In the late 80s, Sony and Nintendo conspired to make a new Disk-based system to establish dominance in the Video Game market, but Nintendo, unfortunately, got cold feet and dropped their part of the project, leaving Sony to fend for themselves. Sony, however, refused to concede, and in 1994 they officially entered the console video game market with the original PlayStation also called the PSX. Utilizing the knowledge gained from Nintendo and inspiration from the groundwork laid by Sega, the PlayStation catered to older gamers with a variety of unique gameplay experiences.
The disc based format allowed for games to be manufactured at a lower cost and allowed longer and deeper games due to the expanded space that compact discs allowed. This lead a flock of developers to jump on board to create a ton of original and innovative games. Many video game series got there start on that old gray box, in order to honor those titles and the rest we have created this list.
This list is contains the best of the PSX as decided by us. With over 1,000 titles released, everyone had their own favorites but in the end, these titles helped shape gaming as it stands today and are still required playing. As usual, we have a few rules/guidelines we followed.
- NO compilation or multi-game disks. Only individual games. This means no FF 1-6 Collection + Chrono Trigger or what have you. That would be essentially cheating.
- Foreign, Ported, or Unreleased titles ARE ACCEPTABLE. Sure some games found their way into Next-gen HD remakes or even other systems like the Sega Saturn, but that doesn't stop it from being playable on the PSX.
- No Honorable Mentions. No shenanigans about it. We said Top Ten, we're sticking to Top Ten. If it we wanted more then that, then we would have done “Top 11” or whatever.
- Only one game per franchise/series. Besides the fact that ScrewAttack has yet to do their own PSX Top Ten list, This way we don't end up with 5 Final Fantasies and 3 Tomb Raiders mucking up the list.
Now on to the list!
10- Gran Turismo 2
It's a shame that this didn't end up higher on the list. Easily one of the greatest racing games ever created. Don't believe me? Don't have to take my word for it;
Ok. This game. The first one was a revolution in racing games. The second one is more of the same, and by more, I mean MULTIPLY IT BY 1000!!!!! it took everything that one did right and built on that. to date, it is the best and the BIGGEST racing game ever. over 1000 races and 10000 cars that can me modified, customized and tuned to your will. you will not find a better racer than this. guaranteed. 4th on my top PSX list.
I'm going to admit something here. I'm not a big fan of racing games. Now you're gonna wonder, "Why are you talking about GT2 if you're not a racing game fan TP?" It was because this game introduced me to Garage and their song "I think I'm Paranoid" which I still listen to. GT2 is essentially GT1, but with more than you can imagine. More cars, more races, more everything. It made what was a good game into an amazing game.
Gran Turismo ushered in a racing game revolution. No longer were racing games locked into using a bunch of fake cars on a handful of tracks. Now you could get behind the dozens or real world cars from different manufacturers to see who really did make the best car. You also had an in-depth career mode that allowed you to build up your garage but winning races and add a tweak a myriad of upgrades. This was like a racing RPG, you go from racing some broken down used car to racing $500,000 rally cars. Gran Turismo 2 just expanded on everything by adding even more cars, tracks, and events.
Don't think I can add much more to it. While the original Gran Turismo set the standard for Racing Sim games, GT2 cranked it up to 11. If you like racing games, GT2 is a must.
9 - Xenogears
Xenogears, a game that was the early concept and idea for Squares behemoth role playing game - Final Fantasy 7. Due to the themes being too dark for a FF game, it was established as it's own separate project. Xenogears graphical presentation is a mix between 2D character sprites and 3D environments. Giving it an anime look. Though the 3D looked really jagged. Being a Square RPG, it utilized a variant of the Active Time Battle system. To me the battle system is one of the best I have seen from an RPG. It's better to actually experience it for yourself, rather than me describing it. Things like AP points and getting in combos, chi, etc.. It was really interesting and a pretty fun battle system. My one gripe with this game is it's super complex story and the ideologies used. Depending on the person, they either hated it, or loved it. All in all, it Xenogears is a pretty awesome RPG for the PSX.
I can't believe this made the list. (I had work in the morning so I wasn't a part of the voting process) Yes I had this game on my Top 10, and for good reasons. The PSX was a RPG maker, and Square was the forefront behind it. Xenogears was kinda the forgotten one in contrast to other hits the company made, but nonetheless a really good game. Story wise, it's really freakin' deep. Religious and philosophical undertones everywhere you'd think you were reading works of MacIntyre. But what takes the cake is gameplay, using the already well established ATB system of Square, they amped it up with the ability to combo as a nice change of pace. Oh, and did I mention the music was done by Yasunori Mitsuda.
Needless to say the PSX churned out a lot of great RPGs. I daresay there isn't a RPG on the system that doesn't have some charm to it. While this isn't my personal favorite, it proved not all RPGs had to be Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.
8 - Rayman
A very under-rated platformer. While Rayman's previous streak (up until the incredible Rayman Origins) may have been lack luster, this game shows why we still kept coming back for more of the armless/legless hero.
Ubisoft's answer to Nintendo's Mario came in the form of a man who had no arms, legs, or neck. Rayman contained many of the core elements of a good platforming game, but what really impressed me was the animation of the game. From lush forests to levels decorated with over-sized musical instruments, the game struck me as something of a piece of art that I was adventuring through. In the midst of games jumping to the third dimension on the PlayStation, Rayman took advantage of the increase in hardware performance and focused on a game that was very enjoyable, both visually and gameplay-wise.
This was one of those games I thought would be easy when I began playing it.
But as a pleasant surprise it turned out to be high above my expectations, and boy the difficulty of some levels made me shit bricks as a kid.
When everyone was so hyped on the 3D bandwagon, it was Ubisoft who decided to make a 2D platformer. It worked amazingly, with tight controls and extremely vibrant colours. Rayman showed the 2D platformers can still exist in a 3D heavy market, as change is not always a good thing. (I'm looking at you N64 Castlevania)
There was a time before all those endless Rabbid games that Rayman himself had himself his own solid platforming career. The original Rayman is colorful, challenging, and fun. With Rayman getting back into the spotlight and returning to his 2D roots with Rayman Legends, now is a great time to revisit his debut outing.
7 - Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Well, this is my personal best. Not my favorite but I acknowledge it as the best overall game on the PSX. Story is awesome, gameplay is perfected from 1 & 2, and new playable characters. Also upgrades to sparx, as he becomes PLAYABLE! Boss battles are memorable, in fact everything you do is going to be remembered after you stop playing. It's just how a game is MEANT TO BE. Number 1 on my top ten PSX list.
Before Skylanders there was Spyro The Dragon. In a day when games were all about being gritty and hard edged, along come Spyro and reminds us that games still can have a sense of wonder. Combine whimsical graphics, fast paced charge and glide gameplay, and the wonderful Steward Copeland soundtrack, and you have a magical game.
Very similar to Rayman in some regards, Spyro brought some unique attributes to the table, and each iteration kept getting progressively better. Besides that, you got to play as a dragon, how cool is that? (Even if he is small & purple, you don't want to underestimate him). Year of the Dragon was definitely the pinnacle of the franchise.
6 - Tekken 3
I'm not much of a fighting game guy (Sure, I played plenty of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter like most gamers), but Tekken definitely was one of the few series to get 3D Fighting done right, and by the time Tekken 3 came out, it was obvious that they had "perfected" the formula.
A great fighter, balanced as hell (if you pretend that eddy didn't exist like I do.) Great variety of characters and styles to play. On my personal top 10.
The Tekken series has always been somewhat special for me ever since I was introduced to Tekken 3. And while it isn't nearly as expansive as other games on the console, I spent far more hours playing this game on my Ps1 than I played any other game.
Some say this is the greatest fighting game on the PSX, while others might boast further saying it's the greatest game of the genre. Tekken 3 is a masterpiece when it comes to 3D fighting games. Mechanically sound, it was a game that was easy to pick up and a bit difficult to master (depending on your character of choice, as in who was trying to play fair and didn't f***ing pick Eddy.) The emphasis on the third axis allowed a new dimension to the genre, as previous variants of Tekken had only specific characters being able to sidestep. It also introduced a plethora of characters who have become mainstay, notably Jin Kazama and a personal favourite in Kuma.
Tekken 3 is just all out anarchy. What other game gives you a breakdancer vs a mini dinosaur? Mmm CHICKEN!
5 – Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
Sony's answer to Mario (and they certainly were vocal about it, lol), it's a shame Crash doesn't get the same respect he once commanded.
This game has more replay-ability then almost every game ever due to the relic system in it. It plays perfectly and is fun as hell. Story is bare bones but still enough to enjoy, but thats not what this game is about; its about the sheer fun you get out of it. 2nd on my personal top PSX list.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped is the only Crash I've completely played through, and boy was it fun! Where other games on this list strive for story and character development, Naughty Dog focused on just pure, fun gameplay. The controls were (for the most part) smooth, and the game also had added challenges throughout each of the levels for those who were willing. Also new to the series were levels featuring Crash's sister Coco riding Pura the tiger in different locales, which mixed things up for the game. Overall, I just remember Crash 3 being a fun game to play and is an amazing stepping stone in the history of Naughty Dog.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Presents - An Universal Interactive Studios Production. A game created, and developed by NAUGHTY DOG! Crash Bandicoot WARPED!
I love the intro to this game, if that wasn't evident enough. A personal favourite of mine, and strangely enough my first Crash Bandicoot game played. The thing I remember most of the game was the music, which was amazing from what I remember. I remember going through the China level time and time again (not because 9 yr old me couldn't beat it, shut up) because the song was so addicting. Oh, and it does good platforming, quite possibly the best in the series.
(Insert Crash Bandicoot ad here)
I know everyone makes a big deal about Mario 64 being THE 3D game, but Crash is no slouch either. While it didn't have the huge open world factor, it might up for it with tight level design. Plus you have to love the whole "Hey Plumberboy" marketing campaign.
Great games with an awesome music and tight gameplay, what more could you want?
4 - Resident Evil 2
Now we're heading to the big dogs. Resident Evil 2 was the definitive title when comparing future RE games, until 4 that is. (But they kinda threw survival horror out the door after, but I'm not even gonna touch that subject with a 10 ft pole.) Similar basic elements from the predecessor, the atmosphere was amazing. The sound is of Capcom's standard, which means it fits perfectly with the level as you go through the easy to moderately difficult puzzles. But this game is not without a stain of dirt, as the voice acting is still of RE1's standard, but a bit better. Ironically it's always the games with Leon or Claire that are good. No love for Chris and/or Jill I guess. :P
I was in the middle of a horror movie kick between watching Night of the Living Dead and Evil Dead, so of course when I heard about this zombie game that played like a movie I had to try it. Once I tried it I was hooked and this was one of the games that convinced me to buy a PlayStation. I was already versed in survival horror coming off of Alone in the Dark, but Resident Evil brought it to a whole new level of terror. Limited ammo and constant scares made this haunted house come alive.
While my personal favorite entry in the series was Resident Evil 3, the second game took what the first game did and made it even better. Memorable characters, a great balance between action and puzzle gameplay, and ZOMBEHS. A winning combination.
3 - Final Fantasy 7
You knew it was coming. You siblings knew it was coming. Heck, your pet probably knew it too. What are we waiting for?
In my opinion, not the best Final Fantasy game, however it is still one of the best! Breaking the bearer in the west and being successful overseas; there is a reason why it's so popular. The FF7 world is fantastically created and so are the characters, history, etc... The music isn't the best the series has to offer, but is still great. On a graphical level, the PlayStation could do so much more, but this was Square's first attempt, so I'll cut them some slack. I enjoyed playing this game, it's one of those games where you start playing and hours pass by. It's game that every RPG fan should experience.
My favorite game of all time (as of this point). The battle system, the story, the graphics, the heart this game has is incomparable. I would put this on my personal list as 3rd best PSX game of all time.
… I hate you all for not having Tactics. I'd rather pick IX than VII because it was more solid fundamentally. (Which was what I had before I changed it to Tactics) Anyways, there is nothing wrong with Final Fantasy VII, despite all outcry nowadays on how overrated it is. The game revolutionized and made mainstream of the RPG genre, and without it we wouldn't have the surplus of RPGs we have nowadays. It had (at the time) revolutionary pre-rendered cutscenes and graphics, brought change in dynamic to the Final Fantasy world. Before this game the setting was more of a medieval fantasy world, but FF7 went a whole other level with a futuristic game. A story that you could say rivals FF6, a change in the ATB system, and music by Uematsu, the game was incredibly strong for a PlayStation title.
Haters gonna hate. Final Fantasy VII broke RPGs in the West and convinced many 3rd party developers to game on the PlayStation bandwagon. Oh and it was a pretty solid RPG to boot.
Though another entry where I prefer one of the sequels (Final Fantasy 9) over it, there is no denying what FF7 did for the PlayStation and the RPG genre in general. This was the game that almost single handedly put RPGs into the main stream and hooked us Westerners onto 50+ hour epics with intense grinding, while simultaneously helping to usher in the era of 3D. What PSX games could possibly top this?
2 - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
What FF7 did for RPGs and 3D games, SotN did for 2D and Sidescrolling Platformers, with some of the tightest Metroidvania gameplay ever.
I love the Castlevania series, the gameplay, music. music, music. story, music, chronology, the MUSIC!! What do you get when you mix Castlevania, a RPG and Super Metroid? Castlevania Symphony of the Night! This game is just awesome, progressing through the labyrinth that is Dracula's Castle, seeing Alucard getting stronger as he levels up, gains new armor and weapons. It was a huge change for the Castlevania series and a most welcomed one! Everyone should play this game! If you're a gamer, go buy it now and play it!
The franchise's dive into the action RPG genre may appear risky on paper, but it worked out so well in Symphony of the Night. Up until this point, Castlevania titles were your standard platformer, proceeding through a level and defeating said level's boss (Unless you count the 3D Castlevania games, but those are a completely different story). The game used a new gameplay mechanic to the series in the form of Alucard, who used his own array of blades, magic, transformations, and familiars. Also, the game provided a lot of depth, as when you completed the castle, an inverted castle was available to play, which had new enemies, bosses, and the true ending to the game. Symphony of the Night would become the base of future 2D-style Castlevania games, as it ushered in an amazing refresh to a an already amazing franchise.
Holy shit how is this number two? Well the number one game is obvious already due to process of elimination, but lets not talk about that yet. As stated with Rayman, 2D games still had a niche in a 3D heavy era, and Symphony of the Night is the prime example. This is a true change of pace to the Castlevania formula, creating what is now known as Metroidvania style gameplay. Exploration around one large area instead of level to level created a large sense of depth from a well established platformer to RPG. Yes it's a bit grindy at times but what RPG isn't. I mean, if it weren't for this change, Aria of Sorrow would have never seen the light of day and I love the "...of Sorrow" games. Now comes the kicker, Alucard is your main character. If you read the Underrated NES games, you'll know my bias for Alucard. An amazing change of pace as you don't control a Belmont till post-game, with Richter. Oh yeah, and good music. A common trope in all of these games, if you haven't noticed already. the moment you start playing, Dracula's Castle. Suuu guud...In fact, quite possibly my favourite soundtrack in the PSX library. (Although Megaman X5 has that award for #1 in my heart, sorreh :P )
There was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the release of this title. Rumor was that Sony had a standing policy against 2D and only wanted the PSX to be associated with 3D games. I'm not sure if that was true or not, but thank the gods that they let one of the most beautiful 2D games finally get released on the PlayStation.
Castlevania Symphony of the Night saw the return of Alucard from Castlevania III, and featured a massive castle that was fully exploration in a non-linear style a la Metroid. Instead of using the standard whip, Alucard used swords, knuckles, rods, spells, familiars to destroy Dracula's minions. He also gained new powers and transformations that allowed access to new parts of the castle. Around every corner was a new enemy or some new loot, and that made it so you didn't want to put it down till you uncovered every inch of the map.
Needless to say, SotN proved in a market swarmed with everyone trying to make it in 3D, that a great 2D game can still be just as fresh and prevalent, and became a timeless classic because of it. With a game this great, what could possibly be number 1? The answer may surprise you...
1 - Metal Gear Solid
... Why, none other then probably one of the best arguments of "Games are Art" that still stands today. The flagship game of a series that continually redefines the medium and how it is perceived.
Stealth Action Espionage. Is there anything I need to say about this legendary game? This game innovated how cinematic video games should be created. Excellent voice acting, awesome soundtrack, fantastic story. In my opinion, this game pushed the PSX quite a bit with it's presentation. This game will give you the thrills; as if you were playing a movie. There is not much I need to say about Metal Gear Solid, play it if you have not, because hands down it is the number one PlayStation 1 game.
The series first attempt at 3D couldn't have been any better. Metal Gear Solid skyrocketed the series to massive popularity worldwide, and with his espionage action gameplay, engrossing story, and strong character development. There were times during the game were I actually took pity on Snake, which for a game has never happened to be at that point. Another great part of the game was the Psycho Mantis fight, from using your second controller port to him "reading your mind" from your Memory Card! On the tech side of things, the game was cutting edge for its graphics and sound at the time of its released, so big that it needed to be on two discs! Metal Gear Solid would become the foundation of an incredible series that manages to intrigue gamers to this day.
Although Symphony of the Night defined the Metroidvania style, there is without a doubt what the number one PlayStation game is. If Metal Gear Solid was not your pick already then you obviously still live in the 1980s. This is the definitive PlayStation game. Notice how all the games quality in voice acting is rather lackluster to say the least, well this was such a nice change in pace. The game is so different than anything I've ever played. The idea of actually tracking a players footprints when you enter Shadow Moses was so freakin' innovative. Kojima really knew what to do with his baby, as it had the trifecta of gameplay, audio/visual and story. The aforementioned example is just the slicing of the cake in terms of the captivating gameplay. Psycho Mantis remains a personal favourite of mine because he f***ing read your memory card. That was so mind boggling at the time. Music was fitting with the environment, where a suspenseful tune while sneaking through corridors changes to a dramatic, upbeat tune during boss fights. The story, oh my god does it not make sense as you progress. But you can tell the mad man behind it all had you hooked on finding out what happens next. Whatever your order for PSX games is, I bet Metal Gear Solid will be in the same spot as every other list. (Because it belongs there)
Movie quality cutscenes, excellent voice acting, unique stealth gameplay, MGS had it all. If there is one game you play on the PSX, make it Metal Gear Solid.
There had been quite a gap in between this and the original MSX releases, but Kojima still managed to pull it off; A game that stays true to its predecessors while embracing the new generation. Challenging gameplay, solid controls, and some of the most epic cutscenes coupled with flawless voice acting set the standard for many games and years to come. It doesn't get any better then MGS.
How do you feel about the list? Do you agree with it? Does it have your favorite PSX game in it? Are there any other games missing from it? Does it's very existance make your blood boil? Let us know in the comments or discuss it in the forum thread.
Many thanks to Fox for helping to write this blog, and to 2200, Ben Be Jamin, FanBoy, ThunderPlant, BobboHead13, Chikumo, and JohnnyFarrar for helping compile/discuss this Top Ten List. Also, be sure to check out our Top Ten NES Games if you haven't already!
Thanks for reading! Until next time!