We all have our favourite game from the original Playstation console – perhaps it’s Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 2 or Crash Bandicoot. Whatever it might be, most of us also remember those games that we bought on a whim or found due to one of those amazing demo discs that fast became one of our favourite titles despite none of our friends even knowing what the game was.
This blog is going to take a look at some of those games; titles that were fantastic to play yet slipped under the radar for whatever reason. Sony’s catalogue of games from a vast number of different creators and publishers means we have a huge number to choose from. We are going to do our best to whittle it down to our 10 favourites. Maybe you’ve heard of these titles, maybe you haven’t, regardless we hope that anyone who reads this list will get a couple of ideas for some cheap games to buy for one of the greatest consoles ever made!
10. Intelligent Qube / Kurushi
A simple, but devilishly challenging puzzler. Kurushi sees you trying to stay alive by destroying blocks that are continuously rolling towards you. You do this by highlighting areas of the floor to detonate, and timing the blast to hit the cubes as they roll over them. Some blocks can cause larger explosions and chain reactions, and others need to be left alone, otherwise you lose a part of the floor you’re standing on. It sounds simple, but this is an addictive and tough title.
A technical powerhouse, and a perfect game to show off the power of the PlayStation, G-Police was one of the most impressive releases on the system in its day. Developed by Psygnosis, the game puts players in control of agile Police craft in a sci-fi setting.
Utilising unique (at the time) vibration features alongside some truly impressive visuals, G-Police is one of the hardest games on the platform. Some may argue that this is due to clunky controls, but fans weren’t, and still aren’t put off, and the game is still a firm favourite, and can even be bought for the PS3 via PSN.
8. The Legend of Dragoon
A Sony published RPG, and one that was initially criticised for being overly generic, The Legend of Dragoon has become a cult classic for PS1 fans. The game is a clear product of the Final Fantasy era, and has many similar features, including random encounters (which can be avoided if the player wishes).
Although it apes a lot of FF features, The Legend of Dragoon also has some unique features, most notably the Additions system that features user-input combos to open up more powerful attacks. Characters can also transform into the titular Dragoons once they acquire a Dragoon Spirit.
Many fans of the game actually consider The Legend of Dragoon to be superior to the Final Fantasy series, such is its impact, and this definitely makes this a game to seek out if you’re looking for some classic PS1 RPG action.
7. The Unholy War
The Unholy War is a fast-paced real-time battle game that features a few minor strategy elements. It comes from the creator of such classics as Star Control and Archon, and many similarities to these games can be drawn. The game features a wide variety of very unique characters that all have special weapons, which are used to annihilate each other in a true 3D arena.
The Unholy War, at its roots, is basically a game of chess. Both sides have characters with their own individual attacks. You strategically move these pieces on a board. And once you reach an opposing character, a battle ensues. Since each character on both teams has its own individual strengths and weaknesses, it’s critically important to choose the right character to use against each foe. This strategic angle of the game is limited and simply adds more to do in the game than just battling.
Graphically, Unholy War is beautiful. The polygonal characters all look amazingly detailed. The lighting effects used give life to the explosions and energy weapons. The 14 different maps that you fight on all look great and all have unique terrain, weather, and obstacles. The intelligent camera is fantastic; it zooms out when you and your opponent get some distance between each other and then zooms in when you get closer.
6. Parasite Eve 2
While Resident Evil and Silent Hill may have captured all of the mainstream attention in the survival horror genre, on the PS1 back in the day there was another series that was every bit as good, if not better according to its fans. This was Parasite Eve, and it mixed Resident Evil-style survival horror with RPG elements to create a very different take on the genre.
Parasite Eve II is the highlight, and stars returning protagonist, FBI agent Aya Brea. She’s once again investigating outbreaks of Mitochondrial creatures, in events set two years after the first game.
Unlike the first title, PEII features a real-time battle system, reminiscent of Resident Evil, and this is tempered by the Parasite Energy system that grants Aya special, magic-style abilities. Although it’s certainly a survival horror, complete with puzzles and pre-rendered environments, there’s a larger emphasis on combat, and here you also need to level Aya up, improving her abilities and customising her weapons. This is important, as later enemies became increasingly more and more deadly, and unprepared players can be unceremoniously destroyed if unprepared.
The far deeper gameplay and great presentation arguably make Parasite Eve II the superior title to Resident Evil, so it’s strange that is sold relatively poorly.
5. Ghost in the Shell
Based on the popular anime, Ghost in the Shell is a third person shooter which puts players in the cockpit of a powerful, wall-climbing, ‘Fuchikoma’ tank. This tank is impressively agile, offering the kind of freedom of movement few others games possessed at the time of release. Many levels see you jumping and climbing around increasingly more complex landscapes, and this is necessary as the enemy can be very dangerous, so you need your agility to get the drop on them.
Ghost in the Shell is widely considered to be one of the best anime tie-in games, even if it didn’t originally sell all that well, and was missed by many. Whether of not you like anime or the series the game is based on, this is a great action shooter regardless.
It seemed like a big release for its time, coming from Shiny Entertainment, creator of Earthworm Jim, but on the PS1 it didn’t really get out of the starting blocks. This is a shame as, although short, MDK was a great third person shooter, packed with humour and unique features for the time.
As heroic janitor, Kurt Hectic, you have to save the earth from invading aliens, and you use the powerful coil suit to do so. This suit allows Kurt to glide long distances and take out his foes both a close and long range, thanks to a powerful arm machine gun which can be slotted onto Kurt’s head to form a sniper rifle.
It’s a very quirky title with impressive visuals at the time of its release, and some interesting missions and mini games. It spawned a sequel, but many fans still say the first is the best of the two.
3. Heart of Darkness
This was quite the hype monster back before its release in 1998, and it took six years to develop. It includes an impressive orchestral score (one of the first games to do so), FMV cut scenes and some of the best graphics around at the time. It also plays well, and features a myriad of ways for the main protagonist to die, some actually pretty grim to be honest.
Sadly, the game didn’t live up to its lofty ambitions, and partly due to a very short length, it didn’t do all that well at retail. This is a shame, as it’s still great, and it could have been a decent series if the developer, Amazing Studios, hadn’t gone bankrupt.
Have a look at our HoD playthrough right here!!
2. Hogs of War
Hogs of War is a turn-based tactics game where players take turns controlling individual members of their squad of hogs to engage in combat with the opposition, similar to Worms. Each turn, a player takes control of a single squad member in a third-person perspective to move around the map, including jumping over terrain and swimming over bodies of water, yet can only engage in combat when stationary.
Hogs of War offers two main gameplay modes: a single-player campaign and multiplayer deathmatch. In the single-player campaign, you start from the ground up, siding with a nation, enlisting its troops, and progressing through a series of 25 increasingly difficult missions until victory is achieved. Along the way, you’ll earn promotion points, which you can use to improve your troops, as well as acquire a number of painful weapons. On the flipside is the multiplayer mode, which is where the game’s true beauty lies. While there’s a certain satisfaction attained by defeating a CPU opponent, nothing beats taking on three of your closest friends in a series of random piggy skirmishes. With team choice, weapon distribution, and even level design as user-defined variables, Hogs of War literally has limitless replay value.
The sountrack is also something to note. The music and sound effects are brilliant but the single greatest selling point of this game is the hilarious voice work by the late, great Rik Mayall.
1. Um Jammer Lammy
A sequel of sorts to the more famous Parappa the Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy follows the same formula as the previous release, but has a focus on guitar playing, rather than rapping. Like Parappa, Lammy has to play various songs alongside her teachers with players reproducing button presses as instructed.
The game is more difficult than Parappa, which puts many off, but it’s the superior of the two as it not only has a more in-depth challenge, but also a two player mode and Parappa remixes. Once again, it makes for a brilliant party game, post pub or otherwise, and few games, even the original Parappa, can match its psychedelic visuals.
So there we go…any title on here you haven’t heard of? Any old gems we may have reminded you of? Or, best of all, have you had any inspiration of games you now want to play? Let us know in the comments section below!