SB Recommends PlayStation Games

playstation_loo.jpgSony's first console. There have been literally dozens1) of hardware revisions over the years, but only three are worth mentioning: old model with parallel port; old model without the parallel port (SCPH-900x series); and the PSOne (also without the parallel port). The parallel port was only used for old model hardware cheating / region free / burnt disc playing devices, and these generally work better than the later disc-based versions, but less-better than modchips. The PSOne also removed the reset button. The swap trick works on all models of PlayStation.

PlayStation emulation is reliable, whether you are after additional effects, or accurate emulation. Discs themselves are also backwards compatible on both the PS2 and PS3 (on the latter console, you can swap save data seamlessly between physical and digital versions of the game in question).

  • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
    • alvare: AC3 is like flying WW2 planes disguised as Veritech Fighters in the Ghost in the Shell universe; it has a cute sci-fi plot that nowadays is more “silly” than “awesome”, lots of mission “settings” but little actual variety (SPAAAAAAACE), and choices and endings and all the anime confetti. The music is a combination of flawless, IDM techno ambient tracks and pink noise with detuned sirens and jazz bases.
  • Abalaburn
    • Loki Laufeyson: A really fun 3D beat em up with huge stages and the occasional, slightly frustrating platform section.
  • Action Puzzle Prism Land
    • Loki Laufeyson: Arkanoid clone with an excellent array of power ups.
  • Adventure of Little Ralph (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • Burp: One of the best 2D PSOne games evah.
    • Loki Laufeyson: A great, very old fashioned 2D platformer.
  • Alundra (also on: PSN)
  • Ape Escape (also on: PSN - JP only, PSP)
    • spectralsound: Come for the cutesy monkeys, stay for the music. Also has some neat Super-Mario-meets-Metroid level design.
    • Zodar: [Ape Escape] is a mechanically-sound platformer. The full analog controls hold up today, the camera is non-intrusive, and jumping is satisfying. It's one of the only games I've played with a Zelda-style tool arsenal where all of them are useful in general gameplay (aside from the remote control car). The level design is abstract, but somehow it still maintains a strong sense of place. it's ostensibly themed around travelling through time, and all of the worlds you explore feel like real places run through a heavy filter of vidgame/dream logic (the lowres 3D works in its favor here). One level is just the courtyard and interior of a large shinto temple, with a huge Buddha statue inside. aside from the apes in the rafters and a small lava-cave accessible through a nearby well, you move around this area in the same way that you would a real-life temple. The game is full of gimmicks and details that only appear in one spot in a particular level. Part of this is thanks to the apes themselves, who occupy natural places in the game-world until you, the player, come along and interrupt whatever they were doing (drawing graffiti on a temple wall, sending messages through a hidden computer monitor, moping about lost love on a park bench). The fact that each of them has a unique name and personality “blurb” also helps. the levels feel downright dreary after you've caught all of them.
  • Azure Dreams
    • negativedge: A Konami made Shiren clone, more or less. The only real difference is the town outside of the tower. As you get further in the game, you basically build the town using things you find in the tower. You also get to date something like six girls, and even your I-guess-gay rival guy who provides some comic relief. Building the city and solving all the girl's problems kind of makes the game more goal oriented than most games of this type, and it helps add some variety to what you're doing. The town becomes fairly robust; you get to do things like bowl and eat out and go to a swimming pool and all kinds of random shit that is kind of cute. The game also allows you to tame pretty much any monster to use as a pet, which offers a nice bit of depth. I played this game way too much back when it came out.
  • Brave Fencer Musashi (also on: PSN - JP only)
  • Brave Prove
  • Breath of Fire III (also on: PSP)
    • robotdell: Probably the most cliche-ridden jRPG on this Earth. Due to its toxic level of charm, it's also one of the best.
    • The God Of Poverty: The enemy random encounter rate in Breath Of Fire 3 is off the charts, so much so that I ended up selling it. The story wasn't very engaging either, at least for me. The fishing minigame is a lot of fun though, and the graphics are 2D Capcom, so of course there's that bit of awesomeness.
    • Swimmy: BoF3 is the best PSX JRPG, probably. I sometimes have trouble playing it because of how slowly the dialogue moves, though.
  • Breath of Fire IV / Breath of Fire IV: The Unfading Ones (JP) (also on: PC, PSN)
    • Dark Age Iron Savior: basically it doesn't feel the same as the previous three games or the fifth game but more like something that would happen if you took Xenogears, stripped it into it's component parts, and then tried to make a new game out of just the positive elements, but the only guiding principles you had are vague descriptions of the previous Breath of Fires and hours spent looking at screenshots of Chinese DOS & Windows RPGs on Mobygames. It is rigid, aimless, beautiful, chunky, mesmerizing, grating.
      It has great towns that are a pain to navigate and have cute NPCs, sometimes with their own unique little sprites just because they are a person being in a place.
      Every 5-20 minutes the game will delight you in some small and joyful little way and it will constantly endear you over every flaw you run into, but when you stop playing it for a while and someone mentions it or you otherwise think back to how it was, you'll kind of shrug and be all “it was okay I guess”. You may make fun of elements that seemed totally pleasant while you were playing, and struggle to recall what made you keep playing for as long as you did. But…something did make you keep playing…
      The game has two regular battle themes and two regular boss themes, and they change depending on whether you're in the more European-style Western countries or the more Oriental-style Eastern empire. Until a significant amount of progress has been made, these themes and areas are separated by two distinct storylines, and as the overarching plot develops, the player will begin to perceive the forces that cause these two fates to be intertwined.
      Also the song A Raging Emperor's Banquet (that's a final boss theme, though).
  • Brigandine (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • Another God: pretty cool when I played a burned copy back when I was into burned games. SRPG with a “let's conquer the world” attitude. Hideously ugly, but fun to play.
    • Firenze: Very different sort of strategy game, sort of a blend of Ogre Battle and Dragon Force (think also the Generations of Chaos games), but with a little bit of Risk (the board game) feel too.
  • Broken Sword (also on: DS, iOS, PC, Wii)
    • boojiboy7: A Squaresoft developed2) fighting game, from that brief period of time on the PS1 that Square was experimenting with making non-RPGs. No life meters anywhere, just pick a character, a weapon, and environment and have a sword duel. Environments actually affect combat, limbs can be damages beyond use, and many deaths will be had. Followed by a sequel that I never particularly had time to get much experience with to judge.
    • glossolalia: The relative understatement of the presentation combined with the realistic suddenness of defeat gives it a meditative feel. I really like how the game represents the sanctity of Bushido through its ruleset, by making Bushido violations a fate literally worse than death — you can endlessly continue on from death, but a fight won after breaking bushido leads only to a game over screen castigating you for your cowardliness.
    • kthorjensen: Yeah one of the most interesting things about this game was the space it gave you to fight in — the huge bamboo forest in the snow and the like. Most 3D fighters that give you that kind of room are like Power Stone, where your characters are nimble and have lots of ways to close gaps, but in Bushido Blade you could run for insanely long times. It's kind of a shame that a lot of the game is so primitive, because its concepts are just so fucking strong.
  • Bust a Groove / Bust a Move: Dance & Rhythm Action (JP)
    • Luvcraft: I still sometimes get “Natural Playboy” stuck in my head, and nothing says “import game” like Hammy's song with the line “you gotta be crazy, nigga!”
    • Loki Laufeyson: One of my favourite games in them days.
  • Castlevania Chronicles (also on: PSN)
    • Deets: Basically just a port of the X68000 remake of the original Castlevania, which means that you'll hate it, James, but I know quite a few people who dig the constipated Belmont adventures and who haven't played it, so there we go. There's an arrange mode that replaces Simon's sprite with a new one from Ayami Kojima, eases the difficulty a bit and has a new, kind of uneven soundtrack by that synth-loving bastard Sota Fujimori. There's also an untouched port of the original game, with three different soundtracks — a totally rad FM one (it has an awesome new jack swing arrangement of Wicked Child), and two less awesome general MIDI ones. There's also a special interview video with IGA, in which he hints at the possibility of bringing Rondo of Blood to America “if he's allowed to.” Eight years later, I guess he got the go-ahead.
    • Levi: seriously it's at least the equal of Bloodlines and has so many interesting conceptual setpieces (the landscape that crumbles revealing it was a painting always sticks in my mind on the short list of why Castlevania matters)
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night / Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasokyoku (JP) (also on: PSN, PSP, Saturn, XBLA)
    • diplo: A game that's been referenced so much within the series and outside in accolades and recommendations that it's hard to not be tired of its presence, yet the game itself remains, and it's still brimming over with valuable stuff. Who knows what the developmental thrust was like, but this sure as hell is the first Castlevania that doesn't seem to make any attempt to try to have you die at least once – so if you're coming in hoping for the knotted action-bursts of preceding titles, well, sorry. What this game does have is a density of usable items, secrets, and stylistic accomplishments that accumulate to make the world feel lush and baroque. Appraisals of the game often don't seem to recognize that the castle works like no castle in subsequent games due to areas' distinct, thematizing macro-architecture that spatially solidifies places and builds graphic narratives. Super fun soundtrack that's way more diverse than the “rock” descriptor that's usually applied to it, and some of the best pixel art around, period.
  • Chocobo's Dungeon 2 (also on: PSN - JP only)
  • Choro Q 3
    • Swarm: Choro-Q 3 is a really fun racing game for PSX with simple graphics but complex driving mechanics and car customization. It's pretty much an SD Gran Turismo. It recently got a fan translation!
  • Chrono Cross (also on: PSN)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: An achingly beautiful clusterfuck from the glorious height of Square's experimental period. It still evokes stronger, deeper emotions in me than a million other more polished, carefully designed games, including Chrono Trigger (to which it is a much more thoughtful and intelligent sequel than typically given credit). You may have heard that it has one of the greatest soundtracks in the history of vidyagames, which would be 100% correct.
    • Felix: Audiovisually wonderful (I don't think anything on the PS2 was nearly as aesthetically successful for years after this) and the writing is some of Square's best work. The only marks against it are the combat, which is complicated without being particularly interesting and makes repeat playthroughs drag a bit, and its namesake, whose pacing and economy of design it fails to match by a significant distance. Really easy to love even so.
  • Clock Tower (also on: PC)
    • Firenze: the first PSX one, which is actually the second in the series. Survival Horror with a huge emphasis on survival/hiding, it's very raw but pretty fun. Avoid the second US PSX Clock Tower game.
  • Community POM
    • sharc: Bright and cheery action RPG with a shepardess trying to protect little rabbity critters that are inexplicably despised and scapegoated. Secret of Mana fans will be familiar with the combat, which makes use of charged and dashing attacks as well as magic spells and a cast of rabbit-things with different abilities available as sidekicks. Has an Actraiser-like town building segment that can get a little confusing if you can't read any of it.
  • Crash Team Racing (also on: PSN)
    • vikram: More an imitation of Diddy Kong Racing than Mario Kart 64, but it's arguably better than both of them, especially if you're partial to the colorful, jagged PSX-style polygons.
  • Destrega
    • Firenze: More a curiosity than a truly great game, but it's interesting for fighting game fans. Koei made a real effort to do a one on one fighter with an emphasis on long range attacks.
  • Discworld (also on: PC; Saturn)
  • The Divide: Enemies Within
    • Sketch: It's basically a Super Metroid clone, in 3D. It's very good, and it works.
  • Dragon Warrior/Quest VII (remade for 3DS)
    • boojiboy7: A ridiculously long JRPG with graphics you will either find adorable for how closely they try to bring SNES RPG visuals to 3D, or hate for how kinda ugly they are. The game plays in these little vignettes that involve your main characters time-traveling and warping to distant lands, solving their problems, then moving to the present time to see the results. Also features a pretty in-depth job system that you don't get to play with until about 15-20 hours into the game.
    • Rudie: It's a serious decision to start this game, and it is best played for a little bit every weekend for a year. My trip through the game actually took 3 years.
  • Echo Night
    • Firenze: one of the better early console survival horror games in the wake of the Resident Evil breakthrough.
  • Einhander (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • CubaLibre: A companion piece to Bushido Blade, a late-90's revision on an old formula by the briefly inventive Squaresoft. This time it's the shmup. More freeform and less dependent on memorization than the bullet-hell shooters that would soon dominate the genre. Visually and aurally lush, it's one of the prettiest games on the system. Some of the most satisfying boss im/explosions of all time, each different.
  • Final Fantasy VII (also on: PC, PSN)
    • Rudie: You might as well play the first 7 hours, just to see what everyone is talking about. After that it kind of becomes a JRPG so your millage may very.
    • TOLLMASTER: JRPGs hit it big. People who write and read fanfiction somehow become the minority of players. A new generation has their sexuality defined by the Aeris/Tifa debate. A poor translation and occasionally meandering story mar something that, at the very least, is an enjoyable ride through a mad combination of cyberpunk fever-dreams and memories of Japanese spiritualism along with the first dose of classic Blue Skies nostalgia, even while the team puts the first nail into the coffin.
    • gatotsu2501: Ignore both the fans and haters: FF7 is neither the best nor the worst game ever made, it is “merely” a Great one — that's Great, with a capital “G”. Here Squaresoft accumulates everything they learned from the past six games and weaves it all together with a strong unifying vision and, more than any other game in the series, a true sense of purpose, the end product being the closest the franchise has ever come to producing a bona fide masterpiece. Ignore every sequel, prequel and spinoff in any medium to the absolute best of your ability.
  • Final Fantasy VIII (also on: PC, PSN)
    • Rudie: This game was a fun time. Unlike VII, the first 7 hours are completely boring! Then it becomes completely retarded and I love it for it. I enjoyed breaking the game system over my knee. There are others, that hated the dumb story and the easily broken battle system!
    • TOLLMASTER: Square thinks that FF7 sold well because it was different and had good graphics, so FF8 is created by being different and having better graphics. The “being different” part didn't go off as planned, but it's damned near unique as far as JRPGs are concerned, and it's mind-boggling how unique this mainline RPG was, especially as a sequel to the most anticipated, the most debated, the most storied game ever released.
    • gatotsu2501: An insidiously addictive card game simulator with an epic misfire of an RPG attached. The plot's personality-free fashion model characters and senselessly convoluted, juvenile anime nonsense (which somehow manages to be both ludicrous and dull) portend the Kingdom Heartses and Final Fantasy XIIIs of the Square yet to come; the battle system is so absurdly breakable as to render the game devoid of even the pretense of challenge until a small handful of side missions at the end. Might be worth playing just for the sheer spectacle of it… but considering the time investment required, probably not. Besides, if you want to play a grandiose clusterfuck of a video game, you're better off with Xenogears.
    • spectralsound: i will probably forever be hopelessly in love with this game. please god help me.
    • Tuxedo: FF8 has you equipping summons so they can level up, then stealing Frog magic from your enemies, then equip it to your ATK to turn enemies into frogs everytime you use a regular attack. Then you turn the frogs into cards to get sweet items. Or something like that. It is very enjoyable.

In the first battle you can just steal 100 Magic x2 from the first enemy then equip that to your HP and attack, and you're basically immortal for a while.

  • Final Fantasy IX (also on: PSN)
    • TOLLMASTER: Square looks at the corpse of Blue Skies Gaming at their feet, and begin a process of grieving that lasts 50 to 90 hours, depending on if you're fucking insane enough to play the Chocobo: Hot or Cold sidequest. (Good fucking luck, buddy.) The few risks it takes aren't much fun, but it often feels like the game that the team behind Final Fantasy 4 would have wanted to make—you have a party of strange characters moving about a strange and unpredictable world, and the mechanical flaws don't matter as much because your eyes are getting drunk off the unexpected.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: In a series notorious for provoking passionate responses one way or the other from its fans with each installment, Final Fantasy IX is doomed to forever be remembered by nearly all who played it as “the okay one”. It gets off to a phenomenal start and the first disc is breathtaking; after that, unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that the game has no real idea where it's going, apart from throwing out the odd arbitrary reference or borrowed plot element from previous Final Fantasy games. In Disc 2 the pacing slows down to a crawl, before Disc 3 starts wildly chucking outlandish plot twists out of nowhere in a confounding effort to reconcile the convoluted existential angst of the series' later entries with the whimsical fantasy melodrama of its earlier ones. The gameplay - exploration, battles, minigames - is always moderately fun, the music is always moderately pleasant, and the characters are always moderately amusing. But it never really cranks the volume up to 11 and sustains it, the way the series' most outstanding entries do, in a way that would allow someone to either love or hate it.
    • cavefish: The story probably does go downhill after the first disc, but I didn't even notice it since the game keeps sending you to charming, imaginative places until the end. I even liked the slow pacing because the world you're stuck in is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen in a video game.
    • Felix: I'm a known FFIX liker, for all the usual reasons (light tone, art direction), but one aspect that isn't widely appreciated is that this is the only classic Final Fantasy game whose English script really sings. The writing being generally good is probably attributable to Hiroyuki Ito, but I think the prose being so much better than usual must be due in part to the game having been developed in Hawaii; it's as though Woolsey were never clipped by the limitations of an SNES cartridge. Plus the love story actually works (due largely to ever-reliable stealing from Castle in the Sky)! Also it's not that long, it's the usual 20-30 hours of any Final Fantasy game, just ignore the Chocobo whatever (all you miss is one optional battle and the best gear for Steiner), and the final battles are actually challenging!
  • Final Fantasy Tactics (also on: iOS, PSN, PSP)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Matsuno's other magnum opus of a SRPG, the one that introduced most Western players to the genre, holds up remarkably well against its moe-and-fanservice-drenched contemporaries. The PSP version has a better translation, some extra content and (unfortuantely local-only) multiplayer.
    • gatotsu2501: The PSP/iOS version also has hideous, game-breaking slowdown, and the translation tends to be as overwrought as the original's is inept. Play this version. At 6 bucks on PSN, it's cheaper anyways.
  • G-Darius (also on: arcade, PS2, PSN - JP only)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: An amazing cinematic shmup unfortunately rendered unplayable by slowdown that wasn't in the arcade original. Sound has issues when played on a PS2. Dunno if the MAME-powered PS2 Taito Memories version is better.
    • zombieman000: Taito Legends 2 has a better port of G-Darius (it's the arcade version, with no loading times) but the PS1 version has a boss rush and an easy mode that lets you set your weapon level to max (can't get any endings though).
  • G-Police (also on: PC, PSN)
    • CubaLibre: An early 3D experiment in verticality. Something of a half-arcade half-sim space cockpit shooter like X-Wing or Wing Commander, unique in that it takes place in a law enforcement rather than a military context (underutilized but it rears its head in the mission design) and in that it takes place at the atmospheric level, where the player's ship is constantly interacting with the ground and structures. The ship controls to a helicopter something like what the Wipeout racecraft control to a Gran Turismo racecar.
  • Gekido / Gekido: Urban Fighters (PAL)
    • Firenze: a really good beat-em-up, done in 3D. It's no Streets of Rage, but if you're a fan of the genre you'll probably appreciate it.
  • Ghost in the Shell
    • smartblue: There's tons of original animation for fans of the series and the plot's not bad either. Hopping around on walls and climbing around upside down never gets old, and neither does boosting around and charging up missile attacks. It really is a gem of a game.
    • Mr. Mechanical: Awesome platforming/shooting action in an early 3D space. It's twelve levels of increasing awesome. Features anime cutscenes and a story written by GitS creator Masamune Shirow!
    • This Machine Kills Fascis: You propel yourself by jetting to either side with the L and R buttons (holding both to move forward), and you can climb on any surface! It's the sort of game that they made back when 3-D was still novel—when the availability of a “new” dimension was like the expansion of a frontier landscape.
  • Gungage
    • Luvcraft: Yet another awesome concept game from Konami, which begins by telling you that “suddenly, at locations everywhere, beasts have begun to appear and attack people.” Fortunately, when you have a machine gun with infinite ammo, that's really all you need to know.
    • The Blueberry Hill: It's a pretty neat 3rd person shooter; sort of a more intense Mega Man Legends. Some great character names, too: Wakle Skade, Kard Berdish, Steyr Harquebus, Dee Van Feng
  • Gunners Heaven (JP) / Rapid Reload (PAL)
    • Firenze: Shameless Gunstar Heroes rip-off, and a really fun game. Wasn't released in the US. Was a launch or near-launch title in Japan and it really feels more like a 16-bit game (and yes it's all 2D sprite art), which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
    • Kiken: It also has absolutely shitty balance and is only 1-player (part of what made Gunstar so memorable was the amazing co-op play).
  • Harmful Park
    • Splashbeats: It's essentially Parodius, but actually funny, since it's a long stream of genuinely incomprehensible things, instead of a long stream of Konami jokes. One of your weapons is a giant hand that throws pies. There's beer in it! The boss of the 2nd stage is a wedding!!
    • Chris B: A charming little 2D shmup full of lovely details and if you get bored of the main game, there are a few neat minigames accessible through the options menu (4-player tank game, 2-player PONG variant, ..).
  • Heart of Darkness (also on: PC)
    • Another God: It was a pretty game. It had this Abe's Odyssey feel to it, but it was just fuller and less dense. Bigger textures. More confusing, sure, but that lent to its appeal. And if you don't like it, get the fucking Abe's games.
    • gatotsu2501: Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, not an adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel.
  • Hellnight
  • Intelligent Qube
    • vikram: A block puzzle for the ages. Generates a lot of atmosphere and tension with simple mechanics, rudimentary graphics, and great sound, including the announcer's soul-crushing voice and music that's almost too epic.
    • wourme: A great puzzle game. I especially like the sound the guy makes when a new wave knocks him down.
  • Jet Moto 3 (North America only; Also on: PSN)
    • eretsua: A very floaty and (despite of what the backcover may claim about realism) highly unrealistic (which is good) jet hover bike racing game with a grappling hook to go swinging and flying through the corners.
  • Jumping Flash!, Jumping Flash! 2 & Robbit mon Dieu (also on: PSN) - Robbit mon Dieu is JP only
    • Vikram Ray: You know that feeling in dreams when you suddenly realize you're dreaming, so you immediately just jump as high as possible because you fucking can? that's the appeal of Jumping Flash. For me anyway.
    • Swimmy: It is a playground with bright colors and surreal level design where you can do most things you would want because you can jump fucking everywhere. It is a thing to like.
    • glossolalia: It justifies being in 3D every single second which is not something I think you can say about most 3D games. But yeah it's fun to jump really high and shoot stuff.
    • The Blueberry Hill: A pretty direct interpretation of the words'3-D', and 'platformer', that happens to do them more justice than 99% of the other attempts. I guess its roots come from single-screen, arcadey platformers, rather than the more open, Super Mario World-y, feeling something like Super Mario 64 has grown from.
  • Kaze no Notam
    • sharc: The best, and only, meticulously-detailed hot air ballooning sim on the PS1.
  • Kartia: The Word of Fate
  • King's Field series (also on: PSN; Japan-only)
    • spectralsound: kind of almost revolutionary for their time, but better known these days as being the inspiration/spiritual predecessor to Demon's/Dark Souls. they all play more or less the same, and are alternately clunky, lo-fi, dreamlike, unnerving and incomprehensible story-wise without doing some digging. (think Dragon Quest with Doom/LSD controls.) they're also very polarizing, in case you didn't catch that at first. the second game (released as King's Field I in the US) is the best of the three, but all have their merits as long as you're into their sort of thing. there's also a PS2 installment that is both criminally underrated and kind of the apex of the series.
    • misadventurous: I played King's Field for the first time the other day and wow where has this game been all my life?? I think that the only other game I've ever played where fogging/popup was a strength was Morrowind. In KF it just adds to the eerie dreaminess of everything. I was hooked when I ran across a thin strip of land in a deadly ocean, sea monsters and giant dragonflies nipping at my heels, and suddenly a lighthouse loomed up in front of me.
      My favorite moment, though, was when I met and spoke to the fisherman, the first faceless NPC, and ran through all of his advice. Eventually he just repeats, “You'd better hurry.” Something about that combined with the urgent background music really affected me.
      The combat is both tedious and exciting at the same time, somehow. Like Doom with swords. Or The Legend of Zelda in the first-person.
  • Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (remade for Wii)
    • Luvcraft: A really great 2.5D game that's very reminiscent of the early Sonic games. It has a lot of great bosses, and the characters are adorable and speak in goofy gibberish. Despite (or perhaps because of) the adorableness, Klonoa has some of the most emotionally gripping moments in any game I've ever played, and the ending always gets me all choked up (by contrast, Aeris's death did nothing for me). It also has good replay value in the form of hunting down all of the gems (read: coins/rings/whatever) on each level, and a super-tough “tower of trials” that is unlocked by beating the game.
    • Wall of Beef: The Klonoa series maybe the most boring platformers ever made. The first one was neat to look at during the time, but its a huge drag of a game, like wading through sand.
    • Rudie: I don't know what WoB is talking about. Klonoa is grand.
  • Koudelka
    • Swarm: I beat Koudelka today. That game is kinda interesting. It has an awesome atmosphere, setting and vibe, with some surprisingly good characters and English voice acting (it was one of those fashionable English dub even for the JP version things). But the combat, while a unique grid system, is just so underwhelming. It has some neat ideas (like you can't revive your teammates once an enemy has gotten past them, but if you can knock the enemy back you can get to your teammates again), but the systems and enemies are so generic, you can get through the whole game just using magic (there are only about 4 spells in the game, I never figured out how they were different) and you never have to worry about your mana because restore points are plentiful and as a melee characters your weapons gradually degrade then break. Despite that, it was a really neat world to check out for a bit.
  • Koro Koro Post Nin
    • sharc: Late-life budget release; basically Cameltry/On The Ball's control via rotating the entire stage but starring a postal service ninja that has to make deliveries along her way in addition to just making it to the goal.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (also on: PSN)
    • negativedge: It's what I guess you'd consider an action adventure game of the Tomb Raider variety, as those were pretty big back then. Pretty gorgeous, great voice acting, eerie, barren mood (submitting this to the SB Lonely Game council), great setting, great character. You impale crazed, broken vampires with sticks and float around huge environments.
    • Lainer: Speaking of 3D Metroid clones, Soul Reaver is a fantastic game. The sequels all went a little overboard on the epic story of vampire redemption. This one keeps it simple with just a world to explore and undead to hurt.
    • boojiboy7: Just don't expect an ending.
  • Legend of Mana / Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana (JP) (also on: PSN)
    • Dark Age Iron Savior: Legend of Mana has a lot of charm when it's not being bogged down by the occasional ridiculously cryptic gameplay system or practically randomly-generated dungeon. It probably won't restore your faith in gaming3), but it will expose you to a unique kind of storytelling that you rarely see in gaming (player as recurring character instead of protagonist). Go in without expectations of what you're going to get and it just might win you over.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: A gorgeous weird experiment of a game that's unmistakably a product of late-90s Square. It's barely coincidental that it came out the same year as Chrono Cross.
  • LSD: Dream Emulator - forum thread (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • mechanori: I see it as one of those uniquely video game experiences. We've seen interpretations of dreams in film and in paintings, but rarely are we able to wander through a Sony PlayStation interpretation of someone's dream at our own discretion.
    • SplashBeats: This game is utterly beautiful. I really don't know what else to say about it.
    • dark steve: I have never played something that's affected me so strongly. I feel like I'm six years old again, playing The Manhole or Cosmic Osmo on a four-color mac classic, but the comparison doesn't even begin to explain how psychically sophisticated this game is. I'm completely overwhelmed.
    • B coma: yeah, this game is one of the few lately to actually succeed in making my heart sink (in the good way, not in the “you mean I have to replay the last two hours because there was no savepoint” way).
    • sawtooth: This is beautiful and wonderful (as in literally full of wonder), but still lo-fi and choppy. It's kind of like how I wished Second Life was after I had used it for awhile. And like Second Life, it's given me a small appreciation boost for incoherent visual aesthetics. And speaking of heart-sinking experiences, parts of this game are genuinely shocking and unsettling. Not in a gory way, of course, but it definitely knows how to toy with your expectations.
    • Max Cola: This reminds me of when I used to play Myst as a kid, and was enraptured by its vague, empty worlds. Of course, Myst had puzzles everywhere that restricted access to the worlds. This is just wandering through strange lands.
    • Oligophagy: In all my days, I've been to a rough dozen geographically distinct areas, but rarely have I seen a place clothed in the same colors, textures, and fogs twice. this is the real payoff: you start to make sense of — feel comfortable in, even — this world that visually is wild inconsistent. it's … an interesting feeling. well, that's part of it, at least. the way things behave seemingly regularly until all of sudden glitch like undersides you've never seen before — that's something all together else.
    • pavement: In my most recent “day”, I was hunted down by a wolf across the grasslands. Eventually I was cornered on a cliff edge; the wolf caught up to me, and I spun around just in time to see it lunge at my throat. The screen turned blood red, then faded back into the city streets area. I found myself on a catwalk positioned 10 metres over the freeway. A web of small metallic polygons floated towards me, and the synth soundtrack took a menacing turn. I spun around, ready to run away — but on the other side of the catwalk was a giant wide-eyed sun, blocking my escape. All of a sudden the sun opened its mouth into a grin, and let out a long, tortuous howl. Then I woke up.
  • Mega Man Battle & Chase
    • Ashura: Fun racing game that had a great premise. The English title should've been Megaman's Chop Shop, because every time you beat someone, you won parts off of their car, and could customise it. The PAL version (which is the one included on MMX Collection, I think?) sucks because it cuts out all of the dialogue and on-the-fly in race commentators. ROCKMAN, DOSHITA!? ROCKMAN, CRASH!!!!! GOAAAAARRRUUUUUU!!!!!!!
  • Mega Man Legends (also on: N64, PC, PSP - JP only)
    • Rudie: Mega Man in a floating island world doing a Zelda like adventure. Absolutely perfect world design, with the dungeons criss-crossing with each other and different parts of the world. The cartoony graphics still look great.
  • Mega Man Legends 2
  • Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions (also on: PC, PSN; remade for GameCube)
  • The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
    • Firenze: The Megaman Legends spinoff that a lot of you probably know, but a lot of people don't. It's very zany.
  • N2O: Nitrous Oxide (also on: PSN)
  • Night Raid
    • Kiken: For a middle of road shmup, try Takumi's Night Raid (how can you not love a game that has a main weapon called “The Hug Launcher”?)… and pray that you're one of the lucky ones who doesn't experience input-lag while playing.
  • No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!
    • Drem: No One Can Stop Mr. Domino is a lot of fun. It's an exceedingly simple game that makes it very apparent there is an optimal way to complete each stage, driving you to to retry levels over and over as you attempt to get the perfect path down. The time limits and limited number of continues per game puts pressure on you and keeps you from practicing a particular area over and over though, and attempting the game at different speeds changes the required execution considerably. Controlling both speed and direction is a little awkward on the PS3 d-pad as I wish had I some corners to press. But it's a charming game with some quirky humor.
  • Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssey (also on: PC, PSN)
    • spectralsound: That music on the title screen haunts my dreams.
  • Omega Boost
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Visually stunning mecha flight game modeled after Panzer Dragoon and designed to arcade sensibilities, by the Gran Turismo devs of all people. The smooth analog controls were obviously designed with the same meticulous attention to detail. Suffers from a really unfair tunnel stage midway through and some questionable licensed 90's grunge rock. The live-action FMV cutscenes are thankfully free of dialogue.
    • Loki Laufeyson: I don't like Omega Boost. It's a poor man's Panzer Dragoon.
  • One (also on: PSN)
    • Option: The 1st 3 or 4 levels are really the first well made 3D Contra. After the cyberspace level starts up you can kind of feel the devs running out of ideas/time though. But man… those first few levels are great!
  • Ore no Ryouri
    • Slonie: the sweetest competitive cooking sim ever.
  • Panekit (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • Chris B: This Playstation 'game' is one of the most accomplished design toolkits I've ever seen. It gives you all you need to construct all sorts of vehicles. You can let your ingenuity go wild and build cars, bicycles, planes or even hovercrafts and robots, out of a few universal building blocks called 'chips'. You then use your creations to explore an island and fulfil certain challenges to acquire more parts and unlock new areas. While the framerate is barely tolerable (the elaborate physics model pushes the old grey machine to its limits and beyond), the graphics simple, and the learning curve steep (mainly due to the language barrier), it's still a magnificent and unique experience to see your own creations move, and a dream come true for someone like me, who spent hours toying around with lego back then.
  • PaRappa the Rapper (also on: PSP)
    • field balm: Goddamn I love Parappa. It's one of those comfort games Ii blaze through in an afternoon every six months or so.
    • mavndrll: God damn it is a charming game.
    • spinach: Parappa is a little bit simon and a little bit Tekken combos.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: What is this I'm hearing about the game being easy? I bought the PSP version and I cannot figure out the goddamned scoring system at all. Sometimes my input sounds exactly the same as the line I'm imitating and the game fails me; other times my verses sound like semi-random clashes of noise and it gives me a thumbs-up. What the hell.
  • Parasite Eve - forum thread (also on: PSN)
    • tacotaskforce: Parasite Eve was The Hobbit to Vagrant Story's Lord of the Rings.
    • firenze: Parasite Eve is certainly one of my favorite PSX games too. The story is really good, the gun customization is great, and the modern setting is very well done. Battle is cool too, and honestly I think it's better than Vagrant Story since it doesn't get too deep into needless complexity for complexity's sake (limb targeting, risk meter, etc.). The last boss of the Chrysler Building is a bitch though, I fucked up my gun customization and made it literally impossible to kill her my first time through. She could eventually heal herself every turn for more than I could damage her.
      I also appreciate that we got an adult main character who fights solo - interesting concepts for an RPG genre normally filled with parties of teens. And she's a sensible person, not an anime cliche or a token sex symbol.
    • DonMarco: The gameplay was like a turn-based Silent Hill with Final Fantasy spells thrown in to make it more believable as an RPG.
      I feel PE2 improved on a clumsy and overhyped game. It had the better story, more variety in levels and enemies, more weapons and spells. Oh, and that shower scene.
  • Parasite Eve 2 (also on: PSN)
  • Pepsiman
    • Kid Chamillionaire: The greatest use of product placement in video games since Coca Cola Kid. It's pretty much a third-person runnin' n' jumpin' game featuring Pepsi's japanese mascot: Pepsiman. It has an amazing story where the Pepsi truck breaks down and Pepsiman has to visit vending machines and fill them with Pepsi. The game rewards you with hilarious FMVs featuring a fat dude who's like Oscar Wilde but with Pepsi. (i.e. PEPSI FOR PIZZA). The final stage is fucking hard as shit.
  • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (also on: PSN; remade on PSP (JP only))
    • spectralsound: I can't understand a damn thing that goes on in this game, and I've played Final Fantasy VIII.
  • Persona 2: Innocent Sin (remade on PSP)
  • Philosoma (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • Pijaibros: A glorious mess of a shooter. It takes every other shooter that was around at the time and combines them along with long 3d CG movies. In one level it is a typical hori shooter, then switches to an isometric Viewpoint style, then a behind the back view, top down, chase cam, there's even a level where it's from the bottom-up view. It attempts angles that I've yet to see any other shooter try.
  • R-Types (also on: PSN, PSP)
    • Rudie: Pretty good versions of R-Type 1 and 2.
  • R-Type Delta (also on: PSN)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: It's R-Type Final with actual stage design and without the mountains of unlockable shit. It's just as painfully slow and plodding though.
    • Dementia: One of the best console-exclusive shumps of the 32-Bit era
    • wourme: Easily my favorite scrolling shooter of its generation. I refused to try it for years because it used 3D graphics, but I'm certainly glad I finally gave it a chance.
  • R4 Ridge Racer Type 4
    • Rudie: Pure Racing Bliss.
  • Raiden DX
    • spectralsound: it bills itself as an upgraded port of Raiden II but god damn there is enough new stuff here to qualify it as a completely separate game. eight new stages! a 15-minute-long single stage hilariously billed as “training mode”! gorgeous, gorgeous animation! Master of Raiden (guaranteed to make you feel inadequate regarding your high score)! a completely new soundtrack that happens to be the second- or third- best STG soundtrack ever! it's still Raiden so it's still ludicrously hard, though i find this game's scoring shenanigans far more tolerable than (as an example) Battle Garegga's, for some reason. and now, because i couldn't find a place to fit it in, the game's difficulty modes: VERY EASY, EASY 1, EASY 2, EASY 3, NORMAL, and ARCADE. yeah, that'll teach you to brag about your so-called “high” score! seriously, game fucking rules.
  • Rakugaki Showtime
    • dessgeega: Rakugaki Showtime is like the second or third best game about throwing things at people.
  • Raycrisis (also on: Arcade, PSN - JP only)
    • dessgeega: Raycrisis is a great game. It definitely uses the ambiguity of early polygons to its favour: you're a hacker, invading the virtual landscape of the planet's super-computer's mind. The dominant motif is of a body fighting off a virus (the virus being you). a lot of insight into ways a 3d camera can be used in a 2d shooter. It's far more interesting than Raystorm, which is just Rayforce with polygons (and frankly, what Rayforce is doing works far better with scaling sprites).
  • Ray Tracers
  • Loki Laufeyson: It's like Chase HQ, but made of polygons instead of sprites, and replaces the classy cop show aesthetic with a 90 OAV aesthetic, complete with endearingly terrible english voice acting. A ton of fun to play, and it's really fast and smooth for such an early PS1 game.
  • Resident Evil (also on: DS, PC, PSN, Saturn; remade on GameCube)
    • gatotsu2501: Has to be played at least once for the glorious, glorious voice acting. Or, I guess, you could go and watch clips on Youtube. But that's JUST NOT THE SAME.
  • Resident Evil 2 (also on: DC, Gamecube, N64, PC, PSN)
  • Resident Evil Survivor
  • Return Fire (also on: 3DO, PC)
    • negativedge: It's basically capture the flag only you use vehicles and blow up a hell of a lot of shit while listening to Ride of the Valkyries and other assorted famous tunes. Great fun in multiplayer. I haven't really seen anything else like it.
  • Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman
  • Rival Schools (also on: Arcade)
  • Rollcage (also on: PC)
    • Luvcraft: it really wanted to be the next Wipeout (I won't bother trying the official l33tsp33k spelling of that) but the physics were just too floppy. For anyone who doesn't remember it, it was kind of like Wipeout, but with destructible environments, and trucks that resembled those toy cars where the wheels were halfway up the sides, so they could flip over and still run (like the tanks in Avatar). It was pretty good, but you spent too much time in the air, and while in the air you couldn't steer and the trucks also didn't quite move the way that physics and common sense suggests they should.
    • boojiboy7: Also had the mad motion blurs which could make anyone sick. Thankfully they were a “bonus” and were not turned on automatically.
  • SaGa Frontier
    • Felix: The production values are ridiculously low by 1997 Square standards, and only five of the seven scenarios are worth playing (at most), but this is still my favourite Kawazu game. Each of the stories is a vignette-length four or five hours that can be finished in a few sittings, the combo system is powerful enough to clear the game with starting gear but still tricky enough to be satisfying, the maps do FF7-style excessive perspective shifting, the music is good, your regular run speed is brokenly fast, and the central conceit of a world that each of the characters pass through and interact with is pretty solid. The script is barely functional enough to serve the (often decent) setups, and I'd be somewhat concerned about trying to play it 20 years later without knowing how to advance the plot in some cases, but it holds up surprisingly well as a collection of mini-jRPGs that are all similar and different from one another. That said it's probably one of the shittiest games I genuinely like.
  • SaGa Frontier 2 (also on: PSN - JP only)
  • Saiyuki (also on: PSN)
    • Firenze: Really solid SRPG based on the Chinese Journey to the West/Monkey King legend.
    • Kiken: The intro theme is…. awesome!?
  • SHOOTER: Starfighter Sanvein (US) / Sanvein (PAL)
    • Dessgeega: A timed arena shooter where your time limit is only extended for beating bosses, but bosses are easier to kill after you've beaten weaker enemies (which takes more time). The presentation is amazing, almost the experience itself.
    • Kiken: I too will recommend Sanvein… with a caveat! Sanvein was designed with only 5 people in mind (I am one of those people… I even did a high-score replay of the game).
  • Silent Bomber (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • skelethulu: Silent Bomber has wonderful explosions. Wonderful, wonderful explosions.
  • Silent Hill (also on: PSN)
    • boojiboy7: Where Resident Evil relies on jump-scares, Silent Hill is a horror game built on the eerie atmosphere of a deserted small town that changes at will. The PS1 graphics actually give this game an even more “uncanny” feel, and some people prefer them to the later iterations of the series on more graphically powerful systems.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Ever wanted to feel lost in a void? Not a particularly scary game, but a genuinely unsettling one.
    • gatotsu2501: Had to quit halfway through after running up against an infuriating boss (infuriating mainly due to the shitty controls, nauseating camera and excruciating combat) and simultaneously discovering that some insignificant bullshit I missed hours ago meant I could no longer get the good ending. I wanted to throw my system at the wall. If you're going to suffer through one of these games, at least make it SH2.
    • spectralsound: this is really the sort of game that shouldn't have bosses. it doesn't hurt the unsettling feel of the thing too much, though. if you're short on time or patience, you may be more suited to the second game.
  • Space Griffon VF-9
    • Cossix: a nice FPS/RPG/Survival Horror/whatever game that maybe didn't age so well but is still kind of neat. The draw distance is really really really low but the enemies don't really attack fast enough to make it a huge huge deal I don't think.
    • Lainer: Remember that scene in Alien where the captain crawls around in the ship's air vents? That's this game, but with giant robots. It's basically unplayable.
  • Spider
    • Sharc: A 2.5d platformer where you control, uh, a spider. It's absurdly unforgiving, but has surprisingly good music and platforming based around a character who can walk on walls and ceilings like they were just more floors.
  • Speed Power Gunbike
    • Isfet: It's sort of what a 3D Sonic game should be. Also, it's a lot of fun and by Inti Creates.
    • Loki Laufeyson: Though flawed, it looks amazing, and once you get used to the unconventional controls, it is a lot of fun.
  • Star Sweep / Puzzle Star Sweep (also on: Arcade, GB) forum thread
    • colour_thief: The NTSC PSX port is for all intents and purposes the definitive version of the game. It has a bunch of new game modes and you can rotate in both directions instead of just one. Some subtle game elements (timings, and I think the randomness) are slightly tweaked also, but not in any way you are likely to notice.
      The PAL port runs at 5/6 speed, as is common with lazy port jobs. It's otherwise fine, but the game gets slightly easier because of the reduced pace.
    • Booter: It's so so good, it's the best of this type of game in nearly every respect. Setting up chains is more mentally difficult than in Panel de Pon, there's a bit more strategy to it. There's a bit less of an “actiony” feel. It's the thinking man's Tetris Attack.
  • Street Fighter EX 2+ (also on: arcade)
    • mothmanspirit: The OST is up there with II and 3rd Strike, and the borderline abstract 90s CGIscapes are way cooler backgrounds than the ones in SFIV or V.
  • Suikoden (also on: PSN)
    • Lainer: Probably the most concise jRPG before 30 Second Hero, despite dealing with a nation-wide civil war and starring a cast of thousands.
  • Suikoden II
    • Lainer: Turned the fairy tale of Suikoden into a major motion picture.
    • negaivedge: Suikoden II is one of the best JRPGs, man. I don't know that there are many people interested enough to have actually played it that walk away disappointed. the recruiting/collection is just so fantastic and well integrated, the castle is the best JRPG town ever conceived only its even better than that because the sense of ownership and development is so strong, the combat is quick and encourages experimentation, the story is usually pretty modest and does a really nice job of making you feel like the world is bigger than you (because it is), the soundtrack is pretty awesome, you get to fucking recruit Suikoden I guy, there are always cool little bonus scenes and character relationships everywhere and on and on and on.
  • TV Animation X: Unmei No Tatakai
    • Loki Laufeyson: if you like Psychic Force 1 and 2, it is Psychic Force 3, and it brings in a bunch of cool ideas. I like it a lot!
      [If emulating] Play it in ePSXe, though: in pSX there's a really annoying glitch that sometimes makes the controls stop working when a fight starts.
  • Tail Concerto
    • Kiken: It's a rather cutesy 3D platformer that only lasts for about 5 hours, but it's a fun little ride.
    • Loki Laufeyson: A really nice looking game, but I've only played it in French, which I don't speak.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Recommended to Mega Man Legends, and Steambot Chronicles fans.
  • Tecmo's Deception (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • negativedge: It's fresh and has an excellent premise. You play as a demon inhabiting a castle directly under the command of Satan. Villagers come into this house. It is your job to kill them and steal their souls so that you might resurrect Satan. I can't say I've played many games where the protagonist and his motives are quite this evil. You kill people by placing traps around the castle and luring the people into them, which is about as awesome as you'd imagine. Before every level there's a planning phase where you get to design the layout of the castle and place the traps. Deceptions sequel, Kagero, is probably the better game, but the premise is much more boring and the castle isn't customizable so the original still stands out to me.
  • Tenchu
    • kthorjensen: The first Tenchu hit a really great balance between making you feel like a ninja (you could certainly take on most enemies face to face, one on one) while still making stealth a necessity (getting swarmed would kill you quick). Enemy bodies stayed after being killed, so you had to drag corpses to hidden locations. You could perform stealth kills (first game to do this?) instantaneously as long as your target wasn't on alert and didn't see you, so there was a lot of working into just the right position to nail a guard and then grappling away. There was a lot going on game design wise for such a primitive title, and most of it Felt Right.
    • Loki Laufeyson: Tenchu: Stealth Assassins is a very fun game, and it's even more fun when you use THE GREATEST DEBUG CHEAT EVER to make your own enemy layouts and give your character an entourage of stray animals that attack and meow whenever you attack.
    • unlabored flawlessness: Despite the controls being unimaginably clunky (no analog support), it's more advanced in some ways than than the original Metal Gear Solid, and actually predates it by some months. It helps if you think of it as a simulator instead of a typical 3D action game, one where every action must be deliberate and carefully calculated. It's a bit silly how enemies are almost always deaf to your footsteps, but staying undetected remains hard enough that it doesn't really affect anything. So far I've been trying to clear each mission silently, but usually end up with a stupid mistake near the end. There's some fighting game-like commands for the more complicated rolls and jumps, which are very satisfying when used effectively. One thing it could greatly benefit from would be an ability to un-stick from walls in stealth mode without having to toggle out, move away from the wall, then toggle in. This was probably added in the sequels.
      Overall, I recommend it, and it's a breath of fresh air after the decade-plus of overly stabby 3D ninja games that followed (including the Tenchu series)…not that I don't enjoy those, as my username attests. At the very least, track down the music.
  • Threads of Fate (also on: PSN)
    • Luvcraft: Threads of Fate, which for some weird reason is my favorite Squaresoft Game. The gameplay is in between Brave Fencer Musashi and Kingdom Hearts, and it's really charming.
    • Lainer: The game has two playable characters, one who is on a quest to avenge the death of his slain wife, the other a witch who wants to find a magic power that will let her take over the world so that she no longer gets beaten up by her big sister. Thankfully you can just pick one and play the game forgetting that the other is a playable choice at all.
  • Thunder Force V (also on: PSN - JP only)
    • James: Shit, on a purely gameplay level I like this a lot more than TF. The aesthetic is different but still quite strong, while the music holds up pretty well. The CRAW system is kind of Gradius-y and CRAWS are retrievable. They can be spent to launch a super attack, which leaves them open to enemy munitions. Enemies now attack in more traditional waves — Thunderforce IV wasn't a bad game but it had a very sparse enemy direction, more of a boss-based game. It's a bit of a change. So yes, Thunderforce V is good stuff. I'm glad the guy making VI is a big fan.
  • Tobal No. 1
  • Tobal 2
    • NeoEsZ: Has like 185 characters you can unlock. Art by Akira Toriyama. Almost as deep as Virtua Fighter and way way way more playable than Tekken. Interesting throw/throw counter system and really beautiful 3-d models (though the backgrounds are ugly).
    • Luvcraft: Don't forget the random dungeons for all the roguelike fanatics out there. You even get hungry!
  • Tomba! (NA) / Tombi! (PAL) / Ore! Tomba (JP) (also on: PSN)
    • Loki Laufeyson: The greatest metrovania ever. And the greatest sandbox. And the greatest sequence ignorer. And the greatest half naked male protagonist with changable hair/underpants colour.
    • Luvcraft: I remember Tomba 1 being pretty fun, but there were a lot of places I got stuck and had to consult a FAQ just for the main game. Tomba also has TONS of hidden quests, sort of like Legend of Mana
    • Toptube: It has a cool foreground and background dynamic to it that makes for a pretty interesting platformer. Also, lots of personality.
  • Tomb Raider (also on: Mac, PC, PSN, Saturn)
    • CubaLibre: Another early 3D experiment in verticality, this time in the platform adventure genre. Echoes of so-called cinematic platformers like Prince of Persia and Flashback in the tile-based movement scheme, but the full 3D range of motion is used. Explorable nooks and crannies that contain nothing of mechanical interest lend this game a mystery and intrigue that all its sequels lack.
  • Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 (also on: DC, N64, Mac, PC, Xbox)
    • Texican Rude: Since I'm thinking about it, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 is pretty damn high on my [favourite games] list. It also sadly, absent from mainstream lists (I think? haven't seen one in years). the sequels never did anything for me.
  • Trap Gunner
    • Daphaknee: Trap Gunner is fucking awesome, its a split screen kill your partner with awesome traps and weapons, it kinda reminds me of Outfoxies
  • Treasure Gear
    • sharc: Roguelike with what seems to be inspiration from the Shiren games. Plays similarly, but is not grid-based so range is more flexible and using a weapon's reach to your advantage in combat is easier. Timing is still importnat factor in fights, however. Basic familairity with either kanji in general or just common RPG terms is a must.
  • Twisted Metal (also on: PC, PSN)
    • CubaLibre: Superior to its better-loved sequel. The environments are more expansive (but less destructible), and the goofy shit is contained in a gritty darkness that works in a chocolate covered pretzel sort of way. I could beat anyone with any car, so I guess it's pretty balanced as well.
  • Um Jammer Lammy (also on: PSN)
    • CubaLibre: I always loved Lammy — maybe cause I prefer rocking out on a geetar to rap (not that I don't like rap). But man, that Stage 5 really takes it outta a guy.
    • Luvcraft: I liked some the music in Lammy, but thought it was too hard. In a moment of frustration I discovered that just spazzing out on all the buttons will get you a passable score on every level (it sounds terrible, but it works!), so I just did that until I beat the game and then never played it again.
    • GcDiaz: The Gitaroo Man of its time. Or viceversa.
    • Dessgeega: Parappa is too easy. Lammy is harder (supposedly too hard for Rodney Greenblat himself) and — in addition — has a bunch of two-player modes and a more appealing premise, characters and music.
  • The Unholy War
    • Ionustron: Basically the Star Control/Archon system in good ol' low poly 3d and environments and such. My brother and I played it again about a year ago, and it still holds up pretty darn well! Folks may see similarities with the more recently released Wrath Unleashed (though honestly I haven't played that one, so I'm not certain.)
    • TORUMASUTA: Seconded. It's an advanced version of Archon but with ground-based Star Control 2-type combat, made by the guys who made Archon and Star Control 24).
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Also known as Little Witching Mischiefs.
  • Vagrant Story - forum thread and another and again (also on: PSN)
    • Rudie: Might be the best game ever made. There are a bewildering number of numbers to keep track of, but taking it slow will get you through that point. Combat system has a timing based combo system where each sequential attack does less damage that allows you to combo forever. Everything regarding display is just about perfect.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: You'll need to make repeated trips to Gamefaqs, but this is undoubtedly the crown jewel of the dungeon-crawling genre. I love the hammy psuedo-Shakespearean dialogue in the English translation.
    • Rudie: If you need to go to GameFAQs, I'm pretty sure you aren't a man.
  • Valkyrie Profile (also on: PSP)
    • ionoustron: Very episodic in nature, [the original] has aged the best of any of the games and maintains enough deepness and ease without becoming trapped under it's own weight like the sequel. The later ones never kept a practice mode for which spoke to me that the fighting wasn't nearly the focus, and as such, I can still pick up and enjoy former while I feel rusty and blocked off with the latter. That's prolly my own laze speaking, but the first game made as much simple, available to you as possible from the start that it was always easy to jump back into. Failure wasn't the end of the world.
      I adore the painterly illustration done for everyone, least most if not all NPCs. I'm sure folks find it either gaudy, lazy, or obnoxious that they take up much of the screen, but that is pretty much what I'd say for all of the prerendered backgrounds. The sprites manage to be excellent though not spectacular, enough to call charming. This was lost in the change to full-CG that scrubbed clean whatever sense of character the original insinuated.
      The music was Sakuraba's turning point. It was fairly loose and more ridiculous unlike previous work that was more restrained and later work that was more reined by the books. He didn't really care, but not in the way that he didn't really care that it was a Tails game, and that made it his greatest set of work. It was also probably the last that gave you a sound test and let you enjoy much of it immediately. The latter was insulting about this and was presumably the result of companies moving to streaming audio and pushing soundtrack CDs.
      The strat-guide nature of the endings was lame and most likely there to sell books, but defensible in calling to the strangeness of discoveries in old Japanese games. Which is to say it probably isn't.
      It loads extremely fast for a PS1 game and they made some sort of effort to kill bugs. An undub would probably be the definitive version.
  • Vib-Ribbon
    • vonlenska: Like a little ball of happiness launched into orbit around the sun; you don't know what that means, but it makes you smile every time.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Don't play it for the often spoken of feature that lets you play the game to your own CD; because that doesn't really work. Play it for the great music it comes with.
  • Warhawk (also on: PSN)
    • CubaLibre: G-Police's controls married to Twisted Metal's aesthetics and arcade-ready philosophy. Totally horrible and lovable live-action FMV cutscenes.
  • Xenogears (also on: PSN)
    • gatotsu2501: It plays like a half-finished Final Fantasy game that wasn't good enough to inherit the franchise title. Its plot is a fourteen-year-old's fever dream and an editor's nightmare. It's crushingly slow-paced and crawls on for a good 60 hours (at a bare minimum) before all is said and done. And yet, in spite of everything, it's one of those glorious trainwrecks of a game that you've got to play just once, for the sheer spectacle and ridiculous ambition and ballsy nonsensical grandeur of it, if only to say that you have. The soundtrack is great, too, the art's pretty nice even if the assets are all pixelated and gross, and the cutscenes are well directed, incompetently dubbed, and much-more-competently animated by the then-renowned Production I.G..
    • remote: Definitely plan on it dragging and testing your patience here and there. It is a jRPG after all, and though it is amongst the most special of them, it has some flaws that were a bit grating for 1998, let alone 2011. Overall the experience should be worthwhile — perhaps even one of those instant-nostalgia “why didn't I play this years ago?!” events that comes along every so often. Few videogames, let alone jRPGs, have this kind of genuine heart and soul poured into them, blemishes and all.
    • Lasakon: Xenogears is everything great and horrible about that era of rpgs, so sure play it.
    • Toups: do you like pain? long, unending, tedious pain? spiked with confusing pretension and ugly PSX polygon warping?
    • Levi: It's been said many times but — the objectively worst thing about Xenogears is the weird, unchangable text speed. Definitely play, looking forward to the stretches where it fails to live up to its potential.
    • parker: I think it might be some kind of terrible masterpiece. I really like the part where you're in prison for what seems like a length of time longer than most entire games but is still only like .2% of the whole game.
    • CubaLibre: It's also got the best towns in jrpg history, complex, compact, lived-in, authentic places. In full 3d. Plus your dudes do crazy kung fu. I mean, it is some kind of monsterpiece, no denying it.
  • Xevious 3D/G
    • zombieman000: Damn that game is hard. But, it comes with ports of the original, “super” (some different enemy placements I guess?) and arrangement versions, plus a Soul Blade-style sound test. I remember slogging through the game by unlocking free play with a gameshark, and wish I had played it without cheating.
2) Lightweight developed, actually
3) thread reference
4) Paul Reiche III was one of the two designers of Archon, and also did the artwork.
 
 sb/recommended/playstation.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/16 20:26 by gatotsu2501
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