With such a diverse and broad ranging scope of original and genre defining titles at its disposal, it’s simply unbelievable that Sony has not done more to get developers and publishers to distribute their PSOne back catalogues on the Playstation Network. We’ve all seen how well PSOne classics like Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII have sold on the Playstation Store, so then why doesn’t Sony make the effort to bring more of their games to a whole new generation of Playstation owner? It boggles the mind why the PSN is lacking more classic PSOne titles.
But it shouldn’t just be about Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy and the big franchises that in many ways were the household stalwart big game names of the PSOne era. The PSone has so many classic forgotten games attached to it and TGL has trawled through their own Playstation back catalogues and through the memory banks to bring you 10 forgotten classics that we think should appear on the PSN as PSOne classics (but we know they probably never will). Here we go:
Polyphony Digital are of course the masterminds behind Gran Turismo but back in the PSOne days they also produced a game called Omega Boost, a mech inspired space shooter. Released back in 1999, the game received some really good reviews but unfortunately was probably somewhat eclipsed by the impending release of something called the ‘Playstation 2’. With some of the best graphics the PSOne ever produced coupled with some excellent character design and an amazing soundtrack, Omega Boost simply fell between the cracks. Shame. It’s a fantastic game that deserves a rebirth on the PSN.
Developed by CyberConnect 2 before they made their name with the .hack// and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Series, Silent Bomber is an untraditional top down shoot’em up where the protagonist Jutah must literally blow up everything that he comes across using bombs. It’s frantic arcade style made this an addictive game to say the very least with players experiencing little or no let up from the plethora of explosions that defined the game play. Again, much like Omega Boost, it came very late in the original Playstation’s lifespan and unfortunately didn’t take off the way it should have.
Probably one of the first FPS games any of us played on the original PSOne, Lifeforce Tenka will be most familiar to those who would have played ‘Demo 1’ that came packaged with your new PSOne back in the day. Developed by Psygnosis, Tenka was hardly revolutionary by any means but was a solid futuristic shooter with some truly interesting level and weapon design. It deserves a second chance, even if you just want to relive some of that ‘Demo 1’ nostalgia.
Kensei: Sacred Fist
Did anyone actually buy Konami’s Kensei: Scared Fist? When a seminal beat’ em up like Tekken 3 is on the scene, you’d be forgiven for asking the question ‘just what the hell is Kensei Sacred Fist’? Just because you asked, Kensei was developed by Konami and was released in North America and Japan in 1998 but actually wasn’t released in Europe until 2001. Taking inspiration from the likes of Tekken 3, Dead or Alive (bouncy breasts anyone?) and Virtua Fighter, Kensei provided a flawed if otherwise enjoyable and rewarding fighting experience. It also included 21 genuinely interesting and varied fighters and would definitely worth a look if it ever resurfaced on the PSN.
Now this was an original game! Don’t let its ordinary looks put you off, this was one of the most playable and enjoyable experiences to ever grace the PSOne and if any game on this list actually has a chance of making it onto the PSN it could very well be this. The objective of the game is simple. You must guide Vibri along his Ribbon while negotiating the obstacles put before you by completing the on screen prompt sequences. If you fail to do so Vibri will devolve from his rabbit form to a frog, a worm and ultimately nothing. The game also came packaged with an excellent soundtrack. and actually allowed you to use your own music to generate new levels for Vibri. Game creator Masaya Matsuura has stated in the last couple of years that the game could actually yet appear on the PSN “We are discussing the possibility of making a downloadable version of Vib-Ribbon for Sony, but, I don’t know yet – Sony only recently launched their downloadable service in Japan, so maybe we need to wait a while before releasing a title with that kind of appeal.” Fingers crossed.
Wipeout on wheels and just as fun. Psygnosis gave us Rollcage in 1999 and it rocked. This was indulgent adrenaline fuelled eye candy and it gave Wipeout a real run for its money in the best ‘futuristic racer’ stakes. Rollcage courted an amazing soundtrack and an amazing cocktail of power ups, weaponry, realistic physics and excellent track designs. A year later, Rollcage Stage II reiterated the strength of the IP but since then nothing has ever been heard of the franchise. This needs a PSN release.
Four player karting at its best. Mario would have been proud to appear in this karter, a game that provided one of the best four player experiences on PSOne. Known as Speed Punks in the US, Speed Freaks (to you and me) was developed by the now defunct Funcom Dublin Ltd and garnered rave reviews for it’s addictive game play, likeable characters and excellent multiplayer. This was a real gem in the Playstation’s crown. And to think, it’s the product of us Irish. Brilliant. Playstation Store Now Please!
Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
Ace Combat 3 was one of the PSOne’s visual benchmarks, a really gorgeous looking game that took the Ace Combat games to new heights (no pun intended). Still the only Ace Combat game to include a space mission, Electrosphere arguably remains the highlight of the franchise to date, rejuvenating the arcade franchise with a modern, convoluted but attainable aesthetic and storyline. A really visual game that deserves another chance, Namco could do a lot worse than to get this up on the Playstation Store sooner rather than later.
Bust a Groove
How do you describe a game like Bust a Groove? It’s like a dance’ em up and is yet another reminder of just how many original and truly intuitive games the PSOne gave birth to. Bust a Groove is a rhythm based dancing game where players must follow the on screen prompts in order to defeat the opposing dancer. Dance moves and combos, when performed correctly, could be converted into special moves that would damage your opponent, beat’ em up style. Bust a Groove spawned a number of Japanese only sequels, but will always be remembered by PSOne purists for its addictive game play, unique ideas and thumping soundtrack. It’s inexcusable that games like these aren’t on the PS Store.
In 1998 David Perry and Shiny Entertainment introduced the world to the Wild 9, a bunch of teenage mutants rebelling against all round nasty guy, Karn. You control Wex Major in this 2D platformer (with elements of 3D thrown in for good measure) and you made your way through the game’s many worlds controlling the ‘RIG’, a kind of electric lasso that allowed Wex to catch enemies and literally smash them into obstacles or any of the many hazards the levels would throw at you. Another great PSOne game that went unnoticed by the majority of folks, Wild 9 would be a fantastic addition to the Playstation Store. Someone please make it happen.
Next week, we will continue our list with ten more forgotten PSOne classics that deserve exposure to a new audience on the Playstation Store.
Anything in particular you’d like to see yourself?