Must Buy XBLA Classics (Part Two)

Welcome back for part two of the must buy XBLA classics! If you didn’t happen to find a title that caught your eye in the last list, this one is sure to please. Again, these are titles that you can find and download right off of Xbox Live and play them on your 52” HDTV!! Of course this is after you pay for them but don’t worry; these are games that are worth your hard earned cash (plus, you can always just try out the demo to make sure). And come on… who doesn’t like playing classic video games on their HDTV?

Banjo-Kazooie & Banjo-Tooie


For these two masterpieces, I figured I just list why these games are must buys.

1. Two of the greatest protagonists of all time (a bear and a female bird that lives inside his backpack. What else could you ask for?)

2. Two of the greatest platformers of all time (traverse vast worlds, transform into different forms, defeat enemies by laying eggs, tons of special moves, and great controls!)

3. Two of the greatest N64 games of all time (and now they’re on the Xbox Live Arcade! Play the game and have a blast, catch up on a classic and get achievements while doing so!)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night


One of the greatest, if not the best, Castlevania games ever! Released on the original Playstation, this 2D platformer blew franchise fans and gamers away with its pin point controls, excellent gameplay and beautiful graphics. When this first came to the XBLA, gamers rejoiced in a reason to purchase something on the money guzzling feature. If you have never played any of the Castlevania games, this is where you want to start so you can experience the greatest moment in the series. Just be aware that you may find no other entry as enticing as this one; so maybe you want to work up to this and save the best for last… or you can just go ahead and whoop some sorry zombie and vampire butt with your whip! 

Comix Zone


One of the greatest games on the Genesis (because we all know Genesis Does), few people have heard about this game since it was released during the end of the console’s lifespan. It’s a shame because this game had so much to offer; amazing graphics, beautiful graphics and superb gameplay. The game’s protagonist was a comic book artist named Sketch Turner who gets warped into his own graphic novel by the evil nemesis, Mortus, who has escaped. Sketch then must battle his way through the many pages of his comic while Mortus draws enemies and obstacles. It even has multiple endings! It’s a truly remarkable and unique game that should be played by anyone who considers themselves a gamer. Take heed however, as this game is very tough and will give many a run for their money so be prepared to step it up… big time.

Gunstar Heroes


Awarded Best Action Game in 1993 by the now deceased magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, this game was another incredible Genesis game. With detailed levels and characters it looked beautiful and, to some degree, still does today. With the world coming close to the end, the Gunstars must stop Smash Daisaku who wishes to reactivate the ultimate weapon, Golden Silver (such a cool name). What’s worse is that he has kidnapped one of the Gunstars! So now it’s up to Red and Blue (yes, those are their names) to stop Smash and rescue their fellow Gunstar, Green. Now the story isn’t the only intriguing part about this game. Besides playing co-op, players can choose from four different weapons and combine them to create a total of fourteen! How breathtaking is that?! But don’t take my word for it. Do yourself a favor and try this game out now!

Metal Slug 3


Who doesn’t love Metal Slug? Running around, shooting and slicing up soldiers and aliens and yetis through five intense levels, each ending with an insane boss fight. It’s just absolute mayhem (and awesomeness) at its greatest. It is a short experience and even after some playthroughs the game may not appeal to some anymore but its simple and addictive gameplay will rock some gamers’ worlds, especially for those who haven’t tried the game. And the best part is the ridiculous weapons you can spread your carnage with. Wait, no. The best part is that you can play with a friend! Wait, no. The best part is that you can become a zombie! Wait, no. Ah, forget it. This game is just awesome!  

Phantasy Star II


For those who believe Final Fantasy was the only mainstream role playing game (RPG) back in the day, you are wrong and should check up on your history. Providing much competition was the Phantasy Star series and the second entry was one of the best. Not only in the series but of all time and if you don’t believe it, check out some official lists. Its epic storyline and turn-based battle system is considered the predecessor to all great RPG’s that ever came after it. If you missed this classic (and you like RPG’s), this gem is a must because it will show you what video games evolved from. This is a fantasy that will be a star on your hard drive (sorry, I had to say it).

Prince of Persia Classic


Booby traps, enemies and one hour to rescue the princess are all you have in this remake of the well known original. With graphics representing the Prince in his last trilogy, this enhancement looks beautiful. It still deals with cautious approaches to each new pathway, strategically timing your way through obstacles and sword fighting foes to reach the end boss. It also has two new modes consisting of “Time Attack” and “Survival.” Another tough game however, so watch yourself when you attempt to avoid some of those spikes.

Smash TV


Carnage, mayhem, absolute chaos and prizes!! That’s right, win a shiny new toaster, a free vacation or your very own VCR!! All you have to do? Destroy and slaughter masses of people and robots for the viewers all around the world. That’s right! Run and gun your way through several rounds searching for cash, gold and silver while wiping out surrounding enemies by yourself or with a competitor. And whoever collects more, wins the grand prize!! Definitely worth the 400 Microsoft Points it costs, this arcade shooter delivers fast paced game show action at its best. With multiple power ups, weapons and co-op play, this is one game show worth joining.

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3


The greatest Mortal Kombat game there is… for only $5! What are you waiting for? Featuring tons of characters from the previous entries with crisp graphics this is one heck of a fighter. If there are any XBLA games worth buying, it’s this one as it delivers the classic Mortal Kombat style with its design, its blood and its fatalities. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg since there is online play to go along with this package. This means you can now rip players’ heads off, shred them to pieces or just drop an arcade machine on their heads from halfway around the world. Yeah, I know; awesome.

Well, that’s it for the must buy classics featured on XBLA… for now. As more games are released this list will be sure to grow so until then, sit back, relax and enjoy some classics that are worth playing.

See anything you agree or disagree with? Let it be known to the world by commenting below.

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  1. Gunstar Heroes, buy Gunstar Heroes, if you do not buy Gunstar Heroes, you fail at gaming forever. If you don’t like Gunstar Heroes, there is absolutely no hope for you.

    Comix Zone though, there is no denying that game is hard. Its short, but its ridiculously hard, and very unforgiving in the later levels.

    As for Phantasy Star 2 though, I have to say that 4 was the best one. That game was the pinnacle of RPG gaming on the Genesis.

    Gotta say this though, if you have a PSP, try and get Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles, that has Symphony on it with a nicely updated translation and a remake of Rondo of Blood (as well as the original). Although, the XBLA has the most epic opening line in gaming history.


  2. I’m thinking GamerSyndrome needs an auto resizer for thumbs.. Anyway, you forgot to mention classics like Earthworm Jim and The Incredible Machine. Just suggestions, though. I don’t know if they qualify as classics.
    btw: You made me dig up my old Ultimate Mortal Kombat CD

  3. I like the list which has Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie as my favorites by far. Several of the others are good too, but it’s like you said, a bear and bird, who could ask for more? Not me. It has my vote.

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