The recent news of the upcoming PlayStation Classic doesn’t just make sense – given the success of the classics both NES and SNES – it’s also a chance to rectify some of the gems missing from Sony’s remastering, remaking spree. On this list, you will see some of the less obvious offerings, games that belong, once again, in the public consciousness.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Perhaps this is something Capcom will get round to, and you’ve certainly heard me bang on about Resident Evil 3 and about remakes. It holds a special place in the hearts of fans for its eponymous monstrosity, who hunts you through the streets of Racoon City.
While we’re sifting through the viscera of prestige survival horror, let’s spare a thought for Dino Crisis. Before the series leant toward action with Dino Crisis 2, and long before Capcom saw fit to blast the entire thing into outer space for Dino Crisis 3, dinosaurs had their best video game moment. Playing the first game was like having your nerve endings shredded with a raptor talon.
Gran Turismo 2
There are lots of reasons this belongs on the digital shelf of any self-respecting PlayStation connoisseur: an excellent simulation of racing, polygons that popped your eyeballs (in 1999), and almost 650 cars (it was on a CD! That’s mental). All of these reasons are irrelevant. There is only one reason that GT2 is a must: it has My Favourite Game by The Cardigans on the soundtrack. Thank you very much.
Final Fantasy VIII
This is a bit of an odd one, more so because it seems as if Square Enix is cross with Final Fantasy 8. The news that VII, IX, X, and X-2 are all on their way to Nintendo and Microsoft’s consoles sounded great. But hang on just a minute – what did VIII do to get in the dog house?
We knew how to have fun. Christ did we know how to have fun. Who needs sparkling 3D cities when you can see the tops of skyscrapers lurching past in the full flatness of PS1’s mighty muscle? What’s most impressive about Rockstar’s second Grand Theft Auto game is that it still holds up. It is, by any definition, a classic; and given the impending enormity of Red Dead Redemption 2, we owe ourselves a trip back to Rockstar’s salad days.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
You can already get this on PSN for your PS3 and PSP (and thus, Vita), and there was a version for the 360, but a PlayStation Classic retro console wouldn’t feel right without one of its best games. Koji Igarashi helped to forge and define the Metroidvania with SoTN, and it featured an outrageous dandy of a vampire with shirt frills and a neckerchief. His name was Alucard. That’s ‘Dracula’ spelled backwards. Genius. Shit. This might have just been announced as part of a compilation coming to PS4… eh… okay, how about something comparable like…
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Anthony Hawk’s second outing was stratospheric. With the exception of perhaps Skate, which, some seven years later, mapped everything onto the swish of stick, Anthony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was the peak of boarding excellence. Given the marshy bog that Anthony’s feet are stuck in – with 2015’s Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 still a scar on society’s memory – it would be refreshing to pop a 180 and grind back to his halcyon days.
Devil Pigs, Flying Pigs, Ghost Pigs, Koma Pigs, Ice Pigs, Water Pigs: Tomba! kept players’ porcine urges in check, stocking with all manner of oinkers. the titular hero of Tomba! looked like a caveman with pink hair; 21 years later I can’t confirm whether that was or wasn’t the case. I can confirm that Tomba! was an underrated gem – a solid 2D platformer with some handsome sprites, indeed (and even handsomer pigs!).
Any opportunity to swing a comically undersized net over a cheeky chimp’s head is one anybody should relish. Playing Ape Escape again would also redress a woeful imbalance in modern gaming: where are all the monkeys?
Now, Syphon Filter is a strange one. Its brand of third-person stealth action resonated enough to sanction a slew of sequels – including two excellent outings on the PSP – but more importantly, it proved you can have a tough action hero called Gabe. Who would have thought?
The Simpsons Wrestling
The thing about The Simpsons Wrestling was that if you played as Ned Flanders, you’d win. His special move tagged God into the fray, who rained bolts of lightning down on your opponent. Ned was the unsung Oddjob of the PlayStation, but I still want to get back into the squared circle with him.
Who needs to copy Mario Kart when you can copy Mario Party? Crash Bash was the pinnacle of marsupial party games when it released in 2000, and actually it still is – Crash Boom Bang!, for the Nintendo DS, was a disappointment. Let’s party like it’s the year 2000 – again.
Do we know it was that bad?
Austin Powers Pinball
The closest that the International Man of Mystery has come to video game greatness was in a game that didn’t feature him. The Operative: No One Lives Forever captured the lollipop-hued, swinging sixties swagger along with the goofball humour of Austin’s film outings perfectly, and spliced it with some excellent first-person shooting and stealth. And then there was Austin Powers Pinball. It was pinball.
South Park has seen a video game resurgence of late, with Obsidian’s South Park: The Stick of Truth and Ubisoft’s South Park: The Fractured but Whole both garnering praise from critics and fans. Solid RPGs they both were, but who else’s nostalgia glands are going haywire at the thought of launching turkeys at your fellow man? No? What about pelting pee-stained snowballs at people? Just me? Well, I’d like to go back down to South Park to have myself a time.