20 years. It’s been 20 long years of Xbox. Not all of it has been good – in fact, there are some periods we’d love to forget (the early Xbox One days come to mind). But for the most part, we’ve had an absolute blast over the past two decades.
We’re on our fourth(!) generation in the Xbox timeline, with dozens of launch titles arriving for each console along the way. Some were bad, some were average, and some were good enough to outlast the entire generation.
As the years go on, players often forget certain launch games for the newer, flashier titles, so today, let’s take a trip down memory lane! Here are some of the best Xbox launch titles from across the past 20 years of Xbox…
You can’t have a list of launch titles without mentioning the flagship title that kicked it all off. Halo: Combat Evolved sparked a franchise that is still going strong today and at the time was revolutionary. Featuring a sprawling epic of a campaign and split-screen multiplayer that graced the homes of players around the world, the FPS genre wouldn’t be what it is today without Halo, and the first entry is still an absolute blast to play.
Nintendo fans had Mario Party – we had Fuzion Frenzy. Featuring dozens of mini-games, Fuzion Frenzy was a staple party game during the original Xbox’s lifespan. It’s fast, frantic, and caused many arguments in households as players battled it out to become victorious. Even today, the Xbox community holds the nostalgic game in their hearts, still jumping into it via backwards compatibility. If only we could get another sequel…
Dead or Alive 3 was a massive leap in technology compared to its predecessors, and as a result, was an extremely well-received title from critics and fans alike. While the game played fairly similarly to Dead or Alive 2, it fine-tuned everything about it that worked so well, moulding itself into a fantastic fighter that took the Xbox by storm. You’d be hard-pressed to enter anyone’s house who owned the original Xbox and not find a copy of Dead or Alive 3 sitting there, waiting for you and your friends to duke it out in brutal fights. It’s a fantastic entry and a reminder of how great the series used to be.
Before the time of the Forza series, Project Gotham Racing was the franchise to carry the Xbox brand. Featuring revolutionary graphics for its time through four realistic recreated cities – San Francisco, London, Tokyo and New York City – the gameplay had a unique twist. Players were tasked to drive fast and complete challenges to win, instead of the traditional method of just coming first. It was an unusual concept, but one that resonated with fans over the years. While the series now seems to be dead and buried, we wouldn’t be opposed to it returning.
Sure, we have the incredible Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake available now, but back in 2001, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x was the next best thing. Featuring a variety of levels from both of the original Pro Skater games – along with some exclusive new stages – elements of Pro Skater 3 were also introduced. At the time, it was a perfect concoction of everything great about the series, with its arcade-style gameplay, superb graphics and addictive multiplayer modes. This was the definitive way to play the original THPS games for almost two decades.