I recently stumbled across a website which streamed old PlayStation 1 games. Unlike the age-old process of downloading an emulator and looking for ROMS, the site only took a few minutes to load before a game was 100% playable. This allowed me to comb through a pretty extensive archive of old games and play with them for a few minutes each, which got me incredibly nostalgic for the games I had spent almost my entire childhood on. Below are some that I still think about until today and some that I had completely forgotten about until this week.
Herc’s Adventures is a video game released by LucasArts in 1997. The game uses an overhead, action-adventure format and is playable by up to two players. The story sees Zeus choosing from three ancient Greek heroes, Herc, Atlanta and Jason, to put them on a quest to defeat Hades and save Persephone. I liked that the heroes are all unique in their strengths, weaknesses and abilities. Choosing one over the other does impact what you’re able to do within the game. For example, Atlanta being the bow woman of the three is the only one able to hit far away targets to trigger hidden items. The gameplay was ahead of its time as your sprites could move in all directions and be mostly free to explore the world should you want to deviate from the main storyline. There were also some cool elements that weren’t directly related to the story but just gave the game a nice touch e.g. hitting NPCs would make them get angry at you. It’s clearly a contemporary take on classic Greek mythology with some 4th wall-ish kind of humour happening and parodying on tropes e.g Zeus being both an all-powerful god and kind of a lazy dick. This game is best played in multiplayer in my opinion.
Digimon World 1
For all of the insane amount comparison that happens between the Pokemon and the Digimon franchise (that still continues until this day), both games are distinctively different enough that I don’t think pitting them against each other makes a lot of sense. Even within the Digimon game ecosystem, all are so drastically different that to compare them to each other is hard enough. With that said, out of the three ‘Digimon World’ games that were released for PlayStation 1, Digimon World 1 is my hot pick. The premise of the game is you, as the sole human, pair up with a Digimon to revitalise the city through saving various Digimon who have lost their memory and become hostile. Unlike its successors, you only have one Digimon at a time and you have to nurture it much in the way we did with the old school portable Digimon/Tamagochi devices. Feeding it, helping it poop and training it to boost its stats are all part of getting your Digimon ready for the adventure of bringing other fellow Digimon home. And just like the device, there is also a life expectancy on your partner. This makes the game quite challenging as you have to strike a balance between raising your Digimon to be the best that it can be but also exploring the island with enough time on the clock so that your Digimon does not die halfway.
Final Fantasy VIII
I’ve written about Final Fantasy VIII a few times on this blog and am pretty sure I have time and time again referred to it as the one game that changed my life forever. This is still true. I recently watched The Completionist’s video on FFVIII which features excerpts of footage of the remastered version. Calling this video a ‘review’ doesn’t even do it justice. He dives deeply into the lore, balances out the pros and cons of everything from the storyline to the battle system to Triple Triad and cites a lot of features on FFs that preceded FFVIII as well as came after it. I super recommend checking it out, it’s everything FFVIII I wanted to write about, but in video form. Also if you haven’t played FFVIII before, definitely check out the remastered version!
Mega Man X5
Also known as Rockman in Japan, Mega Man is a game franchise from Capcom, starring a series of eponymously named robot-based characters. The style of gameplay depends on the specific Mega Man game you’re playing but most of the early Mega Man games feature side-scrolling action with platform-style level progression and some puzzle elements before reaching the boss at the end of the level. Mega Man X5 specifically sticks out to me as it was one of the first Mega Man games I owned. The game follows the events post-Mega Man X4 and sees Zero and X attempting to save the world again from the spreading of the Sigma Virus and the collision of Eurasia with planet Earth. To do this, players have to beat bosses who are holding the necessary parts to build ‘Enigma’ a powerful cannon that can vaporise Eurasia. Whether a combination of better storytelling or just me being a bit older, I was also finally able to understand and care about the underlying plot of the game. The controls are pretty smooth and the Ultimate Armour hack makes it much easier to advance the game rather than get frustrated over dying in the same spot repeatedly. I also think I preferred the overall design which looked darker and more mature compared to Mega Man 8 for example.
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage
The Spyro series is another stalwart to the PlayStation 1 and is one of the most iconic adventure games ever released on that system. Spyro 2 in my opinion, is the best of the three that came out from that time. The game sets the scene as Spyro prepares to embark on a vacation to Dragon Shores via a portal but somehow ends up in Avalar instead. Now stranded here, Spyro has to help his new friends fight against the warlock Ripto who has destroyed the original portal, in order to return home. A lot of improvements were made upon the original in terms of graphics and having Spyro being able to swim opened up a lot more opportunities for gamers to interact with the different worlds. Jumping in and out of portals, a mainstay of the Spyro series, in itself is exciting and gives players room to explore different types of terrain while encountering different characters. It really switches things up and if you’re ever bored of one area, it’s easy enough to go to another . It’s great for kids and as I’ve learnt with purchasing the reboot of the original three games, Spyro Reignited Trilogy for PS4, also great for adults.