Monday, December 8, 2014

My 20 most memorable PSX games I've played

In case you've missed or if you already heard of it, the original Sony PlayStation is now 20 years old since its Japan launch in December 1994. To commemorate the historic milestone, looks like it's time for me to take a trip down memory lane as I'll be listing some of my 20 most memorable PSX games of ages.

(Sigh). I remember about the time when I went to a certain place where I have to spend every buck playing PSX games for an hour after class and when I got my hands on the PSX, I spent my childhood playing with it along with my family. Time flies so fast but this is no time for lumpy throats. Here's my list.

1) Auto Destruct - Combining high-speed driving and weaponry warfare, Auto Destruct is every hardcore gamers' fantasy to enjoy driving in an open-world while carving destruction against terrorist forces. In this game, you are part of The Temple and you're avenging the death of your family against an extreme terrorist cult called The Cult of Lazarus. You are driving a high-tech sports car loaded with an arsenal of weapons essential to bring The Cult of Lazarus to oblivion.

2) Theme Hospital - This game is one of my all-time favorites, wasting my time building my own hospital, manage hospital staff, cure patients, research new equipment, and so much more while dealing with numerous situations such as earthquakes. I know the earthquake part feels scary as I progress through each level but in this game, you shouldn't feel a lot more comfortable while taking control of your own hospital. This is a serious game that needs to be taken seriously.

3) Star Ocean: The Second Story - I know this game says "Second Story" but this RPG is the first for PSX and this game has a lot of fanbase. This Japanese Role Playing Game is one of the games I got hooked on and in the game, whether if your main character is either Claude or Rena, the game's epic storytelling is worth addictive. My favorites in this game is Celine for her powerful magic spells, Bowman for his Poison Pills attacks (which is wickedly powerful), and Dias because I believe he sees Claude as his rival...I believe.

4) X-MEN Vs. Street Fighter - Capcom did invade one of the world's biggest names for their crossover fighting games and one of them is X-MEN vs. Street Fighter. I remembered playing one since when I was a kid, me and my family love to play Street Fighter at our family computer and I end up losing...and winning. Oh well. Anyway, you get to play as either one of your favorites from X-MEN and Street Fighter on an all-out tag-team brawl on a multitude of locations and unleash their most powerful combos to win. Sadly for me, I can't manage to pull them off for a change.

5) Mortal Kombat 4 - This installment from the cult-classic franchise features some of the most memorable characters such as Raiden, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion, as well as new additions. It's the first MK game to feature weapons, kinda like the ones from the Soul games, where the right combo can pull one off and unleash devastating damage to your opponent. Although the game is very brutal because of so much blood in it, this game is worth addicting until you get to the "FINISH HIM/HER" part where, at random occurrences, can unleash character-specific FATALITIES. Looks scary to watch but this is how it's done. FATALITY.

6) Gran Turismo -  First launched in Japan since December 1997 and then worldwide a year after, the Gran Turismo series is one of the most successful Playstation games ever made. It features a huge roster of licensed cars ranging from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Chevrolet, Aston Martin, Dodge, and TVR. For starters, you have some cash to buy some car but sadly, you can't afford a car from the NEW CAR dealership so for beginners, they chose the USED CAR dealership to buy their first car. Of course, in Gran Turismo tradition, the USED CAR dealership changes occasionally so if there's a car that interests you the most, buy it. If you have spare change, you're tuning it to make it competitive and then you're off to a race but before joining in the big leagues, you must first get a license. Each race requires a certain license like B, A, i-B, i-A, and the Super License and to get one, you must first pass series of challenges. Getting a bronze target maybe enough but true professionals go for the gold. I know, license challenges keeps on getting tougher and tougher but if I  get it right, I had the urge to pass all challenges to get the license.

7) Gran Turismo 2 - Two years later, the Gran Turismo experience expanded in Gran Turismo 2, which I believe that this is undoubtedly the best GT game I have ever played in ages. For an added twist, GT2 has two discs; disc one is called the Arcade Disc where you can race against opponents, time attack, two-player, and so on. Disc Two is called the Simulation Disc where in this disc, you are here to collect over 500 cars, complete license tests, and race in different cups to win new cars. The cars you obtained from Disc Two can be imported for Disc One gameplay. Of 500 cars in the game, there has been the inclusion of rally cars (which is new back then), kei cars, and the hybrid car they called the Toyota Prius. One of my favorite cars in the game is none other than the fan-favorite Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak Version because with over 900HP of power and 4WD, you are truly invincible in most races! Other memorable cars include the long-forgotten Venturi, the Vector M12, the Renault Espace F1, the HKS Drag R32, the Daihatsu Midget II truck, and many other cars that made a huge mark in this game. There's also some one-make race series hosted by car manufacturers in GT2's Simulation Disc. Pick the right car for the race and race against equally matched cars! Simple is that.

8) R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 - Launched in late 1998 by NAMCO, this is the fourth installment of the Ridge Racer series and probably one of my favorite installments from the series due to the game's grooving music as well as the closing theme song that I love to listen all the time. In this installment, you get to be part of one of four racing teams, then choose a machine to drive for the championship. Keep in mind that each team serves as a difficulty setting for gamers. The Mappy team will give cars better handling, the Pac Racing Club possess a well-balanced performance, RT Solvalou focuses more on speed and nothing else, and the Dig Racing Team is by no means the hardest team to be for the championship.

9) Metal Gear Solid - The stealth action game that started the craze is one of the best PSX games of all time. It's the pride of Konami and the creator Hideo Kojima because even though it's complicated to progress because it's focused on stealth just like its MSX predecessors, the storyline is brilliant as are characters, the soundtrack, and the boss battles. One of the most memorable boss fights is against Psycho Mantis where players trying to defeat him using the second controller from their PSX. This game really set the template for other installments of this hit franchise and it keeps evolving as years pass by. SNAAAAAKKKKEEEE!!!

10) Bust-A-Move - One of the most memorable rhythm music games in ages and by no means one of the most complicating games to play. In this game, you have to tap the right buttons before the next set of buttons to tap will appear and do it over and over until the music is over. Even though the gameplay sounds tricky for a rhythm game, the soundtrack is worth enjoyable to listen over and over again. My favorite soundtracks from this game are from Shorty, Strike, Hamm, Hiro, and Kitty-N. Can't believe Japanese music label Avex got involved in this game.

11) Syphon Filter - I'm sure most of you hardcore gamers remember this one. In this game, you are Agency operative Gabe Logan and your mission is to stop the terrorists from unleashing the Syphon Filter virus. Spanning around the world from Washington D.C. to Almaty, Kazakhstan, this game is worth pulse-pounding as you progress through each mission. What's disturbing is shooting down enemies equipped with Flak Jacket and what's cool is the taser weapon that can barbecue enemies in a few seconds. Cool.

12) Crash Bandicoot 2 - This is the first Crash Bandicoot game I got even though this is a sequel to the previous Crash Bandicoot, which has been the pride of developer Naughty Dog a few years ago. In this sequel, the once defeated N Cortex is back with the vengeance and as Crash Bandicoot, you are warping through a series of twisted dimensions, defeating enemies, stopping bosses like Ripper Roo, Komodo Bros., Tiny Tiger, N Gin, and N Cortex, and save the universe. Of course, to complete a level, you have to find a crystal but if you're a seasoned pro, you have to smash every single crate. Be advised because there are some crates that are dangerous such as the TNT box that can detonate within three seconds and the Nitro box that explodes within contact. How can you destroy those without touching it? Not unless when there's a voodoo mask protecting alongside you.

13) Crash Bandicoot Warped - The third installment of the Crash Bandicoot game is always an enjoyable one and not only you can enjoy the added thrill that you expect from the last two, you can also play as his sister Coco for the first time but only in the part where she rides with a baby polar bear or a baby tiger named Pura.  In this installment, there are power-ups to collect after defeating a boss and these can be a lot helpful in numerous situations.

14) Syphon Filter 2 - Continuing where the first one left off, his partner Lian Xing was captured by the Agency and Gabe Logan is on a race against time to stop the virus from spreading, with the help of a former Agency operative Teresa Lipan (via radio). This sequel features a whole arsenal of weaponry such as handguns, snipers, or close-range weaponry such as a knife and a hand taser. Not only you can play as Gabe but also Lian as she tries to survive with the virus at her body. If solo gameplay isn't their thing, they can play as their favorite characters and go all-out with the 2-player versus mode.

15) Crash Team Racing - Probably one of the most enjoyable racing games for the whole family. In Crash Team Racing, you get to play as Crash Bandicoot, his friends, or his enemies, and then race your way to victory. There are some power ups scattered through the track where you can speed up or slow down your foes, making it more thrilling and enjoyable. In the game's quest mode, players have to progress through numerous races, defeat bosses, and get keys for a chance to defeat Oxide. Have you guys made it all the way?

16) Spyro the Dragon - I remember playing one when my mom introduced it to me. It's about the titular character named Spyro as he sets for an adventure to free his dragon race from their crystalline prisons done by the evil villain named Gnasty Gnorc as he set off across six worlds, running, jumping, gliding, rolling, and spit flames against baddies. Although I might find this game a lot boring, the first Spyro game is worth enjoyable and repetitive as you're looking for some secrets lurking around the world around him.

17) Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! - In this sequel, Spyro wanted to deserve a break after saving the world of dragons from Gnasty Gnorc so he's on vacation to Dragon Shores until... Well, that's how the sequel tells and on this sequel, Spyro the Dragon is on the biggest adventure of a lifetime, saving the world from the evil Ripto and his henchmen. Throughout his journey, Spyro gains some new abilities such as swimming, climbing, glide-hover, ground stop, superfly, supercharge, and superflame. These newly found abilities are highly essential for gamers as they progress through a vast world of surprises, meeting new friends, stopping new enemies, and save the world...again.

18) Syphon Filter 3 - In the third installment of the franchise, Gabe and Lian are under trial for the crimes they didn't commit. As they retold about their past missions, the virus keeps spreading and on this race against time, they have to clear their names and find out who's responsible for this. This third installment features a flashback full of storylines gamers will progress through numerous missions in the name of redemption, more exciting 2-player VS mode, and mini-games that will test your skills.

19) Die Hard Trilogy - Three games based on three Die Hard movies are in one unique game for the hardcore gamers and movie fans alike. There's the first Die Hard in the form of a third-person shooter, then there's Die Hard 2: Die Harder in the form of an arcade-style shoot-em-up game, and then there's Die Hard With a Vengeance in the form of a driving game in a race against time to save New York from exploding the heart of the city. Whichever Die Hard game I've played on this 3-in-1 PSX game, Die Hard Trilogy really feels like I'm reliving the first three Die Hard movies starring Bruce Willis as John McClane. Yippee Ki Yay!

20) Chocobo Racing - This Final Fantasy spin-off features the loveable Chocobo as he and Mog are on the quest to find fragments of the legendary Blue Crystal, which they can only gather by racing against memorable FINAL FANTASY characters. Although being childish for a fantasy racing game, it's still cute to play even when there are powerups and special abilities that can turn the tide on your favor. Yes. I said it cute because there are very cute characters on the roster except for the unlockable one.

HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY TO THE PLAYSTATION! Here's hoping for the evolution of the PlayStation brand in the future and with the PS3, PS4, and the PSVita leading the PlayStation line, I expect greater things to come from them.

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