The 2001 launch of Microsoft's Xbox proved to be a monumental and game-changing moment in video game history. A new player had entered the fray, joining Sony and Nintendo. The new system was well received and is a classic. It was a successful enough start that Microsoft remains a powerhouse in the industry to this day.
Everyone remembers the big hits for the Xbox. Halo, Forza Motorsport, Jet Set Radio Future, and Fable are just some of them. But we wanted to look at the hidden gems for the Xbox. The games that weren't huge hits or among the most memorable, yet still hold a special place in our gaming hearts. These are the 10 hidden original Xbox gems you may have missed out on.
We'll start with a survival horror game that was released in October of 2005. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was based on H.P. Lovecraft's 1936 novella The Shadow over Innsmouth. Players controlled mentally unstable private eye Jack Walters as he investigated an isolated town.
What made this game so unique was the way it blended genres. Along with the survival horror and mystery elements, it also played like a realist first-person shooter and a stealth game. The game was met with widespread acclaim, but the sales severely lacked. Planned sequels had to be canceled, as was a PS2 version.
One of the coolest aspects included in many action-adventure video games is a co-op mode. It allows gamers to play through a compelling story mode alongside their friends. That's just what made 2003's Brute Force so appealing. The game focused on a squad of four characters sent to deal with a hostile alien force. Simple, yet effective.
The game was far from perfect and the single-player mode left a lot to be desired. But we couldn't help but love the fun that was had when teaming up with friends. Each character brought something different to the table, meaning your experience could vary with each playthrough. It was a hit upon release but has since been forgotten by most of the world.
When IGN released their official list of the greatest Xbox games of all time, Jade Empire ranked near the top. That's how great this game was. It received fantastic reviews from nearly everyone, including a perfect score from GameSpy. Despite that high praise, this is often forgotten about by most people when discussing the original Xbox.
Released in April 2005, Jade Empire was an action role-playing game based on Chinese mythology. You controlled the last surviving Spirit Monk as you attempt to take down a corrupt Emporer and save your teacher. It was praised for the story, gameplay, score, script, and even the language constructed purely for this game. It deserved to be a bigger hit than it was.
Beyond Good & Evil hit stores on November 11 2003, and it wasn't something that had a lot of hype behind it. During a showing at E3 2002, the game received a negative response. Thankfully, the developers listened to that reaction and worked hard to fix the game ahead of its official release date.
It followed investigative reporter Jade as she formulated a resistance against an alien conspiracy. The action-adventure elements came into play during martial arts-based combat scenes. Though the combat was a flaw, most of the other elements were praised. The story and design were great and though it didn't do much in terms of sales, it has become a cult hit.
This is one of the more unique and odd games you'll find on this list. Voodoo Vince allowed you to control a voodoo doll through a platforming adventure. While some of the moves you could pull off were basic, Vince yielded voodoo powers to destroy the enemies that stood in his path.
Vince's story saw him attempting to rescue his creator Madam Charmaine from the evil Kosmo the Indestructible. It sounds like something a kid would love, but there were plenty of elements that helped this earn a "teen" rating from the ESRB. The charismatic game became such a cult favorite that it was ultimately remastered for the Xbox One and PC.
It's honestly kind of amazing that more people don't talk about this one. Breakdown is a first-person game, but not your standard first-person shooter. Instead, it used that perspective in a unique storytelling manner that helped this stand out from other games. They also used realistic aspects for interacting with objects and weapons, making you feel like you were really part of the action.
The premise was like something out of a great dramatic indie film. You started the game trapped in a mysterious lab with no memory of how you got there. While there, the protagonist was injected with a serum that gave him powers which added a lot to the overall fun of the game. Critics praised it for being compelling and said it had enormous potential as a franchise if it had been a bigger hit.
This was one of the most unique and intriguing video games released during this era. Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit outside of North America) was an interactive drama game that felt more like a movie than anything else. It was something very different back in 2005 when it hit stores.
Being so unique was probably a major reason why it got overlooked by so many folks. People wanted games with shooting, action, adventure, and excitement. Interactive cinema just didn't click with a lot of fans who were more interested in a game than a film. But if you got to play Indigo Prophecy you appreciated it for the captivating story it told. At the time, there was almost nothing else like it on the market.
Remember how we said co-op games were a blast? That was again the case with 2002's Hunter: The Reckoning. It allowed players to choose from four different characters all blessed with fighting and magical abilities. The story that got them there was a bit wacky, but who doesn't like some wackiness from their video gaming experience? You should expect it when it is based on a popular role-playing game of the same name.
Hunter: The Reckoning was mostly met with positive acclaim, including scoring a 79 on Metacritic. Combat was a blast as you could use melee weapons, guns, a bow, and arrow, or your magical powers. While it wasn't a huge hit, it did manage to do well enough to spawn two sequels, though one was exclusive to the PlayStation 2.
There is probably no game on this list that is more flat out fun than Fuzion Frenzy. Many people knew of it because a demo was included with more popular games like Halo. However, those who overlooked it missed out. This launch title was a multiplayer party game featuring a variety of mini-games to compete in.
Whether you were taking part in a tournament against your friends or just trying out the mini-games for fun, you were guaranteed a good time. The Xbox 360 sequel wasn't nearly as good, so stick with the original. Think of this as a less popular version of the Mario Party franchise to get a true feel for how cool this was.
Originally released in April 2005, Psychonauts is probably the definition of an overlooked gem. Almost everyone who played it fell in love with it, as it received high marks in most reviews. The writing, character quirks, art design, innovations, presentation, and plot were all considered to be strong suits. Unfortunately, the game only sold about 100,000 copies when released and was a huge financial loss for the publisher.
In Psychonauts, players controlled Raz, a boy with psychic abilities who runs away from the circus. He attempts to enter a summer camp to become a psychonaut, which is a spy with psychic skills. However, that takes him on a wild mission due to a sinister plot going on at the camp. The gameplay saw people going head to head with enemies and solving puzzles, allowing for variety during gaming.