Just when it was looking as if Sony would have the videogame market to itself, in steamed Microsoft with the original, and least successful, Xbox. Here are the rarest original Xbox games money – and lots of it – can buy.
Ah, the original brick-like Xbox. It was back in November 2001 that Microsoft muscled its way into videogaming with its first console, aiming to do what PlayStation had done to Sega and Nintendo in the previous generation: that is, knock the established rival out of the game.
That didn’t quite work out, with the Xbox selling more than 24 million consoles to the Sony PlayStation 2’s 155 million. But it laid the groundwork for the future with jaw-dropping exclusives such as Halo, Fable and Project Gotham Racing 2. In all, the best part of 1000 games were released for the machine, quite a lot of which didn’t sell too well, or have fallen through the cracks of time.
But among those are gems that were forgotten about only to be viewed as overlooked classics. These are the rarities that we look at here, using eBay as a rough price guide. How much you’ll pay will, of course, depend on the game’s condition…
OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast
Sega’s original Out Run drove gamers crazy when it was released in the arcades in 1986. The image of its iconic open-top Ferrari Testarossa will be burned in the memory of anyone who’s played it.
The Xbox was blessed with two of its sequels: the widely available OutRun 2 in 2003 and the rarer OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast three years later. The latter (coming 20 years after the original) had online play but arrived late in the Xbox’s life, meaning sales were stuck in first gear. If you find one for less than £90 (at least twice that for mint), your heart should be racing.
Call of Cthulhu Dark Corners of the Earth
Published in 1936, H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, forms part of the Cthulhu Mythos and it all was the inspiration needed for Headfirst Productions’ survival horror game. The Xbox version was released in 2005, six years after it was first announced, and there was no faulting its ambition: dark, scary and packed with tension it employed stealth, action and adventure to tell its well-paced tale.
Poor sales curtailed plans for a sequel but copies are now known to sell for around £50.
Def Jam: Fight for NY
Published by EA Games, this was an unusual fighting game from 2004 that was jam-packed with rappers such as Ice-T and Snoop Dogg. Given the calibre of the hip hop artists involved, it had one of the best soundtracks of any game. It also included more fighting moves than its predecessor Def Jam Vendetta as well as a better story. Gamers rightly prize this addition to their collection and few are willing to sell copies on. A black label version could punch your purse open for £130.
Spikeout: Battle Street
Despite being released in 2005, there’s a retro feel to this brawler that will likely remind you of games such as Double Dragon (assuming you’ve played it). While that could be seen as a good thing, in this instance it felt dated, perhaps because it brought so little innovation to the table (even though four player online co-op made a difference).
Poor reviews are likely to have resulted in a lack of sales, which it turn might just account for prices in the region of £45 to £100.
Unlike The Simpsons which has enjoyed 32 seasons and counting, Matt Groening’s other well-known animated sitcom, Futurama, has long been consigned to the past. Its last episode aired on 10 August 2003 but that was the year the videogame spin-off was released on Xbox. Not the best timing.
Still, the shooter/platformer let gamers play as Fry, Bender, Leela and Zoidberg, and its 28 minutes of cel-shaded cutscenes formed an episode which certainly appealed to fans. Sealed copies will sell for more than £100.
An animated superhero television series based on DC Comic graphic novels inevitably provides great fodder for a videogame. So, three years after Teen Titans made its debut on Cartoon Network, the fictional superhero team powered its way to Xbox, albeit six months after the PS2 and Nintendo GameCube versions.
As beat-em-ups go, it’s a solid, colourful romp packed with five playable characters and lots of combos as well as a four-player co-op mode. We saw a version fetch £150.
Jet Set Radio Future
Since it was bundled with Xbox consoles, many fans of Microsoft’s machine will have played this game but without necessarily having seen the box because (in Europe at least), the pack-in version didn’t come with one. What’s more, by the time it ended up on the Xbox as a sequel to the 2000 Dreamcast game Jet Set Radio, Sega had also decided to stop making games for its own console so this title became an Xbox exclusive. Get set to pay around £30.
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse
It’s rather apt this is a game that hasn’t died. Indeed, after being recently resurrected for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, players have now come to appreciate how fun it is to play a zombie hellbent on chomping down on human brains. Set in the US in the 1950s, there’s a nice B-movie vibe to proceedings but interest is perhaps piqued because the game was designed by Bungie founder Alex Seropian using the Halo engine. Expect to pay about £50 for the 2005 Xbox original.
Capcom’s first-person mech simulation arrived in 2002 and it required a triple-panelled, specially-made 40-button controller to play it. With three foot pedals also nestling nicely on the floor, players could then assume their position in this makeshift cockpit to manoeuvre their bipedal virtual tank – a task that took some getting used to, that’s for sure.
The controller came bundled with the game but the set-up wasn’t widely available. For that reason, you’ll be looking to pay around £200, with mint-condition sealed copies fetching as much as four times that amount.
Metal Wolf Chaos
If you wanted to play this game in 2004, you had to grab it on import because it was only released in Japan. The situation is a little different today. You can now enjoy the game on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One wherever you are in the world but collectors will still want to grab the original. Thing is, playing as the 47th president seeking to wrestle back control of the US while wearing a mech suit and firing out cheesy lines, is going to cost you. Prices for this cult classic veer around £100.
So obscure that it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia entry, the PlayStation 2 version of Gene Troopers did at least catch the eyes of videogame website Eurogamer which, in a scathing review, said it was “entirely without worth”. The Xbox version was identical so it fared little better but it’s lucky this first person shooter was released in 2006 – the Xbox 360 was catching the attention by then so few gamers ended up being subjected to it. Guess that means it’s worth a fortune then?
Well, some are trying to flog it for as much as £280 but without success as far as we can see. What troopers. One for absolute completists.
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
Following on from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, the 3D action-adventure Curse of Darkness was a solid – if repetitive – entry in the long-running vampire series. As one of the last games made for the Xbox, however, it didn’t make its way to Europe until February 2006 and that likely accounts for why versions in this region are rarer than in other parts of the world. North American versions sell for about £15 but PAL versions could slash your bank account by as much as £100.
There’s nothing like a timely movie tie-in. And Jaws Unleashed – released in 2006 and based on the 1975 movie – was nothing like a timely film tie-in either (unless 31 years is an anniversary to celebrate). Players took on the role of a great white shark which had escaped from captivity but it was buggy and lacked depth. Even so it sold 250,000 copies so quite why people regularly bite at prices around £60 is a tad baffling. But they do…
This game was re-released as Bloodrayne 2: The Terminal Cut last November but, in truth, it’s really showing its age. Despite being a huge leap forward from the original Bloodrayne of 2002, the sequel that arrived on Xbox a couple of years later can be now be seen as rather clunky and buggy – not that its myriad problems weren’t obvious at the time. Even so, it rewards creative play and looks a treat, which is maybe why a sealed, boxed version will sell for £40.
Yup, that really is the name of Hydravision Entertainment’s little-known survival horror. Scarily similar to the debut Resident Evil in its cliched attempts to frighten, its lack of originality was part-redeemed by a superb soundtrack and it was saved from death by virtue of its intriguing characters and two-player co-op. Generally copies sell for around £15, but more recently they’ve been spiking at £70.
Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee
Originally released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002, a slightly enhanced version of this fighting game was unveiled for Xbox the following year and it ended up becoming a monster hit.
With 12 playable characters and a stunning four-player mode, it also went on to form part of a trilogy, praised for its atmosphere, straight-forward gameplay and uncomplicated controls. If you want to get hold of it today, you could end up spending as much as £200 for sealed copy.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 Mutant Nightmare
In 1987, the heroes in a half-shell took on the world in a hit American animated TV series based on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s comic books. A series released in 2003 was more faithful to the comics and inspired this four-episode beat-em-up from 2005 which, in many respects, was like an interactive version of the show complete with cartoon cutscenes. It’s now hard to find a copy for less than £100, with most selling for more. Cowabunga indeed.
Finally, games don’t need to be critically acclaimed to be rare. Xiaolin Showdown is very much an example of that. What bought it a place in history though was that it was the last game released in Europe for the original Xbox. As such, it can sell for over £150, and copies of the game are very much on the rare side. It ain’t much cop as a game, mind…
As we’ve seen above, games don’t necessarily have to be critically-acclaimed to be rare: and the brawler Xiaolin Showdown is a prime example of that. Yet it battles on to this list purely because it made history as the last game released in Europe for the Xbox. A mint condition version recently sold for £159 on eBay. The fact is was the only copy sold in recent times speaks volumes too.