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LONG BLOG

PS1 REVIEWS REPORT: 100-91

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As to be expected from the bottom-placed (in this case the higher numbered) games in a top 100 list, there would be debatable quality. Except, this really shouldn't be the case for a console with the massive library of the PS1. I am afraid that several fo the games in Retro Sanctuary's Top 100-91 games shouldn't be counted among the best the PS1 has to offer.

Specifically, I think games like Syndicate Wars which have superior PC ports shouldn't be counted in the list. Also, games like Ballistic, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!, and Return Fire were basically never cared about back in the day and offer no hidden quality, unlike a game like Vanark for example. However, al of that pales in comparison to the inclusion of Wild 9, which is simply a trash game.

All in all, I don't think there are any hidden gems in these 10 games with the exception of the unknown Vanark.

Please enjoy:-

100- Ballistic (1999): AKA Puzz Loop

  • Genre: Arcade Puzzler
  • Publisher: Capcom; Developer: Mitchel Corporation.

The PlayStation had its share of games for nearly every genre, and Arcade Puzzlers were no exception. Ballistic is not as well-known as some of the more famous ones down this list, but its spiral puzzle block-breaking system is a unique twist to the match-3 genre.

This game doesn't shake things much other than providing a simple arcade mode and a few stages with extra bells and whistles (double spirals or covered parts come to mind). This is not a groundbreaking game nor a particularly influential Arcade Puzzler.

99- Disruptor (1996):

  • Genre: Doom-Like FPS
  • Publisher: Universal Interactive Studios; Developer: Insomniac Games.

As a Doom-Like FPS, Disruptor is already disadvantaged by being bettered by more established names in the genre. On the PlayStation, we would soon the development of full FPS games, which would forever relegate the Doom-Likes, with their locked vertical aiming, to history.

Today, the only reason to remember Disruptor is to appreciate the fact that it is Insomniac Games first title.

98- Gex: Enter the Gecko (1998):

  • Genre: 3D Platformer.
  • Publisher: Midway Games, Crystal Dynamics; Developer: Crystal Dynamics.

I think Gex has the dubious distinction of being the best remembered forgotten mascot from the 90's attitude era. Generally, I see that people fondly remember the games that featured him, but are often unsure how many they played and which one they actually did. As you can notice from the game's title, there isn't an actual number there.

In fact, this is the second Gex game but the first that went 3D, and that showed in the unimpressive graphics (mostly due to poor art direction) and the poor camera work. That, coupled with an obnoxious character and obnoxious sound design makes for an unpleasant experience, even if the game is competent enough as a 3D Platformer.

Ironically, I don't actually disagree with Retro Sanctuary putting in a Gex game. It is just that they put in the wrong one.

98(S)- Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko  (1999):

  • Genre: 3D Platformer.
  • Publisher: Eidos Interactive; Developer: Crystal Dynamics.

By almost all metrics, Gex 3 is much better than its predecessor. It has a more consistent and arguably good looking graphical design. The gameplay is better balanced, with fewer camera issues. Gex still has obnoxious one-liners, but they at least sound better when not coupled with an obnoxious soundtrack.

Really, there is no earthly reason why this game isn't included instead of Gex 2 in the Retro Sanctuary list. This is a game that actually deserves it because even while it pales in comparison to the N64 3D Platformers, it is probably one of the best the PS1 has.

97- Vanark: Astro Trooper (2000):

  • Genre: Rail Shooter.
  • Publisher: Jaleco Entertainment; Developer: Bit Town.

Originally, I was planning to review this game, which is a little known title that probably comes closest to emulating Nintendo's Star Fox series. However, I saw very little mention of it online (it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page) and the only ROMs I could find were severely damaged.

Surprisingly, from what I saw about the game, it actually looks to be one of the best Star Fox clones out there, even rivaling the excellent Panzer Dragoon series. It had great graphics for the time with a really good art direction and some stellar gameplay. Even in a narrative front, the game delivered a basic but enjoyable story (that is also riddled with grammatical errors).

Yet, being developed by an unknown studio and published by an unknown publisher, Vanark simply vanished in the vast library of the PS1.

96- No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! (1998):

  • Genre: Action Puzzler.
  • Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment; Developer: Artdink.

I did not exactly understand the gameplay hook in this game. Apparently, you control a domino that runs around a lap while trying to avoid obstacles. To score points, you must continuously drop domino pieces around the lap and then hit them back to make a Domino train. It looks bad and controls worse. I really don't understand how playing this can be any fun.

95- Madden NFL 2000 (2000):

  • Genre: Sport.
  • Publisher: EA; Developer: EA.

This is apparently the best American Football game on the PS1 unless you are a Game Day fan, in which case it is only the second-best American Football game on the console.

94- Return Fire (1996):

  • Genre: Action Shooter.
  • Publisher: Time Warner Interactive; Developer: Silent software.

I tried fooling around with the game for a while, but the single-player portion is like Desert Strike but with more vehicle options and frankly worse controls. Back in the day, this was probably a unique war multiplayer game. Without that specific niche to back it up, there is little recommending Return Fire today.

One interesting thing to note about the game is that it exclusively uses public domain classical music in its soundtrack, which works with the setting.

93- Roll Away (1995):

  • Genre: Puzzle Platformer.
  • Publisher: SCE, Psygnosis; Developer: Game Design Sweden AB.

If this was a tech demo game at the beginning of the PS1 life cycle, then Roll Away would have been an apt demonstration of the console's power with some interesting game ideas to boot.

However, it's release three years after the PS1 launch meant it couldn't be treated as a tech demo game, even though it really looks like one. From a pure gameplay perspective, Roll Away has a lot of interesting Puzzle Platforming ideas. Yet, it lacks the trappings and charm to make for a fully compelling experience.

92- Wild 9 (1998):

  • Genre: Action Platformer.
  • Publisher: Interplay Production; Developer: Shiny Entertainment.

Made by some of the same people responsible for the Earthworm Jim franchise, Wild 9 exposes the team's weakness in making compelling gameplay while being devoid of any of their signature zany weirdness. This is simply a terrible game that doesn't belong in any top 100 PlayStation games list.

The thing that cements the game's awfulness is its signature mechanic; the ability to grab enemies and hen bash them around or "torture" them. In theory, you can use the enemies as light puzzle-solving elements: destroying obstacles or as stepping stones in a spike pit for example. However, in practice, it is a tedious and finicky mechanic that wastes your time and is rarely fun to execute.

91- Syndicate Wars (1997):

  • Genre: Real-Time Tactics.
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts; Developer: Bullfrog.

Like any of the PC ports in his list, Syndicate Wars is simply better on the PC than on the PS1. It controls much better with a keyboard, and that negates any advantages the PS1 port may have had (and it doesn't have any advantages in this case).

*********************************

This report is a consolidated review of the top 100 list by Retro Sanctuary. It features the reviews I made for the list but also has a brief paragraph about each game on the list that I didn't review. For games without an official review, the opinions I express are purely based on some little playing time and general research about the game and its reception at the time.

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Thanks to the excellent work of community member Dango, now I have a cool infographic of my top 20 games. This list is not my final one, but what I thought off at the moment. If you notice, they are presented in chronological order:





Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
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