cooler. It’s what I wanted to see in Django Fett: Bounty Hunter and adds a-whole-nother dimension to the game, including important readings and information for the player to keep an eye on.
Dead or Alive 3 released with the original Xbox back in 2001 and is considered one of the finest fighting titles ever made.
DOA3 sees many previous characters returning for a slice of glory and largely uses the same mechanics as the first two titles. The one thing that has changed is that the developers have removed more clothes off the female fighters; not sure whether that was a conscious choice or not!
Fans of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat will feel right at home in this button-mashing fighting title. This is actually one of the easiest fighting games to pick up too, making it more accessible for newbies to the genre.
That’s probably why it’s one of the best selling Xbox games of all time!
Jet Set Radio Future takes the 16th spot in out list of the best original Xbox games of all time! It’s the sequel to the Dreamcast Classic Jet Set Radio and features more skating and taggin action in a world where freedom of expresson is outlawed.
Gamers play as a member of the GGs, a gang of inline artists in a futuristic Tokyo. It’s essentially a massive game of the Tony Hawks multiplayer mode ‘Tag’, with players searching for other rival tags and covering over them.
Collect spray cans, pull off gnarly moves, and defeat police by charging into them and spraying them senseless. It’s a fun alternative to those gamers looking for a break from Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3, and thanks to the removal of the countdown clock, it’s a much less stressful experience than the first game!
It might not feature a weird Dj falling to his death after using vinyl that can summon the devil, but it’s still a cracking game pays great homage to a Dreamcast classic.
The next title on our list of the best Xbox games was an online sensation! Not only is it a game about a vengeful ninja, but it’s also developed by a company called ‘Team Ninja’ too! Talk about having the cool factor!
Ninja Gaiden Black was one of the hardest games on the console. Think Dark Souls level of brain-melting difficulty, and you’ll get the idea. It was one of the first titles to host online competitions between players all over the world. Another cool fact for fans of Dead or Alive is that Ninja Gaiden Black is set in the same universe.
Now you can impress all of your mates at online parties!
Ninja Gaiden Black sees the player controlling a bad-ass ninja named Ryu Habasa. He’s a Master Ninja, which I suppose is a bit like being a master carpenter, except you’re wielding Katanas instead of handsaws.
In true ninja style, Ryu can perform some incredible moves as you go about your mission to recover a stolen sword and avenge his slaughtered clan. Run up walls, do backflips, stealth kill your enemies; there’s nothing Ryu can’t do. You’ll find lots of Legend Of Zelda style puzzles in NGB, and the killer enemies in this title will stop you from ever turning off your XBOX again.
SoulCalibur 2 is one of those games that never gets old. I spent HOURS battling my mates on this game on both the Game Cube and the XBOX and couldn’t get enough of it. Playing as Spawn was so cool, and the music and levels are still stuck in my head today!
What did I like the most about Soulcalibur? I think getting the Soul Edge weapons for each character has to be it, the cool blades with the BOTW style Ganon-veins and eye design. The fact that you could also change your fighter’s clothing and appearance was cool too – everyone likes a custom character.
For those of you that have never played this game (why have you not played it!), Soulcalibur 2 is a fighting game similair to Street Fighter but with weapons. There are lots of different characters to choose from, some human, some down-right monstrous.
Each character has different weapons that can be unlocked as you progress, keeping you coming back for more. It’s one of my favourite games of all time, and the extra modes including Team and Mission really helped to mix things up and keep it addictive. Buy this game – you need it in your life.
I first came across the Half-Life series when my neighbour bought a copy for his PC. When Half-Life 2 was pinned as one of the upcoming best XBOX games to have ever graced the world of gaming, I knew that I had to give it a try.
Many critics say that Half-Life 2 was a pivotal game in the first-person-shooter genre. It’s hailed as being the title that sparked ideas for games like Destiny and went on to have multiple sequels and a very illustrious sales record.
If you’re a fan of FPS, brain-boggling puzzle gameplay with aliens, futuristic weapons, and vehicles that defy the laws of physics, then Half-Life 2 will be your new best friend. Fans of the Metroid Prime series will notice some similarities in the game design, which can only ever be a good thing.
Players control Gordon Freeman, the games glasses-wearing gun-wielding protagonist. You have to pick up weapons and items as you go along, upgrading your arsenal as the game progresses. The games graphics are what sets it apart from other titles in the genre, with critics praising Valve’s Source engine for creating what many still consider to be one of the greatest titles ever made.
If we had a dollar for every time we’ve raced around one of the tracks on Project Gotham Racing 2, then we’d probably be able to buy the car on the cover. What… a… GAME!
Sure, the original ran smoothly and was well made, but PGR2 was where it was at. Better graphics, improved levels, and car handling that was silky smooth. Just look at the attention to detail on that Barcelona cityscape – the XBOX shouldn’t be able to make games look that good!
Unlike your Mario Kart’s and your Forza Racing games, the way to progress up the ranks differs greatly in PGR. It’s not just enough to come first in a race; you gotta’ drive fast and score tonnes of kudos points by overtaking other drivers and power sliding like Jeremy Clarkson on his morning coffee run.
With over 110+ cars to unlock and a whole host of memorable courses, PGR2 is one game that you simply have to slot into your collection. Multiple difficulty modes and extra features such as Time Attack, Quick Battles, and Online Play will turn you and your mates into speed freaks before you know it.
You might recognise the voice of our next protagonist from his previous work as Alpha 5 in Power Rangers, the Zoni in Ratchet and Clank, and Kaos in Skylanders. Richard Horvitz delivers the character of Raz in Psychonauts perfectly, adding an extra depth to this superbly addictive and vibrant game.
Psychonauts follows a boy with psychic powers who wants to become a super spy – a Psychonaut. It’s a third-person platform game that sees you trying to uncover and stop a terrible plot at the Psychonaut training camp, travelling through psychedelic levels and interacting with cool characters from trippy worlds.
This brain-bending title from the mind of Tim Schafer didn’t do incredibly well at launch despite highly positive reviews. In recent years, however, it has garnered a loyal cult following of gamers who have finally realised this games potential.
Raz must travel through a host of real and ‘mental’ levels collecting figments of imagination and emotional baggage (honest!). There are big bosses to defeat and lots of exciting adventures to be had along the way, all in a game with a unique design that makes the N64 title 40 Winks look like a pleasant dream.
Burnout 3: Takedown is one of my all-time favourite racing games, purely because it had lots of other elements to it that separated it from other titles of its kind. Apart from being an integral part of the game, the Takedowns were so cool, filling up that boost meter for that all-important speed-shove to get in front of your opponent or to beat your previous high score.
It was critically acclaimed on release, with gaming bigwigs calling it the greatest racing game ever made. That’s pretty high praise when Need for Speed was tearing up the streets at the same time!
Burnout 3 had just over 170 levels spread across three continents, each one with stunning scenes and memorable corners that got you every single damn time! For me, one of the most exciting parts was unlocking new cars.
With 67 sweet rides to choose from, you were always bound to unlock a favourite sooner or later, and playing this game was the only chance that I’d ever have to ride some of those sweet vehicles! Give it a go, and I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
Next up on our list of the best original XBOX games is Jade Empire, a stunning action RPG with an epic plotline and some tasty graphics to say that the XBOX could only throw out 480p. Taking inspiration from ancient Chinese tales and folklore, this game even had its own language – that’s some J.R.R. Tolkien stuff right there!
There is a morality element to the game, with certain actions revealing a certain path that the player may unwillingly find themselves wandering down. Every action has a purpose and a meaning, and it’s up to you how your character changes throughout the game.
Players take control of a Spirit Monk whose gender is chosen at the start of the game. You must chat with dragons, defeat Lotus Assassins, accomplish death-defying feats and unlock hidden mysteries along the way.
Skill points can be collected to harness and upgrade different abilities, and there are other elements to consider such as falling in love with other characters at certain stages of the game.
It’s very much like Fable, but in Ancient Asia, and the original score and storyline are what made this game so incredible. The world is rich and full of exciting adventure, and Jade Empire is a game that you won’t ever want to put down.
I first played Beyond Good & Evil on the GameCube and got hold of a copy for the original XBOX a few years later.
It’s one of these games that never leaves you and is kind of a cross between Prince of Persia, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, and Starfox Adventures. It stars Jade, a photo-snapping adventurer with a bad-ass stick and a whole heap of martial arts skills.
If you like solving puzzles and sneaking around, then this is one of the best original XBOX games that should be in your collection. Along with a pig called Pey’j, you must fight your way through an exciting world in the year 2435. Cue robot warriors and evil overlords!
Ubisoft certainly know how to make a good adventure game, and Jade is a powerful protagonist that means business. She’s on a mission to save some captured orphans and can use her camera to get currency that can be spent throughout the game.
Use other characters for gnarly combo moves and wield your combat staff like a boss. Jade can run, climb, push, pull, sidle, sneak, and fight her way through each of the levels, and there are tonnes of problems to solve along the way.
Shooting games were never the same after Halo: Combat Evolved crashed into our lives. The Master Chief was, and still is one of the coolest super soldiers alive. this game definitely paved the way for other titles like Borderlands further down the line.
It’s one of the first shooting games that I can remember with such an open map. The landscapes were huge, the vehicles were huge; everything was huge!
I still remember the first time that I climbed into a truck and mowed down enemies while ploughing through the jungle. Ah; memories!
The Master Chief is a super-enhanced soldier from the 26th Century. He has an artificial intelligence unit called Cortana (which would go on to become the XBOX’s answer to Siri).
You must defeat aliens while discovering the circular world of ‘The Halo’. Of course, the single-player mode was unreal, but it was the multiplayer that really shone through.
Putting such an amazing game as a launch title was an incredibly clever move. Plus with the Master Chief at the helm, the XBOX was always destined for greatness (I know I should have seen it at the time – I was one of those people that thought Link would beat Master Chief in a fight…I bet he still would).
Star Wars titles are always a winner in my book, and the next game in our list of the best original XBOX games was one of the very best. A new spellbinding story, interesting characters, and lightsabers – what’s not to love!
This game has a similar style to Jade Empire and the worlds are just as stunning and richly created. It’s set 4,000 years before the formation of the Galactic Empire. the Sith are still trying to kill off the Jedi and visa-versa.
Characters can either turn towards the Light Side or Dark Side of the force as they progress through the game. It all depends on your actions and the people that you interact with.
Let’s be honest though; turning to the Dark Side has gotta’ be way cooler, right?
Gamers play as a Jedi and can choose from either a scout, a soldier, or a scoundrel (I’m guessing the last one is more of your Han Solo type).
Other characters can join in the fight in true RPG action, and you can even make use of force powers later on through the game, undoubtedly the best move in any sci-fi series.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic contains over three-hundred different characters that you can come into contact with and fifteen thousand lines of speech – now that definitely sounds like a Lucas Arts production.
If you’re looking for a game that you can truly get lost in, then Knights Of The Old Republic should be high up on your wish list.
The next title on our list of the best Original XBOX games is one that made me curse and shout in anger so many times. Stealth games were always something that I wished I was good at, and while I loved Tom Clancey’ Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, I was totally terrible at it.
Sneaking around with a gun in the shadows was awesome though, and like Burnout 3 with the cool cars, this is the closest that I will ever come to being a spy.
If you liked Mission Impossible and Goldeneye (let’s face it – who didn’t), then this will have you jumping behind the sofa to shoot your cat with a banana in no time.
Pandora tomorrow is the sequel to the first Splinter Cell game and sees the return of Sam Fisher as the main protagonist. If I could walk around in black-ops-style uniform with night vision goggles without getting funny looks, I totally would.
Then again, if anyone looks at Sam wrong, he can just shoot them. Slow and steady wins the race in this game; gung-ho attitudes will get you killed in a matter of minutes!
Shoot while hanging upside down, SWAT turn past doorways, lug bodies around, take out enemies with laser-sight precision; this is all the stuff that kids dream of doing for a living!
There are very few shocking titles out there in the world than the GTA series, and Number 4 on our list off the best original XBOX games was one of the loudest, crudest, and exciting of them all.
Based on real-life street gangs and their turf wars in 90s LA, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas revolves around the made-up state of San Andreas. You’ll find guns, fast cars, drugs, tonnes of money, crime, and sex in this game – basically all of the good stuff.
These games are designed to push boundaries and let players go a little wild, prompting concerned mothers all over the world to have ongoing battles with their children about how inappropriate they are.
And judging by the incredibly odd ‘Hot Coffee Mod’, I reckon they might be right! (Look it up if you’re unfamiliar with it – it’s NSFW stuff). Still, that’s why we love San Andreas, and we wouldn’t change a thing.
San Andreas follows the same pattern for using incredible acting talent providing the character voices as the rest of the GTA series, with appearances from David Cross, Samuel L. Jackson, Ice T, and Young Maylay as the main man himself.
The game itself is pretty much a ‘free for all’ no-holds-barred title, with money being earnt through burglary, defeating rival gangs, or killing someone with more of it than you.
Gamble, ride souped-up cars, and generally be a bad-ass gangster. Whoever said that the XBOX didn’t provide you with original experiences!
If you’re a self-confessed fantasy nerd who knows every house sigil in Game of Thrones but still gets confused as to whether their partner’s birthday is the third of the fourth or a fourth of the third (my girlfriend is a long-suffering hero), then The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is probably already one of your all-time favourite games.
Bethesda are the masters of open-world gameplay, and this is the kind of RPG that the kids in Stranger Things would have dreamt about playing every night (if they were alive in the 80s…or real people).
I say that because it’s strongly based on the D&D franchise and features some epic quests that will leave you begging your friends to come round dressed in capes to watch you play.
The game sees the main character being brought to Morrowind for a pardon; it’s a theme that you’ll recognise from other titles in the series and a nod to the fact that things are probably going to get worse for you from here on out.
A Journey To Remember
Like many games on this list, the player can choose a class and develop certain skill attributes while travelling through the different levels while you prepare to battle an evil god.
The plot is like Lord Of The Rings on turbo mode and is so complicated that It would take me another hour to explain it in terms that were easy to understand, but that’s what makes RPG games so exciting – role play is supposed to be nerdy, after all!
Once again, the XBOXs graphics look incredible considering the output and the game itself was so immersive I could lose myself in it for hours.
It’s a true gem and, unsurprisingly, another winner of ‘game of the year’. This console is like a portable awards ceremony!
Halo: Combat Evolved might have been the game that changed shooting titles forever, but Halo 2 was the one that drove the brand to insane heights. It brought about books, clothes, lunch boxes, costumes, and tonnes of other merchandise that helped to sell this incredible title. Halo 2 was more than just a game; it was an XBOX institution.
This sequel sees upgraded weapons, maps, and new vehicles. XBOX live multiplayer on those incredible maps was something else – it was like Metroid Prime on steroids!
Once again, players control the Master Chief as he destroys The Flood while romping around the Halo, which turns out was an ancient weapon all along. Who would have thought it?
Why do I like Halo 2 more than the first offering in the series? It just works; it’s as though the games developers ironed out their technique with the first game and used Halo 2 to really show the world what they were made of.
The online multiplayer undoubtedly made XBOX live one of the most popular gaming platforms on the market too, with gamers everywhere rushing to get a piece of the action. It’s the best selling original XBOX game of all time, pushing 8-million units and keeping the accolade of ‘best XBOX live title’ for two years in a row.
Super smooth gameplay, BOTW-style maps a decade before the switch even came out, and some of the most memorable bad guys from any game series. It’s a classic, which is why it’s taken the number two spot in our list of the best original XBOX games.
Some of you might think that having Fable at the top of the list is a controversial choice, but not me. I loved this game so freakin’ much and played it over and over again so many times.
I know we’ve talked about the morality pathway element in a couple of the previous games, but this was the first game that I ever played where it really seemed to work and was visually apparent as you worked your way through Albion.
The fact that you could specialise in certain abilities and that you could choose to be bad or good meant that there were so many different ways to play, giving you tonnes of value for money.
The original Fable, and indeed the entire series, was a cross between the Sims and Black and White, the game where you’re a god to loads of little minions. It had the fighting and adventure elements of Zelda titles mixed in with the force powers of Star Wars and games like Holy Magic Century.
The story was compelling, the moves were cool, and customising your character with new and upgraded weaponry and armour added to the overall enjoyment factor.
The optional quests kept hardy gamers occupied from beginning till end, and there was always something that I missed every time I replayed it. It’s a worthy contender for the top spot in our list of the best original XBOX games and a truly awesome adventure RPG.
When Was The Xbox First Released?
15 November 2001.
Can you believe that this console has just turned 19! They grow up… or rather grow old so fast!
How Many First-Generation Xbox Consoles Sold?
(2-million more than the GameCube, but who’s counting…)
Yes, the Xbox went on to sell 24-million units and paved the way for the XBOX 360, which would go on to sell a whopping 84-million consoles.
Many of our most beloved Microsoft titles were born on the Xbox, with the 360 becoming a platform for HD versions, prequels, and further titles that would propel all of the games in this list onto the XBOX One and beyond.
How Many Original Xbox Games Are There?
999 games released for the original Xbox.
Part of me wonders whether this was a deliberate choice, while another part of me wishes Microsoft had released just one more title to make it 1,000!
Which Games Launched With The Original Xbox?
The Xbox had a whole host of games released at launch, probably the biggest list of any console.
Some popular launch titles include Halo: Combat Evolved, Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, Project Gotham Racing, Max Payne and Dead or Alive 3.
What Are The Best Original Xbox Games?
As with any of our best games articles, it’s so hard to whittle them down to just 30 titles (I had to do 50 for the best N64 games because it was impossible to choose my favourites).
I spent a lot of time playing the titles on this list with my dad when I lived at home, and the amount of hours I put into the game at Number 1 doesn’t even bear thinking about!
So, all of the games have been tried and tested by yours truly. I’ve listed my favourites, and I hope you like them!
How Do I Buy Xbox Games?
As the Xbox is about the right age to go to university or get a job in the city now, the best original Xbox games are undoubtedly all second-hand. The retro gaming community knows how to look after their gear, however, so there’s plenty of products in good condition out there.
By clicking on the numbered title of each game, either of the pictures, the useful ‘Buy Here’ button, or by seeking out the game title in the text, you can travel over to the official buying page for each game!
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.