games / Columns

The Top 8 Non-Backward Compatible Original Xbox Games

March 2, 2021 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m back again to talk about games that are somewhat locked to their original console but in this case it is the original Xbox. The truly odd thing is, going from Xbox to the Xbox 360, a little less than half of the games were backwards compatible. Like, 461 out of 997 were compatible. That’s actually pretty good if you think about it. On the Xbox One, Series S/X, there are 42 games out of 997 that are backward compatible. That is…less good. With that said, here are some games that should be compatible but aren’t. I’m also not mentioning Deathrow because I always do it in these original Xbox lists. Enjoy:

#8: Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is comparatively low on this list but for a good reason. It’s one of the only two games I could actually see being re-issued in some sort of HD remaster, or a basic port job. I mean, heck, Warner Bros. owns it all, they could just announce “And on the release day of the new Mortal Kombat film, we also have an HD port of Shaolin Monks available as well for all consoles/PC”. Wouldn’t that be really nice?

#7: Marvel vs. Capcom 2

This is the other game that is in contention for “Possible re-release down the road”. Considering that Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has almost zero fans and is barely played at all, why not bring back an older game that is actually beloved? The fact that MvsC 2 actually did come to the 360/PS3 digital storefronts in 2009 but weren’t brought forward to later consoles is kind of nuts to me. I mean, Arcade1Up just put out that Marvel Vs. Capcom cabinet with older Vs. games, aside from MvsC2, likely because the hardware in that thing couldn’t run it quite at full speed. You know what could though, an Xbox Series X, Series S and a PS5 for that matter.

#6: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

Recent Joss Whedon news be damned, I really dug the first Buffy game on the original Xbox. While Sarah Michelle Gellar didn’t voice Buffy herself, the replacement they got was incredibly close and the rest of the cast showed up and did good jobs. The gameplay itself was a pretty standard third-person brawler but I kind of dug the fact that, like in the show, you actually had to stake the vampires in order to actually kill them. Or if you didn’t want to stake them, you could throw them on various wooden implements that would impale them and also kill them. The second Buffy game wasn’t nearly as good as this one.

#5: Gunvalkyrie

Gunvalkyrie is still such a weird game. You could play as two people in mech suits, I think the guy was slower but had better weapons and the woman was more agile/faster but had slightly weaker attacks. You basically just blasted alien bugs over and over in levels. The kind of crazy part was the control system, which is still nuts. There were parts in the game where you basically couldn’t land on the ground and you had to boost around in mid-air, or else you would die. To boost though, you had to click in the left thumb stick, which you also used to move, to actually boost, which made for an extremely weird system. You also had to boost around to charge up your weapons for more power, if I remember right. It was, and still is, such a bonkers control system that it is burned into my memory.

#4: Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

Now Butcher Bay actually did come to the 360 as a combo pack with Assault on Dark Athena, a sequel to it. But the original Butcher Bay or Dark Athena are compatible with the current systems and that’s a shame. Dark Athena is “fine” but misses the magic of Butcher Bay. BB was a quasi-open world FPS stealth game where you would slink around as Riddick, take out prison guards, participate in prison fights and just try to survive and escape from the titular Butcher Bay. Butcher Bay is still, easily, one of the best melee and stealth FPS games around and the fact that you can’t easily play it on modern consoles or on the PC, is a shame.

#3: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

It’s kind of clear that Disney/Marvel don’t have a ton of interest in making solo games for their characters and that’s fine. Why not bring back an old and beloved game instead? This Hulk game was great, you could stomp around the city, chucking buses at helicopters, mowing down enemy soldiers, and tearing apart cars to use as brass knuckles on your fists. I actually think I enjoy it more than Spider-Man 2 because it honestly just has more/better side content for you to do. If Disney isn’t going to make more solo games and Avengers is going to continue to be a wash, bring back some of the older games.

#2: The Warriors

Warriors and the next game on this list would be hard to bring back due to rights issues. Specifically, with Warriors, it’s the actors likeness probably being expired and having to be re-licensed. That and the actor who played Cyrus in the game sued them for using his likeness without paying him. Still, The Warriors is one of the best Rockstar games made, it has some fun gameplay, great music and perfectly nails down the vibe and feeling of the movie itself. I remember the Xbox version was far superior to the PS2 one, and it’s a shame they didn’t make it playable for today’s generation.

#1: Aggressive Inline

This is the other game that will likely never be brought to the Xbox (or other platforms) because of rights stuff. While the game does use real skater’s likeness in the game, this particular issue would probably be more music-rights focused. The Ataris aren’t cheap, after all. You’d think that with the recent, fairly big, success of Tony Hawk 1 + 2, someone might see that there is a demand for these games and of the other ilk, Aggressive Inline was clearly the best Tony Hawk clone there was.

For comments, list which original Xbox games you’d like to see emulated and why.

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