The lights are on
Growing up, my dad was a Sony man, so we've stuck with the PlayStation since the first console. As a family tradition, we trekked to the video store almost every Friday night to rent the latest PSOne games. Through all of these trips, we were willing to experiment and discovered a multitude of games without any other information besides what was on the box. These are the off-the-radar PSOne games that I’ll always remember.
I had played horror games before like Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but when I started Parasite Eve, I knew right away there was something different about it. The story enveloped me. I will never forget the opening cutscene in the opera house with its horrid, crumbling destruction amidst the self-combustion of the singing parasite. The most disturbing thing was the fact that she kept singing as the opera house burned around her. The gameplay itself is very similar to Silent Hill and I think that’s why it drew me in so well. It’s silent, sinister, and keeps you on edge as you explore. You can watch Game Informer editors in their replay of Parasite Eve.
Apocalypse was one of the games I used to sit and watch my Dad play because he was so good at it. The game stars Bruce Willis as Trey Kincaid, as he runs through numerous levels using the most ridiculous and explosive guns to take out enemies. His attitude is snarky and snappy and I thoroughly enjoyed it as a kid.
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
This game entails the story of the Gobbos and how they are captured and spread throughout the worlds, trapped in cages. It is up to Croc to rescue them and eventually save the king. Right around the time I was playing Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, I came upon this gem. The sound effects and the music from this game echo in my head as loud as Croc’s attack cry, “Kersplat!” You control Croc as he travels the different worlds and the best thing about this game is that it is challenging. Upon first beginning the game, I didn’t think it’d be that hard and I thought I could blow through it. But with puzzles, moving platforms, and surly enemies, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is a surprisingly difficult game with replayable charm.
Tai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger
As Tai Fu, you use power-ups to beat up other kung-fu trained big cats and animals. To avenge the tiger clan, Tai Fu travels across the world to finish off the Dragon Master. This game was created way before anything like Kung Fu Panda. I spent countless hours playing this game because it was set in a universe I had never experienced before. The gameplay was delightfully fluid and entertaining with a number of special moves Tai Fu can enact on enemies. It made this game stand out when I think back to PlayStation games, simply because its character design and narrative were so unique.
Playing this game was nothing like the narrative in the film. It was better. As a Gorgonite, you have to save your fellow Gorgonites from the soldiers. The atmosphere in the game is very alien and Quake-like. This makes the multiplayer mode extremely entertaining. I think my family and I played the multiplayer mode more than the campaign.
With a range of fighters, each with their own animalistic capabilities, Bloody Roar creates a fighting experience unlike any other. Think Animorphs-meets-Mortal Kombat. Some characters can turn into a bat, wolf, tiger, mole, cheetah, and so much more – each with their own wicked special moves and combos.
Medievil tells the story of Dan, a warrior risen to save a town from the clutches of the evil sorcerer. Use Dan to beat up zombies and other creatures of the dead in order to defeat the sorcerer once and for all. When it comes to video games, I have a specific taste for all things horrific, supernatural, and undead. That’s why Medievil stuck out to me. In this game you get to battle a number of creepy undead enemies and supernatural beings in order to save the town. The setting, boasting smooth graphics for the time, is both unsettling and dark, like an Edgar Allen Poe story.
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness is a game with a disheartening but motivational narrative. A boy and his dog are outside hanging out one day when a dark shadow passes overhead. The dog goes ahead of the boy to check it out and is kidnapped by these evil tar-like creatures from another planet. It is up to you, the boy, to battle the creatures and save your dog. I spent hours trying to beat this game, but it was (as I remember) incredibly hard and it may have been one of the earliest games that ever made me truly rage. With such a riveting storyline, I just wish I hadn’t struggled so much.
What are your favorite games from the PSOne era? Share them in the comments section.