September 9, 1995, marks one of the most glorious days in the long and storied history of gaming. That was the day North America bared witness to the official launch of Sony's unprecedented foray into full 3D gaming with the PlayStation. While in competition with the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn, the very first PlayStation console stayed strong in the fight and ultimately prevailed thanks to a huge lineup of amazing games spread out across several genres. Whether it was action/adventure, sports, fighting, first-person shooter, etc., gamers knew they could find everything and more within the vast software library attached to the PS1. We've previously shown our adoration for the great games that were released on the PS2, PS3, and PS4. Now we're ready to take it all the way back and showcase the 50 best PS1 games of all time.
The 50 Best PS1 Games of All Time
Best PS1 Games
1. 'Metal Gear Solid'
Hideo Kojima's magnum opus as a video game director came when he delivered this revolutionary stealth-ops adventure. Metal Gear Solid finally brought the Metal Gear series into the world of 3D and placed Solid Snake in the middle of a dangerous new mission. Fans still look back fondly on this game for its deep story, incredible boss encounters, and well-crafted stealth mechanics that went hand in hand with the game's more action-packed sequences. The Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf battles must be experienced for those who haven't played this classic. This innovative and groundbreaking stealth-focused espionage game is most definitely one of the best PS1 games (and maybe the best period!).
2. 'Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night'
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night returned to the light RPG elements and non-linear exploration that didn't go over so well in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and managed to do much better with them this time. Dracula's son Alucard steps up to the plate here to take the fight to his father by invading his hellish mansion, which is jam-packed with all types of ghouls and goblins. This game offers so much replay value as there are abundant secrets to uncover and enemies to conquer. Salute to this iconic title for pioneering the "Metroidvania" sub-genre of side-scrolling adventure games.
3. 'Final Fantasy VII'
Final Fantasy VII is considered highly among the long list of legendary RPGs that pushed the genre forward in a major way. Cloud Strife's epic struggle with Sephitorth played out here across a monumental adventure that had the life force of the planet itself and his people's survival on the line. The plot itself is unforgettable - major moments, such as Aerith's death and Sephiroth's initial turn to the dark side, have stayed with fans of this game to this very day. The deep turn-based RPG combat mechanics, a wealth of content to bask in, and sublime original soundtrack back up our reasons for why we adore FF7 so much.
4. 'Final Fantasy Tactics'
This Final Fantasy spinoff hit a home run on its very first try within the "Tactics" sub-series. The strategy RPG elements of games such as Fire Emblem and Tactics Ogre played very well within Final Fantasy Tactics. "The Lion War" conflict within this game plays out and gives players control over Ramza Beoulve and his roving band of warriors as they participate in it. FF Tactics must be included within every list of the best PS1 games (including this one, of course!) as it offered a nice alternative to the mainline FF games thanks to tough yet far tactical battles, crisp 2D visuals, and a grand tale to follow.
5. 'Resident Evil 2'
The first Resident Evil birthed the survival horror genre, which we will always recognize that game for. But Resident Evil 2 makes this list over its predecessor due to how it builds upon everything that made that franchise starter so great in the first place. Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield make their series debuts here as they're forced to wander through a post-apocalyptic version of Raccoon City that's now ruled by the Umbrella Corporation's bioweapons. The change in environment from a singular mansion to multiple ones in this sequel is great, plus the overarching effects of the game's "Zapping" system are a beloved feature here.
6. 'Silent Hill'
Konami certainly took heed of the growing survival horror trend that Capcom popularized in the mid to late 90s, which is why it decided to get in on the craze. The byproduct of that decision led to the creation of one of the creepiest, most fear-inducing survival horror games of all time - Silent Hill. As Harry Mason, players were forced to make their way through the intense fog and hidden corners of a nightmarish town in pursuit of his missing adopted daughter. Dealing with the game's hideous monsters and dealing with the DualShock controller's heartbeat rumble does an amazing job of injecting even more frights into its tense atmosphere.
7. 'Tenchu: Stealth Assassins'
Rikimaru and Ayame of the Azuma ninja clan should also be recognized as pioneers of the stealth game genre for their contributions to the Tenchu series. This debut entry started off the franchise on a very strong note. Tenchu: Stealth Assassins is all about choosing your preferred ninja and navigating each locale as quietly as possible while efficiently eliminating and all threats in your way. Getting into sword and knife fights is cool, but there's even more satisfaction that comes from wiping someone out with some poisonous rice and land mines. The first Tenchu is well deserving of its top billing here as one of the best PS1 games.
8. 'Crash Bandicoot: Warped'
The first two Crash Bandicoot games crescendoed so well into the final mainline series installment. Crash Bandicoot: Warped mastered all the platforming mechanics of the previous two games and made sure to include some signature elements of its own to come off like the biggest sequel possible. Crash and his sister Coco got to travel through time for some varied stage playthroughs that are super enjoyable. The vehicular stages that let you participate in motorcycle and jetski races are also a blast. And the boss fights maintain the high quality of the ones featured in previous series entries.
9. 'Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!'
Crash Bandicoot reigned supreme as the PS1's front-facing mascot. But right beside him during those days was the little purple dragon with tons of spunk and attitude. Spyro the Dragon's first game is pretty good and the same sentiment goes for the third game (Year of the Dragon). But it's the second game that gets all of our flowers here. Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage features the same engrossing open-hub exploration and scattered stages that were prevalent in the first game. The inclusion of new obtainable moves for Spyro that lets him explore even more freely works like a charm here. Being able to swim with Spyro and even climb up walls with him was so dope to see back in the day.
Activision and Neversoft truly did a bang-up job together by creating one of the most "amazing" Spider-Man games and one of the best PS1 games of all time. While the icon Stan Lee narrated this game's cinematics, players became Spidey himself as he fought to clear his name after being framed by a sinister doppelgänger. And on top of all that, players also had to fend off an incoming symbiote invasion. Webbing around this game feels so rewarding, plus webbing up foes and getting into some action-packed boss fights with familiar members of Spidey's Rogue's Gallery still excites us. Clashing with a giant-sized Mysterio will always stick out in our minds regarding this awesome Spidey simulator. This Spider-Man simulator is most definitely one of the best Marvel games of all time.
11. 'Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2'
Tony Hawk's influence on "Generation X" is undeniable. And in the realm of gaming, his name got slapped onto the best skateboarding releases and caused a whole bunch of young kids to try out the extreme sport in real life. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 marks the highest point of the IP thanks to extra precise controls, a fully featured Level Editor, a roster full of recognizable skateboarders (and even Marvel's own Spider-Man!), and a multiplayer mode suite full of addictive game types. Thank god this game got the remaster treatment!
12. 'Tekken 3'
Tekken 3 will forever be regarded as the best-selling fighting game of all time. When it finally made its way from the arcade to PlayStation consoles back in 1998, fighting game fans and even non-fans alike couldn't help but get caught up in all the hype. Tekken 3 delivered a highly commendable leap in visual fidelity and character design, plus it offered more free-form gameplay thanks to the newly added sidestepping maneuver. This sequel did huge numbers when it came to sales simply because it was just too damn good to ignore. Tekken 3 is GOAT-tier material and most certainly one of the best PS1 games ever made.
13. 'Twisted Metal 2'
The height of PlayStation's exclusive vehicular combat series came with the second entry. Twisted Metal 2 threw in more spacious arenas to do battle in - the Paris stage always sticks out in our minds just cause you can lay waster to the world-famous Eiffel Tower! Returning characters like Roadkill and Mr. Grimm were cool, plus we quickly became fans of the newbies such as Axel and Twister. Twisted Metal 2 is the ultimate destruction derby thanks to the myriad of weapons at your disposal during ever climactic car clash.
14. 'Street Fighter Alpha 3'
Street Fighter Alpha 3 is one of those retro fighters that offered a ton of single-player content that added so much life to this Capcom gem. It's definitely one of the best PS1 games thanks to its huge roster of characters from the arcade version and console-exclusive entrants. The "isms" mechanic expanded players' battle options by giving them different super move combos to rely on. The "World Tour" and "Dramatic Battle" are also why we return to Street Fighter Alpha 3 on the regular.
15. 'Gran Turismo 2'
500+ vehicles...we still can't believe this PlayStation-exclusive racing sim managed to offer that many cars to obtain. The first game was already major when it came to offering a wealth of content for gearheads, but the sequel really took things over the top when it came to providing the ultimate professional racing simulator. Gran Turismo 2 is the best way to experience serious racing action on the PS1 thanks to its highly customizable cars, super deep Simulation mode, the inclusion of European supercars and old American muscle cars, license tests, etc.
16. 'Parasite Eve'
Like Konami, Square took heed of the growing survival horror trend popularized by Capcom back in its heyday and decided to dip its toes into it. By mixing in its penchant for producing amazing RPGs with the survival horror formula, gamers got treated to an amazing experiment in the form of Parasite Eve. Aya Brea's struggle against Eve and her band of mutated creatures offers an engaging storyline, unforgettable cinematics, and a clever combat system that focuses on using firearms and magic attacks with action RPG mechanics. Parasite Eve is not only one of the best PS1 games, but it's also one of the greatest games Square has ever released.
17. 'Chrono Cross'
JRPG fans tend to mention Chrono Trigger among the very best. Its PS1 sequel Chrono Cross is a sharp departure from what fans became used to, but it still managed to showcase Square's JRPG prowess in its fullest form once again. The alternate reality hopping adventures of Serge and Kid pave the way for a journey that features 40+ obtainable party members, which is still mindblowing to this very day. Thanks to the omission of random battles and the inclusion of a clever "Elements" system, Chrono Cross' battle mechanics help it stay just as memorable as the trippy plot at the heart of it all.
18. 'PaRappa The Rapper'
"When I say boom boom boom, you say bam bam bam! No pause in between, come on, let's jam!" That lyric is lifted from stage two of one of the best rhythm games on the PS1, PaRappa The Rapper. Everything about this game still gives off good vibes - the cartoony visuals, upbeat atmosphere, and super catchy tunes you need to stay in step with abide by those positive vibes. As soon as you hear about this game, warm memories about spitting fire lyrics with a kung-fun onion and a Jamaican frog should instantly pop into your brain.
19. 'Dino Crisis'
Resident Evil dealt in dealing with zombies and other bioweapon freaks. Capcom took that style of play, added a whole bunch of predatory dinosaurs, and helped produce the highly regarded Dino Crisis. The red-haired Regina took on the role of the game's main protagonist as she fended off raptors and came face to jaw with an enormous T-Rex. You couldn't help but feel a tinge of paranoia every time you entered a new room cause you just knew another bloodthirsty dino could be right around the corner.
20. 'Syphon Filter'
Gabriel Logan is a name that's synonymous with one of the finest third-person action shooters on the PS1. Ignore his hilarious hip-swiveling jaunt around each stage while we reminisce about the very first Syphon Filter here! This game managed to make us return to it once it became playable on PS5 due to its mix of shooting action and stealth-based gameplay. Cooking your foes with that taser never gets old, by the way. Being able to down enemies from an optional first-person viewpoint in this game feels damn good as well. Syphon Filter feels like Metal Gear Solid and WinBack had a bountiful baby.
21. 'Tomb Raider'
Lara Croft's introduction to the world of gaming forever christened her as a pop culture icon from that point forward. Tomb Raider marked her ascent up to legendary status in a 3D action/adventure game that gave off heavy Indiana Jones vibes. This PS1 classic sees the globe-spanning adventurer peruse dangerous tombs full of hidden treasure, sudden traps, and plenty of vicious enemies. Those double pistols definitely came in handy as players flipped around each underground locale and grabbed every piece of treasure they could.
22. 'Final Fantasy IX'
The last Final Fantasy game released on the PS1 must be mentioned among the series' previous console entries on a list of the best PS1 games. Final Fantasy IX returned to the fantastical elements that the franchise was born on for its final foray on the first PlayStation console. The bright and beautiful world of Gaia and its four nations gave way to an amazing adventure that made us fall in love with characters such as Zidane, Garnet, and Vivi. The new element of "Active Time Events" and signature turn-based combat mechanics that focused on character-specific class types are what makes Final Fantasy IX such a beloved series installment.
23. 'Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver'
We hope to see Raziel make his return to gaming someday because we loved his first foray as the protagonist of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. This gothic-infused adventure sees the former follower of vampire lord Kain seek revenge on him. And over the course of the game, players were treated to material and spectral planes filled with clever puzzles and foes that needed to be vanquished with Raziel's claws and other melee weapons. Once Raziel gained the ability to pull off magic attacks and wield the Soul Reaver sword, the fun truly began.
Movie buffs can't get enough of all those iconic car chases. Driver hit the scene back in the day and based its entire concept around zipping around some wide-open hub worlds in some sweet rides. Players stepped into the role of an undercover police officer and embarked on some missions situated in Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. And all the while, the action unfolded across some wild missions that usually led to some furious road rash action. Smashing into anything and everything without dealing with any repercussions for your actions in Driver is pure gaming bliss.
25. 'Ape Escape'
One of the best PS1 games is all about sweeping up mischievous monkeys in a net. That concept may sound silly, but it came off so well in execution. The first Ape Escape tapped into the analog sticks and rumble feature that came with the first DualShock controller, which helped this game stick out as a fun platformer and a title that fully implemented the controller's feature suite. Getting your hands on all those different items and using them to get all those apes back in their place is so much fun. The Stun Club, R.C. Car, and Super Hoop tools were always our go-to items in this one.
27. 'Darkstalkers 3'
28. 'Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee'
29. 'Rival Schools: United by Fate'
30. 'Mega Man Legends 2'
31. 'Crash Team Racing'
32. 'Medal of Honor: Underground'
33. 'Vangrant Story'
34. 'Breath of Fire IV'
35. 'Klonoa: Door To Phantomile'
36. 'Soul Blade'
37. 'Jumping Flash!'
39. 'R4: Ridge Racer Type 4'
40. 'Bushido Blade'
43. 'Final Fantasy VIII'
44. 'Legend of Mana'
47. 'Wipeout XL'
48. 'The Legend of Dragoon'
49. 'Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo'
50. 'Legend of Legaia'
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