Thursday, September 24, 2015
20 Years of the PS1
It's hard to believe that the original Playstation is 20 years old. It really doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I got my hands on one for the first time. Not since maybe the original NES was there ever a console in our lifetimes that was such a total game changer like the PS1. Everyone owned one, literally fucking everyone you can think of had the original Playstation.
To celebrate 20 years since the launch of the original Playstation, I'm going to reminisce a bit. I'm going to list 20 games that mean the most to me, or namely the 20 games that come to mind when I think of the fun and sometimes flat-out amazing times I had with my PS1 way back when. Now this isn't a "best of" list or anything of the sort, because some of the games I'm about to list are just plain terrible, but these are the ones I played the most, and thus have become kind of endearing to me because of it.
Strap yourselves in folks...
CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT
Yeah, you knew this would be on here. I grew up with "Castlevania" since the NES days. Playing a "Metroid"-style take on the franchise was a new thing at the time, and it was (and still is) immensely enjoyable. This was before the internet and strategy guides (for the most part), so when the castle flips upside down after you think you beaten it made my head explode.
METAL GEAR SOLID
I vaguely remember playing "Metal Gear" on the NES as a kid. It frustrated the hell out of me (still does) mostly due to the archaic stealth elements. Here, all that has been put in a 3D environment beautifully. Packed with surprises, engaging characters, and a brilliantly designed game engine; this game was way ahead of its time, and influenced hordes of duplicates and rip offs for years to come.
This was one of the two games I got as a gift when I first got my PS1. Playing it now makes you realize how far hockey video games have come over the years, but for its time, this was fucking amazing. Fast, super fun, and featuring some really cool 32-bit effects. Its follow ups would kill it, but the original "NHL Faceoff" will forever hold a special place in my heart.
STREET FIGHTER: THE MOVIE
...and this piece of shit was the second of the two video games I received as a gift. It's terrible, really terrible. Not unplayable terrible, but terrible nonetheless. There's way better fighting games on the console than this, but at the time, I really enjoyed what this had to offer...which tells you a lot right there about how easy to please I was back then.
RESIDENT EVIL 2
With all the nostalgic love I have for the original "Resident Evil", its first sequel is what made me feel like I was playing a zombie movie. Genuinely surprising, shocking, and filled with massive environments, "Resident Evil 2" remains the best game in the franchise of the 32-bit era. Nothing else comes close.
Another relative piece of crap, "2Xtreme" is the sequel to the PS1 launch title "ESPN Extreme Games" (which would be re-titled "1Xtreme" in future re-releases) that features a whole bunch of EXTREME (but not really) races. It's simple, and relatively torturous to play now, but like I said, back then I was really easy to please.
Another simple, and relatively shoddy, racing game. This time though you're on weird hoverbike-type things and there's Mountain Dew logos everywhere. Awesome soundtrack and really easy to pick up and play to this very day.
TWISTED METAL 2
I love the original "Twisted Metal", but the sequel is when the series really hit its stride and carved an identity for itself. Darker, more intricate, and featuring a variety of unforgettable characters, this remained the best in the series until "Twisted Metal: Black" for the PS2. Still a total fucking blast to play.
The first survival horror game I ever played that genuinely freaked me the fuck out, the original "Silent Hill" took the technological limitations of the PS1 and managed to use them to its advantage with super atmospheric fog effects and creepy environments. Though it hasn't aged all that well, it's still creepy as all hell.
An isometric shooter that in all honesty is boring as sin, "Project: Overkill" packs a lot of blood and gore into basic shooting mechanics. It isn't anything special, but once again like I said, I was easy to please. I enjoyed it back then and this was actually the first PS1 game I actually completely beat. For that alone, it has a special place in my heart.
I fucking love "Tekken". I always have, and no matter how shitty the series has gotten, I always will. As much as I played and loved the first two games, it was "Tekken 3" that really did me in. For its time, it looked gorgeous and played so silky smooth that it really was like playing the arcade game at home. That, and the tons of additional modes and hidden characters give it so much replay value that I literally spent YEARS playing the hell out of it.
I didn't own a Super NES in my youth, but a friend of mine had one, and we played "F-Zero" nonstop. "Wipeout" is all that and more besides. The first game in the long running series, this game made my fucking eyes bleed. Well, it felt like it anyway.
DESTRUCTION DERBY 2
As much as I enjoyed the first game, its first sequel flat out murdered the original. More modes, more cars, more destruction. And it's insanely fun to play to this very day despite its drawbacks.
GRAND THEFT AUTO
The original GTA is pretty primitive today, but it was the beginning of open world carnage. For its time, it was shocking what you could do in the game, and it was fun going around murdering and stealing cars. Playing it today...well, it's terrible, but back then, it was something really special. I played the hell out of it.
I'm a sucker for wrestling games, and the first "Smackdown!" game was so damn fun and surprisingly deep for its time. Unlike THQ's WCW games for the N64, the first "Smackdown!" game was a little more arcade-y and offered a ton of different options for matches. Plus it had all the belts and even options to set up your own programming match schedule as well. Super fun.
I'm a sucker for shmups too. "Einhander" was unlike a majority of them, offering some relatively cool 3D effects to go along with the 2D side scrolling. It played a lot like "R-Type", but not as hemorrhage-inducing. It's also fairly pricey on the eBay market for some reason as well.
A mix of survival horror and RPG, the first "Parasite Eve" tells a surprisingly mature story while piling on blood and guts. I've never been much of an RPG fan, but the story of "Parasite Eve" ensnared me and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. Still awesome.
2D fighters were disappearing when the original "Guilty Gear" was released. It offered some surprisingly well animated (the PS1 really wasn't that good at 2D games, especially when compared to the Sega Saturn) and memorable characters, as well as a super kickass soundtrack. It's also spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs which have plundered my wallet over the years to come.
Comic book character-based video games tend to suck, especially back then (thanks Acclaim). Activision got the "Spider-Man" license and ran with it. For the first time ever, you felt like you actually WERE Spider-Man (mostly). It utilized his rogues gallery really well, and had a nice number of cameos from other Marvel heroes. Plays like shit today, but the game engine was also used for Activision's massively popular "Tony Hawk" games.
Back in the day, I played a lot of first-person shooters. Playing one based on the "Alien" franchise on a home console was a new thing for me, and this delivered. Playing like "Doom" with Xenomorph's, "Alien Trilogy" is still fucking good to this day...even if its story makes absolutely no fucking sense.
Well, that's it. That's my 20 Playstation games that have a special place in my heart. Like I had said, a lot of these are far from the best the classic console has to offer, but goddammit, they mean something to me.
That's all for now folks. See y'all soon.