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Horror in a Box: 20 Years of Exclusive Horror Games For Xbox Consoles

Horror in a Box: 20 Years of Exclusive Horror Games For Xbox Consoles

What began as a snicker for a lot of players manner again in 2001 has gone on to turn into a profitable endeavor for Microsoft. True, the Xbox has at all times performed runner-up to Sony’s PlayStation, and it wasn’t with out its rising pains (the preliminary Xbox controllers, the notorious 360 Pink Ring of Loss of life), however the terribly massive sport console that might nonetheless ended up because the one which introduced console gaming on-line in a significant manner (sorry, Dreamcast), and immediately gives players with an enormous library of titles to take pleasure in, because of the Xbox Recreation Move and the Xbox Backwards Compatibility program. And whereas console exclusivity is a rarity today, there are nonetheless these choose titles that at one time or one other you can solely play on the Xbox.

So, with that in thoughts, listed here are some highlights all through the Xbox’s first 20 years that both have been/nonetheless are unique to the Xbox or have been initially launched first on the system. And sure, technically a few of these did launch on PC on the identical time, however Sony and Nintendo have been nonetheless unnoticed, so it nonetheless counts.

Halo (2001, Xbox)


Admittedly, Halo isn’t the very first thing you consider on the subject of horror, however then there’s that a part of the sport the place you encounter The Flood that adjustments that notion fairly rapidly. The Flood was so fashionable for gamers that the parasitic organisms made their return in Halo 2 and Halo 3. In the meantime, Halo was each a system vendor and a key title for Microsoft’s then-fledgling Xbox Reside service, and helped carry multiplayer gaming on a console to the forefront. It additionally launched a special type of horror for players within the type of foul-mouthed 12-year-olds screaming into their mics throughout multiplayer classes.

Gears of Battle (2006, Xbox 360)

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Halo was Microsoft’s franchise collection for the Xbox, however that didn’t cease Epic Video games from cranking out a system vendor of their very own. Far grittier (and browner) than Halo‘s sci-fi motion, Gears of Battle additionally had that pretty Lancer Assault Rifle that produced loads of plasma for these getting up shut with any Locust. There was additionally that trailer that made use of “Mad World” by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews from Donnie Darko that put protagonist Marcus Fenix in a little bit of a bind. Aside from that, Gears of Battle appeared so slick for its time and had some enjoyable multiplayer modes. Once more, not outright horror, however a number of horror parts have been woven into the gameplay and story.

Condemned: Prison Origins (2005, Xbox 360)

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Somebody over at Sega will need to have been a fan of The Silence of The Lambs, as Condemned: Prison Origins is a near-perfect mash-up of survival horror and a criminal offense thriller. The concept of the participant having to analyze crime scenes and file proof at factors all through the sport juxtaposes properly with the uncooked melee fight the participant engages in with psychotic vagrants which have a behavior of leaping out at you from the shadows. Admittedly, the story is on the weak facet, and whereas attention-grabbing, the crime scene investigations aren’t notably deep. Nonetheless, the concept of looking a condemned constructing for a serial killer with solely your flashlight remains to be superior.

Doom 3 (2004, Xbox)

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After the large successes that have been Doom and Doom 2, id Software program was tasked with the not possible with Doom 3. The end result forgoes the pure guns-blazing motion for extra of a survival horror environment, although you continue to have loads of gunplay to fulfill your bloodlust. The scripted soar scares and predictable AI was annoying, however you couldn’t deny how beautiful the sport appeared. To not point out the oppressive environment within the UAC base was solely heightened by the truth that the sport pressured you to modify out of your weapon to a flashlight to see at nighttime. And hey, the Xbox model featured a two-player co-op mode, which mixed with the opposite multiplayer modes, made it a must have.

Alan Wake (2010, Xbox 360)

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We’ve sung the praises of Treatment’s Alan Wake quite a few occasions through the years, and it’s simple to see why. The sport pays homage to quite a few horror influences (notably Stephen King and Twin Peaks), cleverly makes use of the episodic format, employs distinctive (for the time) gameplay mechanics, and total appears to be like/sounds very good, even over a decade later. Followers have been blessed with the current remaster, and a hope that Treatment will lastly give them (and everybody else) a sequel that was sorely wanted after the quick standalone sport, American Nightmare.

The Medium (2021, Xbox Collection X/S)

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Bloober Crew’s foray into next-gen proved to be an enormous hit for the studio. Whereas The Medium drew upon traditional horror video games akin to Silent Hill for inspiration, the end result was nonetheless a sport all its personal. The crew performed to their strengths and crafted a splendidly moody and tense sport that was enhanced by Silent Hill’s Akira Yamaoka participation within the sport’s rating. Including to that was the implementation of the twin actuality gameplay, which at first comes throughout as a little bit of a gimmick, truly works to create some intelligent options puzzles for the participant to resolve as the sport progresses.

State of Decay (2013, Xbox 360/One)

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Arriving earlier than the glut of open-world zombie apocalypse video games hit the market, Undead Labs struck gold with State of Decay again in 2013. The sport turned a success on Xbox Reside Arcade, promoting over one million copies for the developer. The sport ultimately obtained a remaster for the Xbox One, adopted by the sequel in 2018. Whereas it suffered from technical hiccups and a flawed essential storyline, the sheer depth of the sport with its survival elements and fight made its paltry $20 price ticket a steal.

Rise of Nightmares (2011, Xbox 360 Kinect)

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With the success of Nintendo’s Wii, Sony and Microsoft jumped onto the motion-sensing bandwagon, with various levels of success and high quality. Sega’s Rise of Nightmares was fairly typical for the Xbox Kinect when it comes to its execution. The story has your Home of The Lifeless goofiness, with the participant having to rescue his spouse from a mad scientist and his hulking goon. The sport itself might be greatest described as common, making enough use of the Kinect’s movement controls, however stumbled with the graphics and the replayability. Relying in your style for HoTD cheese, this may be value your whereas.

Stubbs The Zombie in Insurgent And not using a Pulse (2005, Xbox)

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One other cult favourite, Stubbs The Zombie‘s unique look on the unique Xbox in all probability restricted its potential for a sequel. That is regardless of the sport being as enjoyable as it’s humorous. The current re-release preserves the sport precisely because it was when it was launched again in 2005, for higher and for worse. By trendy requirements, Stubbs‘ dated gameplay mechanics screams for an replace/remake. Hopefully, developer Aspyr will get a second crack at it. Or at the least palms the sport over to a studio who will deal with the sport and its followers proper.

Lifeless Rising (2006, Xbox 360)

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You knew this was coming. The dream of enjoying out Daybreak of The Lifeless in online game type got here to fruition a yr after the Xbox 360 was launched, and scored one other hit for Capcom. Regardless of the next sequels by no means matching the unique, the unique Lifeless Rising stays a enjoyable sandbox title. The sheer variety of methods gamers might dispatch hordes of zombies was an absolute blast. Positive, the sport’s timer was a ache for individuals who simply needed to mow down zombies, rescue survivors, or full Case Recordsdata, however it gave approach to replayability (and a number of endings). In spite of everything, you’ll be able to’t save everybody from a zombie apocalypse. And you probably did ultimately unlock Infinite Mode, so all of it labored out.

Left 4 Lifeless/Left 4 Lifeless 2 (2008/2009, Xbox 360)

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Everyone knows Left 4 Lifeless and its sequel are trendy classics, which turns into all of the extra obvious with its religious sequel, Again 4 Blood, not fairly reaching the identical heights (to date). What’s much more stunning is that the PC-centric Valve determined to provide Xbox 360 followers variations of the video games that weren’t scorching rubbish. Positive, the enjoyable mods that Steam gamers have been having fun with for years aren’t out there on the 360, however that’s inappropriate. The enjoyable and frantic gameplay of Left 4 Lifeless translated completely to the console and Left 4 Lifeless 2 solely gave us extra zombie-smashing goodness, after which some.

Carrion (2020, Xbox One)

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Whereas “reverse horror” titles have been performed earlier than to various success, Carrion is fortunately one of many good ones. Catering to followers of John Carpenter’s The Factor, Carrion combines the enjoyable of selecting off the hapless people as you crawl via vents and sewers of a subterranean base with very good pixel-based graphics, splendidly atmospheric soundtrack by Cris Velasco, and throws in some cool puzzles to interrupt up the wanton human munching. It’s sadly on the shorter facet, and the shortage of a minimap is irritating in some circumstances, however these are minor whenever you’re ripping open doorways to feast on the scientists huddled within the room.

Name Of Cthulhu: Darkish Corners Of The Earth (2005, Xbox)

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Oh, what might have been. Regardless of being seen as a business flop after being in growth for over six years, quite a few delays and a number of options dropped, Darkish Corners Of The Earth remains to be the most effective Cthulhu mythos video video games ever. Making nice use of Lovecraft’s materials, the novel Sanity meter that did greater than Everlasting Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem‘s comparable mechanic managed to, and featured a splendidly darkish, unearthly environment, Darkish Corners Of The Earth was hung up on bugs and steep issue curves. It additionally didn’t assist that it was launched with subsequent to no consideration paid to it, which doomed it at retail. Developer Headfirst Productions deliberate on releasing at the least two extra video games below the Name of Cthulhu banner, however an absence of a writer and Headfirst’s eventual chapter put an unlucky finish to the potential.

Breakdown (2004, Xbox)


Namco’s 2004 sci-fi experiment for the unique Xbox was a unusual mixture of first-person taking pictures and preventing, and admittedly might need been a bit too on the market for many players who have been having fun with the run ‘n’ gun gunplay of different shooters on the time. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to’t deny that Breakdown was compelling in its mechanics and its Terminator-esque story. With the sport being made out there for obtain from Xbox Reside Retailer and having been made a part of the Xbox Backwards Compatibility, there’s nonetheless very a lot a chance for the present technology of players to expertise it.

Silent Hill 2: Stressed Desires (2001, Xbox)

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Now earlier than everybody begins screaming within the feedback about how I’m incorrect, the unique Silent Hill 2 was launched for the PlayStation 2 in September 2001. An prolonged model, subtitled Stressed Desires, contained a brief bonus state of affairs “Born from a Want” and supported 480p decision, which was launched for the Xbox on December 20. Ultimately, PS2 homeowners obtained this model within the type of the Biggest Hits line, so everybody was joyful. As for Silent Hill 2 itself, it is a no-brainer for one of many best Survival Horror video games ever made: purchase it.

Deadly Body: Particular Version/Deadly Body II: Crimson Butterfly Director’s Reduce (2002/2004, Xbox)

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Once more, like Konami and Silent Hill 2, Koei Tecmo had initially launched Deadly Body on the PlayStation 2 first in 2002, however later within the yr, opted to launch a Particular Version model of the sport for the Xbox. This model featured graphical upgrades, new ghosts to struggle, a revamped digital camera interface, bonus costumes for Miku, and a brand new “Deadly” issue mode. You additionally had an Artwork Gallery that you can unlock by finishing the sport on the brand new issue mode. Likewise, Deadly Body II: Crimson Butterfly obtained a Director’s Reduce for the Xbox a yr after the PS2 launch. This model additionally featured enhanced graphics, Dolby Digital audio, added First-Individual Shooter Mode and Survival Mode, a brand new ending, and extra costumes.

Castlevania: Concord of Despair (2010, Xbox 360)


Konami tried a brand new method for the Castlevania collection with Concord of Despair, a multiplayer spin-off that includes an all-star solid of Castlevania video games’ previous that emphasizes loot gathering and boss battles. Leaning closely on the multiplayer facet, the large finish bosses take a ton of hits to be defeated, and the sport itself is simply too tough and monotonous if you happen to resolve to go at it alone. Concord additionally depends closely on the grind, requiring you to spend cash to improve your gear earlier than taking over the boss itself. In consequence, Concord of Despair feels swiftly cobbled collectively and synthetic, with not one of the story, nor exploration, you’d hope for in a Castlevania sport.

Metro 2033 (2010, Xbox 360)

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The one which began all of it for the Metro sport collection (tailored from Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novel of the identical title), and the right sport for the then-new 4A Video games, who had expertise engaged on the similarly-themed S.T.A.L.Okay.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. And like S.T.A.L.Okay.E.R., Metro had the tough environment of a post-nuclear fallout nailed down together with the survivalist gameplay, however was additionally topic to a number of bugs. Nonetheless, the shooter had offered 1.5 million copies by June 2012, and had a Redux model that PlayStation 4 followers might lastly get in on the enjoyable.

Vampire Rain (2007, Xbox 360)


They will’t all be winners. Whereas AQ Interactive didn’t goal to drop what might’ve been a cool survival horror stealth sport this badly, they sadly did. What was imagined to be akin to Steel Gear Strong, Vampire Rain had you sticking to the shadows to keep away from vampires that might finish you with simply two hits. Sadly, the comparisons to Steel Gear Strong didn’t do the sport any favors. Nor did the schizophrenic AI, gameplay that boiled all the way down to trial-and-error the place you’re restricted in your method, weapons which are both woefully underpowered or overpowered that it breaks the entire stealth mechanic, and the throwaway multiplayer part. The eventual PlayStation 3 port didn’t fare a lot better if you happen to’re questioning.

Oxenfree (2016, Xbox One)

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Extra supernatural spookiness than outright horror, that shouldn’t cease you from trying out Night time Faculty Studio’s debut sport. Oxenfree‘s excellent story is the primary draw, which unfolds by way of exploration and dialogue selections. The cool factor is that the 2 overlap, making a kind of “lively cutscene” as you stroll and interact with characters. It’s this distinctive manner of growing the story and its characters that reveals simply why Oxenfree snagged so many award nominations for its narrative. The sequel Oxenfree II: Misplaced Indicators, appears to be like to proceed the identical immersive gameplay.

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