The US PSN is giving American Playstation fans a small taste of games that never made it to the west. The First 4 Rockman Complete Works (5 and 6 are missing) Wolf Fang, Shienryu, Sonic Wings, The Fireman 2, Double Dragon,Zanac X Zanac,Gaia Seed and a handful of Turbographix 16 games. However the Japanese PSN is chockfull of Retrogoodness so much that it rivals even the Wii Virtual Console. There are also PSN only games that never released in the west and Demos for Japan only PS3 games that make you wonder why it's not coming out here.
First you need to set one up, Kotaku has you covered.
Navigating it has changed from their guide but half the fun is finding the gems held within. You'll also need PSN Cards, I'm getting mine from Play-asia as they have a near endless supply of them. Oh and an address you'll have to give them an address. Personally I gave them the address of Japanese Wrestling company, so get creative. So far I haven't gotten any angry E-mails from CIMA, Yamato, or Masato Yoshino.
Now the whole reason I'm doing this, The Games you can only get on JPSN
Playstation 1 games
One thing you'll learn quickly from JPSN was that the Japanese PS1 had a shitload of 2d Games. While SCEA wanted to suppress 2d games because they were fucking retards The Japanese PS1 had decent Neo Geo Ports, and a TON and I mean a TON of 2d Shmups. I can't list them all but here are my picks in no particular order (Or the order of which I recall them.)
Harmful Park is a side scrolling cute em up. Considered one of the best PS1 Shmups and physical copies can fetch large amounts of money. On JPSN it'sabout 600 Yen or roughly $6-7 depending on the current exchange rate.
I haven't played it my self but have wanted to for age. Basically it's
PS1 Gunstar Heroes. It does it's own thing but Gunstar Heroes fans will find alot to enjoy. Again it's 600 Yen.
Rockman complete works 5 and 6-
Mega man 1-4 are on the US PSN Store of those I only have 2 and 3 as I am not a huge fan of 1 and 4. 5 and 6 however are right up there amongst my favorite Mega Man games. Capcom saw to it that 5 and 6 did not see the light of day on US PSN because well, Capcom hates us unless it's Street Fighter input. If you have the Anniversary collection you know what to expect arranged soundtracks and hints in the arranged mode. However this version has it's own FMV Credits and unlockable artwork the Anniversary collection doesn't have.
Asuka 120% series-
If Evo was an honest tournament and not a commercial sellout fest the Asuka 120% series would be contested yearly. A simple 2 button fighter it has complex combos and a very deep fighting system. 3 of the games from this series which started on Japanese computers ended up on the PS1 in Japan while the Saturn version is considered the best installment. The Final game in the series is made by a new development team and is radically different from the games that proceede it. If you like deep unique fighters check these out.
- The Neo Geo Station is as far as I can tell exclusive to the US PSN. Several SNK PS Minis are also US Exclusive. Classics like Last Blade 1, Samurai Shodown 1 and 2 (as a pack) and IV, Real Bout Dominated mind and several 3d fighters from SNK are on JPSN. Did you know the PS1 got KOF 98? I sure didn't but it's there too.
A great 3d Fighter from Taito with really good 90s Era Fighting game music.
Donpachi and DoDonpachi-
The Saturn didn't always get arcade perfect ports. Dodonpachi on the Saturn is more an enhanced version than direct arcade port. Arcade Perfect Dodonpachi is ONLY on the Jps1. Donpachi is also up for those who want to play the game that started what is considered Cave's flagship series.
Digital versions of
- Einhander, Rival Schools, Ehergriz, Namco Museum (Including Japanese exclusive Encore) and countless others.
The PS2 also has a few games up on JPSN but nothing really note worthy.
PC Engine games
The PC Engine was the Japanese Turbographix 16, a vastly superior console to it's western counter part it was a treasure trove of unique game play experiences that neither the NES/Famicom nor Mega Drive offered. The US only got a small taste of the games while Japan got all the greatest hits. These game will set you back $8-9 or 800 Yen.
Valis 1 and 2
- The Valis series is one of those unsung series 1 and 2 are a bit sloppy but are still great games and quite enjoyable. Sadly Valis III is not on PSN the defintive version of III was on the PC Engine CD as well. Still the hybrid Mega Man/Castlevania gameplay is there in these first two games and it's a good taste of a great series starring one of gamings hottest females.
Gate of Thunder and Winds (AKA Lords) Of Thunder-
Flagship PC Engine CD shmups. Gate of Thunder is alot like Thunderforce while Lords of Thunder is this fantasy metal nightmare.
Bonk 2 and 3-
Hudson's answer to Mario. Bonk 1 is on the US PSN but the sequel BC KID 2 and 3 (or PC Genjin) are only on the Japanese PSN. Bonk is a great series and it's a shame Konami ate Hudson alive killing the series (and Bomberman) at the same time. There's blood on your hands Kojima. THERE IS BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS!
Final Soldier and Blazing Lasers-
The Star soldier series of Shmups is legendary, fast paced twitch shooters with lots of power ups great music and a classic 16 bit look. US PSN gives you a small taste with Soldier blade and Super Star Solider but You need JPSN for the rest. Blazing Lasers I should point out is more a spin off game made by different developers in that style but regardless you'll want these if you're a shmupper.
And that's just the surface, Konami fans will find a few goodies on there too.
JPSN Only games
MOST games come out world wide but there are a handful that stayed in Japan or some that have been delisted in the west but remain online in the east.
Known in Japanese Arcades under the much better name Chaos Breaker this is a prerendered 3 vs 3 fighter published by Taito and developed by Eolith best known for King of Fighters 2001 and 2002. The game has a fantasy setting and bizzare MIDI soundtrack. It scream low rent but it's actually a farily decent fighter and a nice change of pace from the Norm.
Virtual On and Virtual Striker-
3 of the 5 Model 2 collection games from Sega made it to US PSN and XBOX Live but in Japan a better than Arcade perfect Virtual on remained there. Striker is a decent soccer sim and one of Sega's best. They're cheap, about 500 Yen I think. Well worth it espcally if you're a Virtual on fan.
For a short time this game was up on US PSN and XBLA. I am the happy owner of the XBLA version. Licensing issues caused the delisting but a slightly enhanced version is still on Japanese PSN. R-type is the legendary shmup series known for being harder than a 14 year old boy spying on the girls locker room. Oh and the sexual undertones don't stop at horny teenager analogies either. Some bosses look like cocks. YEAH... Still R-Type is well respected by Shmuppers and non Shmuppers. at 1000 Yen it's about what it was here in the US a Demo is also available.