The original PlayStation is Sony’s first home video game console and it skyrocketed the company to greater heights as the PlayStation series is now the biggest gaming console in the world. The birth of the most popular gaming franchises in the world started on this console and the video game industry would not be the same if it were not for them.
Even the best games on the PlayStation 2 might have familiar titles as the foundation of some of the franchises are already laid out. Some of them have even been ported to other consoles like the Game Boy Advance or Sony’s hand-held PSP console.
This article will list the best PS1 games of all time in a different way. There is no certain order as most of these classic games are unique and brilliant in their own way. The games are highly subjective to what kind of genre people prefer and what aspects they look for in a game. These classic PS1 games listed usually excel in almost every aspect and some even pioneered the genre.
Resident Evil franchise (1, 2, and 3)
The birth of Capcom’s biggest franchise started with Resident Evil. One of the best survival-horror games out there and is still pushing with new titles almost every year including remasters and remakes. Inspired by George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” movie, Resident Evil 1 was, by far, the zombie-based video game released.
The fixed camera positions that brought about gaming ingenuity in horror video games left people terrified of impending jumpscares and horrific challenges that await. The game also features a well-written story on top of its great gameplay.
The voice-acting was quite subpar (already a popular meme for Resident Evil fans) but everything else was flawless. The tense atmosphere that Resident Evil games will forever be cemented in the hearts of the fans of the survival-horror genre.
Originally an arcade game, the Tekken franchise started slow on its popularity even with how great Tekken 2 was. Its popularity rose when Tekken 3 got released and it is considered the best Tekken game in the franchise. Each playable character has their own story which is wacky but entertaining.
With every new Tekken game getting released, more and more fighters are being introduced and the depth that it has today would not be possible without the previous Tekken games.
Almost every character in the game has gone through countless reworks and most of them have decades worth of thought put into them. This makes the game more balanced as it progresses through with new ideas in future Tekken games.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
The surge in popularity of professional skateboarding as a sport started in the late ’80s after the release of a Hollywood movie that was centered around the sport. This gave a bigger spotlight to the skateboarding legend, Tony Hawk, and gave birth to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game franchise.
Skateboarding was one of the coolest things to do in the late ’90s and 2000s and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 delivered with a masterpiece. With all the customization options including customizing your own skate parks, everyone was addicted to pulling off the best combos. Not to mentioned it also had one of the best video game soundtracks.
Gran Turismo franchise
Gran Turismo is quite unique. Their attention to detail on every single car is second to none. This is why some of their titles take more than 5 years to release. They focus heavily on realism and invest an insane amount of assets in their graphics. While it puts the consoles to the test of handling what they bring out, they were able to bring out the best of what the latest technology has to offer.
This is why they call it “The Real Driving Simulator” and they delivered on that moniker quite well. From tuning performances to amazing driving physics, their first game put the franchise on the map as the best driving simulator video game out there. By the second installment, they quadrupled the number of cars available and they are still continuing to make improvements on realism for their future titles.
Metal Gear Solid
This action-adventure stealth game not only revolutionized story-telling in a game but also, delivered one of the best tactical stealth games out there hence, the moniker, Tactical Espionage Action. The name, Hideo Kojima, was put on the map for not only his work with directing video games but also, his cinematic prowess. His work on Metal Gear Solid started even before the game released on the PlayStation.
Metal Gear Solid pioneered stealth games and received multiple awards for it. It is one of Konami’s best selling games of all time. The plot is all based on the Metal Gear superweapon with nuclear destructive capabilities.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Instead of a simple platformer game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night made a drastic change. They gave players the freedom to explore Dracula’s castle. The game ran more smoothly and the rest of the Castlevania titles followed this style instead of the predetermined stages before Symphony of the Night.
The added depth to the game was astronomical as well. They even added fighting game inputs that let Alucard use special moves or abilities. The RPG elements such as obtaining items that change how you play Alucard and the way you level up all add even more depth to the game. This is why it is easily regarded as the best Castlevania game by its fans.
Twisted Metal franchise
If there was ever a game that would be considered remotely close to the first battle royale game, it should go to Twisted Metal. While it does not hold as many players as current battle royale games today, Twisted Metal was able to make do with what the current system can handle with just split-screen play and a ton of AI-controlled players.
Twisted Metal featured a ton of unique characters, vehicles, weapons, and battlegrounds that made this game replayable to a certain extent. The soundtrack and audio design are all remarkable. While Twisted Metal 3 was also great, critics were a bit harsh on it as they were forced to switch studios after Twisted Metal 2.
Final Fantasy franchise
Final Fantasy is the first JRPG on the list and one of the most popular video games of all time that is still incredibly relevant up to now. Final Fantasy 7 is what put the franchise on the map in a global audience even if the previous titles were already instant classics.
JRPGs are the type of games that focus heavily on story, cinematics, and great RPG elements that build your characters. The main takeaway for Final Fantasy is that while it excels in all those aspects, the narrative always plays with your heart and tries to rip it to pieces while offering cinematic cutscenes that are way ahead of its time.
PaRappa the Rapper
The first rhythm game in the game as this genre rarely produces gems because it is quite a niche market. PaRappa, the protagonist, is a rapping rat terrier dog that constantly shares the message “to believe”.
The word PaRappa is based on wordplay which means paper-thin in Japanese. It also symbolizes the whole art theme of the entire game. The game is extraordinarily wacky and the lyrics just stick to your head every single time you play a stage.
Spyro the Dragon
This game is a platformer based on the purple dragon Spyro who is on a quest to save the elder dragons. While Spyro is sent to save and recapture the brood eggs, Spyro goes through an adventure against the evil Sorceress.
It is one of the highest-rated games for the PS1 in Metacritic and already had a remake recently based on its popularity despite the franchise stopping for more than a decade already.
Silent Hill was another popular survival-horror released on the PlayStation 1 console that rode the popularity of the genre brought by Resident Evil. Hideo Kojima was also part of this game as a designer but Keiichiro Toyoma was the lead designer for this one.
In a peaceful town called Silent Hill, where a terrible fire accident occurred, Harry and his daughter, Cheryl, find their way through the outskirts of Silent Hill when their car broke down. The tone of the game is much darker and more psychological than other survival-horror games which sets it apart from Resident Evil back then.
Tomb Raider franchise
The birth of the legendary character, Lara Croft, as one of the greatest action-adventure started on the PS1. A female protagonist that is like Indiana Jones solving ancient puzzles and going through mazes and traps. Lara Croft can do wacky but amazing backflips.
There have been movies based on this as well including a remake of both the video game and the movie. That is how popular Lara Croft has become and it all originated from the classic PS1 video game in 1996.
Chrono Cross is another JRPG classic that was released just before PlayStation 2 released. It is from the creators of Xenogears and Chrono Trigger. Both extremely popular JRPGs but the classic, Chrono Trigger, was only for the Nintendo system.
What made Chrono Cross unique is that every single playthrough or adventure will result in a different ending or have different scenarios altogether. It adds a ton of replayability that makes every new playthrough unique, especially on an old console at that time. The elemental and combo system adds flexibility to make the combat more fun.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Another fighting game that originated from an arcade machine and is still extremely popular not just in Japan but worldwide. This game was the most polished fighting game and was also the biggest fighting game in competitive esports back then.
While Tekken was still growing its competitive scene, Street Fighter was the first big fighting game in the competitive scene with Street Fighter 2. It became extremely popular even if tournaments are not that widespread in Japan due to legal issues.
While not as popular as the other JRPGs mentioned, Suikoden 2’s deep storyline and amazing character developments made it a fantastic JRPG even if some of the combat elements are the same as other JRPGs. Suikoden 2 feature more than 100 characters and over 50 hours of gameplay depending on if you want to complete everything.
Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Dance Revolution originated from an arcade game where you need a dance pad to play it for the PS1. It is one of the most popular rhythm games in arcades in the ’90s and it got a port to the PS1 relatively quickly. The game has unlimited replayability and even lets you exercise while playing.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped Time
Crash Bandicoot is another classic platformer game made by Naughty Dog. The game’s plot revolved around the Great Uka Uka (evil-hearted mask) was in cahoots with Neo Cortex and it is up to Crash with the help of Aku Aku to stop Cortex’s plan. What made this game great is how challenging it is when you decide to complete all the challenges and secrets available. This is what adds replayability to most platformer games.
Syphon Filter is a third-person shooter game revolving around Gabriel Logan who is like an action hero in your typical action movie. Syphon Filter is a ton of fun and the number of weapons you can play around with makes it entertaining.
The game feels smooth for a third-person shooter and the stealth aspect of the game is gratifying as well. It is quite underrated because of all the other big names in the genre but this one is definitely a fan favorite for those who have played this game.
Bust A Groove
Bust A Groove is a rhythm game that pits two characters in a dance battle. The timing on the dance moves makes it a little unique from the other rhythm games and the songs in the game are really catchy as well. The video game critics might have hated it but the rest of the users have loved it.
Crash Team Racing
Crash Team Racing is Naughty Dog’s version of Mario Kart. While it is not the first of its kind, it definitely had its pros. It even got a remake on the PS4 and other platforms because of how big Crash’s popularity is and how classic this game was.
Crash Team Racing is a bit more competitive than other quirky racing games and the game is not that challenging for the seasoned veterans but the remake fixed this and added online multiplayer and customization that the classic lacked before.
While there are more classics and other highly rated PS1 games not mentioned, labeling a game as one of the best is purely subjective. The games included in the list are all heavily supported by the community by critics and fans all over the world. The list can go on and on because there are definitely more games worthy of being called “one of the best” by different people.