The year was 1989, and, believe it or not, now-competitive rivals Sony and Nintendo were actually business partners back in the day. As the story goes, Nintendo wanted to develop an expansion for its Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), which was also called the Super Famicom in Japan. The project was to create a SNES console which would play CD-ROM discs, as opposed to the just the cartridges we’re familiar with. Sony, however, left the project and Nintendo for unknown reasons, and soon set off to make its own impression on the world of video gaming.
Not too long after Sony split up from Nintendo, Sony Computer Entertainment had been born, along with its first console, the Sony PlayStation (or, as I’ll be referring to it from here on, the PS1). Nintendo then denied Sony’s involvement in the SNES project and made a deal with Philips, producing something known as the Philips CDi, but that’s an article for an entirely different occasion.
Throughout the ages, the PlayStation has grown not only in processing power, but in its overall popularity as well. So, as we continue to look forward to the future of gaming, and the overwhelming success of the PS4, let us not forget our past, beginning with what I’d consider five of the best PS1 games of all-time.
5. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (1997)
Now the subject of a soon-to-come HD remake entitled “Oddworld: New n’ Tasty”, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was hands-down one of the strangest and most difficult games of an entire generation (until its sequel, Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus, was released in 1998, anyway). The game follows the story of protagonist Abe, a mute Mudokon slave at a meat processing plant called Rupture Farms. One day, while spying on his boss, Molluck the Glukkon, Abe discovers the factory’s productivity has been going down due to a meat scarcity.
Molluck’s solution? Slicing up Abe and his slave buddies to be sold as food!
The game has since been renowned for its challenging style of play, puzzles, and overall ingenuity. Plus, it looked pretty cool to say the least, and nothing was more satisfying than throwing one of your enemies into a meat grinder. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee is a must-play, for all gamers.
4. MediEvil (1998)
Sir Daniel Fortesque was a cowardly skeletal knight, and the hero of the MediEvil franchise. Having been the first to die in the Battle of Gallowmere, poor Dan was somewhat of a laughing stock. Until fate gave him a second chance at greatness, that is.
One night, Dan is unintentionally resurrected by his old foe, Zarok. Taking up his sword once again, the bony phony sets out to fight for the future of Gallowmere, and the memory of his valor, battling zombies and evil wizards along the way. It all makes for an enthralling 3D hack n’ slash, but the best thing about MediEvil is its uniquely Gothic tone. Control Daniel as he slays powerful demons and restores order to the land, in hopes of finally being able to enter Asgard’s gates as a true warrior.
Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
3. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999)
One of the most graphically impressive games on the PS1, Soul Reaver was the direct sequel to Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen. Like MediEvil, it is an action-adventure game, but what truly sets this game apart from others is its impeccable storyline.
In this installment, which begins approximately 1,500 years after where Blood Omen left off, the vampire Kain has ascended into godhood. Although the game is a part of the Legacy of Kain franchise, this particular entry focuses on Kain’s first lieutenant, Raziel, who is also a vampire. Kain becomes angered when Raziel surpasses him in strength and skill, and giant wings, like the wings of a devil, soon sprout from Raziel’s back. Raziel, betrayed by his lord, is then cast into Nosgoth’s Lake of Souls to burn eternally, but is revived as the one and only Soul Reaver, a phantom of his former self.
Like MediEvil, this game is a story of revenge and redemption, and contains very similar Gothic elements. If you like a much darker and violent take on vampires, it’s likely this game is for you.
2. Spyro the Dragon (1998)
Widely hailed for its graphics and replay value, Spyro the Dragon was one of the most top-selling video games, not only on the PS1, but of its time. Spyro may have been kid-friendly, but he was parent-friendly, too! The game even boasted an original score from Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Everyone wanted their chance to play as the little purple dragon that could, and for good reason.
Spyro may have been the smallest of all the dragons, but that sure as heck didn’t stop him from flaming pompous egg thieves, collecting colorful gems, releasing his captive brethren, and selling millions upon millions of copies around the world. Spyro has since been featured in thirteen additional games, some good, and others not-so-great. (I’m looking at you, Skylanders!)
1. Crash Bandicoot (1996)
Once the PlayStation’s true mascot, Crash Bandicoot was “a marsupial on a mission!” From N. Sanity Beach, to the final boss fight with series supervillain Neo Cortex, Crash was so much more than the PS1 Mario; he was the undisputed best. Which meant both best in sales, and best in show.
Originally nicknamed “Willie the Wombat”, and designed by the creators of the 3DO game Way of the Warrior (Naughty Dog, also responsible for the Uncharted franchise, as well as the hit PS3 exclusive The Last of Us), Crash took 3D platforming to new entirely heights, and provided PS1 owners with a more-than-satisfying alternative to Nintendo’s recent Super Mario 64 release. Crash Bandicoot was an instant classic, and that’s why it’s here at #1.
Unfortunately, Naughty Dog was forced to forsake the lovable orange bandicoot somewhere between the releases of CTR: Crash Team Racing and Crash Bash, both also on the PlayStation 1. It seemed their contract to produce the Crash video games had long overstayed its welcome, making CTR the last official Naughty Dog Crash adventure. Today, the series has seemingly died out (with talk of a resurrection though), with the most recent Crash Bandicoot game having been released way back in 2008. It’s sad to see him go, that’s for sure, but one thing is even more certain: Crash will always live on in the hearts of his fans. And that’s good enough for me.
Mascots come, and mascots go, but one thing always remains the same regarding video games: the nostalgic value. I, personally, had a PS1 while growing up, and so the games mentioned here are all the things I used to play during in my earlier days. In fact, I still have my PS1, as well as my original copy of Crash Bandicoot. Sometimes I believe that games just won’t be as good as they used to be – blind nostalgia?
Did you (or do you) own the original PlayStation, and if so, what are/were your favorite games on the system? Let us know in the comments section below!