Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility: Which Games and Why It Matters


I must confess to never selling off my old systems when they become "outdated." Therefore, the issue of backwards compatibility isn't a big deal to me. When I decide it's time to upgrade to a newer system, that particular feature won't be an issue.


If you bought an Xbox 360 and were not the owner of an original Xbox (the nomenclature of the Xbox One bugs me), you missed out on a whole bunch of awesome games, games that tend to look even better when played on the Xbox 360. However, not all original Xbox games are compatible, so I've decided to post a list of games that I know for sure (I've tested them all) are indeed compatible. One caveat: some games might require an update via Xbox Live to be compatible, but most of these were tested while unconnected to Xbox Live.

Atari Anthology -- B
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 1 and 2 -- A
The Bard's Tale -- A
Batman Begins -- A-
Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu -- B
Blinx: The Time Sweeper -- B
Blowout -- B
Breakdown -- A-
Brute Force -- C
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe -- C+
Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars -- B-
Conker: Live and Reloaded -- A- (a bit crude and offensive at times)
Counter Strike -- C
Crimson Skies -- A
The DaVinci Code -- C-
Dead or Alive Ultimate Discs 1 and 2 -- A
Dead or Alive 3 -- A+
Destroy All Humans! -- B+
Doom 3 -- A+
Dreamfall -- A-
Dungeons and Dragons Heroes -- A-
Elder Scrolls: Morrowind  -- A+
Fable: The Lost Chapters -- A+
Farcry: Instincts -- B
Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone -- A-
Fuzion Frenzy -- B
Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows -- A-
Goblin Commander -- B+
Grabbed by the Ghoulies -- A-
Guilty Gear X2 -- A
Half Life 2 -- A
Halo -- A+ (duh)
Halo 2 -- A+ (ditto)
The House of the Dead 3 -- A+ (with gun)/B (using controller)
Hunter: The Reckoning -- A-
The Incredibles -- A-
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb -- A
Intellivision Lives -- D
Jade Empire -- A+

Justice League Heroes -- A+
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King -- B
Lord of the Rings: The Third Age -- A+
Magic: Battlegrounds -- C (if you're a Magic fan, A-)
Marvel Nemesis  -- A-
Max Payne -- C+
Max Payne 2 -- B
MechAssault 2 -- A+
Mega Man Anniversary Collection -- A+
Metal Arms -- A
Mojo! -- C+
Mortal Kombat: Deception -- A- (bonus points for the mini-game)
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon -- A+ (major bonus for the mini-game)
Namco Museum -- C
NFL 2K5 -- A- (extremely playable)
Ninja Gaiden Black -- A+
Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee -- A
Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast  -- B+
Panzer Dragoon Orta -- A+
Phantom Dust -- A (bonus points for being unique)
Project Gotham Racing 2 -- B+
Psychonauts -- A+
Quantum Redshift -- A
Return to Castle Wolfenstein -- B+
Scrapland -- B
Sega GT 2002/Jet Set Radio Future -- B/A+ (both games on same disc)
Sega Soccer Slam -- A
Serious Sam -- A- (mindless fun)
Shenmue 2 -- A+ (insanely interactive game world, awesome story)
Showdown: Legends of Wrestling -- A
Simpsons Hit & Run -- A (Simpsons meet GTA)
Simpsons Road Rage -- B- (Crazy Taxi clone)
Sonic Heroes -- A+
Sonic Mega Collection Plus -- B
Soul Calibur 2 -- A+ (bonus points for Spawn)
Splinter Cell -- A
Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow -- A+
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory -- A+
Star Wars Battlefront -- A
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic -- A+
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection -- A+ (includes SF3)
Super Bubble Pop -- B+
Syberia 2 -- B (A if you've played Syberia 1)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- A
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2X -- A+ (best in the series from a purist's standpoint)
Tork: Prehistoric Punk -- A-
Ultimate Spider-Man  -- A
Unreal Championship 2  -- A+
Wrath Unleashed  -- A (medieval combat chess)

My original plan was to include a list of games I tested that were not backwards compatible, but since I hadn't tested them all while connected to Xbox live I couldn't be sure they didn't have an update that made them work. Wikipedia has a very detailed list, but you might find this one more useful as it only contains games I find to be worth playing and each is rated. Still, there are certainly a few left out, so double check before buying.

The point is that with the added original Xbox games, the Xbox 360 is loaded with awesome content. It wouldn't be very hard for an aspiring developer to create a compatibility app for the Xbox One that lets it play both original Xbox and Xbox 360 games; the CPU is certainly powerful enough to handle the emulation. Let's hope someone goes to the trouble. I'd certainly pay $5 - $10 for the download. The same goes for the PS4. Imagine an app that lets you play games from PS1 - PS3. Again, at $5 - $10 a download, you'd make a killing!

Well, if you think you're out of good 360 games to play, take a look at this list, the ratings, and the genre. You're bound to find a hidden gem or ten worth your time. Enjoy!


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