The Good Ol’ Days
A long time ago in a land far far east, Sony entered the home entertainment arena to stunning success with their debut video games console; the PlayStation.
Initial release took place in 1994 Japan, then later in September 1995 for North America and Europe selling more than 100,000 units on its first day and going on to sell more than 2,000,000 units after just 6 months. The PlayStation launched a week after the Sega Saturn, blowing it out the water forcing Sega to drop their price $100 in order to match Sony’s $299 tag but alas were unable to stifle its dominance. Total sales to date amount to over 102 million units sold.
Critics praised the console’s GPU and audio as stunningly powerful, complementing the 3D graphics, ergonomic controller and convenient memory cards. The console launched in Europe with a mixed bag of titles but featured heavy hitters such as Ridge Racer, Wipeout and Rayman.
To this day I have fond memories of my two brothers and I, ferociously anticipating the unwrapping of our Christmas Day gift back in 1996. Best. Day. Ever. And so I wanted to share an appreciation post for the seminal console and for what would grow to become a household name adored by millions across the globe.
So let’s get into it: here is my personal Top 10 PS1 Games. Enjoy and feel free to share and comment with your own precious memories.
10. Tomb Raider II (1997)
Description: Lara Croft returns in Tomb Raider to discover the secret of Xian. The ancient Chinese believed that whoever recovered this mythical dagger would gain powers beyond belief – provided they had the courage to plunge the dagger deep into their heart. Lara’s travels start at the Great Wall of China but it’s not long before she’s globe-trotting in hot pursuit of clues that will lead her to the ultimate goal. However she’s not alone in her new adventure, this time there are other who seemingly have a fanatical interest in the dagger.
The second entry in the Tomb Raider franchise was vastly improved in every way. Lara had more moves, more weapons and who can forget locking Jeeves in the fridge! Clearly it was a hit as it ranks as the second best overall seller for the PS1.
9. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999)
Description: As Raziel, stalk the shadows of Nosgoth preying upon your vampire brethren in your quest to destroy your creator – Kain. After being betrayed and executed by Kain, return to Nosgoth on an epic mission of revenge.
Soul Reaver featured stunning 3D graphics for its day, some top notch voice acting as well as never before seen dynamics including the ability to manipulate the game world, shifting between the spectral and material planes. Raziel could glide through the air; armed with medieval style weapons to vanquish ghoulish demons and then absorb their fallen souls. Gothic stuff indeed.
8. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (2000)
Description: Published by Activision and developed by Neversoft, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 skated onto the PSone in September 2000. You skate through levels; pulls off tricks with simple controls; complete challenges; and unlock skating videos.
Tony Hawk’s second entry felt like the most complete extreme sporting game we’d seen. The levels were complex and rewarding with plenty of variety and constant whoah moments. You could even unlock a Spider-Man outfit to smash about in.
7. Crash Bandicoot (1996)
Description: The story follows Crash as he aims to prevent Brio and Cortex’s plans for world domination, and rescue his girlfriend Tawna, a female bandicoot also evolved by Brio and Cortex.
Everybody’s favourite Marsupial had humble beginnings on Sony’s console. The platform genre as we knew it evolved with Crash, where players could engorge in luscious 3D jungles as they run, jump, spin and collect piles of Wumpa fruit. The game spawned several spinoffs and received an excellent remaster of all 3 original PlayStation titles for current gen consoles.
6. Tekken 2 (1996)
Description: Two years after the end of the first tournament, a message is relayed from the Mishima Zaibatsu fortress to news agencies all over the world announcing a second tournament. Like his son before him, Heihachi survived his fall into the ravine thanks to his superhuman resilience. He then retreated to the hills to meditate in order to rekindle and enhance his fighting ability. He enters the King of Iron Fist Tournament 2 to reclaim his conglomerate and dispose of Kazuya once and for all.
Tekken was THE fighter to beat in the 90’s. Sharp graphics, a deep fighting system and most of all, memorable iconic characters like King and Yoshimitsu were established. Tekken 2 is a polished sequel that builds on its predecessors foundations making it a true king of fighters.
5. Dino Crisis (1999)
Description: Dino Crisis takes place on the fictional Ibis Island circa 2009. The Secret Operation Raid Team (SORT) has sent their agent, Tom, to investigate a research facility. During the recon mission, he learns that Dr. Edward Kirk, a world-renowned scientist who was reported dead three years ago, is leading a secret weapons project within the facility. SORT sends four agents (Regina, Gail, Rick, and Cooper) in to secure Kirk and bring him in.
Capcom struck gold with their 1996 survival horror outing Resident Evil. That was all about zombies; terrorising players in creepy rooms while blending tense gunplay with thought provoking puzzles. With Dino Crisis, they combined their proven 3rd person action horror formula, keeping the bones of Resi but instead of zombies, we got dinosaurs; the game still holds up today and nothing since has come close to replicating that magic.
4. Resident Evil 2 (1998)
Description: Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield must escape Raccoon City after its citizens are transformed into zombies by a biological weapon two months after the events of the original Resident Evil.
Widely regarded as the greatest survival horror game of all time, Resident Evil 2 is an absolute masterclass in game design. The game carries over several areas where you’ll be solving puzzles, gunning down zombies and occasionally running for your life. It’s an exercise in fear inducing moments that have led to one of the most successful franchises of all time, even spawning 6 live-action films; a feat no game has matched. Also Mr X still gives me nightmares.
3. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (1997)
Description: The game centers on the titular Abe, a meek Mudokon slave at the Rupture Farms meat processing factory. When he discovers that he and his fellow Mudokons are to be slaughtered and served as food he decides to escape whilst to trying to rescue as many Mudokons as he can along the way.
“Follow me!” The loveable Mudokon made his name in this platforming great. Oddworld is a grim, dystopian vision where employees are literally worked to the bone. You control Abe as you hatch a plan to escape the oppressive Rupture Farm factory. Using a quirky GameSpeak menu you communicate with fellow workers to gain their trust and lead them to liberty! Funny, quirky and challenging, Abe’s Oddysee is a firm favourite for PlayStation fans across the globe.
2. Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Description: The game follows Solid Snake, a soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons facility to neutralise the renegade special forces unit FOXHOUND. Snake must liberate two hostages, the head of DARPA and the president of a major arms manufacturer and avert the impending nuclear strike.
There’s a very, very strong argument for this game to reign over every top 10 list. It’s narrowly edged out by my own personal fave but I consider Metal Gear Solid equally as important. There’s no denying that a new precedent was set in stealth action games and storytelling with the release of Metal Gear. Hideo Kojima, creator and director of the franchise, captivated audiences with cutting edge graphics, superb cutscenes, tense tactical gameplay and iconic characters. The boss fight with Pyscho Mantis broke the fourth wall by reading the player’s memory card and tailoring comments like “You like to play Gran Turismo don’t you?” only to then make your controller physically shake on command. Groundbreaking.
1. Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Description: Final Fantasy VII follows the story of mercenary Cloud Strife, who is hired by the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE to help fight the mega-corporation Shinra Electric Power Company, who attempts to drain the planet’s lifeblood as an energy source to further their profits.
If you’d read my Final Fantasy 7 Remake review for PS4 (https://woti.co.uk/2020/07/02/final-fantasy-7-remake-review/) then you may of taken an educated guess as to what numero uno would be. I can’t praise this game enough. It is a deep, rich and rewarding experience. Already a well established franchise by this point, developer Square had plenty of practice in perfecting their formula and with FFVII, they nailed it. It epitomises the RPG genre with tactful turn-based battles, the materia system was revolutionary with it’s customisable approach, the graphics triumphantly blend polygonal character models against jaw-dropping rendered backgrounds. Sephiroth is to this day, a prolific nemesis as is his adversary and game protagonist, Cloud Strife. For me Final Fantasy VII encapsulates the perfect gaming experience and is thereby crowned my No.1 game for the PlayStation.
Thanks for stopping by and whilst you’re here, drop a comment and tell us your own top 10 or favourite PS1 games. Everyone’s is different so get sharing!