After dominating the market with the NES and SNES, Nintendo created quite a formidable foe by backpedaling on its proposed partnership with Sony to make a disc-based gaming platform. The Big N went on to make the Nintendo 64, while Sony took a bold step in the gaming ring with the PlayStation. The disc-powered console went on to make quite a dent in the gaming market, capturing the hearts and minds of consumers looking for variety and unbelievable creativity. Despite the fact that it was Sony's first time in the gaming space, it managed to more than hold its own thanks to such a quality library of software. Let's take a look at the best of the best as we count down the top 25 games to grace the platform.
25. Syphon Filter
Stealth-action titles were going through some serious growing pains during the PSone era—and in many respects still are—so when Syphon Filter hit the scene back in 1999, there was a lot to love about Eidetic Studios' impressive third-person shooter. While the gameplay and visuals may feel quite a bit outdated today, at the time they were quite impressive. Couple that with an interesting plot with some serious depth and you've got a great stealth experience that was only outmatched in its genre by one other PlayStation title, which we'll get to much, much later.
Those looking for unique need look no further than PaRappa the Rapper, a music-rhythm game developed by NanaOn-Sha. In fantastic Japanese style, the game is totally wacky and out there, yet at the same time insanely endearing. PaRappa is about a rapping dog (coincidentally) named PaRappa who (coincidentally) raps. The game has an incredibly unique visual style and features a slew of music that is just as out there. If you're looking for something off the beaten path, this is the title for you.
23. Ape Escape
As the first game to make use of the console's dual analog control option, Ape Escape turned quite a few heads when it launched in '99. In it you play as Spike, a guy who must go on a quest through time to stop an evil monkey named Specter. This evil ape is equipped with a special helmet that gives him an abnormal level of intelligence, and as such, he has taken it upon himself to rewrite history by creating an army of helmet-equipped monkeys and sending them back in time. Needless to say, it's a charming platformer that can't be taken too seriously.
Continuing the trend of "odd" titles that truly make the PlayStation library one of the most diverse in gaming history, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is all about being different. Heck, just check out the main character. This puzzle-platforming sequel took everything that was great about its predecessor, Abe's Oddysee, and delivered it in a quality package that also included a wonderfully helpful quick-save feature. Fans of something a bit more cerebral and totally out there need to give the Oddworld series a look, and Abe's ; should be your first stop.
21. Twisted Metal 2
Another perfect example of a great sequel is Twisted Metal 2, a car combat game that is heavy on explosions. Those with a soft spot for blowing things up can find a lot to love in the Twisted Metal games, especially its multiplayer mode, which pits players against each other in various combat arena with the simple goal of being the last car still standing. Speeding around the terrain while blasting your pals into heaps of scrap metal provided so many gamers with endless hours of sheer gaming joy.
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Every fighting game fan—and especially those who align themselves with Capcom—should be very familiar with Street Fighter Alpha 3. This third entry up the ante big time, offering many more characters, a slew of new stages, and some pretty killer music that will have you humming for days. Most importantly however, the gameplay mechanics include an additional layer of depth, working in three different fighting styles.
19. Colony Wars
Pysgnosis brought space combat to the PlayStation in a big way with Colony Wars. This starfighter-centric simulation game allows players to choose from one of seven different vessels, each equipped with its own set of weapons. Interestingly enough, the campaign of Colony Wars features a number of branching paths, meaning that failure to succeed in a particular task may influence the final outcome.
18. Vagrant Story
While Final Fantasy often gets all the attention when it comes to role-playing games on the original PlayStation, there are a handful of others worth your while. Vagrant Story is one such title, boasting a memorable story filled with interesting characters. Gameplay-wise the title stands out by focusing far more on weapon crafting and strategy over more traditional RPG elements. The game was developed by the folks behind Final Fantasy Tactics, so its quality should hardly come as a surprise.
17. Soul Blade
As the precursor to Namco's incredibly popular fighting franchise Soul Calibur, Soul Edge must be commended for laying the groundwork. At that time, 3D fighters that featured weapon-based combat were basically non-existent, so when Soul Edge stepped onto the scene, the variety and depth that such an addition offered was amazing. Honestly, where would the world of fighting games be without the wacky and yet totally disturbing Voldo?
16. Wipeout XL
Before Psygnosis wowed gamers with the aforementioned Colony Wars, the talented studio brought to market Wipeout XL, a futuristic anti-gravity racing game that took high speed races to a whole new level. Nintendo gamers liked to boast about the fact that they had F-Zero to keep them busy, but those on Sony's side of the fence had something quite spectacular of their own. Oh yeah, and there are weapons. Who doesn't like weapons?
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15. Chrono Cross
It's no secret that the original PlayStation is loaded with quality JRPGs, and Chrono Cross from Square Enix is one that is worthy of much praise. Everything you'd expect from a great role-playing game can be found here, from an engaging cast of memorable characters to a deep and engrossing story. Serving as the followup to the much beloved SNES classic Chrono Trigger, this PSone RPG had a lot to live up to. The fact that it didn't disappoint is a testament to its incredible quality.
14. Silent Hill
Horror and suspense is a tough thing to nail in a video game, but the folks over at Konami managed to pull it off in expert fashion with Silent Hill. Instead of throwing a bunch of cheap scares at the player, Silent Hill took the psychologically unnerving approach, giving the gamer a sense of helplessness in unsettling situations. If you want an experience that will keep you up at night, this PlayStation hit should be on the top of your must-play pile.
13. Final Fantasy IX
Square's trio of Final Fantasy RPGs on the PS1 will go down in history as some of the greatest in the genre. Final Fantasy IX is one of those three, and oh man, is this one epic experience. Say what you want about the tail-bearing protagonist, but I found him instantly likable along with the rest of the his crew. And remember Vivi? That cute little mage will forever be embedded deep within my childhood memories.
12. Resident Evil 2
Capcom has Resident Evil 2 to thank for really making its horror franchise one of the most memorable and prominent the industry has ever seen. Don't get me wrong, the original was great, but RE2 took the series to new levels of awesome. With the perfect balance between puzzle solving, exploration, and intense action, this game will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Couple that with unique stories for each of the game's main characters and you've got one robust horror experience worth sinking your teeth into.
I have so many wonderful memories tied to Final Fantasy VIII. First off, I absolutely loved the battle system, especially the inclusion of GFs (Guardian Forces). For those that don't know, these guys are hulking creatures you can summon during battle to aid in disposing your enemies. Oh yeah, and the story is pretty great too. Squall is easily one of my favorite Final Fantasy characters and the rest of the cast is just as memorable. If you're a JRPG fan, this one's an absolute must in my book.
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10. Gran Turismo
Racing games were changed forever when Gran Turismo came onto the scene in the late 90s. Polyphony Digital's racing simulator raised the bar for the genre, serving up the most authentic driving experience at the time. Since then the series has gone on to be one of the most important and profitable franchises for Sony. Consumers will purchase a PlayStation console just to play Gran Turismo and the original GT started it all.
9. Suikoden II
Role-playing fanatics hail Suikoden II as one of the PlayStation's finest gems. This JRPG from Konami is heavy on characters, and when I say heavy, I mean heavy. With a virtually countless cast of playable characters and many more that all push the game's engrossing plot forward, it's difficult not to get wrapped up in the world of Suikoden II. With a nice blend of strategy and action, there's plenty here for those looking for a quality gameplay experience as well.
8. Tomb Raider
The famous Lara Croft made her triumphant debut on the PlayStation 1 in expert fashion. Sure, the visuals and controls may not hold up all that well today, but the iconic tomb-raiding heroine made quite an impact on the gaming community and has become one of the most recognizable characters the industry has ever seen. With a nice blend of action, exploration, and puzzle solving, Tomb Raider blazed a trail forward for the future of action adventure games.
Xenogears is one of those rare role-playing games that pushed mechanics and storytelling to new heights thanks to Squaresoft's ingenious and bold decisions in creative design. This sci-fi JRPG deals with heavy and complex themes, tackling topics regarding religion, machine vs. man, and many others. With so many colorful characters and themes, there's a lot here for analytical gamers to chew on. Oh yeah, and the gameplay is quite great too, thanks to its dual-layered combat system.
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Tactics games don't get much better than this. In addition to the trio of traditional Final Fantasy JRPGs that launched on the original PlayStation, Squaresoft crafted a tactical strategy title that was downright magical. Final Fantasy Tactics has an incredibly deep and intriguing narrative, a slew of characters you actually care about, and a deep, engrossing gameplay system that will test your strategy skills. Oh, and that music…
4. Tekken 3
I don't like fighting games. I just don't. But I will never forget the first time I played Tekken 3 many, many years ago on a friend's PlayStation. I was a Nintendo 64 kid so I was rather ignorant on Sony's console, but I had so much fun playing this game—which I thought I would totally hate—that I seriously considered picking up Sony's console after that gameplay session. The fact that a game in a genre I generally dislike managed to win my heart is reason enougt to earn Tekken 3 such a high spot on this list. It's an incredible fighting game with excellent controls. If it can make me a believer, this game will win over any gamer.
During the PS1 era, developers were focused on making 3D experiences first and foremost. However, Konami decided to tap into the power of Sony's console in a very different way, by making what is arguably the most incredible 2D action game ever. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night proves that it's not all about pushing polygons, especially when you've got incredible level design and pitch-perfect gameplay to back it up. Everyone must play SotN. It's just that simple.
In addition to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the original Metal Gear Solid is the reason I write about games for a living. Taking storytelling and in-game production values to an entirely new level, Kojima basically revolutionized the way video games tell stories. With an engrossing plot, some of the most memorable characters in gaming, and a clever approach to stealth, there's so much to love about Solid Snake's first outing on PlayStation hardware.
Much like how Halo: Combat Evolved made Microsoft's Xbox relevant in the gaming space, Final Fantasy VII solidified Sony's platform against competitors like Nintendo and Sega. Squaresoft's first 3D entry in its popular role-playing franchise failed to disappoint, delivering one of the most memorable stories you will ever experience across any platform. The buster sword-wielding, spikey-haired protagonist is one of the most adored heroes in gaming. There's a reason why fans are clamoring for an HD remake.