Game Buzz is a weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday we’ll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart’s delight. This week, we ruminate on the top ten PS1 games...well is was its birthday after all.
It's been 15 years since the original Playstation hit our shelves and changed the gaming landscape, loosening Nintendo's strangehold on the industry. So here's a quick top ten to commemorate the PS1's birthday, with a handful of the best games to ever grace Sony's little box of wonders.
There were a number of games that found homes on the PSOne fresh from the arcades, and a number that made that conversion effortlessly and beauitfully. But it was Driver that managed to marry both the allure of the arcade with some of the finest driving mechanics of the period thanks to exceptionally detailed handling models and physics, bucketloads of Seventies' retro charm and classic cops and robbers gameplay.
9. Tekken III
Boasting fifteen new fighters, a multitude of bonus modes, universal sidestepping and gorgeous FMV, Namco did the impossible with Tekken III - they brought a stunning-looking arcade game into the home on a platform that no-one believed was capable of handling it...and they did it pretty damn well. Sure there graphics took a bit of a hit, but this is by far one of the finest looking PSOne games out there and the depth of gameplay remains impressive to this day.
8. Resident Evil 2
Nemesis looked better and the original took us all by surprise, but before that hideous camera got fully rectified with Res 4, the second instalment was by far and away sitting pretty at the top of the survival horror food chain. Four separate stories to play through, dialogue that actual humans would probably speak (unlike that of the first game) combined with splendid voice acting, an intro movie that made you crap your pants and an action packed story that never really let up with the tension all made for one hell of a game.
7. Medal Of Honor
Nowadays it can be fairly trendy to scoff at WWII shooters, considering that they're now about as numerous as tadpoles, but back in 1999, just after the release of Saving Private Ryan, a game came along that blew us all away. Overseen by Spielberg himself, following in the footsteps of aturing a number of jaw-dropping moments, it had its faults to be sure and its following sequels would be inconsistent to say the least, but this was arguably the finest finest FPS to grace the platform.
6. Castlevania Symphony of the Night
Symphony of the Night proved that the Playstation wasn't all about the 3D, it could still knock things out of the park in 2D as well. As well as being arguably the finest side-scrolling 2D action-adventure game of all time. A massive, sprawling epic, it married cracking presentation with action packed gameplay with a liberal topping of RPG mechanics as well. It was an utter bastard as well, proving highly challenging, particularly to a relative noob such as myself at the time. Admittedly the voice acting was some of the worst ever heard, but just think of all the memes we'd be lacking if that hadn't been the case. Oh...wait...
5. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
Insanely difficult thanks to trial-and-error gameplay and a complete lack of save points, not to mention the fact that if you plunged Abe into an abyss he'd start right back at the beginning of the level, Abe's Oddysee was also inventive, intelligent and brilliantly presented. The characters were memorable, the story engrossing and offbeat, and the AI engine (A.L.I.V.E. - Aware Lifeforms In a Virtual Environment) groundbreaking for its time.
4. Parappa The Rapper
First of all, this was one of the first games to make me laugh so hard I sneezed Ribena everywhere, largely thanks to its bathroom level. Diarrhoea is hilarious when it's not happening to you. But above all else, Parappa the Rapper was a stunning achievement of originality and quirky charm. It wasn't just offbeat, but fiercely addictive too, its rhythm-based gameplay, cartoonish graphics and catchy tunes making for a game that enthrals and enchants to this day. Seriously, stick it on...I challenge you to not have fun!
3. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
I remember when the demo for THPS first came out. I sat in my friend's room for seven hours and we just played through the two minute score run incessantly, each trying to beat one another's scores. It was a game that simply got better the more you played of it, trying out different inputs to discover new tricks, remembering the first time you ever managed to land the precious 900, each level in itself a mini sandbox with new routes to discover each and every time you played it. Activision have long since milked the franchise dry (No. 4 was my personal favourite), but this was accessible, addictive and took ages to master.
2. Metal Gear Solid
MGS made stealth cool and for that we should thank Hideo Kojima. Even without the supremely impressive graphical presentation, MGS was a game so engrossing that when you got to the end you'd shed a little tear that it was all over. Everything seemed so perfectly crafted, from the intricate, expertly woven story to the footprints Snake would leave in the snow. It was a game that was practically impossible to play only once and, on top of that, it might just have one of the finest video game endings of all time.
1. Final Fantasy VII
It's become incredibly popular to bash FFVII these days, the eighth instalment arguably tuned everything up and could be objectively identified as 'the better game', but nothing had as much of an impact as this title. For many, FFVII would be the first RPG they had ever played, for the rest of us the unforgettable soundtrack, glorious FMV sequences, the convoluted plot and new 3D visuals would herald our first introduction to a jaw-dropping testament to this new generation's capabilities. There have been games that I've had stronger emotional attachments to, stories in which I've been far more deeply engrossed since then, but FFVII marked a turning point. It was rich, dark, moving and, ultimately, eye opening.