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The XBOX Page ó Including The XBOX 360

Upgrading from a Dreamcast or PS 2, or even a Master System? Then youíve come to the right place!
In 2002, I got one of these grunty beasts for Christmas! Here you can read some stuff about it.

• Notes about Racing Evoluzione: Itís got a bug in it, so donít buy it, and thereís no review.

Other neat games that would have been good on the XBOX:
• Shenmue 3 — Who knows whatís going on with this now that Yu Suzuki is dicking around with the new Shenmue Online. Will we see it eventually? Weíd better!
• Virtua Cop 3 — Like OutRun 2, this is another great arcade XBOX powered hit. Iíve heard of people whinging for the 3rd one from years back. This would go fantastically as a combo pack XBOX deal with The House Of The Dead 3 & a gun.
• SpikeOut — Segaís trusty Model 3 powered multi-enemy street fighting beat íem up could really benefit from a conversion with the XBOXís high speed Internet abilities with XBOX Live. And as a bonus, why not update the graphics & include the sequel, SlashOut on the disc too? I say a killer combo!

Whatís the deal?
If you love Sega, like me, then and want to get with the grunty new stuff, then the XBOX is without question your best choice in gaming equipment. Like the Saturn that could play Video CDs with the optional card, the XBOX will play all your latest DVDs with an extra device that plugs into a controller port on the front.
The XBOX is of course Microsoftís grunty beast of a console, and is quite a performer. This DVD playing, polygon pumping monster is most impressive, and being a Sega fan, itís good to see some quality new games coming out for it.

Specs & Stuff:
Iíve seen that many different variations on what this can do, itís not funny. Supposedly it can crack off something like 125 000 000 polygons per second, but that may only be a theoretical amount. It has 256 audio channels (& 64 3D channels), which is 4 times that of the Dreamcast and it also has a big 64 MB of RAM. The main processor is a 733 MHz Intel Pentium 3, and it uses a customised nVidia GeForce 3 GPU running at 233 MHz capable of a mind blowing 140 Giga FLOPS. Thatís 100 times faster than the Dreamcast. Struth!
The XBOX also has a high resolution mode of 1920 × 1080 pixels, 6:1 hardware based texture compression, 6.4 GB per second memory bandwidth, 8 GB hard drive, and 4 control pad ports.
The XBOX is more than a match for Nintendoís GameCube — despite a couple of new Sega games on it — with some of the most droolific games ever. My particular faves are The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, Panzer Dragoon Orta & Dead Or Alive 3.
A little tip, also, to those of you on the look out to buy a link cable for your XBOX — if you already have a standard network cable for your PC, you can use that, because itís the same thing. I've tried it, and it works. Plus theyíre a darn sight cheaper. & no you canít copy files between XBOXs with one, either — youíll need a memory unit for that. You can get them for about $50 now. With these, Microsoft seems to have taken the approach Nintendo did with the N64, and positioned their slots on the control pads, rather than the console itself.
Like with my Dreamcast, the XBOX also features the PAL 60Hz mode, so you can benefit from an extra 10 frames per second on some games. (Well, itís actually 5 frames per second, but 10 fields, since T.V.s are usually interlaced.) Although the only thing is, it isnít set from each game like with the Dreamcast titles - the XBOX sets it itself in the BIOS thing, but that doesnít mean that all games are forced to accept it either. Some titles, like T.E.S. 3: Morrowind, and Halo still run in the 50Hz mode despite the setting. (How do I know that? Connect it to my computerís video capture card. It chucks a wobbly on the 60Hz dealie, and works with the 50Hz one.)

My Comments:
It doesnít get much meatier than this! With the Dreamcast sadly out of production, I was thinking over for a while which “new generation” console to get my mits on, in order to play the coolest Sega games. The GameCube only seemed to be getting games that had already been out on the Dreamcast, so that was out, and then there was the XBOX. This seemed to be getting games Iíd never heard of and new games that werenít simply “special editions,” so the choice was made. I must admit this console is mind blowing, really when you think about it. It passes all my expectations graphics wise, and the whopping great hard drive where you can save your own music and half a squillion game files is an excellent idea. One thing that is a bit of a problem, is the inability to reset the console, apart from ejecting the DVD, and puting it back in. Even if every game had a different method to reset it, it wouldnít matter. Another problem is that the clock & date keep getting reset every time you turn the console off. Something Microsoft could easily have fixed with a battery, like the Saturn & Dreamcast. & how much extra would it have cost, really? (About $6 maybe?)
Microsoft, I think, have got a music mixing media playing kind of software deal also, which seems to be interesting.
The control pads are alright, but they seriously lack in terms of comfort issues. The new Japanese one is a vast improvement. As far as control pads go, I still havenít seen a better and more comfortable design than the original Saturn pad.

The XBOX Control Pad. Featuring 6 main front placed buttons, 2 analogue “d-pads” & a digital d-pad. Added to that, a Back & Start button, and 2 analogue Shift buttons at the back. Memory cartridges & the like plug into the top.
This is the Controller S, which is used in Japan. It has exactly the same buttons and that of the original, itís just more comfy, and better designed. Well worth a purchase.

The Controller S, or Japanese XBOX controller, however, is a much better design than the original. Itís lighter, smaller, and more comfortable. For those of you who are used to the Dreamcast A, B, X & Y button positions, youíll be pleased to know that the Controller S is exactly the same, apart from the colours. Getting used to the new button locations after swapping from the standard pad is a bit tricky at first, but you should get used to it, pretty easily. Thankfully at least, the controllers actually have some buttons. With the digital d-pad, the 2 analogue black & white buttons and the L & R Shift deals, plus the A, B, X & Y buttons, youíve got 12 there as it is. Then thereís the start & back buttons, plus the 2 analogue d-pads click in also.
If youíve headed over to my specs page, you can see how the XBOX compares to the GameCube. Nintendoís new box of tricks may have some flashy effects, but the XBOX can pull them all off too. From motion blurs, to out of focus areas, true reflections and refractions - you name it. The XBOXís hard drive is also a key factor to actually pulling some games off, such as Blinx The Time Sweeper. Without question this game is only possible with the XBOX, because of the large amounts of data it needs to store as you play. And games such as The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, Halo and Project Gotham Racing 2, probably wouldnít even run on the GameCube, due to the whopping great amount of polygons being thrown around.
Be cautious too about games that come out both on the XBOX & the PS2. Itís happening a lot, and chances are these were probably written for the PS2 1st due to the fact that the company making them knows that theyíre most likely going to make more money that way, despite the PS2 being older than the XBOX. Unless these games have actually been enhanced for the XBOX, youíre not going to get the kind of quality that you should be paying for. Itís the same as buying a $4000 top of the line gaming grunt machine PC and only running stuff like Space Invaders. Sure, it can run it, but itís hardly going to make much use of your new PCís juice. Most games though that are exclusive to the XBOX or that are on PC also, will most probably make use of the XBOXs abilities better, but still, Iím not saying that graphics and audio abilities etc. are necessary to make a good game. What Iím saying though is that if youíre going to pay for a console, and get good quality titles for it, it would be nice to see that they make use of its abilities.

If ya want to see how much the XBOX rocks, check out the specís here: