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The Best Exclusive Console Games

By Silent Chris in Culture
Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 07:23:03 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

Today, video gamers are living the high-life with three great consoles, many of which have similar ports of games. Exclusive titles set each console apart, and knowing their may help in a purchasing decision.

Microsoft Xbox - Microsoft has surprised much of the gaming world with some stellar titles, eliciting the "Ed, Edd, and Eddy" quote: "Hoo-rah. The dorks did something cool for once." While most of their exclusive games remain published in-house (not necessarily a good thing) there are still some real shiners:
  • Halo: Of course the proverbial "living in a cave" cliché works here, but Halo must be played to be believed. Contrary to published opinion, it is not the be-all and end-all of shooters (the Quake series takes that crown, with Unreal Tournament following closely after), but it's pretty darn close. Halo is easily the best console shooter ever, with intuitive controls and graphics that'll make you forget you're playing on what's essentially an nVidia 2.5. The sound and music is incredible, and the game comes off with a four-year, strong spit-and-polish that has to be seen to be appreciated.
  • Rallisport Challenge: Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec for PlayStation 2 was, up until a few weeks ago, the racer to beat in the pure fun department. Rallisport Challenge looks to have stolen its thunder. Graphically the game is incredible, with a whole host of "nice touches" (everything from the obligatory lens flares to dust caked onto your paint), and a rock-solid frame rate. What sets this game apart is the innovative use of the Xbox controller, which shakes with harsh - but controlled - vigor. When you cut into a ridge or ride over sand you really get the proper sensations, which adds much to the realism of the experience.
  • Jet Set Radio Future: Originally a Dreamcast-exclusive title, and ported to what some have nicknamed "the Dreambox", Jet Set Radio Future sets new standards for cel-based animation in video games. The game just reeks style, with everything from the stages to the music to the menus having a distinctly edgy Japanese flavor. If you have any adverse side-reactions to the Far East you shouldn't play this one. But, if you want to experience one of the most original games out there, look for the distinct red foil box.

Nintendo GameCube - Nintendo is still trying to cast the shackles of its Pokemon kiddie image, and by early indications it still has some work to do. That doesn't mean you can't have fun with some excellent, original titles:

  • Star Wars: Rogue Leader: A game that pushed many adults to consider purchasing the GameCube for themselves, Rogue Leader has "classic" written all over it. The game screams to be ported. Movie-caliber cut scenes mesh with nice use of video to create a uniquely George Lucasian-experience, while Factor 5 pulled off some cool tricks to get accurate, crystal-clear Dolby 5 sound. The use of the nav computer (that plastic eye shield on the helmets in the movies) can cut down on some of the challenge/fun factor, but Rogue Leader is still a great game to show off to friends who think the definition of "Nintendo" equals "Pokemon".
  • Super Smash Brothers Melee: If you use Rogue Leader to show how much of an adult you are, you can play Super Smash Brothers Melee in hiding to encourage your inner child. Every major Nintendo character (and quite a few you may never have heard of) makes an appearance in jaw-dropping 3D. Clever renditions of classic video game stages await the video historian-purist, while nearly a hundred beautiful characters' "trophies" challenge you to beat the game again and again. The only dent in the shine is a sometime overactive camera, but Super Smash Brothers Melee has a fun factor that's nearly impossible to beat.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 Battle: Another late entry by Sega, and a worthwhile one. Taking the critically acclaimed (but poor selling) Sonic Adventure 2 for Dreamcast, Sega added a host of graphical improvements, a solid 2 player mode, and connections with the Game Boy Sonic Advance. The result is a solid all-around effort, with everything that made the Dreamcast version a blast to play. It may be unoriginal to those who played the Dreamcast version, but every other Nintendo fan will finally see what the hedgehog fuss was all about. How long until we have a game that features both Sonic and Mario?

PlayStation 2: A gaming powerhouse, Sony showed with the critically acclaimed (and massive selling) PlayStation that yes, it could indeed dominate any media market. PlayStation 2, now a year old, improves on the tradition using some very original titles with a strongly adult bent:

  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Anyone who questioned the graphical power of the PlayStation 2 in light of the newer Microsoft and Nintendo systems had their controller handed to them with Metal Gear Solid 2. More a movie than a game, producer Hideo Kojima has prompted his team to create an action experience unrivaled with most other military games, and they succeeded. Gritty violence, strong sound and unique game play come together in a game that's impossible to turn off late at night. Hideo even added some humorous elements to lighten the tension. What a guy.
  • Grand Theft Auto 3: Named "Game of the Year" by a wide-variety of publications, and for good reason, Grand Theft Auto is a shining example of a perfect correlation between telling a story and allowing the player to live it. Nearly every aspect of the town you race, steal, and even kill in is picture-perfect, and the game isn't so much a string of missions as one continuous, well-written novel. Take note: the violence in Grand Theft Auto 3, while not gratuitous, is extremely sadistic and quite realistic. Underage kids should be left nowhere near this game. Adults will enjoy its seriousness greatly.
  • Jay and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy: Pushing away from the overly brutal, Jay and Daxter add a nice bit of action to an otherwise lonely PS2 platforming landscape. The characters are well conceived, and the challenge (fortunately) runs much greater than your average Mario game. While beautiful, the graphics are marred by just a hint of jaggedness, reportedly due to a low in-game resolution. Don't let that keep you away from one of the most well rounded platforming games in years. Also, make sure to turn the sound up for some of the clever wisecracks.

Overall - So which system has the best games? All of them! I would greatly encourage purchasing more than one system to play a wide gamut of exclusive titles. Even with one system, you really can't go wrong, as 2002 proves to be an excellent year for gamers.


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Which system do you think has the best exclusive games?
o Microsoft Xbox 17%
o Nintendo GameCube 29%
o Sony Playstation 2 52%

Votes: 57
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Silent Chris

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The Best Exclusive Console Games | 47 comments (37 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Is it just me (3.25 / 4) (#2)
by FredBloggs on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:49:01 PM EST

or are games getting less and less inspiring? I remember being blown away by the Playstation - compared to a PC or Amiga or Megadrive. When i look at Xbox/Game Cube stuff, I have an overwhelming feeling of `is that it?`. Maybe i`m not easily satisfied...

I dunno (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by wiredog on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:05:47 PM EST

The first game I played was pong. After Pac Man I pretty much stopped playing video games. Never got into console games.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
I think (none / 0) (#9)
by FredBloggs on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:13:26 PM EST

the Amiga spoiled me! Nearly every game was like its own little genre. Now the game industry has gone mainstream, its swapped its geeky image for generic car racing, first person shooters, top down racers etc.

I have a playstation, and i recently got a GBA, but i`m waiting for a reason to get a newer one. I almost got a PS2, but then i heard the price was about to come down, so i waited...

I have to say - £300 is a lot of money for a games console. Only in the computer industry would people blow that sort of money on something which isnt all that different to the last one they have.

[ Parent ]
You're getting old, grandpa (1.00 / 1) (#22)
by President Steve Elvis America on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:39:33 PM EST

You've been around the block a few times, so perhaps that is why you are tired of games. They can't really improve the storyline, and it is difficult to improve the gameplay, so all they are left with is graphics and sound. Those are improving quite a bit, but they have a limit too. Look at the latest FF game. It's getting closer to looking real all the time.


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America
[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#41)
by guinsu on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 03:45:59 PM EST

I find it to be the opposite. I remember thinking the PS1 games were rather uninspiring, especially compared to PC games. But I have a PS2 and XBox and I've got some really fun games with really good graphics too.

[ Parent ]
Smash bros. (3.60 / 5) (#3)
by hardburn on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:57:20 PM EST

I have a group of freinds who are pretty hardcore Smash Bros. players. On four players, the new GameCube version must be played with a big TV. The game's maps are so big that if you have people on each side, it streaches out so much that you can hardly see what is going on.

Another complaint is that Nintendo seems to use the game to show off--the backgrounds are soooo complex that they become distracting. You also must "fight the level", so to speak, as much as you fight the other players. This may be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it, but my freinds seem to agree this is a bad thing.

One Pokemon-based map in particular is really bad. It forces you to jump from one part to another or you'll be flung off the map. Since I play with Kirby a lot, I can dominate everyone else because I can float forever :)

As for Sonic on Nintendo, I couldn't stop laughing at the irony when I first saw it. Just thinking back to the wars over the 16-bit consoles . . .

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

ps2 bg da (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by spottedkangaroo on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:01:24 PM EST

I'm particularly fond of baldur's gate dark aliance. I think I've got 400 hours in on that game so far.

sure, the pc version is probably better... *shrug* But consoles are for games, and my linux box is doing server things... can't really reboot it to winblows.

Hey! (3.33 / 3) (#11)
by BushidoCoder on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:45:57 PM EST

For the PS2, you forgot Ico, FFX and SSX Tricky. The PS2 is my favorite hands down/no questions asked, but not for the games you connected with it.

Breaking up your list into 3 games per console isn't really a fair way to judge the material. The PS2, being a year old, does lose some points in so far as the hardware is a year older, but it gains points in that it has the largest game library available. In a discussion on "Exclusive Console Games", that should be mentioned, along with Nintendo's ownership of some franchise titles that are, for the most part, always good (Zelda series springs to mind).


Not exclusive (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:54:29 PM EST

I agree that Ico or FFX might deserve to be there instead of Jak and Daxter.. but SSX Tricky is not PS2 exclusive. I know SSX Tricky has an Xbox version. In addition, Square has released PC versions before.. I don't know if FFX is going to the PC or another system. FFXI will be released for ALL modern platforms, due to its multiplayer nature.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
FFX (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by Silent Chris on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:17:37 PM EST

Actually, given Square's new agreement with Nintendo, it's possible that FFX may end up being non-exclusive as well.

[ Parent ]
I don't know about always good... (none / 0) (#26)
by Trepalium on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 07:58:20 PM EST

I don't know if I'd call the Zelda series always good. I'm not particularily fond of Zelda 2, or any of the N64 Zelda series. The oracle series on the GBC was a bit annoying because of all the jump puzzles. Zelda 3 (on the SNES) is still my favorite out of the entire series. The Mario series has also had it's ups and downs throughout the series.

[ Parent ]
GCN looks better in 2002 (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by 90X Double Side on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:59:03 PM EST

The third big reason to get a gamecube will probably be Star Fox Adventures. A Rare game with a Star Fox franchise and graphics that look like this... how can you go wrong! Couple that with the new Final Fantasy game, Metroid Prime, Eternal Darkness, everything Miyamoto makes, and the ability to play games that come out for all three systems (which there are a lot of in 2002, Soul Calibur II is a very noteworthy example) for $100 less and I couldn't say no, although I will almost certainly be picking up a PS2 soon; the three games in the article say it all, so when I can't use one of the other PS2's in the dorm I'll probably break down and get one (I really would like to see a $249 price point or at least an extra controller thrown in this summer, along with less clumsy video DVD hardware; the thing isn't brand new anymore). After all, the article did a great job reminding us that there are some great games coming for all three systems, and you should hoard all the consoles you can get ;)

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
Really, though. (none / 0) (#17)
by MattOly on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:20:39 PM EST

If it's console video game action you're after, I recommend the Republic Game Console. I am so getting one when it comes out.

A final note to...the Republican party. You do not want to get into a fight with David Letterman. ...He's simply more believable than you are.

pop ups (none / 0) (#31)
by jaymagee on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 01:28:04 AM EST

I tend to get a little sceptical when i run into a site with such poor grammer and so many ads. Unless, of course, you're just being sarcastic. ;-)
Making a better humanity, one genetic change at a time.
[ Parent ]
heh heh (none / 0) (#47)
by MattOly on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 05:42:17 PM EST

I was being very, very, very sarcastic. :D

A final note to...the Republican party. You do not want to get into a fight with David Letterman. ...He's simply more believable than you are.
[ Parent ]

Best console game of all time (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by ODiV on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:15:12 PM EST

is River City Ransom.

Run around, beating up gangs and upping your stats. For the original NES. Check it out.

Newest system I've got is a dreamcast, so I have no comment on the newer games. Thinking about picking up the GameCube (It's cheap) and getting Soul Calibur 2 when it comes out (drool).

[ odiv.net ]
pretty much agreed (none / 0) (#21)
by demi on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:24:31 PM EST

although I have two complaints about RCR. Number one, it was too short. Number two, the continue passwords, if you took the time to write them down, were hideously long and complicated. Reading from my younger brother's handwriting you were almost certain to enter the wrong password.

Actually Technos Japan had another gem for the NES, Super Dodge Ball, which provided many hours of roaring laughter.

[ Parent ]

PS2 games (4.00 / 4) (#24)
by jayhawk88 on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 04:04:59 PM EST

Your missing perhaps the best exclusive for PS2, Final Fantasy X. This game was moving consoles a year before it was released; I'm sure I'm not the only one who picked up PS2 mainly because I knew a new Final Fantasy was coming. It may not be exclusive forever (possible PC or Gamecube ports), but right now it's one of the best reasons to own a PS2.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
It's a good game. (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by SIGFPE on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 07:32:16 PM EST

But not the best. For one thing - it's extremely linear. Frequently you end one 5 minute cut sequence. Get dropped at the end of a corridor. You walk to the other end (the only place available) - all of about 10 seconds - and end up in another cut sequence. In other RPG games you at least get to explore some rooms before you go to the next stage. Here there is only one path - forwards. (OK, at the end you can find some extra little 'dungeons' to explore but that's about it.)

But the combat system is pretty neat, some of the fights are a real challenge, and it looks pretty.
[ Parent ]

Final Fantasy IX (none / 0) (#38)
by Silent Chris on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 08:17:30 AM EST

I actually thought Final Fantasy IX was a better game than X (a return to simplier game play mechanics, a classic storyline, etc). X just continued what IX "dared" to do. Because IX was a Playstation 1 game, I didn't include it.

[ Parent ]
GTA3 (none / 0) (#27)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:12:21 PM EST

I got my PS2 a few weeks before the GC and Xbox hit the market. I wasn't interested in any of the titles for those two systems though, except for Halo and Rogue Leader.

I also absolutely love the PS2 controllers, they are, IMHO, hands down THE BEST controllers ever made. My only complaint is the D-pad with the 4 separated buttons could be better, but it's actually better than most. The dual analog controls that fit each hand the same are excellent though.

Why doesn't anyone else do this? The Xbox controllers are OK, but they both could have been much better. The Xbox controller is simply too big, and why are each analog stick located differently? The GC controllers are simply WAY too small, the D-pad feels wimpy and as if it could easily be squashed, and WHY ON EARTH didn't they make the right analog stick better?

I admit, I'm a bit picky about controllers.

As for games, I really like the PS2 lineup. It's by far the most complete, but the GC and Xbox are still new. Still, the GC and Xbox have a LONG way to go to catch up.

All in all, there are 3 consoles out there now that simply blow away anything preceding them, you really can't go wrong with any of them, it's simply a matter of game preference.

And don't forget the Dreamcast, I have one of those too. I've played all my games to death, but damn were some of them really good. I absolutely loved Soul Calibur, that game alone is worth the cost of a DC. While the DC isn't quite as powerful, it's still in the same "league". It's too bad Sega dropped the ball on it. But because of that, it's CHEAP! There's a pretty decent games library for it and games can be had for next to nothing.

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Controllers (none / 0) (#35)
by pin0cchio on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 08:06:45 AM EST

My only complaint is the [PlayStation's] D-pad with the 4 separated buttons could be better,

That's a patent issue. Nintendo has a patent on the cross-shaped D-Pad (which is due to expire soon).

The GC controllers are simply WAY too small

They're the same size as PS1/PS2 analog controllers, and they're comparable in buttons (though GCN lacks L1 and Select). Anyway, some of the independently produced controllers are bigger.

the D-pad feels wimpy and as if it could easily be squashed

The independently produced controllers all have a bigger D-Pad.

WHY ON EARTH didn't they make the right analog stick better?

You mean why isn't the top face bigger, as it is for the left stick? Easy. A bigger face would make it easier to accidentally bump the stick on the way to the Start button.

[ Parent ]
Xbox analogs (none / 0) (#36)
by Silent Chris on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 08:14:25 AM EST

I've found that the Xbox analogs are really smartly placed (as are the GameCube's, although I agree that the face on the right one is too small). For whatever reason, it's easy to access both Xbox analogs at the same time, leading to some interesting features (NFL 2K2's "virtual buttons" feature, using the right analog stick, is actually pretty cool).

[ Parent ]
What?!? (none / 0) (#28)
by DuckSauce on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:34:13 PM EST

GameCube : Pikmin.

Call me Odd (none / 0) (#29)
by bsletten on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 12:50:06 AM EST

But in addition to Halo (which rules!), I really enjoyed "Munch's Oddyssey" on XBox. I can see that some folks would get a little tired of it toward the end (some of the levels are only mild variations on others), but I loved the playability, the music, the graphics, the characters, etc. It has a fun sensibility to it. Give it a look see.

Odd indeed (none / 0) (#40)
by Silent Chris on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 02:24:54 PM EST

I enjoyed Oddworld, but after I finished it the first time I really *really* had no desire to go through it again collecting Quarma. Oddworld is kind of like watching a guy do standup: the first time it's funny, but each time subsequently, when he tells the same jokes, it gets boring. Plus, can you imagine not breaking any of the eggs?!?

[ Parent ]
Nethack? (5.00 / 6) (#30)
by doviende on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 12:58:27 AM EST

At first i thought that Nethack was the best exclusively console game, but then i remembered that there exists an X11 version too


GameCube (none / 0) (#32)
by jaymagee on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 01:33:03 AM EST

Well, its the gamecube for me. As a poor college student, the 100 dollars in savings means two more games on a limited budget. I like what I've seen so far, and the games coming out should be great, based on past Nintendo history. Rogue squadron looks gorgeous, and pikmin just looks fun. Smash Bros. Melee has all my buddies salivating, though. Now if they'd just come out with Mario Cart....... Remember, they come in more colors than purple, too. Its jet black for me, baby.
Making a better humanity, one genetic change at a time.
Mario Kart == bugs (none / 0) (#34)
by pin0cchio on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 07:46:41 AM EST

Now if they'd just come out with Mario Cart

Now if they'd just fix all the bugs in Mario Kart.

And when are they going to get more than eight playable characters? I want to see the Nintendo universe vs. the fairy tale universe (Peach vs. Snow White and Cinderella, Kinopio vs. Pinocchio, Fox McCloud vs. Gossop Wolfe, etc). In other words, I want Mario Kart vs. Shrek Kart.

[ Parent ]
Halo isn't being released exclusively on the XBox (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Ordieth on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 01:58:52 AM EST

It's being released on the PC as well.

While it is an "XBox exclusive" Microsoft appear to have redefined exclusive to mean "not for at least six months".


For this review, "exclusive" = (none / 0) (#37)
by Silent Chris on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 08:16:12 AM EST

any game that is exclusive as of right now. Metal Gear Solid 2 and Grand Theft Auto 3 are also planned to be ported.

[ Parent ]
According to Microsoft (none / 0) (#39)
by Elendale on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 09:04:25 AM EST

"Exclusive" means "Not on any other consoles".
Surprise, surprise. A game created by (now) Microsoft in-house developers doesn't get ported to any other system. Well, except PC. The Bungie fans would have rioted in the streets if it didn't get ported to PC.


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
And... (none / 0) (#43)
by Delirium on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 12:11:23 AM EST

...Microsoft makes the operating system the PC version will be exclusive to anyway.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 0) (#44)
by Elendale on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:00:14 AM EST

I believe it is being released on Mac as well. PC version will satisfy less than half of the Bungie fans out there. While they aren't numerous, the Mac-using Bungie fans are... well... let's just say a bit rabid. Possibly foaming. I wouldn't want to tangle with them, anyway. In any case, they were working on the Mac version after the sellout so any Windows-exclusivity has been added since.


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
Jak, not Jay and Daxter (none / 0) (#42)
by kojo on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 05:43:46 PM EST

Just a brief note on the spelling of one of the PS2 Game titles.

Also, for those who think this article is so "out of place" here on K5(I don't) Joystick101 (http;//www.joystick101.org) might not be a bad place for this type of discussion.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to install my new 40gig HD so I can install all my games, including newly arrived copies of NOLF and Icewind Dale.

Damn... (none / 0) (#45)
by ODiV on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 04:23:45 AM EST

You've got good taste.

I finished NOLF not too long ago and I got to the end guy in Icewind Dale (and couldn't get past him). Now I'm playing it over with my roommate.

[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Jak (none / 0) (#46)
by Silent Chris on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 08:38:36 AM EST

Yeah, I noticed that myself after submitting it. Good call.

[ Parent ]
The Best Exclusive Console Games | 47 comments (37 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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