Game collecting has skyrocketed due to the lockdown of COVID and the general boredom of a new generation of gamers stuck inside. With the easy access of information from YouTube, Wikipedia, and various streams and let’s-plays, retro gaming is seeing a renaissance. To collectors this is usually a bad time to buy up games. A game that was once maybe $30 can easily shoot upwards above $100 because of it’s obscurity, rarity, or going viral on a popular YouTube channel. You may think you want to pick up Tekken for $5, but you might look on eBay and see $60 price tags and go, “HUH?!” Your favorite childhood PS1 game like maybe Symphony of the Night isn’t a quick $20 steal and the different versions matter. Original black label releases always cost more than the Greatest Hits versions. This is because the black labels were a smaller print run because the games weren’t popular yet. Don’t fret though. Your favorite game may not be cheap but there are so many fantastic games you and others have never heard of that are worth playing. You won’t see any survival horror here as that genre is highly coveted because of its niche. The PS1/PS2 era of survival horrors are considered mostly cult classics. You won’t see a lot of Mega Man games, JRPGs, or a lot of obscure and rare titles either.
The PlayStation is one of the most diverse 32-bit systems when it comes to genres and overall games available. The system saw numerous entries for any genre imaginable and it can be intimidating to start collecting today. I’m going to cover games that you can pick up complete in box for under $20 to help start your collection. These may not be rare, or even popular, but they’re interesting and fun for sure. These are actually all games in my personal collection so I’m going to stick with that rather than research every single PS1 game and find prices on eBay…that would take months.
Akuji the Heartless – Crystal Dynamics/Eidos Interactive – 1999
Akuji is a game I have played all the way through and it’s from the creators of Tomb Raider. It looks good and has a great atmosphere, but it does feel a bit clunky in spots, but not to the point you can’t finish the game. There are a few frustrating mechanics at play, but if you want a good looking action game then pick this up.
Animaniacs: Ten Pin Alley – Saffire, Inc./American Softworks Corporation – 1998
Ten Pin Alley is one of the best bowling games on the system and who doesn’t love Animaniacs? It isn’t stuffy like most pro bowling games and has great animations and one-liners from the triplets. It has great sound effects and just feels like the show in general.
Army Men: Air Attack – The 3DO Company – 1999
This is a fun Choplifter clone starring the green toys. It has tight controls, fun objectives, and just plays well overall. It can get a little repetitive, but the miniaturization of everything is great and is one of the best Army Men games made in this era.
Asteroids – Syrox Developments/Activision – 1998
It’s Asteroids but in THREE DEE. This was a common thing to bring back 8-bit games into 3D and some succeeded while most didn’t. Asteroids is fun and fast paced and looks modern, for the time, and it’s one of the cheapest games you can pick up on the system complete.
Ballistic – Mitchell Corporation/Infogrames – 1999
It’s a Zuma clone before Zuma. It’s the best way to explain this. A lot of people compared it to Puyo Puyo at the time, but it’s obviously nothing like it in reality. It’s a fun match three puzzle game that’s dirt cheap and will provide tons of fun.
Black Dawn – Black Ops Entertainment/Virgin Interactive – 1996
Black Dawn is a great looking helicopter sim with great controls and a lot of fun missions. These types of games were clunky in the 32-bit era, but Black Ops managed to make a helicopter sim on a home console playable. PC was where all of the flight sims were home to back in the day, but a few managed to make it on consoles.
Bust-A-Move 99 – Taito Corporation/Acclaim Entertainment – 1999
Bust-A-Move is one of my favorite puzzle games of all time. I still remember beating the grim reaper boss on the SNES version and getting past that 100th level. The music is great, the graphics are colorful, and the puzzles are addictive and the difficulty slowly ramps up. The PlayStation version is a great puzzle game just like the classic and you can’t really go wrong here.
C-12: Final Resistance – SCE Studio Cambridge/SCEA – 2001
C-12 was released late in the PS1’s life cycle, in fact, just after the PS2 launched. The game looks fantastic and pushes the system to its limits, and it’s a very entertaining action game. It didn’t sell well due to the hype of the PS2 and a lot of consumers were over the 32-bit era by now. It plays similar to Syphon Filter and has a great sci-fi atmosphere. It’s very underrated and overlooked by most. I believe this was the last first party title developed on the system.
Championship Motocross 2001 Featuring Ricky Carmichael – Funcom Dublin/THQ – 2001
Another late releasing PS1 game, Motocross 2001 is a solid circuit style dirt bike racing game. It had great physics and looked good with some excellent sound in there as well. This was one of the best dirt bike games before the MX series came along. The game also feels fast paced despite slightly slippery physics. The system couldn’t do too much and Gran Turismo was about as realistic as you could get on the system, but that was years spent studying the hardware.
Codename: Tenka – Psygnosis – 1997
Most FPS games are coveted on 32-bit systems because it was the era just before they became mainstream on 128-bit systems. Tenka is an odd Doom clone set in a sci-fi universe with over 20 missions. It’s hard and sometimes frustrating due to poor checkpoint placement, but it requires patience and slower movement than Doom. It’s a great alternative with full 3D graphics, while not the best FPS on the system, it is still a lot of fun for the low price of entry.
Colony Wars: Vengeance – Psygnosis – 1998
Psygnosis were masters at their craft during the 32-bit era both on consoles and PCs. Colony Wars: Vengeance is considered one of the best games on the system and it’s surprising it’s so cheap despite this claim. While it didn’t sell too well space combat lovers will get a lot of fun out of this. The game looks fantastic, has a lot of variety in missions, and just feels good to control. This was actually one of the first PS1 games I ever bought that kick started the collector in me. I didn’t own a single PS1 game outside of Mortal Kombat: Trilogy and this was a must have.
Darkstone – Delphine Software/Take-Two – 2001
Another game released late into the system’s life, and a Diablo clone of all things. Now this game is something that you either love or hate. It’s still one of the best Diablo clones on any console system as these just didn’t really exist back in the day. It has a decent story, lots of loot, and looks pretty good. It may feel clunky compared to later games like Champions of Norrath, but it’s well worth the time it takes to get into it.
Descent Maximum – Parallax Software/Interplay Productions – 1997
Descent is considered one of the best PC games of the 90’s and this is probably one of the best PC ports to home consoles at the time. This is essentially Descent 2, but was put in a new engine and had 36 levels retooled for the PS1, so essentially this is a PS1 exclusive Descent game. You play in a first person view and can rotate 360 degrees and you shoot down things in mines and tunnels. It’s fast paced and a lot of fun. You can’t go wrong here.
Descent – Parallax Software/Interplay Productions – 1996
Probably a little better than Maximum, Descent has players trying to find a reactor core in each level and you get 45 seconds to find the escape hatch afterwards. It’s a lot of fast paced fun and was one of the best PC-to-console ports of the time. It takes advantage of the DualShock controller and looks great in the process. Even the longbox version of the game is cheap right now.
Destruction Derby 2 – Reflections Interactive/SCEA – 1996
This is one of the best games on the system and is so cheap because of how well it sold. There’s a lot of copies out there. The game looks great for being an early title on the system and is more of the same but just tweaked and improved upon. Pit stops are a thing now and there are more tracks with more cars. More is always good, right?
Driver – Reflections Interactive/GT Interactive – 1999
Brought to you by the creators of Destruction Derby, Reflections were some of the best out there when it came to fast paced arcade racers. Driver went the more realistic route with one of the best looking games of the entire era and had an open world with excellent driving mechanics. Some may find it boring, but some may love just how modern it feels. It’s not for everyone, but if you want something that was really genre defining for the system then this is it.
Duke Nukem: Time to Kill – n-Space/GT Interactive – 1999
Duke Nukem made a strong presence on PS1 and was the only console ever to have this much mainstay. Duke Nukem had a series of games set in the third person and Time to Kill was probably the best of them. It had the same fun humor, multiplayer, and great controls and level design. If you want a great third person shooter, this is one of the best on the system.
Final Fantasy Origins – Square Enix – 2002
So this is a weird one. You can still find sealed copies of this game, the Greatest Hits version, because it was one of the last PS1 games ever released. I picked up a sealed copy a few years ago for $20 and was shocked. It contains great ports of Final Fantasy I and II for a low price. While these aren’t the best games in the series, this is great for those who want to play the older NES/SNES titles in a higher resolution with slightly upgraded visuals.
Final Fantasy VIII – Square – 1999
This is an instant classic, but also a lot of people’s least favorite in the series. It did a lot of things different like the stupid magic system for one, which I can’t stand, as it’s based on cards instead of mana. However, the story, characters, setting, and overall atmosphere are memorable. Just be prepared to sink nearly 40 hours into this game as it’s long and only for diehard JRPG fans. The pre-rendered cut scenes look fantastic and overall it’s a great looking game.
Frogger – Millennium Interactive/Hasbro Interactive – 1997
This is a game I spent a lot of time on as a kid. My sister got this from a game store used and we sunk so many hours into it despite it being hard as balls. If you didn’t like the classic arcade Frogger you won’t like this one here despite the 3D graphics. It doesn’t look the best, but it’s challenging platforming fun.
G-Police – Psygnosis – 1997
Hey it’s them again. G-Police is a helicopter game set in the distant future. You are tasked to destroy things, follow suspicious packages, maneuver through billboards and skyscrapers, and it’s rather fun despite being a really dark looking game. It’s one of the better flight games on the system and a must have for anyone who likes this genre.
Gran Turismo – Polyphony Digital/SCEA – 1998
Ah yes, the game that actually made me care about cars and allowed me to identify EVERY single car on the road just by tail lights, badges, or silhouettes. That’s how good Gran Turismo is and the amount of detail this game sucked out of the PS1 is astounding. It took the world by storm and for once PC gamers were jealous of console players. This was the most advanced racing sim of the generation and it was on a puny console? I spent dozens of hours trying to get gold in the license trials and doing 100 lap endurance runs. It’s a fantastic game, but of course you can just get the sequel instead unless you want to see how the series progressed.
Gran Turismo 2 – Polyphony Digital/SCEA – 1999
Yep, more of the same but better-er. It somehow looked better, had more cars, tracks, upgrades, modes, and was just the best racing sim of the entire generation. It came out late in the console’s life and would pave the path for Gran Turismo 3, the single best console racing sim of the 2000’s. Unless you want to see the series progression just pick this one up as it holds up surprisingly well today. I can easily pick this up and spend an entire day racing and having fun.
Grid Runner – Radical Entertainment/Virgin Interactive – 1996
This was an early title for the system and unless you like capture-the-flag don’t bother. It’s fun and challenging as you run along the paths of different levels and requires some strategy. It’s mindless fun and great in short bursts and it’s super cheap. It has a weird art style and isn’t the best looking game, but it’s also fun with another person.
Grind Session – Shaba Games/SCEA – 2000
Probably one of the best Tony Hawk clones, Grind Session offers some slightly different gameplay, skaters, and levels of course. While not quite as polished it’s still fun. It’s only competitor at the time was the first Tony Hawk and Thrasher. It also featured a fantastic licensed soundtrack and just looked good with smooth frame rates as well. Sadly, due to Tony Hawk‘s popularity, this game wound up in the bargain bins as a rip-off and nothing more.
Gubble – Actual Entertainment/Mud Duck Productions – 1998
Umm, what the hell is right. I’m sure no one has heard of this game at all. It’s a fun puzzle game in which you break apart levels to free your race from invaders. It’s kind of like a tower defense game, but different. It’s super weird, looks ugly as sin, but that’s kind of the charm with this game. If you want a quirky puzzle game then look no further.
Hot Wheels: Turbo Racing – Stormfront Studios/EA – 1999
This is seriously one of the most fun games I have played on the system. It’s face paced, colorful, there are a lot of imaginative tracks and cars, and it feels like a Hot Wheels game should be. The framerate is also pretty smooth and also includes a heavy metal licensed soundtrack. It’s such an underrated arcade game on the system and is always overlooked for Need for Speed or Wipeout.
The Italian Job – Pixelogic Limited/Rockstar Games – 2001
This came out towards the end of the system’s life cycle and while it looks fantastic it isn’t for everyone. It’s a checkpoint based arcade racer with realistic physics and art. The game has you evading the mafia, police, and others as you race through twists and turns in the city. It doesn’t have much variety, but it plays well and is a fun alternative if you’ve burned out all the popular racers.
Jet Moto 2 – 989 Studios/SCEA – 1998
A fun jet ski game and there aren’t many of those. This was a racing series Sony milked for the longest time but never saw an entries past the PS1. It’s fast paced, fun, and looks great and runs at a steady framerate. It at least does have a good sense of speed, but the physics may feel wonky if you aren’t into jet skis.
Jet Moto 3 – Pacific Coast Power & Light/989 Studios – 1999
It’s more Jet Moto if that’s your thing. This time Sony gave up the publishing rights and it was created by a new studio. This is by far the best entry in the series and one of the best arcade racers on the system. It has a whopping 19 tracks and you can now race across land and use a grapple to take turns. It runs smooth and looks great. A must have if you love arcade racers.
Lemmings & Oh No! More Lemmings – DMA Design/Psygnosis – 1998
Lemmings an acquired taste and mostly PC gamers will remember this from back in the day. It’s developed by what would become Rockstar Games, the same team who made GTA. It’s a reverse tower defense in which you must manipulate the levels around you to guide the lemmings to safety. There are a ton of levels and a lot of different lemmings to use. This is probably one of the best console ports for the system. It’s slow paced, so if you want a cerebral puzzle game then go for this.
Mass Destruction – NMS Software/American Softworks Corporation – 1997
This is a top down shooter in which you drive a tank and blow everything up. It looks kind of ugly but plays well and has a good sense of speed. It’s one of the earlier titles for the system and didn’t garner much sales. If you want some quick jump-in-and-play action then this is for you.
Medal of Honor: Underground – DreamWorks Interactive/EA – 2000
While the first game was great the second game is even better. It plays a little better, improved graphics and more varied missions. You could say this was the birth of the modern military shooter and you can see the blueprint here. It’s a great game to play through and is probably one of the few good 3D FPS games on consoles in this time. It was a late PS1 release thus it didn’t see as many sales as the first game, but it’s still impressive nonetheless.
Medal of Honor – DreamWorks Interactive/EA – 1999
I remember seeing a demo of this at a local gamestore when I was a kid and was blown away by the graphics and just seeing a PC FPS game on the PS1. I had played Quake before this and was just surprised. This game revolutionized first person shooters on consoles. It felt modern, close to PC versions, and just looked and handled really well. It was also the birth of the modern yearly shooter releases we have grown to loath over the years. While Steven Spielberg sold the rights to EA after the release of Underground, the formula and blueprint staid with the series with Allied Assault being considered the best entry in the series. While not as good or as polished as Underground is a cheap way to discover the birth of modern FPS on consoles.
Moto Racer World Tour – Delphine Software/Infogrames – 2000
This game just looks amazing for the system. The detailed cockpit view is astounding and the tracks look great. It’s no surprise as this was released late in the console’s life so most developers were pulling every trick in the book on the PS1. It has great bikes, physics, controls, and has a great sense of speed. It’s fun for any motorbike fan.
Ms. Pac-Man: Maze Madness – Namco – 2000
This is a great 3D remake of the original classic. It looks the part, sounds great, and has well designed levels. You just can’t go wrong here as it’s one of the better 8-bit remakes of the time. There are a lot of levels and it features a stupid story even. Gotta love it!
N2O: Nitrous Oxide – Gremlin Interactive – 1998
This is a fast paced on rails tunnel shooter and man is it hard and exciting. While the tunnels are kind of boring the enemies are fun and the game is a blast to play through with varied levels. The game is all about taking down real world insects so if you are afraid of bugs you probably won’t want this. Power-ups and items to find as well. It’s a fun take on the vertical shooter.
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit – EA – 1998
Of course everyone knows this series. While it did get better during the next generation of consoles, Hot Pursuit is considered by many the pinnacle of the series. While it looked best on PC, the PS1 version is no slouch. A good amount of modes, high speed real-world cars, great tracks, a good sense of speed, and nice physics all add to a top quality arcade racer. This is some of the best the generation had to offer.
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed – Eden Studios/EA – 2000
Handed over to a different developer this time around, Porsche Unleashed is all about, you guessed it, Porsches. There are a whopping 80 cars and two completely different game modes to go through. Race as usual or become a test driver for Porsche. The physics model is updated once again and is such a fun time all around. This is still where the series peaked and is one of the best racing games of the generation.
Norse By Norse West: Return of the Lost Vikings – Blizzard Entertainment/Interplay – 1997
Yes, this was developed by the good Blizzard. This is an action puzzle game where you play as 3D sprite Vikings. It doesn’t look super pretty, but it’s fun and has some interesting levels to play through. It’s also slow paced, so don’t go into this expecting Jazz the Jackrabbit stuff here. If you want something to just chill out to and love puzzle solving then this is a great pick up for you.
Nuclear Strike – EA – 1997
This is a top down helicopter flight game that is fast paced and looks really good. The levels are varied and the gameplay has multiple objectives to complete. It controls really well to and has a good sense of speed. It’s honestly one of the best top down helicopter games of the era and shouldn’t be passed up.
O.D.T.: Escape…or Die Trying – Psygnosis – 1998
See, that name showed up again! Psygnosis made some great classics or underrated gems. ODT is an action adventure platformer with some light puzzle solving. It has a sci-fi settings and controls fairly well despite not being super fast paced. It’s fully 3D and looks pretty decent too. I actually picked up a copy of this still sealed a few years ago for under $20. These were over produced as Psygnosis thought they had their next Tomb Raider on their hands and it was just lost in the shuffle. 1998 was a major year for game releases as we were in a mature stage of the 32-bit era.
Pac-Man World – Nacmo – 1999
Pac-Man World is actually a fairly good series spreading out on the PSP and Xbox. It controls well, it’s a lot of fun, and doesn’t try to stick to the Pac-Man formula too much. Pac-Man World 3 even has an insane plot that takes itself really seriously. It’s not the best platformer on the system, but it’s still a lot of fun if you like Pac-Man.
Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle – Activision – 1998
Pitfall made it’s 3D platformer debut here and it’s actually not bad. The animations are good, the levels are varied, and it feels like a modern Pitfall game. You gather crystals, complete levels, and enjoy the platforming. You don’t even have to like the original game to enjoy this one either.
Pong: The Next Level – Supersonic Software/Hasbro Interactive – 1999
It’s Pong, but in THREE DEE! It’s actually quite good with great animations, fun levels, and varied takes on the series. This is probably the best Pong remake ever made and it’s one of the cheapest games on the system you can pick up. Usually less than $5 complete. lt’s more fun with other players, and even supports the multitap, but it’s great pick-up-and play to kill an hour or two.
Project Overkill – Konami – 1996
One of the earlier releases on the system, this is an isometric action shooter and is actually quite fun. There’s around 50 levels and you just run around mowing every one down. It’s a lot of fun, and while looking a little rough, it still plays well. You think something this obscure and “hidden” would be more expensive, but I guess people haven’t caught on yet.
Quake II – id Software/Activision – 1999
This was one of the best console ports around. It featured every level and even multiplayer and was just solid and ran at a good frame rate. I sadly only had the N64 version which wasn’t as good, but I still played this game to death and even more so once I picked it up years later. If you haven’t experienced the perfection of Quake II this is a great console port and one of the best FPS games of the generation.
RC de GO! – Taito/Acclaim – 2000
A late release for the system, but the miniature car top down racer is a lot of fun. There are over a dozen tracks and cars and it just runs well, has great visuals, and a good sense of speed. If you don’t like top down racers from the 16-bit era than pass this up, but the camera does a good job keeping up with the action.
Rampage World Tour – Game Refuge/Midway Games – 1997
This is Rampage, but 3D! It actually plays very close to the arcade classic with nice cartoony graphics and tons of levels and power-ups to use. It’s a lot of fun and you can easily get addicted and sucked into the game for hours. If you don’t care much for the simplicity of arcade games then pass this up, but otherwise it’s a must have.
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 – Midway – 2000
While not as polished as the PS2 version this is still a great version of the game. A boxing game with funny over the top characters and Michael Jackson. It’s hilarious and is a lot of fun in short bursts especially with others so you can laugh together at the humor. The game feels more like a regular fighter than a boxing sim so don’t take it too seriously.
Ridge Racer – Namco – 1995
This was a launch title for the system and it shows. It looks really rough and is really simple, but it’s fast paced racing and worth a pick up just to see how the series progressed over time. While Ridge Racer 2 is much better this one is incredibly cheap and fun to play through for a few hours.
Road Rash 3-D – EA – 1998
Road Rash was one of the best racing games on the Sega Genesis and it transitioned to 3D really well. The game is fast paced, looks good, and has a lot of tracks and bikes to choose from. At this time EA pretty much dominated the console arcade racing scene and they were at their prime here. Road Rash is a must have for any fan of arcade racers and the combat just adds a layer to the already sweet cake.
Road Rash: Jailbreak – EA – 2000
A late console release, Jailbreak was a little more arcade like than 3D, but still fun nonetheless. It pulls the camera back some and adds a few changes to the formula, and while not as good as 3D, it’s still a lot of fun and worth owning. All the 3D Road Rash games actually turned out great and that’s kind of a surprise honestly.
Rollcage – Attention to Detail Limited/Psygnosis – 1999
While this was just published by Psygonsis, it’s still an insane arcade racing game in which you can drive on the wall and ceiling. The sense of speed is incredible and I was blown away by this game as a kid, however, the controls take some getting used to as they can be quite finnicky at first. Once you master the controls the levels look good and the game is just a blast. There’s no other racer like it on the system.
Rollcage Stage II – Attention to Detail Limited/Psygnosis – 2000
A late release for the system, Stage II adds more tracks, improves the visuals, and even the handling. You can now double up on power-ups, but the tracks are shorter this time around. It’s overall a little easier than the first game, but both are worth picking up because of the difference between the two.
Sentinel Returns – Hookstone/Psygonsis – 1998
This is a…um…well, it’s a game. This is one of the weirdest games ever released on the system. This is one par with weird Japanese PS1 games. You play in a first person view and you must absorb objects and build a robot tower that can defeat the evil Sentinel in the center of the level. The eye rotates and absorbs things other than trees and that includes you. It’s something that requires explaining the from the manual and takes getting used to, but it’s one of the most interesting and original games ever released on the system.
SimCity 2000 – Maxis Software – 1996
Well, it’s a good port of SimCity 2000. It’s pretty much just a straight port and it works surprisingly well on a controller. If you don’t like SimCity or sim type games then this will bore you to death, but the key here is being patient and spending a few hours learning the ins and outs of the game and then it becomes addictive and hard to put down.
Sled Storm – EA – 1998
If you don’t like snowmobiles stay far away! Honestly, it’s the only game of its kind and it’s actually really solid. It’s not super fast paced, but there’s tricks, it controls well, and it’s a lot of fun. The snow looks boring, so there’s not much to look at, but it’s another solid racer by EA at the time and shouldn’t be passed up unless you have a thing against snowmobiles.
Soviet Strike – EA – 1996
An early release for the system, and doesn’t look as good as Nuclear Strike, it’s still a solid helicopter action game and these were the last of their kind honestly. You mow things down, complete objectives, and mow more things down. It’s fun to play through it in an evening and just have a lot of fun.
Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels – Key Game/EA – 1996
Yeah, EA owned the Warhammer license at one point. Scary right? Well, there’s more reasons for you not to play this game, but it’s not for everyone. It’s slow, and early release title, probably really for only Warhammer fans, and it’s weird and confusing to understand. It’s a mix between tactical planning and an FPS. Yeah, it’s hard to get into, but once you do there’s a surprising amount of depth to be had. Don’t go in expecting an 3D action game or even a full strategy game port as Warhammer Dawn of War wasn’t a thing yet at this point.
Spyro the Dragon – Insomniac Games/SCEA – 1998
Well, this game doesn’t need an introduction. It’s one of the most iconic games of all time, and sure you can play the new remake, but the classic PS1 versions are solid and hold up well today. While the first game is rather simple and easy it has a lot of charm and it’s fun to play through each game and see the progression of the series. The controls are solid, the game looks great, and it’s Spyro man!
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! – Insomniac Games/SCEA – 1999
Better than the second in terms of scope and level design. The game just feels bigger, has a more involved story (still don’t care about it) and has more characters. All three games are solid on their own and should be owned and played by any PS1 collector. These are just must haves and icons in the gaming industry.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon – Insomniac Games/SCEA – 2000
Believe it or not, these used to run upwards of $40 each shortly after the remake was released and right after it was announced. Yes, it was a late release, but helped the PS1 go out with a bang! This game is full of so much content. Mini-games, skateboarding, better graphics, more levels. It’s just the best Spyro game in the entire series outside of the GBA games. So yeah, this is seriously one of the best games on the system.
Star Trek: Invasion – Warthog/Activision – 2000
A late system release, but it looks damn good and is one of the best Star Trek console games ever made. It plays similar to Colony Wars because it’s made by the same devs so you know you’re in good hands, and is narrated by Michael Dorn and Patrick Stewart and not some knock-offs. If you are a Star Trek fan this is a must own and is one of the best space sim games on PS1.
Street Sk8er – Atelier Double/EA – 1999
Don’t go into this expecting a Tony Hawk clone. It’s more of an arcade style game with racing events, half-pipe events, and things like that. The trick system is more basic and it doesn’t feel as fluid and tight as Tony Hawk or even Grind Session, but is a fun alternative if you are tired of the Tony Hawk clones. This one is from EA as they wanted a piece of that late 90’s skateboarding pie. It still has a rocking licensed soundtrack though.
Supercross 2000 – MBL Research/EA – 1999
This isn’t the best motocross game on the system, but it’s a fun arena racer rather than outdoor tracks. It’s more realistic and serious than other games like Motocross 2001, but still solid nonetheless. It’s also slower paced and more physics based. If you are fine with other motocross games and have your favorite then you can pass this up. It’s just less than $5 complete and worth a pick up.
Supercross Circuit – 989 Studios/SCEA – 1999
Again, the same as above except this one is outdoors and faster paced with less realistic physics. It plays more like a kart racer, but don’t let that discourage you. It has tight controls, but still not the best the system has to offer. It’s just these late console release motocross games were the best on the system and there’s at least a variety from various studios to choose from.
Syphon Filter – Eidetic/989 Studios – 1999
The best game for the system hands down. Okay, that’s just my love for this game talking but it’s my personal favorite for the entire system and one of the best that still holds up today. Clever and amazing level design, fantastic controls and gun play, and it honestly was the game that got me to recognize real world weapons. Gabe’s voice is also iconic and while the story itself isn’t very interesting the game has a great pace of stealth and action. It also has insane replay value and I actually play this through once a year.
Syphon Filter 2 – Eidetic/989 Studios – 2000
A late console release, but it helped the system go out with a bang. Y2K was a great year for the PS1. Syphon Filter 2 is probably the best game in the series. It came on a whopping 2 discs and has the same excellent level design and you can play as Lian in this as well. The graphics are improved and the story is expanded upon with better pre-rendered cut scenes. Good times were had for me as a kid because my late father and I spent countless hours perfecting our runs of this game and rented it many times. I even remember we had a “birds and the bees” talk on the way to the mall to pick this up when I was 10.
Syphon Filter 3 – Sony Bend/SCEA – 2001
Oh man was this a fart in the series. I imagine a timeline where this was pushed back a year or two and released on PS2 and Gabe didn’t look like Dan Aykroyd. It’s not a terrible game, but it was released so late in the console’s life and the PS2 was hot on the scene. It has worse level design and just doesn’t feel as good overall. It plays just fine and all that, but it’s not my favorite. Still, it’s worth a play if you already played the first two. Funny enough, this was the damn game I got when I picked up my used PS2 in 2002. The price had dropped to $200 and I just had an N64 for the previous three years. I wanted to play this so bad and was kind of let down. Sad times man.
Tempest X3 – High Voltage Software/Interplay Entertainment – 1996
If you haven’t experienced vector graphics from the 80’s than you’re missing out. It’s an iconic thing to look at and IS the 80’s Tempest was a popular arcade game featuring these graphics and is hard as balls and also addictive. It’s a top down shooter where enemies climb up a tunnel and you kind of spin around on the rim and shoot down. It played well with the pseudo 3D of the vector graphics back in the day and X3 is one of the best version so this game.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins – Acquire Corp./Activision – 1998
This was a huge hit back in the day. So much so, that while I didn’t understand the game and it was too hard for me I remember my dad talking about it with co-workers at his job. We even picked it up from one of his friends to borrow it was such a big deal. It’s a fantastic stealth action game with a grappling hook mechanic. The levels are well designed and varied and it looked great. It’s a must have if you like Metal Gear Solid or other early stealth games.
Test Drive 5 – Pitbull Syndicate Limited/Accolade – 1998
Test Drive was a very weird game in which it was all over the scale in terms of quality with each release. Test Drive 5 is probably the best in the series and I fondly remember a friend’s little brother playing this on a portable PS1 back in 2001 and was hooked by the fast paced racing and licensed cars. While it may seem generic compared to classics like Need for Speed or Ridge Racer, it still had it’s own feel and it was big on track variety, nearly 20, and licensed cars which Ridge Racer didn’t have.
Time Commando – Adeline Software/Activision – 1996
This is a slow paced PC port and if you have the patience you might have something super deep and fun to get into. The game has pre-rendered backgrounds and plays similar to Alone in the Dark, but this isn’t a survival horror. You warp through time to different periods and you fight enemies, level up, and solve puzzles. It’s clunky, but fun once you get into a groove. One of the more obscure and brave titles on the system and released early in its life.
Tomb Raider – Core Design/Eidos – 1996
It’s clunky, feels slow, and is old. It’s not the best in the series, but worth a play through if you want to see how the series started. It’s not a terrible game but the improved upon sequels just show how old and clunky this game is. You can skip this if you aren’t a die hard Lara fan, or want to jump into the better games.
Tomb Raider II – Core Design/Eidos – 1997
Tomb Raider II is a great jumping in point as it controls better, looks better, and overall doesn’t feel as experimental as the first game. Unless you want the entire series to collect this is a great start. The game is classic, iconic, and one of the best in the series.
Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft – Core Design/Eidos – 1998
Well, it’s more Lara. This game is still up there as some of the best in the series and it looks much better than the previous two games. Lara is less polygonal looking, controls better, and the overall series has just progressed in a positive way. This is also a good jumping in point if you want a better looking and playing Lara game.
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation – Core Design/Eidos – 1999
This is probably still up there with the best and might be the best playing on the system. While the gameplay is more or less the same it’s still rock solid and looks even better if you can imagine that. Lara Croft was probably the only character to see so many sequels on the same system. The game has a larger level design this time around in which you must complete puzzles in one area to access another. New ideas are good right?
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 – Neversoft Entertainment/Activision – 2000
While the first one is also cheap, I don’t own it, and it just feels clunky compared to this one. This is the best in the series outside of THPS3 so you might as well just jump in here unless you want to see where the series started. Yes, you can play the remake, but the PS1 version here was one of the best sports games ever made. While the Dreamcast version superseded this one it’s a great game to pick up. Now, if you don’t care for skateboarding then obviously don’t bother. I spent countless hours on the N64 version, yeah I didn’t have a PS1 for very long as a kid, and the soundtrack is fantastic as well.
Warhawk – SingleTrac Entertainment/SCEA – 1995
Yes, it’s an early adopter, but man is this game awesome even today. It feels so face and fluid and controls so well. If you like arcade flight games like Heat Seeker for Afterburner than you want to pick this game up. It doesn’t look super pretty, since it released shortly after the PS1 launched, but it still looks clean and the level design is great.
Wild 9 – Shiny Entertainment/Interplay Entertainment – 1998
This was created by the brilliant minds who made Earthworm Jim. It has a similar art style and is a fun 2.5D action platformer that isn’t Earthworm Jim 3D, so it has that going for it. The game’s gimmick is an electric lasso that you can use to whip enemies and move objects. It’s really fun and a hidden gem for the system (God that term is overused in this day and age isn’t it?).
World’s Scariest Police Chases – Unique Development Studios/Activision – 2001
This was released way late in the system’s life and it’s no wonder it didn’t sell anything. You have to take down criminals with your car, bullets, or other means. It’s a more open world type of game and is a lot of fun once you figure out what to do. If you like Driver you will really like this one.