With Sony’s iconic Playstation console being 20 years old this week we thought we would share our favourite selection of games that were released onto the platform.
Crash Team Racing – aka CTR (1999):
Following on from the 3D platforming adventures of Crash Bandicoot came the spin-off racing game Crash Tream Racing (CTR); a kart racing game that attempted to replicate the fun of Mario Kart 64. Developed by Naughty Dog and Published by Sony onto the Playstation the game saw characters from the entire Crash Bandicoot franchise placed into karts in an attempt to win the various Grand Prix’s in the game. Crash Team Racing sold 2.2 million copies and has since received multiple sequels, including a port on the iOS platform.
Tomba!, or better known as Tombi within Europe, is a 2D side-scrolling-platformer that sees players take control of Tomba in order to retrieve his grandfarthers stolen bangle. Depsite appearences Tomba is a mission-based-platformer and as a result the game consists of 130 levels with each level offering a reward for its completion. These rewards, which are known as AP points, can then be collected and used to unlock chests which will grant better abilities, such as an increased health bar. A sequel for Tomba! was released a few years later and in recent times this particular PS1 Classic has been re-released onto the Playstation Network Store.
Spyro the Dragon (1998):
Before Skylanders: Spryo’s Adventure and it’s army of plastic toys came Spryo the Dragon; a 3D action adventure title developed by Insomniac Games that saw players take control of the little purple dragon attempt to rescue his fellow dragons from the clutches of Gnasty Gnorc. As with most games at the time Spryo the Dragon featured a hub-world that saw players able to interact and explore before progressing into a level; but in order to move onto the next hub-world other dragons had to be rescued. During its original release onto the PS1 it sold 4.82 million copies worldwide and has since received many sequels across various platforms.
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos (1997):
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, known simply as Croc by fans, is a 3D platform video game developed by Argonaut Software and published onto the Playstation by Fox Interactive. The game sees Croc on a quest to free all of the Gobbos that have been enslaved by Baron Dante; a feat which is achieved by visiting various game-worlds and defeating the bosses that inhabit them. In total four worlds, known as Islands, were accessible but a fifth island could be accessed if all of the collectibles were found throughout the game. As of today Croc has been released onto multiple platforms; with the most interesting release being the Gameboy Colour version in 2000.
Gex: Enter the Gecko (1999):
Gex: Enter the Gecko, known in Europe as Gex 3D: Enter the Gecko and SpinTail in Japan, is a 3D platform adventure game that sees GEX recruited by a government agency to get rid of REZ. Gex:Enter the Gecko was the first 3D Gex title and unlike similar titles at the time, such as Spryo the Dragon, Gex used a three-way camera control system similar to that of Super Mario 64. What was amusing about Gex is that while it had a story to tell, the assassination of Rez, it was done in a rather unique way – as each level environment was based on a different movie or tv theme, with levels inpsired by Cartoons, Horror and action flicks. GEX also had its fair share of cameo references; including a scene which involved Nikki, from the Pandemonium 2.
Klona: Door to Phantomile (1998):
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a Japanese 2.5D platform game developed and published by Namco for the PlayStation. The game sees Klonoa, and his spritual friend Huepow, exploring the power of dreams across five unique settings. Klonoa was one of the first PS1 games to ulitize fully 3D backgrounds with 2D sprites, and as a result gain quite amount of positive attention however despite this the game didn’t sell too well within western countries. Since its release in 1998 Klonoa has received several sequels and in recent years the game was re-made and re-released onto the Nintendo Wii.
Metal Gear Solid (1998):
To some Metal Gear Solid is the starting point to the Metal Gear franchise, but in actuality it serves as a sequel to the MSX2 versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake; all of which Hideo Kojima directed. Metal Gear Solid puts players in control of Solid Snake, a member of Foxhound, who has been instructed to infiltrate a facility on the shadow moses island in order to get proof of the new nuclear weapon prototype; Metal Gear Rex. For the most part Metal Gear Solid is a ‘stealth and infiltration’ game, as being spotted by enemies will make the game harder, but when it came to boss fights and intense action sequences it was nothing short of pure entertainment; and it didn’t just stop at the game content. Metal Gear Solid had numerous cameos,most of which revolved around Hideo Kojima’s interests, but the most engaging was when Psycho Mantis began to critize save data on your playstation memory card. Since its Metal Gear Solid has received several sequels and spin-off games; but in 2004 the game was re-made for the Nintendo Gamecube as Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes.
Rayman is a 2D side-scrolling-platform game developed by Ludimedia, who would later become Ubisoft Montpellier, and was published by Ubisoft onto a variety of platforms. The game sees Rayman on a quest to save his world from the notorious Mr Mark. Just like other platforming games at the time Rayman could run and jump on to opponents however Rayman’s ability of ‘hovering’ in the air over large gaps did make it more unique than to other platformers at the time. Since its released in 1995 Rayman has stared in many adventure, including more recently Rayman Legends, and characters from the franchise, known as Rabbids, have even starred in their own videogame and TV adaptations.
Final Fantasy VII (1997):
Slated as the best Japanese developed Role-Playing-Games (JPRG) of all time Final Fantasy VII pits players into the steam-punk styled world of Gaia and in the hands of Cloud Strife, a mercenary soldier out for seeking justice with his mercenary group. Final Fantasy VII’s story can be considered notoriously long and complex, but thats what makes it so unique, and the game even through in a few twists including one that resulted in the most ‘shocking’ videogame cut-scenes ever seen in a game.
Personally Final Fantasy VIII is my favourite JPRG title on the PS1; but Final Fantasy VII took everything to the next level; it had great visuals, a superb story and an engaging list of characters – furthermore the main nemesis in this game, Sephiroth, is everything you could hope for from a villian. Since its launch in 1997 Square Enix, who at the time were known as Squaresoft, Final Fantasy VII has sold 9.72 million copies on the PS1 and the game has been ported the game to PC and a re-make is expected to hit the PS4 in the near future. A CGI animated movie, known as Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, was released in 2006 on DVD and Blu-ray and it acts as a sequel to the main game.
Resident Evil 2 (1998):
If there were ever a guide on how to make a ‘good’ sequel then Capcom followed it during the production of Resident Evil 2; but interestingly the Resident Evil 2 we know and love nearly did not happen. Development began on Resident Evil 2 a month after the completion of the first Resident Evil game and saw Leon Kennedy, a newly recruited Racoon Police Officer, and Elza Walker, a teenage motocyclist, surviving a zombie outbreak in Racoon City however when development reached 70% the project was scrapped due to different ideals on how the story should have ended. This variation of Resident Evil 2 would later be known as Resident Evil 1.5, a game which has still yet to see the light of day.
As a result development on the Resident Evil 2 we know today began and while many similarities remain its vastly different on how it ends. It’s also the reason why Resident Evil: Directors Cut was released onto the PS1; not only to promote the new ‘variation’ of Resident Evil 2, as it included a short demo disc, but it bridged the gap between the release of the two games. The Resident Evil 2 that ‘was’ released to the public sees Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield enter Racoon City as part of their daily lives but then end up getting tangled in this Zombie-infested umbrella madness. Resident Evil 2 was also one of the few PS1 games that used two discs and saw four different ways to play the game, with two different storyline elements with different characters, events and boss fights. Since it’s release on the PS1 Resident Evil 2 has been ported to various platforms, include a Gamecube release, and in recent times Capcom have announced a HD Re-make of the title for PS4, Xbox One and PC platforms.
Disney’s Hercules (1997):
Based on the Disney animated movie Hercules is a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up that sees Hercules stripped of his god powers and must prove that he is a true hero in order to regain his immortality; a feat which is achieved by defeating enemies and notorious monsters. In total Hercules had ten levels, but interestingly enough the last two levels are only playable on Medium and Herculean difficulties. Despite being a movie-based-tie-in Disney’s Hercules managed to entertain players with its varied gameplay, and multiple boss fights, while remaining true to the original source material of the film.
Ape Escape (1999):
Ape Escape, otherwise known as Saru! Get You! in Japan, is a 3D action styled platform game that sees Spike travelling across various areas in order to capture monkey’s, or apes if you prefer, that have escaped. The objective of each level is to capture the monkey’s and return them; although this is easy than it seems as the monkey’s would often attack you or climb out of reach. Ape Escape’s release on the Playstation was a significant launch; as it saw the introduction of the DualShock control pad – a controller which featured rumble (or vibration feedback), a feat which had only previously been seen in the Nintendo 64’s Rumble Pak, and twin analog sticks to control camera angles. Ever since its release Ape Escape has spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs; most of which were released onto the PSP.
Oddworld: Abe Oddysee (1997):
Abe’s Oddysee, officially known as Oddworld: Abe Oddysee, is a 2D platform adventure title sees the alien Abe attempt to escape from a facility and rescue members of his own kind. Abe was a pretty odd title, as unlike other games released at the time you had to avoid conflict, solve puzzles and help others – a distinct difference to titles which saw you killing zombies or raiding tombs. Nevertheless Oddworld proved popular among those who managed to successfully get past the first level and as a result a few sequels and spin-off titles were made; including a recent High Definition re-make on the PS4.
Digimon World (2001):
Following on from it’s TV animated appearance Atari, who later became Bandai Namco, released Digimon World; a PS1 JPRG that saw players recruit a digimon, or digital monster if you prefer, and help them grow from a young digimon to an ultimate level digimon. Digimon World is considered a ‘virtual pet simulator’ and while it did allow battles to battle other digimon in the area, as well as explore a relatively large area, it didn’t feature the ‘action-packed’ storyline seen its in sequels. Since it’s released onto the PS1 numerous Digimon ‘World’ games have appeared; including those on the Nintendo DS, and in recent times Bandai Namco Entertainment have announced Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth for the PS Vita.
Tekken 3 (1998):
With two Tekken titles already available on the Playstation it was hard to believe that NAMCO would release a third game onto the platform; but they did and it turned out to be better than any of the others. Featuring improved graphics, and updated character rosta and a whole host of unlockables (including a 2.5D side-scrolling beat-em-up and volleyball game modes) Tekken 3 was the best entry into the franchise; and even today it still proves popular among fans. Since it’s release in 1998 over 8 million copies of the game have been sold worldwide and features found in this variation of the game have been carried over into future titles.
Bomberman Fantasy Race (2000):
Everyone has heard of HUDSON Softs Bomberman franchise; and yet surprisingly hardly anyone remembers the spin-off racing game Bomberman Fantasy Race. Released in the year 2000, or 1999 if you lived in America, the game saw players take control of their favourite coloured Bomberman and race each other on various courses using the iconic Louie or the Tirra animal types. It’s a rather simple game, as the only reward was money to be used on unlocking more Louie or Tirra character types, but it was fun. Since its release the game has been re-released as a digital download onto the Playstation Network; however this is only for Japanese and American PSN users.
Gran Turismo (1998):
After years of generic ‘arcade style’ racing games Sony Computer Entertainment released Gran Turismo; a detailed realistic racing simulation game proving that games aren’t just for fun. Released in 1998 Gran Turismo featured an in-depth career mode, known as Simulation, which saw the player requiring different levels of ‘driving licenses’ in order to use the more advanced cars in addition to regular gameplay modes such as Time Trial and Grand Prix. Of course Gran Turismo’s selling point was its realism; be it the look and feel of the car or how accurate the track was. Since its release onto the Playstation in 1998 numerous sequels and tech-demos have been released and with each installment came massive improvements.
Tomb Raider (1996):
Lara Croft’s debut onto the Playstation arrived in 1996 and it pushed the boundaries of what one could expect from a video game system. The story saw Lara Croft travelling across distant locations in order to retrieve relics for a private collector; but it wasn’t just the story that held everything together as the game itself played brilliantly. Tomb Raider had a balance of puzzle solving, gunfights and strategic movement in order to progress forward and it offered a gameplay style that had not previously been seen – if not that much – in other games; in short it was a refreshing experience with a compelling story. Since it’s release in 1996 Tomb Raider has sold over 7 million copies and has received many sequels and ports including a version which was released onto the Nokia N-Gage and Gameboy Colour.
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