So you've finished and escaped the clutches of the Flood and the Covenant? Tired of racing the computer round Tokyo and London? Looking for something more out of your Xbox? Check out the front of the console. That's right there are four (count them) controller ports! Those generous people at Microsoft have ...er generously decided to allow you to share the joy of your Xbox with three other people, in the same room, at the same time! You can also link your machine up to other Xbox consoles to indulge in even more frenzied multiplayer action. In this article we'll show you some of the Gameplanet team's favourite Xbox multiplayer titles.

[b]Halo

First up is the big daddy of Xbox titles. It's impossible to avoid talking about Halo and rightly so. It's a fantastic game and hasn't been the subject of critical adulation for nothing. The brilliant single player campaign is reason enough to own this game, the fact that comes with an amazingly deep multiplayer experience is pure gravy.

On the surface multiplayer Halo is a fairly standard console FPS with great visuals but the excellent balance of weapons and extremely clever map design puts in it a completely different league to similar titles. A wide variety of options are available. The total list is as follows King of the Hill, Slayer, Oddball, Capture the Flag and Race.

If your circle of friends can only muster the resources to get one Xbox then you'll be limited to four player split-screen action but if you're a bit more flush then are some treats instore for you. Up to 4 consoles can be linked (via Hub or Switch) allowing up to 16 players to wade into the fray!

[b]Rallisport Challenge

This solid little arcade racer hasn't really been hyped in a big way despite its single player mode being generally well received. Its a great looking game that doesn't break any boundaries when it comes to originality but does everything you need in a driving game and does it well.

If you're looking for a fresh approach to multiplayer racing this isn't the place to look but if you're after a very good looking arcade racer to challenge your mates in then you won't go away unhappy. There isn't a great selection of different modes in Rallisport Challenge. A standard race to the finish is really your only option. Good play mechanics and great visuals make up for this lack of diversity though.

Unfortunately Rallisport Challenge gets marks deducted for having no System Link option. 4 player split-screen is the best you'll get here. Having said that the game shows no loss of speed in this mode which is pleasing.

[b]Project Gotham Racing

The sequel to the extremely well received DC game Metropolis Street Racer. Project Gotham Racing is yet another great looking racing game for the Xbox. It's main claim to fame (aside from the solid gameplay) was it's realistic modelling of London, Tokyo, San Francisco, and New York.

PGR offers a unique twist on other racing games by rewarding not only speed but style. If your driving is suitably impressive you are awarded Kudos points which in the single player game allow you to progress through unlocking new cars and tracks.

While it isn't exactly earth-shattering the Kudos system does make for a nice change in multiplayer. You can challenge your friends to a race where the most stylish driver will be deemed the winner! The curse of no System Link unfortunately strikes PGR as well. Like Rallisport Challenge up to 4 players can duel in split screen mode but when you have a full contingent of 4 some frame rate drops are noticeable.

[b]Mech Assault

The newest game in our list and the first Battletech game where you don't have to be an Octopus with an engineering degree to enjoy it! Mech Assault is a top-notch action title set in the Battletech universe. Rather than take a "sim" approach MS have created a fast-paced game where you can jump into your Mech and be kicking people's ass in no time. Anything that looks like it can be blown up usually can be and the controls are very easy to pick up.

As a single player game Mech Assault is fine but after playing for a while it soon becomes clear that multiplayer is where this baby really shines. Its still worth playing through the entire campaign even to just unlock the extra mechs and hone your skills for the arena.

The range of multiplayer options in Mech Assault includes the following:

[b]Destruction/Team Destruction

Pretty simple really. See enemy mech, avoid being shot by enemy mech, shoot enemy mech, rinse, repeat. Chances are this is what you'll play the most as quite simply its the most fun. With team destruction the gameplay remains the same but you're tally of kills count towards a team score.

[b]Last Man Standing/Team Last Man Standing

A simple premise really. Instead of trying to amass kills in his mode the key is survival. When you die ... thats it for the round. Unfortunately this tends to lead to a lot of 'camping' type gameplay as its generally easier to avoid early carnage and then pick off the stragglers.

[b]Not It

Remember playing tag at school? We'll unless you played it in an enormous steel robot this is nothing like it. One player is "it" and while they are it they can score points by taking out other mechs. An indicator appears above the player who is "it" and everyone else will be on their tail trying to become it so they can score some points. A good fun multiplayer mode that can provide for some good laughs.

[b]Grinder

Grinder is the mech equivalent of the Survival mode often seen in lots of beat-em-ups. You and your mech driving cohorts face up against waves of increasingly harder opponents. Its the only gameplay mode which features bots and as such offers the best co-op experience. Top marks.

There you have it. A by no means exhaustive list of a few (yes thats right just a few) of our favourite Xbox multiplayer games. With Xbox Live due out in NZ next year the Xbox is already shaping up to be the multiplayer console of choice. Got a favourite multiplayer Xbox game that needs to have its praises sung? Have your say in the Gameplanet Xbox forums.