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Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Discussion Part II


Romier S
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As most are already aware, Microsoft released a new BC update today that includes the following games:

 

Aggressive Inline

Aquaman: Battle of Atlantis

All Star Baseball 2003

All Star Baseball 2005

Burnout 3: Takedown

Catwoman

Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kart UPDATED

Counter Strike

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Dead to Rights

Digimon Rumble Arena 2 UPDATED

ESPN Major League Baseball

Fatal Frame 2

Ford vs. Chevy UPDATED

Freaky Flyers

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows

Tom Clancy?s Ghost Recon - Island Thunder

Half Life 2 UPDATED

The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer UPDATED

IndyCar Series 2005

Kabuki Warrior UPDATED

Lego Star Wars II

Links 2004

Magatama UPDATED

Maximum Chase

Mortal Kombat: Deception UPDATED

MTX: Mototrax Featuring Travis Pastrana

Namco Museum 50th Anniversary Arcade Collection

MX vs. ATV Unleashed

Outlaw Tennis

Over the Hedge

Sid Meier's Pirates

Richard Burns Rally

Rogue Trooper

Serious Sam

Shincho Mahjong

Smashing Drive

Sneakers UPDATED

Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run

The Legend of Spyro: A Beginning

TAZ: Wanted

True Crime Streets of LA

The Suffering

Trigger Man

Torino Winter Olympics 2006

Vietcong

Wrath Unleashed

X-Men II: Wolverine's Revenge

 

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I've been able to test 10 of these titles on my Xbox 360 tonight and here's some quick impressions. Keep in mind that I spent a total of 20-25 minute with each title. Some games I had already beaten and was able to hop around to different saves (updated titles). Others were played for the first time and I made an effort to scrutinize them as much as possible without taking up too much time. Rest assured I logged into the online menus for each title mentioned if they supported such features. Here are the results:

 

1. Half Life 2 (Updated):

 

Very little has changed with the emulation here. The game still supports widscreen and still uses a decent level of anti-aliasing to smooth out the jaggies prevelant on the Xbox version. This updates intention was to smooth the remaining performance issue left over in the previous update. The game now runs damn near identical to how it did on the xbox (i.e. not very well anyway) and does benefit from the upscaled 1080i suport and the aformentioned anti-aliasing. I swapped the disc from the 360 to the Xbox to do my comparisons and found little discripancy in the scenes I tested (the opening of the boat level, the reveal of City 17, and the middle of Ravenholm) Nothing to shout about here, but enough for fans of the game that wanted it just right.

 

Widescreen: Yes

 

2. Namco Museum Collection:

 

This is one title that should put to rest the conpiracy theorist that feel Microsoft won't add certain titles to the BC list for fear of failed sales. Well, here are four arcade classics bundled into one package along with thier visually upgraded partners. Pacman and Galaga being games that were just released on Xbox Live Arcade. I tried all four titles along with the updated remake of Pacman and Dig Dug. Playing the games in these collections really helps you to appreciate the high resolution cabinet art, visuals, and sound in the 360 releases. That goes for both Galaga and Pacman which sound tinny and look awful in comparison here. This version of Pacman is definitely far snappier in the control department though so one could argue that's far more important. Regardless all of these titles played flawlessly with not a detectable display or sound error that I could find.

 

Widescreen: N/A (Window boxed game area)

 

3. Mortal Kombat Deception (Updated):

 

Mortal Kombat was previously on the BC list but was removed due to some crippling slowdown and lackluster visual emulation. This update finally brings the game up to speed and gives it a decent anti-aliased facelift to boot. I played through 8 opponent as Scorpion, logged into the online mode, and played through the opening of the Konquest Mode (which is atrocious might I add) for this emulation test. It took me a bit to get back into the swing of things, but I was finishing folks off left and right in no time. Visuals and audio are absolutely pitch perfect. The 1080i upscaling helps to bring out some of the more colorful levels and the detail in the character models. The minor use of anti-aliasing helps to give the game a cleaner look. Regardless, I would loved to have seen more anti-aliasing. It would have really topped off the package here.

 

Widescreen: Yes

 

4. Links 2004:

 

Oh I know this is an extremely popular addition and one that's been a long time coming. Does it deliver? Kind of. Yes, it runs as well as it would if you were playing it on the Xbox. Yes, 1080i support helps to really bring out the greens of the courses as well as some of the oddball outfit choices you can make for your created golfer. Yes, the emulator does make use of that good old anti-aliasing to very small extent by smoothing out the character models and even the ball as it gets whacked 200 yards onto the green. However, it also looks a mess from afar thanks to some serious aliasing artifacts in the background trees and even on some of the course elements. I doubt anyone anticipating this game finally being added to the BC will really care in the end since this IS an improvement over playing the game on the Xbox. It would be wrong of me not to mention it regardless.

 

Widescreen: No

 

5. Dead to Rights:

 

Why exactly is the really GOOD emulation saved for the absolute crappiest games? Yes I do happen to own Dead to Rights thanks to a preorder giveaway that I can't remember off the top of my head. The game actually isn't entirely shit, but it's certainly borderline. If you do happen to go back and play it now I doubt the experience will hold up. Nonetheless, the game has been added to the BC list and it's NIIIIIICE. The upscaling in conjunction with heavy use of anti-aliasing give this game an extremely clean high resolution look that really should have gone to title like Dreamfall in the last update (yes, I'm bitter). Add in widescreen support and you've got one of the most improved titles on the BC list. To be bad it still looks mediocre.:(

 

Widescreen: Yes

 

6. The Suffering:

 

Ok, I take it back. Good emulation actually happens to some good titles every once in awhile.;) In all seriousness though, "The Suffering" is one of those underappreciated gems that I've come to think of fondly. It's a combination third person/first person shooter that incorporates some seriously creepy horror elements and throws it into a prison setting with a nice story. The game was never a standout in the visuals department. In fact, I remember some stuttering issues when running the game in 480p back when I played it on the Xbox. I spent a good thirty minutes hacking and shooting through some creatures and am quite happy to report this game looks lovely via the Xbox 360's emulator. Here we have another titles that makes copious use of anti-aliasing to give the visuals a very clean jaggie-less appearance. Widescreen support and 10801i definitely adds to the detail. The games runs even nicer than it did on the Xbox (and I threw the game into the Xbox to compare!). Fantastic!

 

Widescreen: Yes

 

7. Burnout 3: Takedown

 

It's been ages since I played this game so I threw it in the old Xbox off the bat and played through a few Road Rages for the hell of it. Then off I went to test the emulation on the 360 and was left somewhat both impressed and a bit underwhelmed with the results. The impressive part is that I had forgotten how utterly fun Burnout 3 is and I've come to the realization that I think I actually do prefer it over Revenge. The underwhelming part was that the visuals have gotten only a slight upgrade thanks to the 360's emulator. The color vibrancy and clarity has definitely gone up a notch thanks to the but the use of anti-aliasing leaves a bit to be desired. The car models have benefitted, but much like Links the exterior environments could have used a bit more in the smoothing out department. The game runs flawlessly though. Native widescreen support tops things off nicely and despite the issues mentioned, I'm ecstatic to have this game on the list finally. Anyone up for a few games online?

 

Widescreen: Yes

 

8. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly:

 

One of my favorite survival horror games. The original game was added to the list with the previous update and I'm very happy to have its sequel added as well (WHERE IS SILENT HILL 2!!?). Much like its predecessor it's difficult to really notice changes to the visuals due to the heavy use of grain filters. The real improvement here is in clarity thanks to the higher resolution support. You will notice the character models do sport far smoother edges thanks the implementation of some anti-aliasing. It's minute and very difficult to see as mentioned unless you catch one of the two girls in a nice close-up. It run absolutely without flaw. I only wish the game (and the original) had widscreen support.

 

Widescreen: No

 

9. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (Update):

 

I've dealt with this title in the past as far as BC issues is concerned. For those that may have missed it, Call of Cthulhu sports no support for widescreen televisions. However, it does make copious use of anti-aliasing and is remarkable improvement over playing the game on the Xbox. The only problem is the game suffered from some emulation issues. The most important of said problems is the fact that the entire opening cinematic would not play. You would be met with only a bright white screen while the audio played. There were also rainbowing issues that appeared during certain cutscenes throughout the game. Both of these problems have been COMPLETELY resolved. I loaded the game up to several save points (across the entirely of the game) and saw zero issues. The opening cinematic played without a hitch. The game also seems to run at a more consistent framerate now where as previously it ran a tad more sluggish than its Xbox counterpart in certain places (easiest place to notice and compare is right at the opening scene on the stairs. It's wonderfully smooth now). I only have one recommendation: GO BUY THIS GAME NOW! You won't regret it.

 

Widescreen: No

 

10. Rogue Trooper:

 

A more recent Xbox release and quite the fun game to boot. I spent the least time with this one since I only beat it a few months ago. I played through the entire opening level and the game runs with no visual anamolies. I did note some extra bouts of slowdown that I could not spot when running the game on the Xbox but they are minor. The game gets very little in the way of anti-aliasing support and suffers from Dreamfall syndrome. In other words, it's upscaled to the resolution of your choosing (1080i in my case) but it benefits very little in the process. This is another case of a title that I'm glad to have on the list, but wish more would have been done to improve the look.

 

Widescreen: Yes

 

**ADMIN NOTE**

 

This topic is continued from a previous thread. You can find part I here:

 

Xbox 360 Backwards Compatability Part I

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I actually expected to see Psychonauts on there this time around given the amount of noise Tim Schafer made, but I'm sure we'll see it eventually. I'd also like to see the third Prince of Persia there at some point, since I never got around to playing it.

 

Glad to see the list is still being updated though. Lego Star Wars 2 b/c day and date though? That's impressive. Must be similar enough to LSW1 that it wasn't very difficult to get on there. I wonder how this'll affect sales of the native 360 version.

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Romier,

 

Has MS made any adjustments to the brightness output on backwards compatible games at 1080i? I know some old games contain in-game brightness adjustments to fix this problem, but many do not. Even though the emulated games look sharper, they are terribly washed out because the brightness is way too hot.

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Has MS made any adjustments to the brightness output on backwards compatible games at 1080i?

No sir. You will still need to adjust your brightness for each of the games listed above. Thankfully, a good number of them include thier own in-game brightness settings, but it's still a pain it the butt.

 

I seriously implore anyone looking for an excellent adventure/horror title to look into getting Call of Cthulhu. It was all but ignored on release which isn't a suprise considering how long it was in development, but it really is an excellent game. Very atmospheric with a great story.

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I seriously implore anyone looking for an excellent adventure/horror title to look into getting Call of Cthulhu. It was all but ignored on release which isn't suprise considering how long it was in development, but it really is an excellent game. Very atmospheric with a great story.

 

I will second this, as I've been playing the PC version and the game is deliciously creepy and awesome. One of the better horror games I've seen in a long time.

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I seriously implore anyone looking for an excellent adventure/horror title to look into getting Call of Cthulhu. It was all but ignored on release which isn't a suprise considering how long it was in development, but it really is an excellent game. Very atmospheric with a great story.

Ordered.

 

-Dean-

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Romier, have you been able to transfer saves from the Xbox to the 360? Or had you already played through these games previously on the 360? Your impressions of Half Life 2 and Call of Cthullu mentioned loading later levels and save points throughout the entirety of the games, so I was curious how you were able to do this. Great write-ups, by the way.

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I played through both of them on the 360 Sparkz. Call of Cthulhu was one I specifically held off on playing on the Xbox so I could take advantage of the 360's upscaling and AA. The game really benefitted from it aside from the issues I mentioned. I was ecstatic to see those problems fixed with this update. Oh and thank you!

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I've merged your Links thread with this one Shane. To answer your question, Links was never widescreen as far as I can remember so it's emulated properly on the Xbox 360 (would have been great to have it in widescreen though!). It's a tough call though as it looks very convincing in widescreen but if you look at player proportions and especially the HUD elements, the game looks 4x3 to these eyes.

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