When it comes to 3D platformers, the original Xbox had its fair share. However, not enough exclusives to repel the immense library of platformers the PS2 offered. Despite this, those looking for great platformers to sink their teeth into will find that the original Xbox fills that need.
Bouncing from one platform to another, while gathering collectables and beating bad guys, has always been a wonderful aspect of the genre. Even though the genre was dethroned by other growing genres like first-person shooting and open-world at the time, it refused to perish.
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Crash: Twinsanity is a unique instalment in the franchise. In the sense that it broke free of the overdone 2D gameplay formula, opting instead for a fully interactive open-world experience. Although the change has brought a new breath of fresh air to the series, frustrating platforming levels are still present.
Featuring his rival Cortex as a playable character this time, Crash and the former team up to thwart an even greater enemy. Crash and Cortex will need to cooperate throughout the entire game, either to reach new places or defeat certain bosses. These two have never been known to be allies, and seeing them cooperate for the first time surely puts a smile on one’s face.
With cartoon-like visuals and lively soundtracks to listen to, Crash: Twinsanity is a blast from the past. Although it may prove to be annoying at times due to certain flaws, this is a great 3D platformer.
The Blinx duology has to be one of Microsoft’s answers to any platformer at the time. And while it may not have reached high scores at the time, the game is a blast to look back at. Mainly, due to the implementation of time manipulation features.
As the cute cat Blinx, you must prevent the end of the World and rescue the beautiful princess from the wicked Tom-Tom Gang. Equipped with a vacuum cleaner and various gadgets, only you can save the world. Blinx is capable of manipulating time at any time thanks to his vacuum gadget. Players can rewind, slow, pause or even record their playthrough.
Platformers featuring a playable cat character are a rare commodity in the industry. But with the release of Stray one can only hope that more Cat games will flood the market hopefully, soon.
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc sees players experiencing yet another crazy adventure filled with hooligans to punch in the face, platforming levels and so much more. The game features crucial elements from the genre, but with a unique spin on the formula— It’s fun, humorous, and addictive, but the best thing? You won’t be able to let go of the game until you’ve finished it.
Rayman: Hoodlum Havoc was released at a period in which Ubisoft enjoyed a lucrative era. From iconic titles such as the Prince of Persia franchise, Beyond Good and Evil to high-quality projects such as Splinter Cell, the company pumped unforgettable classics for anyone to play and cherish.
If you end up falling in love with Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (which you will), it’s also recommended that you check the entire franchise as well.
Psychonauts is considered by many to be one of the best games by Tim Schafer. He also made other underrated masterpieces such as Brutal Legends which is rarely talked about these days. The game’s story sees you venturing with Razputin deep into the minds of people you know, fighting their demons and helping them stand on their feet by solving their issues. With his psychic powers, he can infiltrate any mind and save the day.
One of the reasons that made Psychonauts stand tall in the crowded market at the time was its incredibly inventive premise. Nothing of that sort was done before at the time, and thanks to that, gamers had the opportunity to experience something fresh out of the box. We could use Razputin’s help to solve our mental issues too. God knows what he’ll find in there.
I-Ninja can be easily summed into a few words — a little ninja guy brandishing a sword with anger issues. The game’s story puts you in the sandals of this angry ninja as he seeks to gather all the mystical Rage stones in order to defeat the vile O-Dor, the game’s villain. Whether he’ll have his anger issues sorted after defeating O-Dor is unknown.
At first glance, the game may lure one to think this was made only for kids, but oh boy will some platforming levels test your tolerance even as a grown-up. I-Ninja is a blend of hacking and slashing and platforming, with a couple of mini-games on top. Most of the game is spent jumping from one platform to another, running on walls or swinging around obstacles and taking on robots.
Featuring a diverse line of ideas from the genre, appealing visuals and humourous cutscenes, I-Ninja is a fun-to-play hidden gem on the original Xbox you should play. It is quite a shame that this was one of the latest games by Argonaut Games before they perished forever.
Voodoo Vince may look like those cute platformers you’d see commercials for on television, but oh boy are you in for a shocking surprise. Originally developed by Beep Industries and published by Microsoft Game Studios, Voodoo Vince is an exclusive 3D platformer for the original Xbox. A remastered version was released on the Xbox One and Steam.
The game’s plot puts you in the shoes of a doll named Vodoo in his quest to rescue his precious madam Charmaine from the clutches of the evil Kosmo. Featuring elements from the platforming genre such as jump, attack and collecting items, the former introduces an inventive mechanic that never gets dull. Players can use voodoo powers to vanquish enemies on screen, but that comes down at cost of your health. It never gets stale to just beat your doll to defeat your enemies.
Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is one of the most action-intense adventures you’ll ever partake in, and a memorable one as well. Players take on the role of two main characters; Sphinx and his Mummy friend, Tutankhamen. Together, they must cooperate in order to take down the Evil Seth, and his horrific actions causing a disturbance in the land.
Most of the game is spent with Sphinx venturing from one city to another, conversing with NPCs, fighting monsters and collecting items in order to progress further. The Mummy, on the other hand, sees players go through a multitude of puzzles to solve, and in the end, obtain a certain artefact that will help Sphinx in his journey. The game does switch back and forth between these two characters occasionally, providing players with a seamless experience.
Pitfall: The Lost Expedition was sadly the franchise’s last breath before being put to dormancy — and it’s a shame because the latter holds greater potential like any platformer. Embark on a courageous adventure starring Pitfall stuck on a beautiful island brimming with nature, crazy monkeys, crazy villagers, and crazy momma gorillas. As an innocent adventurer whose plane crashed on an obscure island, it’s your job to uncover its secrets. And as you progress further through the game, you get to unlock some cool abilities.
The Lost Expedition is the sixth instalment in the series before the series would end up getting abandoned by Activision. The former revamped many aspects fans of the series loved about the originals, and instead switched to a completely 3D overhaul. The game may suffer from several shortcomings, but that doesn’t hinder it from being a recommended game on this list.
Vexx can be easily summed into five words; Wolverine’s son, is that you? — this is another 3D platformer starring an angry protagonist thirsty for revenge, and like I-Ninja you’re in for a great playthrough. Having a gameplay style reminiscent of classics such as Banjo-Kazooie, and Super Mario 64 didn’t stop Vexx from landing on this list. Although the game may borrow some ingredients from other classic platformers, Vexx is far from being classified as a mere clone.
Players take control of the little clawed guy as he hunts down the man responsible for killing his own people, and while he’s at it, he’ll also destroy his minions. Most of the game is spent gathering items in order to unlock new levels. Vexx can climb on certain walls, attack enemies using his gauntlets, swim deep into the water and utilize special abilities that will help him reach new places.
This is arguably one of the best platforming games to come out from Acclaim Entertainment’s bygone era — perhaps one of the most excellent hidden gems that have flown under your radar — and if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s never too late.
Jet Set Radio: Future is one of the best games to be made by SEGA, but the fact that it’s still stuck as an exclusive on the original Xbox is tragic. Two decades after its initial release, Jet Set Radio: Future stands tall against the test of time. Its beautifully well-made cel-shaded graphics and the excellent soundtrack score along with the graffiti mechanic are nothing short but amazing.
Take control of one of the members of the CG gang and roam through the futuristic city of Tokyo while taking on other gang members. Grind through rails and porches, perform several stylish mid-air tricks as you jump from one corner to another, spray places with your graffiti, and simply just have fun.
Whiplash is a wacky 3D platformer only a few talk about — perhaps because of the controversy it sparked upon its release — and that’s a shame because the game is insanely fun despite the deceiving looks.
Experience the adventures of Spanx and Redmond teaming up to find a way out of the warehouse of the product testing corporation known as Genron. Since they’re both chained, the only way to survive is to cooperate, but this cooperation turns into a hilarious experience. Spanx uses Redmond as a tool to attack enemies, break things, or as a grappling hook to reach places afar.
The game plays pretty much like any other platformer in the genre, but the inclusion of using one’s buddy as a tool is wacky as hell.
Tork: Prehistoric Punk can be compared to the likes of Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer as both feel similar to one another. Quite unfortunately, the game was released exclusively in the United States for the original Xbox which makes this game a bit challenging to get your hands on today.
Players take on the role of the shapeshifter Tork in his adventure to thwart an evil sorcerer from his destroying his world. The punk Tork will travel through time and change history in order to achieve his goal. The best thing about the game is its setting — video games set in the Stone Age are a rare commodity in the industry — and it’s always fascinating to see how video games handle that period in human history.
Conker: Live & Reloaded is a remake of the original Conker’s Bad Fur Day which was originally released on the N64.While the original is your best option to experience the game in its best shape, the remake isn’t bad at all. If you don’t mind the censorship, then the remake is for you.
The game’s plot is one of the silliest video game stories ever, but not in a bad way. Players take control of a red squirrel named Conker who must return to his girlfriend, but that won’t be easy at all. His journey will be filled with several challenges, characters to converse with, solving puzzles, and facing off against Dracula himself.
While the game visuals may be similar to Rare’s Banjo Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day isn’t for kids as it features explicit violence, alcohol, tobacco and so much more. You really don’t want your children to see this guy.
Dr Muto was every kid’s wet dream in the early 2000s. Growing up in that period, kids were inundated with shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory, The Fairy OddParents, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron and more — an era laden with some of the best shows that made us crave taking control of an evil scientist.
Midway Games has answered the call through Dr Muto, a 3D platformer that has you playing as a mad scientist who has accidentally destroyed his own home planet through a faulty experiment. In order to sort out the mess he’s caused, he will do anything, even if it comes to stealing.
Since players take on the role of a mad scientist, you can imagine what this guy has under his sleeves. Players can morph into different species thanks to the Splizz Gun he has invented. Additionally, Dr Muto has possess a multitude of cool gadgets to help him get through the game.
Fans of 3D platformers shouldn’t sleep on this one. And if you’re a fan of mad scientists, Dr Muto is for you.
Thank you for reading.
Just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games - but is still open to any game in the industry if you ask him. His love for Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is like a truck and whenever he meets a new friend, he can't help himself but recommend it to him.