Game Recs

You need to play this underrated 2009 action game on Xbox Series X ASAP

Play as a gun-toting, dirty-talking 50 Cent in an absolute warzone.

50 Cent (Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage for Hired Gun Publicity & Consulting)
Hal Horowitz/WireImage/Getty Images

You might be tempted to play the latest AAA games out there, but Microsoft just delivered a compelling reason to revisit 2009’s most absurd shooter. The company just made over 70 classic games available on Xbox Series X|S via the Backward Compatibility Program. One of them, in particular, is so over-the-top that it’s basically a must-play. It features a famous rapper, surprisingly solid third-person gunplay, and one of the most ridiculous video game stories ever made. It’s not amazing by any stretch, but given the subject matter and the main character, it’s bound to catch you off guard — even if it’s pretty tone-deaf by today’s standards.

Based on a true story, probably

In 2009, THQ published a game called 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, which is the sequel (that’s right) to 50 Cent: Bulletproof. It’s a cover-based shooter that plays a lot like Gears of War, but instead of putting you in the boots of a badass operative, you take on the role of the titular hero: 50 Cent.

Here, we see Fiddy lining up a shot.


In it, Fiddy and his G-Unit squad play a concert in a fictional Middle-eastern country, but when the promoter fails to pay them the $10 million he promised, he instead pays the group with a diamond-and-pearl encrusted human skull. But when that gets stolen, 50 Cent vows to get it back.

It’s not the most mind-blowing story, but really, you probably aren’t here to experience a riveting narrative with emotional characters. You’re here to destroy your enemies as 50 Cent, which is exactly what this game delivers.

While it’s easy to recommend this game ironically, the funny thing is that it’s actually not bad. Perhaps the bar is set so low, making it easy to walk away from Blood on the Sand pleasantly surprised. Either way, you should give it a try on Xbox Series X|S now that it’s backward compatible.

This shouldn’t exist, but we’re glad it does

It’s like Gears of War, but funnier.


This game came out during a time when third-person cover-based shooters were a dime a dozen, and many of them felt generic when compared to Gears of War. The gameplay in Blood on the Sand is actually great, with satisfying shooting, a rewarding sense of exploration, and a fun progression system.

Various weapons such as assault rifles and snipers can be upgraded using cash you collect within each stage. There’s also a scoring mechanic that grades your performance, giving it a more arcade-y feeling that adds to the replay value.

But arguably the best thing about this game is the taunting system, which allows you to talk smack to your enemies. At first, the taunts are mild, but you can upgrade them! Fiddy gets increasingly more vulgar, which fits nicely as you mow down the bad guys. The combination of shooting terrorists as 50 Cent while he screams expletives at the top of his lungs is just so stupid, it’s hard not to love (especially since there aren’t lip animations to accompany the quips, which is even funnier).

IGN put together a funny montage of the best taunts in Blood on the Sand, which you can check out below:

Looking to enjoy this with a buddy? Thankfully, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand supports co-op, allowing one person to assume the role of Fiddy, while the other can play as a member of G-Unit for double the fun (does playing co-op make it One Dollar: Blood on the Sand?).

It’s not a perfect game, but Blood on the Sand is easy to like, especially if you’re fond of shooters. Make fun of it, laugh at it, and treat it like a brainless summer action movie.

Getting your hands on a physical Xbox 360 copy of Blood on the Sand will set you back significantly more than just 50 cents. On eBay, copies are listed for at least $60, and some reach up to $150.

You can’t actually purchase the game on the Xbox Store anymore (the woes of licensed games), meaning you can only download it on Xbox if you owned it on your profile on a previous console. Or if you have a physical copy lying around, you can put the disc right into your Xbox Series X.

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