First batch of Original Xbox Games arrive on Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility – Should you be playing them?
Xbox One Backwards Compatibility additions may have been quieter than usual in recent weeks, but now we are seeing interest boil up to an all-time high as Microsoft have brought the first wave of original Xbox titles to Xbox One via the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program. With Original Xbox titles now available thanks to the sizeable list of new additions, here are our thoughts on which ones are most deserving of your time, along with the one’s we’d recommend you leave in the past – although should you be one that enjoys going back in time, this week’s arrivals hardly have anything you wouldn’t want to be playing.
Black – PLAY
EA may not be well associated with story driven single player adventures anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s always been that way. Back in 2006 we saw the arrival of Black, a first-person shooter from developers Criterion Games and with EA behind them, it turned out to be a game that was quite simply an all-round fantastic experience and a real showcase for the FPS genre.
With a huge level of environmental destruction, and a fluid action packed story that put players in the shoes of Black Ops Soldier Sergeant First Class Jack Kellar, Black had it all.
Although the lack of the sequel that many of us wished for was certainly an opportunity missed by EA, the chance to jump back into this classic shooter is one that should certainly not be missed and with its arrival on Xbox One, there’s now another chance to play through one of EA’s finest titles once more.
BloodRayne 2 – PLAY
Action hack and slashers have been popular over the years with series such as Devil May Cry and BloodRayne bringing us the classic combat we’ve enjoyed for so long. With BloodRayne 2 now available on Xbox One, players once more have the chance to step back into the shoes of Rayne, this time many years after the original, with the story tasking players with hunting down the offspring of Kagan, Rayne’s vampiric father and her half-siblings.
BloodRayne 2 was an exceptional game that was well received by its players – this player in particular. With addictive gameplay, great cutscenes and a brilliant story, we should all be looking to get to grips with it again.
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge – PLAY
Since the announcement that Original Xbox games would be coming to Xbox One, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge has been at the top of many players wish lists, and that is all thanks to its cult classic status.
Taking place in the Crimson Skies universe across an alternate history of the 1930s, increased sectionalism within the US has caused the country to split. Nation-states are now at war and has left pirate gangs to traverse the skies – leaving them ready to take any plane or Zeppelin not properly secured.
Crimson Skies: Hight Road to Revenge was one of the more unique titles to arrive on the Original Xbox, with praise for its high-quality graphics, airplane models, impressive explosions, large open environments and some brilliant audio and voice acting.
It may not have been one of the best-selling titles first time round, but there were certainly a lot who found plenty to praise and that means there’s every reason to go back and check it out again.
Dead to Rights – PLAY
Back in 2002 when the gun-fu (guns and lots of kung-fu) genre was highly popular, we saw many top titles coming onto our consoles. One of those was Dead to Rights.
Taking on the role of Police Officer Jack Slate, and his K-9 Unit, Shadow, Dead to Rights makes use of bullet-time. With Shadow sometimes accompanying Jack, players can command him to attack enemies, automatically taking down any enemy the player aims at before bringing back whatever they were carrying.
Dead to Rights may not have been the best game of its time, but it certainly provided a classic gaming experience. You should play it – even if it’s just for the over used bullet-time.
Fusion Frenzy – PLAY
Online multiplayer has now become the central focus for the gaming ecosystem, but the original days of Xbox painted a very different picture. Local multiplayer was the finest thing on the planet and sitting down with your friends to battle it out in your favourite games was seen as the pinnacle of gaming fun.
Cue Fusion Frenzy, a game that took note of the popularity of local multiplayer and sparked true competition in our lives, bringing with it a collection of 45 unique mini-games all bundled into one epic Xbox title, all of which were set in various well-designed 3-D urban environments and allowed us to challenge up three other competitors for the bragging rights.
Fusion Frenzy was a great hit amongst players. Should you be playing it again? Without a doubt you should.
Grabbed by the Ghoulies – LEAVE
Action adventure titles are one of the many genre’s that have been covered by the guys over at Rare throughout the years. One title in particular that has always stood out for me – after Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Viva Piñata of course – is Grabbed by the Ghoulies. However, that was only because the name was enough to make me giggle at the age of ten.
With repetitive gameplay seeing players do nothing much more than repeatedly bash enemies throughout the entire Ghoulhaven Hall, there was nothing to really keep players interested – at least not me – and that makes Grabbed by the Ghoulies quite the disappointment.
Of course, if you’ve enjoyed the Rare Replay Collection then there’s every chance you may want to add this one to your library just to get the true feel for some of the other titles from Rare, but I’d recommend you spend your time with some of the more deserving titles on this list.
Ninja Gaiden Black – PLAY
Dark Souls may be the most recent series to be renowned for its troublesome difficulty levels, but it hasn’t always been the talk of the town. You see, before it came the hack and slash action series Ninja Gaiden.
Ninja Gaiden Black is one of two remakes of the first game in the series, and follows the story of Ryu Hayabusa, a master ninja who is out to recover a stolen sword and avenge the horrid slaughter of his clan.
You’ll find yourself utilising many different magic spells – fireballs, ice storms, or bolts of lighting – as well as a vast array of sharpened weaponry as you attempt to fight flawlessly against the many enemies of Ninja Gaiden Black. The problem is that even the slightest hit from a foe will see huge chunks removed from your overall health bar.
But despite the rather crushing difficulty level, Ninja Gaiden Black was a big hit and one which spurned a number of successful sequels.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – PLAY
It’s not so often that we see a new game arrive offering third-person action-adventure puzzle-platforming, but back in the early 00’s, the gaming market was rife with such titles. One series that stood out amongst the rest was Prince of Persia.
With Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time now playable on Xbox One, players finally have the chance once more to follow the story of the unnamed Prince, after he obtains a precious artifact – the Dagger of Time. After being tricked in to releasing the magical Sands of Time, the city’s population is transformed into savage monsters, and the Prince along with the daughter of Maharaja’s daughter Fara, must act fast to correct his mistake and return the Sands to the hourglass.
Sands of Time comes with a heavy focus on platforming abilities, fighting, and the key rewind feature that can be utilized if and when the Prince makes a mistake. It’s a full-on classic and with a great story, addictive gameplay, and beautiful visuals (at least for its time), there is no reason not to head back into the unique tale once more.
Psychonauts – PLAY
It may have initially been seen as a commercial failure, but in the time since release, Psychonauts has become a beloved title in the community, gaining a bit of a cult following that has seen huge sales.
Taking control of Raz, a young boy gifted with psychic abilities who runs away from the circus in an attempt to sneak into a summer camp for those with similar powers and the hope of becoming a Psychonaut, there is possibly no other game that will let you become a spy with psychic abilities. Gameplay sees you exploring the strange and rather imaginative minds of the many characters found within as Raz helps them overcome their fears and memories.
It’s fair to say that with such a cult following, Psychonauts is one of the most popular of the new OG Xbox arrivals and is certainly worth heading back to if you are looking for a classic adventure.
Red Faction II – PLAY
It may not be the most popular game in the franchise, but Red Faction II was indeed another great entry in the series.
After an exciting start with the original title, Red Faction II provides another great storyline, this time placing you in the role of explosives expert – Alias.
Red Faction II sends players on a special operation to retrieve and claim the research data for the Republic of Commonwealth – the military state currently ruling the red planet. However, after a betrayal from their leader, Sopot, the player’s squad joins up with the mercenary resistance known as the Red Faction in order to fight back against Sopot and his Commonwealth regime.
If you’re looking to dive into a fantastic story, and head back on a nostalgic trip through a classic FPS adventure, Red Faction II is a game well deserving of your time.
Sid Meier’s Pirates! – PLAY
From the man who brought you those epic Civilization titles, comes a 2004 remake of an old ’80s game.
Sid Meier’s Pirates sees you playing as a swashbuckling pirate and not only can you sail the seven seas, look for treasure, engage in sword fights, ship battles and invade cities – but you can dance as well.
Playing like a load of mini games put together in one big shiny package, I had a blast playing Pirates back in the day. It felt a massive game at the time, and the wealth of things to do seemed amazing for the size of the console.
So stick your parrot on your shoulder, practice your foxtrot, polish your weapon and get back on board.
Other New Arrivals
Whilst we would love to be able to give an opinion on every game that arrives on Xbox One via backwards compatibility, there are some that arrive on the program that our reviewers haven’t spent enough time with to give a suitable opinion – or if they did the game was too unmemorable to warrant thought. These games do however deserve a mention…
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars: KOTOR was a game met with high praise from the community and it won countless awards including a BAFTA Games Award for the Xbox Game of the Year. Gameplay is based on the Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars Roleplaying Game with combat being round based, with each seeing time being divided into rounds, allowing combatants to attack and react simultaneously.
Following an alignment system that tracks speech and actions from simple word choice to major plot decisions, something which then determines whether the player’s character aligns with the light or dark side of the Force, and with such high praise and a huge following, there are sure to be many who will be pleased at it’s arrival.
King of Fighters Neowave
2D fighters were plentiful in the original Xbox’s lifetime, but King of Fighters Neowave was one of those often praised graphically and mechanically. There is no storyline involved with King of Fighters Neowave but instead it uses a “Dream Match” which gathers characters from numerous King of Fighters games for players to compete with.
So, they have finally arrived and what a list we have, with the majority being well worth a look at once more – in fact only Grabbed by the Ghoulise is one we aren’t too bothered about – there is plenty to choose from for those wanting to dive in to their nostalgic memories once more.
Will you be picking up any of the recent additions? Let us know in the comments below or via our usual social channels.