What Are the Best PlayStation 1 Classics on PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP?

What Are the Best PlayStation 1 Classics on PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP?

A work-in-progress breakdown of the best PlayStation classics currently available on SEN.

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Worth Playing [A-M]

Alundra
Matrix Software/Working Designs, 1997
If you loved niche, 2D games during the '90s, Working Designs was likely your savior. And Alundra definitely stands out as one of their best releases that isn't a turn-based RPG. In essence, it's a 32-bit take on traditional legend of Zelda, with the puzzles and difficulty cranked up to suit the wizened brains of kids who grew up with A Link to the Past. Alundra can be a bit too devious at times, but it's certainly memorable.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Arc the Lad
Sony Computer Entertainment/Working Designs, 2002
While it may seem strange that Sony didn't bring over the first-party RPG series they published in Japan, the first Arc the Lad likely stayed in Japan for being so slight. While RPGs would only grow more complex and bloated in the 32-bit era, Arc 1 clocks in at just 10 hours, and its strategy elements don't really get more involved than what you'd find in something like Shining Force. Still, it's a fun ride—especially if you plan on playing the sequels—and a short RPG remains a luxury these days.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Battle Hunter
Success/Agetec, 2001
SEN offers a whole bunch of former budget games released for the PlayStation during its winding down period, and Battle Hunter definitely stands as the most salvageable. While it features remarkably bland graphics for a late PlayStation game, its strange mix of strategy RPG and board game is like nothing you've ever played before.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Breath of Fire IV
Capcom/Capcom, 2000
Capcom decided to give Breath of Fire one last hurrah late in the PlayStation's life with part IV: A game that doesn't necessarily reinvent the JRPG wheel, but doesn't really need to. While the next installment would drastically overhaul the series (and inadvertently cause its death), Breath of Fire IV gets by on being a very solid traditional JRPG—and one with absolutely gorgeous 2D sprite art and animation.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Bust-A-Move 4
Cyber Front/Acclaim, 1998
What more can you say about Bust-A-Move (otherwise known as "Puzzle Bobble")? For over 20 years it's been a puzzle game mainstay, with plenty of sequels—and countless of rip-offs. If you'd rather not resort to one of the many Flash and mobile games that steal so soundly from Taito's creation, there's certainly nothing wrong with this PlayStation release. In any case, it's got the cutest dinosaurs.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Castlevania Chronicles
Konami/Konami, 2001
Castlvania Chronicles is essentially a remake of a remake: It revamps the Sharp X68000's Akumajou Dracula, a 1993 release that builds off of the original Castlevania. And if that didn't mean anything to you, Chronicles is essentially a Castlevania game of the pre-Symphony of the Night era, meaning it's just as tough as the 8-bit originals. If you prefer the more punishing interpretations of Konami's gothic side-scroller, give this late, great PlayStation release a try.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Crash Bandicoot
Naughty Dog/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1996
While Crash was initially set up as Sony's cool, '90s answer to Mario, his game doesn't aspire to the heights of Super Mario 64. Instead, Bandicoot takes the form of a fairly straightforward 3D platformer that features Naughty Dog's Taz-like creation running down paths either away from or towards the player—along with some traditional side-scrolling. If anything, Crash's debut is a testament to Naughty Dog's talent as a developer: few PlayStation games from 1996 hold up this well.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3

Crash Bandicoot: Warped
Naughty Dog/Sony Computer Entertainment , 1998
With Warped being the third Crash game in just as many years, Naughty Dog's bandicoot was beginning to wear out his welcome. But Naughty Dog still game him a fine send off with this, the last traditional Crash game they would develop before moving on to the PS2's Jak and Daxter. Ultimately, Warped doesn't differ too much from the first two games; it simply refines what came before, while adding some fun new vehicle segments for the sake of something new. If anything, the farming out of Crash post-Warped has only made Naughty Dog's final take on their platformer look even better over time.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3

Crash Team Racing
Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment, 1999
Long ago, "kart racer" existed as a game journo's synonym for a cheap, disposable cash-in game. In the late 90's we were simply swimming in them, though Crash Team Racing has the distinction of being one of the obligatory kart racers that's actually good. While you may not care much about Crash's cast of characters—whoever they are—you're simply not going to find another go-kart game on the PlayStation that feels as good as Mario Kart.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3

Darkstalkers 3
Capcom/Capcom, 1998
While PS3 owners may want to opt for the PlayStation 3's Darkstalkers Resurrection—which contains an arcade-perfect port of Darkstalkers 3—this release stands as the best of the two Darkstalkers games on SEN. It's a fairly faithful port of the 1997 arcade fighter, with plenty of extras thrown in to justify a home release. You're likely to find more faithful fighting game conversions on newer hardware, but this port should scratch that nostalgia itch if you're especially fond of the PlayStation version.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Dino Crisis 2
Capcom/Capcom, 2000
While Dino Crisis didn't prove to be an especially successful take on Resident Evil, this second game steps away from the survival horror of the debut for a more combat-focused experience. True, the prescribed camera angles still make for some awkward controls, but Dino Crisis 2 amounts to an interesting experiment that plays with the basics of what would eventually become Devil May Cry. If you dismissed Capcom's creepy dinosaur series, this is definitely the highlight.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Echo Night
From Software/Agetec, 1999
Though it's made by From Software, Echo Night is about as far from Dark Souls as you can get. In short, it's a spooky first-person adventure game set on a haunted cruise ship in which you're tasked with solving the problems of ghosts with unfinished business in the mortal realm. If you can get over its fairly ugly graphics and awkward controls—that Vita sure works wonders—you'll find a lot to love in this odd little game. While reviewers didn't quite understand it at the time, the rise of "walking simulators" has definitely helped Echo Night become much more approachable in our modern age.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Final Fantasy VIII
Square/Square, 1999
Square's attempts to tap into '90s Japanese pop culture may have resulted in Final Fantasy VIII being one of the more dated installments in the series, but it's not without its charms. VIII's greatest strength lies in how much it shakes up the traditional Final Fantasy formula—which makes it a pretty controversial sequel, even all these years later. But once you master VIII's new systems, you can easily break the game in some pretty fantastic ways. While the sullen hero can make the adventure drag at times, playing outside the box definitely leads to the most fun.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Final Fantasy IX
Square/Square, 2000
Though somewhat dismissed during its release as being too reliant on nostalgia, Final Fantasy IX has gained quite the following in its 16 years of existence. And there's a good reason for that: It remains the last traditional game in the series—meaning swords, sorcery, and crystals in a vaguely medieval setting—and the last entry headed up by creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. While it doesn't strive to be as "cool" as Final Fantasy VII and VIII, that approach actually works to IX's benefit: It's an incredibly charming game, filled with unique and distinct characters that fit nicely into its melancholy, storybook world.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Front Mission 3
Square/Square, 2000
Square held off until the third installment to give Americans their first taste of Front Mission, and it was definitely worth the wait. If you dig strategy RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem, Front Mission 3 is roughly the same—except with giant robots instead of little fantasy dudes. All in all, it's a neat little game with some cool features, like a fictional Internet you can browse to read up on the world and find some secret stuff along the way. Front Mission went on to die an ignoble death after being rebooted as a poorly-conceived action game 10 years later, so be sure to check out 3 if you'd like to bring yourself back to a time when turn-based robo-battles were still a viable concept.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Grandia
Game Arts/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1999
Grandia has one foot in the past, and the other in the present (well, 1997). While other RPGs were only growing darker and edgier, Grandia strove to be a freewheeling, light-hearted, anime-inspired adventure. Being a port of an older Saturn game, it's not the prettiest RPG out there, but Grandia gets by on its charming atmosphere and fantastic battle system. This globetrotting adventure takes some time to finish, though, so be sure you have 40-60 hours free before approaching this RPG beast.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Herc's Adventures
LucasArts/LucasArts, 1997
Herc's Adventures had the misfortune of releasing just around the time of Disney's Hercules, making it seem like an opportunistic cash-in on the upcoming movie. But most people didn't realize Herc's Adventures is essentially the spiritual sequel to the 16-bit co-op classic Zombies Ate My Neighbors. If you dig the zany, overhead-perspective action of that game, it's essentially represented here, but with a Grecian makeover.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Hot Shots Golf 2
Clap Hanz/Sony Computer Entertainment, 2000
While Camelot left the Hot Shots series to work on Nintendo sports games, Clap Hanz's sequel still captures that fun and incredibly solid golf simulation of the original. Like other games on this list, you're likely to find a newer installment on more modern hardware, but there's nothing wrong with a few rounds of Hot Shots Golf 2.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

International Track and Field
Konami/Konami, 1996
A 3D update to Konami's button-mashing sports series, International Track and Field collects a bunch of Olympic events, and strings them together as a series of mini-games. They haven't grown much more complex than they were in the 8-bit era, but really, they don't need to be. If you want to return to a time when Olympic games weren't overflowing with Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends, consider giving this one a try.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Jumping Flash!
Exact/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1995
While it's still a strong game with a great premise—especially for 1995—the various refinements made to Jumping Flash! 2 make it the superior choice. But that doesn't mean the original isn't worth playing. If you're completely new to the series, start with part 2, then pick up the series' debut if you're still hungry for more. Then start weeping, because we've gone twenty years without a true Jumping Flash! 3.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

The King of Fighters '99
SNK/Agetec, 2001
Despite being on the C-list in terms of popularity, The King of Fighters has been a wildly prolific series, with an annual release nearly every year from 1994 to 2010. And while this is the only representation King of Fighters has on SEN (at least in the PlayStation section), '99 makes for a fairly good port, especially considering the limits of the aging PlayStation hardware. If you're a KOF fan, the only choice is still a pretty good one.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Legend of Mana
Square/Square, 2000
Fans of Secret of Mana might not find a lot to love in Legend of Mana—it's more Final Fight with Precious Moments figurines than a top-down action RPG—but this PlayStation sequel remains a worthwhile experiment. Though its gameplay may seem somewhat shallow, the gorgeous art and music make up for Legend of Mana's shortcomings. And if you want to take things to the next level, you can always tinker with LoM's many complex, poorly described systems—just be sure to have a FAQ nearby to make the most of them.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Mega Man Legends
Capcom/Capcom, 1998
Critics and Mega Man fans alike were confused by Legends' departure from the series' traditions, but those willing to embrace its new direction found a lot to love. The first 3D game in the Mega Man series plays out like a bit of a Zelda-lite, with towns to explore, dungeons to traverse, and plenty of customization options to play with. All in all, it's an incredibly charming game, and does a fantastic job of kicking off the Legends PlayStation trilogy. Though you'll probably get the most out of Legends 1 if you play it on the Vita—mapping some of those digital controls to the right analog stick makes the experience much more playable.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Mega Man 8
Capcom/Capcom, 1997
While Mega Man 8 is mostly known for its truly awful voice acting—in which Dr. Light recieves an Elmer Fudd-style speech impediment—it's a pretty fulfilling take on the 8-bit classics, souped up with some gorgeous 32-bit sprites and backgrounds. While critics at the time weren't entirely excited to see yet another traditional Mega Man game, these days, they're much, much harder to come by.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Mega Man X4
Capcom/Capcom, 1997
The second game produced to celebrate Mega Man's 10th anniversary (was he ever so young?), X4 acts as a fine follow-up to the SNES trilogy—one with fewer gimmicks than X2 and X3. And this time around, you can play as the beautiful man-bot Zero right from the get-go, which makes traversing each level a very different experience. Simply put, part 4 is a great start to the 32-bit X trilogy.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Mega Man X5
Capcom/Capcom, 1998
While Mega Man X was beginning to show its age by this fifth installment, Capcom originally intended for it to be the finale—and given the state of Mega Man X6, most people would prefer that it was. And while X5 offers the kind of content you've come to expect from Mega Man, it revolves around an interesting core concept in which X has 16 hours to save the day before a space station smashes into the earth. Since one hour passes every time you enter a stage, the plot of X5 opens itself up to different narrative pathways and endings. It's definitely the kind of innovation Mega Man needed at this point in time.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions
Konami/Konami, 1999
With 1998's Metal Gear Solid, Konami had a huge hit on their hands. So, instead of sitting on said hands until the 2001 sequel's release, they got to work on a collection of VR missions, building off the optional training missions found in MGS. While most of these play off the basic mechanics of Metal Gear Solid, the more out-there missions make this release more than just a cash-in: The "Mystery Mode," for instance, drops Snake into a whodunnit, and tasks him with figuring out the culprit using environmental clues. If you're a fan of Metal gear wackiness, there's a lot to love here.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Metal Slug X
SNK/Agetec, 2001
As with the fighting games in this list, you're likely to find a more faithful (and more comprehensive) Metal Slug experience on newer hardware, but, at the same time, there's nothing wrong with X if you're looking for a quick fix. While paying $20-$30 for one Metal Slug game on disc felt a little iffy back in the day, the wallet-friendly prices on PSN make the small investment more than worth it.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Mobile Light Force
Psikyo/XS Games, 2003
Mobile Light Force may look like some shoddy Charlie's Angels reboot knock-off, but its inexplicable cover art has absolutely nothing to do the actual game. This extremely misleading packaging does an excellent job of the hiding the fact that Mobile Light Force is actually Gunbird, an excellent shoot-em-up developed by the talented folks at Psikyo. Since R-Type left SEN, the service has been extremely light on shmups—which makes Mobile Light Force an excellent choice if you've got a craving for this time-tested genre.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Mr. Driller
Namco/Namco, 2000
Mr. Driller might not have the same timelessness as Tetris, Puyo Puyo, or Puzzle Bobble, but it's still a fun and unique puzzle game—and this port provides a great adaptation of the arcade original. Like some of the entries on this list, paying retail prices for an arcade port felt kinda questionable back in the day, but $5.99 for Mr. Driller in our modern times feels like a steal. Check it out, and don't be surprised if you take a sudden interest in the Dig Dug family tree.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

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