Best Playstation One RPGs Ever Made
Some of the best RPGs ever made called the Playstation One their home, but which Playstation RPG is the best of them all?
By Matthew Byrd | September 18, 2021 |
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In our look at the best Super Nintendo RPGs ever, we mentioned that the SNES is arguably the greatest RPG console in video game history. Well, if there is a console that makes that discussion an argument, it would have to be the Playstation One.
With a lot of help from Square, Sony quickly established the Playstation as not just the home of incredible RPG experiences but as a console that was capable of effectively convincing people who previously had no real interest in RPGs that they absolutely needed to devote 50 hours of their life to the next gaming epic. That sudden rise in genre popularity inspired some of the industry’s greatest RPG developers to try to outdo each other creatively and commercially.
The result was a classic collection of role-playing experiences that still rank comfortably among the absolute best ever made. With due respect to the 20 other games that deserve to be on this list, these are the 15 best PS1 RPGs ever made.
The Legend of Dragoon
The Legend of Dragoon’s legacy has only grown since the game’s late 1999 release, and it’s not hard to see why. While this game was initially criticized for not living up to the standards of some of the other PS1 RPGs we’ll soon be talking about, time has been kind to the various things this game does so very well.
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The Legend of Dragoon makes up for its slow story with an incredible combat system that emphasizes an almost QTE-like mechanic that helps ensure you’re rarely simply watching a battle play out. This RPG’s character transformation mechanic is also one of those brilliant gameplay concepts that should have been copied many times since this game’s release. There’s also always been something special about the fact that Legend of Dragoon‘s ambitious CGI cutscenes ensured this epic spanned four PS1 discs.
Wild Arms is another one of those PS1 RPGs that were initially overshadowed by some of the all-time classic games it had to compete against, but the thing that stood out about this title at the time is the thing that still makes Wild Arms special to this day: its style.
Wild Arms‘ blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and western design concepts shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does here. Developer Media.Vision deserves a lot of credit for ensuring this game’s ambitious world always felt cohesive and for finding some truly clever ways to subvert genre expectations through this title’s approach to exploration, combat, and puzzles.
Breath of Fire III
The Breath Of Fire III vs. Breath of Fire IV debate will likely not be settled here, but the third entry in this series ultimately gets my nod due to the ways it so clearly raised the bar for this franchise and its genre competition.
Breath of the Fire III’s 3D visuals and voice acting helped sell this game’s engaging story, while the game’s combat and wonderful cast of characters ensured you were constantly engaged and ready to see where this absolute gem was going to take you next.
Front Mission 3
Front Mission 3 rewards players willing to put the time into its fairly complex mechanics and deep storyline with one of the best tactical RPGs of the era and one of the best mech games ever made.
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This game is rightfully remembered for its customization options and often punishing tactical gameplay but I don’t know if it gets enough love for its faction-driven narrative and the ways its visuals convey epic mech battles without relying on more traditional action gameplay.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The only reason this all-time great game isn’t higher on the particular list is that there are just other PS1 RPGs that better represent the genre and the kind of epic experiences we think of when we think of one of the best RPG platforms ever.
Having said that, the way that Symphony of the Night incorporated RPG elements not only changed the franchise forever but eventually helped inspire developers everywhere to enhance their own action titles by utilizing role-playing mechanics. This is still one of the best blends of role-playing and action/adventure ever made.
Long before God of War took us on a journey through Norse mythology, Valkyrie Profile caught many PS1 gamers by surprise with its unique blend of Japanese design and a Norse narrative that tasks you with assembling the perfect party of heroes to assist you through Ragnarok.
Valkyrie Profile‘s true calling card, though, is its turn-based combat system that essentially assigns a button to each character in your party. Getting the most out of your party of heroes requires you to successfully assign each character the right actions at the right time in order to unleash powerful combo attacks. It’s complex, original, and a whole lot of fun.
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete may have started off as a Sega Saturn title, but it’s hard not to ultimately remember this as a PS1 game due to the many ways that Sony’s first console allowed Lunar’s developers to share their full vision for this classic.
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It’s true that Lunar is an “old-school” JRPG in a lot of ways that might turn some people off, but when level grinding, party management, and methodical turn-based gameplay are done this well, it’s hard not to see this as one of the ultimate genre comfort zones.
Star Ocean: The Second Story
It’s hard to talk about Star Ocean without eventually getting around to the fact that it has almost 90 possible endings, so let’s not bury the lede. What’s even more impressive than the game’s number of possible endings, though, is the fact that many of those endings are clever, logical, and, in their own ways, complete.
Really, though, this game’s incredible number of possible conclusions just highlights the various ways this sci-fi/fantasy title makes you feel like every action you do truly matters and that anything can happen. I also have to pay respect to this game’s brilliant “private action” system: a unique mechanic that allows your party members to have their own adventures that ultimately contributes to some of the best sidequests in RPG history.
25 Best RPGs Ever Made
Xenogears features a fascinating blend of styles and mechanics that is quite appropriate considering the details of this game’s complicated development history (it started off as a pitch for Final Fantasy VII before briefly being designed as a Chrono Trigger sequel). Admittedly, there are times when you can tell this game is trying to find its creative voice and gameplay footing.
Yet, all the concepts this RPG touches upon ultimately come together to form something wonderful and memorable. It features one of the best ATB combat systems ever, a complex and creative story, a lot of heart, great visuals, and a truly incredible soundtrack. Sure, the game struggles a bit in the second half, but it’s easy enough to overlook those shortcomings as the byproduct of ambition.
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII should be a victim of its own success. After all these years, all the praise, and all of the discussions, you would think we’d be at the point where the dreaded term “overrated” might linger just above this game’s legacy.
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That’s not the case, though. Maybe Final Fantasy VII was eventually surpassed, but it’s truly tragic to imagine what RPG gaming in the ‘90s and early 2000s would have been like if it wasn’t for this game. It alerted millions to the fact they loved video game RPGs, and it did it without sacrificing depth, quality, heart, or ambition.
Final Fantasy Tactics
Considered by many at the time to be the best tactical RPG ever made, it has to be said that the most impressive thing about Final Fantasy Tactics is the fact that it’s still difficult to argue against this game’s claim to that title nearly 24 years after its release.
Final Fantasy Tactics‘ surprisingly accessible (yet still deep and rewarding) gameplay perfectly complements its colorful visuals, engaging character, and surprising story. I don’t know if it’s the best tactical RPG ever made, but it may always be seen as the standard in the eyes of many.
20 BEST PS1 Games of All Time
It feels like people have been waiting for Vagrant Story to get the love it deserves ever since the game was released in 2000. While Vagrant Story absolutely has a cult following, it seems pretty clear at this point that it’s just never going to reach that level. It’s too difficult, too different, and it will probably never get the remaster it deserves.
However, those who have played Vagrant Story know it was Square’s most mechanically ambitious and unique Playstation RPG. From its stunning visuals to its deep combat and mature narrative, Vagrant Story has honestly aged better than all but a few of the games of this era. A game this different and innovative shouldn’t feel as complete and confident as it does.
From the moment Chrono Cross was released, it feels like the first line about this game has been that it disappointed those who were expecting a direct follow-up to Chrono Trigger. Even when we learned that the Chrono Cross team never really saw this as a Chrono Trigger sequel, Chrono Cross still lived in the shadow of its all-time great predecessor.
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Maybe there are ways that Chrono Cross would have been better off sticking closer to that SNES classic, but even at the time of its somewhat controversial release, many praised Chrono Cross for its innovative combat, weird and wonderful story, large cast of characters, music, visuals, and commitment to defying expectations at every turn. This shouldn’t be your first PS1 RPG, but it might be the one you end up remembering most fondly.
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX was essentially Square’s PS1 swan song. While the title’s return to the medieval fantasy style of classic FF games highlights the studio’s jovial mood at the time, the fact is that many people wondered if Square could recover from the controversial Final Fantasy VIII and produce an RPG that effectively ended their unbelievable run of hits in style.
The fact they managed to do just that is an accomplishment that should never be overlooked. To this day, I struggle to think of even a handful of RPGs that challenge Final Fantasy IX’s charm, humor, and cast of characters while still providing a role-playing adventure that will feel rewarding to veterans and newcomers alike. This is an across-the-board triumph that delights and impresses in equal measure.
Suikoden II was pretty much “doomed to fail” from the start. It was released in the wake of Final Fantasy VIII’s massive debut, wasn’t widely distributed, and featured “retro” graphics that initially turned quite a few people off at the time of cinematic PS1 visuals. It didn’t help that its predecessor was a very good, but not great, RPG that also failed to find a wide audience.
Yet, Suikoden II is quite simply one of the best games ever made regardless of genre. I would love to tell you about its nuanced and deep politically-driven narrative, varied combat system, minigames, world-building elements, and score, but how long can you really talk about Suikoden II without getting around to its cast of over 100 recruitable characters and the ways Konami managed to make each and every one of them (as well as their interactions with each other) among the best of their era?
I wouldn’t call this a perfect game, but at the same time, I’m struggling to think of a single thing I’d change about it.
Awesome Facts About Sony’s Playstation One
The original Playstation wasn’t actually Sony’s sole brainchild. It was initially a partnership with Nintendo.
Ah, the Playstation, a serious shot of nostalgia for so many people across the world, including myself.
There were so many titles that swallowed much of my childhood.
And the option of 2-player was a savior with some games needing the second slot to even complete the game; we all hate to love you, Metal Gear Solid!
Harsh, I know, but it summarized what the Playstation was to me, a mature console capable of spanning all age ranges from the likes of Spyro to Grand Theft Auto, and it captured their hearts without the need for super speed servers and online co-op.
Anyway, you’re here to find out 5 amazing facts about the PS1 that you probably didn’t know.
The Playstation wasn’t all Sony’s idea!
The original Playstation wasn’t actually Sony’s sole brainchild.
It was initially a partnership with Nintendo, the then leading gaming console frontrunner.
The console named Play Station (emphasis on the space) or Super Disc would be a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo.
The whole concept was shaken when Nintendo started to question Sony and set up a partnership with Philips, a deplorable decision.
Following this act of treachery, Sony went on to make the Playstation and secured the top spot in the console war.
The Playstation, throughout its life, had many names; PS-X, PS1, Playstation, and PSone.
The PS1’s black disc had no purpose!
The discs had a black bottom and were by far the strangest color on the market.
The color had no purpose or reason apart from looking very cool and for recognition.
The PS1 was so popular that games were still being made throughout even the PS2’s lifespan until 2006.
The last game released was the Japanese-exclusive Strider Hiryu, and in the US. Fifa 2005 was released in 2004.
The number of games released differs greatly on who you talk to, but most say it was around 3000 titles worldwide and reached sales of almost 962 million.
The discs were ground-breaking for the time.
Most other game storage was 12MB, but the PS1’s were 650MB, which allowed for the immense 3D graphics and music the PS1 brought to the table.
But that did mean we had the downfall of seriously slow loading time.
Sony sold 102 million consoles!
The Playstation launched in Japan on December 3, 1994. Sony sold 102 million consoles and numerous versions of the PS1 before ceasing production in 2004.
It had various colors, including; gray, black, white, green, and blue, and limited editions including; the midnight blue with only 100 consoles being released and the Men In Black unit.
There have been numerous versions released, all with tweaks to the connectors and other such things, but there are too many to even list here without boring myself and you!
The PS1 came in 2 major sizes, the original rectangular box-shaped unit and the smaller, compact, and slightly curvier PSone, the latter released in 2000.
Other significant versions like the Net Yaroze came with tools and instructions that let a normal person program Playstation games without a full developer suite.
And the Combo Pack, a PSone with a 5″ screen and an adapter that needed plugging into the mains or a car as the device had no battery.
The PS1s top seller, Gran Turismo, took 5 years to develop!
Gran Turismo is the best-selling game for the PS1 with 10.85 million.
It took 5 years to make with a team of 7 people.
Its inventor Kazunori Yamauchi said: “In those five years, we could not see the end. I would wake up at work, go to sleep at work. It was getting cold, so I knew it must be winter. I estimate I was home only four days a year.”
However, it was a highly praised game, winning many awards across the board and in 2000 gaining the title of the “21 st best game of all time” due to its “complete package” of graphics and realistic gameplay.
The PS1 controller is supposed to represent the console’s 3D graphics.
In the pre-Playstation era, most consoles came with flat joypads.
Teiyu Goto, the creator of the iconic Playstation controller, felt that the controller’s 3D design matched the 3D graphics of the games.
Many of Sony’s higher-ups hated the concept. Still, Goto had the Sony president Norio Ohga, on the side who coincidently was a pilot and, in turn, liked the device because it reminded him of an airplane’s controls.
Goto said of the iconic symbols; “The O, Δ, X □ all have a meaning.
The Δ refers to the viewpoint, one’s head or direction, and made it green.
□ refers to a piece of paper representing menus or documents and made it pink.
The O and X represent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision-making, and I made them red and blue.
People thought the colors were mixed up, and I had to reinforce to management that that’s what I wanted.”
So remember, if you have a Playstation, it could be worth something; treasure it!
I want to point out that this is not by any means all the amazing facts about the PS1 and the games; in particular, there is so much more to read and learn about the platform, such as Final Fantasy VII originally being designed as a detective game in which you played as ‘Hot Detective Joe’, or that the iconic Crash Bandicoot was initially called Willy the Wombat!
The PS1 dawned a new era of gaming; it brought many new concepts to the table that we still use today.
Now, down to the serious questions, where do I buy a second-hand PS1?
Can I afford a midnight blue edition?
And for the love of all that’s holy, does anyone have a copy of Tomb Raider?
The 20 Greatest Playstation 1 Games of All Time
In 1994, the 16 bit wars between Nintendo’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and the Sega Genesis had reached its zenith. But it was also when the 16-bit era was coming to a close, as 32-bit consoles were rising in popularity. By this time, the fifth generation of video game consoles had already started with the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer and the Atari Jaguar. Sega itself was set to debut its Sega Saturn by November of 1994 while Nintendo was skipping the 32-bit hardware and moving forward with the Nintendo 64. However, one company would come out of nowhere and dominate the 32-bit console industry: Sony. The Sony Playstation 1 (also called the PSX) would be the undisputed champ in this era.
Interestingly, both Nintendo and Sega had the opportunity of working with Sony, but due to various factors, Sony would move toward building its own console. Those circumstances and the story behind them would be great to explore in detail, but not in this article. Instead, we are looking at the key element that make video game consoles great. that is, the outstanding games that you can play on them.
That Sony was able to thrive in an industry as a novice and completely lord over the competition is no mean feat. The Sony Playstation managed to draw the most popular and prolific third-party developers of this era to create games on the brand new console. Capcom, Konami, Electronic Arts, Squaresoft, and many famed brand names in the video game industry flocked to the Sony Playstation, creating one of the most impressive libraries ever.
This is the Xfire list of the 20 greatest Playstation 1/ PSX games of all time!
What Do We Base Our Rankings On?
Our team of gaming experts and journalists follows a set standard for these lists of greatest games in every major console. The parameters are:
- Only Sony Playstation 1 or PSX games. No Japan or European only exclusives. If it has both an NTSC and a PAL release, that counts. Basically, the aim for this parameter is to ensure the games selected are available to the widest range of audiences. We will, however, look at these regional exclusives and rank them in a separate list.
- We do not look at historical sales records. That may seem like an odd factor to eliminate, but sales do not necessarily make a game great. It often just means the game was hyped and marketed heavily. Consider this: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Electronic Arts, 2001) outsold Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, and Tomb Raider. Let that sink in.
- Only one entry in a series for each gaming genre. The Sony Playstation was the host for a large number of popular titles as well as their sequels. Tomb Raider had as many as FIVE from 1996 to 2000 that appeared on the platform! Note that properties with multiple genres can have more than one entry. Crash Bandicoot and Crash Team Racing, for instance, are based on the same brand, but are different genres.
- We limited the list to 20 games. We could easily have gone up to 50 and it would still be scratching the surface of the Sony Playstation’s library of 1,300 game titles for the North American market (and over 7,000 overall). But we may post an updated list at a later date.
- WE PLAYED THE GAMES. This is the most important part. We did not rely on nostalgia or past memories alone in determining the entries in this list. In fact, we gave no value to any nostalgia with the scores. We also compared the games to similar ones that have been released since their first debut. After all, if it cannot stack up to the games today, then it would not be fit in a list of the greatest. And we struck down looking at reviews from other sources. We were doing this legit (so some of the team played these games for the very first time).
- On that note, the games are rated as they are presented in their original form. Remasters and remakes are not considered when chosen and played by the panel. The games here should have a timeless quality, with high marks on such categories as control, design, fun factor, graphics, replayability, sound, and overall presentation.
After a multitude of hours playing, comparing notes, debating, fighting, a ton of expletives and good-natured heckling, and finally voting, Xfire presents the 20 greatest Sony Playstation games of all time.
A word of warning: Expect some unexpected, and even shocking, results along the way!
Greatest Playstation 1 Games (from least great to greatest)
Mega Man Legends 2 (Capcom, 2000)
Capcom experimented with Mega Man before, subverting expectations through games like Mega Man Soccer (SNES 1994) and Mega Man: the Power Battle (Arcade 1995). But an action RPG hybrid was new territory that could be explored and that is exactly what Capcom did with the Mega Man Legends series. Although the first was good, Megaman Legends 2 was the superior of the two entries that appeared on the Sony Playstation 1 thanks to smoother controls, cleaner graphics, and a more fleshed out story.
In Mega Man Legends 2, players take control of Mega Man Volnutt. Unlike the Mega Man X series which was a direct sequel to the original Mega Man, the game and characters are set in a different universe and continuity, but the basic premise of Mega Man being an intelligent robot that has a pure heart remains in place. The storyline is also quite darker than what most fans are used to, with Volnutt having a shady past as a Purifier.
Gameplay-wise, the Mega Man Legends series breaks off from the sides-crolling action and instead has Mega Man being able to move and interact in a 3D environment. Mega Man uses a lock-on feature, enabling you to target and shoot at enemies directly in front. Mega Man is also able to kick and lift objects and enemies. And whereas the original Mega Man collected weapons from defeating Robot Masters, here you can upgrade parts such as Mega Man’s helmet, armor, and arm cannon as upgrades become available.
One point that is often missed when talking about Mega Man Legends 2 is how good the graphics are. Series creator Keiji Inafune and the team did an impressive job milking the Playstation 1 capabilities for all its worth. Mega Man Legends 2’s in-game graphics look like they’re from an early Playstation 2 or a GameCube game of that era. That is not a small achievement.
Unlike some odd attempts at expanding the Mega Man franchise (like Mega Man Soccer), these new approaches were a welcome change of pace and it remains a fun alternate reality adventure of the Blue Bomber. Perhaps the only downside to Mega Man Legends 2 is that it ends on a cliffhanger that, as of this date, remains unresolved. The planned Mega Man Legends 3 has been quietly abandoned.
Wipeout XL (Psygnosis, 1996)
The SNES had F-Zero as the sci-fi racing game that encapsulated what players expect. Physics-defying velocity, high octane music, and frenetic gameplay were the hallmarks of these games. For the Sony Playstation 1, that crown would be with the Wipeout series. Of the three entries that was released on the console, Wipeout XL (also known as Wipeout 2097) narrowly edges out its brethren.
The first Wipeout was set in the year 2052. It set the standards for the Wipeout games to follow with its high speed races and challenging tracks. Wipeout XL improved on these standards, having better controls with an increased emphasis on turning. Using air breaks is critical with making key left or right turns to keep yourself at pace and avoid flying off the track. With competitors also able to use weapons, this added a level of skill and spatial awareness to keep the game fresh.
In addition, Wipeout XL continued the trend of having a great soundtrack. With tracks performed by such talents as The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, Wipeout XL had some of the best music in any Sony Playstation game of its time.
Vagrant Story (Square, 2000)
Vagrant Story is the closest the Sony Playstation 1 had to a game like Legend of Zelda. That may seem like an oversimplification, but not inaccurate. over, that comparison is a credit to how good Vagrant Story is. And with the same team that developed Final Fantasy Tactics headed by Yasumi Matsuno, the game had a high-quality pedigree to build with.
In Vagrant Story, you play as Ashley Riot, exploring the ruins of Leá Monde, a city in the kingdom of Valendia. Vagrant Story takes an uncommon approach to action adventure roleplaying. For one thing, there are no shops to speak of. All the weapons and equipment in Vagrant Story are crafted in designated areas found in the map. Ashley can collect various materials and elements for crafting by defeating enemies. The affinity mechanic with crafted equipment allows the player to take advantage of weaknesses and strengths against certain types of enemies and their attacks. Later on, you can also combine different weapons and armor to produce new ones. Another unique feature of Vagrant Story is the actual combat.
By entering the Battle Mode, you can target different areas on an enemy’s body. This opens up chaining attacks that creates combos that deal more damage or produce other effects. Another battle feature unique to Vagrant Story is the Risk system. Attacking increases Risk, but it is a double-edged sword. The higher the Risk level, the lower Ashley’s defenses get, but it also raises the chance of a critical hit.
Vagrant Story takes several new approaches to the action RPG genre that would later be emulated by later games such as Monster Hunter and Dark Souls. It is really an underrated gem.
Crash Team Racing (Naughty Dog/Sony, 1999)
Let’s get this point out of the way: Crash Team Racing (often shortened to CTR) is a blatant attempt at cashing in the popularity from Nintendo’s Mario Kart games. There is no denying that. But Crash Team Racing accomplishes that goal quite well, creating its own distinct flavor and personality.
In the game, Crash Bandicoot and an assortment of other characters from his game franchise are racing to save the Earth from the game’s extraterrestrial bad guy, Nitros Oxide. This is the first appearance of the villain and the first element that separates it from the Mario Kart games. There is actually a plot and rationale for why the heroes and villains in Crash Bandicoot’s world would be racing against each other, beyond just as a recreation.
In terms of gameplay, Crash Team Racing adds a wrinkle to the tried and tested combat mechanics for console kart racing. There are multiple maneuvers and items that players can use, which is why CTR is best enjoyed using controllers with the Playstation analog stick. One of these maneuvers is the power slide, which triggers the Turbo Boost meter when performed correctly. This can quickly change the rankings during a race, so it is critical to master. With 5 racing modes (Adventure, Arcade, Battle, Time Trial, and Versus), players have a lot of variety, especially when you add in a Playstation multitap to have up to 4 human controlled racers.
And then there are the unlockable content. 3 multiplayer arenas and 6 secret characters can be unlocked by accomplishing solo play tasks (usually getting 1 st place in different Cups and modes). Crash Team Racing did so many things well and remains one of the best combat kart racing games today.
NBA Live 2000 (EA Sports, 1999)
EA Sports’ long-running NBA Live title and its sequels always offer a solid gameplay experience. If one wants great games that capture the action and intense play-by-play of the number one basketball league in the world, NBA Live is the best at delivering these. But with 8 titles to choose from, starting from NBA Live 96 to NBA Live 2003, which one is the undisputed champ? Arguably, that glory belongs to NBA Live 2000.
While later titles improve on some things here and there, NBA Live 2000 is the total package. Mainly because it focuses on the fun aspects of basketball console games. Sure, the physics engine is not perfect and the A.I. can sometimes make unwise decisions (bad if it’s the A.I. on your team), the downsides are few and far in-between. On that note, you can truly appreciate that the computer opponents will have an equal level of making shots as your players do. Setting the difficulty higher affects how fast the computer reacts and makes defensive choices, but you are still on an even ground when it comes to shot percentage.
Defense is key here, as this was a time when the NBA was more physical and hand-checks are completely allowed. Unlike the current NBA where 3-pointers are more common, new players might have to make adjustments. But the simulation of the options available through the keymapped button presses is intuitive.
NBA Live 2000 also does well with the game mode choices, some of which debuted right here. Aside from the standard exhibition mode, full season, and playoffs modes you can also choose 1-on-1 mode, practice mode, 3-point shootout, and NBA Legends modes. The NBA Legends is very cool, as it brings NBA superstars from the 1950s through the 1990s. For the first time, players could finally settle which championship team from one era could have dominated the current (at the time) rosters.
And, of course, we cannot forget one of the most important additions to the NBA Live franchise with the release of the 2000 iteration. Two words: Michael Jordan. NBA Live 2000 was the very first time His Airness became available for play and to play against. There is just something special about the addition of the G.O.A.T. in the roster, even if you can only play with him on a Legends team or go on a one-on-one game of street ball. It took many years, due to Jordan’s licensing agreements, but Electronic Arts managed to secure it for the first time. And it was well worth it!
Front Mission 3 (Square, 2000)
One of the lesser known franchises under Square, the turn-based roleplaying strategy game Front Mission has a massive cult following. And quite unlike its franchise siblings like Final Fantasy or Seiken Densetsu (aka the Mana series), Front Mission focuses on high technology, through the use of the main units in the game, the giant robot mecha suits called Wanzers. What is interesting to note is that an official North American version of the games would not arrive until Front Mission 3 (which is the fifth in the entire series, including spinoffs), particularly with the popularity of properties like Transformers and Gundam already high in the mid-1990s.
Front Mission 3 offers a lot of the usual gameplay elements in a tactical, turn-based game. However, it shifts the emphasis from the nuances of the combat itself to being more of a hybrid RPG. There are more character interactions and moments in Front Mission 3 than in prior entries. However, it did open up the narrative for creative options, which in this case is creating two separate stories. Both stories are distinct, though it does follow a similar progression for the locations. These stories essentially doubles the playability, as there are different characters, plot elements, and ending for each path.
Where Front Mission 3 truly shines is the customization. Wanzers can have different parts and weapons mixed to form custom builds, but it all has to be balanced. Loading up a Wanzer with the best of everything isn’t possible due to the limits of engine power vs. weight ratio. And then there are skills to consider, as pilots do not learn skills by themselves, but instead dependent on what the Wanzer can teach.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped (Naughty Dog/Sony, 1998)
Crash Bandicoot: Warped (aka Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped in the European release), is arguably the best of the Crash Bandicoot series on the Playstation 1. We find Crash pitted against Doctor Neo Cortex once more, as the villain teams up with Uka Uka and Doctor Nefarious Tropy on a time traveling heist to collect special crystals and gems. Sounds vaguely like the Avengers: Endgame plot, if you ask us!
This time, you play as both Crash and Coco Bandicoot, depending on the stage of the game. Taking the familiar elements of the previous Crash Bandicoot games, you can run, jump, spin, and stomp your way through the various platforming levels, destroying boxes that contain power-ups and fruits. Although you don’t need to find and collect all of them, there is a completion mechanic in the game which takes into account all the. Get a 105% completion and you can find a special scene at the end.
While the previous Crash Bandicoot games were good, Crash Bandicoot: Warped truly showed a growth and improvement that honors its earlier entries. The graphics are clean, the controls are smooth, and the variety in the regular and bonus levels all make this the true gem of the bunch.
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature (Natsume, 2000)
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature is the Playstation 1 version of another game, the N64’s Harvest Moon 64. Although the gameplay and the look are very similar, there are some modifications that separate the two. For one thing, the characters have slightly different dialogue, personalities, and even occupations between the two games. For instance, perennial favorite Elli owns a bakery in Harvest Moon 64, but in Back to Nature, she’s a nurse at the local hospital.
As expected with the Harvest Moon games, you are the inheritor of an old farm that has seen better days. However, in this game, you have a time limit of 3 years. At the end of that period, the mayor will evaluate the overall performance and decide whether you are doing well enough to continue running the farm. That additional gameplay element gives a little bit of pressure which is good for keeping the players on their toes while still managing to develop relationships with the townsfolk.
And on that note, what Harvest Moon game would be complete without the dating and marriage element? In Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, you get up to five possible romances from the quiet and academic Mary, the caring Elli, hardworking Ann, bubbly Popuri, and the hot Karen to woo and ultimately marry. But you also have rivals for each girl’s affections, so you have to stay consistent with your gifts and conversation. As each girl has their own likes and dislikes, you have to approach each one differently.
With so much to do in Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, no two games will ever be exactly the same. And with how popular farming simulation and roleplaying games are today such as Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon: Back to Nature still holds up, and was even ported to the Playstation Portable later on.
Tomb Raider (Core Design/Eidos Interactive, 1996)
Tomb Raider. Just the name alone screams 1990s gaming. And for good reason. Lara Croft was the first certified multimedia video game superstar. But all of it began with the first Tomb Raider game, and surprisingly, it has aged quite well even after a quarter of a century later.
In Tomb Raider, you take control of Lady Lara Croft, heiress to a family fortune and adventurer on the hunt for relics. One part Indiana Jones and one part Doom, Tomb Raider’s action adventure elements blended well with the puzzle solving mechanics. The variety of actions you can have Lara do is impressive especially for the limits of the technology of the time. Run, jump, roll, and swim across four zones across the world, from Peru, Greece, Egypt, and finally the fabled city of Atlantis. Although Tomb Raider uses the love-it-or-hate-it tank controls, it is not as annoying as in other games like Alone in the Dark or even the first Resident Evil.
On that note, the action in Tomb Raider is intense. But fortunately, Lara gets a wide assortment of weapons. Along with her trusty twin semi-automatic pistols, she can acquire shotguns, Uzi submachine guns, and the more powerful Magnum.44 pistols in the course of the game. Switching between weapons is also a breeze, which is important with getting good with the twitch heavy combat. Although the graphics have improved in later installments on the Playstation 1, the first Tomb Raider is surprisingly less choppy. And the unrealistic proportions are actually less distracting compared to its sequels. The sound is also noticeably cleaner, which helps with the immersion and staying focused.
The Tomb Raider franchise has seen better days, but the first game is still a great game that ages like fine wine.
Chrono Cross (Square/Electronic Arts, 2000)
How do you do a follow up to the greatest game on the SNES and capture the same level of quality, entertainment, and innovation? The answer: you can’t. Chrono Trigger set the bar too high. The absence of any of the superstar creators that were involved from that game also did not help matters any. Having said that, Chrono Cross is still a great game in its own right.
Whereas Chrono Trigger’s key plot thread is time travel, Chrono Cross uses the concept of parallel realities. In some ways, this is tougher to pull off, but it also opens up new narrative directions. We follow the journey of Serge as he tries to discover why he traveled to a reality where he does not exist. Along the way, he meets up and recruits a large group of characters. With 45 characters, Chrono Cross boasts one of the largest group of playable characters in a JRPG. However, you cannot recruit all of them in one play (due to conflicting story events), you will have to run through it again in a New Game (a tradition carried over from Chrono Trigger).
In terms of features, Chrono Cross adopts the Tech mechanic, letting each character learn new solo, Double, and Triple Techs as they improve. There are also no random battles, as enemies can be seen and are possible to avoid if you move correctly. However, there are also new mechanics that are unique to Chrono Cross. Elements can be equipped which allow magic and skills to be used (similar to Final Fantasy’s Magicite or Materia). There is also no XP. Instead, players choose which stats to grow after each battle, limited by a certain number of upgrades until you defeat a boss. Actions are also limited during combat depending on the Stamina. Every action takes Stamina, so you can either choose to use one big effect or chain a series of lesser effects.
Another difference is that weapons and armor are constructed, instead of bought straight from shops. Materials can be collected that let smiths create new items and old gear can be disassembled, broken down to materials for use with later construction. Slightly more complex, but also more flexible, which is far better than the usual sell old items to the shop tendency of other RPGs.
While Chrono Cross does not have as memorable a story, it is a worthy tribute to its more famous pedigree.
Silent Hill (Konami, 1999)
At the time Silent Hill first came into being, most dismissed it as a Resident Evil clone cashing in on the survival horror craze. But this Playstation 1 classic has a different direction and theme. It emphasizes less on the action, having a more quiet menace and moody atmosphere.
You play as Harry Mason, a widowed father traveling with his young daughter Cheryl. But stopping in the area of Silent Hill for a vacation may have been a big mistake. Soon, Cheryl goes missing and Harry must find her, amidst a fog-covered and perpetually snowing locale while avoiding monsters of unspeakable horror. The fact that Harry is just an ordinary man with no formal training or experience adds to the dramatic tension. While you do find weapons and ammunition, they are not as reliable or even as abundant as in the Resident Evil franchise, so you have to be more careful and selective with your targets.
Another noteworthy feature is actually a medium of compromise. The foggy environment of Silent Hill was necessary as a workaround of the limits on the graphical hardware. This lets the Playstation render the background comfortably, but the fog also gives off an eerie mood not unlike that of old horror movies. The beings and creatures in the hellish Silent Hill are also very creative and memorable, with Pyramid Head, the Grey Children, and the Nurses becoming the iconic representatives of the franchise.
With 3 different endings depending on your choices, the game offers ample replayability. All in all, Silent Hill may not be the most famous survival horror property on the Sony Playstation. But it offers something different while carving out a legend of its own that influenced future games of the genre.
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom, 1998)
We go from one survival horror franchise to another. And in this case, it’s the most popular of them all. And while Resident Evil 1 started the wheels turning, Resident Evil 2 set the standard for the entire series.
The game returns to the Raccoon City setting of the first, but this time the action moves from the secluded mansion to locations in the city proper. You play as either rookie cop Leon Kennedy or spunky Claire Redfield, the sister of S.T.A.R.S. operative Chris Redfield from the previous game. One innovation in Resident Evil 2 is the branching paths of the 2 protagonists. In order to complete the game, you have to run both characters on separate playthroughs. than that, there will be differences with choosing whether to run Leon’s or Claire’s stories first before moving to the other.
Most of the familiar elements from the first Resident Evil are in the sequel, but there are new things as well. The character’s health will be reflected visual, with a moderate wound forcing the character to hold their stomach and a critical health level reducing them to a limp and unable to run. This adds urgency to the situation, exacerbated by the limited number of healing items in the game. You also have to consider that taking items will mean that the second part will deny the other character access to them. You also get to use a secondary character involved in the plot at various times (i.e. Sherry and Ada Wong).
You can also unlock new features, such as alternative costumes, weapons, and bonus games. The tank controls from Resident Evil 1 return, but the movement is more fluid and aiming matters more, especially against enemies with vulnerable areas. The puzzles are also more creative, though the arbitrary “find an item, get another item, use that item to unlock the next area” formula is still here.
The survival horror genre has evolved further with games like Left 4 Dead and The Last of Us. But Resident Evil 2 perfected the template many years before.
Suikoden II (Konami, 1999)
If there was one game on this list that represented why initial sales and fanatic popularity are ignored with determining its greatness, it is Suikoden II. Truly an ambitious game, Suikoden II managed to accomplish so much by being traditional while adding its own signature stamp. Crafting a tale of childhood friends in the Highland Army fated to clash with Luca Blight, the prince of Highland, Suikoden II presents a very long and complicated tale of rebellion, defiance, and heroism in the face of tyranny.
Although the basic premise of Suikoden II is fairly arbitrary, getting from the start to finish is anything but. This is especially emphasized by the variations of gameplay that other JRPGs rarely accomplish well. For in Suikoden II you have three different combat mechanics.
First, there are the standard party battles, but you have up to 6 members of your party (where most JRPG parties of the time had 3 to 4). Second, there are duels, which limits to one character and actions to Attack, Defend, and Wild Attack. Unlike standard battles, the action choices are like a rock-paper-scissors game, as one action beats another but is also beaten by one other. Finally, there are the army battles. These last types of battles sets up your characters as leaders to command units such as cavalry and support over a large battlefield.
And how many characters can you recruit in Suikoden II? 108 characters. And did we mention you get to build your castle with these characters serving various roles, leading to more events and mini-games? Konami’s Suikoden II is so epic in scope and fun to play that you will not even notice the hundreds of hours you sink in, or that it uses 16-bit style graphics in an era where CGI polygons were becoming the standard.
Gran Turismo 2 (Polyphony Digital/Sony, 1999)
There are many straight up car racing games on the Playstation 1. But if we are choosing the best of them, it would have to be Gran Turismo 2. While Gran Turismo was a great start, Gran Turismo 2 just straight up ran away with the checkered flag.
Gran Turismo 2 offers two main modes of racing: Arcade and Simulation. The former offers the usual arcade style racing while the latter presents a more nuanced simulation of racing circuits and tournaments. Simulation offers the most variety, as it requires players to earn licenses, trophies, and spend their winnings in order to acquire new cars and unlock race tracks. There is even an option to race events that the player prefers, which is a freedom that is usually absent in such racing games. And with over 650 different cars and 27 race tracks, you will need to sink in a lot of time to get everything.
For a pure racing game, Gran Turismo 2 offers a metric ton of content. Thanks to a great physics engine, the driving mechanics feel accurate. The braking mechanics, a pet peeve of the first Gran Turismo, does a better job here, helping keep the immersive experience at its maximum. That you will keep saying ‘just one more race’ while playing Gran Turismo 2 is a testament to how good this racing classic truly is.
Final Fantasy VIII (Squaresoft, 1998)
This is probably going to be the most controversial entry in this list. We can hear people going ‘OMG! Final Fantasy VII is the bestest evarr!’ or ‘WTF! Final Fantasy VIII sucks!’ And to both reactions we say ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about’. Final Fantasy VII is a great game, no doubt. But taking away the rose colored glasses and after playing all 3 Final Fantasy RPGs (along with FF IX) and stacking their pros and cons, we found glaring flaws that paints a different picture.
Final Fantasy VII was great for its time, but the blocky graphics of the characters took out the immersion, especially when you get to the cut-scenes where the shift is just jarring. Also, it is incredibly grind heavy. And at endgame levels, watching Knights of the Round go off by linking it with W-Summon a million times is more of a chore than fun. Even the minigames are generally more frustrating than being entertaining on their own merits. The overall story lacks cohesion, the villains one-note (even fan favorite Sephiroth), and the list goes on. There are many, MANY stumbling blocks with FFVII that hardcore fans are willfully ignoring in order to place it on a pedestal. While later remakes and spinoffs have improved on its weaknesses, the original release was far from perfect. That’s just the facts.
Final Fantasy IX, on the other hand, was a much better game and a stronger candidate. But where it is lacking is the memorable characters and moments. Zidane is extremely generic as the quick-witted rogue. Dagger/Princess Garnet is also extremely bland. And the rest of the main cast range from caricatures (Steiner) to forgettable (Amarant). The main antagonist, Kuja and the rivalry with Zidane just was not satisfying. With the Black Mage Vivi being the only character that actually has a memorable character arc and growth, it hurts the overall score of Final Fantasy IX. And as far as the gameplay goes, it is also too grindy and the learn-support mechanic is annoyingly clunky.
But why does Final Fantasy VIII, often a pariah in the mainline series, get the nod in this list of the best games on the Playstation 1? There are multiple factors, many of which are not immediately apparent for those whose judgment is clouded by biases.
First of all, let’s talk about the characters. Every single one of the main FF VIII characters is memorable. Squall, Rinoa, Quistis, Zell, Selphie, and even the late addition Irvine had his moment when he finds himself with a crisis of conscience. Even the supporting characters Seifer, Laguna, Kiros, Ward, Ellone, Cid and Edea, Fujin and Raijin have interesting and memorable personalities and stories, however briefly they are explored. Themes of growing up, fighting and later accepting your destiny, finding true love, teen angst, nature vs. nurture, and more are explored amidst the adventure. The connections and how each one contributes to the narrative leading to the epic conclusion is worthy of any top-notch novel.
Squall’s journey, in particular, is far more complex than it has been given credit. Learning why he developed such a stand-offish persona through the course of the storyline keeps a player invested. And, let’s be honest, compared to Cloud’s cliché personality development and relationships with the rest of his cast, Squall’s is downright touching, less contrived, and nowhere near as artificially convoluted (especially after Crisis Core and later stories retcon his memories as a SOLDIER really being Zack’s). Considering that Squall is a 17-year old teenager at the peak of his rebellious stage of adolescence who suddenly has to become the headmaster of Balamb Garden and the savior of the world, his aloofness is understandable. The growth of Squall from lone wolf to competent and stoic leader is one of the best in the franchise and is often misunderstood.
Furthermore, FF VIII handled the RPG elements with more thought. The Guardian Force, Draw, and Junction systems are all easy to learn but hard to master. And so it is for the Trigger system of Squall’s iconic Gunblade and the Limit Breaks of each individual character. And having the enemies scale with your levels? That is a brilliant design choice, keeping players on their toes instead of being able to power level through grinding. It is no stretch to say that these gameplay elements in FF VIII were way ahead of their time.
And then, there’s Triple Triad. Arguably the best minigame within the main game that the Final Fantasy series has ever produced. The rules of Triple Triad are fairly simple. Players use cards that represent monsters and characters in FF VIII. Each one has ranks in the X and Y axis, as well as elemental attributes. Players take turns putting cards into play in a 3×3 square grid. Ranks are compared vs. a card in play and, if your rank is higher, the opposing card is flipped, changing its color. You win if the majority of the cards in the grid match your color. But certain regions in the game have modified rules that add a random rock-papers-scissors feature that increases the challenge. Thus, even having the best cards does not guarantee a win and the A.I. in FF VIII’s Triple Triad is extremely adaptive.
Why is Triple Triad so significant? It’s like Magic: The Gathering but within the game. And this is before such elements were added to AAA titles in the modern era such as The Witcher’s GWENT. Having a minigame that you can play and enjoy on its own and remains a constant challenge adds a lot of fun and replayability factor to an already excellent RPG. That it was reborn and improved upon in Final Fantasy XIV is a testament to Triple Triad’s lasting legacy.
And we have not even touched on the award-winning soundtrack by Nobuo Uematsu. Or the groundbreaking graphics and cutscenes that pushed the franchise and its peers from the jarring shifts to consistent scaling of characters and set pieces. And there are layers upon layers of other things in FF VIII that deserve their own article.
The bottomline: While Final Fantasy VII may receive the glory, Final Fantasy VIII is the superior game on nearly all the relevant categories. That later games like Final Fantasy X through XV borrow far more elements from FFVIII than any other is the true testament of its greatness. Thus, it is the best of the series in the Playstation 1 era. PERIOD.
Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2 (Neversoft/Activision, 2000)
From here on, like in our previous greatest games lists, the top 5 can arguably be interchangeable. Each one is so strong in all areas that any one of them could reasonably be at the top spot of the greatest Playstation 1 games of all time. And when it comes to all-time greats, Tony Hawk Pro-Skater 2 definitely fits the bill. But why is Activision’s Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2 so high that it breaks the top 5 over other perennial favorites? There are a a number of reasons.
Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2 uses the same basic engine as its elder brother, but greatly improves the graphic fidelity and responsive controls. This greatly enhances the gameplay experience as you play through the different skating competitions. The character customization is a huge draw, as well as the wide array of skateboarding tricks to perform and that can be acquired.
This sequel also took great liberties with the in-game physics, and this was a great development choice. Instead of focusing on realism, Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2 paid more attention to creating entertaining, science-defying stunts, eventually chaining different skateboarding tricks. While you get a small number of tricks and basic equipment at the start, you can upgrade to better stuff and more outrageous tricks as you progress the character’s career.
Aside from the addicting gameplay, getting all the unlockables greatly enhances the replayability. And if you need one more reason why Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2 is one of the greatest Sony Playstation 1 games of all time, note that one of the unlockable characters is Marvel Comics’ friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!
Final Fantasy Tactics (Squaresoft,1997)
The roleplaying strategy game has grown by leaps and bounds in the past couple of decades. The mobile gaming generation is certainly inundated by so many of them, whether from big studios to small indie developers. But back in 1998, it was a very small niche, with the Fire Emblem and Ogre Battle series being the few properties that did it well. But leave it to Squaresoft to create not just the breakout strategy RPG that would influence others after it, but remains one of the best ever made.
Final Fantasy Tactics casts the player as Ramza, a noble in the kingdom of Ivalice who must come to terms with the tyranny in his midst, while forced to do battle with his best friend, Delita. In between the main quest, you can take mercenary jobs through the course of the game. And there are random encounters when traveling the map between cities.
The Job System returns and is applied wonderfully in Final Fantasy Tactics. New Jobs can be unlocked as each Job skill is mastered. It is possible for one character to learn nearly all the standard jobs like Knight, Monk, and Priest to exotic ones like Ninja, Oracle, and Calculator. And you can recruit and develop new units, including key characters that are part of the main narrative (and a very special one that comes from Final Fantasy VII). This gives Final Fantasy Tactics nearly endless playability.
Final Fantasy Tactics combined such a rich tapestry of story with so much minute customizations without sacrificing fun along the way. While other tactical RPGs like Fire Emblem have come before, Final Fantasy Tactics successfully melded the familiar elements from Square’s famous franchise while creating its own legacy that many later games would emulate.
Tekken 3 (Namco, 1998)
Capcom has the Street Fighter series and Midway/NetherRealm Studios has Mortal Kombat. Meanwhile, Namco has Tekken. And of the three Tekken games on the Playstation 1, there is no doubt the best of them is Tekken 3.
You know the drill: Tekken is about the head of the Mishima family and organization setting a tournament of King of the Ironfist. Fighters from around the world (and some from beyond it) pit their mojo and skills to become the Champion for their personal reasons. Tekken 3 introduced new characters to the series, such as Jin Kazama, the son of Kazuya Mishima and Jun Kazama. In fact, Tekken 3 brought in a whopping 18 characters. This plus the 6 characters returning from Tekken 2 made Tekken 3 one of the biggest fighting game rosters assembled for its time.
New mechanics introduced to the series are unique sidesteps and dodging for characters in the Z-axis. The jump heights are also less ridiculous and there are more reliable counters to grabs and tackles. Combos and juggling have been enhanced from Tekken 2 with both the animations and the speed of execution. There are also modes that carried over from the previous entry while also introducing new ones, such as the beat-em-up style Tekken Force and the combat volleyball game called Tekken Ball.
What’s really impressive about Tekken 3 is how well it translates the arcade version. Initially, there were doubts that Tekken 3 could be ported well on the Playstation 1 hardware. But even with the compromises made to the visual quality, it does not distract from the enjoyment of the game.
Namco pulled out all the tricks in the book to make Tekken 3 as close to the arcade experience as possible. Add to that a great soundtrack from Nobuyoshi Sano and Keiichi Okabe, as well as some of the best FMV produced on the Playstation 1, and it’s no wonder Tekken 3 is often included in many lists of the greatest games of all time.
Metal Gear Solid (Konami, 1999)
Stealth action games. This is a genre in video games that most people were not aware of before Metal Gear Solid for the Playstation 1. That is how significant this game is. And it manages to do it on a 20 year old game console while remaining nearly unparalleled with its ambition and seamless execution.
Metal Gear Solid brings us back in the shoes of Solid Snake, the protagonist of the original Metal Gear titles. Retired and living off the grid, Snake is lured back into action in order to resolve the terrorist takeover of a top secret weapons facility. But what he uncovers is a deeper conspiracy that connects the entire modern history of civilization and his own origins. That is a very broad gist of what Metal Gear Solid’s narrative comprises. It has elements of the super-spy genre sprinkled with the paramilitary action that was popular at the time. If you cross James Bond with Rambo, this is pretty much what the story in Metal Gear Solid boils down to. But while the plot has some familiar tropes, the presentation and scope are definitely greater.
Hideo Kojima was able to realize his vision for the franchise since the original Metal Gear, thanks to the advancements of the technologies and the power of the Playstation 1 compared to the prior platforms like the MSX or the NES where the first game appeared. From the opening cinematic with Solid Snake taking the stealthy deep water approach toward the target location, to the very ending duel with his rival Liquid Snake, you knew this game was something special.
Taking the patient and stealthy approach to an action game was extremely unusual for the era Metal Gear Solid was birthed in. The prevailing trend for the action genre was to shoot everything in sight and barrel through the enemies all the way toward the end. Not so with Metal Gear Solid. Take that approach and you will find yourself frustrated and quickly overwhelmed by bullets. The alert status whenever Solid Snake was seen made sure it was impossible to take the bullet-heavy tactic. In order to succeed, you have to rely on stealthy dispatches of enemies while moving forward to each objective. Use everything from knocking on the wall to distract guards to using an inconspicuous cardboard box to hide until the coast is clear.
But when it does get to the action, Metal Gear Solid kicks butt. The grenade battle with the tank, the rooftop cat-and-mouse clash against a soviet attack helicopter, the tense faceoff against a new Metal Gear, and the hand-to-hand segue to car chase climax with Liquid Snake are stellar and worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. Three of these standout more than the others: the duel with Cyberninja/Gray Fox who used invisibility tech, the final marksman contest with Sniper Wolf, and the mental maelstrom against Psycho Mantis. These delivered a one-two gut punch of action and dramatic high points.
Metal Gear Solid remains a fun challenge and often imitated even to this day. The stealth action genre has grown to include hit titles like Hitman, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, and even the Batman: Arkham Asylum games. Metal Gear Solid paved the way for how to do these right while remaining entertaining and without making the mechanics a chore. And although the Metal Gear franchise has fallen on hard times (particularly with the series creator Kojima and company Konami having unresolved issues), the achievement of Metal Gear Solid Playstation 1 continues to looms large.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Konami, 1997)
It seems that Konami was the undisputed king of the best games for the Playstation 1. But where Metal Gear Solid revolutionized the stealth action game genre, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night blew the barndoors off the action adventure platformer, such that it created its own subgenre called the ‘Metroidvania’ style games. The original Castlevania games followed a relatively similar formula prior to Symphony of the Night. But by borrowing and expanding on elements from Nintendo’s Metroid franchise, it became something special that is so much more than just the sum of its parts.
The first time you play Symphony of the Night, you are treated to the climax of the previous entry Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. Even if you have never played that game, this prelude is a nice treat, giving a sense of continuity. As Richter Belmont, you face Dracula in a final battle. Victory leads to the progression of the story 4 years later. Now, Alucard (returning as a playable character from his first appearance in Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse) is tasked by Maria Renard to venture into the diabolical depths of Castlevania to find the missing Richter and defeat the new villain named Shaft.
From there, you will immediately notice the difference from the traditional Castlevania games before it. Although it retains many of the tropes such as collecting hearts to enable the use of special weapons like the dagger to holy water and the boomerang cross, Symphony of the Night opens up RPG lite elements. Alucard can collect and equip new weapons, armor, and shields. Gold collected is no longer just for points but can be used to buy from the Master Librarian’s shop. Relics can be activated to allow Alucard to use and access new locations. Spells and companions provide a wealth of new ways to defeat foes. This is a level of customization that was previously attempted in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, but is far more comprehensive and effective in execution.
Where Castlevania: Symphony of the Night truly shines is the exploration and level design. Despite being a 2D sidescroller, the game feels much larger than the map would imply. And where prior entries in the Castlevania series were linear in its progression through the stages, Symphony of the Night provides more freedom. And should you make a critical choice midway through the game, the entire castle flips upside down, creating another layer of exploration and opening previously inaccessible areas! And depending on the decisions and accomplishments made during the game, Symphony of the Night provides up to four different endings.
So many games on this list of the Sony Playstation’s greatest influenced others that would come later. But Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has the widest and most indelible signature, particularly with the indie game revolution of recent years. With such a cornucopia of games that were built from its archetype like Axiom Verge, Shovel Knight, Hollow Knight, Cave Story, and even the spiritual successor Bloodstained, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night deserves to be on the royal throne of the Sony Playstation 1’s greatest of all time.
Playstation 1 Potentials
As with previous Xfire lists of the best games, there are quite a few that nearly made the cut. For instance, Final Fantasy VIII might have edged its siblings, but the scoring was extremely close. Likewise, Tomb Raider just barely edged out Tomb Raider 2 when the scores were tallied.
Other notable games that almost entered the top 20 include Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Dino Crisis, Parasite Eve 2, Xenogears, Tactics Ogre, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Spyro, WWE Smackdown 2, Monster Rancher 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Twisted Metal 2, Legend of Dragoon, Tenchu Stealth Assassins, Driver, and about a dozen more masterpieces.
Do you agree with our list? What does your personal 20 Greatest Playstation 1 Games of All Time list look like? Let us know and keep your eye out, as we continue to review and rank the greatest games of every console ever made here on Xfire.com!
Posted by Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey “Borgy” Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
Celebrating the power of the original Playstation console
It’s been 27 years since the launch of the original Playstation, and while games have evolved by leaps and bounds in the two and a half decades since, it’s impossible to deny the lasting impact Sony’s flat grey box had on the industry and pop culture at large.
From bandicoots to battle-hardened super-soldiers, the Playstation is single-handedly responsible for some of the most iconic characters and franchises of all time, and while there are so so many to love, we wanted to look back at the very best the console had to offer, including some great Playstation exclusives. These are the greatest PS1 games of all time.
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Check out the video above for the top 10, and click through the gallery below or scroll down for the full list!
From Bandicoots to battle-hardened super-soldiers, the Playstation is single-handedly responsible for some of the most iconic characters and franchises of all time, and while there are so so many to love, we wanted to look back at the very best the console had to offer. These are the greatest PS1 games of all time.What’s your favorite PS1 game, and what was on your list that didn’t make ours? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев, and be sure to check out our picks for the best PS2 games, too, or for a more modern library, our picks for the (current) best PlayStation 4 games!” width=”” /
25. PaRappa the RapperBefore Rock Band, before Guitar Hero, even before Dance Dance Revolution, there was Parappa the Rapper. An unlikely rapping game starring a cartoonishly flat dog and his animal pals, Parappa won us all over with catchy songs and a quirky charm that stood out among other games seeking to posture themselves as “extreme” or “hardcore” on the new generation. Nothing else on the console looked like Parappa (until Um Jammer Lammy arrived, of course). This rhyme-spitting canine is so beloved, in fact, that we named him one of the top 10 dogs in video games. I gotta believe!” width=”” /
24. Oddworld: Abe’s OddyseeAbe’s Odyssey was such a weird game; an action/puzzle/platformer with a story that’s sort of like a crazy outer-space Soylent Green. Abe’s Oddysee is fondly remembered for it’s bonkers character design and deep lore, which led to several fun, weird sequels and spinoffs like ‘Munch’s Oddysee’ and ‘Stranger’s Wrath, and featured unique systems for communicating and working together with your fellow Mudokons, plus various alien species you can ride, telepathically possess, or manipulate into taking out your enemies for you. ” width=”” / 23. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped While we’ve ranked Crash Bandicoot 2 higher, it’s undeniable just how important the entire Crash trilogy was to the Playstation legacy – and that largely comes down to just how damn fun and challenging Naughty Dog made those first three games. While Warped’s base levels may not be as rewardingly challenging as Cortex Strikes Back’s, it still offers plenty of extremely fun platforming levels, mixed in with a host of vehicle/riding challenges. Perhaps the most robust Crash of the original three games, Warped uses its time-hopping set dressing to offer a wide variety of levels, enemies, and tricky create locations, but makes them all feel part of a fun, cohesive whole. ” width=”” / 22. Spider-Man Developed by Neversoft (the same developers behind the Tony Hawk franchise), PS1’s Spider-Man served as the template for pretty much all the good superhero games to follow. This was the first Spider-man game many of us played that really captured Spidey’s unique method of traversal, swinging between buildings, climbing up walls and acrobatically taking down enemies. It was also filled with easter eggs and secrets, including many, many Marvel cameos (like the Human Torch and Daredevil), unlockable costumes like Spider-man 2099, the Amazing Bag Man costume or even his classic Captain Universe getup. They even got Stan Lee himself to do all the descriptions of each character in the character viewer! ” width=”” / 21. Mega Man Legends 2 Before Mega Man Legends,the Mega Man series wasn’t known for a great story and characters. Mega Man Legends changed all that, presenting one of the most unique and charming 3-D action/adventures ever, and the sequel only improved on the formula. ” width=”” /
PaRappa the Rapper
Before Rock Band, before Guitar Hero, even before Dance Dance Revolution, there was Parappa the Rapper. An unlikely rapping game starring a cartoonishly flat dog and his animal pals, Parappa won us all over with catchy songs and a quirky charm that stood out among other games seeking to posture themselves as “extreme” or “hardcore” on the new generation. Nothing else on the console looked like Parappa (until Um Jammer Lammy arrived, of course). This rhyme-spitting canine is so beloved, in fact, that we named him one of the top 10 dogs in video games. I gotta believe!
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey was such a weird game; an action/puzzle/platformer with a story that’s sort of like a crazy outer-space Soylent Green. Abe’s Oddysee is fondly remembered for its bonkers character design and deep lore, which led to several fun, weird sequels and spinoffs like ‘Munch’s Oddysee’ and ‘Stranger’s Wrath, and featured unique systems for communicating and working together with your fellow Mudokons, plus various alien species you can ride, telepathically possess, or manipulate into taking out your enemies for you.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
While we’ve ranked Crash Bandicoot 2 higher, it’s undeniable just how important the entire Crash trilogy was to the Playstation legacy – and that largely comes down to just how damn fun and challenging Naughty Dog made those first three games. While Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped had base levels that weren’t as rewardingly challenging as Cortex Strikes Back’s, it still offers plenty of extremely fun platforming levels, mixed in with a host of vehicle/riding challenges. Perhaps the most robust Crash of the original three games, Warped uses its time-hopping set dressing to offer a wide variety of levels, enemies, and tricky create locations, but makes them all feel part of a fun, cohesive whole.
Developed by Neversoft (the same developers behind the Tony Hawk franchise), PS1’s Spider-Man served as the template for pretty much all the good superhero games to follow. This was the first Spider-Man game many of us played that really captured Spidey’s unique method of traversal, swinging between buildings, climbing up walls and acrobatically taking down enemies. It was also filled with easter eggs and secrets, including many, many Marvel cameos (like the Human Torch and Daredevil), unlockable costumes like Spider-Man 2099, the Amazing Bag Man costume or even his classic Captain Universe getup. They even got Stan Lee himself to do all the descriptions of each character in the character viewer!
Mega Man Legends 2
Before Mega Man Legends, I don’t think people really thought of the Mega Man series as being all that great for story and character. Mega Man Legends 2 changed all that, presenting one of the most unique and charming 3-D action/adventures ever, and the sequel only improved on the formula.
Nowadays, holding a Playstation controller without the familiar analog sticks feels almost unnatural – like wearing someone else’s shoes, or when your arm falls asleep after leaning on it wrong – but there was a time when the DualShock controller seemed like an unnecessary gimmick. How do you rally players to adopt this new technology? You present them with the threat of rampant, mischievous apes.
As the title would suggest, Ape Escape told the timeless tale of a group of mischievous primates on the loose. Players were given the urgent task of subduing them with variety of gadgets regularly implemented by real life animal control specialists, such as a hula hoop, remote control car, and a device like a kayak paddle that could be spun around really fast to achieve flight. Each of these gadgets was controlled by waggling the DualShock’s right stick, a concept akin to rubbing your stomach and patting your head back in 1999. Nowadays, such a mechanic would be deemed “gimmicky,” but the late ‘90s was a simpler time, and Ape Escape’s solid implementation stuck the landing. Oddly enough, Ape Escape proved to be oddly prescient; in 2016, a chimpanzee named Chacha escaped from a Japanese zoo, and local police were able to subdue him safely – presumably thanks to simulations they’d run in Ape Escape.
Crash Team Racing
While many have come for the Mario Kart throne, Crash Team Racing, surprisingly, is perhaps the kart racer to come closest. Long before its modern-day remake, the original CTR surprised and delighted fans with a mascot racer worthy of excitement alongside Nintendo’s long-standing franchise.
Introducing a varied and fun set of original tracks, wacky weapons that smartly pulled from existing Crash lore, and offering a skill-based drifting/boost system – that was both innovative and fun – made Crash Team Racing one of the more beloved entries in the kart racing pantheon to this day.
Pulling inspiration from hit titles like Metal Gear Solid and GoldenEye, Eidetic Games – now known as Sony Bend – combined elements of both with their own unique blend of stealth and action to create a unique adventure that spawned several sequels. Syphon Filter offered a wide assortment of fun weaponry that allowed you a good amount of freedom to approach problems in different way throughout its 20-odd levels of espionage action. Perhaps most memorably, you could tase enemies to death, preempting the whole “don’t tase me bro” fiasco by nearly a decade.
Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain
Perhaps more accurately titled “Legacy of Kain 2”, Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain is an incredible second chapter in what might be one of the most underrated game franchises ever. Gothic and macabre, the Legacy of Kain sequel is more like a grimdark Ocarina of Time than its top-down, action RPG predecessor, Blood Omen. Shifting between the world of the living and spectral plain to solve puzzles and traverse the twisting corridors of Nosgoth would prove deeply influential beyond the PS1 era, as well. The characters and story, penned and directed by Uncharted’s Amy Hennig, are miles above most Playstation games of the era and, despite a rushed and anti-climactic ending, Soul Reaver stands on its own and deifies Kain in a fantastic re-introduction to the series.
Final Fantasy Tactics
When Final Fantasy Tactics arrived in 1998, it was arguably the best turn-based strategy game ever to grace consoles. Even today, there are few games in the genre since that have even come close. The juxtaposition of cute yet super-deformed characters works well, especially when they get caught up in one of the most complicated video game plots of all time. This is yet another game that proved the Playstation didn’t have to rely on fancy 3D graphics – though it’s a shame we never got a true sequel (the two Game Boy Advance spinoffs, although not bad, were a huge tonal departure).
Medal of Honor: Underground
There wasn’t an enormous list of must-play first-person shooters on the original Playstation – the genre simply wasn’t as ubiquitous on consoles at that time as it is today. There are a handful that carved out a legacy – like Quake II, or Disruptor – but probably none did so more successfully than the incredible Medal of Honor: Underground. Wolfenstein 3D may be the granddaddy of FPS WWII action, but Medal of Honor (and especially Underground) was the series to really drag it into the third-dimension, kicking and screaming, “Rennt um euer leben – er hat ‘ne Panzerfaust!”
Arriving just a year after the original and late in the console’s lifespan, the prequel/sequel Underground is one of the best shooters of its era thanks to its memorable main character Manon Batiste, a fantastic array of levels, and its terrific behind-enemy-lines tone. You could also trick Nazis into posing for embarrassing photographs before you shot them, which is simply brilliant.
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX promised a return to the series’ fantasy roots, and it absolutely delivered. Knights, mages, princesses, crystals, all of the Final Fantasy mainstays from the early entries were present and accounted for – but what people still love most about it are its characters. Wily Zidane, sad and naive Vivi, doofy loyalist Steiner, and a dozen other memorable characters (except for Amarant, no one remembers him) helped make Final Fantasy IX and incredible way to close out the single digit entries in the series, paying reverence to the games that came before it, and setting the stage (quite literally) for the next era; it was a beautiful, moving swan song for Final Fantasy on the Playstation.
The original Silent Hill slid off the beaten path of the zombie survival horror du jour into something much more daring and unknown. The town of Silent Hill was an obtuse place to visit, full of nonsensical, psychosexual creatures that prodded at protagonist Henry’s sanity; this was much more Jacob’s Ladder than it was Night of the Living Dead.
Its foreboding atmosphere was made more unbearable by the fact Henry was the definition of an ‘everyman,’ and it was much smarter to run than it was to fight, wildly shooting at whatever was emerging from the fog. A defining psychological horror game, Silent Hill (and its audio that still rattles around in the brain to this day), is impossible to forget.
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage
Like its fuzzier down-under brother, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage smartly builds off the groundwork of the original game and offers a wonderful balance of challenge and fun, all while expanding on what makes the series work so well. While Spyro: Year of the Dragon would lean more into playable secondary characters, Ripto’s Rage keeps the emphasis largely on Spyro and a richly realized world.
Tied around the theme of seasonal hub areas, Spyro’s second journey spins off into any number of unique and memorable mini-worlds, from beaches to thundery hills to mountaintop monasteries. A plethora of side characters, a host of Smart collectibles, and an unexpected adventure in the land of Avalar made Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage a standout in the great Insomniac trilogy.
One of the first games you spent in a car that didn’t really qualify as a “racing game,” 1999’s Driver was a unique blend of open-world mission design and exceptionally fun (i.e. destructive) arcade driving action. While its ambitious sequel introduced novel new concepts like being able to get out of your car – a full year before GTAIII released, mind you – and the astounding ability (for its time) to render curved roads, it wasn’t as impactful as the pure unadulterated rush of classic car chase goodness that the original provided. From the deeply satisfying squelch of crumpling steel under its detailed collision modeling to the surprisingly deep Director Mode that let you turn your wildest mission and free-roam moments into your own Hollywood action sequences, Driver handily e-brake slides into the PS1 hall of fame.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Naughty Dog’s mascot platformer trilogy became synonymous with the original Playstation immediately after its first release, but it’s the second of the three games that has remained in our hearts and minds all these years later. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a great middle-ground between the original’s platforming and Warped’s expansive arsenal, techniques, and secrets. As Crash climbs his way up a series of chambers full of challenging platforming levels, Naughty Dog’s gauntlet of jumping, spinning, and “woah”-ing offers some of the franchise’s best levels, offering players a true challenge but in a way that always felt achievable.
Vagrant Story is perhaps one of the original Playstation’s most underrated games – a massive action RPG developed by a powerhouse RPG hit machine, helmed by one of the most underrated auteurs of the last 25 years. It’s a game that, in many ways, almost shouldn’t work; it stacks an almost ludicrous amount of systems on top of a plot dense with political intrigue, dark magic, and at least two textbooks worth of ancient history. But it all comes together in a truly exceptional experience.
You’ll manage special attacks, customize weapons tailored for specific enemy types, build your own armor, solve puzzles, and fight some of the hardest bosses this side of Dark Souls using a quasi-rhythm based battle system. While it remains the most underrated and oft-forgotten entry in Square’s Playstation catalogue, that doesn’t prevent this hidden gem from being one of the best the console had to offer.
The universally-acclaimed Tekken 3 remains one of the most-respected fighting games ever made, but it was its astonishing ability to lure in even non-fighting game fans that helped make Tekken 3 one of the most iconic games on the console. Adding a third axis to the action and allowing players to dodge left and right, circling their opponents, was a seismic shift for Namco’s seminal slugfest. A cocktail of wacky cinematics, eclectic characters, and bruising beatings, the King of Iron Fist tournament is the undisputed champ when it comes to PS1 fighting games, and will always remain up there with the very best fighters in the business. At the very least, it’s definitely the reason an entire generation of gamers knows what capoeira is: cheers, Eddy Gordo.
Resident Evil 2
Though it enjoyed a cracker of a remake in 2018, the power of the original Resident Evil 2 is still untouched as one of the best Resident Evil games. Set in a bizzaro police station – an elaborate evolution of the first game’s haunted house theme – Resident Evil 2 combined ornate, weird puzzles with a plethora of nasties that ranged from the garden-variety zombie to more out-there monstrosities like a giant moth and sentient, mutated poison ivy.
With the remake of Resident Evil 3 in our near future, we thought it was a perfect time to take a look back at the franchise to find the Top 10 Resident Evil bosses.” width=”” /
#10 Uroboros Test Subject
The Uroboros Test Subject makes it clear that Capcom had cooperative play in mind when making Resident Evil 5. The undulating mass of worms can take an extreme amount of punishment from both players which is satisfying to inflict thanks to the many bits of it that fly off when shot. But what really makes this encounter a standout is the environmental interaction. You’ll need to work as a team to trap the shapeless creature in a furnace, with one player acting as bait inside the forge and the other carefully controlling the doors. Just try not to lock your teammate inside.
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Yawn is the titanic result of t-Virus experimentation on a locally-sourced mountain adder, and the first clue that Resident Evil had much more up its sleeve than just zombies. After seeing your comrade Richard Aiken devoured by the Spencer Mansion’s version of Jormungandr you’re left to contend with tank controls and awkward camera angles in a fight for survival. By today’s standard Yawn isn’t that impressive mechanically but at the time the giant snake was instantly iconic and panic-inducing.
” width=”” / #8Marguerite Baker
The matriarch of the Baker family in Resident Evil 7 commands an army of insects to try and stop Ethan’s progress through the Old House section of the game. In your first encounter with her, she traps you in a hole and swarms you with pests. The trick is getting her to fall in the hole before climbing out and running like hell. Of course, that’s not the end of Marguerite. Your final fight with her is a tense showdown as you bumble around in the dark trying to finally finish her off with the last of your ammo.
” width=”” / #7 Del Lago
Up to the point you meet Del Lago in Resident Evil 4, you’re just starting to get the hang of its over-the-shoulder, gun-blasting mechanics. You’ve gunned down a few infected townspeople, a chainsaw maniac or two, and are feeling pretty confident about what’s to come. Then you get to a motorboat on a lake and meet Del Lago. The first huge boss in the game, you have to ditch your guns and take down the massive, infected salamander with harpoons, timing your throws with the direction of the motorboat. It gets more insane once the creature submerges and races towards you underwater, requiring you to throw your harpoon at it with accuracy despite your shaking hands. The sheer scale and cinematic nature of this boss fight was a sign this was indeed a new breed of Resident Evil.
” width=”” / #6 El Gigante
The mighty El Gigante pits Leon Kennedy against his first behemoth in his first of several David and Goliath showdowns across the game. Much like your rumble with Del Lago, this boss fight has you constantly on your toes as you face a massive creature who, with few moves, can squash and/or swallow you. El Gigante insists you time your shots carefully, anticipating how much time you’ll have before you can bolt again, and where he’ll strike next. If you prepared well and think on your feet, you will do well. If not, then you’re gonna have a bad time. And one unexpected perk? This is the only time in the game where you have a dog companion fighting by your side. That is if you saved it from the bear trap. You did save it from the bear trap, didn’t you? Please tell me you did.
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Throw in a hulking, seemingly invulnerable tyrant that relentlessly pursues you and the ability to play through from two different perspectives, and you’ve got an all-time horror classic.
The original Tomb Raider is, at heart, a haunting solo adventure, a quiet jaunt through an aggressive world that mixes up real-life beasts like wolves and bears with dinosaurs and cat. mummies? While it cemented Lara Croft as a video game icon that would span several more generations, the original Tomb Raider should also be celebrated for its genius, with intricate level design and properly awe-inspiring environments. Plus, a shotgun that you can still feel through the ages.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 isn’t just regarded by many as the most monumental game in the series, and it isn’t just considered as one of the greatest sports games ever made; it’s one of the highest-rated video games OF ALL TIME.
No matter what some desperate ding-dongs trying to review bomb it 18 years too late may think, THPS2 was an absolute cultural haymaker. Marrying exquisite arcade extreme sports action with a soundtrack that launched a million mixtapes, the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was one of the most influential and iconic games of its era, and adding more moves, a simple but wildly addictive skate park editor, and a sackful of more searingly good songs made this stunning sequel a spectacular refinement of the formula.
Gran Turismo 2
Taking nothing away from the original, pioneering Gran Turismo – the best-selling Playstation game of all time and the godfather of all console racing sims – Gran Turismo 2 was everything the first installment was and much, much more: an absolute gorilla of a racing game, so stuffed with content it had to ship on two CDs. With almost 650 cars from over 30 manufacturers, the scope of GT2 was unprecedented, dwarfing its otherwise excellent 1999 crosstown rival, Need for Speed: High Stakes. The PS1 played host to a small but fondly-remembered selection of serious racing games back in the late ’90s – like the TOCA and Colin McRae series – but Gran Turismo 2 was the biggest and broadest of the lot (and it was the only one that came with a scratch ’n’ sniff disc).
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Releasing an “old-looking” 2D Castlevania on the Playstation seemed like a strange move to some in 1997 – even IGN’s original review reads: “It looks like the same old 2D platform action as before.” Other classic franchises had already made the jump into the third dimension, and new games like Tomb Raider were showing what the PS1 could do that previous consoles could not, but keeping Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 2D allowed Konami to refine the gameplay to absolute perfection, and its beautiful pixel art has aged much better than most of its 3D contemporaries.
Then there’s the incredible soundtrack, which fans are still humming to this day. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is about as close to a perfect video game as you can get, one that is still being copied and iterated on by modern developers.
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is (almost) solely responsible for putting JRPGs on the map. No one had ever seen anything quite like it when it launched on the original Playstation in 1997. It’s the second only to Gran Turismo in units sold, and for good reason. The dark, sci-fi storyline and incredibly of-the-times character design took a whimsical fantasy franchise, and brought it to an international audience in a way that neither Sony or Square could have possibly predicted. It’s a timeless classic that spawned an entire universe of spin-offs (and one stellar remake) that absolutely deserves all of its praise, despite some of its more glaring shortcomings.
Metal Gear Solid
Long before we had the intricate sandbox of The Phantom Pain, and before the twisting plots of The Patriots or bloated diatribes on the complex political realities of war, the third entry in Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear series cardboard-box-crawled its way onto the PS1 and things were never the same again.
Metal Gear Solid offered a singularly unique blend of stealth/action gameplay, and coupled it with a wholly bizarre yet utterly delightful cast of characters and a story that challenged our ideas of traditional video game “heroes,” and pushed at the boundaries of cinematic storytelling in video games at the time. All of these exceptional elements, plus some truly unforgettable breaks in the fourth wall, combined to create a gaming experience that still holds up as one of the best to this day.
Disagree with the order? Want to create your own ranking? Head to our interactive Top 25 Playstation Games list and easily make your own Top 25. You can even “clone” the list and drag the entries into a different order. Enjoy!
Top 25 Best Playstation Games
The original Playstation was released in North America on September 9, 1995 and has sold 102m units since. Here’s an interactive Playlist of our 2020 PS1 ranking. Which ones have you played?
Choosing the absolute best Playstation games was wildly difficult, and as we’re a diverse group of fans with wildly varied tastes, not everyone’s favorites could make the list. In consideration of that, we wanted to give some shoutouts to the following games which are also quite excellent:
And those are our picks for the best games on the original Playstation; did any make your list that weren’t on ours? You can check out our full list of the top 25 PS1 games on IGN, or if you want to look ahead, be sure to follow all our coverage of the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Useful Notes / Playstation
” E NOS Lives: U R Not E ” note “NOS” stands for “Ninth of September”, the date of the system’s debut in North America (Sept. 9th, 1995). The slogan is a subliminal way of saying “The Playstation will launch on September 9, you are not ready.”
In short, Nintendo overlooked the fine print on a contract with Sony by Hiroshi Yamauchi, then-president of Nintendo. The contract gave Sony all profits for a potential CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that was being developed by Ken Kutaragi. Yamauchi didn’t like the deal, so he went with Phillips to develop a different CD-ROM add-on for the SNES, a deal which also imploded and caused Nintendo to spurn optical media for several years, as well as spawning the four games based on Mario and Zelda on the Philips CD-i.
Feeling insulted by Nintendo’s actions (Because Nintendo chose to make the announcement in front of a public audience at CES, where the Sony CEO and Ken Kutaragi were also at) note and were actually waiting for their cue from the Big N to get on stage when the Big N dropped the bomb. Sony moved on to attempting to woo the other hot video game company of the time: Sega. They sent Sony Electronic Publishing president Olaf Olafsson and Sony Corporation of America president Micky Schulhof to meet with Sega of America president Tom Kalinske, with the logic that both companies had a common enemy in Nintendo. The proposal of partnering with Sony intrigued Kalinske, who met up with Kutaragi, similarly bullish over the concept. The hardware, which both companies agreed had to be CD-based, would likely be sold at a loss, and the partnership could mean Sega and Sony splitting the losses. Kalinske then brought the idea to the attention of his Japanese counterpart Hayao Nakayama and the Sega Board of Directors, who promptly shot it down, claiming “That’s a stupid idea, Sony doesn’t know how to make hardware. They don’t know how to make software either. Why would we want to do this?” note (The answer wasn’t surprising, in retrospect. Sega of Japan was very jealous of the insane success that their American counterparts were having with the Sega Genesis in comparison to the meager success they had at home with the Sega Mega Drive, and the ensuing internal Right Hand Versus Left Hand drama was leading to several decisions that would ultimately sink the Sega Saturn outside of Japan and destroy their reputation as a hardware manufacturer. This was likely just another idea from the American branch that was shot down on principle. On another note, the claim that Sony didn’t know how to make hardware or software comes off as rather amusing, given how they designed the sound chip for the SNES and had been building MSX computers. a very popular gaming platform in Japan. for several years, and had even before then experimented with the market by releasing a quiz machine. On the software end, it had been developing and publishing games under the Sony Imagesoft brand for both Sega and Nintendo’s consoles since 1989.) Being rudely rejected by the industry’s biggest names left Sony reluctant to get into gaming, but simply giving up would have compounded the humiliation; Sony had to get into gaming to reclaim its honor.
Thus, the Playstation as we know it was conceived when Sony reworked their fancy CD drive for the SNES and the technical specs from their project with Sega into their own full-fledged video game console. Developers were getting excited by 3D gaming, so Kutaragi designed the system with that in mind and also made sure it was easy to develop for so programmers could get their 3D system right out the gate. Sony’s developer license had a “come one, come all” approach with very lax censorship policies, which meant that if you could develop a game, you could put it on the Playstation. This lead to games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, horror titles for mature audiences that Nintendo and Sega would not have published at the time. Sony also had a fairly generous US10 licensing fee; since Playstation games sold for about US50, this was lower than the industry standard 30% (which would have been 15). note Those values are 20, 100, and 30 respectively when adjusted for inflation in 2023. Thus began two generations of Playstation dominance. The hardware was also adopted (often in modified form) for numerous Arcade Games by major companies such as Namco, Capcom, 8ing/Raizing, Taito, and Tecmo. This had the benefit of making arcade ports easier since they could actually be ports rather than total conversions (essentially remaking the game from the ground up for drastically different hardware) or Reformulated Games, which had previously been the norm.
In Japan, the Playstation had a smooth start, but the pickup was still slower than a new console from the established brands. The platform was also initially unpopular for RPG titles, as it did not have any released for it despite debuting in Japan in 1994. The previous-gen Super Famicom was still the most popular system to release RPGs for by this point, as Enix chose to release Star Ocean on that system instead of the Playstation, as did Namco with Tales of Phantasia note Though that did eventually get an enhanced port to the PS1. It wasn’t until the deafeningly loud positive response for Square Soft’s ground-breaking Final Fantasy VII that other major RPG developers were finally convinced to get on board.
While it had always a success in North America, with a solid launch line-up and the 299 price announced at E3 1995 as a response to the Saturn’s 399, note Again, those are 599 and 799 respectively. it had a bit of a slow start. Sony hired Bernie Stolar as head of Sony Computer Entertainment America, the arm responsible for licensing content and developers for the Playstation in North America. Stolar’s policies, specifically his “Five-Star Policy” that he used to prevent 2D games and JRPG localization releases from being released in North America, held back the system while prioritizing sports titles. However, the Japanese arm caught on, and following Stolar’s removal, the Playstation really began to take a foothold in the US with the release of killer apps like Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, the aforementioned Final Fantasy VII, and Metal Gear Solid.
Much of the Playstation’s success can be attributed to the actions of its competitors. The Sega Saturn left a lot to be desired thanks to its hardware being difficult to program for, plus Sega was making many poor decisions at the time (including, but not limited to, launching the Saturn four months early in America, leaving early adopters with nothing but its six launch titles to play for several months, and bringing the aforementioned Bernie Stolar aboard to institute the same anti-2D policies after Sony laid him off) that caused the console to flounder outside of Japan. While the Nintendo 64 was a more powerful machine and managed to outsell the PS1 in North America initially, its potential was bottlenecked by Nintendo’s decision to stick with cartridges, which were more expensive to produce than CDs and had significantly less storage space. It also came to market nearly two years after the Playstation, giving Sony a substantial head start. All of this, combined with the low licensing requirements mentioned previously, lead to the Playstation being the console of choice for third-party developers, giving it a massive and diverse library of nearly 8,000 games, compared to the Saturn having just over 1,000 and the N64 not even getting 400.
Although the Playstation is now often referred to as the “PS1” in order to differentiate it from its long line of successors, only the smaller, redesigned version of the original console, which was released late in its lifespan in 2000, is officially known as the “PS one” and was titled as such to avoid confusion between the original Playstation model and its successor, the Playstation 2. Despite this, written discussion of the console typically uses “PS one” to specifically denote the redesigned models and “PS1” to refer to the Playstation console in general. That said, Sony has kept the “PS one” designation for its downloadable “PS one Classics” line. Don’t confuse it with the latter-day PSX video device, even though it was common before the announcement of the PS2 to abbreviate the original Playstation as “PSX”, referring to its original codename “Playstation X”. note The PSX, released exclusively for Japan in 2003, was a high-end cross between a PS2 and a DVR. Its only contribution was the introduction of the XrossMediaBar interface used in the Playstation Portable and Playstation 3. However, referring to the console as “PSX” isn’t unheard of.
While it was acclaimed for introducing many to 3D consoles and harboring a large library that mostly took full advantage of CD media, the console had some infamous hardware issues. Many games had Loads and Loads of Loading that sometimes reached two minutes, and the console was prone to overheating, which was a huge problem when early models put the optical lens right next to the power supply (it would be moved to a less dangerous position in later revisions). The first batches even had a reputation for CD drive problems, as the fully plastic tray moved the laser into a position where it was no longer parallel with the CD surface over time. However, none of this stopped the Playstation from becoming the highest-selling home video game console in the world at the time. Aside from the inevitable deluge of ’90s kids with fond memories of Sony’s 32-bit bombshell, the Playstation also lives on among the audiophile community due to its sound quality allegedly being significantly better than many dedicated CD players.
In September 2018, Sony announced their own miniature Plug ‘n’ Play Game console: the Playstation Classic, in an attempt to ride off Nintendo’s runaway success with their similarly named mini-consoles. It was released on December 3, 2018 (exactly 24 years after the original Playstation’s release in Japan), and contained 20 built-in games. Western List (exclusives in bold) Battle Arena Toshinden, Cool Boarders 2, Destruction Derby, Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto, Intelligent Qube, Jumping Flash!, Metal Gear Solid, Mr. Driller, Oddworld: Abes Oddysee, Rayman, Resident Evil Directors Cut, Revelations: Persona, Ridge Racer Type 4, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Syphon Filter, Tekken 3, Tom Clancys Rainbow Six, Twisted Metal, Wild ARMs. Japanese List (exclusives in bold) Arc the Lad, Arc the Lad II, Armored Core, Battle Arena Toshinden, Devil Dice, G Darius, Final Fantasy VII, Gradius Gaiden, Intelligent Qube, Jumping Flash!, Metal Gear Solid, Mr. Driller, Parasite Eve, Resident Evil Directors Cut, Revelations: Persona, Ridge Racer Type 4, SaGa Frontier, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Tekken 3, Wild ARMS 1. While many had high hopes that it would be a worthy competitor to Nintendo’s offerings, the final product was met with disappointment from critics and fans, who considered its game selection questionable at best, even considering the licensing issues for some of the more popular titles. The console also came with the original joystick-less controllers as well, making some games way more difficult to play than intended, and despite the fact that the Playstation had been readily emulated for over two decades, the console was plagued with performance issues and inaccuracies (so much so that the NES Classic is considered a better PS1 emulator), and even more puzzling, some games had the inferior PAL versions included instead (likely due to the multilingual support that would make it easier to sell units worldwide). Not only did this mean that owners had to put up with the lower 50 Hz refresh rate, it also didn’t play well with 60 Hz displays, as it introduced a lot of microstutter. Finally, the console was considered quite lacking in the feature department, with a bare-bones UI and no graphical filtering options or save states. It used an open-source emulator one could readily install on a PC or Raspberry Pi without having to buy an official device (which is hilariously ironic considering Sony’s history of suppressing unofficial emulators like Bleem). Word spread of the device’s cheap quality very quickly, and retailers had so much trouble selling it that its price was slashed mere weeks after its launch from USD 99 to USD 59, and even that wasn’t enough to get rid of the mountains of unsold stock that retailers were stuck with. Much of the problems with the device have been attributed to it having been Christmas Rushed.
- Optical drive is rated for 2x speeds for a read bandwidth of 2.4Mb/s.
- Supported the following formats:
- Playstation Format CD-ROM
- Video CD (SCPH-5903 only, this model was only released in Southeast Asian countries. Other models require a 3rd party “Movie Card” add-on) note The Playstation uses a proprietary video format that is different from the established White Book standard. The Motion Decoder co-processor does not decode the MPEG-1 datastream found on White Book Video CDs, instead opting for a non-standard Motion JPEG format. SCPH-5903 models add a separate daughterboard with an MPEG-1 decoder to the board. Due to the relative unpopularity of the format outside of Southeast Asia (and possibly to avoid paying licensing fees to Philips), Sony had forgone MPEG-1 support on all other models.
- Theoretical polygon count is 1,000,000. but that’s assuming the processor is making nothing else, so it isn’t helpful. In real-time games, the count would be around 100,000 to 120,000. A few games reached 150,000 polygons a second, which comes out to around 3,500 polygons per frame at 30 fps. As a comparison, this is about 1% of what the PS3 can push.
- But polygon count is only part of it:
- The graphics processor is a strictly 2D affair with no concept of depth. All 3D math has to be handled and converted into 2D graphics by the CPU.
- Textures could be high quality for the time if they were programmed correctly, and could have quite a bit of detail. Unfortunately, the system lacked filtering for the textures, which meant that high-contrast textures would look blocky up close.
- Nor was it able to do texture mapping well; due to the use of affine texture mapping (no accounting for perspective or depth), textures generally appear to warp if placed on triangles because the graphics processor does not process depth information, which is required to properly apply a texture map to a triangle. Textures applied only to quadrilaterals are correctly processed because the locations of a quadrilateral’s corners provide enough information to properly texture it, unlike triangles. Some developers came up with tricks to minimize these effects, but it was just something that Playstation owners got used to. This was made worse because most 3D modeling tools are based on triangles as their only primitives, so converting objects to use quadrilaterals instead of triangles to make texture mapping more smooth meant extra work.
- The graphics processor can perform Gouraud shading on triangles where the lighting and color assigned to a non-textured triangle’s vertices are smoothly blended throughout the triangle. If the triangle has a texture map, only the lighting can be smoothly blended through a triangle. Unfortunately, the graphics processor can only apply flat shading to a quadrilateral, meaning that a quadrilateral without a texture has one color and amount of light throughout it, and a textured quadrilateral has one shade of light applied throughout the whole shape. Developers were forced to choose good shading or good texture mapping, but not both.
- Furthermore, because the graphics processor does not process depth at all, it requires the CPU to sort polygons from the back to the front, the order that the processor draws them in. Since no perfect system to do so can exist, especially if some polygons go through others, objects that are behind other opaque objects are sometimes shown when they should be hidden.
- Finally, despite both the vector unit and rasterizer working with fixed-point mathematics (not as good as an FPU, but much better than nothing), only integers can be passed between the two with no Z-buffer in place, leading to the Line Boil-esque movement of polygons that typify Playstation graphics. Watch any slow-moving object and you’ll notice how the polygons seem to “snap” to each new position, rather than moving smoothly.
- DualShock: Since the Playstation was developed as a 3D system from the start, having three-dimensional control in its games would be vital, so the original Playstation controller design featured not one, but two pairs of shoulder buttons for three-dimensional movement. Eventually, in 1997, Sony responded to the Nintendo 64’s analog controller and rumble feature by incorporating force feedback and dual analog sticks into the controller. This controller design would later serve as the basis of all Sony first-party gamepad controllers, ranging from the Playstation 2’s DualShock 2 (with analog pressure-sensitive face buttons) to the PS3’s Sixaxis and DualShock 3 (the former added motion-sensing abilities at the cost of force feedback and the latter brought rumble back while still using the motion sensor).
- In the US, Nintendo attempted to sue Sony for adding vibration and analog capabilities to the controller, but lost the case because using a different set of technology to produce the same result didn’t violate its patents. Later, in 2002, California technology corporation Immersion successfully sued Sony and Microsoft on the same charge, winning in 2006 because the DualShock violated their patents (Immersion would later partner with Nintendo to develop the “HD Rumble” technology used in the Nintendo Switch).
- Dual Analog: Actually preceding the DualShock, the Dual Analog controller shared the same button placement as its successors, but distinguished itself with its longer grips, concave sticks, ridged shoulder buttons, and an additional compatibility setting for games that supported the little-known analog joystick note (which predates the Dual Analog controller and has what resembles two flight sticks). It also lacked rumble outside of Japan.
- Actua Soccer
- Actua Golf
- Actua Soccer Club Edition
- Actua Golf 2
- Actua Soccer 2
- Actua Ice Hockey
- Premier Manager 98
- Actua Tennis
- Actua Golf 3
- Actua Soccer 3
- Pool Shark (a.k.a. Actua Pool)
- Premier Manager Ninety Nine
- Actua Ice Hockey 2
- Advanced V.G. 2
- Ace Combat 2
- Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
- Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
- Alundra 2
- Arc the Lad II
- Arc the Lad III
- Armored Core: Project Phantasma
- Armored Core: Master of Arena
- Asuka 120% Special BURNING Fest.
- Asuka 120% Final BURNING Fest. (developed by SUCCESS Corp. instead of Fill-in-Café)
- Barbie Explorer
- Barbie Gotta Have Games
- Barbie Race Ride
- Detective Barbie: The Mystery Cruise
- Barbie: Super Sports
- Battle Arena Toshinden 2
- Battle Arena Toshinden 3
- Battle Arena Toshinden 4
- Toshinden Card Quest
- Puzzle Arena Toshinden
- Battle Arena Nitoshinden
- Transformers: Beast Wars Transmetals
- Bishi Bashi Special 2
- Bishi Bashi Special 3
- Salaryman Champ: Tatakau Salaryman
- Bloody Roar 2: Bringer Of The New Age
- Blue Breaker Burst: Bishou Hohoemi o Anata to
- Blue Breaker Burst: Egao no Asu ni
- Bomberman Fantasy Race
- Bomberman Land
- Bomberman Wars
- Bomberman World
- Brave Saga: Shin Sedai Robot Senki
- Brave Saga 2
- GaoGaiGar: Blockaded Numbers
- Breath of Fire III
- Breath of Fire IV
- Bushido Blade 2
- Bust a Groove 2
- Bust-A-Move 2
- Bust-A-Move 3
- Bust-A-Move 4
- Dexter’s Laboratory: Mandark’s Lab?
- The Powerpuff Girls: Chemical X-Traction
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- Castlevania Chronicles
- Chrono Cross
- Civilization II
- Clock Tower 2
- Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within
- Colin McRae Rally 2
- Colony Wars: Vengeance
- Colony Wars III: Red Sun
- C: The Contra Adventure
- Contra: Legacy of War
- Cool Boarders 2
- Cool Boarders 3
- Cool Boarders 4
- Cool Boarders 2001
- Cotton 100%
- Crash Bandicoot (1996)
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
- Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
- Crash Team Racing
- Crash Bash
- Crime Crackers 2
- Croc 2
- Dancing Blade Katte ni Momotenshi II: Tears of Eden
- Darkstalkers 3
- Dark Seed II
- Dezaemon Plus
- Dezaemon Kids!
- Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas
- Digimon Digital Card Battle
- Digimon World
- Digimon World 2
- Digimon World 3
- Digimon Rumble Arena
- Dino Crisis 2
- Discworld II: Mortality Bytes!
- Discworld Noir
- Aladdin: Nasira’s Revenge
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire
- A Bug’s Life
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
- Donald Duck: Goin’ Qu@ckers
- The Emperor’s New Groove
- Lilo Stitch: Trouble in Paradise (not subtitled on the game’s American release)
- The Lion King: Simba’s Mighty Adventure
- Mickey’s Wild Adventure
- Monsters, Inc.: Scream Team
- Peter Pan: Return To Never Land
- Tarzan (a port of the computer game of the same name)
- Tigger’s Honey Hunt
- Toy Story 2
- Treasure Planet
- Final Doom
- Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22
- Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout
- Dragon Quest VII
- World of Dragon Warrior: Torneko: The Last Hope
- Driver 2
- Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes
- Duke Nukem: Time to Kill
- Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown
- Eagle One: Harrier Attack
- Echo Night
- Eggs of Steel
- Elemental Gearbolt
- EOS: Edge of Skyhigh
- Eternal Eyes
- Evil Dead: Hail to the King
- Evil Zone
- Excalibur 2555 A.D
- Extra Bright
- Extreme Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Invasion
- Fade to Black
- Fatal Fury:
- Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition
- Real Bout Garou Densetsu Special: Dominated Mind (Japan exclusive)
- Runabout 2
- Vs. (an American localized version of Fighters’ Impact)
- Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon
- Chocobo Racing
- Final Fantasy VII
- Final Fantasy VIII
- Final Fantasy IX
- Final Fantasy Tactics
- Fire Pro Wrestling G
- Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge
- Front Mission Alternative
- Front Mission 2
- Front Mission 3
- Ganbare Goemon: Kuru nara Koi! Ayashige Ikka no Kuroi Kage
- Ganbare Goemon: Ōedo Daikaiten
- Ganbare Goemon: Shin Sedai Shūmei!
- Ganbare Goemon: Uchū Kaizoku Akogingu
- Critical Blow
- Gex 3D: Enter the Gecko
- Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko
- Gran Turismo 2
- Grand Theft Auto 2
- Gundam: The Battle Master
- Gundam: The Battle Master 2
- Gundam: Battle Assault
- Gundam Battle Assault 2
- Zoku Gussun Oyoyo
- Gussun Paradise (released as YoYo’s Puzzle Park in Europe)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harvest Moon: Back To Nature For Girl (Japan exclusive for the console, but was translated internationally for a PSP port)
- Tamago de Puzzle
- In the Hunt
- Incredible Crisis
- Intelligent Qube
- Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale
- Irritating Stick
- iS: Internal Section
- Jackie Chan Stuntmaster
- Jade Cocoon
- James Bond:
15 BEST PS1 Games of All Time [2023 Edition]
- Tomorrow Never Dies
- The World Is Not Enough
- 007 Racing
- Jet Moto 2
- Jet Moto 3
- Jumping Flash! 2
- Robbit Mon Dieu
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park
- Warpath: Jurassic Park
- Kamen Rider (a video game based on the first series that started the entire franchise)
- Kamen Rider V3
- Kamen Rider Kuuga
- Kamen Rider Agito
- Kamen Rider Ryuki
- Kamen Rider: The Bike Race (features various Riders up to Agito)
- The Bombing Islands: Kid Klown’s Craze Puzzle
- The King of Fighters ’95
- The King of Fighters ’96 (Japan exclusive)
- The King of Fighters ’97 (Japan exclusive)
- The King of Fighters ’98 (Japan exclusive)
- The King of Fighters ’99: Millennium Battle
- King’s Field II (King’s Field outside Japan)
- King’s Field III (King’s Field II outside Japan)
- Klaymen Gun Hockey (Japan exclusive)
- Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
- Klonoa Beach Volleyball
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
- LEGO Island 2: The Brickster’s Revenge
- LEGO Racers
- 3D Lemmings
- The Adventures of Lomax
- Lemmings Oh No! Lemmings
- Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time
- Bugs Bunny Taz: Time Busters
- Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
- Lunar 2: The Eternal Blue Complete
- Quiz Nanairo DREAMS
- The Raiden Project
- Raiden DX
- Rayman 2: The Great Escape
- Rayman M
- RayCrisis: Series Termination
- Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
- Resident Evil: Gun Survivor
- Ridge Racer
- Ridge Racer Revolution
- Rage Racer
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4
- Shiritsu Justice Gakuen: Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2 (a Japan exclusive update of the first game)
- Road Rash 3D
- Road Rash: Jailbreak
- Rollcage Stage II
- R-Type Delta
- SaGa Frontier 2
- Samurai Shodown III: Blades of Blood
- Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa’s Revenge (Japan exclusive)
- Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage
- Shin Megami Tensei I
- Shin Megami Tensei II
- Shin Megami Tensei if.
- Soul Hackers
- Revelations: Persona
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin Eternal Punishment
- Sidewinder 2: Let’s Dance in the Skies
- South Park Rally
- Nuclear Strike
- Spider-Man 2 Enter: Electro
- Spyro the Dragon (1998)
- Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! (Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer in Europe)
- Spyro: Year of the Dragon
- Star Wars: Dark Forces
- Star Wars: Episode I. The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode I. Jedi Power Battles
- Star Wars: Masters of Ters Ksi
- Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire
- Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams
- Street Fighter Alpha 2
- Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Street Fighter Collection
- Street Fighter EX Plus α
- Street Fighter EX 2 Plus
- Strider 2 note Comes bundled with the first game
- Strider Hiryu: Capcom Game-Book
- Strikers 1945 II
- Suikoden II
- Shin Super Robot Wars
- Super Robot Wars Complete Box, which has remakes of:
- Super Robot Wars 2
- Super Robot Wars 3
- Super Robot Wars EX
- Super Robot Wars F Final
- Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden
- Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger
- Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger
- Syphon Filter 2
- Syphon Filter 3
- Tales of Destiny
- Tales of Eternia
- Tales of Phantasia
- Kagero: Deception II
- Deception III: Dark Delusion
- Tekken 2
- Tekken 3
- Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins
- Magical Tetris Challenge
- Tetris Plus
- Tetris with Cardcaptor Sakura: Eternal Heart
- Time Crisis: Project Titan
- Tobal 2
- Tomb Raider II
- Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft
- Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
- Tomb Raider Chronicles
- Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return
- Detana!! TwinBee Yahoo! Deluxe Pack
- TwinBee RPG
- TwinBee Taisen Puzzle Dama
- Twisted Metal 2
- Twisted Metal 3
- Twisted Metal 4
- Twisted Metal: Small Brawl
The Playstation provides examples of:
- One of the cool things about the system was that in many games that used Red Book/Compact Disc Digital Audio, it loaded the level data into the RAM, allowing the laser to read the soundtrack data on the CD. So, if you pop open the CD lid, take the game disc out, and insert a music CD, you can play the game with different music (at least, until the next time the game has to load more game data). Believe it or not, that was pretty nifty at the time. Vib-Ribbon in particular turned this unintended trick into a full-on gameplay feature, allowing the player to create custom levels simply by swapping out the game disc for a music CD (though track one will always be unplayable, as the Vib Ribbon disc uses that for game data, which translates extremely poorly when converted to audio).
- The Interactive CD Samplers had this; if you pressed the shoulder buttons on certain tiles, they would have three-button codes on the backside when they flipped. Insert the code and you would get a static screen of codes, or a hidden video or playable demo.