Stealth/Tactic & Licensed Titles – Full Spectrum Warrior, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Chronicles of Riddick, Star Wars Battlefront

When I purchased my Xbox from a friend who was no longer playing it sometime in the mid 2000s, I inherited many of the games that he had as a result. Looking back, if I was an Xbox owner during it’s original release and the subsequent few years after, I probably would have had a few more sports titles in my collection, as that is what I was playing at the time, but I also think that the games he had bought such as “Halo 1 & 2”, “Dead or Alive 3”, and most of the games on this list today were very good. I’m happy to have them represent the Xbox in my collection even if I might not have bought them myself.

For whatever reason, stealth and tactics style games never really appealed to me prior to finally getting around to playing “Metal Gear Solid” a few years after its PlayStation release. With that said, “Full Spectrum Warrior” is maybe a bit too tactical for my tastes. These types of games that emphasize strategy over action have existed since text based titles from the 80s but admittedly, I’ve always preferred games that require quick reflexes over quick thinking (no comments on my intelligence please). With “Splinter Cell”, you get another game right out of the “Metal Gear Solid” playbook, which is not a knock. That game was innovative and surprisingly fun considering how much time you spend watching cut scenes and not shooting people. “Splinter Cell” takes the black ops approach to stealth gaming and applies it to what could be a real world scenario, a coup of the country of Georgia that the United States is NOT ok with. “Splinter Cell” offers great visuals with great action and stealth gaming and an overall excellent title, the first in the long running series.

Now as for the licensed properties, we have another “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” game, another “Star Wars” game capitalizing on the original set of prequels releases, and a game based on a movie prequel that hardly anybody was looking for. The version of “Buffy” I have for the Xbox is the original, not the “Chaos Bleeds” sequel. Minus Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy, the rest of the actors from the show lend their voices to this 2002 release. The game does a good job of including characters and settings from the show (Sunnydale high school, the Bronze nightclub) as well as offering a slew of nasties for Buffy to dispose of. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a very good game even if you didn’t watch the TV show. If you’re a fan, then this is a must own.

“Star Wars Battlefront” is one of the most well known “Star Wars” related video game titles of the 21st century as it even spawned its own sequel. A third person shooter, “Battlefront” excels in two player/split screen mode but is equally fun if playing alone. As you should expect from a LucasArts “Star Wars” game, it contains characters & locations found in the various movies which should be recognizable to fans of the series and is always a nice way to reward gamers and movie fans equally. “Battlefront” was one of those early online games that gained a lot of traction in the virtual realm but thankfully, its enjoyment isn’t tied to only battling foes from around the world.

“The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay” is based on characters popularized in the movies “Pitch Black” and its prequel, “The Chronicles of Riddick”. The Vin Diesel star vehicle didn’t exactly set the box office on fire when it was released in 2004 but the video game created using the franchise/characters was one of those shockingly competent movie tie-ins. Everybody’s heard of the music soundtrack that exceeds the film it was made for in terms of quality or cultural impact (e.g. “Saturday Night Fever”, “Shaft”, and “Above the Rim” immediately come to mind), but how many times has a video game exceeded the film it was based on? Very infrequently I would venture to guess. As the point of the game is have Diesel’s character, Riddick, escape from a futuristic maximum security prison, stealth also becomes an important part of the gameplay in addition to action/adventure elements that one might expect. Played in a first person perspective, “Chronicles of Riddick” offers exceptional gameplay with impressive graphics, sound and dialogue. This was one of those word of mouth games that might not have gotten a lot of hype upon release due to the lackluster box office that the film attracted, but eventually won gamers and critics over, turning it into an Xbox classic.

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