Sony’s original PlayStation was launched in Japan in 1994, hitting the rest of the world in 1995, and it proceeded to revolutionize the console market. It took a pastime that was seen as exclusive to geeks and children, and turned it into a true mainstream phenomenon. PlayStation made gaming “cool,” and it brought with it a huge catalog of games, introducing us to all-time classics like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Wipeout, Resident Evil, and many more. Take a look below for 10 of the most unique PlayStation One games to ever be released.
1. Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Konami and released for the PlayStation in 1998. The game was directed, produced, and written by Hideo Kojima, and serves as a sequel to the MSX2 video games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which Kojima also worked on. The game was first unveiled in the Tokyo Game Show in 1996 and subsequently shown in the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 1997, before eventually releasing in late 1998.
The game follows Solid Snake, a soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons facility to neutralize the terrorist threat from FOXHOUND, a renegade special forces unit. Snake must liberate two hostages, the head of DARPA and the president of a major arms manufacturer, confront the terrorists, and stop them from launching a nuclear strike. Cinematic cutscenes were rendered using the in-game engine and graphics, and voice acting was used throughout the entire game.
Metal Gear Solid was well received, shipping more than six million copies, along with 12 million demos, and scoring an average of 94/100 on the aggregate website Metacritic. It is regarded as one of the greatest and most important video games of all time and helped popularize the stealth genre and in-engine cinematic cutscenes.
Its success prompted the release of an expanded version for the PlayStation and PC, Metal Gear Solid: Integral, and a GameCube remake, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. The game has also spawned a direct sequel, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and numerous other sequels, prequels, and spin-offs, including several games, a radio drama, comics, and novels.
2. Resident Evil
Resident Evil, known in Japan as Biohazard, is a Japanese horror media franchise created by Shinji Mikami and Tokuro Fujiwara, and owned by the video game company Capcom. The franchise focuses on a series of survival horror games and includes live-action films, animated films, comic books, novels, audio dramas, and merchandise. The story follows outbreaks of zombies and other monsters created mainly by the Umbrella Corporation.
The first Resident Evil video game was released in 1996, taking place in a mansion overrun with zombies. The franchise has grown to encompass numerous sequels of various genres, incorporating elements of action, exploration, and puzzle solving, and storylines inspired by horror and action films. Resident Evil has been credited with popularizing survival horror games, as well as re-popularizing zombies in mainstream popular culture from the late 1990s onwards (along with The House of the Dead), leading to a renewed interest in zombie films during the 2000s. Resident Evil is Capcom’s best-selling video game franchise, with 92 million units sold worldwide as of June 30, 2019. The Resident Evil films are also the highest-grossing film series based on video games.
3. Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot is a franchise of platform video games. The series was created by Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin during their tenure at Naughty Dog for Universal Interactive Studios and Sony Computer Entertainment; the series was originally exclusive to the PlayStation family of video game consoles. The series has appeared on multiple platforms and gone through various developers and spans numerous genres.
The games are mostly set on the fictitious Wumpa Islands, an archipelago situated to the south of Australia where humans and mutant animals co-exist, although other locations are common. The main games in the series are largely platformers, but several are spin-offs in different genres. The protagonist of the series is a mutant enhanced bandicoot named Crash, whose quiet life on the Wumpa Islands is often interrupted by the games’ main antagonist, Doctor Neo Cortex, who created Crash and wants him dead as he is a failed experiment. In most games, Crash must defeat Cortex and foil his plans for world domination, but there have been instances when they have worked together.
4. Spyro The Dragon
Spyro the Dragon is a platform game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation on September 10, 1998. The first game in the Spyro series, it stars the title character, a young purple dragon named Spyro, and his dragonfly friend, Sparx, who must journey across the Dragon Kingdom in order to defeat Gnasty Gnorc, who has overtaken the 5 dragon Homeworlds by trapping the other dragons in crystal and turning their hoard of gems into an army of minions for his bidding.
Spyro the Dragon is an open-ended 3D platformer, featuring large, sprawling levels in which the player must locate collectible items, among which are gemstones, crystallized dragons, and stolen dragon eggs. Spyro’s abilities as a dragon include fire breath, a head-on charging attack, and a mid-air glide which he can use to scale large distances, all of which must be used strategically in order to find items and defeat enemies.
Spyro the Dragon started development following the release of Insomniac’s debut game, Disruptor, which sold poorly but was generally praised by critics, impressing Universal Interactive enough to encourage them to make a second game. Artist Craig Stitt suggested a game about a dragon, and work began on a new game. Taking inspiration from the film Dragonheart, the game started out as a more mature title with a dark and realistic approach, but the direction was shifted to have a more whimsical and light-hearted tone in order to appeal to a wider market of consumers.
The game was one of the first on the PlayStation to utilize shifting levels of detail among rendered objects, thanks to a panoramic engine developed by Alex Hastings which allowed the game’s open-ended nature to be fully realized. Stewart Copeland, the former drummer for The Police, composed the game’s music, and the titular character was voice acted by Carlos Alazraqui, alongside additional voices done by Clancy Brown, Michael Gough and Jamie Alcroft.
Spyro the Dragon was released by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of a general effort to reach out to a younger age demographic and compete with the more popular kid’s platform, the Nintendo 64. Although sales were initially sluggish, it found larger success following the advent of the 1998 holiday season, and went on to sell nearly 5 million copies worldwide. Critics praised the game’s graphics and gameplay, while some noted its low difficulty level.
The game established Spyro as a well-known platforming mascot on the PlayStation alongside Crash Bandicoot, and two sequels, titled Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, were later released for the PlayStation in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Although Insomniac gave up the development rights to the Spyro series following the third game, the success of the PlayStation titles lent itself to a continued series of games across various platforms. The game, alongside its two successors, was later remastered as part of Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which was released in 2018 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
5. Vagrant Story
Vagrant Story is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the PlayStation video game console. The game was released in 2000, and has been re-released through the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita consoles. Vagrant Story was primarily developed by the team responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics, with Yasumi Matsuno serving as producer, writer and director.
The game takes place in the fictional kingdom of Valendia and the ruined city of Leá Monde. The story centers on Ashley Riot, an elite agent known as a Riskbreaker, who must travel to Leá Monde to investigate the link between a cult leader and a senior Valendian Parliament member, Duke Bardorba. In the prologue, Ashley is blamed for murdering the duke, and the game discloses the events that happen one week before the murder.
Vagrant Story is unique as a console action-adventure role-playing game in that it features no shops and no player interaction with other characters; instead, the game focuses on weapon creation and modification, as well as elements of puzzle-solving and strategy. The game received critical acclaim from gaming magazines and websites.
6. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee is a platform video game developed by Oddworld Inhabitants and published by GT Interactive. It was released in 1997 for the PlayStation game console, and computers running DOS and Microsoft Windows in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. The Game Boy version of Abe’s Oddysee, re-titled as Oddworld Adventures, was developed by Saffire Corporation and published by GT Interactive in 1998. An Onlive version was released in 2011. Emulated versions for the PlayStation 3 via PlayStation Network were released in 2009, 2010, and 2013.
The game centers on the titular Abe, a meek Mudokon slave at the RuptureFarms meat processing factory. When he discovers that he and his fellow Mudokons are to be slaughtered, Abe decides to escape and liberate as many enslaved Mudokons as he can. The player assumes the role of Abe as he attempts a perilous quest to emancipate his downtrodden people.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was widely acclaimed for having innovative gameplay, good art direction and engaging cutscenes; however, its steep learning curve and system of only saving at checkpoints sometimes received criticism. It was the first game in the planned five-part Oddworld series, which includes the direct sequels Abe’s Exoddus, Munch’s Oddysee and Stranger’s Wrath. A remake of the game, titled Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!, was developed by Just Add Water and released via digital distribution in 2014.
7. Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. The first installment in the Tomb Raider series, it was released in 1996 for Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and MS-DOS. Tomb Raider was released for N-Gage devices in 2003, and for the PlayStation Network in North America in August 2009, and in Europe in August 2010. Tomb Raider follows the exploits of Lara Croft, an English archaeologist in search of ancient treasures.
The game received critical acclaim, with some critics declaring it as one of the greatest video games ever made. The game was commercially successful, selling over 7 million copies worldwide. The game is considered widely influential, serving as a template for many 3D action-adventure games that would follow. Tomb Raider: Anniversary, a remake of the game, was released in 2007 in celebration of its 10th anniversary, and a reboot of its series under the same title was released in 2013.
8. Twisted Metal
Twisted Metal is a vehicular combat video game developed by SingleTrac, produced by Sony Interactive Studios America and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation. The game was released in North America on November 5, 1995, in Europe on January 13, 1996, and in Japan on November 15, 1996. The North American version was re-released for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on March 3, 1997. It is the first installment in the Twisted Metal series.
The game’s plot is centered on the titular competition in which various drivers in modified vehicles must destroy the other vehicles in an attempt to be the last one alive. The winner meets the organizer of the competition, a mysterious man named Calypso, who will grant the winner a single wish, regardless of price, size or even reality.
MediEvil is a series of three action-adventure hack and slash video games developed by SCE Cambridge Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The series revolves around an undead charlatan knight, Sir Daniel Fortesque, as he attempts to restore peace to the fictional Kingdom of Gallowmere whilst simultaneously redeeming himself. The first entry in the series, MediEvil, was released for the PlayStation in 1998 and was re-released on the PlayStation Network in 2007. Its direct sequel, MediEvil 2, was released for the PlayStation in 2000. A re-imagining of the first game, MediEvil: Resurrection, was released for the PlayStation Portable in 2005.
The first three installments of the series were developed by SCE Cambridge Studio (formerly known as Millennium Interactive), a subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment in Cambridge. Development of the first MediEvil began in 1995 and was inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The game was initially aimed for multiple consoles including Microsoft Windows platforms and the Sega Saturn; however, upon being shown progress, Sony Computer Entertainment signed MediEvil to be PlayStation-exclusive and commissioned the studio as SCE Cambridge.
The music for all games was composed by Andrew Barnabas and Paul Arnold, commonly known as “Bob & Barn”. Critics have been mostly positive to the series, with its graphics and story being particularly praised in the first two games. However, common criticisms included lack of innovation and cumbersome camera controls.
10. Gran Turismo
Gran Turismo is a sim racing video game designed by Kazunori Yamauchi. Gran Turismo was developed by Polys Entertainment and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1997 for the PlayStation video game console. The game’s development group was later established as Polyphony Digital.
After five years of development time, it was well-received publicly and critically, shipping a total of 10.85 million copies worldwide as of March 2013 (making it the best-selling PlayStation game), and scoring an average of 95% in GameRankings’ aggregate, making it the highest rated racing video game of all-time. Many publications have deemed it one of the greatest video games of all time. The game has started a series, and has spawned over 10 spin-offs and sequels.