Sony announced the final lineup of titles for the forthcoming PlayStation classic retro console, and it was… unexpected? Many gamers will see the list (which you can see here) and find a few games they liked playing yesteryear, but will find many more glaring omissions from a console claiming to be a “classic”. Countless outlets have posted lists on the games they’d like to see in a PS1 Classic console, but I wanted to focus on more obsure games that could go in to a PS1 retro console. Here are 20 hidden gems/less common, but still excellent original PlayStation games I’d love to have seen on the PlayStation Classic.
If the PlayStation brand had a mascot, it would likely be Crash Bandicoot. Or possibly Spyro the Dragon. If we wanted to pick a third place winner, Sir Daniel Fortesque might take the cake. Thinking logically, a good explanation for Crash and Spyro not being represented on the PS1 Classic could be due to their remasters being out or coming out shortly. With a very recent development being a complete remake of MediEvil as well, perhaps this could explain this classic omission.
A spiritual successor to the acclaimed Chrono Trigger on the Super Nintendo, Chrono Cross failed to live up to they hype set forth by its predecessor. Still though, Chrono Cross had a lot going for it: gorgeous visuals, a plethora of playable characters, and an engaging plot about war and friendship. Squaresoft was in their prime on the PS1 era, and nestled between their Final Fantasy’s and Xenogear’s was this late PS1 classic.
Tomba 1 + 2
I was holding my breath for some inclusions on the official PS1 Classic of some harder to find games. While we did get a few (notably Revelations: Persona), some huge heavy hitters in the collecting community would have certainly been appreciated. Tomba and its sequel fetch high prices in the resale market, which is a high barrier of entry for many. If you did play the games, though, you’d find two quality platformers with stylish visuals and interesting gameplay.
Klonoa: Door to Phamtomile
Let’s keep the platfomer-obscura segment going and jump right in to Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Namco’s platfomer featured 2.5D gameplay and responsive controls. While the game’s difficulty could be challenging, it was rewarding to complete each stage and be greeted by a cool boss encounter. The game was good enough to spawn some sequels and remakes across the years, but the original on PS1 is considered a classic to many.
Let’s stray away from the “Did you know Square made more than RPGs on the PS1?” conversation, and just say Einhander is an excellent scrolling shooter. With all the staples of the genre (big boss battles, augmenting weapons on your ship, bullets flying everywhere), this lesser known PS1 game deserves as much recognition as R-Type and Gradius. Though short, it is still a fun experience with plenty of replay value.
Side scrollers were at a turning point during the 3D era. While most franchises failed to adapt to the new console generation expectations (Streets of Rage, Final Fight, etc.), some managed to stand out as decent games. While by no means a wonderful game, Gekido on PS1 was a great way to scratch that side scroller itch in the era of platformer supremacy. There is a multiplayer option as well, though I haven’t been able to try it myself. More fists is more fun, right?
The PlayStation was a haven for role playing games. Many game franchises were cemented during the PS1 era, including (arguably) Final Fantasy, Wild Arms, and more. Often overlooked in the quality RPG conversation of the day is Grandia. Playing the game when it came out, I noticed how it almost seemed like it was trying to set itself apart from games like Final Fantasy VII. The combat system was a bit different, the way characters leveled was a bit different, and the story was funny at times and dire at others. The first game on the PS1 did well enough to spawn many several sequels and gained a cult following in the decades to come.
Tales of Destiny I & II
Speaking of RPG series that took off during the PS1 era, how could we not include the first two Tales of Destiny games? A series going strong to this day, Tales of Destiny I & II were multi-disc epics. Unfortunately they were released in low quantities and command a high price in the market, which would have made it all the better to have them included on a PS1 classic. Much like the current iterations of the games, the PS1 Tales’ featured action RPG elements, an active engagement battle system, and a variety of characters and RPG troupes.
Bushido Blade I & II
While playing a fighting video game, have you ever though, “I just slashed you with a sword, you should be dead!”? Well, with Square’s Bushido Blade series, that’s exactly what would happen. A fighting game more about strategy and finesse than combos and special attacks, Bushido Blade was like no other fighter on the PS1. The game’s fighters represented different disciplines of weaponry and each had their own play style. Think less flashy Soul Calibur with weapons that actually did damage like you’d expect in the real world.
Pretty much every game released by Working Designs should be on this list, but to add some variety of the PS1 Classic that could have been let’s add the light gun compatible Elemental Gearbolt to our list. A combination of RPG elements, light gun gameplay, and a science fiction setting, Elemental Gearbolt offered a different experience from most light gun games at the time. It also holds the distinction of having one of the most sought after and collectible special editions ever released for any console!
Capcom has released a ton of fighters since Street Fighter II’ took off. Many of them have been brushed aside for the newest game in the venerable series, but some of them have retained cult followings. One of those games is the awesome Rival Schools on the PS1. A 3D fighter comprised with combatants from different high schools, Rival Schools was a refined fighter with elements from Capcom’s later Vs. series mixed with standard fighting game ideas. A sequel, Project Justice, released for the Sega Dreamcast, but we haven’t seen this unique franchise since!
Remember Strider? That awesome Sega Genesis action platfomer with the ninja that had a cool scarf and kick-ass sword? Well he had a sequel on the PS1, and it was awesome. Strider 2 is a quality, albeit short, action game about a ninja killing robots. What more do you need? Oh, you might need to replay the original Strider for Genesis, which was actually bundled in with the original release on the PS1! Seriously, this game was cool, and easily a PlayStation classic.
Point Blank 3
Logistically I know it would be hard to include a light gun game on a PS1 Classic console, but how sweet would it have been to have Point Blank 3 available to replay? You and a friend trying to get through the games wacky GunCon minigames, reliving the fun you used to have in an arcade years and years ago? Personally I liked Point Blank 3 the most, but really any of the first three games would be welcome additions.
Mega Man Legends, Legends II, and Misadventures of Tron Bonne
The Blue Bomber had a trio (kind of) of games released on the PlayStation that fans fell in love with. Mega Man Legends is a spinoff of the regular Mega Man games, and features run and gun action in a 3D environment, RPG elements like towns and upgrades to collect, and a story featuring brand new characters to the franchise. While fans loved the games, Capcom didn’t see enough potential to keep the series going, so after two installments and a spinoff on the PS1, the series has been dormant, but to the dismay of the avid fanbase. We can hope some day we’ll get to play these quirky games again.
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
Despite having Final Fantasy VII included, the official PS1 Classic skipped out on the also excellent strategy RPG Final Fantasy Tactics (One I thought would have been a for-sure addition!). Now that I’m making my own PS1 Classic, let’s include the hard to find but pretty damn great Ogre Battle. A Real Time Strategy game mixed with some tactical aspects, Ogre Battle was a tough fantasy game not for the casual gamer. This game (a re-release of the SNES version) launched the franchise, which sadly hasn’t been heard from for the better part of a decade.
Dane Dance Revolution: Konamix
An odd choice to include without the use of a dance pad, but an absolute classic for the PlayStation console. While Dance Dance Revolution was doing well before Konamix, and would go on to see the height of its popularity arguable during the PS2 era, this game was still the best collection of tracks on the PS1. With series favorites like Rhythm & Police, Drop Out, Can’t Stop Fallin’ In Love, and more, there was a lot to like and dance to in this game. Or maybe those are just my favorites. Still though… great game!
Bloody Roar 2
Who would win between two anthropomorphic combatants? That’s the question the Bloody Roar series has been answering since the PS1. The first game was good, but it wasn’t until the sequel came out that I really enjoyed the brutal combat. The fighting has its flaws, but the transformation and subsequent beat downs don’t get old. It’s also strangely satisfying to use a more docile animal character, like Alice the Rabbit, to take down the ferocious Gado the Lion. These are the setups only games can give us, and we should embrace and cherish them.
What better way to follow up a game where you turn in to animals and kill one another, than a game where you play as some cats and have light hearted adventures? Tail Concerto is yet another extremely hard to find game on the PS1 with a sizable following. The game is a RPG/Action/Platformer combo, akin to the Mega Man Legends games mentioned earlier. A spiritual successor was released on the DS, Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, but the series hasn’t seen anything since this PS1 original.
There is something satisfying about piloting a massive mech and destroying hundreds of enemies. Such is the case with the absolute classic Omega Boost. The concept is basic, the story is cliche, and the action is over the top: all the ingredients to make a fun and fast PlayStation shooter. Admittedly I didn’t play too much of this game, but I know many gamers who loved playing it.
Star Ocean: The Second Story
Rouding out this list is the best game in the Star Ocean series of RPGs, Star Ocean: The Second Story. At this point you’ve seen many RPGs adorning this potential PS1 Classic, and they each offer unique stories, gameplay elements, and style. Star Ocean has a great cast of characters, a unique arc for each of them, and some hilariously bad voiceover that makes the game memorable. There are plenty of RPGs to play on the PlayStation, and Star Ocean: The Second Story is for sure one of them.
So that’s the obscure PlayStation Classic I would have made. Which games do you want in your PS1 Classic? Let me know, and let’s show Sony how much potential their back catalog of games could be!