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The (Forgotten) Xbox Originals

We look at which games from round 1 of Xbox you may have missed out on...

It wasn't all Halo, Fable and PGR.

The original Xbox had some left-field gems that went largely unnoticed, and many can still be played in your Xbox 360.

We round up the best of the hidden gems that never quite made it so mainstream acceptance, so you can cherry-pick the best of the original Xbox's history. Enjoy!

Jet Set Radio Future
Developer: Smilebit
Publisher: Sega
Release date: March 2002
Xbox 360 compatible: Yes

One of the first ever games for the original Xbox, Jet Set Radio Future plays a lot like somebody had explained the basic principals of extreme sports games to a Japanese developer who wasn't really paying attention. You play as one of the members of a "rudie" (skater/graffiti artist) gang in a future Tokyo where an authoritarian corporation is buying up whole city districts. Your gang's trespassing and tagging starts off as self-expression but soon becomes open rebellion.

Eventually the whole game descends into a massive dreamlike mess of mobsters, giant teddy bears, robots, lethal televised sports, alligators and sinister pocket-dimensions. We most definitely approve.

It's astonishing how charming JSRF manages to be through the art and music alone. The cell-shading and heavy stylisation of the characters and levels is still beautiful a whole generation later, and the game's playlist is something to be in awe of. We honestly haven't seen the likes
of it since.

Worth it for: Skating along the web of power cables high above the dismal slums of Kibogaoka Hill and breaking free of the city's walls, just for a moment.

Fahrenheit
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Atari
Release date: Sep 2005
Xbox 360 compatible: Yes

Zoom

How seriously can an adventure game take itself? Well, for the demo of Fahrenheit, Quantic Dream created an animated model of lead designer (and studio head, and musician) David Cage. Once the level had loaded he walked onto the "set" and explained why what you were going to play was important.

The thing that makes it all extra-weird is that the game's shtick (that all of your actions and choices have consequences later on in the plot) only applies even remotely to the first couple of levels, both of which are fantastic fun to play.

After that the simple murder plot descends into staggering nonsense involving a Mayan tribe, a secret organisation of militant hobos, the blooming of love between a hard-bitten cop and a corpse, the end of the world and (last but not least) a granny who turns out to be the internet. Not huge fun to play per se, but very, very fun to gawp at in wonderment.

Worth it for: The bit where your character spends a full ten minutes battling ghost insects during work at his office job, swinging off ceiling lights and spraying fire extinguishers, then tries to pass it off to concerned co-workers as an epileptic fit.

Aggressive Inline
Developer: Z-Axis Ltd
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
Release date: August 2002
Xbox 360 compatible: Yes

Developer Z-Axis might not have achieved legendary status, but it does have the accolade of having created the only good inline skating game ever. Aggressive Inline was pretty shameless when it came to lifting features from the Tony Hawk series. However, the control system was solid and Z-Axis really excelled in level design.

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