30 Best Multiplayer Games For The Original Xbox

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The original Xbox was a groundbreaking machine.

It was the most powerful console of the sixth generation by far, offering better graphics, plenty of direct PC ports, and the first reliable online gaming infrastructure in the form of Xbox Live.

It also had some excellent multiplayer games too, including the incredibly influential Halo – and some lesser-known but equally entertaining titles like Kung Fu Chaos.

So grab a cold one, order some pizza, and join me as we take a look at some of the greatest multiplayer titles worth revisiting on the original Xbox.


30. MechAssault (2002)

MechAssault Xbox game screenshot

One of the first games to utilize the Xbox’s online capabilities to their full extent was MechAssault, a fantastic giant robot third-person shooter set in the 31st century.

Regrettably, the online multiplayer component has since been discontinued.

However, you can still enjoy the two-player co-op Grinder mode. This pits you and your 2P against endless waves of increasingly challenging enemies.

If shootouts between 40ft tall Metal Gears is your jam, MechAssault is definitely worth a try.


29. Red Dead Revolver (2004)

Red Dead Revolver Xbox gameplay

Before Red Dead Redemption on the Xbox 360, there was Red Dead Revolver on the original Xbox.

But you can’t go through the exciting campaign with a friend, at least in this title…

That said, the multiplayer component makes up for it in spades.

Up to four players can shoot it out among themselves (or against bots) across most scenarios seen on the campaign.

Almost every character also makes a return with unique starting weapons and abilities, though you’ll have to unlock them by completing missions or purchasing specific items.


28. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 (2002)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 screenshot

I’ve always been too afraid of breaking a leg or an arm skating to try any sort of trick other than “not falling off the skateboard in the first 10 seconds”.

But in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, I can skate like a legend.

This is one of the most exciting and accessible games on the Xbox.

Anyone can pick it up and start pulling off grinds, ollies, and kickflips in a matter of minutes.

There’s also a character for everybody.

If you don’t like any of the 13 professional skaters, you can even play as Wolverine, Darth Maul, or Doomguy – among others.

And you can also create your own custom skater if you wanna go that route.


27. Karaoke Revolution Party (2005)

Karaoke Revolution Party for Xbox

Not everyone has the coordination to keep up the pace in a hardcore match of Dance Dance Revolution.

But everyone can pick up a microphone and sing chart-topping songs at the top of their lungs.

Hell, in Karaoke Revolution Party, you don’t even have to know the lyrics!

Just hum along or mouth gibberish with the right pitch, and you’re set.

You’ll also make the game 100% funnier for any onlookers.

It’s perfect to set up at parties or to have fun with a few close friends after a couple of drinks.


26. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II (2004)

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II screenshot

If you don’t want the cerebral action of a pen-and-paper DnD adventure and would rather skip to the exciting part, try Baldur’s Gate II: Dark Alliance.

The game is meant to be played with a tight companion who’ll bring out the best in you as you slay countless undead abominations in over 80 levels of non-stop action.

If you haven’t played the original Dark Alliance, you’ve got twice the content to tackle.

Highly recommend checking this out if you’re a fan of the series.


25. Brute Force (2003)

Brute Force Xbox gameplay

Brute Force is a fantastic third-person shooter with gorgeous graphics and a ton of unique weapons to try out.

The game focuses on squad-based gameplay, with each character specializing in a specific role. Tex is an assault trooper that handles heavy weapons, Flint is a cyborg sniper, Brutus is a beefy lizardman that can charge enemies – and so on.

This makes it perfect for playing together with three friends on split-screen, or to set two teams of four against one another through System Link.


24. Super Monkey Ball Deluxe (2005)

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe screenshot

The Xbox aimed to present itself as a manly console with a mature aesthetic to attract new audiences that may have felt alienated by Nintendo’s ever-present family-friendliness.

And I guess it kinda worked.

That said, it does have its fair share of colorful and fun games for the whole family.

There are two ways to monkey around in Super Monkey Ball Deluxe.

You can either compete by collecting bananas through the levels unlocked in Challenge Mode or try out one of many mini-games available from the start.

These mini-games include Monkey Race, which emulates kart racers, Monkey Fight, where you try to knock other primates off the stage, and the self-explanatory Monkey Bowling – among others.


23. 007: Nightfire (2002)

007: Nightfire on Xbox

Any gamer born before 1995 knows GoldenEye 007 on the N64 as one of the most exhilarating competitive multiplayer experiences since the dawn of gaming.

While 007: Agent Under Fire didn’t quite get there, 007: Nightfire was definitely one step closer.

The visuals are top-notch, and the 4-player multiplayer features a wealth of characters from the Bond saga to choose from, including Goldfinger, Baron Samedi, and Jaws.

This is the kind of game just about anyone can pick up and play.


22. Mashed: Fully Loaded (2006)

Mashed: Fully Loaded / Xbox gameplay

Upon reading the title, I thought Mashed: Fully Loaded would be some sort of spud gun-based shooter.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

This exhilarating vehicular combat game lets up to four players compete in ultra-violent death races where both driving skills and underhanded tactics are key to victory.

The only thing keeping this game from a higher spot in our ranking is the weird camera angles.

They’re meant to give the game a cinematic appeal, but they just make some turns harder than they should be.


21. XIII (2003)

XIII / Xbox gameplay screenshot

This unique FPS uses cel-shaded graphics to emulate the look of a comic book.

It’ll even show the player close-ups of their cooler kills – mostly headshots – in the form of comic panels during gameplay.

And it looks incredible.

While the main campaign’s secret agent storyline and thrilling gameplay are excellent by themselves, the multiplayer is also a highlight.

You and up to three friends can compete in modes like Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Sabotage, and more in a wide variety of locales. The player count jumps up to 16 if you set up a LAN party.


20. Far Cry Instincts (2005)

Far Cry Instincts gameplay

The original Far Cry was one of those games the developers just couldn’t stop milking.

You’ve got Far Cry, Far Cry Instincts, FCI Evolution, FCI Predator… What’s going on?!

While the original Far Cry Instincts offers a better single-player experience, I’ll go ahead and recommend Evolution if you’re interested in the multiplayer.

It lets you and up to three friends fight each other for survival with similar skills as those found in the campaign. Maps are varied, and there’s also a powerful Map Editor where you can create obstacle courses, mazes, and all sorts of creative scenarios for your and your friends to hunt in.


19. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005)

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Xbox screenshot

Ubisoft’s answer to Konami’s Metal Gear Solid did a lot of things right.

It features a more grounded story, even more challenging stealth mechanics, and a fantastic multiplayer.

Most Splinter Cell titles are pretty solid, but Chaos Theory is the best on Xbox.

The Spies vs. Mercs mode introduced in Pandora Tomorrow makes a comeback with even more features, but the best way to enjoy Chaos Theory with a friend is the co-op mode.

In it, you’ll make your way through a series of missions parallel to the main campaign, where players will have to work together to pull off combo moves and solve puzzles.

It’s a lot more fun to play than you might think.


18. Def Jam: Fight for NY (2004)

Def Jam: Fight for NY on Xbox

Every time I write about Def Jam, I’m profoundly amazed at how creative the concept of hip hop artists/rappers trading blows for control of the musical underworld is.

We all went crazy whenever a celebrity was included as an unlockable character in games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater or Ready 2 Rumble Boxing – so why not make the entire roster famous musicians?

Making Snoop Dogg the final boss of the campaign was the icing on the cake.


17. Fuzion Frenzy (2001)

Fuzion Frenzy Xbox gameplay

Fuzion Frenzy is a four-player party game that replaces the whimsical aesthetic of Mario Party for the dark, mature style typical of XBOX launch titles.

The game features over 45 dynamic mini-games spread across six City Zones in the Tournament Mode, including a Downtown area, a Military Zone, and a Power Station, and more.

Each match has you traversing up to six of these zones and collecting “orbs” by winning mini-games. At the end of a match, you can bet your collected orbs in the special Fuzion Frenzy mini-game in a last bid to score some more points.

Alternatively, you can jump in for quick action in the Mini-Game Frenzy mode.


16. Crash Tag Team Racing (2005)

Crash Tag Team Racing / Xbox screenshot

It’s unlikely that Crash Bandicoot franchise will ever reach the fame of Nintendo’s Super Mario.

But when it comes to kart racing, the marsupial puts up a fair fight.

Crash Tag Team Racing is the Xbox’s alternative to Mario Kart: Double Dash (2003) on the GameCube, going so far as to feature a vehicle “clash” mechanic that lets two karts combine into one.

This unusual mechanic promotes the formation of alliances on the fly.

Used intelligently, it can completely change the outcome of a race.

The game also features a couple of platforming sections, reminiscent of classic Crash games, where players can get out of the car and explore diverse environments for collectibles/unlockables.


15. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike (2005)

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike gameplay

Tom Clancy’s squad-based tactical shooter was all the rage back during the Xbox’s lifespan.

And it remains a great option both for co-op and competitive shooting.

Summit Strike stands somewhere between an expansion and a proper sequel for Ghost Recon 2.

Whatever it is, it’s impressive.

And definitely worth the money, even if you’ve already cleared the original.

It features a new story, new weapons, new multiplayer skins, and tons of new maps to shoot it out with up to three friends.

Most of the 24 multiplayer battlefields are massive and beautifully designed. There’s cover everywhere, too, which promotes intense and fast-paced matches.

Playing through the challenging campaign with your squad is an unforgettable experience that’ll require communication and trust in each other’s skills.

It’s the stuff friendships are made of.


14. Deathrow (2002)

Deathrow / Xbox gameplay

I’ve never been a big fan of sports games.

But when they’re as creative and comically violent as Deathrow, even I can’t resist.

In this unusual title, you and your friends will try the futuristic sport of Blitz – a sort of hyper-violent Ultimate Frisbee played by technologically-enhanced juggernauts with no regard for their rivals’ wellbeing.

There are 18 themed teams to choose from, and many courts to paint red with up to four players in local split-screen and 16 through LAN party.

Deathrow shines for its detailed characters and polished visuals.

The early 2000s electronic soundtrack is also a highlight.


13. Kung Fu Chaos (2003)

Kung Fu Chaos on Xbox

If you’re thirsting for an alternative to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. on the Xbox, look no further than Kung Fu Chaos.

This four-player game brings together the timeless charm of Kung Fu flicks from the 70s like Bruce Lee’s Return of the Dragon (1972) and Jimmy Wang-Yu’s Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) with the inherently frantic combat of a 3D brawler.

Each of the nine characters is inspired by different icons and archetypes from martial arts films, and you’ll see them perform over-the-top moves straight out of Jackie Chan’s wildest dreams.


12. Guilty Gear X2 #Reload (2004)

Guilty Gear X2 #Reload / game screenshot

One of the basic rules of the universe is that if a 2D fighter is made by Arc System Works, it’s good.

Guilty Gear X2 #Reload is an enhanced version of GGX2 with slightly improved visuals and some great extras.

It features a total of 26 characters ranging from a sadistic guitar-playing bombshell to a bite-sized pirate wielding an anchor that’s almost her own size.

Lovers of overly complicated hyper-technical 2D fighters that are utterly inaccessible to newcomers will feel right at home playing GGX2 #Reload.


11. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (2005)

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 gameplay

The second entry in the SW: Battlefront series builds on the solid groundwork laid out by the original, with much-improved graphics and new additions like super-powerful hero units and space combat.

There’s nothing quite like spawning as Mace Windu and bringing down the hammer of justice on unsuspecting droids by throwing your purple lightsaber.

Boarding a Tie Fighter or an X-Wing and fighting high above the atmosphere of a contested planet is also exhilarating.

The game’s online component was the main appeal at launch.

Nowadays, the service has been discontinued.

But you can still enjoy the Galactic Conquest and Instant Action modes locally with a friend via split-screen.


10. Hunter: The Reckoning (2002)

Hunter: The Reckoning Xbox gameplay

Left 4 Dead wouldn’t come out until 2008 for the Xbox 360.

But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t spend your weekend killing zombies with your squad in 2002.

Hunter: The Reckoning is a hack-and-slash/TPS where you and up to three friends battle hordes of zombies, vampires, and other supernatural creatures who’ve taken over the Ashcroft Penitentiary.

Characters include a biker, a prison chaplain, an ex-cop, and even a rave girl who face the macabre threat with axes, swords, shotguns, crossbows, and even magic spells.

It’s a bit short. But every minute is packed full of action and dark humor I’m sure any zombie-killing squad will love.


9. TimeSplitters 2 (2002)

TimeSplitters 2 game screenshot

If you liked the style and soul of the classic 007: GoldenEye, but wish it was a tad faster, you’ll love TimeSplitters 2.

In terms of sheer enjoyment and replayability, it ranks up there with Halo.

There’s a lot of content to experience, including an exciting co-op campaign and a ton of competitive game modes featuring over 100 characters to choose from.

The Arcade Custom mode lets you control every little detail about a match, from the number of bots to the speed at which the game moves.

You can choose whether to allow one-shot kills, activate or deactivate character abilities, and decide what weapon players start with – if any.

And the sequel to this game (TimeSplitters: Future Perfect) is another solid multiplayer choice.


8. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System (2003)

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System on Xbox

My favorite non-Halo shooter on the Xbox is Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, a game with a lighthearted storyline and stellar gameplay that feels like the violent TPS version of the 2005 animated film Robots.

Up to four players can try to disassemble each other in split-screen with satisfying guns, including rocket launchers, mining lasers, saw blade launchers, and all sorts of grenades.

My only recommendation would be to find yourself a 100% save file before attempting to play, as most of the multiplayer maps and characters have to be unlocked by collecting secret chips in single-player.


7. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (2003)

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge gameplay

Crimson Skies takes place in an alternate universe where planes and zeppelins became extremely commonplace around the 1930s.

This unique setting let the developers bring together the fantastic aerial combat of games like Blazing Angels, combined with a more lighthearted and adventurous story reminiscent of Indiana Jones, and adventure serials like The Perils of Pauline.

It features many aircraft to choose from and varied scenarios to fly over as you desperately try to send your rivals crashing down.

Even if you’re a total beginner, you’ll find the streamlined controls easy to learn.

So be sure to give this four-player dogfighting extravaganza a chance.


6. Dead or Alive 3 (2001)

Dead or Alive 3 Xbox screenshot

Dead or Alive 3 was an exclusive Xbox sequel to one of the most well-loved and unique fighting games in history.

The franchise shines for two main reasons.

On the one hand, you’ve got the distinctive combat system which works a bit like rock, paper, scissors but with strikes, throws, and holds.

On the other, there’s the wealth of hot ladies that make up most of the cast.

Among this game’s main improvements over previous entries are considerably enhanced graphics, interactive destructible stages, and one of the first instances of “boob physics” in gaming – brought to you by the Xbox’s superior horsepower.


5. Quantum Redshift (2002)

Quantum Redshift game screenshot

Quantum Redshift is the Xbox’s answer to Wipeout Fusion on the PS2 – and it’s better in almost every way.

This underrated zero-gravity racer plays like a dream.

The visual effects are gorgeous, too – and they capture the feeling of traveling at breakneck speeds better than anything that had come before.

These impressive visuals make it a fun experience to tackle any of the 16 racing tracks against up to three friends in split-screen just as engaging today.

The one thing Quantum Redshift doesn’t quite nail is the characters.

They’re presented as a central part of the experience, but they’re flat and forgettable.

I will admit that their ships are pretty cool, though.


4. Unreal Championship 2 (2005)

Unreal Championship 2 on Xbox

If you care at all about graphics, you have to give the gorgeous Unreal Championship 2 a chance.

This hero-based shooter has you switching between first-person shooting and third-person melee fighting on the fly.

Flexibility is necessary in a game where mobility is vital, and significant distances can be closed in a matter of seconds.

Players can choose between 14 bad-ass characters with unique killstreaks to fight across 40+ multiplayer maps.

Regrettably, the game only supports two-player split-screen co-op.

So you’ll have to use System Link across several consoles to really enjoy what it has to offer. But if you’re into this kinda gameplay, it might be worth the effort.


3. Phantom Dust (2005)

Phantom Dust Xbox gameplay

For something truly unique, I’d recommend trying out Phantom Dust – a game with an edgy aesthetic that brings together fast-paced action and cerebral deck-building.

Each player gets to pick and choose which spell cards to bring into the battlefield.

And once they’re on the field, they’ll duel up to three other warriors in active tactical combat.

As you play, each of you will understand what strategies work for them and adjust their decks accordingly.

Thanks to this constant adaptation, every match is full of surprises.

The game was fantastic as an online title, but four-player split-screen is a fine experience as well.


2. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)

Halo: Combat Evolved screenshot

Halo is easily the most influential game in the entire Xbox library.

And this series is actually one of the reasons for the console’s success.

This game really did make combat evolve.

Its legendary multiplayer introduced many new elements that became instant staples in the FPS genre, and it took until Halo 2 for anything to come close.

It also introduced the world to Master Chief, and set the basis for the ever-expanding lore of the series we know and love today.

If you want something you know everyone will instantly fall in love with, you can’t go wrong with Halo – especially if you have four XBOX systems required to set up a glorious 16-player Slayer LAN party.


1. Halo 2 (2004)

Halo 2 Xbox gameplay

And here’s the incredible sequel to the gaming revolution of Halo: Combat Evolved.

It offers more of the same action, but with updated graphics and some new multiplayer modes.

On top of the original’s five modes (which include Slayer and Capture the Flag), Halo 2 introduces Assault, Juggernaut, and Territories.

It also features a new split-screen co-op mode, so you and a friend can tackle the story mode as a team.

It’s a great way to introduce someone to the game’s basic mechanics before dropping them into multiplayer.

And as a whole, Halo 2 makes for a fantastic way to spend a weekend.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.