The 32-bit original Playstation was Sony’s first step into the console race, and it was not a system that lacked much. Boasting Sony’s strong manufacturing ties, as well as massive developer support, the fact that it utilized CD-Roms over catridges was a huge advantage. From 1995 to 2000, many of the best games were found on Playstation. Join us as we take a look at the Top 10 PS1 games.
10. PaRappa the Rapper (PaRappa Rappa)
- System/Platform: PS1, PSP, PS2, PS4
- Developer: NanaOn-Sha
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Date: Nov. 17th, 1997
PaRappa the Rapper is one of the most iconic games from the Playstation 1. Its bright, cheery, paper mache-like graphics and energetic beats and lyrics made it a memorable game for many who played it. The game follows a rapping dog named PaRappa as he attempts to woo his crush Sunny whilst battling against his archrival Joe.
Throughout a series of plot-driven scenarios, players had to play a Simon-like memorization game by re-enacting the movements of characters on screen with the corresponding Playstation controller’s face buttons. The game endured on as a Playstation classic, with a spin-off Um Jammer Lammy and a sequel on PS2. It was later released on PSP and remastered on PS2, which is now available on PS4 if you happened to miss out!
- System/Platform: PS1, PSP, PS Vita, PS3
- Developer: Squaresoft
- Publisher: Squaresoft
- Release Date: Oct. 20th, 1998
Also known as Xenogears: Episode V, this title was supposed to be the fifth entry in an epic series of six games. Unfortunately, due to a weak reception, those plans were halted and Xenogears remains awkwardly as the first entry in a series, while in fact being the 5th game chronologically. Still, Squaresoft put out an exceptional RPG on the PS1 despite that fact. Set in a distant post-apocalyptic future, Xenogears told the story of Fei Fong Wong and his fight against injustice and strife with a deep sci-fi backdrop.
Xenogears’ turn-based combat had a fighting game-style combo system within it, allowing players to discover an added depth to the game’s exciting battles. In addition, advanced mecha robots known as Gears were available in certain situations. Ultimately a game that was perhaps a bit ahead of its time, it later inspired a spin-off franchise from Namco known as Xenosaga that went on to have more success than this ill-fated gem.
8. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
- System/Platform: PS1, N64, Dreamcast, PC/Mac, GBC, GBA, iOS
- Developer: Neversoft
- Publisher: Activision
- Release Date: Sept. 20th, 2000
It’s hard to imagine, but there was in fact a time when Tony Hawk was almost as big a name in sports gaming as Madden. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series ramped up its popularity with this title, and it’s no secret as to why. Borrowing Tony Hawk’s name and branding, Neversoft created a dynamite trick system all centered around the fun of linking complex moves together.
The sequel added so many new features and content, that players had a seemingly endless amount of fun to explore. Creating your own customized skater with their own unique moves and tricks, as well as a park editor to create your own skate park. As a kid, it was always fun to pull off the most astounding tricks from the couch without going outdoors and getting banged up.
7. Tekken 3
- System/Platform: Arcade, PS1
- Developer: Namco
- Publisher: Namco
- Release Date: April 29th, 1998
The Tekken series is completely centered around The King of the Iron Fist Tournament. Whoever wins this event gains a fortune from the Mishima Zaibatsu, which effectively possesses enough clout to rule the modern world. Some enter it for riches, others for revenge, but all must eventually bow to their opponent’s strength or conquer all oncomers.
The 3rd entry in the advanced 3D fighting game series was an exciting event for the original Playstation, and one of the most advanced games on the system. With Tekken 3, the gameplay focused more attacks and movement on the 3rd axis than the previous games. A staple of Tekken, instead of merely moving horizontally or jumping, players could sidestep into the fore or background to evade techniques and even get behind their opponent. These unique additions allowed for more complexity, as well as the improved graphics for the series’ PS1 finale.
6. Vagrant Story
- System/Platform: PS1
- Developer: Square Co., Ltd.
- Publisher: Square Co., Ltd.
- Release Date: May 15th, 2000
Think of a more tactical, slower-paced, rhythm-based Dark Souls and you essentially have what type of game Square’s Vagrant Story was on the original Playstation. Taking place within the same world of Ivalice as Final Fantasy XII, Vagrant Story tells a dark story of ambition through magic. Gamers play as Ashley Riot, a Riskbreaker for the kingdom of Valendia tasked with hunting down evil enemies of the state. As an elite secret operative of the Valendian Knights, Ashley is searching for the whereabouts of the mysterious Sydney Losstarot.
Throughout the game’s campaign, players are constantly tuning and upgrading their skills and gear. For its time, Vagrant Story had one of the most in-depth equipment systems for an RPG. Combat-wise, dealing more points of damage was done through successive attacks known as Chain Abilities. In that regard, it was more like a rhythm game, as players tried to match up with each class of enemy in an area. Fighting against human soldiers, goblins, and other monsters, the game kept the battles coming with a dark narrative behind it. It was definitely one of the more memorable non-Final Fantasy games that Square has put out over the years.
5. Final Fantasy Tactics
- System/Platform: PS1, PSP, PSN, iOS/Android
- Developer: Squaresoft
- Publisher: Square Co., Ltd.
- Release Date: Jan. 28th, 1998
Final Fantasy Tactics was a deep strategy role-playing game with all of the staples and elements gamers had grown accustomed to from the mainline Final Fantasy series. It captured so many of the high points of the series, that it elevated itself to the same caliber of game, and many believe above it. While the PS1 had many great RPGs and saw the release of several classic Final Fantasy titles, it only had one game quite like Tactics.
Set within the same world of Ivalice as Final Fantasy XII and Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics first introduced gamers to a world divided by the conflict of war. Instead of the turn-based, character-controlled menu of the mainline series, Tactics instead controlled units on a grid map from an isolateral view. Units were divided into class assignments taken from each division from the Final Fantasy games, and each class served their own purpose in combat. Characters within units had zodiac signs which corresponded to whether they were weak or strong to an attacking or defending unit. It was a very deep system which led to more exciting confrontations than just the dungeon crawling or level grinding found in other RPGs. Final Fantasy Tactics was one of the most outstanding games outside of the mainline and remains a classic today.
4. Chrono Cross
- System/Platform: PS1, PSN
- Developer: Square
- Publisher: Square Electronic Arts
- Release Date: Aug. 15th, 2000
Many gamers’ only taste of the SNES RPG Chrono Trigger came from its re-release on the PS1. As its direct sequel, Chrono Cross was a different beast altogether. Main character Serge found himself in an alternate reality where he was no longer alive. From there, he plots a course to determine how he got there, how he died, and a way to save the multiverse from its impending doom.
Chrono Cross may perhaps be one of the most ambitious role-playing games to release on the original Playstation. Firstly, it had an extensive, diverse cast of forty-five playable party members. It also had one of the most complex branching stories spread out over two discs. The game also boasted an astounding musical soundtrack from Yasunori Mitsuda, one of the most memorable from a Square game that wasn’t composed by Nobuo Uematsu. While many argue whether it lived up to Chrono Trigger’s legacy, Chrono Cross was one the most elaborate RPGs released on the Playstation and was not to be missed.
3. Gran Turismo 2
- System/Platform: PS1
- Developer: Polyphony Digital
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Date: Dec. 23rd, 1999
Gran Turismo 2 (more commonly known as GT2) was the sequel to the groundbreaking Gran Turismo which introduced a realistic simulation racing to console gamers. With the sequel, GT2 furthered that by expanding its catalogue of cars, adding new racing elements and more detailed tracks. While it did add a lot of fundamental changes that would stay in the series as well as be adopted by future racing sims, it had its share of issues post launch. Sony, however, was quick to address them and improve the game, offering replacements to loyal fans. That said, the game overall was a huge step forward for the franchise and managed to solidify Gran Turismo as a Playstation staple for years to come.
2. Crash Bandicoot
- System/Platform: PS1, PSN, PS4
- Developer: Naughty Dog
- Publisher: SCEA
- Release Date: Sept. 9th, 1996
Nintendo had Mario, SEGA had Sonic, and for what seemed like only brief moment of time, Sony had Crash Bandicoot. Why he was later abandoned despite being a definitive mascot is anyone’s guess, but time would right this wrong decades later. Naughty Dog’s first Playstation masterpiece came in the form of a brilliantly unique 3D, and sometimes 2D, action platformer.
Utilizing an inventive camera system that dynamically changed from level to level, gamers guided the genetically modified marsupial through a series of challenging levels to rescue fellow bandicoot and love interest Tawna from the evil Neo Cortex. Destroying boxes for fruit, accosting wildlife and exposing the dangers of chemical waste, Crash Bandicoot was a force to be reckoned with. Spawning a quadrilogy on the PS1 and a few sequels outside of Naughty Dog’s supervision, the series has had its ups and downs. With Sony remastering the first three games on PS4, perhaps now Sony will reclaim the once proud mascot and give him a bright future.
1. Metal Gear Solid
- System/Platform: PS1, PSN, PS3
- Developer: Konami
- Publisher: Konami
- Release Date: Oct. 21st, 1998
Never forget Shadow Moses. Set in 2005, a detachment of the US army alongside FOXHOUND stage a coup and take over a nuclear weapons depot in Alaska. Their leader, Liquid Snake, demands one thing; the corpse of Big Boss, the most famous soldier in history. Their goal is to use his genetic code to create an army of super soldiers. Pushed to the brink, Col. Roy Campbell summons Solid Snake out of retirement to enact one final mission in saving the world from the brink of destruction.
In 1998, there was no game more epic than MGS1. It was the pinnacle of cinematic gaming and stealth excellence. A game that was larger than life in every sense, at the time it could only be brought to life on the Playstation, further cementing the platforms dominance for hardcore gamers. When looking at the previous Metal Gear games that Hideo Kojima had created on the ASCII based MSX2 computer, it’s a truly remarkable feat that he was able to craft one of the most advanced 3D console games ever. Metal Gear Solid was an enduring classic that led the Playstation brand for generations to come.
There are so many good PS1 games that you could probably compile a top 100 and still leave off a few. But some Honorable Mentions should be given to the following amazing titles: Resident Evil 2, Twisted Metal 3, Breath of Fire IV, Spyro the Dragon.
Did you have any favorites that we missed? Any you felt were way better? Let us know in the comments!