Sony cashed in on the nostalgia trend by releasing the PlayStation Classic, but somehow, for some reason, they missed out on some of the best PS1 games and instead included little-known titles such as Battle Arena Toshinden.
Of course, it’s not all bad. A number of titles considered by many as one of the best PS1 games did make it to the nostalgic console. Case in point, Final Fantasy 7. But, you can’t help but deny the fact that the PlayStation Classic’s titles feel lackluster at best — that Sony could have done a whole lot more yet settled for a whole lot less.
Having said that, we decided to take the time to round up a list of some of the best PS1 games that, for one reason or another, aren’t available on the mini-PlayStation console.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
More than two decades and countless titles later, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, remains the best in a series littered with memorable experiences.
Playing as Alucard, the son of Dracula, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, has players embarking on a quest with humanity’s fate on the line, and one that’s just as amazing of an experience to play through today as it was when the game first released.
The game introduced a non-linear layout that allowed players to explore the castle at their own leisure. It also featured backtracking, a robust weaponry, and a loot system that you’ve come to expect from similar games today. It was one of the first of its kind, and the one game that turned the franchise from an instant classic to one of the best of all time.
As one of the best PS1 games of all time, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night not being on the PlayStation Classic is a blunder.
The Silent Hill franchise might have seen better days, and the second game might be the best in the series, but the first and original, Silent Hill, was right up there alongside the first Resident Evil game back in its heyday — it was arguably even the better game.
Unlike its more action-oriented contemporary, the original Silent Hill wasn’t just content scaring you with jump scares and grotesque monstrosities. Mind you, it had its fair share of both. But, it was the fact that the game put you in the shoes of an average joe who didn’t know any better than you at fighting the kind of demented creatures that inhabited the cursed town that was truly unsettling.
Whether it was intentional or not, the poor poor control scheme meant that survival could mostly only be achieved by running away at the first site of whatever you were unlucky enough to encounter.
Tomb Raider 2
The original Tomb Raider game might have been what kick started the whole 3D action-adventure genre movement, but the sequel, Tomb Raider 2, was the one that really cemented everybody’s favourite heroine as who she remains to be until this very design.
The developers, Core Design, learned a lot from their experience with the first game. As a result, their next go around was a bigger and much better game all around. Unfortunately, most gamers remember the third game in the series, which, although good, was more or less a cash cow designed to take advantage of the series’ then still-growing popularity.
In any case, as one of the best PS1 games ever released, either one of Tomb Raider or Tomb Raider would have made a lovely addition to the PlayStation Classic.
Chrono Trigger would’ve been an obvious choice over its “sequel” here. After all, it’s not just one of the best PS1 games ever made; many consider Chrono Trigger was one of the video games ever — bar none. But, for the sake of consistency, we’re going with its sequel, which may not be as widely adored, but nevertheless a game that was enjoyed by many.
Similar to Chrono Trigger, the PlayStation classic was an innovative role-playing experience that aimed to redefine the traditional RPG formula. Featuring an intricate battle system and a wide cast of characters, where your composition of choice could drastically affect how the story went, as well as a musical score and graphics that were just absolutely amazing for its time, Chrono Cross may not have been as successful as its predecessor, but it’s a cant-miss title that should have made the PlayStation Classic.
The name Ape Escape may not ring as many bells right now, but back then, it was all the craze. One of the first games to truly take advantage of the Dual Shock controller, Ape Escape’s control scheme will feel oddly familiar with today’s gamers.
Featuring a boy who travels through time to scoop up ultra-intelligent apes who escaped captivity, Ape Escape’s concept doesn’t need selling — it sells itself.
Unfortunately, Ape Escape isn’t available on the PlayStation Classic. Nor is the original Dual Shock controller, which is a surprising development, to say the least.
Arc The Lad 2
Many consider the Arc the Lad games as cult-classics. However, that’s probably only because it was released to the West quite late during the console’s lifespan. If that had not been the case, the game arguably would have made a lot of noise. In fact, we’d probably talk about the little-known franchise in the same breath as the many RPG classics released on the original PlayStation.
Of course, in every series, there’s always going to be a highlight game. For Arc the Lad, that was the second game, Arc the Lad 2. One of the biggest and most engrossing RPGs ever made, Arc the Lad 2 found a way to combine the traditional RPG mechanics and exploration of games of its time with tactical-style play to create a game with dozens of hours of storytelling and combat.
Easily one of the most underrated and best PS1 games ever released, Arc the Lad 2 is a PlayStation essential.
This is an exclusion that’s rather understandable. Arguably the perfect game, Vagrant Story had one significant flaw — it was too long.
Created by the same minds behind Parasite Eve, the developers tried to overcompensate with Vagrant Story and instead came up with a game that took dozens if not hundreds of hours to complete. But, it was all worth it. Taking all of what they had learned from Parasite Eve and combining it with elements found in other classics like Final Fantasy Tactics (another shocking exclusion) and Metal Gear Solid, among others, Vagrant Story was and still remains one of the more unique games out there.
For a game that had everything from puzzle solving to platforming, a complex battle system, and a fantasy-horror pulp storyline that would put many of today’s games to shame, Vagrant Story, unfortunately, wasn’t able to make its way to the PlayStation Classic.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
With how graphics have evolved, you’d think that there’d be a long-running skateboarding game by now. But, you’d be wrong. It’s been years since we saw a good skateboarding game, and nearly two decades since we saw one of the best to have ever been released.
The second game in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise was arguably the series at its peak. Combining two of the coolest trends of its time, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 catered to the legions of gamers who had already ditched the arcade to play at home and created an army of those who had never found a game that warranted owning the console until then.
Bigger and better in just about every way imaginable, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was proof that, at some point, developers actually cared enough to make a good skateborading game.
These may be the best PS1 games not on the PlayStation classic for us, but they barely scratch the surface. There are dozens if not hundreds more awesome games out there that slipped through our radars.
What do you think is one of the best PS1 games ever released that’s not on Sony’s most recent console release? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.