All good things have endings, and Microsoft’s put a big ol’ “Do Not Resuscitate” on Xbox Live support’s chest – at least for original Xbox games. On April 15, the plug will be pulled and we’ll no longer be able to play our original Xbox games online, on Xbox or Xbox 360. Sure, you’ll still be able to play the campaign mode, but say goodbye to killing Pinky with that one guy on Doom 3 co-op, or drifting into that other guy’s car in Burnout 3 multiplayer.
Before these games go six feet under, we wanted to pay our respects by reciting a eulogy, GR-style. Here are the original Xbox games we’ll miss playing online the most.
What’s being discontinued: Co-op through the campaign with a friend, plus a deathmatch mode.
What we’ll miss: If you love a good scare, playing through Doom 3 will give it to you, especially with the lights all off. Never mind the monster closets or having to choose between holding your gun and holding a flashlight; it’s the eerie moments, the bloody footprints and the sudden shocks that make this spooky, and they’re even more fun when you’re experiencing them with someone else muttering, “Oh shit! Oh shit!” over your headset. While some horror-type games currently on Xbox 360 have online multiplayer, there aren’t any that really stick out with good cooperative play. (Except Left 4 Dead, of course.)
What’s being discontinued: Althernate-history 1930s combat-flight sim with eight different game modes, seven different maps, and two new planes that were made available as downloadable content.
What we’ll miss: Though every multiplayer game has one-on-one, team-based, and capture-the-flag-type games, only a few let you play those types ON A PLANE, let alone a steampunk air-pirate fighter plane that drops out of a zeppelin. Crimson Skies was one of the better prop-plane dogfight simulators of its time, and there hasn’t really been anything quite like it – or its awesome online multiplayer – since. Sure, Heroes of the Pacific came out afterward and tried to accomplish the same thing, but its multiplayer was dull by comparison.
As of right now, the closest thing you can really get to Crimson Skies is a World War II flight sim, and there are very few of those out for the 360. Even fewer are any good. Your best bet for a comparable game when April 15 rolls around would be IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, which should satisfy your craving for a retro dogfight, even though it lacks Skies’ air-pirate panache.