Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBOX)
Action 07 June 2005
The seventh installment in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series – one of the most popular game franchises in history that brought Rockstar Games company international fame. The series has been letting the player start as a petty criminal and work his way to the top of the criminal underground. This next part of the series is the biggest one so far, featuring world – the State of San Andreas – almost three times larger than Vice City. Among many innovations, there are several thing worthy of mention: improved AI of civilians, option to recruit gang members, increased number of interactive buildings, hunger factor, swimming, and new means of transportation (e.g. bicycles). On top of that, there game features numerous extra activities, highlighting the sandbox character of gameplay. The game features the atmosphere of the 1990s, apparent in both the graphics and the soundtrack available via the numerous in-game radio stations.
Doom 3 (XBOX)
Action 03 April 2005
The third installment of the legendary FPS series by id Software which set new standards in the genre’s development back in the mid-90s. The action takes place in a secret research facility of the UAC corporation on Mars, where the protagonist, an ex-marine whom we control, begins his service. Shortly thereafter, strange things begin to happen: the lab comes under attack, the communications with the HQ are severed, and the people we encounter turn into bloodthirsty monsters. It turns out that a space-time portal was opened as a result of an experiment, which led to a demon incursion that we have to repel. Compared to its predecessors from the past decade, Doom 3 offers not only fast-paced and incredibly bloody action but also quite extensive plot as well as a number of horror elements. The game also features high-quality graphics.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (XBOX)
Action 04 November 2003
A new installment in the bestselling series of action games. The game expands the ideas introduced in the third entry in the franchise, released in 2001. The game was developed by the authors of the previous installments who, after having been bought by the American giant, were transformed into Rockstar North. The game takes place in the 80's in a completely new metropolis called Vice City. The player becomes Tommy Vercetti, who was sent by his boss to establish a foothold in the city while taking care of the local gangs and corrupted police. The game has similar mechanics to its predecessor and focuses mostly on completing various non-linear story missions. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City added some new features, such as the possibility to use motorcycles and helicopters. The graphics, inspired by aesthetics of the 80's, were greatly improved as well. During the game, the player is accompanied by a varied soundtrack broadcast by several different radio stations.
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (XBOX)
Action 28 January 2004
A 3D action game that takes the players to the 1930’s USA, the time when criminal underground flourished. The game was created by Czech developer Illusion Softworks, mainly known for the highly acclaimed tactical shooter Hidden & Dangerous. The story focuses on a rookie gangster named Tommy, who takes his first steps on the path of criminal life by doing jobs for an influential mafia family. Gameplay comes down to exploration of a virtual city and completing a string of story missions, featuring many subplots. While playing, you will engage in street shootouts, bank heists, car pursuits, and assassinations. The creators did their best to recreate the evocative atmosphere of the USA in the 1930s, and implemented weapons and cars from that period. Insanity 2 game engine made it possible to generate interactive, bustling city with road traffic and changing seasons.
Half-Life 2 (XBOX)
Action 15 November 2005
A sequel to the Valve Software's best-selling game that set new standards for the FPS genre back in 1998. Half-Life 2 is set several years after the events of the first game. Once again, the player assumes the role of Gordon Freeman – a doctor of physics who used to work in Black Mesa Labs, where an unfortunate incident opened a portal for alien life forms to invade the Earth. This time, the story takes us into a fictional City 17 and its immediate vicinity. The protagonist now works for a secret government organization. His mission is to repel the invaders from another dimension, in which he is aided by Alyx Vance – a young women fighting as a part of human resistance. The sequel introduces a technological revolution, employing the Valve’s proprietary game engine called Source. Its main advantage is excellent physics simulation, letting players destroy almost any element of environment and use various objects as covers or even weapons.
Halo 2 (XBOX)
Action 08 November 2004
A sequel to bestselling shooter franchise from Bungie Software, which debuted 2001 as one of the launching titles of the Xbox console. We meet old friends from the first Halo, such as Master Chief or Cortana, who now try to protect the cradle of humanity against the assault of aggressive Covenant forces. The game reuses the best features of its predecessor while taking players to a completely new environment, filled with even more interesting and complex locations. The arsenal has been expanded along with list of available vehicles, and the capabilities of enemy artificial intelligence have been significantly improved. Also, the second Halo introduces environmental destruction, resulting in an even more realistic world and forcing players to use various tactics. Multiplayer options have been expanded with the addition of new game modes.
Halo: Combat Evolved (XBOX)
Action 15 November 2001
Halo: Combat Evolved is a futuristic FPP/TPP shooter that was a launch title of the Xbox console and became Microsoft's first system seller. It was developed by Bungie Software, a studio previously known for the Myth series. The game tells the story of a conflict between humans and aliens that are bent on annihilating our kind. We play as a genetically modified soldier and a member of an elite military unit that was established in order to defeat the alien threat. We will visit many various areas, like forests, swamps, meadows, and alien bases. Halo: Combat Evolved uses an advanced game engine with realistic physic that allows us to use all elements of the game's environment as covers. The game comes with a multiplayer mode that can be played online or on split-screen.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War (XBOX)
Action 27 May 2003
A first-person shooter belonging to one of the most popular game franchises ever created. The player witnesses an alternative course of the Second World War, in which Hitler struggles to create an army of undead super soldiers. The player is put in the shoes of B.J. Blazkowicz - an American commando, whose task is to eliminate the source of the threat located in the titular Castle Wolfenstein. Similar to PlayStation 2, the Xbox console received its own edition of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which has been enriched with an additional assignment that takes place in Africa - it is the prologue that familiarizes the player with the events that took place before the protagonist got captured by the Nazis. In terms of the mechanics, the game is a robust shooter featuring stealth and action elements. Blazkowicz is able to perfectly handle various firearms used during the World War II as well as futuristic weapons. The protagonist encounters various enemies; among them, one can find regular enemy soldiers, mutants, skeletons or zombies for instance. The multiplayer mode for up to 16 players gathered via Xbox Live is an additional feature the game comes with.
Action 08 November 2005
An open-world action game developed by Neversoft Entertainment, the studio known from the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Gun takes us to the American Frontier in XIX century and sees us assume control of Colton White – a young cowboy searching for his real family, following the tragic death of his foster father. The game offers an extensive world consisting of vast wastelands, as well as small towns and Indian settlements. Our hero can explore the world both on foot and by riding horses, while the plot is conveyed through cinematic cut-scenes accompanying the story missions. During his journey, Colton encounters a wide range of NPCs, including the virtual versions of Wyatt Earp or Billy the Kid. When it comes to combat, the player takes part in spectacular shootouts using an extensive and fun-oriented arsenal, including revolvers, rifles, or even the Gatling Gun. The game is characteristic for its detailed, three-dimensional visuals.
Painkiller: Hell Wars (XBOX)
Action 25 July 2006
A fast-paced first-person shooter developed by Polish studio People Can Fly. In Painkiller the player assumes the role of Daniel Garner, who upon dying has been assigned to stop the armies of hell led by Lucifer himself. The story told in the game is linear and the campaign is split into five chapters, each one consisting of several levels. The gameplay is based on fighting hordes of enemies – all sorts of creatures coming straight from hell as well as even more powerful bosses. Fortunately, the protagonist is far from being defenseless against those enemies – in combat he uses a vast arsenal of creative weapons, starting with classic shotguns and rocket launchers to the famous Stakegun or the so-called Shuriken-do Gun. Painkiller is characterized by high-quality graphics and realistic physics simulated by Havok 2.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (XBOX)
Action 25 November 2003
A continuation of the extremely successful action game from 2001. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is once again developed by the Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment with the help from the publisher Take-Two Interactive. The action takes place one year after events of the first installment. Max Payne is back in NYPD. Unfortunately, the dark past still haunts him – the life of the hero is threatened by Mona – a beautiful killer, who steals his heart. There are not many changes in gameplay – it still combines elements of a third-person perspective shooter and an adventure game. Once again the developers implemented Bullet Time mechanics, offering new movement possibilities (like the thrilling bullet dodging).
Max Payne (XBOX)
Action 11 December 2001
Max Payne is a third-person perspective action game developed by the Finnish studio Remedy Entertainment. The protagonist is an undercover DEA agent whose task is to locate the source of Valkyr - a deadly new drug. Personally, Max is also seeking revenge against the murderers of his family. He falls victim to a conspiracy and gets accused of killing his supervisor. The creators were inspired by the crime stories from the 1940s and 1950s, Pulp novels, and the movie, The Matrix. The gameplay focuses on very dynamic sequences of spectacular shootings. An innovative gameplay mechanism is the bullet-time effect which allows the player to slow down the passage of time for a short while in order to perform quick movements, such as jumps or dodges.
Just Cause (XBOX)
Action 22 September 2006
A third-person action game developed by the Swedish Avalanche studio (Just Cause is their first AAA project). The game takes players to an exotic South American island called San Esperito, which covers the area of over 1200 square miles. One assumes the role of Rico Rodriguez - a CIA agent tasked with overthrowing the corrupt usurpatory government and investigate whether the island holds any weapons of mass destruction. Players get at their disposal an open world waiting for them to explore with no limitations. To do this, one can utilize cars, boats, choppers, airplanes, and even parachute. On his mission, Rico encounters factions fighting for power over the island - one can gain their trust by completing special missions assigned by a given faction. In total, the story campaign comprises 20 main missions and a number of side missions that can be completed in any order. A player can use a wide arsenal featuring 25 kinds of weapons and multiple pieces of gear - from standard pistols to rocket launchers.
Thief: Deadly Shadows (XBOX)
Action 11 June 2004
The third installment in the bestselling first-person stealth series, Thief, developed by Ion Storm studio - team composed mostly of developers responsible for the first two parts of the series. The story of Thief: Deadly Shadows is independent from its predecessors, though once again we play the part of well-known thief named Garrett who was the main protagonist of the previous games as well. This time, Garrett's quest is to stop a long-prophesied advent of an era of darkness, which requires him to steal valuable treasures and artifacts from different parts of the city. But things take an unexpected turn when Garrett inadvertently awakens the ancient evil, and becomes considered a traitor by the members of his guild. In terms of game mechanics, the title does not differ significantly from its predecessors, and every mission in the game can be completed in several different ways. The main difference is the new graphic engine and body awareness mechanism through which we have much more control over the hero's actions.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (XBOX)
Action 13 August 2004
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (XBOX)
Action 09 December 2003
The first adventure game based on the best-selling novel written by J.K. Rowling about a young wizard – Harry Potter. The main protagonist is trying to unleash his magical potential in Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Grand Theft Auto III (XBOX)
Action 04 November 2003
Another installment in the controversial series of action games started in 1997. Grand Theft Auto III was developed by the authors of the original game, the DMA Design studio, this time under the wings of Rockstar. The third entry revolutionized the series by unleashing the players into an open, fully three-dimensional world brimming with virtual life. This was possible thanks to the RenderWare technology. The game takes place in Liberty City, a virtual adaptation of New York. The main protagonist is a young man named Claude who dreams about becoming the boss of the underworld and taking revenge on people who almost sent him to prison. The story of the game is non-linear and develops as the player completes dozens of assignments from various mafia bosses. A large arsenal of weapons can be useful in completing these tasks. The game also contains dozens of vehicles which – similarly as in the previous installments of the series – can be used with no limitations.
Ninja Gaiden (XBOX)
Action 02 March 2004
A remake of Ninja Gaiden — a popular arcade action game, very successful on arcade machines as well as on most major gaming platforms during the late 80s and early 90s — developed with Xbox in mind. In the game, we assume the role of the eponymous warrior named Ryu who seeks revenge on the mysterious organization called Vigoor Empire and its leader, the man responsible for murdering the protagonist’s clan and stealing the magical sword Ryuken. Fighting subsequent hordes of enemies is, as you could expect, the key gameplay element, although the Xbox version, in contrast to the original, offers fully 3D graphics with dynamic camera. The game also comes with a larger arsenal of melee weapons as well as a simple progression system, which allows us to learn new techniques and upgrade our armaments.
Red Dead Revolver (XBOX)
Action 03 May 2004
A third-person perspective action game developed by Rockstar Games, a company known for Grand Theft Auto and Midnight Club series. The game features a Western setting, starting during the final years of 19th century and the player assumes the role of Red, a man filled with lust for revenge. During his early years he witnessed the death of his parents at the hands of Mexican bandits that wanted to claim possession of a gold mine located on Red’s parent’s land. After many years he returns to his homeland and his main objective is to kill as many thugs as possible. The game, considered to be a Wild West version of Grand Theft Auto, is mostly about completing story missions and dueling based on the best movie westerns. The developers provided the characteristic style of the Wild West and recreated locations, buildings and characters that are typical of the genre. The players also have access to thirty different weapons, including revolvers, shotguns, rifles and explosives.