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  1. #61
    The Friday fun blowout:

    Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Critical Hour
    Yes, it has its own exclusive Rainbow Six entry. The fifth entry in the series and a main one at that, the game returned the series back to its roots after the poorly received Lockdown but any praise for that was hit by criticism of the game lacking in content. Due to this sales weren't strong and so a planned PS2 version was cancelled leading to this becoming another of the Xbox's own exclusives.

    Rallisport Challenge 2
    A traditional sequel and racer in most senses, the game offers five classifications of car to choose from and a Championship mode to work through. The game was well received as well but didn't sell quite enough to warrant DICE's attention further especially with another franchise to pursue...

    Sega GT 2002
    Another attempt at the sim racer crown and the second push from Sega following the Dreamcast incarnation of the game. Though well received most would be familiar from the game being packed in with Xbox's alongside Jet Set Radio Future. A year after release an updated version was released containing online play as well but with Forza arriving in 2005 there was no room at all for a third push.

    Spikeout: Battle Street
    Another of Sega's numerous Xbox games that failed to land the mark on Xbox, this was a continuation of the arcade series of 3D beat em ups and was the last game in the series that shared some similarities to the Streets of Rage series.

    Star Wars: Obi-Wan
    Acting as both a prequel and retelling to The Phantom Menace, the game sees players take on the role of Obi-Wan in a third person action title. The right analogue is used to control the lightsaber actions in combat and the game found itself on Xbox after Dark Forces II was considered to have underperformed on PC.

    Were any of these games fun or just a Force?

  2. #62
    For shame that several of these get no attention!

    Panzer Dragoon Orta: I know I should love this more than I do but when it comes to the Dragoon series I've always held a preference for Starfox. Saga was absolutely seminal though, it screamed being the future of the franchise and a sequel on PS2 felt like a slam dunk so when Orta turned up it felt like a let down just out of principle. I appreciate it trying to follow up the story but it could never deliver given the limited scope of being a rail shooter rather than a sprawling RPG.

    Project Gotham Racing 1/2: I remember picking the first one up on the systems launch. I was more interested in it than Halo after enjoying MSR so much but the game was a little too overly similar. The sequel was a big step up though. My memories of the series now rest mostly with PGR4, that entry still looks good today.

    Rallisport Challenge 2: I can't even remember when or how I came to play this now but it was brilliant. Something about the way the cars handle just clicked. So many discontinued racing series and all more interesting and preferable to endless Forza's.

  3. #63
    I'm really enjoying these rundowns mate.

    It's fascinating for me because, as I've said, there is so much I don't know about on this platform. I'm planning to pick up a unit in the near future and once I have, I'll share impressions in here of the games I'm playing.

    Maximum Chase looks like pure @QualityChimp bait.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by wakka View Post
    I'm really enjoying these rundowns mate.

    It's fascinating for me because, as I've said, there is so much I don't know about on this platform. I'm planning to pick up a unit in the near future and once I have, I'll share impressions in here of the games I'm playing.

    Maximum Chase looks like pure @QualityChimp bait.
    Yeah, that looks mint! Like Stuntman made by the Import Tuner Challenge guys!

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Neon Ignition View Post
    Kung Fu Chaos
    Players control a range of characters as they make a kung fu movie with gameplay used to produce footage of the film which players can watch later on. The game was well received from is mostly notable for being the first title made by Just Add Monsters, the studio that would take what it learnt here and go on to rebrand itself as Ninja Theory.
    Weird one, this. In the relatively small ring of "games that are a bit like Power Stone" it rates quite highly in gameplay. It had good stages, decent controls, it performed well... Even had an interesting gimmick in that it was about characters filming a Kung Fu movie, so at the end of each stage, you would see a replay from dramatic angles, with grainy footage and those 70s-style sound FX.

    Unfortunately, it also has a "director" character narrating everything in a "Chinese" accent that sounded like something out of a 70s sitcom that we try not to think about in 2021. I freely admit that it didn't strike me at the time, but I met someone years later who pointed out how they thought it was offensive and I can see it in retrospect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neon Ignition View Post
    MechAssault / MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf
    These mech games were amongst the first Xbox Live enabled offerings in a series that saw warring factions battle in mechanical machines against one another. The online aspect was the key draw though with both games receiving positive reviews though the sequel found itself hampered by allowing the visuals to become dated and not putting enough into the single player.
    Mechassault has a distinction I think of being both an Xbox launch game and an Xbox Live launch game, when the game was patched on Live's launch maybe a year after its release. For a long time, this and MotoGP were the definitive Xbox Live games (IIRC MotoGP was actually the template upon which all Xbox Live 1.0 functionality was based).

    I loved both of them, and I'm actually kinda gutted that the franchise didn't continue.

    Midtown Madness 3
    At the time this was one of Microsofts most well known pre-existing franchises so making the jump from PC to console seemed like an obvious move. The game arrived with vastly better visuals than its predecessors and saw players free roam an open city exploring and completing missions. Like several other Xbox titles it also made use of Xbox Live to feature an online multiplayer mode but in the end fell foul to abandoning its PC audience and not having enough meat to it to keep players engaged on console which led to MS abandoning the property.
    Easily my favourite Xbox Live game; I lost track of the amount of hours I spent playing this in its "hunter" mode. Everyone spawns, and 1 player is a police car; when they touch a player, they become a police car, until it's 7 other players chasing down 1 person.

    I know that conceptually, it set up a formula that would later be arguably perfected in stuff like Burnout Paradise and various GTA games but this was one of the first really good open-world driving games with multiplayer support, and there was something very high-tech and cool about that.

    Mechassault, MotoGP and Midtown Madness actually make me nostalgic for something. Back when Xbox Live first started, the service had no first-person shooters. When the service launched, it focused on racing games (which had never been popular on PC, but worked very well on Live) and "vehicular action" games like Mechassault. This is going to seem super-gatekeepy but **** it; the service was expensive and the Xbox wasn't pitched at young users. You'd join a game of MotoGP with 12 players; everyone would have mics, everyone was cordial, it was a great time.

    It was when Halo 2 came along and it seemed like overnight, the atmosphere just transformed. Within a week every game was 12 year-olds with high-register voices just trying to offend people because the report tools didn't actually do anything.

  6. #66
    The penultimate day of our Xbox look back:

    Steel Battalion / Steel Battalion: Line of Contact
    The game ion which the controller is more famous than the game. Both titles made use of a 44 input controller to man your mech as you walked into battle in a title priced well outside the acceptable margins until the modern era where it no longer seems so bad. From powering up your mech through to full control, weapons systems and ejection the aim was to create the most realistic battle experience in mech the home had ever seen. The game was well received and enough so that Capcom turned around a follow up that was entirely online play focused but this limited its audience even further and largely saw the end of one of the most interesting Xbox exclusives ever made.

    Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus
    One of several attempts by Midway to make a fighting franchise beyond Mortal Kombat, Tao Feng aimed to be more realistic with greater interaction with stages - featuring realistic bruising and cloth tearing. The game received a mixed response though and Kombat once again reigned supreme.

    Toejam & Earl III: Mission to Earth
    Sega had long worked on how to keep the T&E franchise going since the Mega Drive days and it took all the way till their Dreamcast project to get traction, the version that was ultimately completed and released on Xbox. Despite some praise of the games tone and humour the gameplay was seen as flawed and yet another Sega stumble which meant the series would end up shelved again till 2019.

    Did any of these delight your senses?

  7. #67
    Here we are for the final day and the last of the Xbox exclusive games:

    Tork: Prehistoric Punk
    Only released in the US, players controlled Tork in a 3D platformers where the character can morph into several animals. Developed by ex-staffers of Rayman 2, the game was intended to be released by Microsoft itself but they dropped it later into development and THQ swooped in and released as a budget title.

    Toxic Grind
    In a world where skateboarding, BMX and inline skating are outlawed rule breakers are placed on a gameshow called Toxic Grind where losers face death. Despite the games set up it plays exactly like other such titles of the day.

    Used to beta test Xbox Live, this game saw players choose from 8 characters on a multitude of stages and whilst it will run on X360 it's glitched so the original Xbox remains the only system to run it properly even though the online servers ended in 2010.

    Originally intended for Gameboy Advance, this shooter also wriggled away from N-Gage leaving this as the only version to make it to market. A sequel was later launched on PS2, PC and PSP however.

    And that's it! Did you ever play any of these final Xbox exclusives?

  8. #68
    I mentioned I didn't have an Xbox BITD, but haven't played 99% of these but that Toejam & Earl game looks like nightmare fuel though.

    I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how amazing a concept Steel Battalion was, with that fantastic controller with the eject button.

    I do kinda wish I'd had chance to play it properly, but it always felt like you needed a dedicated setup to make the most of it...

  9. #69
    That set up is amazing, when I owned it I was crouched on a small bedroom floor trying to fit around it as I played. It was unique but unwieldy. I'd love to get it back and play it now but it goes for hefty prices usually

  10. #70
    I'd be a liar if I said I hadn't just looked at eBay for prices!


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