The 25 Best PS1 Games of All Time

The game changing console and its many classics.

Milan Zagorac
Milan Zagorac
18 Min Read

With the PlayStation being launched almost 29 years ago, games certainly do not look the way that they did when the console was in its glory days. However, the PS1 has still had an extremely profound impact on games, pioneering genres and creating characters that we still love and adore to this day.

The PlayStation 1ifeatures characters like Crash and Tomb Raider, with epic franchises stemming from it like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid. Join us, as we go through the best PS1 games of all time.


Crash Bandicoot

Crash's classic spinning mechanic.

Release: 1996
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

For a while at least, Crash Bandicoot titles were PlayStation exclusives. The first game started the series on a good note. A platformer with not that much innovation, but great graphics, presentation, and audio.

The titular character often battles the evil Doctor Neo Cortex, having to save someone from captivity. With a combination of “3D” running into the screen and classic side-scrolling, Crash is a game to replay.


Final Fantasy VII

The first combat encounter in Final Fantasy VII, one of the best PS1 games of all time.

Release: 1997
Developer: Square
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment/Square

Final Fantasy VII is one of the best FF games. Its sequels can be counted as some of the best PS1 RPGs (<- link to RPG article) though all three have their fans. The seventh title is a fan-favorite and as such got many prequels and spin-offs.

You play as Cloud Strife, a former self-proclaimed 1st class SOLDIER. The setting is a post-industrial planet with some advanced technology and a mega-corporation ruling over it. The goal, prevent a disaster from being caused by an evil individual.


Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor is a great first-person shooter.

Release: 1999
Developer: Dreamworks Interactive
Publisher: Electronic Arts

The origin story of Medal of Honor is interesting, to say the least. Steven Spielberg founded Dreamworks with Microsoft, recognizing the potential of video games. His interest in World War II led to the inclusion of Dale Dye, a marine veteran who advised during the filming of Saving Private Ryan.

The game had hurdles to overcome, but it was an instant hit with WWII fans, as well as those of first-person shooters.



The sequel to the Neverhood, featuring Klaymen in this interesting platformer.

Release: 1998
Developer: The Neverhood, Inc.
Publisher: Electronic Arts

The Neverhood is a 1996 point-and-click adventure and this is its sequel. This, however, is a platformer, featuring the protagonist from the previous title, Klaymen. As with the previous title, all the characters were sculpted from clay.

It plays like a platformer, with Klaymen being able to pick up all sorts of upgrades, most of them with a one-time use. The plot revolves around Klaymen having to stop the evil Klogg from wreaking havoc on another world.


Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid marks the start of a legendary franchise, and is one of the best PS1 games.

Release: 1998
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Publisher: Konami

Today, everyone who played PlayStation games knows who Hideo Kojima is, and even most PC gamers do. The franchise started in 1987 and this is Kojima’s third game, the first 3D title. Like the previous titles, it is primarily a stealth game.

Solid Snake has to stop FOXHOUND from using nuclear weapons on the world. As you would expect from a Kojima title, the story is never as straightforward as it appears to be. Metal Gear Solid is one of the best-sold PS1 games. (<– link to most sold PS1 games article)


Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

Raziel battling lesser vampires in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.

Release: 1999
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Soul Reaver is the second title in the Legacy of Kain series. It is an action-adventure game that features third-person combat, platforming, and lots of puzzles. We take control of Raziel, a wraith who Kain sentenced to death at the start of the game.

He is resurrected by the Elder God, and led through the game as a sort of a guide. The goal is to restore the land from decay, which means getting to Kain. There are tons of obstacles on the way and Raziel has “much to learn” before overcoming them.


Twisted Metal 2

Twisted Metal 2 is a fun and destructive game.

Release: 1996
Developer: Sony Interactive Studios America/SingleTrac
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Twisted Metal 2 is the second game in the series, following along its path of demolition derby racing destruction. It plays like Unreal Tournament but with cars. You drive around an arena, picking up weapons and power-ups.

The goal is to be the last driver standing. The second Twisted Metal tournament is held all over the world and the story mode has multiple levels and boss fights. You have a total of 14 vehicles to choose from in this rather fast-paced game.


Ace Combat 2

Take flight and rule the skies in Ace Combat 2, an intentionally watered down flight/combat simulator.

Release: 1997
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco/Sony Computer Entertainment

Ace Combat 2 is a plane flight and combat simulator/arcade game. It is the sequel to Air Combat and the second game in the series. While it is supposed to be a flight simulator, it plays like an arcade game. The game also intentionally made the plane less realistic.

The goal behind this was to simplify the experience. With 21 missions and 24 planes, you can take a different approach to each mission. The goal is usually to either destroy or protect something. You can even have a wingman (almost anytime). 


Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Symphony of the Night is one of the best PS1 games and an amazing Castlevania title.

Release: 1997
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Publisher: Konami

Castlevania titles are known for their 2D side-scrolling gameplay. Symphony of the Night expands on that foundation but remains within its boundaries. RPG elements are added to spice things up.

Alucard can use the traditional Castlevania whip, but also other weapons, as well as magic. Shapeshifting is one of the major components of the game, enabling you to reach otherwise inaccessible locations.


Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

Stealth and action is uncommon but Tenchu: Stealth Assassins makes it work.

Release: 1998
Developer: Acquire
Publisher: Sony Music Entertainment Japan/Activision

The game focuses on stealth action and at the time, it took an unusual fully 3D approach. Given that it focuses on stealth rather than action, it was probably easier to implement in a truly 3D environment.

There are two playable characters, Ayame and Rikimaru. The former is weaker but faster, while the opposite is true of the latter. Sandbox-style levels provide challenges that the player can overcome with a variety of weapons and utility tools.


Spyro the Dragon

Spyro and Sparx in the opening level of Spyro the Dragon.

Release: 1998
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Platformers were common during the PS1 days, but Spyro the Dragon brought open-ended maps to the genre. It is a 3D platformer, featuring the titular character, a young purple dragon. The game’s music was composed by the former Police drummer, Stewart Copeland.

Spyro, with his dragonfly friend, Sparx, must defeat Gnasty Gnorc. Gnorc crystalized all the dragons and took their treasure. Spyro and Sparx survived, so they must run around, get collectibles, and defeat various creeps and bosses.


Oddworld Abe’s Oddysee

Abe chanting to free a fellow mudokon in Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee.

Release: 1997
Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants/Digital Dialect/Saffire
Publisher: GT Interactive

Mudokons are a meek species that are enslaved by the Glukkons. Abe works at RuptureFarms, a meat processing facility that makes new and tasty products. One of those products is made from processed Mudokons.

When Abe finds that out, he seeks out all other enslaved Mudokons and if the player is persistent enough, rescues them. This is one of the best action/stealth platformers of all time, with challenging situations and puzzles.


2002 FIFA World Cup

2002 FIFA World Cup is a polarizing, but undoubtedly great football game.

Release: 2002
Developer: EA Canada Creations/Intelligent Games/Tose Software
Publisher: EA Sports/Electronic Arts Square

There are many football titles that could qualify as the best one for a specific console, but this one stands out. Already released at the time when PS2 was out, it pushes the limit of the first PlayStation.

It has a learning curve with power bars being added to passes and shots. Other interesting game elements include star players being faster, or adding a fireball/comet-like effect to their curving shots.


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is among the best PS1 games.

Release: 2000
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision

THPS titles were popular across multiple platforms but for most people, the second game stands out. There are multiple interesting levels with various challenges that change depending on the preferred style of your skater.

Popular skaters are also in the game, with their likeness matched to their real-world counterparts. The eponymous Tony Hawk is there, alongside other prominent figures of the time, as well as other characters from the world of comic books/TV.


Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue

Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue.

Release: 1999
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Disney Interactive/Activision

Toy Story 2 is one of the more interesting 3D platformers of the time. Following the story of the movie, the game plays out much like the movie does, but with more action for the player. You assume the role of Buzz Lightyear.

The goal of the game is to rescue Woody from Al McWhiggin, a greedy toy collector. There are many obstacles along the way, mostly in the shape of other toys. There are interesting challenges to overcome, what you would expect from a great platformer.


Resident Evil Series

The first Resident Evil title, showing Chris Redfield struggling against a zombie.

Release: 1996/1998/1999
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

Take any Resident Evil game for the first PlayStation and you have some of the best horror titles (link to PS1 horror article). All three should be played, in my opinion, preferably with headphones, in the dark. 

Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, and Claire Redfield are the playable characters in the first three titles, and each has their pros and cons. 


Tomb Raider

Lara Croft with her traditional pose when the guns are drawn, in the first Tomb Raider game.

Release: 1996
Developer: Core Design
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Tomb Raider is a much-loved video game, mostly because it started a great franchise. Multiple Tomb Raider games are available for the PlayStation but the first one is the most important. Introducing Lara Croft, an adventurer/artifact hunter.

The goal of the game is to navigate dangerous ruins and find artifacts, dodging traps and killing all sorts of dangerous animals and monsters. It is an action-adventure game that focuses on puzzle-solving and immersion rather than combat.


Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed

Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed has you racing in the Porsche of your choice.

Release: 2000
Developer: Eden Studios/EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts

There are multiple Need for Speed titles for the PlayStation, but Porsche Unleashed is one of the better ones. It could very well qualify as one of the best PS1 racing games. (link to racing game article) There is a caveat with this game, which you might infer from the title.

There are only Porsche cars in the game. This isn’t a bad thing unless you dislike Porsche. The cars are detailed and similar to the vehicles they are based on. Race all over the world with the dream Porsche of your choice.


Syphon Filter

Syphon Filter is a game changing shooter, one that everyone played upon its release.

Release: 1999
Developer: Eidetic
Publisher: 989 Studios

Syphon Filter is a combination of a shooter and stealth game, depending on the mission. It is primarily in third-person, though some weapons switch to first-person, to help with the shooting. The camera can be moved freely, a rarity at the time.

You play as Gabriel Logan, a spy/soldier who can solve puzzles as well as shoot people. Your task is to find the people responsible for a possible viral outbreak and outright stop them. The story is not linear, however, as you would expect from a spy thriller.


Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross is an amazing RPG and one of the best PS1 games ever.

Release: 1999
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square/Square Electronic Arts/Square Enix

Chrono Cross is the successor to Chrono Trigger, a very successful SNES RPG. Cross, however, takes things to the next level and it can be considered one of the best PS1 JRPGs. We move to isometric 3D and a new story (with some cameos).[links to PS1 JRPG article and maybe SNES games for the former]

It plays like a typical JRPG of the time, with exploration and random encounters. You have to find your way through the huge map, controlling Serge and his party of allies. Exploration is a large part of this amazing title, so enjoy it with a glorious soundtrack.



Disruptor is an interesting game that takes its own approach to the first-person shooter genre.

Release: 1996
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Universal Interactive Studios/Interplay Productions

First-person shooters can be fun, especially if they change the genre a bit. Weapons are interesting, but once you add powers to the mix, the game becomes better. Psionic powers, in this case, are what you can use as the protagonist.

As for the story, Jack Curtis gets his psionic implant and goes on a series of missions that develop the plot and subvert expectations. The gameplay is interesting and the plot unfolds satisfyingly.


Mega Man X4

Mega Man X4 is one of the better Mega Man titles, across a sea of great Mega Man titles.

Release: 1997
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom/Virgin Interactive Entertainment

The Mega Man series has lots of great titles and several of them are on the PlayStation. Take your pick of the lot, though X4 is a stand-out game. It is somewhat of an action-platformer, like most Mega Man titles. 

The titular character X, alongside Zero, is back, for another adventure. The game tasks you with capturing rogue intelligent robots called Mavericks. You can play the levels in any order, with either Zero or X. They have pros and cons and are challenged adequately.


Tekken 3

Tekken 3 is a masterpiece that everyone who enjoys fighting games should play at some point.

Release: 1997
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco

Arguably one of the best PS1 fighting games (link to fighting game article), Tekken 3 is a masterpiece of combat. Whether you go through the story mode or play one of the game’s many additional modes, fun is guaranteed.

Play as Jin Kazama, the space ninja Yoshimitsu, or the acrobatic Eddy Gordo. Fighting includes various combos through a 3D ring. You can even enter a beat ’em up mode and relive some of the glory days of the arcade.


Legend of Legaia

Legend of Legaia at the start of the game, showing the protagonist.

Release: 1998
Developer: Prokion/Contrail
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Turn-based RPGs were common at the time, but it took effort for a game to stand out. The combat system is unique with various combos that require planning and opportunism. The Arts combos can be linked to deal more damage.

We follow Vihn, the protagonist, as he merges with Meta, an intelligent magical being Ra-Seru. The goal is to stop a mysterious Mist from turning all the other regular Seru creatures mad. Vihn and his companions are immune, as well as the Ra-Seru.



MediEvil is a very fun action-adventure title that is unique in many ways.

Release: 1998
Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

MediEvil is a hack-and-slash adventure game, featuring Sir Daniel Fortesque. The game is heavily inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas so the main character is a skeletal knight. Dan is never without a weapon!

Even when he has nothing equipped out of a various arsenal, he can rip his arm off and use it as a club. Interacting with Gargoyles provides Sir Daniel with either information or upgrades for the price of in-game collectibles.

Some PS1 games are available as remasters, while others can be played on the original or with a PS1 emulator. We highly recommend trying all options out, for the original and updated experience.

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With over 1650 hours of Apex Legends, and 2100 of League of Legends, Milan is an avid gamer. When he's not indoors, he climbs mountains or does urban acrobatics. Add a passion for writing to the mix and you get a hopefully interesting broth.
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