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 [N-Z]

Namco Museum Vol. 2
Namco/Namco, 1996
As always, whether or not a particular Namco Museum (of the five available on PSN) is worth playing completely depends on your personal preferences. Xevious and the Galaga sequel Gaplus make for Vol. 2's biggest highlights, with Mappy, Super Pac-Man, Grobda and Dragon Buster rounding out the rest of the retro selections.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Namco Museum Vol. 5
Namco/Namco, 1997
This last Namco Compilation to reach America contains some of the publisher's later and lesser-known arcade games, though the shmup Dragon Buster and the great Japanese-only release The Legend of Valkyrie hold up as very strong selections. Vol. 5 also features the isometric Pac-Mania, Metro Cross, and Baraduke, which have their charms, but aren't really the best Namco has to offer. The good definitely outweighs the bad with this one, though.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Pac-Man World 20th Anniversary
Full Fat/Namco, 1999
In 1999, Namco had a surprisingly huge hit on their hands with Pac-Man World, a reboot of the classic character that brought him to a genre he'd never experienced before: 3D platformers. Sure, it might not be a very ambitious game, but Pac-Man World does what it set out to do—and it doesn't even come close to the sheer awfulness of something like Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Oddworld Inhabitants/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1998
Sure, the original Oddworld is a great game backed by an equally great premise, but the recent remake (New 'n' Tasty) has made it pretty much irrelevant. That isn't the case with Abe's Exoddus—at least, not until its planned remake releases in the not-too-distant future—and its improvements over the original are still appreciated. If the idea of dystopian puzzle-platforming sounds good to you, there's a lot to love in Abe's Exoddus.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Atlus/Atlus, 2000
Atlus did us all a favor by releasing the predecessor to Eternal Punishment (Innocent Sin) in 2011 with an excellent PSP remake. Eternal Punishment's enhanced PSP version unfortunately never made it out of Japan, so Atlus decided to throw fans a bone by putting the previously released Eternal Punishment on SEN. If you came to the Persona series with parts 3 and 4, you may find 2 almost bafflingly complex at times, but there's a lot to play with here if you're a fan of deep customization in RPGs.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Pocket Fighter
Capcom/Capcom, 1998
When a gaming franchise gets big enough, it can produce not just spin-offs, but spin-offs of spin-offs. And that's exactly what Pocket Fighter is: It takes the pint-size versions of Capcom characters from Puzzle Fighter and drops them into their own honest-to-god fighting game. That's basically the novelty value of Pocket Fighter, though the meticulously detailed sprite art makes it a great game to watch in motion as well. It may not pass the litmus test of your most serious fighting game fan, but Pocket Fighter's still a whole lot of fun.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3

Rayman
Ludimedia/UbiSoft Entertainment, 1995
What is Rayman? We'll it's essentially Mario for French people—though that descriptive might be a little too reductive. If you played his more recent adventures, Origins and Legends, you'll find Rayman's platforming debut to be pretty similar, except a lot less focused and fast-paced. More than two decades later, and Rayman's gorgeous 2D visuals still look amazing, but be warned: Depite the light-hearted, cartoony atmosphere, this can be a pretty unforgiving experience at times.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Resident Evil: Director's Cut
Capcom/Capcom, 1997
Even though this Director's Cut has the distinction of being just as censored as the original release—a big, uncorrected "whoops" on Capcom's part—it remains the only way to download the original Resident Evil on SEN. And though Capcom would greatly improve on the survival horror formula (and give this game a stellar GameCube remake), there's still something special about RE1's focus on a singular location. Those rickety polygons and low-res backgrounds might not scare you like they did decades ago, but it's still a pretty timeless experience, warts and all.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Capcom/Capcom, 1999
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis got a whole lot of flack at the time for being a quickie sequel that didn't take the series in any bold new directions. And while that's mostly true, Nemesis still provides an incredibly solid classic Resident Evil experience, with one great twist: the titular main enemy, who pursues you relentlessly throughout the game—yes, even through pre-rendered doors. It may not be nearly as ambitious as the great Resident Evil 2, but Nemesis closed the curtain on the series' PlayStation era in a pretty respectable way.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Rockman
Capcom/Capcom, 1999
For an original game released in 1987, Mega Man certainly had a strong start—but the various tweaks and adjustments over the years have since made this debut feel like more of a dry run. Still, Capcom figured out the essential Mega Man stuff with this first entry: You jump, shoot, and steal the powers of bosses after defeating them. And on that note, this may be the sole Mega Man game where all of the boss weaknesses actually make sense—bring your knowledge of paper, scissors, rock along, and you should be a-okay.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Rockman IV
Capcom/Capcom, 1999
Though Mega Man IV is largely known as the entry in which the series' quality first dipped in a noticeable way, it's not a bad game by any means. While the charge shot makes for one of the more controversial additions—and does a fine job of clogging up the great soundtrack with its incessant humming—fans of Mega Man (or 8-bit games in general) should find this to be a pretty agreeable outing for the Capcom character.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV
Koei/Koei, 1996
To be honest, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series is tailor-made for a very specific group: those who enjoy Koei's meticulous and dry take on Chinese history. Odds are, if you belong to this group, you already downloaded RotTKIV ages ago, but if not, it's the only representation this series has within SEN's collection of PlayStation classics. Granted, one of the nine(!) sequels to follow may feature some much-needed refinements, but there's nothing wrong with this PlayStation port if you're looking to get a taste of the series.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Shadow Tower
From Software/Agetec, 1999
If you thought From Software's Dark Souls was difficult and baffling, you ain't seen nothing yet, Shadow Tower follows the same tack as From's various King's Field games on the PlayStation by taking the form of an atmospheric, first-person RPG with fairly ugly visuals. But if you can get over its initial difficulty curve, there's a whole lot to love here for classic RPG fans. And if you own a Vita, remapping its clumsy controls to a more modern setup really improves the experience.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!
Insomniac/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1999
Though Spyro could never be the PlayStation's answer to Super Mario 64, it did the best it could with Sony's underpowered hardware. And while Insomniac would later move on to greater ideas, these later Spyro games make for pleasant and colorful 3D platformers. Be warned, though: Spryo definitely feels geared more towards younger children, so it may bore 3D platformer veterans looking for something to test their skills.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3

Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Insomniac/Sony Computer Entertainment, 2000
Like Naughty Dog and Crash Bandicoot, Insomniac chose to wash their hands of Spyro with the third installment before moving on to what would become their smash-hit PlayStation 2 series. Outside of adding playable characters other than Spyro, Year of the Dragon doesn't offer many changes from the last installment, but it's still an incredibly solid platformer—again, one geared towards younger players. Insomniac abandoned Spyro because they couldn't think of anything else to do with the character, which sort of makes Year of the Dragon the series' logical conclusion. (You can just forget about all the farmed-out titles to follow.)

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Strider 2
Capcom/Capcom, 2000
Reviewers of the time slagged a bit on Strider 2 because its unlimited continues made the experience extremely brief and incredibly easy. That said, like many of the PlayStation classics on our list, the drop in price from full retail to $5.99 has made many of these simple arcade ports a much more worthwhile proposition. And Strider 2 doesn't disappoint: It's a fine follow-up to Capcom's classic fast-paced side-scroller, with great 2D graphics updated for the 32-bit era.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Suikoden
Konami/Konami, 1995
While the sequel stands as one of the finest PlayStation RPGs, Suikoden's debut is certainly no slouch. While the plain, repetitive visuals weren't all that impressive even in 1995, the gimmick of recruiting 108 potential party members—and gradually building a castle for all of them to live in—still feels fresh and fun. And while some would call this a "short" RPG, it's really only short for its era—expect to spend 20-25 hours on this one before jumping into the much-improved sequel.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Tecmo's Deception
Tecmo/Tecmo, 1996
The PlayStation made a name for itself early on with games based on unique, bizarre ideas that had never been done before. And Tecmo's Deception definitely stands out as one wonderful oddity: In it, you play a wrongly accused man who makes a pact with Satan to gain control over an evil mansion with the power to kill intruders. Most of Deception plays out a bit like Home Alone, but with a dark twist: You craft and build traps, then use them to kill or steal the souls of anyone pulling a B and E. While the early 3D controls are tolerable at best, there's simply nothing else out there like Deception.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Tekken 2
Namco/Namco, 1996
Tekken 2 isn't the best Tekken game on the PlayStation—the would be the inexplicably missing Tekken 3—but as the only representative of the original trilogy on SEN, you could do a lot worse. Tekken made a name for itself in the '90s by being a flashier, stranger alternative to Sega's Virtua Fighter, and this second installment definitely feels like a much-improved take on the original. If you have a craving for a good 3D PlayStation fighter, you can't go wrong with this one.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Threads of Fate
Square/Square, 2000
Square's fruitful 32-bit era wouldn't last much longer than the year 2000, but it at least gave us Threads of Fate: a fun action-RPG with two completely different playable characters whose paths cross throughout the journey: Rue can assume the form of his foes, while Mint can learn a variety of offensive spells to help her defeat enemies. All in all, a fun and charming little experience that evokes the happy-go-lucky salad days of Square as a whole.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Tomb Raider
Core Design/Eidos Interactive, 1996
Core's revolutionary 3D adventure might not have aged especially well, but it's the one Tomb Raider game on the PlayStation that absolutely nails its premise. Simply put, you're doing nothing but raiding tombs, and the loneliness of the experience adds much to the experience that later games forgot. If you grew to love Lara Croft through the 2013 reboot, the original's awkward, grid-based 3D movement may take some getting used to, but Tomb Raider is still worth trekking through two decades later.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return
Whoopee Camp/Sony Computer Entertainment, 2000
Tomba's sequel may drop its classy, mostly 2D look for some pretty ugly 3D visuals, but on the bright side, The Evil Swine Return makes for a much more focused adventure. As with the first Tomba!, most of the experience centers on undergoing fetch quests for strange characters, which usually involves platforming action through some pretty inventive set pieces. It's a shame Whoopee Camp dissolved after Tomba! 2, but the presence of both Tomba! Games on SEN provides some consolation.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Twisted Metal 2
Sony Interactive Studios/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1996
David Jaffe's essentialy been making the video game equivalent of scribbles in a metalhead's high school notebook for two decades now, and Twisted Metal 2 stands as the best 32-bit take on his hit car combat series. This globetrotting sequel basically improves on everything from the original, with more inventive stages, new characters, and much better driving controls. You may have a better time with one of the more recent sequels, but if you're looking for the best classic Twisted Metal experience, this is it.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Vib Ribbon
NanaOn-Sha/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1999
Parappa the Rapper and Um Jammer Lammy aren't the only offbeat music titles by NanaOn-Sha: 1999's Vib Ribbon is just as bold and unique, even if its underlying concept doesn't feel especially fleshed out. Like in Parappa and Lammy, you hit buttons along to the beat, only in this case the cues are represented by obstacles the vector art rabbit protagonist has to avoid. While you can pop in your own CDs—if you still have them sitting around—to generate unique levels, this gimmick honestly doesn't work too well. Still, the small collection of zany, catchy songs included with the game make the price of entry worth it.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Wild Arms
Media.Vision/Sony Computer Entertainment, 1996
Media.Vision's Wild Arms is a pretty early stab at making a 32-bit RPG, and it shows. While its 2D graphics hold up as perfectly presentable for 1996, the polygonal battle scenes feel more than a little amateurish. That said, its slight Western influence still feels special, as does its integration of Zelda-style puzzles throughout your typical RPG dungeons. And really, has there ever been a better opening song for a video game in the history of the universe? Wild Arms might be worth downloading for that aspect alone.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Wipeout
Psygnosis/Psygnosis, 1995
More than 20 years ago, Wipeout did much to improve the reputation of polygonal gaming: While other games' 3D graphics amounted to an awkward, swimmy mess, Wipeout's smooth, fast-paced racing stood out as one of the essential early PlayStation experiences. That specific appeal has dulled over time, but Wipeout's only 32-bit representation on PSN makes for a worthwhile proposition, if only to see what wowed us back in 1995. Plus, it'll bring you back to those days when "Wipeout" wasn't primarily associated with an insanely popular game show.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

Xenogears
Square/Square, 1998
Xenogears might just be the epitome of the 32-bit JRPG: For the most part, it's messy, self-indulgent, inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion, and completely falls apart by the end. Still, if you're looking to see where the Xeno series started, it's worth taking a trip back to 1998. While Xenogears ends on a flat note, it has plenty of interesting moments sprinkled throughout—not to mention a fantastic soundtrack by the great Yasunori Mitsuda.

Compatible with: PSP, PlayStation 3, Vita

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