With the Playstation Classic soon to be released, we run down the best games of the beloved '90s console
We’ve had a range of classic Nintendo consoles shrunk down to pocket-size and stocked up with retro games to give the PS4 generation a taste of the tedious loading screens and blocky-as-fuck graphics their parents had to put up with. And now Sony are getting in on the nostalgia-gaming trend, releasing a mini PS1 pre-loaded with games including Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3, which isn’t a Liam Neeson thriller set in Newcastle. Only five of the 20 games have been announced so far, but here’s our dream line-up…
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Twisted Metal 3 (1998)
Because, like, who hasn’t wanted to shoot the shit out of a monster truck with rockets while joyriding around the alien spaceships in Hangar 18 or the White House lawn?
Tomb Raider II (1997)
The original 1996 Tomb Raider opened up the classic gaming concept of the trap-filled puzzle dungeon for the 3D generation, really bringing the gaming experience to life even as it left a million dazzled teenagers confused as to why they were suddenly fighting a massive T-Rex in the middle of modern day Peru. The sequel made the whole thing bigger, longer and a whole lot harder; TRII was undoubtedly one of the most fiendish games on the PS1, demanding pinpoint jumps, backflips off sheer surfaces and the puzzle-solving skills of the Enigma machine to complete. Remake, please.
Resident Evil 2 (1998)
As with Tomb Raider, the original Resident Evil set the standard and the sequel ironed out the crap bits. In this case, the ridiculous possibility of being killed, very quickly, by crows. Come Resident Evil 2, we were masters of mixing herbs, had found coping mechanisms for the endless opening-door load screens and knew what a dreadful idea it was to empty our entire stock of bullets into one lumbering zombie, as we left behind the creepy mansion and hit the sewers and underground research facilities in our attempt to get the hell out of Racoon City.
Silent Hill (1999)
If Resident Evil was the PS1’s Night Of The Living Dead, Silent Hill was its Hellraiser, The Exorcist and Saw all rolled into one. Explore its spooky, mist-swathed ghost town too long and the whole place turned into a gory industrial hellscape full of bandage-faced nurses and psychos with metal pyramid heads right beneath your feet. As terrifyingly atmospheric as it was inventive and intelligent with its tricksy puzzles, this was the game that really put the “Aaaaargh-aaaaargh-don’t-get-me!” into survival horror.
Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Thanks to renegade guerrilla outfit FOXHOUND employing all their guards from a commune of short-sighted imbeciles with zero peripheral vision and dreadful short-term memory for whether they’ve seen an infiltrator in the base in the past 12 seconds, Metal Gear Solid was able to create the stealth genre. It was a whole new tactical ball-game for players more used to blasting their way through armies of balaclava-clad meatbags with barely a coherent thought. Suddenly planning, cunning and intelligence were the fastest route to success, and the sheer panache of the game’s top-down aesthetic would hold off the third-person 3D perspective for a console generation or two. Metal Gear Solid’s stealth innovations would quickly become essential standards in virtually all RPGs, and the gaming world would rock to cries of, “Snake? SNAKE? SNAAAAAAAKE?!?”
Dino Crisis (1999)
Dino crisis? What Dino crisis? Oh yes, the escaped dinosaurs running riot around a secret island research facility that, for copyright reasons, had absolutely nothing to do with Jurassic Park. Developed by Capcom, the creators of Resident Evil, Dino Crisis was intended as ‘panic horror’ rather than survival horror, with pterodactyls swooping from the night sky and raptors leaping out at you from dark corners like bitey pranksters. Otherwise, this was basically Resident Evil, and we’ve already covered how amazing that was.
Crash Bandicoot (1996)
Sony’s answer to Sega’s Sonic and Nintendo’s Mario, Crash was an apple-guzzling bandicoot-cum-mini-whirlwind as cute as he was fucking infuriating. Whether you were being chased by massive spherical rocks (an accurate reflection of ancient defence systems employed by remote Incan tribes, said no historian ever), using briefly extinguished firepits as stepping stones or hopping on and off stone platforms sliding in and out of temple walls (no, seriously, who would build those in?), Crash Bandicoot was driven along by a compulsive urgency that made up for lacking Sonic’s speed or, um, whatever it is people like about Mario.
Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night (1997)
Platforming at its most opulent, atmospheric and sophisticated, Castlevania was the pinnacle of the PS1’s side-scrollers, as the son of Dracula bounded around his father’s castle unlocking new areas by turning into mist at will. With its RPG elements, skill improvements and huge map, it set the standard that its many copyists still aspire to.
Final Fantasy VII
Described as “the Beatles of role-playing games” (although we’ve yet to unlock the secret ‘circle jerk’ mini-game), FFVII was a true cartoon epic, stuffed with character-building cut-scenes and mighty monster battles across the (for the day) vast world of Gaia. The art of Final Fantasy, though, was in the story-telling, and in that regard FFVII was a killer, delivering Oscar-worthy twists, even though they were set to tinny space muzak.
Gran Turismo 2 (1999)
Vroooom! Eeeeeee! Crunch! It might not have been a match the G-force excitement of Mariokart 8 or the peril of a Grace Jones Carpool Karaoke, but for visceral, pedal-to-the-metal races between really shit family cars, Gran Turismo 2 took the heavily pixelated chequered flag.