By Jared Newman | Friday, February 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm
On April 15, Microsoft will kill online play for original Xbox games. Even if you own an Xbox 360, you’ll no longer be able to play original Xbox games online, including backwards-compatible discs and downloadable Xbox Originals. While it’s probably for the best — Microsoft is promising new, yet-unspecified features that weren’t possible while still supporting the old Xbox — some games are just irreplaceable. Here are 10 original Xbox games that have no equal on the Xbox 360 (which means no Halo 2 or Call of Duty 3):
Star Wars Battlefront II: Jedi, Stormtroopers and Rebel soldiers did battle with blaster rifles and lightsabers in big, chaotic arenas. Free Radical Design was reportedly developing a third game, but the studio went into administration and was then acquired by Crytek. The fate of the game is unknown, but could return as Battlefront Online.
Counter-Strike: The classic soldiers vs. terrorists first-person shooter could live forever on the PC, but the Xbox version’s days are numbered. There’s no word on a sequel for any platform, but there is a petition for it.
Conker: Live Reloaded: Squirrels and teddy bears with flamethrowers and rocket launchers. This remake of the Nintendo 64 game Conker’s Bad Fur Day has yet to be revived for the current console generation.
Phantom Dust: It’s hard to find anyone playing this cult classic online anymore, but I have a feeling that’ll change as fans come back for one last fling. The game is like a live action Magic: The Gathering, letting you build a “deck” of skills to use in a large battle arena.
Doom 3: This re-make of id Software’s classic was no Halo, but its emphasis on fast action in online play brought back memories of LAN matches and rocket launchers. At least original Doom is available for download on the Xbox 360, with online multiplayer.
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge: Aerial dogfighting is stripped down to its bare essentials. Crimson Skies even brought a first-person shooter mentality to the game with multiplayer modes like Capture the Flag and Keep Away.
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection: Sure, the Xbox 360 has Street Fighter IV, but fighting game aficionados have particular tastes. This collection, which includes Street Fighter III Third Strike, will be missed.
Steel Battalion: Line of Contact: Mech simulators are a dime a dozen, but Steel Battalion was unique in that it supported this ridiculous $200 controller. It’s also an online-only game, which means that controller will make a nice mantle piece after April 15 if you’ve already beaten the original Steel Battalion.
Mortal Kombat: Armegeddon: The Mortal Kombat series is not a critical darling, but this was the last game in which you could deliver a gory fatality to some newbie over Xbox Live. The teen-rated Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, for current-generation consoles, just doesn’t cut it.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect: I’m cheating on this last one, because Microsoft already discontinued support for the game a couple years ago. I still miss this first-person shooter, not for its frantic pacing, but for the ability to play as an alien squid, a monkey or a gingerbread man. Another casualty of Free Radical’s demise, the fate of another Timesplitters game is also in flux.