Top 100 Playstation games

Puzz Loop/Ballistic
The Playstation was blessed with many a fantastic puzzle game during its life span, and Puzz Loop is just one of these many unsung titles. Here the aim is to destroy marbles before they snake their way to your cannon located in the middle of the screen, the only way to get rid of them is to match colours in groups of three or more. Many people will be familiar with the game’s concept due to the now popular PC game “Zuma” which essentially copied its main gameplay mechanic.
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Disruptor
Disruptor is a very polished Doom style corridor shooter made by the company who went on to create the Resistance: Fall of Man games. On top of the shooting action the game gives you some interesting psionic powers which can be used to do a variety of things such as gain health. The game is still quite a playable blaster even now and is definitely one of the best of the brainless corridor shooters on the system.
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Gex
Gex is a humorous Mario 64 style 3D platform game where you explore the levels searching for remote controls. The comedy can be a bit hit and miss at times, but the fast paced gameplay, varied environments (many of which are cool pastiches of famous movies) and Gex’s unique stick-on-walls move all help to make it a very respectable platformer.
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Vanark
Vanark is probably the closest the Playstation ever had to having its own Starfox style rail shooter. It has you piloting multiple vehicles which automatically move forwards along pre-determined paths, whilst highlighting and deploying missiles to deal with the enemies. Unique to the game are mild exploration elements which have you moving around a home base, and the occasional minigame section. The game is certainly no Starfox or Panzer Dragoon Zwei, but its still a fun diversion.
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No One Can Stop Mr Domino
What we have here is a quirky and highly original puzzle game which has you playing as a walking domino who’s charged with setting up domino runs around a number of different, and interesting courses. Basically you move around the course looking for run opportunities, and watching the elaborate tricks you’ve set up, until you’ve gained enough points to complete the level and move onto the next course.
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Madden NFL 2000
A great American Football game and a huge improvement over the earlier PS1 releases due to its better, more fluid controls, improved computer AI, and more polished gameplay. All this work led to a much faster, more enjoyable game.
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Return Fire
Excellent port of the classic 3DO game, Return Fire has you playing action packed games of capture the flag. You choose your vehicle at the start (helicopter, jeep, tank, or support vehicle) attack the enemy base, and then attempt to drive back to your own base with flag in tow. The game is very playable, and the 2-player split screen mode is still very addictive.
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Roll Away/Kula World
Here’s another excellent puzzle game which manages to be both absorbing and unique in equal measures. The aim of the game is to simply collect all the stage keys, and then get to the exit, sound easy? well, the problem is in working out how to actually navigate the levels, as the ball that you play as sticks to the levels and defies gravity, allowing you to twist the stage upside down and on its side. The game is loads of mindbending, topsy turvy fun.
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Wild 9
Here’s a very clever, and interesting platform game from the people who made Earthworm Jim. The main gameplay concerns the manipulation of the enemies using a device called “the rig” which is essentially a kind of energy grappling hook. You can do a variety of different things with the rig, for instance the enemies can be thrown onto spikes to be used as platforms, or even be used to break grinders with their…er… bodies (the bad guys in this game get it bad). All in all a fun game which is always throwing new gameplay elements and ideas at you.
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Syndicate Wars
Involving strategy game which has you controlling a squad of cyborgs through a Blade Runner inspired world. The game has you carrying out different mission objectives, and generally entails causing murder, mayhem and destruction with an assortment of very cool weapons.

Jet Moto 3
Futuristic racer which has you flying around a variety of terrains on hover bikes. Jet Moto 3 is a huge improvement over its predecessors, the handling is much better, the sense of speed is incredible, and the graphics are rich and colourful too.
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Bloody Roar 2
A fast paced and accessible 3D fighting game where each of the game’s characters can morph into animal forms. Its not the deepest fighter out there, but its a fun, frenetic, and likeable title with some very nice graphical effects and style.
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Team Buddies
Action orientated real time strategy game where you retrieve boxes, take them back to your base and then use them to create more units or equipment. The game’s real strong point is its frenetic 4-player split screen mode, with the action focused gameplay and easy to learn strategy elements making for a perfect party game. Word of warning for those easily offended, the original European release (not the US version) contains some really bad language and cultural stereotypes which can get pretty extreme at times.
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Speed Freaks
A nice kart racing game, Speed Freaks managed to bring some Mario Kart quality 4-player split screen fun to the Playstation. The game isn’t a mere clone either, its a much more technical game than most kart racers, with handling requiring a good level of judgement, and precision, and the careful usage of speed boosts of utmost importance. Its not quite as fun or polished as Crash Team Racing, but personally I find it to be the more unique experience, so its still well worth checking out.
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NHL 2000
Superb hockey game with smooth, responsive gameplay, impressive (for its time) commentary, and loads of stats, options and features that should keep even the most discerning hockey fan happy.
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Real Bout Dominated Mind
I think this has to be the best of SNKs 2d fighting games on PS1. With Dominated Mind SNK wisely decided against straight porting Real Bout Special to the system, instead re-working the game to create an experience which worked better within the confines of the Playstation architecture. Here the plane switching has been removed entirely, but the gameplay runs well, the characters and fighting engine have been tweaked, with some new moves and techniques, and there’s a new playable character, and setting for the plot.
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Silhouette Mirage
This entry is for the original Japanese version of the game (I’ve heard the US version is inferior). Silhouette Mirage is an interesting take on the 2D platform shooter, in it your character changes colour depending on the direction she is facing, and only enemies of the opposite colour take damage, whilst those of the same colour become weaker with each hit. The game is full of clever level designs and memorable boss fights and is definitely one of the must play 2D titles on the system.
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Worms Armageddon
The Worms series of videogames are very accessible turn based strategy games where the aim is to command a squad of four worms to wipe out the opposition using a variety of humourous weapons. This sequel is mainly just a graphical improvement, but all the charm and addictive gameplay have been transferred over totally intact, and the original idea was already so well realised to begin with that this isn’t really much of an issue.
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Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
A very fun arcade racing game with nice graphics, good course designs, and a great sense of speed. What makes the game stand out is the addition of police cars and road blocks, creating some exhilarating cop chases and exciting gameplay.
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Doom
Everyone interested in gaming knows Doom, this is one of the most important titles of all time, and pioneered the whole first person shooter genre. The game has you running through corridors shooting enemies, and collecting keys, with nonstop action and loads of atmosphere being the main orders of the day. Doom on Playstation was a very early release (the game itself predates the Playstation by nearly a year), and games moved on a lot during the Playstation’s life span, but the fact is that it does still stand up to many of the newer releases for the system, which really stands to its quality. It may not be the most impressive FPS title for PS1, but it still manages to be one of the best.

Alundra
Alundra is a excellent action adventure title where you fight through the worlds and dungeons slashing at monsters and solving puzzles, essentially its a Zelda clone for the PS1 (even the graphics style is reminiscent of Link to the Past on SNES). The story of the game isn’t the most original, but the dialogue is fairly good and its certainly enough to hold attention, and there are a few unique elements to the gameplay, such as the character’s ability to enter peoples nightmares in an effort to rescue them.
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Rollcage Stage 2
This is a futuristic racing game which has you driving a flippable car that can drive along walls and ceilings, in a lot of ways it feels like a cross between the Wipeout and F-Zero series’, with Wipeout’s sense of style, and difficulty, but with F-Zero’s elaborate gravity defying courses. This sequel improved immensely on the original game, which was a little finicky and difficult to play, they made the gameplay here a little more accessible, and the controls and physics are much more intuitive too.
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Star Ocean: The Second Story
The PS1 is most assuredly one of the greatest machines out there for JRPGs, its just packed to the max with quality titles, and classic games like this, which could probably get into any other consoles top 20 sadly end up being overshadowed. Star Ocean is a highly polished, and very endearing RPG from Enix, it has some beautifully crafted presentation, with memorable environments and very high quality music, and its full of content, with an interesting item creation mechanic, and loads and loads of different endings.
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RayCrisis
The 3rd title in the Layer Section/Rayforce series of vertical shooters continues the polygonal 3D of the second game, but is, in my opinion a big improvement in gameplay design, returning the series to the high quality of the original title. The gameplay has you firing on two levels, you fire forwards with your main gun, but also have a lock-on homing missile launcher for dealing with enemies below you, this system has always worked well for the series and there’s no exception here, the graphics are colourful, stylish, and impressive, and really compliment the gameplay style very well.
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Anna Kournikova/Smash Court 2
A tennis game which doesn’t take itself too seriously, Anna Kournikova’s Smash Court Tennis’ emphasis is purely on fun, and along with the friendly, accessible single player there’s a truly brilliant 4-player mode as icing on the cake.
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Breath of Fire 4
Here’s nice, solid RPG from Capcom with interesting characters and stylish artwork that’s full of charm. Breath of Fire isn’t the most original of RPGs out there, but the developers have done a good job in all the crucial areas, the plot is good, the environments are cool, there’s a lot of minigames and side tasks, and the battle system is entertaining, and has a few quirks of its own (such as the ability to change some characters into dragon forms, and the feature of swapping characters to the bench during combat). Overall its a nice title which doesn’t tend to be too expensive and is certainly worth checking out.
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Vigilante 8 2nd Offence
The Vigilante 8 games were an excellent series of vehicular combat games which took over from where popular titles such as Twisted Metal left off, adding a lot of much needed polish, and variety to the genre. This sequel has the expected improvements to presentation, but is also better balanced than the original game, and has more gameplay modes and features.
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Mr Driller
This brilliant puzzle game has you digging downwards through blocks in an attempt to reach the bottom of the screen without getting yourself crushed. Its kind of like a mixture of Namco’s earlier title, Dig Dug, and the 8-bit legend Boulderdash.
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Micro Machines V3
3D sequel to the classic multiplayer series or top down racing games. The game has you racing tiny cars across a variety of very imaginative courses, from breakfast and pool tables, to ponds and science labs, the gameplay from the excellent 16-bit titles has transferred over to the new perspective, and Codemasters have done an admirable job of including as much content as possible, with a huge variety of vehicles from both the standard series, and the combat themed Military edition.
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MDK
If you want loads of fast paced running and blasting action with doses of bizarre humour thrown in for good measure this is where you go. MDK essentially has you moving through the levels using a variety of cool weaponry (including the ever excellent sniper rifle, and grenades) shooting everything that moves and solving the occasional puzzle. The only thing holding the game back a little is that its over fairly quickly, but its great fun whilst it lasts.

ISS Pro Evolution
As usual Konami excelled themselves with this superlative sports title. Wonderful, responsive controls, and great computer AI helped to make this the definitive Football/Soccer title of its generation.
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Gradius Gaiden
Gradius Gaiden does the classic shmup series proud, providing all the polish and great gameplay you’d expect from such a renowned series. To be honest it doesn’t exactly re-invent the wheel, but make no mistake this game is no lazy rehash, the graphics and art design are lovely, and are full of memorable set-pieces (including the return of many classic bosses), and the 2-player mode is particularly awesome.
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Klonoa
Klonoa is a brilliant 2.5D platform game with some really imaginative, stellar art design throughout. On top of some very solidly designed platforming elements the gameplay has you grabbing the enemies, allowing you to throw them at each other, or use them as a stepping stones for a double jump. The whole thing has a ton of charm, and the elements come together to create a likeable, appealing experience, with the only real issue being the length.
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Point Blank
Colourful lightgun game which, along with Time Crisis helped to make Namco the undisputed king of the genre on PS1. Point Blank’s gameplay is built around quick minigames each of which have different tasks and objectives. The minigame set-up, and fast pace creates an experience containing a lots of variety and enjoyment.
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G Darius
Truth be told I’ve never been much of a fan of the Darius series, I’ve always found the power-up system to be fairly uninspired, and levels unmemorable, but all of this changed when I played G Darius. Here we have very clever, very imaginative shooter with a lot of depth and content. The staple power-up system is still there, but the developers have decided to fuse it with the excellent power-up system pioneered in the Mega Drive game Gaiares, essentially you can steal weapons from the enemy ships, with each enemy ship gives you a different style of power-up. The new revamped power-up system, as well as some updated 2.5D style graphics, and branching paths between stages elevate G Darius to being one of the absolute best scrolling shmups of the 32-bit generation.
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Future Cop LAPD
Future Cop is an under-appreciated mission based game which has you controlling a mech that can transform into a car, its mildly reminiscent of the Strike series of games. Future Cop does its campaign mode very well, the objectives are diverse, the gameplay is filled with cool weapons, and big explosions, and the whole thing can be played co-operatively in an excellent split screen mode, not only that but on top of the main campaign there’s also a fully formed strategy game thrown in for good measure too (itself with both single player and multiplayer options). The strategy game is a simple capture the bases and create units affair, but its still very fun in its own right, leading the game to be one of the best deals of its era.
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Fear Effect 2
For those unfamiliar with the original Fear Effect, it was a great Resident Evil style survival horror game with impressive graphics, and cool puzzles that, with its buxom main character (who, according to the plot once worked in a brothel) occasionally trod the thin line of good taste. With this sequel the developers decided to go the whole way with the “mature” elements and revel in excess, the result is a title that’s as close to the feel of campy grindhouse sexploitation cinema as the videogame industry has ever gotten! Definitely a unique and engrossing game.
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Abe’s Exodus
Member of the Oddworld series of games and the sequel to the earlier (also excellent) Abe’s Odyssey. Abe’s Exodus is mainly a 2D platformer with a high emphasis on puzzles, the general gameplay focuses quite heavily on trial and error, but its actually done so well here that it manages to work (mainly because you get unlimited lives and respawns are never too far away). The storylines of the two Oddworld games on Playstation were among the most well written, and interesting of the games of the era, with a cast of characters who were fleshed out, and very likeable. The main improvements in this sequel were better balancing, and an improved saving method.
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Parappa the Rapper
Here we have what many consider to be a genre defining title. Parappa the Rapper pioneered what is now referred to as the rhythm action game, essentially you have to match the musical beats with timed button presses which follow the onscreen prompts. The game has a humourous plot, and is quite accessible, so its very easy to see why it remains so well liked today.
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Warcraft 2: Dark Saga
Take the original Command and Conquer, change the setting to fantasy, and add some great humour and you have a pretty good idea of what Warcraft 2 is like. The game is a strategy title which has you mining resources, and creating buildings and units in real time to try to obliterate your opponent before they get you first.

Suikoden II
Fantastic sequel to one of the earliest JRPGs on the system, Suikoden II goes for a pure 2D experience, and emphasis on finding secrets and searching for characters to join your party (there’s a huge number of playable characters). Suikoden has a well written storyline, with good dialogue, and characterisation, and all in all the game is just packed full with content.
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Tomba 2/Tombi 2
The Tomba games on Playstation are excellent 2.5D platform games created by Tokuro Fujiwara, who worked on a whole bunch of classic games for Capcom (Commando and Mega Man for example). Tomba II’s gameplay essentially has you exploring the levels looking for tasks to complete, some of which are required to progress whilst others just increase your adventure point score, there’s items and upgrades to collect, and the gameplay is fun, varied, and full of a lot of charm.
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Dead or Alive
Fast and fun arcade 3D fighting game with an emphasis on speed and countering. This PS1 version isn’t quite as good as it could’ve been (the backgrounds especially can be a little drab at times) but overall its a very respectable, playable port.
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Tenchu 2
Along with Metal Gear Solid the original Tenchu did a lot for popularising the stealth genre. It gave you the opportunity to sneak around as a ninja creeping up on people and assassinating them before they knew what hit them, which, unsurprisingly made for a tense, compulsive play experience. The original game gave you all the kinds of equipment and moves that you’d want, with swords, shuriken’s, and an excellent grappling hook, and this sequel kept all this, whilst being longer than the original, and with a much more interesting plot.
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Exhumed
This is a very good port of the classic Saturn first person shooter. The original game added a lot of interesting adventure aspects, and upgrades to the simple Doom style shooting and corridor formula which was still very popular at the time. The additions help to create a more cerebral experience, as you’ll often gain new abilities which now give you access to different routes throughout earlier levels, gameplay elements which reward those with a keen eye and talent for exploration.
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TOCA Touring Cars
Codemasters’ TOCA series or racing games made a name for themselves by producing no nonsense, realistic driving experiences which required a certain level of mastery. By this, their third title they’d refined the concept and managed to make the game a little more accessible too.
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Spider-Man
I think that at the time of release this has to have been the best videogame adaptation of Spider-man (I liked the Mega Drive game but it had its faults), all his signature moves are available, web swinging, web shooting, climbing walls, and they all work here in a very effective, and intuitive way. The 3D engine itself is very good, and the levels have a lot of variety. All in all they nailed the feel of the Spider-Man comics down very well, and that element of fun which you should naturally expect from a Spider-Man game is there in spades.
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Soul Blade
Namco’s second biggest fighting series after Tekken is a weapons focused game that has you controlling a bunch of interesting characters throughout colourful, vibrant environments. As you’d expect from Namco, Soul Blade is easy to pick up, accessible, and fun but still has enough depth in the long term to keep the fighting game aficionados happy too.
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Colony Wars Vengeance
The Colony Wars games are a series of mission based space combat games made by the ever excellent Playstation stalwarts Psygnosis. The games have you charged with missions such as protecting space stations, shooting down enemy aircraft, or towing dangerous objects, the controls are excellent, and responsive, there’s branching paths taking place throughout the game adding to longevity, the plotlines are always in-depth, and memorable, and the graphics are rarely anything short of impressive. Word of warning though, these games are difficult as hell, and can have sparse checkpoints so expect to experience frustration from time to time.
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X-Com: Terror From the Deep
Fantastic turn based strategy game made by Julian Gollop (creator of many popular computer games such as Laser Squad and Rebelstar) which has you going up against an alien empire. X-Com’s gameplay has you moving around a squad of soldiers around the grid based levels, movement and weapon usage uses up action points which are given to you at the start of each turn. Terror from the Deep is a very in-depth, and complex game, it contains many elements, such as resource management, squad tactics, and research and development, and is aimed more at the serious strategy game player, so its not really for those with short attention spans.

Einhander
Square took a time out from producing RPGs to create this 2.5D scrolling shmup, and its a good thing too as its a really stellar game. The main gameplay mechanic here is the fact that your ship has a grappling arm attached to it which can steal weapons from the wreckage of enemy ships. The diversity of the different weapons really makes the game interesting, and Square have done a really fantastic job with the presentation, with a dystopian graphics style and some excellent music.
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Rival Schools
Easily Capcom’s best creation in the 3D fighting stakes until Power Stone came along. Rival Schools in a frenetic, over the top fighter which has you competing two on two tag style (your team mate can also help you from time to time by pulling off specific team attack moves). The game is a colourful, fun and underappreciated release that I wholeheartedly recommended
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Devil Dice
Clever and quirky isometric puzzle game where you need to roll dice around a platform so that the numbers on top match those of the neighbouring dice. The game has a lot of modes, some with specific puzzles which give you a certain number of moves to succeed, and others which take place as a competition to see who can get a full collection of numbers first, the multiplayer mode is especially brilliant and makes for a very cool party game.
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Mega Man X4
The first Mega Man game to put the capabilities of the 32-bit systems to use (X3 was a SNES port), and also one of the most memorable. For those unfamiliar with the series the Mega Man games are 2D platformers which have you shooting enemies throughout elaborate, intricately designed levels, with the “X” series they then added adventure elements and upgrades with more of an exploration bent. Mega Man X4 has some of the best levels and environments of the series, its got a fairly good difficulty curve, and the feature of choosing to play as Mega Man, or series favourite Zero adds a lot of longevity and diversity to the gameplay.
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Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Very original isometric horror RPG which has you playing as a magazine journalist covering a new serial killer called the Joker. The whole plot and gameplay here are admirably unique, and absorbing and the game length is quite considerable.
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Silent Bomber
Intense and hugely underrated all out action game where you blast through the stages planting and detonating bombs. The main character here is fast and responsive, the core gameplay idea is exciting, and fun, there’s brilliant set-pieces, a respectable storyline, extras such as the upgrade chips which you need to assign to power-up your character, and tons and tons of style.
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Dino Crisis 2
Following the hit original (often dubbed Resident Evil with Dinosaurs due to its close gameplay similarities), Capcom decided to branch out more with this sequel and created a more action orientated game with less emphasis on the survival horror fundamentals laid down by Resident Evil. Dino Crisis 2 is simply all about blasting dinosaurs, lost of them, with loads of different weapons, and as such it succeeds at being a very fun action title.
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DoDonPachi
This vertical bullet hell shooter (a sub genre of scrolling shmups where the stages are filled with huge numbers of coloured bullets in elaborate patterns) is one of the all time classics of its type, and is a very good introduction to the game style. The game is action packed, has huge screen filling weapons, memorable boss fights, and great presentation. The PS1 port of DoDonPachi is very good, in fact in this case its actually graphically better than even the Saturn version (multiplatform shmups usually tend to be better on Saturn), everything runs smoothly and slowdown is also at a minimum too.
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Valkyrie Profile
An inventive and highly original take on the RPG genre. The game has you playing as an angel searching for souls to fight in an upcoming holy war, each warrior has to be found, and trained in both combat ability, and personality attributes (heavenly warriors must be archetypal heroes). The main gameplay is based around 2D platforming sections, and menu based combat in the dungeons, and exploration and searching for new recruits in the towns and villages. The whole game is infused with a very beautiful, very downbeat tone, with the stories of the events leading to the deaths of each of the new recruits being quite memorable and often tragic.
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Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
After playing through all the Tomb Raider games in succession for this article I really felt that Core probably didn’t do enough between releases to progress the series, I tend to think the first game was probably the time when the original series was at its most competitive. Either way, when looking through all the releases and the elements they added I would have to say that The Last Revelation is probably the most polished of the games, it includes the best elements added to the prior games, adds rope swinging, has improved graphics, and removes some of the less welcome additions, the puzzles themselves are as well designed as ever, and the environments are also quite atmospheric.

Darkstalkers 3/Vampire Savior
From Darkstalkers 3 onwards Capcom did a real turnaround with their PS1 fighting releases (which had previously been disappointing to say the least), and started to put some real effort into optimising them to the Playstation hardware, as a result of their hard work Darkstalkers 3 turned out to be a very respectable version of their excellent monster themed 2D fighter. Here we have a game which is every bit as playable, and well made as any of the Street Fighter games, the artwork is very distinct, and beautifully realised and the enemies are all wacky and a joy to play. For anyone looking for an offbeat alternative to Street Fighter, this is the game to check out.
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Rayman 2
At release Rayman 2 stood out as one of the more brilliantly designed 3D platformers of the era. Instead of directly copying Mario 64, and its ilk, the game struck up a happy medium between large explorable worlds, and more a straightforward, action focused gameplay. This creates a fun to play game more akin to the 2D games of old, with excellent elements like the grappling hook swinging adding even more to the experience. Truth be told, the PS1 version is probably the weakest version of the game, but credit where its due its still one of the best 3D platformers on the system (which really stands to the quality of the original material), and it does have some nice extras which may be appreciated, such as the new voiceovers for all of the cutscenes.
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Time Crisis
One of the most popular Lightgun games of all time, Time Crisis added a very cool cover system of its own to the formula (essentially you automatically hide between objects but have to press a button to break cover to fire at enemies), and makes the player follow a strict time limit, which keeps the action moving. Its everything you’d want from a good lightgun title.
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R-Type Delta
Having played a lot of the classic scrolling shooter R-Type whilst growing up I initially had high hopes for this game when I first booted it up, never did I expect R-Type Delta to be anywhere near this good though! The design and gameplay here is just so clever, and excellently well judged, the tactics have been tweaked, with level layouts perfectly set-up to compliment the versatile Force Pod power-up, there’s some new ships (each of which gives a different gameplay experience), and the set-pieces are a joy to behold, on top of all this is some really superb direction, with the in-game music carefully timed with the onscreen action to create an experience which often verges on cinematic.
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Syphon Filter 2
The Syphon Filter games are mission based 3rd person shooters which have you controlling a special agent named Gabe Logan. I had trouble deciding between the 1st and 2nd games of the series, as gameplay wise there’s not a whole lot between the two, but in the end I think the sequel, with its slightly more polished controls, and multiple playable characters just about edges out the (also excellent) original. Gameplay is mainly focused on shooting the enemies, but each level has missions to be carried out which vary in objectives and keep the game interesting.
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Threads of Fate
This is the Square RPG for those who want a little more action and a little less number crunching, and as such is probably the most accessible of their PS1 RPGs. Unlike most of Square’s other titles on Playstation, this is a pure action based RPG (think Zelda with leveling up, or Secret of Mana), you run through the levels hacking at the monsters, solving the odd puzzle, or doing platforming sections, on top of that you have the ability to morph into the monsters you defeat, each of whom have their own abilities and attacks. Threads of Fate is a very nice title that has a lot of charm, and a pure emphasis on fun.
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Super Puzzle Fighter II
One of the best competitive falling block puzzle games out there, here you have to match the crash gems with their respective colours. The aesthetics and presentation here are first rate, with a jokey Street Fighter II styling, and Puzzle Fighter II’s gameplay has clearly been refined to produce some of the deepest competitive puzzle thinking out there, with matches between two experienced players often turning into tense, heated contests.
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Tobal 2
This fantastic sequel to one of the deeper of the 3D fighters on the PS1 unfortunately never got a release outside of Japan, which is a truly great pity, as this was a huge improvement of what was already a very good game, and is definitely among the best of the 3D fighters available for the system. Tobal 2 produces an excellent, fluid combo driven fighting engine, it has some really impressive graphics (with a reported 60fps), and a bunch of different modes, with the RPG style quest mode from the original making a welcome return (with improvements too). All in all a great package and a must have for fighting fans.
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Final Fantasy Tactics
Turn based strategy edition of one of the most beloved videogame series’, Final Fantasy Tactics has you moving units around on a grid based isometric map. Whilst the game goes for a very different gameplay style, its as deep and involving as you’d expect from any title in the series, and as always the presentation, story, and music all shine through in their high quality.
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Colin Mcrae Rally 2.0
With Colin Mcrae Rally Codemasters aimed to create a much more realistic rally experience, doing their best to mimic the kind of handling you’d expect from real dirt roads. They succeeded admirably, and with this sequel managed to wholly improve, and build on the original, creating a deep, and challenging realistic racing title.

Quake II
Here’s the port that nobody expected the PS1 to pull off, a very playable, excellent looking version of Quake II. The game leaves the medieval setting of the original and puts you into a futuristic, alien world setting, the visceral gore and action is here with a vengeance, and the game ambitiously attempts to create a seamless gameplay world which avoids the usual level structure. On top of the excellent 1-player mode, Quake II also throws in the best 4-player deathmatch of any FPS game on the system, its fast, with a good framerate and great arena’s to play in.
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Grandia
Grandia originally made a name for itself as the Sega Saturn’s alternative to the then hyped Final Fantasy 7, unfortunately that version (which is said to be slightly better) was never released in the west for the system, but eventually this very respectable, and fully translated PS1 version did turn up. Grandia was one of the earliest JRPGs to use a fully 3D environment (most had flat 2D pre-rendered backgrounds at the time), and the effect here is very cool, and doesn’t really intrude too much on visibility, the plotline is a far cry from the brooding style of many of Square and Enix’s offerings, going for a brighter, warmer story that has more emphasis on humour.
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Kurushi Final
Here’s an ingenious, and underrated puzzle game where you detonate blocks rolling towards you before they crush you. The game has a fairly simple to learn system where you highlight squares on the floor, and then detonate them after a block has rolled on top, if you detonate a green block it allows you to blow up a bunch of blocks at the same time, if you detonate one of the black blocks by accident you get penalised by having the pathway behind you removed. Whilst easy to learn, the game gives you a lot to master, and it really is a very unique a fun experience.
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Crash Team Racing
Here we have the PS1s long awaited answer to Mario Kart 64. Crash Team Racing is certainly derivative, but developers Naughty Dog clearly knew what made titles like MK64, and Diddy Kong Racing the great games they were, as CTR manages to recreate all the fun, and addictive gameplay of those titles, whilst adding crash’s distinctive characters and environments, and loads of graphical polish. This is the place to go if you have three friends visiting and a multitap.
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Front Mission 3
Front Mission 3 was the first in the series to manage to make it to the west and happily it was also one of the best to introduce the series. Front Mission 3 is an strategy RPG which has you controlling mechs around grid based environments, taking it in turns to take shots at each other, its battle system is as well thought out as you’d expect from Square, and is very intuitive, the politics driven storyline is interesting and complex, and the developers have really done their best to add all the little details to make the world in the game rich, believable, and in-depth.
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Spyro: Year of the Dragon
With the original Spyro, Insomniac (who now busy themselves with creating the Resistance series on Playstation) knocked all of the platforming pretenders on Playstation aside to provide a hugely polished game with a big free roaming environment, and lots to do. This third sequel tightened up all the gameplay and presentation, and added loads of new minigames, and different playable characters (including a flying penguin) to keep the gameplay fresh throughout.
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Wipeout 3 Special Edition
Special Edition is the quintessential Wipeout game on the system. Psygnosis took all the best points from Wipeout 3, such as the phenomenal graphics, and presentation, improved them even further, and then looked at some of the criticisms and did some gameplay balancing (handling has been improved for some of the craft). Those things alone may not sound like enough for a new release, but that’s not the best of it anyway, the best of it is that Special Edition actually contains three extra tracks from the original Wipeout, and five extra tracks from Wipeout 2097/XL, making it essentially a compilation of all the best Playstation Wipeout games. Special Edition was unfortunately only ever released in Europe, and for those without access to Special Edition I feel that Wipeout XL slightly edges out vanilla Wip3out in quality.
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Silent Hill
Konami’s answer to the Resident Evil series was a creepy, atmospheric, and original survival horror title. Whilst you explore the dimly lit, foggy town solving puzzles there’s an ever present feeling of danger and tension, you’re always wary of what could be just outside of your vision. The storyline here is very well crafted, and the game, at is best is genuinely unsettling.
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Command & Conquer Red Alert
The original Command and Conquer (and its forebear Dune II) revolutionised real time strategy games, with its intuitive, accessible, and ultimately fun gameplay set-up based around mining resources, and creating buildings and units to attack the enemy base. This sequel was a big improvement on the original’s formula, containing improvements to the units and graphics, as well as adding a healthy dose of humour to the proceedings, the PS1 port is a very nice conversion which also, happily includes mouse support.
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Vagrant Story
With Vagrant Story developer Square focused on making one of the deepest battle systems of any PS1 game, using a slightly more hands on approach (the battles are still menu driven, but you run around in real time trying to get into a good position between strikes), its strategies are deep, with all weapons having their own in-depth stats, types of combo’s, and custom attack choices, so deep in fact that to master it you have to pretty much move into micro management territory! The main gameplay takes place in dungeons, and feels a little bit more adventure flavoured than you’d expect, with a multitude of puzzles to solve and maps to check. As a late PS1 title Vagrant Story has some of the best graphics on the system, unlike many RPGs of its time it eschews FMV movies and does everything with the in-game engine (which still looks excellent). Story wise its a littler slower than many of the other big titles, but is quite unique and interesting when it fully gets going.

Medal of Honor: Underground
The original Medal of Honor included one of the most engaging campaign modes to grace the PS1, gone were the brainless blasting and corridor’s of earlier PS1 games to be replaced with elaborate story driven missions to fulfil. This sequel improved immensely on the formula laid down by the original and was a much more polished, graphically impressive game, its new setting (amongst the backdrop of the French resistance) added immensely to the feel, and brought a certain element of intrigue and subterfuge to the proceedings.
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Street Fighter Alpha 3

Capcom carried on with their new high standards and produced yet another highly impressive 2D fighter for the PS1 (after so many previously disappointing ones). This version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 manages to impress with its similarities to the original coin-op in graphics, and animation (though still not quite as close as the Saturn version), and with load times nowhere near as intrusive as in earlier PS1 fighters. The game itself? quite possibly the best Street Fighter game ever! loads of classic characters, fantastic art design, tons of options ect, effectively it was everything a Street Fighter fan could ever want.
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Grand Theft Auto 2
At a time when freedom of choice in videogames was starting to become rare, with straightforward, linear games taking over, Grand Theft Auto came out of nowhere to almost single handedly rejuvenate the concept. Here we have a game where you have complete access to an entire city, there’s missions to carry out (such as deliveries, and hit and runs), but you’re free to choose where you want to go, when you want, you can even ignore the main game and just cause havoc! this sequel adds a 2.5d perspective and tightens up the already excellent gameplay.
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Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding 2
Here’s another great series known for its pioneering originality. Tony Hawks was an addictive game which had you careening around different environments pulling off impressive tricks and manoeuvre’s. The games managed to be very accessible, yet still with a huge learning curve that allowed those who stuck with them to truly master them, and wow their friends. Along with the usual presentation improvements you’d expect, this sequel also adds extra moves which allow you to string more tricks together, and a great park editor.
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Final Fantasy 9
For their third Final Fantasy game on the Playstation Square decided to go for a brighter style and lighter tone (albeit the plot had its dark moments), a style which contrasted greatly with their two previous outings. Final Fantasy 9 attempted to put the sense of wonder back into the series, every place in the world was a joy to explore, and the characters were some of the most likeable in the series.
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Crash Bandicoot Warped
When Naughty Dog decided to make a 3D version of the platforming mascot game they took a much more literal route than many of the bigger companies, no searching around for items or puzzle solving here, just pure straightforward, platforming bliss in 3D. Warped represents the high point of Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot games, it didn’t stray too far from the classic formula, but added a little more variety, and a ton more polish to mix.
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Chrono Cross

Here’s yet another excellent RPG from Square that carries on their reputation as the best RPG company in Japan. Chrono Cross’ story is one of the more unique, and instantly engrossing of the 32-bit era, it concerns alternate realities, with the main character being transported to an world in which nobody recognises him due to his tragic death at a young age. The game, like its predecessor eschews the random encounters found in many other JRPGs for a system where enemies can be seen, and avoided if so wanted, it also has one of the most interesting, and elegant of the battle systems of that era, with colour coded attacks, and customisable tables which allow you to assign your moves at different levels. All in all the game is an artistic, and fantastically memorable experience.
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Driver

In 1999 a company called Reflections, only known for their Shadow of the Beast and Destruction Derby games came out of nowhere to release one of the seminal games of the whole era, Driver. Driver was an ambitious attempt to bring free roaming games to the next level, the execution was brilliant, with the graphics and speed free from major issues, and the whole thing was infused with a cool 70s cop show sensibility. Essentially the game has you driving around a city doing jobs under strict time limits, and escaping the ever present police (though here, unlike GTA there’s a less morally questionable plot about being an undercover cop thrown in). Definitely one of the more important action/driving games of the 32-bit era.
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Resident Evil 2

With the first Resident Evil Capcom took the groundwork laid down by Alone in the Dark and turned it into the horror gaming tour de force it always promised to be, creating a great combination of chills, clever puzzles, and exploration. With this superlative sequel (set in a police department and the outlying streets) Capcom refined the gameplay, making a more focused, pacey game, and used a much bigger, less claustrophobic setting. All around, the game was a hugely enjoyable, well constructed experience.
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Final Fantasy 8

When charged with the difficult job of following up one of the biggest games of all time, Square surprised everyone by creating something which couldn’t have been more different in style and execution to its famous predecessor. With Final Fantasy 8 the style and plot took on a more serious, and mature look, with full sized characters and a plot revolving around soldiers and armies taking the place of the small characters and stylised art design of FF7. Focus also turned towards building a much more in-depth, and complex battle system, and its in this area where Final Fantasy 8 really shines, you could spend an absolute age mastering it.

Civilisation 2

Civ 2, I feel has to be considered the premier strategy title on the PS1. This classic PC game where you need to create and raise your own civilisation was transferred with aplomb to the machine. All the options and features you could hope for are provided, and the rival civilizations and fight for dominance involved give it a level of urgency and addictiveness unsurpassed by other titles of its time.
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Ape Escape

This brilliant game has you exploring through its levels tracking down and re-capturing a bunch of super intelligent monkeys who’ve escaped and are causing trouble. Ape Escape was one of the first games to properly use the dual analogue set-up of the then new Playstation controller (the second analogue gives you control over your net), and it managed to be consistently fresh throughout by slowly giving you access to new equipment and items (all of which are a joy to use) as the game progressed. This definitely has to be my favourite platform game for the PS1, the game is just so full of wacky charm.
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Ridge Racer Type 4

For anyone who leans more towards the fun, exciting and uncomplicated thrills of arcade racers over the ultra realistic ones, Ridge Racer Type 4 is where its at on PS1. Here you’ll find nothing but fast racing with tight controls, over the top powerslides, and some of the classiest aesthetics and presentation to ever come out of a videogame (truly a lot of the style here has hardly dated at all). Type 4 keeps the pace going quickly, with very little frustration throughout, as such its not the most difficult game out there but the huge numbers of unlockables help to keep the enjoyment going for a long, long time.
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Soul Reaver

Where it comes to 3D action adventure games the PS1 doesn’t exactly have a glut of titles, but luckily Soul Reaver is clearly one of the absolute best available for the time. Soul Reaver is a huge, ambitious title, the world in which it takes place is detailed, and well imagined, and each area of it blends pretty seamlessly into the next. Story wise the game also excels, its plot about a world overrun with vampires, and decay, whose only hope is the resurrected vampire Raziel, who himself is only really interested in revenge against those who killed him, is easily one of the best of its time. Gameplay is tight, and inventive, with fluid movement, a plethora of different attacks, and well constructed puzzles.
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Xenogears

Here we have a sci-fi RPG of grandiose scale, and yet another great RPG from Square (yeah I know, this article is starting to read like a Squaresoft advertisement). With this game Square have gone with a fully 3D environment (unlike most of their other RPG titles, which used pre-rendered 2D backgrounds), they’ve created two separate battle systems (one for the characters on foot, and one for them whilst piloting the huge mechs), and they’ve created a huge, detailed plot spanning hundreds of years, that incorporates psychological, and religious themes. All in all I think Square’s work paid off, as what they’re created here is a tour de force.
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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Its ironic that midway through the anti 2D 5th generation Konami released their 14th Castlevania game, as it turned out that not only was it one of the best, and most important Castlevania releases, but it was also one of the best 2D games ever created too. Symphony of the Night was a pretty big departure for the series, it was the first to fully embrace the deep, Metroid style gameplay (one huge environment to explore, with new abilities giving you access to different areas), and subsequent releases in the series wisely stuck with this winning formula. Everything comes together very well here, the level layouts are clever, and inventive, the monster designs were memorable, there’s some amazing orchestral arrangements, loads or atmosphere, a good plot, everything you could really be expected to hope for. The best 2D game on the Playstation bar none.
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Tekken 3

With their third Tekken outing Namco refined everything that made the previous games so good, the fluid, combo driven gameplay, the memorable characters, the impressive environments and FMV, and then added several coats of polish to create one of the most graphically impressive titles for the PS1. Where it comes to the Playstation Tekken 3, is the last word in fun, accessible fighting games.
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Final Fantasy 7

The game which pushed the Final Fantasy series into the western mainstream consciousness, and made the series into one of the biggest moneymakers in gaming history. After weighing up the pro’s and cons of each of the Final Fantasy games on the PS1, I decided to agree with the masses and take the predictable route, placing FF7 firmly at the top of PS1 RPGs. For me, 7 represented one of the biggest turning points for the series, Its story was engrossing and well paced, throwing you straight into the action and grabbing hold or your attention throughout (8 was notably worse in this area, with a slower start and high and low points), the battle system was accessible, and well thought out, and the aesthetics and art design had the perfect mix of themes and emotion. This game was many peoples introduction to the world of RPGs and to be honest, at the time you probably couldn’t find a better ambassador.
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Gran Turismo 2

With Gran Turismo Sony created a racing game of unparalleled realism (for the time). They went to town on making the physics and handling of all the cars as good as possible, they created some of the most impressive graphics for any game of the time, and they filled the whole thing with lots of content. Amazingly Gran Turismo 2 managed to one up its predecessor in most aspects, and raise the already high bar laid down by the first game, even higher.
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Metal Gear Solid

So here we have, what is, in my opinion the number 1 game on the Playstation, Metal Gear Solid. This game was probably the first that I can remember which had a real “movie like” quality to it, straight from the excellent opening this was a game which screamed high quality. When it came to the gameplay itself the game did not disappoint in the slightest, containing all the action, set pieces, and inventive levels that you could hope for, the stealth, and sneaking elements were a really fresh idea when the game came out, and anyone playing it must’ve wondered why nobody else of the time had already provided a similar game, the concept was so perfect. One of the most memorable pop culture experiences of the entire decade.

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