Believe it or not, the original Playstation, and thus Sony’s entire Playstation line, turned the big two-oh this week. In other news, yes, you are very old.
Want to check out/re-experience some vintage Playstation games, but don’t want to mess with old finicky hardware? Well, over the past few years Sony has been quietly releasing a steady stream of PSOne Classic titles, which you can download and play on your PS3, PSP or Vita (for some reason they can’t be played on the PS4 yet). Sony has yet to re-release every major PS1 game, but they’ve hit a good percentage of them, so here’s a list of PSOne Classics you can and should play in celebration of the Playstation’s b-day…
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The Playstation wasn’t that big on 2D stuff, and yet it still played host of the ultimate 2D Castlevania title. If you’ve ever enjoyed a “Metroidvania” game, you need to familiarize yourself with Symphony of the Night.
Final Fantasy VII
Come on now, this list just wouldn’t have been complete without Final Fantasy VII, now would it? Honestly the game is a little clunky compared some later Playstation Final Fantasies, but this game is still worth checking out, if only for historical curiosity purposes.
Final Fantasy IX
Now this right here is my Playstation Final Fantasy jam – hell, it might be my favorite Final Fantasy ever. With beautiful art and rock-solid gameplay that hearkens back to 8 and 16-bit RPGs, Final Fantasy IX is a fantastic nostalgia bomb.
Okay, this one’s a bit under the radar – published by LucasArts, Herc’s Adventures is basically a 32-bit remake of Zombies Ate My Neighbors except with a cartoony Greek theme. Oh, and it’s pretty damn funny too, featuring voices acting from some of the top names in the game, including Homer Simpson himself, Dan Castellaneta.
Jumping Flash is one of those weird 3D platformers that predates Mario 64, but unlike most early 3D platformers this one still holds up. The game and its weird aesthetics take getting used to, but once you do Jumping Flash is some solid, simple fun.
The RPG most people went to after finishing Final Fantasy VII. Suikoden didn’t really push the Playstation hardware, but it was a good, solidly written old-school RPG with a crazy-huge selection of available party members.
As a follow-up to the legendary Chrono Trigger a lot of people found Chrono Cross a little disappointing, but looking back on it now, it’s a damn solid RPG. For one, it’s absolutely gorgeous, probably the best looking RPG on the system, and it does some unique things you still don’t often see in RPGs to this day. If you’re looking for a non-Final Fantasy Playstation RPG, I’d recommend this be your first choice.
I dunno – I’ve always had a thing for Tomba. The Playstation wasn’t really known for it’s platformers, but if I had to choose a favorite one on the system, I’d go with Tomba. It’s just bright and goofy and fun and it’s level structure and RPG elements are pretty unique and interesting. Give Tomba a try dammit.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Seemingly just another simple, cutesy platformer on the surface, Klonoa still holds up today because of it’s unique mechanics and surprisingly deep, kind of heartbreaking story. Seriously, this weird bunny-cat thing will make you feel feelings.
Metal Gear Solid
Another no-brainer. Metal Gear Solid was usually the first game brought up by the Sony supporters in any “N64 vs. Playstation” war of words. MGS took games to a more complex, story-driven, cinematic place without succumbing to that Kojima quirkiness like a lot of later Metal Gear games.
Parasite Eve merged the Playstation’s two most popular genres – RPGs and survival horror – together into one strange, oddly compelling package. There hasn’t been a game quite like Parasite Eve since, despite Square-Enix’s numerous attempts to recapture that dark magic.
Resident Evil 2
I’m trying not to load up on any one series, so this list only has one Resident Evil game. The original Resident Evil was a more than a bit cheesy, and the classic RE formula was feeling a bit tired by the third game, but Resident Evil 2 was the perfect middle-ground. More polished than the original game, but still possessing that original spark and genuine scariness.
The original Playstation Silent Hill may not be as good as Silent Hill 2 and the other Playstation 2 games in the series, but it was still a damn creepy and technologically impressive horror game.
Lara Croft’s heaving triangular boobs launched millions of Playstations, but her titles offered more than just shallow titillation – there were actually really solid games in their own right. Most of the Playstation Tomb Raider games were fairly similar, so I’m just going to go with the iconic original.
Okay, here’s a weird one – PaRappa The Rapper hasn’t be released as a PSOne Classic yet, but it’s spin-off UmJammer Lammy has. Shrug. Even if PaRappa had been released, I’d still recommend Lammy. You can’t have too many wacky Playstation Masaya Matsuura rhythm games.
Speaking of wacky Masaya Matsuura-designed rhythm games, here’s another one! Man, Vib-Ribbon was so far ahead of it’s time – it feels like a 2014 indie game that somehow got lost on the Playstation. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t do so well in the late-90s, but you can give it a shot a redemption now.
Vagrant Story serves up a beautiful multi-layered world, and a mind-meltingly complex battle system – this is the RPG gamers who were done with Final Fantasy and wanted something a little more taxing moved onto. Totally worth experiencing if you’re a hardcore RPG nut, but be prepared to turn over your life to it.
Twisted Metal 2
Cars! Blowing up! This was the second cars blowing up game, featuring even more cars blowing up. My reasons for including it on the list should be obvious.
Xenogears takes itself seriously – very, very seriously, but despite it’s preachiness, it’s a good, solid super-dense sci-fi RPG that’s a little more traditional than, say, Vagrant Story.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped
I’ll admit, I’m not the world’s greatest Crash Bandicoot aficionado, but in my opinion the last game in the series on the Playstation, Crash Bandicoot: Warped was the best. It was the deepest, most polished Crash game on the system, but it still retained that simple, running down a corridor gameplay the early games were known for.
So there you have it, 20 classic Playstation games you can play without plugging in your old Playstation. What are some of your favorite old Playstation games? You don’t have to stick to ones that have been re-released as PSOne Classics – feel free to talk up whatever game you want.