On May 21st, 2019 I uploaded a collage of the ten games that made my time playing PS1 games so memorable. Back then I had nowhere to blog at and therefore it remained a social media post until today. This is going to be the first of the 12 backlog specials I once uploaded and that are now going to have a written blog each. A mini blog series for the remaining of the year? I'm in.
#10: Crash Bandicoot 2 Cortex Strikes Back
I recently replayed it in order to have my save file back and while I replayed it, I remember why this game is my favorite out of the original trilogy. At first glance, it feels and looks just like its predecessor, but with quality of life improvements that once combined with an already interesting formula does wonders. The level design, character interactions, and an established pace make for a platformer that still challenges you while making the play through all the more exciting.
#9: Dino Crisis
Another game that I replayed in 2020, Dino Crisis is well remembered by survival horror fans as the Resident Evil with dinosaurs but it's so much more than that. The first main difference this one has from its brother franchise is that it's playable on 3D and that combat is not its main attraction, puzzle-solving is. Regina is such a badass of a main character and a breath of fresh air back in the '90s and even to this day. Dinosaurs saw their survival horror spotlight thanks to this game.
I first played this game when I was 8 or 9 and back then I wasn't a gamer or even smart enough to solve this game's many puzzles but I managed thanks to my brother who helped me when I used to get stuck. I say used to as in this replay I had recently I only use the internet once to solve a puzzle or just know what to do. As a kid, I started to take risks not only because I wanted to finish the game but because I liked it, and it was all worthwhile.
Klonoa is, as I see it, Sony's response to Kirby at first that turns into a more serious and challenging experience. A 2.5D platformer that looks cute and all with some production values worthy of a Namco game. Sadly, this game doesn't get the love it deserves, and while it has a remake for the Wii, and three sequels being one for the PS2 and two for the Game Boy Advance, none of these games feels like this one. They are hard yes, really hard, but this sometimes a forgotten gem.
Oh, the memories. A recommendation from an ex that had me hesitating to play this until I finally did to stop everything else and just finish it. Another challenge that caught me off guard as I wasn't that experienced on the platforming genre back in 2012. This was the first game where I actually cried during and after the ending, with other games I get teary-eyed, but this one had me in tears for some minutes.
#7: Silent Bomber
3D run and gun games aren't actually my thing, actually, there are few run and gun games that I have beaten in my life, but this one is different. This game has this stylish and addictive gameplay mechanics that even though once mastered offer no more, the challenges, the soundtrack, and how Silent Bomber mixes all of it on its two hours walkthrough is surprising. The game holds up very well to this day and offers a neat arcade experience.
A game that someone recommended me when I new to the system back in 2002, and I could barely play video games as I was pretty new to the medium and was only 8. Yeah, I grew up at a slow pace. However, thanks to this game I started to see how varied gaming really was and the importance of antagonists in video games. This game's antagonist and its final boss battle are among my favorites ever. Way to build up momentum and mix narrative into gameplay.
#6: Vagrant Story
Vagrant Story is this humble game that excels from its very first minute to its quick closure. An action RPG with strategy elements, a single map that one can traverse as many times as one sees fits (you can grind all the way back to the first room on foot, no joke) if you so desire to, and that's just the peek of the iceberg. Metal Gear Solid like cutscenes, thought-provoking storyline, memorable characters, and this minimalistic approach that makes Vagrant Story all the greater as by playing it only amazes the more. The protagonist's mission is to know what exactly is going on, and that was what this game gave me: an immense feeling of discovery that could only be satisfied as I progressed. Sometimes one can give ANY game a chance and find greatness on it, just as with this one. Truly another game that sadly doesn't get the attention it so deserves.
#5: Castlevania Symphony of the Night
The Castlevania that reinvented the formula while creating the Metroidvania genre that many games have tried to imitate, but to no avail. Granted, those games are good on their own right but this one? This will forever be one of gaming's most influential titles. Playing safe with its series conventions, by adding that map and lots of innovations and whatnot, this symphony gave new life to an already great franchise that only spanned more sequels on its wake following similar traits. It is that good.
"Metroidvania? Metroid? Why is this game's map so big? Will I ever be able to beat this?" Those were my questions during many of my playthrough and failed attempts at first. I finally got to beat this game while unlocking the true ending in 2016 many years after beating it, and I owe this game the ability to look past my dull restriction of not playing a game because it's too big and I may get lost on it.
A dungeon crawler, turn-based RPG with a dark tone with heavy philosophical influences for the PS1 in 1996? This game was way ahead of its time like many others, and a game not many people play unless they are hard to die of the Persona franchise. I don't know much of the original SMT games but this one was the beginning of Atlus trying to create a subgenre using their flagship gameplay mechanics and while it didn't cause much noise, Persona it's a game worth playing. A mix of many elements in a game when doing so wasn't seen as much as it is now.
I am a hard die Persona fan, and even I wanted to stop playing this game after several attempts at it. Even after getting the bad ending, I decided to stop playing it completely as I was upset at the game being so darn different to what I was used to, without knowing that's what makes it special. Once I realized that I gave the game a second chance accepting it wasn't really a game for western audiences and that it could be my chance to broaden my gaming horizons further. It is now a game I want to replay on PSP now that I am more versed in games for different audiences. It also helped me enjoy and appreciate Persona 5 more so, thanks Persona.
#3: Resident Evil 2
Probably the second cliched entry on this list after Castlevania Symphony of the Night. Resident Evil 2 is a video game sequel done right: more characters, a recurring villain, 4 campaigns, and plenty of unlockables. This game and Persona 4 are my all-time favorites, nuff said. Even though I haven't played the remake, I did play the Wii retelling on the Darkside Chronicles and I see there is this aura around Resident Evil 2 that makes it stand the test of time. Claire Redfield is of the best video game protagonists there is.
I played this game a lot in 2002 but only Claire's CD as I couldn't afford Leon's at that time. Time passed and we got our Nintendo 64 working again and surprise, my parents let me exchange an N64 game that I don't remember for Resident Evil 2 when they knew exactly what that game was and how it would affect a 10-year-old kid. I was afraid, got scared, and everything that comes when playing a survival horror game more all by oneself but I managed to get past the language barrier as Spanish is my native language and the game was in English. Guess I develop two important things thanks to Resident Evil 2: my desire to learn what I was reading and my love for horror in general.
Again with survival horror games and in the vein of Resident Evil, as Galerians is merely another clone of the former. I can say it's one of the most original clones there is. There's the tank control scheme, pre-rendered backgrounds, and puzzle-solving with a twist: drug-induced powers. This grants our protagonist and his enemies psychic powers to decide who is able to defeat one another as this twist plays a major role in the gameplay. It is used to solve puzzles, and that already makes it different from its inspiration.
I knew about this game as one college student suddenly came to my mother and I asking us to help him with a college project he wanted to do but few people pay attention to play Galerians using his printed guide and see how it could work. I know that right now that sounds kinda weird considering one can easily find guides on the internet very quickly but that happened back in 2004 or so. Wanting to help him, we accepted and I started playing until the end of disc one which was the only disc I was given access to and then returned it to that guy. Everything was a success as his guide not only helped me who was new to gaming but also convinced me to play the game. I don't know what happened to that guy after that but I will be forever thankful to him. Such an event in my life was the beginning of my writing, but that deserves an entire blog.
#1: Final Fantasy IX
Not Final Fantasy VII, not Final Fantasy VIII but IX. Zidane's vivid adventure is one that I won't soon forget. This game brought back what Final Fantasy was known for since the series first game in the late '80s and while I embrace change on ongoing series has it has proven to be successful, FF IX was a brave and smart move. It proved that graphical innovations can also make traditional settings look beautiful and that innovation still has a place alongside a well-known formula that wants to try out new things without forgetting its roots.
This game encapsulates most of my anecdotes will all the games above: it was hard at first, I didn't have the other discs, I didn't understand English... I can go on. Nevertheless, come 2016 when I finally decided to play this game in order to beat as I was prepared to do so, or so I thought. While I did beat it and enjoyed every moment of it, I wasn't ready to witness such a work of art, design, and creativity all at once. I can easily recommend this title to someone who wants to try Final Fantasy games alongside IV, VI, and XII. Just like what I have to say regarding Galerians, Final Fantasy IX deserves a blog on its own.
And that's it for this list. What are your Top 10 PlayStation games?
Thanks for Reading.