The Best Undiscovered Playstation (PS1 / PSX) Games


Usually, when you get a new-to-you console, you can usually find or remember the major games to check out. But what happens when you need something different to play? This is where the “Hidden Gems” come in.  (Digg This)
Read More About My Criteria For Hidden Gems
See All The Hidden Gems Articles

Platformers

Obvious Choices:
Ape Escape, Crash Bandicoot, Rayman, Spyro the Dragon, etc

Featured Game: Tomba! & Tomba! 2
 From Gamespot’s Review “Tomba is like a blast from the past, with a twist. On the surface, it looks just like the side-scrolling platform games of the 16-bit era. You’ll find the requisite jumps, attacks, tricks of timing, and monsters. But Tomba adds to this tried-and-true formula. There are numerous “events” Tomba must complete in order to advance through the game….Not all events are so straightforward; some tasks are downright cryptic, and you can have several events to clear at any one time, so playing Tomba requires some concentration.

Tomba sports fresh, very cheerful graphics, decent sound and music appropriate for a platform game, and smooth controls. There’s a lot of moves to master, but signposts along the way teach you how to use your controller as you progress through the game. Some areas of the game allow you to explore the foreground and the background of the level as separate areas, but don’t let that fool you: Tomba is at heart a 2D game.”
Shop for Tomba on eBay
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More Great Games
Silhouette Mirage
Looney Tunes: Sheep Raider
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Umihara Kawase Syun
Tail Concerto
Jumping Flash 2
Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters
Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time
Heart of Darkness
Pandemonium

Action/Adventure

Obvious Choices:
Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, etc

Featured Game: Trap Gunner
 From IGN’s Review: “Pure and simple, Trap Gunner is a refreshing break from an otherwise rapidly stagnating pool of me-too action games on PlayStation. Presenting a well-balanced mix of action and what can best be described as puzzle elements, it’s simply one of a kind.

It’s visual and level design are spot-on, sound’s great too, and the concept is one of the best I’ve yet encountered in an action game. It takes a decent amount of time to master the process of effectively laying and detecting traps – all while running and attacking – but one you do, it’s a one-way trip to addiction city.

If anything, I’d liken Trap Gunner to some of the earliest (and most unique) steps taken in console game development. It offers a style of play seldom seen these days — yet it’s not entirely original. Spy vs. Spy did it first, but Trap Gunner makes it better in more ways than one. ”
Shop for Trap Gunner on eBay
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More Great Games
MDK
Ball Breakers
Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge
G-Police: Weapons of Justice
Wild 9
Speed Power Gunbike
Ghost In The Shell
Elemental Gearbolt
Future Cop: LAPD
Skullmonkeys
Hercs Adventure
Galerians
Tiny Tank: Up Your Arsenal
Little Big Adventure/ Relentless
Little Big Adventure 2/Relentless 2
Magic Carpet
Rogue Trip
Echo Night
Exhumed/Poweslave
Boombots

Run-N-Gun/Hack-N-Slash/Beatemup

Obvious Choices:
Metal Slug X, Megaman, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Featured Game: Gunners Heaven/Rapid Reload
 From KidFenris.com Review : “Gunners isn’t without some creative alterations, though. Instead of using a Gunstar [Heroes]-like array of mix-and-match firearms, Axel and Ruka each have four personalized weapons: a basic vulcan cannon, a homing laser, a spread gun, and a flamethrower. Each type of shot has a standard form and an enhanced variant, upgraded by “P” crystals from destroyed enemies. Said crystals fill a numerical gauge that’s always counting down, requiring a constant supply of defeated foes. It’s a clever twist on the usual power-up system, and the game never leaves you without an effective weapon as long as you keep moving forward. For some additional destructive flair, Axel and Ruka can grab a rarely seen “Boost” icon that briefly jacks any weapon up to ridiculously powerful levels. There’s also a grappling tool that’s mostly useless, but fun to screw around with.

Gunners Heaven may be competently crafted and fun in its looser moments, yet it’s unremarkable, relevant only to devoted Gunstar fans desperate for a similar title. Tha’s where I come in. I loved Gunstar Heroes, and in a world where it has few imitators, even a trite rip-off is a welcome sight. Gunners Heaven has little originality or importance, but stands as a halfway enjoyable action piece and a tribute to a classic that should perhaps be plagiarized more often.”
Shop for Gunner’s Heaven on eBay

More Great Games
Panzer Bandit
Silent Bomber
Strider 2
Wolf Fang
Geikido

2D Fighting

Obvious Choices:
Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel vs Capcom, Guilty Gear

Featured Game: Gundam Battle Assault
 From IGN Review:  “The realization of the mech designs is lovely, and there are plenty of impressive special attacks to pull off. You can fly around the screen with the R1+R2 thruster maneuver, thanks to the tall Versus-style arenas, avoid combinations with KOF-inspired sidestep moves, and ammunition limitations throw a bit of a kink into some of the weapon-based special attacks. The story mode features multiple mid-game and end bosses, some of which stretch two and three times taller than the standard Mobile Suits, forcing the camera to pull back as far as it can go through the entire battle. Altogether, Battle Assault plays rather like a slowed-down X-Men vs. Street Fighter (these are giant robots, after all), complete with insanely cheap final opponents. Who’s worse: Magneto or the Hydra Gundam? The world may never know.”
Shop for Gundam Battle Assault on eBay
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More Great Games
Samurai Deeper Kyo
Darkstalkers 3
Cyberbots
Asuka 120 Final Burning Festival
Pocket Fighter/Super Game Fighter

3D Fighting

Obvious Choices:
Tekken 3, Soul Blade, Dead or Alive

Featured Game: Tobal No. 1
 From IGN’s Review: “Control is nothing less than perfect, with an incredibly intuitive motion configuration. Pressing up and down on the directional button moves you in and out of the screen, respectively. This allows for much more freedom of movement than the traditional Toshinden diving-dodge move, which, although 3D, rarely allows for behind-the-back attacks. Tobal has also introduced an interesting grapple move, which allows you to grab your opponent and, depending on your button execution, throw them in a myriad of ways.”
Shop for Tobal No. 1 on eBay
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More Great Games
Bloody Roar 2: The New Breed
Rival Schools: United by Fate
Poy Poy
Bushido Blade
Bushido Blade 2
Rakugaki Showtime
Ehrgeiz
Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman
Star Gladiator
Dynasty Warriors
Psychic Force
Destrega
Pop’N Tanks

3D Rail Shooters

Obvious Choices: Tempest X/Tempest 2000

Featured Game: IS: Internal Section
 From Moby Games Description: “Internal Section is a “tube shooter” in the tradition of Tempest and S.T.U.N Runner. The game uses a flat shaded, untextured polygons to keep a high frame rate in the PlayStation’s high resolution mode. Players have access to twelve different weapons, each named after a sign of the Chinese Zodiac. The in-game soundtrack is techno, and much like SCEI’s Vib Ribbon, IS can dynamically change the environments based off of music CDs in certain modes. The game is very similar in terms of gameplay and style to Rez, and actually was released nearly 3 years earlier.”
Shop for IS: Internal Section on eBay

More Great Games
Omega Boost
Nanotek Warrior
N20 – Nitrous Oxide
Gamera 2000

2D Shmups

Obvious Choices:
Einhander, Thunder Force V, G-Darius, Raiden, R-Type Delta, Gradius Gaiden

Featured Game: Harmful Park
 Hardcore Gaming 101’s Review : “As with Parodius, Harmful Park is really defined by all of the details, whether they be strange enemies, inventive bullet patterns, or just plain wacky situations. One bad guy has a Jiffy Pop embedded in his chest, which he then explodes, unleashing a torrent of popcorn. Another set of enemies drink down gasoline and then breath of fire. Yet another is a gumball machine which sends gumballs bouncing erratically around the screen. Paratroopers fall from the sky, into a vat of chocolate, which then splashes up to try to kill you. Many of the artillery encampments are merely coin operated rides. The bats carry baseball bats. Certain enemies leave behind notes that say “aho” (jerk). And then there’s the giant robotic ape riding the cow train.

Harmful Park is full of these inventive elements, which really goes to show that each and every part of this game was crafted with loving care and attention. It also lends to replayability, as you begin to pick out more strange things as you return to each stage. While there isn’t much in the way of fancy special effects, all of the graphics are bright, colorful, and some of the best 2D you’ll find on the Playstation. The soundtrack is pleasant and whimsical, even though only a few songs are really memorable. Your character’s death scream is pretty amusing though, especially as you see their tiny, aggravated expression as their cycle explodes and they’re tossed off-screen.”
Shop for Harmful Park on eBay

More Great Games
Cotton Original/Cotton 100%
Night Raid
Philosoma
Ray Crisis Series Termination
Vacuum Kids / Kyuinn
DonPachi
DoDonPachi
Strikers 1945
Strikers 1945 II
Zanac X Zanac
RayStorm
Kaitei Daisensou/In The Hunt
Sonic Wings Special
Soukyugurentai (Terra Driver)
Twinbee Yahoo Deluxe Pack
70’s Robot Anime Geppy X
Viewpoint

RPG

Obvious Choices
There are many — Check Out The Best of Playstation RPGs

Featured Game: Brave Fencer Musashi
 From IGN’s Review “A combination of action and adventure elements that will no doubt conjure comparisons (like this one) to classics such as Zelda, it’s the story of Allucaneet kingdom’s fight against an evil intruder. Its ultimate weapon: a pint-sized facsimile of the legendary samurai Musashi. Japan’s greatest warrior may have been a gruff grown up, but in this game he’s a wise-cracking kid. Go figure.

Musashi’s lengthy quest involves running, jumping, and slashing his way through six chapters, from one side of the land to the other. Not only does the little guy have to get his hands of five legendary scrolls before the bad guys do, but he’s also got to (surprise-surprise) rescue a princess. Don’t let the simple description fool you though; there’s a lot more than simple swordplay involved.”
Shop for Brave Fencer Musashi on eBay
Shop for Brave Fencer Musashi on Amazon.com

More Great Games
Star Ocean: The Second Story
Thousand Arms
Guardian’s Crusade
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
Persona
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu
Vandal Hearts
Vandal Hearts 2
Alundra
Alundra 2
Arc the Lad Collection
Azure Dreams
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Threads of Fate
SaGa Frontier
SaGa Frontier 2
Legend of Dragoon
Kartia: The Word of Fate/Legend of Kartia
Samurai Shodown RPG
Vanguard Bandits
Saiyuki: Journey West
Darkstone

Strategy/Simulation

Obvious Choices:
Final Fantasy Tactics, X-COM: UFO Defense, Civilization II

Featured Game: Team Buddies
 From IGN’s Review: “A hella addictive action/strategy combination that starts out peppy, then moves on to become downright anarchistic…. Team Buddies is a thinking man’s shooter. No, no wait.. it’s a great party game. Er, ahem, that is to say the title’s also a Sesame Street-esque action/strategy extravaganza, ya know? Eek.. uh…hmmm, that won’t do. Oh screw it, buy the damn thing and you’ll be too entertained to care about what we’re trying to get at.”
Shop for Team Buddies on eBay
Shop for Team Buddies on Amazon.com

More Great Games
Carnage Heart
Nectaris: Military Madness
Tactics Ogre
Sim Theme Park
Kagero: Deception II
Unholy War
Return Fire
Ore no Ryouri

Puzzle/Maze

Obvious Choices:
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, The Next Tetris, Bust-A-Move

Featured Game: Devil Dice
 From GameSetWatch’s Review: “As with the best puzzle games, Devil Dice’s gameplay is simple in premise, but full of nuance. You control a little devil who runs around a playfield where dice spawn underfoot. In an attempt to stop the onslaught of dice, you can move them around by either pushing them or rolling them into other dice of the same top face number. Once you push together a set amount of dice determined by top face (two connected dice with a top face of two, six with a top face of six, etc.), the dice glow and start to sink back into the ground. It’s at this point that you have the opportunity to eliminate more dice by rolling or pushing dice of the same top face into the sinking set. This is where the game’s combo system comes into play, with further matches rewarded with more points. ”
Shop for Devil Dice on eBay
Shop for Devil Dice on Amazon.com

More Great Games
Intelligent Qube
Builder’s Block
Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness
Mr. Driller
Roll Away
No One Can Stop Mr. Domino
Ballistic
Sheep

Racing/Flying

Obvious Choices:
Gran Turismo 2, Driver, Ridge Racer, Ace Combat , Wipeout, Need For Speed, Colin McRae Rally

Featured Game: Speed Punks
From  Gamespot’s Review : “One area definitely worthy of praise is the game’s physics. The vehicles move, bounce, and steer in a very lively way. You really have to pay attention to just how far you push the analog stick because if you get careless you’ll end up smashing into a wall and losing precious time. That’s not to say the game is hard to play – it’s just not as forgiving as some of the other kart racers such as Walt Disney World’s Magical Racing Quest. In Speed Punks, you still have to follow the standard formula of racing around tracks, collecting power-ups, and lining up for speed boosters, but at least it’s a little more of a challenge since the physics really make it a bit more of an involved controller process to power slide, land a big jump, and line up for items.

In the end, Speed Punks is a quality go-kart racing game that offers more than enough variety to warrant yet another kart-racing game purchase. The game’s modes of play (tournament, challenge, time attack, and multiplayer) offer a great deal of options that carry the game a lot further than most of the other games in the genre. If you’re a fan of Crash Team Racing and have been looking for another fun four-player racer, or if have wondered if any of these kart games are any fun, Speed Punks won’t lead you astray.”
Shop for Speed Punks on eBay
Shop for Speed Punks on Amazon.com

More Great Games
Raytracers
Rollcage Stage 2
Micro Machines V3
Looney Tunes Racing
Warhawk
Sled Storm
Motor Toon Grand Prix

Other

Featured Game: R/C Stunt Copter
 From IGN’s Review: “Taking into consideration the fact that Shiny was after was the true tactile “feel” of flying a radio-controlled helicopter, I would have to say that I think Shiny got it right. Especially since I have had one or two occasions to “attempt” flying one of those expensive little toys, compliments of long time friend Victor Santillo (the neighborhood rich kid). Having the insight and forethought to realize that the Dual Shock-with its two analog sticks-closely emulates a real R/C controller, Shiny was able (after years of development) to derive at a physics model that very closely simulates the true physics found in R/C Copter flying.

Thus far, very few games have taken advantage of “both” the Dual Shock’s analog joysticks. One of the first I can recall, without thinking to deeply here, was NCAA GameBreaker. It used both analog sticks to allow the running game a free roaming camera angle, to better see the side of the field that was generally “blind” while running. But, heretofore, I cannot recall any other PlayStation game that uses the device in quite this way. [ed note: OK, Fabian didn’t play Ape Escape, so forgive him] ]Now one might wonder if this game is difficult. And since the game has been delayed due to control issues, and the fact that Shiny has gotten the true physics of R/C helicopter flying down pat, I would have to honestly say…yes! It’s difficult. Well, at least for a while.”
Shop for RC Stunt Copter on eBay
Shop for RC Stunt Copter on Amazon.com

More Great Games
Slap Happy Rhythm Busters
Vib Ribbon
RC de GO!
Pro Pinball
Pong: The Next Level
Incredible Crisis
Buster Bros Collection
Thrasher: Skate and Destroy


170 Comments

Anonymous says:

amazing article. it’s amazing how many great RPGs came out for the PS1… but it’s too bad how they all aged rather poorly. I remember playing BOF3 to death for a couple of weeks. Also I don’t think I ever want to play FF8 for the rest of my life.

All Hail The New Flesh says:

You know, I’ve got some shopping to do, I feel like going to FYE and get out what they have PSOne games (they got alot) most of them cost like a dollor each.

Timerever says:

I never knew about that Gunners Heaven game, looks awsome!
And you should include Darius Gaiden on the shmups section. Can’t help you with anything else since I never had a PSX and know few stuff about the plataform.

BTW have you checked the comments on the Mega Drive hidden gems list? I’ve suggested and corrected a few things but you haven’t updated your list yet.

Timerever says:

I’ve checked and Gunners Heaven has also released on Europe under the name of Rapid Reload. Just to let you know.

mj0lnir says:

I’ve been doing something similar at http://del.icio.us/mj0lnirgames although it’s not as complete (by far)
I encourage you to try it, the tagging system is very useful and it even has RSS.

Roos says:

Racketboy … I love your website VERY much. Don’t ever stop!

Stuff like this is horrible though, I am already suffering from a severe case of being a Saturn Collector … I dont need the temptation of the PSX as well!

🙂

Anonymous says:

If you’re going to name Final Fantasy Tactics as an ‘obvious chioce’for the strategy/sim genre, you should at least mention the awesome Front Mission 3. I personaly think it blows FF Tactics completely away in several catagories.

FuneralThirst says:

you didnt put skullmonkeys on any of the lists!?…or the first digimon world…..for shame

racketboy says:

Skullmonkeys is on the list.
Digimon isn’t exactly hidden.

Salient says:

Legend of Legaia deserves a spot.

Anonynaagh says:

i agree with that front mission 3 comment. well, i do like fft aswell, but it’s just somehow so much more relaxing to play fm3.

Diamond Edge says:

Hey u’ve forgot Valkyrie Profile,Legend of legaia and Koudelka on the rpgs!

Kreebard says:

Yes! I remember playing Guardian’s Crusade ONCE, then I forgot what it was called! Now I can find it again!
Excellent, excellent list.

yeldarbthetitan says:

where is XENOGEARS?!?!?!

best playstation rpg, and yes i said the BEST!

ps- speed punks rules!

racketboy says:

Xenogears is far from “undiscovered”…

Vertiphon says:

Surprised Tron Bonne or Vanark didn’t feature on this list.

Mcr500 says:

sweet love the list

Assclown says:

very good!!!!!! i love these psx games….

farsight says:

Help!!! Please help me find a old playstation game, it’s japanese game where player must put traps to defeat enemies. Game field was separated in squares.

H says:

Trap Gunner

awesttar says:

hey great site.
could anyone out there recommend
any 2 player hidden gems for psx?

awesttar says:

hey great site.
could anyone out there recommend
any 2 player hidden gems for psx?
……excluding fighting games.

juJUbe says:

this site makes me sad…
reminds me of all the cherished games I lost… (long story short, complications with storage eventually lead to the lost of all my oldies)

a great list (although, personally I would’ve went for Klonoa than Tomba)

reminds me what a juggernaut psx was for rpg (from the intro of wild arms to the *spoiler blah spoiler* ending of chrono cross it was all a blast)

i would like to mention nightmare creatures (never liked the game… but it still had its merits [it was a difficult/challenging game in the sense of the gameplay being flawed)
and tecmo’s deception series (never played it…as of yet…but seems to be intriguing)

Ron says:

Hey, fantastic site you guys have going here. In this list I felt the need to comment as I didnt see mention made of Megaman Legends 1 or 2. These are quite easily 2 of the best games (esp. pt. 2) that were avaliable on the PSX. Perhaps you have not played them? They didnt get nearly as much attention as they should have. If you have the chance pick them up and try them. They are a huge change from side-scrolling megaman titles but then again so was battle network and it had a good run. You wont be dissapointed.

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