The Xbox 360 Sure is Nifty! Part One: Xbox LIVE Downloadables

LIVE_LOGOWhenever a new console comes out, like the Xbox One, I like to take a look at the one that came before it and honor that one with a list of my favorite games for it. A couple of weeks ago I did that with the PS3, and now we’ll do that with the Xbox 360.

I didn’t get an Xbox 360 right away, and I never owned an original Xbox. But, around August of 2007, a year after the 360 was released, I bought one, and I’m glad I did! I usually don’t get a new console until there are enough games on it out or coming out that I want to play, but by the time the 360 was out for a year, there were a few games on it that I wanted to try. But the game that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was an Xbox LIVE game. So we’ll start Part One of this blog with Xbox LIVE games. Part Two will be regular disc-based games.

I’m really glad that I got a 360, because it ended up being my favorite console of this past generation. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed my PS3 and Wii, but usually the 360 was my go-to console of choice for many years. It amazes me how much the 360 has changed since I got it. Anyone remember the original dashboard for the 360? I actually liked that one the best, because it was simple and all you had was a gamerpic. Now there are avatars and tons of pages to go to games, movies, music, and more. I think all that kind of bogs the system down a bit.

The 360 had many ‘firsts’ for consoles, or at least good ideas that they made even better. I really liked their Achievement system, because it encouraged you to play games in new ways to try and get those achievements, and you could see other people’s achievements, too. So it kind of hearkened back to the arcade days when we all tried to beat each other’s scores. That was such a good idea that the PS3 even copied it with Trophies. And even though the 360 wasn’t the first console with online gaming, I think it was the first to truly get it right, with original downloadable titles on LIVE and more. Of course, the 360 copied a lot of ideas, too. Like the Wii’s Miis, but I liked the 360 Avatars better as they were more customizable and didn’t look like Fisher-Price figures.

Of course, the 360 had many problems, too. First and foremost was the Red Ring of Death. That even happened to me a couple of times! My rule is ‘three strikes and you’re out,’ and luckily for the 360, it hasn’t happened a third time with me, knock on wood. Also, I don’t know if it’s the new dashboards or if my 360 is getting old, but it takes a little longer than it used to for logging into Xbox LIVE. Plus, while the 360 had a stronger start than the PS3, I feel the PS3 had a stronger finish, when it comes to games. So because of that, the past year or so I’ve actually preferred playing games on my PS3 and Wii U. But for all the years of great service that it provided, I still like my 360.

OK now let’s get to my favorite Xbox LIVE games. Keep in mind that if a game is missing from my list, it may be because it was on my PS3 blog. Or I just didn’t play it. Only games I played will make this blog. And I know that there will be a lot of games missing, but there are SO many Xbox LIVE games, I just can’t play them all! Good examples of this would be titles like Costume Quest, Stacking, or Raskulls. All are games I would like to play, but I just could never find the time. Plus while LIVE games are less expensive, they do add up after a while! But enough blabbering, let’s take a look at my favorite LIVE titles!

Bubble Bobble Neo

At first, Xbox LIVE was mostly a dumping ground for arcade classics, similar to how the Wii just had Virtual Console games before coming up with WiiWare (so we’ll talk about those first). Bubble Bobble Neo had some updated material here and there, but it was still Bubble Bobble at its core, and that’s always a good thing.

Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition

There were actually a couple of different Frogger updates on Xbox LIVE. This was the one that really got it right. One cool thing is that you could unlock skins for levels that made it look like other classic Konami titles like Contra, DDR and Karaoke Revolution, and Castlevania! One of the songs was even done by Buckner and Garcia, the same folks who wrote Pac-Man Fever!

Galaga Legions and DX

I loved Namco’s LIVE classic updates, and Galaga Legions had a lot of good ideas. It was a bit hard, though. The DX version made things a little easier, but I still like Galaga Arrangement and Galaga 88 better, though.

Game Room

At first, I really liked the idea behind Game Room. A bunch of arcade classics you could play and share online, and an arcade to put them in and decorate. Some companies really embraced Game Room, like Konami, as they released tons of stuff for it, arcade games that I’ve never even heard of! I would’ve totally gone crazy if Namco got on the Game Room bandwagon. Only problem was the cost of the games would add up after a while, and it was a memory hog. Shame the company who made Game Room is out of business.

JetPac Refueled

Most people probably remember Jetpac as one of the mini-games in DK64. But it was actually one of Rare’s first games. Did you know that the game Solar Jetman on the NES was a sequel to Jetpac? Well on the 360, this is a remake and it’s pretty fun, too.

Lode Runner

Another update to one of my favorite classics. I played the original a lot on my Apple ][+.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2

This was one of my favorite games on the Dreamcast. I’m glad they brought it to the 360; although I didn’t play it near as much as I did on Sega’s console.

Mega Man 9 and 10

I think it’s cool that they went back to an 8-bit style, but I think only one game of that was necessary. I thought these games were neat, but not near as good as the NES ones.

Pinball FX2

Tons of great pinball tables you can download. What’s better than that? My favorite is the Plants vs. Zombies table.

Space Invaders Extreme

Taito made a few classic updates for download on consoles, like the aforementioned Bubble Bobble Neo, as well as Qix and Arkanoid updates. But the best one was Space Invaders Extreme. Cool gameplay ideas and awesome music made this one great.

Simpsons Arcade

The last of the arcade updates hadn’t appeared on a home console before this. Not the best beat ‘em up in the world, but it was better than what I remembered it.

BloodRayne Betrayal

I’m convinced WayForward can do the impossible. They made me like a BloodRayne game. Granted this was a 2-D affair with great music and hand drawn graphics, and gameplay that reminded me of Castlevania mixed with Mega Man X. But don’t worry, I’m not going to go out and watch the BloodRayne movies or anything like that. Only problem with this game was it was too darn hard. But it sure was fun.

Dungeon Fighter Live

Nexon makes a lot of online PC games, and some have even piqued my interest. Such as Maple Story. Another was this one, which played like a 16-bit 2-D side scrolling beat ‘em up. So as a console gamer, I’m glad they brought this to the 360. I heard that they shut down the servers for the PC version this year, which kind of makes me sad. I always picked the brawler class, care to guess why?

Poker Night 2

I’m not a big fan of poker, but put Sam & Max in it and have GlaDOS be the dealer and I’m all in!

Rez HD

This was a classic and surreal shooter that was originally on the Dreamcast and PS2. Glad they brought it over here. I love it, but I’m not very good at it!

Rock Band Blitz

Rock Band was a huge hit for this past generation of consoles, and I plan to talk about it a bit on my next blog. Blitz was a more arcadey version that used the controller instead of the instruments, and was more of a single player kind of game. Neat part was you could use any of your Rock Band songs you’ve downloaded to play on Blitz!

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

I didn’t like the movie at all, and the game still isn’t that great of a beat ‘em up, but it had its moments and the music was pretty good.

Snoopy Flying Ace

There are not a whole lot of kid-friendly air combat games out there, but this one is a good one. It actually started out as a PS2 game, which was also good. But while that version focused on a more robust single player story mode, this LIVE version focuses more on online matches. Plus, WW1 Snoopy is one of my favorite incarnations of the comic strip dog.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Even though they didn’t get the episodic gaming quite right, this was still fun classic 2-D Sonic.

Sam & Max (& other TellTale games)

Speaking of episodic gaming, I think TellTale’s the only one to get it right. I think quite a few of their games are on Xbox LIVE, like the Wallace and Gromit titles, but my pick is the first two Sam & Max seasons. Yeah, yeah, Walking Dead, blah, blah, blah. You know what I like.

The Bridge

One thing the 360 kind of did first was really help promote a lot of indie titles. The Bridge is one of many, and I recently reviewed it. It’s a puzzler platformer with an M.C. Escher feel to it.

Protect Me Knight

Speaking of indie games, this one is my favorite. It’s kind of like an action-ey tower defense game for four players. It has an 8-bit NES feel, but best of all, it was made by Ancient. Who are they? Well, it’s an indie company headed by Yuzo Koshiro, that’s who! And he did the music for this game, so you know it’s good.

Twisted Pixel Games

And while we’re on the topic of indie games, Twisted Pixel started out as an indie developer but their games were so good and prolific that Microsoft bought them out. Which is both good and bad in a way. Regardless, I enjoyed all their games. Their first release, The Maw, is still my favorite. It was a 3-D platformer with gameplay that was like a mash up of Banjo-Kazooie and Katamari Damacy, as you guided a purple alien around who could eat anything and absorb their powers. ‘Splosion Man and Ms. ‘Splosion Man were quality 2-D platformers, but I didn’t like them as much because they were hard just for hard’s sake. Comic Jumper was a humor-filled run and gun platformer. And The Gunstringer is one of the only Kinect games I would be interested in playing. Their newest game, LocoCycle, is a mix of Spy Hunter and OutRun. Only problem is it’s for Xbox One, which I don’t have yet. But I hear they may make a 360 version later. I wish they would make a collection of all their games on a CD. Best of all, Twisted Pixel is located in Austin, TX!

Alien Hominid HD

The Behemoth made one of the best Xbox LIVE games ever, but this isn’t that game. However, Alien Hominid was a fun, yet very hard, Metal Slug wannabe featuring lots of humor.

BattleBlock Theater

Another one by The Behemoth. It’s basically an enhanced version of one of the mini-games in Alien Hominid, but it is still a very fun four player romp and was super popular around our household for a good long while.

Castle Crashers

The Behemoth’s last and only other game is actually my second favorite Xbox LIVE title. It’s a 2-D side scrolling beat ‘em up with solid gameplay, fun humor, and tons of secrets in a long quest. We played it for the longest time around the house.

Banjo-Kazooie & Banjo-Tooie

I was surprised that Rare released these classics on LIVE since they were N64 titles, but I’m glad they did as they still hold up well today. Best of all, the Stop and Swap feature that was originally supposed to be in the N64 games was finally implemented here, and it even connected with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.

Pac-Man Championship Edition & DX

And my favorite LIVE game is this one. Not much of a surprise, but this is the game that got me to buy a 360. The DX version added some rules that changed the gameplay a bit too much, but both are still very good. Pac-Man: CE is probably one of my top five favorite Pac-Man games.


And that’s all for now! Let me know in the comments section what you think of my list, and tell me your favorite LIVE games. I know there are LOTS of them that I haven’t even played, but as I said earlier, I can’t play ‘em all! Next time on my blog, we’ll look at my favorite disc-based Xbox 360 games. Later! –Cary

2 Responses to “The Xbox 360 Sure is Nifty! Part One: Xbox LIVE Downloadables”

  1. I loved PAC-MAN CE DX! One of the only games where I got all the achievements. Both Bomberman games are good! They’re too similar so no need to get both . Think I like Bomberman Live the best.

  2. Yeah I got all the achievements on Pac-Man: CE and DX as well. Only other games I have all the achievements for are Dig Dug and Banjo-Tooie.

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