Seafoam Gaming Recommendations for PSOne Classics (NA)
Indeed, if you have read any recent news source lately, then you’ll absolutely know that in a mere few months, the PS3 and PS Vita stores will shut down forever. While the PS3 shutdown could maybe be seen as a reasonable choice due to dated hardware, the Vita is a mere nine-year old machine, and when the 3DS has stopped getting worthwhile games but is still active with its eShop, and you consider how Indies are still putting out gems on Vita like Astro Aqua Kitty, then it makes way less sense for the Vita store to be shut down.
Yet, it still seems to be happening anyway, unfortunately as part of a seeming desire to eradicate every trace of the old and reign in the flashy newer stuff on Sony’s end. You’ve seen a bajillion other thoughts on the situation if you ended up here more than likely, so let’s just get into the basics: Off and on until the shutdown, I’ll post articles about personal recommendations I have for games of various kinds: PSOne Classics, PS2 Classics, PS3 Download Soft, PS3 Retail Downloads, and PS Vita Download Soft and Retail Downloads, along with games from Japan!
So today, let’s begin simple, at the beginning: PSOne Classics, available in North America as of this post. Some of them you’ll see recommended a lot elsewhere, while others you may be surprised to see recommended here! Either way, I hope you find hidden gems. So in no particular order, here are some PS1 Classics to pick up before the shutdown, for NA.
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne: This is the most obvious and blatant recommendation, being one of the rarest games on the system next to Suikoden II: which is also recommended. But this game moreso, since unlike the two sister games (Mega Man Legends), it wasn’t ported previously, nor is it as easy to get in the aftermarket: this is a side story with a lot of fun personality to it, that’s well worth your time to check out, especially for the $6 value it’s going for. Even as a standalone with no prior knowledge of the MML series needed, it’s just a super funny action game you need to check out here, rather than in person.
Tomba! 1 and 2: This is a case where you may need to hurry and snag these ASAP: in the PAL region, these games are already delisted, along with the rest of Monkeypaw Games’ catalogue. Having gone MIA in 2015, Monkeypaw seems to be deader than dead, and while I am in the middle of making a retrospective on their whereabouts and existence for Eternal Memories, it’s clear that they have gone long defunct. So these two games are colorful platformers, with a fun 2.5D perspective and a lot of optional collectibles worth hunting down!
But like Tron Bonne, they’re both hyper rare in the aftermarket, and the first game is even more hard to find: It’s the pricier one on PSN, and Tomba 2 was the second to last PSOne classic ever released in the US, so both are worth buying if you still can: just don’t miss out! Tomba 2 Speedruns are another fun thing to enjoy, so if you have to pick only one up, go with the second, since it’s a very replayable romp.
Hot Shots Golf! 2: This one isn’t even that rare, or that special at all: but it’s just super fun! A retro PS1 Golf game with odd cameos, including Gex from the infamous Crystal Dynamics series, this would pave the way for elements that became part of a long running series, all the way up to the PS4 entry! But of the PSOne Classics golf games, this is the best by far and works well to counter Mario Golf’s might.
Jigsaw Madness: This is an odd one: it’s an early, EARLY PS1 game, so early in fact it won’t even let you save. It’s a collection of jigsaw puzzles, one you certainly won’t be 100%ing without a long long play session… But it’s notable for being NIS’ lone contribution to PSone classics in the US, and this XS games port isn’t half-bad. It controls decently enough and is a perfect game for fun competitive multiplayer and portable pick-up and play sessions. Worth a look if you like jigsaws puzzles!
Namco Museum Volume 5: Of all Namco Museum games, this is the one you need to grab for one big reason: Legend of Valkyrie. Easily one of the best Namco arcade games of all time, it gets a great translation in this compilation, and is a super fun two-player co-op romp. But even without that, you got some super fun games, from the excellent Baraduke, the addictive Metro-Cross, among several other arcade gems! The perfect sendoff to the best line of Namco Museum games.
Gaia Seed: Another game from Monkeypaw, and thus another game already killed off in the PAL region, so get on it: an interesting shooter from Techno Soleil, this is a super fun shump with excellent music, good scoring, and a weird indie vibe that feels way before its time: it’s a pretty rare JPN import, too, so this version off the US store is one of the easiest ways to play it on a US system, even though some aspects are still in Japanese: (not the opening narration, oddly enough!)
Castlevania Chronicles: So in terms of Castlevania rereleases, most games in the series are pretty good and available elsewhere: SOTN is available on the Xbox Series X and PS4/PS5, so that just leaves this one for PSOne, and that’s the excellent remix of Castlevania on the X68000 computer, released in 2001. Easily one of the best interpretations of Simon’s tale to date, the arrange mode turns a brutal, unforgiving game into a super manageable, fun to replay adventure with godly music remixes:
Do note you’ll need a PS3 to play this on the PS Vita, since you’ll have to transfer it manually via the content manager (and disable your 2FA to get it working, since Sony never fixed that dumb bug for the 5+ years it was active…) But it’s absolutely well worth it, and this one is a game I feel won’t be easily rereleased anytime soon, especially in this PSOne form.
Bomberman Party Edition: This one is, at least for me, unplayable on Vita due to it not wanting to transfer to the PS Vita from the PS3, so you’ll have to stick to PSP and PS3 action for this one: but it is a pretty cute remake of the NES Bomberman, even including a revised port of the original NES game! Honestly worth a look for that aspect alone, and of course multiplayer is an option for those who like that stuff.
Pocket Fighter: While we sadly didn’t get Puzzle Fighter II Turbo on our PSOne classics like Japan did, we did get the sister game, Pocket Fighter! …Only on PS3. Yes, for an unexplainable reason, this game just will not work on PSP or PS Vita. Completely baffling, totally confusing, and it makes no sense whatsoever. Yet even then, it’s a rather quirky take on the Street Fighter formula, and while it’s nowhere near as good or fun as Puzzle Fighter, it definitely is the most “original” of the Street Fighters available on PS1, and definitely worth picking up via this home port.
So there you have it! Just a few games I felt were worth highlighting, some expected, but some you probably didn’t expect to see on this list: and that’s my goal for the rest of the series too. Next, is the PS2 Classics line, which should be a lot easier to do in one go. See you then, and let me know your recommendations in the comments below.