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Matt Keller
29 Nov, 2005

Christmas Buyers Guide - Xbox

Xbox Feature | Lack of Xbox 360 getting you down? Here's a few recommendations for the Xbox to tide you over until March 2.
We're all undoubtedly disappointed about the fact Australia and the rest of the Pacific will be the last region to receive the Xbox 360. Fortunately, there's still a little bit of life left in the original Xbox, even if Microsoft themselves aren't suporting it with new software. Once again, we've listed a few games at the bottom of the article that are highly recommended for those on a strict budget this holiday season.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$119.95 | Also on: PS2, PC (sold separately)
D: Rockstar North | P: Rockstar
OFLC Rating: MA15+
PALGN REVIEW: GTA3: 9.5 Vice City: 9.5 San Andreas: 8.5 | BUY NOW: Xbox


Critics and audiences agree that the Grand Theft Auto games are amongst the best this generation, with each iteration of the series receiving rave reviews and selling over 12 million copies worldwide. To prove their love of Xbox customers, Rockstar have kindly packaged together this pack of the three Grand Theft Auto games for $99.95 – give that each game has at least 75 hours worth of gameplay, this bundle should keep any gamer happy for months to come. Blast your way through Liberty City, Vice City and the state of San Andreas with enhanced graphics and Xbox exclusive custom soundtracks.



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Half-life 2

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$99.95 | Also on: PC
D: Valve | P: EA
OFLC Rating: MA15+
PALGN REVIEW: NR | BUY NOW: Xbox


The PC Game of the Year for 2004 makes its way to the Xbox in all its glory. While it only includes the single player portion of the game, we’re quite certain that this is one of the most amazing first person shooters you will ever play. Hop into the shoes of Black Mesa survivor Gordon Freeman as he returns to Earth, only to find that civilisation as he knew it has completely changed. Negotiate your way through the distopian City 17 and battle the dastardly Combine forces in order to free humanity. Mouth-watering graphics, non-stop action, realistic physics, awesome vehicles – Half-life 2 has it all.



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Burnout Revenge

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$99.95 | Also on: PS2
D: Criterion | P: EA Games
OFLC Rating: M
PALGN REVIEW: 9.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


Burnout 3: Takedown was a pretty big step forward for the series, but wasn’t without problems (most notably Crash mode being about as challenging as driving the kids to school). Luckily, Burnout Revenge addresses most of these problems, eliminating the wanky DJ, consolidating the interface, making the AI tougher, smarter and sneakier. A lengthy single player mode and solidified online support over Xbox Live give Burnout Revenge real long term value, even if it is still a little bit easy.




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Pro Evolution Soccer 5

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$99.95 | Also on: PS2, PC
D: KCET | P: Konami
OFLC Rating: G
PALGN REVIEW: 8.5 | BUY NOW: Xbox


With the Socceroos’ triumphant victory over Uruguay in the World Cup Qualifier, soccer’s popularity in Australia is an all time high, so what better time to grasp onto the best soccer series in existence. Though it doesn’t have the FA license like FIFA 06, it does have all of the players from that league, as well as the licenses and players for all of the European leagues and teams. On top of that, the game is easy to pick up, yet offers enough depth for serious long term addiction – the AI is excellent, but you can always go online and duke it out with some real people. Sadly, for owners of PES4, the fifth game in the series doesn’t really offer anything new, so it might be an idea to wait for the next-gen version.


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Ricky Ponting Cricket 2005

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$99.95 | Also on: Xbox, PC
D: Swordfish | P: Codemasters
OFLC Rating: G
PALGN REVIEW: 8.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


After the dreadful release of Cricket 2005, cricket fans were forced to bet the farm on Ricky Ponting’s Cricket 2005 for their videogame of choice, and like usual, the Australian skipper didn’t disappoint, teaming up with Swordfish Studios to deliver one of the most refreshing cricketing experiences of the decade. A full set of ICC championships and a wealth of customisable options should make this videogame an excellent companion to this summer’s cricket season.




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Star Wars Battlefront 2

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$89.95 | Also on: PS2, PC
D: Pandemic | P: LucasArts
OFLC Rating: M
PALGN REVIEW: 7.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


The original Battlefront was the highest selling Star Wars game of all time, thanks to its massive all out battles taken right out of the classic trilogy. Star Wars Battlefront II takes the series to the next level, offering all new space combat, tons of new vehicles and a new single player game where you control the 501st clone division, serving under the direct command of Darth Vader. Battlefront II is set to be one of the most popular titles over Xbox Live this summer, so don’t miss out.




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Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$69.95 | Also on: PS2, GameCube
D: Radical Entertainment | P: Vivendi
OFLC Rating: G8
PALGN REVIEW: 7.5 | BUY NOW: Xbox


The Xbox and the Incredible Hulk have a lot in common – they’re big, green, ugly, rather powerful and quite fun to play with. Ultimate Destruction allows players to take unprecedented control over the Jade Giant in a free roaming environment, both urban and out in the middle of the desert wastelands. Take on the Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and his famed Hulkbuster forces, smash buildings, break innocent people, do the hammer throw with a tank – it’s outright bedlam, and you’re in the middle of it.




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The Warriors

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$99.95 | Also on: PS2
D: Rockstar Toronto | P: Rockstar
OFLC Rating: MA15+
PALGN REVIEW: 8.5 | BUY NOW:Xbox


Based on the cult classic film from the late 1970s, The Warriors represents something of a rebirth in the long idle beat ‘em up genre, which has been plagued by some really awful games in recent years. This game is extremely violent, with some of the most brutal hand to hand combat we’ve ever seen – keep this one away from the kids. A lengthy quest, tons of content and co-operative play will ensure that The Warriors come out and play for a good couple of months after the holidays.




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King Kong

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$99.95 | Also on: GameCube, PS2, PC, PSP, DS, GBA
D: Ubi Soft | P: Ubi Soft
OFLC Rating: M
PALGN REVIEW: 8.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


The videogame based on famed director Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong promises to deliver unprecedented atmosphere and a level of quality never seem before from movie tie ins. Take control over Jack Driscoll and the great ape himself through the key points of the movie. King Kong is also chock full of extras, including exclusive interviews with Peter Jackson and the cast of the film.





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From Russia with Love

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$89.95 | Also on: GameCube, PS2
D: EA Los Angeles | P: EA Games
OFLC Rating: M
PALGN REVIEW: NR | BUY NOW: Xbox


EA’s James Bond output has been all over the place, from the rather good Nightfire to the despicable Rogue Agent, so hopefully their latest title can bring the goods. Featuring the voice and likeness of Sean Connery as James Bond(albeit just a tad aged since the role), players get to relive the movie that put Bond on the map. All the gadgets, espionage and Bondisms are here, so if you’re a little sick of the campiness of the current James Bond, it might be a little idea to give this one a look.




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Operation Flashpoint Elite

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$69.95 | Also on: NR
D: Bohemia Interactive | P: Codemasters
OFLC Rating: M
PALGN REVIEW: NR | BUY NOW: Xbox


Forget those heavily scripted World War II shooters that everyone else churns out year after year, Operation Flashpoint Elite is the real deal. Set in the mid 1980’s, players take control over a handful of different military personnel in various different roles, from regular foot soldier to black ops, tank commander, helicopter pilot and even bomber pilot in order to assist local militia fighting back a Russian occupation, and prevent the Cold War from heating up. With an unforgiving, realistic look into the horrors of war, Operation Flashpoint should please any military buff this Christmas.



...



Halo 2

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$49.95 | Also on: NR
D: Bungie | P: Microsoft Game Studios
OFLC Rating: MA15+
PALGN REVIEW: 9.0 | BUY NOW: Regular Edition | Limited Edition


There’s probably only a handful of people that don’t own the most hyped title of 2004, but since it’s dropped to $50, there’s now no reason not to. Taking up where the original game left off, Master Chief and the Earth forces are back to fight the ever present Covenant threat. Though the single player mode is short lived and a bit unfulfilling, the game shines when played with friends thanks to a wide variety of play modes and some really cool maps. Best played over Xbox Live with 15 friends (or foes).




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Shenmue II

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$29.95 | Also on: Dreamcast
D: Sega | P: Microsoft Game Studios
OFLC Rating: M
PALGN REVIEW: 9.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


Sure, it’s a bit old, it’s not pretty, and it’s not in your face like most of the Xbox lineup, but Shenmue II is one of the single best videogames you’ll ever experience. After the brutal murder of his father at the hands of Lan Di, Ryo Hazuki travels to Hong Kong to learn the truths behind the Phoenix Mirror, the artefact that caused his father’s demise. Along the way, Ryo meets many new friends, and undergoes much martial arts training, which in turn teaches a lot about life in general, and makes him question his thirst for revenge. With the F.R.E.E. system, Shenmue II is one of the single most immersive games you’ll ever play. Comes with a free copy of Shenmue: The Movie, for those that didn’t play the first.


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Fable: The Lost Chapters

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$69.95 | Also on: PC
D: Big Blue Box | P: Microsoft Game Studios
OFLC Rating: MA15+
PALGN REVIEW: 8.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


Fable was the second most hyped game of 2004, and while it didn’t deliver quite as much as the developers promised, it was still a pretty solid adventure title. The Lost Chapters brings back a few sections cut from the original game, as well as a bunch of new quests, new weapons and new characters to interact with. Best for those who didn’t experience Fable the first time around, though big fans of the first game may get something out of it as well.




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LEGO Star Wars

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$49.95 | Also on: Xbox, Gamecube, PC
D:Traveller’s Tales | P: Eidos
OFLC Rating: G
PALGN REVIEW: 8.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


LEGO Star Wars isn’t just a kids game – there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had by people of all ages, especially Star Wars fans. Relive your favourite moments of the prequel trilogy, presented entirely in LEGO. Race through Mos Espa, fight the evil Count Dooku, and send that rotten Anakin Skywalker to a firey grave on Mustafa. There’s a huge selection of unlockable characters, and once you’ve beaten the game, you’ll be able to replay any section using any character. Best of all, you can play co-operatively through the entire game with another person.



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Mortal Kombat Deception

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$49.95 | Also on: PS2, GC
D: Midway | P: Midway
OFLC Rating: MA15+
PALGN REVIEW: 8.0 | BUY NOW: Xbox


The Mortal Kombat series is back into full swing after a few years at the bottom of the pile. Deception picks up where Deadly Alliance left off, with Shang Tsung and Quan Chi clinching victory over Earth’s special forces, but the celebrations are short lived as the former partners quickly turn on each other, before being interrupted by Druaga, the Dragon King, and the ultimate power in the Outworld. After Raiden’s sacrifice proves useless, it’s out to the remaining Kombatants to figure out a way to dispose of this menace once and for all. Deception features a huge roster, including a few returning favourites from earlier games, as well as massive single player modes, new Puzzle and Chess Kombat modes as well as full online support – this is one game that will provide tons of long term value without hurting the wallet.

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Midway Arcade Treasures 2

Release Date: Out Now
RRP:$49.95 | Also on: PS2, GC
D: Midway | P: Midway
OFLC Rating: MA15+
PALGN REVIEW: 6.0


The score is a source of debate for some of PALGN's editorial staff, but forget about that – Midway Arcade Treasures 2 contains some of the best arcade games produced by Midway and Atari throughout the early 1990s, including Mortal Kombat 2 & 3, Primal Rage, Pit Fighter, Total Carnage and NARC. This collection is getting a little harder to find now, but is well worth the effort of tracking down, especially if you’re a former arcade junkie.




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Stay tuned to PALGN through the rest of the week for more Christmas buyer's guides.


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12 Comments
8 years ago
nice to see you're still recommending Lego SW. icon_smile.gif top game.

from what i've read of From Russia With Love, it seems like people should be avoiding it like a plague of sexual deviants all infected with the plague.
8 years ago
Quote
from what i've read of From Russia With Love, it seems like people should be avoiding it like a plague of sexual deviants all infected with the plague
Mmm, I was going to wait til I played it before making a decision - should be able to get a hold of it by Thursday.
8 years ago
Nice read.

Will we be expecting a PC and a GameCube one soon?
8 years ago
Yeah, one each day, ending on Saturday.
8 years ago
Sorry, but there's a mistake in that article. Operation Flashpoint: Elite is only available on the Xbox console.
8 years ago
I see you slipped Shenmue 2 in there...
8 years ago
David wrote
I see you slipped Shenmue 2 in there...
And where can I get it fo $30 ... icon_biggrin.gif

Another solid list there.
8 years ago
ZNMS wrote
Sorry, but there's a mistake in that article. Operation Flashpoint: Elite is only available on the Xbox console.
Where's the mistake?
8 years ago
Matt wrote
Quote
from what i've read of From Russia With Love, it seems like people should be avoiding it like a plague of sexual deviants all infected with the plague
Mmm, I was going to wait til I played it before making a decision - should be able to get a hold of it by Thursday.
true, i thought maybe you (or someone) had played it, since it is on this list, and i just wondered about some justification.
8 years ago
I'm going to have to play HL2 for xbox now. It looks awesome- but I'll wait for the review icon_wink.gif
8 years ago
I'm also interested in some impressions of From Russia With Love. I'm a big Bond fan and got a reasonable amount of enjoyment from Everything or Nothing (well worth the $20 I paid for it).

Alex, I'd highly recommend HL2 on Xbox. I'm a Mac user too so this is my first chance to play it. It looks great for an Xbox game and the gameplay is top notch.
8 years ago
Spanca wrote
Where's the mistake?
There was a mistake, but it looks like, it was quickly fixed.
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