Archive for December, 2006


Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Updated

doaultimate.jpgI love a good backwards compatibility update for the Xbox 360 as every time I anxiously check the list for a game I might still have in my original Xbox collection.

The highlights for this December 2006 update include Dead or Alive Ultimate and Shenmue II.

New games and updates* include:

  • All-Star Baseball™ 2005
  • Aquaman: Battle of Atlantis
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • *Burnout® 3: Takedown™
  • Dead Or Alive Ultimate
  • Destroy All Humans!
  • Dynasty Warriors 4 / Shin Sangokumuso3
  • Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick
  • Family Guy
  • Far Cry: Instincts
  • Incredibles/ Mr. Incredible (J)
  • I-Ninja
  • Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
  • MX Unleashed
  • Open Season
  • Pariah
  • Psychonauts
  • Rainbow Six: Lockdown
  • Rapala Pro Fishing
  • Scarface
  • Shark Tale
  • Shenmue II
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
  • Ultimate Spider-Man
  • Wakeboarding Unleashed: Featuring Sean Murray
  • Whacked!
  • Winback 2: Project Poseidon
  • Xiaolin Showdown

A nice lenghy list and hopefully you will have a few there you will want to pop into your Xbox 360 to relive some classic gaming. I am still praying for the day though when Midtown Madness 3 appears as that game was so much fun online!

[ Update: Microsoft have reverted their official list back to the older August update, so maybe the information was released at the wrong time! Well an insider look maybe then at what will be available soon ]

[ Update 2: List updated with a few additions such as Soul Calibur II (North America Only) and Conker: Live and Reloaded ]


Console Monster Podcast #2

cm_podcast.jpgHere is the 2nd Console Monster Podcast hosted by James Woodcock (yes that is me!). In this edition I decided to have a bit more fun with it and also created a new music theme for the show. The music is quite cheesy and has a happy spirit about it, but I really like it and hopefully the majority of listeners will as well! It was played live on a Yamaha Tyros 2 keyboard.

First of all we start with the Halo 3 Beta Competition [00:29] followed by an interview with Max Freiert [02:14] from the Compete Blog regarding the findings in his ‘Xbox 360 Launch 2.0‘ which compares how the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 did at launch recently then finishing with a friendly debate [13:44] with Barrie Rogers and Steve Wysowski covering the following topics:

  • Steve’s Nintendo Wii first impressions
  • Graphics or artistic presentation?
  • Barrie finally comes to the HDTV world
  • James’s experience with the Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive
  • Is the Microsoft Xbox 360 coping with the launch of the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3?
  • Xbox 360 one year later
  • Blue Dragon Rescues the Xbox 360 in Japan?
  • Barrie’s Phantasy Star Universe first impressions
  • Sonic the Hedgehog next generation disaster?
  • Barrie expresses his love for Viva Pinata
  • Is the Xbox 360 only a mature gamer console?
  • Halo 3 Trailer

My Sonic the Hedgehog Review for Xbox 360

sonicthehedgehog.jpgTo say I had nothing positive to say about this game would be an understatement! I really do love Sonic and the fact that this game totally destroys the gaming I so adored has actually upset me and maybe this is even reflected in my review:

For any SEGA fan, a little blue hedgehog will sit firmly and lovingly in your heart. Sonic ever since its first foray on the SEGA Megadrive has somehow survived the test of time, the move from 2D to 3D graphics and even a new audience but alas it has faltered terribly as we enter the next generation.

Sonic has always been a story of cute and cuddly animals, vibrant colours and memorable music however forget your original perceptions and lets together venture down a new avenue of despair, horror and damn right stupidity. No I am not talking about the story line as dull as it is, but of the feeling tormenting you from level one.

I am sure there are some people who will disagree with my experience of the game, but I am also positive that this is one of the worst Sonic games to ever be released.

Link: Sonic the Hedgehog Review for Xbox 360


My FIFA 07 Review for Xbox 360

fifa07.jpgMSXbox World are now hosting my FIFA Football 07 review:

If you are a football fan, your enthusiasm for the FIFA series may have decreased with the fact that there have now been no less than three FIFA Football games in a single year for the Xbox 360. After the initial disappointment of FIFA Road to the World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2006 did make some impressive progress, but our attention now is firmly on the more serious title of the series and that is FIFA 07.

The World Cup games may appear every four years (usually anyway!), but for the more avid football fan the interest rests in the leagues and local teams such as Manchester United or Real Madrid. So with a deep breath, here is my third FIFA review I have written this year. gasp.

Link: My FIFA 07 Review for Xbox 360


Rainbow Six Vegas – Capture Yourself

virtualjames.jpgVirtual worlds are certainly nothing new and creating replicas of how you look again has been done before, but adding your real face onto an Xbox 360 character that Xbox Live users from around the world can see?

With the recently released Rainbow Six Vegas and the Xbox Live Vision Camera, you can actually scan your face into the game and see some very impressive results. Pictured on the right is actually my virtual character with my face mapped on.

I must admit at first as excited as I was, seeing myself shot or blown up by a grenade was a weird sensation. Now however there are so many of my friends scanning their faces in, it has become a great addition to Xbox Live and I really hope more games will take advantage of this. The only thing that worries me is the fact I will have to scan my face each time for every game that supports it, but the rewards are interesting and no longer are you just a bunch of polygons, but an actual representation of yourself.

I am sure some people are going to find problems with having a virtual image of yourself in a game that involves bloodshed, but just remember it is a game and indeed optional!

The Xbox Live Vision Camera could and should be used much more in the future and this adds a whole new personal way of interacting with friends and strangers. Just like the voice communication where most of us started off very quiet until getting used to having a conversation within a game, the same will hopefully be the same with the camera. No more faceless people is a great plus for those who want a more personal experience.