Xbox Hidden Gems (Part 2)

Xbox Hidden Gems (Part 2)

Discover four more worthwhile blasts from the past

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Retrospectives on

Microsoft has already digitally reissued a small number of their classic games yet many more remain in the depths of obscurity. Here, I'll discuss 4 original Xbox games that I think are still worth playing in 2018 and beyond.

Gunvalkyrie

Gunvalkyrie is one of those games that takes a while to get used to but once you're comfortable with it, it's sure to delight any 3D action game fan. If you've played an Earth Defense Force game then Gunvalkyrie will feel right at home. Not only do you blast away oversized insects with a variety of weapons, there's an additional challenge in its platforming. Being able to boost in the air and dash all over levels is exhilarating. On the other hand, falling down from a high ledge only to work your way all the way back up can be a huge pain. Anyway, it's made by Smilebit who also developed Jet Set Radio and Panzer Dragoon Orta so you can trust that it's quality stuff.

Gunvalkyrie screenshot
Fun fact: Gunvalkyrie released the same year as the film Eight Legged Freaks

Mad Dash Racing

Crystal Dynamics is mainly known for reinvigorating the Tomb Raider series from 2006's Tomb Raider: Legend to 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider. Before getting their hands on Lara, they made tons of top-notch platformers and action games including the incredible Legacy of Kain series. So, where does Mad Dash Racing fit into the equation? It's basically a racing game / platformer hybrid that features a wacky cast of animal characters and a killer soundtrack that includes awesome music from The Crystal Method, Fatboy Slim, and Moby. Man, the early-2000s were awesome. Mad Dash Racing makes competing with friends super-fun as you run around the lengthy and varied stages while performing feats such as swimming, climbing, and using power-ups. I wish more games like this came out nowadays.

Mad Dash Racing screenshot
These crazy critters make racing around in vehicles look lame in comparison

Ultra Bust-A-Move

Sure, Ultra Bust-A-Move isn't the best example of Taito's phenomenal bubble-busting puzzle series but it's the only one you'll find on the original Xbox. Although it's a unique entry in the series, the tight gameplay and colourful presentation are in full swing; but where the heck are Bub and Bob? Instead, you play as a strange assortment of unconventional characters who are cute in a weird way. Anyway, Ultra Bust-A-Move offers great puzzle fun for those new to the series and a distinct take on the classic formula for existing fans.

Ultra Bust-A-Move screenshot
Who thought it was a good idea to replace Bub and Bob with these goofs?

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger

With the recent resurgence of 3D platformers, it's a great time to revisit some classics. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is a fantastic Australian adventure that follows the titular tiger on his quest to prevent the evil Boss Cass from becoming a dictator. Along the way, his assortment of chums (including a Tasmanian devil, frog, cockatoo, dingo, and a cute koala scientist) lend him a hand. It's such a delightful game and the good news is that once you finish it, there are two more Ty the Tasmanian Tiger games waiting to be enjoyed. I still have all three games for Xbox and boot them up whenever I want some lighthearted 3D platforming fun.

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger screenshot
Watch out, Ty! Giant enemy crabs are afoot!

Well, that's all for this group of hidden gems. Are there any original Xbox games that you wish were celebrated more? If so, leave a comment below. I'm always on the lookout for more buried treasures!

Gameplay video playlist for Xbox Hidden Gems (Part 2) 9:33
Konami shoot 'em ups Trivia

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