Nostalgia can color the way we view the past. Remember those old Saturday morning cartoons? They probably aren’t as good as you remember. The same goes for that favorite childhood movie, or many of those PlayStation games you used to play almost two decades ago.
Admit it; a lot of them look terrible now, and their gameplay feels dated as well.
Fortunately, not all games in the PS1 library are like that. There are still a handful of classics that do manage to hold up somewhat, not just in gameplay but also in visuals, even when compared to the games of today. Here are some of them.
So what old PS1 favorites do you think hold up until today? What aspects of these games make them remain enjoyable despite their age? Are there any that you think should be on this list? Hash it out in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you think!
PS1 Classics That Hold Up Until Today
Silent Hill may now be a relic in terms of visuals and controls, but it's unmistakably one of the best installments in the horror series. Silent Hill doesn't rely on jump scares; instead, it toys with your imagination and keeps you on edge because of what you don't see.
The PS1's technical constraints actually helped make the game creepier. To make up for the limited draw distance, Konami filled the titular town with thick mist or pervading darkness. Your only warning of hidden dangers was your radio, which emits static whenever a monster was near, but even the quiet is unnerving.
Silent Hill remains scary until today. If you're doubtful, play it. Just make sure you have a change of underwear nearby.
If you forgive
Chrono Cross for not being more like its predecessor Chrono Trigger, then you'll discover that it won't disappoint. In fact, Chrono Cross holds up well even after all these years. The combat is turn-based like other JRPGs, but some features make the game timeless and unique: A branching narrative. Multiple endings. Over 40 playable characters, each with a backstory. No random encounters (just like Chrono Trigger). Lets you escape boss battles. And get this: no experience points.
Unlike many other PS1 games, however,
Chrono Cross still looks and sounds terrific. Not bad for a game released in 2000.
Suikoden II doesn't just withstand the test of time; it's arguably the best JRPG of all time. The turn-based combat is easy to grasp; and while it comes with random encounters, the gameplay never becomes tiresome. It gets even better when you start fighting large-scale battles with your 108 playable characters.
The best part about
Suikoden II is its story, which doesn't follow the typical save-the-world narrative but instead weaves a compelling tale of friendship, politics, and betrayal. The game's strong visual design and sprite-based graphics also help make it aesthetically appealing until today.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Street Fighter Alpha 3 is one of the finest Street Fighter games ever created. It takes many of the features used in previous Alpha installments and tweaks them to near perfection. Like other titles in the series, Alpha 3 is easy to learn, but because of its multiple fighting styles, you'd be playing the game for a long time and still be mastering new techniques.
Another aspect that makes
Alpha 3 ageless is its large, well-balanced roster of fighters. Despite its size, the lineup doesn't feel like it was padded as each fighter comes with its own strengths and quirks.
Alpha 3 has outlasted many of its contemporaries and is actually better than a number of more recent fighting games.
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
At first glance, you wouldn't believe that
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is a PS1 game that was released way back in August 1997. Thanks to its strong art direction, the game's stunning visuals hold up so well you'd think it came out for the more advanced PS2.
But wait till you experience
Abe's Oddysee; it plays better than it looks. The game is like the original 2D Prince of Persia, except it's more devious and varied. As Abe, you'll jump platforms, navigate confounding obstacles, and guide fellow Mudokons to safety through various commands.
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is one of the greatest sleeper hits in video game history.
It's hard to find fault in
Wipeout 2097, a futuristic racer developed by the now-defunct SCE Studio Liverpool (then called Psygnosis). The track design is perfect; its use of left and right air brakes added another layer of depth; the techno soundtrack is superb; and more importantly, the brutally-difficult-yet-utterly-hypnotic gameplay never gets old.
Wipeout 2097 is considered the best in the series.
Final Fantasy IX
In more ways than one,
Final Fantasy IX is a return to the series' roots: It uses a simpler yet more elegant turn-based combat system. The character classes have also returned: Zidane, for instance, is a thief, Garnet is a white mage and summoner, and Vivi is a black mage. IX is also a return to the original medieval fantasy motif, which is a break from its predecessors' futuristic settings.
IX is evocative of older Final Fantasy games, it holds up better than many other installments in the series. The visuals aren't in HD, but its distinct visual design is unmatched. The narrative is emotionally resonant, and the characters are more endearing (no angst-ridden protagonists here).
IX is Final Fantasy at its finest, no matter what decade you're playing it.
For the longest time, 1997 action-adventure gem
Alundra seemed to be the sequel that SNES classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past never had (at least until Nintendo released 2013's A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS). Alas, Alundra is available only on Sony consoles (the PS1 and PSN).
Alundra is a Zelda clone on the PS1. It has an elven hero, bows, "life vessels" (aka heart containers), bombs, an overworld, dungeons, currency-yielding shrubs, artifacts to collect, and many other similar elements. Unlike Zelda however, Alundra has platforming and tells a darker tale.
Alundra's sprite-based visuals still look great in this age of HD textures.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
If you had no idea when 2D platformer/action-RPG masterpiece
Symphony of the Night was released, you might think it's a recent game. SOTN doesn't have HD visuals so perhaps it came out for the 3DS? Nope. It's a PS1 game that was released way back in 1997.
This Konami-made classic is in this list because it has responsive controls, intricate levels and monsters, an outstanding and varied soundtrack, a deep spell system, challenging combat, and aesthetics that simply pop, even when compared to the games of today.
In other words,
SOTN is utterly engaging as it has ever been.