For my next revision to the Cheapest Games series , we’ll take a new look at the original Xbox. While a handful of these games might have follow-ups on the 360, I think you’ll find that the majority of these games are still quite relevant today and are still worth looking into — especially for their rock-bottom prices. This time, I’ve also split up the list to separate the games that are backwards compatible with the 360 from those that are not. I hope you find this format useful!
(Prices listed are an average eBay and Amazon prices for used US games, including shipping.) Also, if you are fortunate enough to have a 360, I have marked the backwards-compatible titles with this icon .
Cheap Backwards Compatible Classics
|Halo : $7 and Halo 2: $6
While it may be overrated, there is no doubt that Halo is still one of the best console FPSs out there and is the cornerstone of the XBox library. If you are not a die-hard PC gamer with many high-end FPSs under your belt, but are interested in trying the genre out on a console, Halo is your ticket. And obviously, Halo 2 is also worth checking out if you like the original.
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|Jet Set Radio Future / Sega GT Combo: $5
The original Jet Grind Radio from the Dreamcast is still one of my all-time favorites, and its sequel on the XBox simplifies the gameplay a bit in some areas, bring the story forward a number of years, and puts some XBox polish on the already slick graphical style. JSRF is an incredibly unique and entertaining game that should not be overlooked. What’s better is JSRF was combined with Sega GT for an XBox pack-in disk. You should be able to find the combo disc just about anywhere for next to nothing — when buying online, you’re mainly just playing for shipping.
Shop for Jet Set Radio Future / Sega GT Combo on eBay
Shop for Jet Set Radio Future / Sega GT Combo on Amazon.com
|Panzer Dragoon Orta: $7
Even though your typical XBox owner probably isn’t even familiar with the Panzer Dragoon series, that shouldn’t stop you from spending a little cash on checking this gem out. The Panzer Dragoon series is a collection of cult-classics on the ill-fated Sega Saturn, but the on-rails shooter made a stunning return on the XBox. This under-appreciated title is one of Sega’s last great masterpieces.
Shop for Panzer Dragoon Orta on eBay
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|Beyond Good & Evil – $8
This cult-classic action/adventure can finally be found under $10 without too much effort. For the longest time, it was in high demand on the aftermarket. Since it has be re-released on XBLA and PSN, the resale price of physical copies has been significantly reduced. Obviously, this also decreases its appeal on the 360, but it is still a great game and many collectors still prefer to have a physical copy.
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|Ninja Gaiden: $4
If you want intense action with a challenge that few games rival, look no further than this modern Ninja Gaiden installment. It will take a lot of work to uncover all of the game’s secrets, not to mention reach its conclusion, but chances are that all you need is to give Ninja Gaiden a look to be extremely impressed by it. Obvious care and detail went into every single aspect of this game and is still one of the brightest jewels of the XBox library.
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Shop for Ninja Gaiden on Amazon.com
|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: $4
For the longest time, Sands of Time nearly got ignored by most of the gaming community, but eventually enough people read all the positive reviews and gave it a try. Over the last few years, numerous sequels have spawned, giving this classic franchise new life. The Sands of Time may still be a frontrunner for the best in the series, and it is definately the best value.
Shop for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time on eBay
Shop for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time on Amazon.com
|Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge: $3
If you enjoy flight action games, you couldn’t ask for much more from Crimson Skies. In additional to it’s killer dog-fighting gameplay, it has outstanding graphics, an awesome soundtrack, easy controls, top-notch production values, a fun online mode that has a huge following, and professional voice acting that adds a blend of drama, noir, and comedy.
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|Burnout 3: Takedown: $5
I have to admit, I’m personally not much for Forza Motorsport and those more realistic racers. The Burnout series, on the other hand, it a racing series for the rest of us that want more high-speed action and fun gimmicks such as Burnout’s glorification of high-speed crashes. While you can get most of the series installments for about the same price, I think most fans of the series would agree that the third installment was the peak of its excellence.
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|Half-Life 2: $6
As most gamers are already aware, Half-Life 2 is an engaging FPS that made you feel like you were part of the action, not just a spectator. The interactive environment served a purpose rather than just some add-on that didn’t really give anything back. Not only does this shooter combine great storytelling and intense action, but it also pushes the limits of what the original XBox could do.
Shop for Half-Life 2 on eBay
Shop for Half-Life 2 on Amazon.com
|Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee: $5
This XBox launch title is the Oddworld series’ first attempt at a 3D platformer. While it didn’t quite recieve as much critical acclaim as the other entries in the series, it is still a solid game and the XBox is still the only console that you can play it on (it is also avaiible on the PC via Steam in addition to a slimmed-down 2D GBA version). And if you aren’t especially familiar with the Odworld series, this is a stunning and polished way to experience the creative world the series provides.
Shop for Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee on eBay
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|Indigo Prophecy: $9
Also known as “Fahrenheit” outside of North America, this psychological/paranormal thriller has become a cult classic among those that enjoy adventure games. Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit actually falls more into the camp of “interactive cinema” than a typical adventure, game however. While it does have a slower pace that is intended more for adults, it has plenty of tense moments that will keep you from avoiding boredom just as much as most action games.
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|Project Gotham Racing 2: $3
The Project Gotham series quickly went from being a follow-up to the popular Dreamcast racer, Metropolis Street Racer, to being one of the premier racing franchises in gaming. If you have an XBox 360 you probably want to save up for PGR3 or 4, but if you are making ends meet with just your original XBox, Project Gotham 2 is still a satisfying racing experience for a price you can’t beat.
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|Forza Motorsport: $3
With Sony’s racing simulation dominance with the Gran Turismo series, Microsoft knew they had to step up and create a dominant simulator of their own. Forza did not disappoint racing enthusiasts due to its realism in terms of the racing itself and its ability to realistically model damage to cars, from both a cosmetic and a performance standpoint. Teamed with the PGR series, you have an incredible pair of XBox-exclusive racers for under $10 total. Of course, Forza 2 is getting pretty cheap on the 360, so keep that in mind, but this is still a solid racer for the original Box.
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|SSX 3 : $9
The crazy, arcade-like SSX snowboarding franchise has been getting rave review for years and has had numorous installments on most of the latest platforms. SSX 3 and SSX Tricy are currently the sweet spot for the best quality-to-price ratio for the XBox. It may not have some of the bells and whistles of the newer installments, but it will still keep you entertained for a while without draining your wallet.
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|House of the Dead III: $7 (plus optional light gun cost)
Arguably some of the most enjoyable light gun shooters, Sega’s House of the Dead series moved onto the Xbox after stints on Sega’s own Saturn and Dreamcast consoles. HotD III is an excellent successor to the first two games. It features some stunning graphics for the time and the dialoge is noticably less campy (with is either a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it) than the first two games. HotD II has since made it to the Wii, but it is still a great value to pick up for the XBox if you prefer the platform. (Although a light gun adds to the cost)
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Shop for House of the Dead III on Amazon.com
This Xbox gem from Namco offers gamers a rather unique experience with its first-person fighting gameplay. While it isn’t without its flaws, it was rather innovative in its immersiveness and using the first-person perspective for something other than shooting. It won’t be for everyone, but if you find it on the cheap, it might be a fun experiment to add to your Xbox library.
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|Soul Calibur II: $4
Anybody remotely interested in 3D fighters should not overlook the Soul Calibur series. After the rave reviews as a Dreamcast exclusive, the original Soul Calibur was followed up as a multiplatform sequel with a great deal of hype. However, even though Soul Calibur III wasn’t much better, most gamers are selling off their copies and picking up newer installments. Now is your time to take advantage of this bargain.
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Shop for Soul Calibur II on Amazon.com
Other Cheap Favorites
- OutRun 2: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Metal Arms: Glitch in the System: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Shenmue II: $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Phantom Dust: $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Kingdom Under Fire Series (The Crusaders is BC): $7 each – eBay / Amazon.com
- Mech Assault 2: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- TimeSplitters 2: $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Series – $3 each – eBay / Amazon.com
- Dead or Alive 3: $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Guilty Gear XX #Reload: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Tony Hawk’s Underground: $3 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Max Payne: $3 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Jade Empire: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Fable: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Far Cry Instincts: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Doom 3: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Outlaw Golf: $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Fuzion Frenzy: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
Cheap XBox-Only Classics
|Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath: $7
The second Oddworld installment for the XBox changed things up quite a bit. Instead of a puzzle-heavy platformer, Stranger’s Wrath is an action title that utilizes both the first-person and third-person perpective and puts you in the role of a bounty hunter. Of course, the quirkyness and creativity is still very strong in Stranger’s Wrath, so even if you don’t normally go for this “genre”, it’s a wonderful gem to try out. It’s worth mentioning that a remake is due out on the PS3 and it also recently became availible on the PC via Steam if you prefer those platforms.
Shop for Oddworld Stanger’s Wrath on eBay
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|Otogi: Myth of Demons & Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors: $5 and $8
We’ve seen a big drop-off in Sega’s signature style of games since the days of the Dreamcast, but as this list has shown, the XBox has recieved a handful of solid Sega titles that should appeal to its hardcore fanbase. The Otogi series is another example of Sega catoring to the hardcore crowd, this time with a modern hack-and-slash. The Otogi games are visually stunning are very polished asside from some occassional frame-rate slowdown.
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|Top Spin / NCAA Football 2005 Combo: $4
I’ve always been pretty partial to Sega’s Virtua Tennis series, but Top Spin actually puts up a good fighter as a compelling Tennis game that seems realistic but balances the easy-to-learn-but-hard-to-master aspect that makes a four-player doubles match a surprisingly good party game. Throw in NCAA Football 2005 on a pack-in combo disc and you have possibly the best sports party value for nearly any console.
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Shop for Top Spin / NCAA Football 2005 Combo on Amazon.com
For mech action on a budget (as opposed to the pricey Steel Battalion), MechAssault will treat you to an excellent combination of great graphics, detailed Mechs and both engaging single player campaigns and great online multiplayer. Every structure throughout the game is fully destructible, so you can a great deal of fun blowing up every structure, bridge, tower, or bus that you need to.
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|Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance: $4
While some MGS fans didn’t enjoy Sons of Liberty as much as the original PS1 Metal Gear Solid, part 2 was still a landmark experience, as you could expect from Hideo Kojima. The MGS2 Substance release includes some added modes and options in addition to the games that was a crucial piece of the PS2 library. While Substance on the PS2 goes for over $10, you can get it dirt cheap on the XBox.
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Other Cheap Favorites
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Fight Night Round 2: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Rallisport Challenge 2: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Midtown Madness 3: : $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
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