The Best PS1 Platformers

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The launching of the first PlayStation by Sony in the mid-90s, first in Japan followed by the rest of the world, was the beginning of a new outlook for the gaming industry. The launch was a remarkable global success as it saw Sony prepare for a sale of over 100 million consoles of the PS1. Although other consoles used authentic 3D graphics and CD-ROMs, the first PlayStation games paved the way for the adoption of these gaming technologies.

Within this period, Sega and Nintendo were at the top of the gaming world. The debut of PlayStation consoles dethroned the two gaming giants, taking over as the leader of the 32-bit generation powerhouse. For the period Sony’s PlayStation has been in the gaming industry, more consoles have found their way into the 32-bit powerhouse. Interestingly, the first PlayStation has been a host to some of the greatest gaming platformers of all time. Ranging from Role-Playing Games (RPGs), puzzles, fast and furious races, and action games, PlayStation1 had a line-up of games that are worth playing to this date.
Read through as we take a look at some of the best PS1 platformers that were ever made. 

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

This game follows the Castlevania sequel, Rondo of Blood. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an RPG platformer developed for the PS1 in 1997. The platformer’s gameplay takes place in Dracula’s castle, revolving around efforts to bring to submission an entity controlling the self-titled lord of the castle, Richter Belmont.

The second phase of the game is unveiled on defeating the entity. The game gets better as the player gains access to more areas within the castle, which is dependent on abilities and items collected. Such items and abilities include shapeshifting, which transforms the player into a mist, wolf, or bat. In contrast with the previous Castlevania sequels, Symphony of the Night features an inventory of weapons and RPG elements. The game is considered to be a cult classic, a sleeper hit, and one of the most valued games of all time.

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped

Warped is the third sequel of the Crash Bandicoot games series. Developed in 1998 for PlayStation1, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped came as a continuation of events that took place in the second sequel of the series. This platformer is regarded to be one of the best sequels of the Crash Bandicoot series. This is probably because of its graphics, sound and lighting effects, and gameplay. 

The game applies the time travel concept where two characters, Crash and Coco Bandicoot, are obliged to traverse across time. The idea is to have the two characters collect the 25 crystals scattered throughout different times before they get into the hands of rivals UkaUka and Doctor Neo Cortex. The gameplay of this platformer takes place in a Time-Twisting Machine, which is subdivided into chambers. The survival of Crash and Coco is dependent on how good they are in countering attacks to preserve the assigned lives.

Spyro: Year of the Dragon

This is one of the most successfully built sequels of the Spyro series released in 2000 for the PlayStation. The popularity of this platformer saw its magnificent sale of over 2 million units across the USA. The plot of the game revolves around a dragon character, Spyro, tasked to travel across 37 worlds in search of special dragon eggs stolen by an evil sorceress. The worlds are linked to other large worlds known as hubs, which give players access to more levels.

The player is supposed to control Spyro in gathering a specified number of eggs and gems scattered across the worlds. Completing five worlds gives way to a new hub. The Year of the Dragon sequel has numerous playable characters, which make the game more interesting.

Ape Escape

Sony released Ape Escape as the first sequel of the Ape Escape series in 1999. The game’s music quality, graphics, and incorporation of dual analogue controls are the reasons behind its popularity as one of the best PS1 platformers of all time. Specter, an ape with enhanced intellectual capacity, is the centre of the game. Specter creates an army of apes in efforts to rewrite history.

The gameplay of Ape Escape revolves around a boy named Spike who travels across diverse environments to stop the army of apes from rewriting history. Players are to control Spike in achieving his heroic agenda. They should, however, take caution as the apes are heavily armed, exposing them to the risk of losing a life. 

Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus

Abe’s Exoddus, a sequel of the Oddworld series, was first released for PlayStation in 1998. The platformer has won various awards, with many praising it for the added quick save feature. The feature, which is present only on this sequel amongst all the other Oddworld episodes, allows players to save information on their progress in the game quickly.

Abe’s Exodus is a continuation of events that took place in Abe’s Oddysee sequel. The player assumes Abe’s role in efforts to stop the making of SoulStorm Brew, a drink made from the Mudokons’ tears and bones, by the Glukkons. The Mudokons are Abe’s counterparts who are under the enslavement of the Glukkons.

Mega Man X5

Mega Man X5, the fifth sequel of the Mega Man series, was first published for the PlayStation in 2000. The platformer was set to be the last sequel of the Mega Man series, but that was not the case. Instead, there were a number of releases that followed the Mega Man series. The player has a choice to pick either of the game’s main characters, Zero or X. And unlike the previous sequel, Mega Man X5 allows players to switch between these two characters while playing.

Zero and X are both in pursuit of saving planet Earth from destruction, which has already been initiated by the game’s antagonist, Sigma. The game has been commended as fun to play, with a heightened difficulty function compared to the other episodes of the Mega Man series.

Strider 2

Strider 2 is a continuation of the Strider series, featuring events taking place 2000 years after the first episode. The game was published for PlayStation 1 in 2000 and it features a sci-fi setup, with a hack and slash gameplay.

Strider 2 game is about two characters, Strider Hiryu and the mysterious Grandmaster, who have resurfaced in this new episode to pursue two contrasting missions. The platformer presents Hiryu as the only surviving Strider following a wipe-out of all Strides by the Grandmaster. He is out on a revenge mission to destroy the Grandmaster for good. So Hiryu's tough skills of hacking and slashing are put to test in a fight against the Grandmaster, in a bid to stop him from taking control of the whole world.

The Grandmaster, on the other hand, is out to set the world under his control. This sequel has additional features compared to the original Strider. The player assumes the role of Strider Hiryu in a pursuit to destroy the Grandmaster. Strider 2 also comes with five varying missions, which have different orientations across different locations within planet Earth.

  • Updated September 4, 2020