This is a general thread about the PSOne games available for download on PS3, PSP and PSVita.
The reason this thread is in here and not in Retro, is because I felt it would be cool with a thread dedicated to how these games play on todays platform. How they function with the refitted control system for PSP. How the bilinear filtering makes them look better or worse. And most importantly, how these games feel today, as opposed to how they felt on their original console many years ago. If you played the game back in the day on the PSOne, feel free to give it a separate score for how you remember, in addition to how it feels today.
Tomb Raider Have completed this game dozens of times already, and its remake (Anniversary) at least twice. Bought it and its two sequels in a recent sale for practically nothing. The first few levels felt very familiar. I remembered all the secrets, all the door keys and even most enemy spawn points. Yet the game was tons of fun. Unlike most modern games, Tomb Raider is ruthless. If you accidentally fall of a cliff and die; you better have saved recently. But the game is never unfair. The controls are a bit awkward by todays standard, but the levels are designed around them, so you have no one to blame but yourself if you die because Lara didn't do what you wanted her to. Some of the puzzles in the game are also very obtuse. But that's part of what makes the game so rewarding, though some of the backtracking can feel cumbersome if one is used to the "hold-a-button-and-ascend-every-obstacle-in-your-path" way of modern games. And one never knows what the game will throw at you (unless you actually remember the game): at one point you're fighting a t-rex, a few moments later you're outrunning a rolling boulder. For my money, this is THE definitive adventure game (not counting the slightly better sequel: Tomb Raider 2).
Absolute stone cold classic, hasn't aged a day as far as I'm concerned. The atmosphere is so well done. It's really quite scary in parts. There's one point where I almost shat myself, and no, it wasn't the t-rex bit. It also has what is probably one of the best uses of music in any game - a masterfully created soundtrack that kicks in at all the right moments, and holds off at others, leaving just your footsteps and the sounds of lurking wild animals. First psx game I ever played, probably the first real 3D game I ever played, and one I'll never ever forget.
I don't own a PS3, but my friend does, so we have taken to playing psx games on it lately, although usually actual disc copies of mine. However we recently downloaded:
Resident Evil While some of the scares aren't really effective anymore through constant replays (due to a slight reliance on shock over atmosphere for some scenes), the game is still a chilling experience. The sound effects, the diary entries, the highly dangerous Hunters, and the entire lab section in particular remain as horrifying as ever. Of course the script and acting are still turbo hilarious. They used to baffle me - how on Earth did nobody realise this was utter shit? If you've seen any Japanese dramas, especially those with incidential 'Western' characters, you will understand everything (or at least you won't be surprised anymore). Somehow the juxtaposition works though. I can enjoy the silliness of the characters' interactions, and still feel scared whilst playing the actual game. A lot has been made of the controls in the early Resi games. Personally, I've never had an issue with them. They work for a survival game. Being in a cramped corridor with a zombie blocking your way should not be an easy thing to navigate. The only gripe I have is the lack of a quick turn feature which was introduced for Resi 3 I believe, and if I recall correctly was also added to Deadly Silence. It's no major loss though. In my eyes, this is the ultimate Resident Evil game, before the plots became both overblown, tangled, and distracting. I played the original disc a while back, and I didn't notice any glaring technical differences or problems in this download version.
Maaaan, now I feel like a total dick for forgetting to mention the music in TR. Not only is the music great (greatest video game music ever?), it's also timeless as it's all done by traditional instruments and doesn't resort to including whatever instruments or musical style that was hip and trendy at that time. It sounds as classic and effective today, as it would have done a hundred years ago (I imagine). And as you say, it kicks in at just the right moments to really be effective, and lets the ambience and level design itself set the tone for the rest of the game.
And I agree about Resident Evil; that too has controls that are hard to master, yet are no hindrance for the experience.
Been playing a few of these recently, the one Ive spent most of my time with has to be;
A fantastic game from working designs, almost a lost top down Zelda game. The fantastic score, great premise, brilliant dungeons and puzzles haven't aged a day, and graphically is still stylised and holds up well. If you love Zelda, I implore you to try this! In my opinion it's on par with LTTP, and certainly in story terms, its better. At £3.99 on PSN,its worth the gamble!
Alundra is something you shouldn't miss out on if you're a fan of action RPGs, but it can be a frustrating son of a bitch. There are a LOT of puzzles/dungeons that rely heavily on depth perception in a game that isn't really 3D. If you've played other isometric platformers, you'll understand how difficult it is to line up jumps correctly. In Alundra this can become very tiresome when you have to keep leaving a room and reentering to reset the position of puzzle objects, or when you have to traverse through a dungeon again because you missed a jump and fell to a lower point, or into some water or something.
The music however, is brilliant (the composer even appears in the game as a character with a house that acts as the sound test mode). In particular, the title theme is goddamn tasty:
The story, as Kirov says, could be considered to rival Link to the Past, because there's a lot more dialogue. It's bloody depressing though. One thing that did disappoint me when I bought the game after playing the demo, was that the anime cutscenes are only an intro and outro, whereas I thought they would be used to move the story along. It's also a very long game, as far as action RPGs go - over 30 hours if I am remembering it right.
Oh it was Matrix Software btw (FF DS remake guys), Working Designs only localised it. I have quite fond memories of thrashing the game a couple of years ago before doing an article on it for Retro Gamer. The designer is a hentai artist now!
You're right about the depth perception in some jumping puzzles mind! I remember being stuck on one in someones dream for AAGGGGGEEEESSS. Just after a save point in someones dream as well, so couldnt go anywhere else but to keep doing that fecking jumping!!
When it works though, god its brilliant. The game just has so much charm
I have a bunch of the most obvious ones but on my Vita I have been playing these two games over the last few days -
Wipeout - It's a classic. No, it's not 2097 or WO3 and I really wish they'd get those into the store but the original still has loads to love. While the draw distance is very poor, the game actually looks better on the Vita than I have seen it look in years. Not sure why - maybe just the stronger colours coupled with the filtering? It looks pretty great (I can only imagine how good 2097 would look).
But, man, that game is punishing. I used to be able to complete Rapier consistently. Now, I can barely handle Venom. It is a tough game and the slightest mistake can cost you a race instantly. But it's fun. I think it's one that begs to be played over and over to get that little bit better each time. And the tracks are wonderful. It's a real Psygnosis classic.
The only real negative here is that the loading times are long and fast loading on the Vita doesn't seem to alter that one bit. Still, I recommend it.
Back in the day: 8/10
Many years later: 7/10
I have also been playing...
Mickey's Wild Adventure - I remember this as Mickey Mania back in the SNES and Megadrive games and I saw it on the store just the other day for next to nothing and though 'Is that the same game?'. It is. It's an old school 16-bit platformer converted to the PS1 and it's a lot of fun. It's no Castle of Illusion but the concept of playing through different eras of Mickey Mouse works really well and it's a treat for even the slightest fan of classic cartoons. The animation is lovely and so is the sound. It really feels like it was made with love.
So if you're looking for a 16-bit platformer on the Vita, I recommend this PS1 version of the game. I won't rate it yet as I haven't played enough of it on the Vita to be fair to it.