The original PlayStation has an abundance of top titles, games that were pioneering, boundary-pushing bundles of intrigue the likes of which we won’t really see again.
But I believe there are 4 that define this console for me. 4 that I painstakingly sought after in mint condition to keep for ever more and are still as playable as ever despite being surrounded by the modern multi-million dollar masterpieces of current generation systems…
There are fancier, more polished racers. There are games with a plethora of real life cars to push around the world’s circuits via multiple game modes, but they just don’t come close in replay value to good old RR.
Ridge Racer was built on pure sublime simplicity, 1 track, a small handful of cars (A few more if you beat the mini Space Invaders style game at the start while the game loads), a ridiculously satisfying and satisfyingly ridiculous drift dynamic, and a need to replay the track again and again until you’ve squeezed every last split second from your lap, which even then you know you can beat if you have just one… more… go…
The best way to play this game?
Grab a copy of Ridge Racer R4 and Ridge Racer Hi-Spec Demo is bundled with it, basically its the original but with graphic improvements such as running at 50fps (rather than 25fps as per the original game) and improved lighting. This bump in performance brings it inline with the arcade original from whence it came but with a trade off that you only get the time trial mode rather than the full-grid of cars… Something that certainly doesn’t bother me as I’m very much a time trial junkie.
Some other upsides of this version? Hi-Spec Demo brings with it a Time Attack (TA) mode which is just you and the clock, no other cars on the track to interfere with your lap time, and secondly, and this is a pretty cool one, if you beat the good ol’ Devil Car (Black #13) in TT mode then you get to race against (and if you win, unlock) the White Angel #0 from Ridge Racer Revolution, but on the classic RR track!
Oh and I forgot to mention, this game needs to be played using the Namco NeGcon controller, but you knew that right?
Why play DOOM on the PlayStation? surely its just a port of the PC version with a less intuitive control system?
Even John Romero reportedly stated that this was the best version of DOOM, and this isn’t only from a VFM point of view… Yes you get original DOOM (plus the extra chapter from Ultimate DOOM) along with the mighty DOOM II, but there are buckets of tasty graphical enhancements such as new lighting effects and transparencies along with a completely re-written soundtrack and improved sound effects dramatically adding to the atmosphere of the game.
The controls? Once you set it up right they are more than fine, and very befitting of the simplicity of old-school FPS. I can highly recommend:
R2 – Shoot
L2 – Run
Square – Strafe Left
Circle – Strafe Right
X – Use
L1 – Weapon Cycle Down
R1 – Weapon Cycle Up
One downside is no saving, all done with codes which is a minor niggle that I can live with… You can bring up the level select by pausing and then doing:
Right, Left, R2, R1, Triangle, L1, Circle, X
… but I much prefer using my own code so it properly restores exact health, guns,ammo etc.
Despite the saving gripe, you need this game on your shelf, or more appropriately spinning in your PlayStation.
Final Fantasy VII
I doubt this one needs any explanation but I’m gonna give you the nuts ‘n bolts of it.
FFVII made the role playing genre cool. It had an emotive storyline that will stay with you forever and some of the finest gameplay to ever be produced on any platform.
New fan art for this game still pops up on Deviantart 17 years after release… There’s a reason folks!
Metal Gear Solid
One of the first mainstream games in my mind to promote stealth, planning and patience over straight-up blow-yer-tits-off running and gunning. In MGS you simply couldn’t square off against a bad guy and get peppered with bullets in the face one minute and then carry on your day all la-di-da the next.
It may have been a graphical showcase back in the day but that trump card has withered away with the following generations but what remains is still a gameplay masterpiece that is every bit as good today as it was in 1998.
Engaging, highly satisfying, often pretty funny and a crackin’ bit of story telling.
Possibly the best game on the PlayStation? Possibly one of the best games of all time?
Other games of note
Those are my 4, the ones that I shall come back to time and time again and the ones I had to get hold of as soon as I decided to get a PSone and get back to some simple no-nonsense gaming… But there are a good many more that should be at least mentioned. These games are also superb and well worthy of ownership, they just don’t click with me like the above:
- Wipeout 2097 – better than the original by far and another superb game to be played with the NeGcon controller.
- Street Fighter Alpha 2 – Still one of the best, although there’s no analogue support and the d-pad is a bit hard to revert back to for a fighting game in this day and age. Is Alpha 2 better than Alpha 3? I’d say so… Alpha 3 is over complicated with different fighting modes and all that jazz, plus it got rid of the cool 90s arcade game music and opted for some sort of techno bollocks.
Abe’s Oddysee – Still one of my favourite side-scrolling platformers, highly satisfying and devilishly tricky.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – A now highly sort after game which frequently pops up in other peoples top 5 lists so I bought it to see what the fuss was about… Not for me to be honest, don’t like non-linear stuff and I’m not keen on the nerdy (look who’s talking) gothic theme, but I see why other people would love it and its worth picking up if that’s your cup o’ tea.
Much love people. Happy gaming!