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The 25 best PS1 games of all time

15. Tomb Raider 2

Tomb Raider 2

The original Tomb Raider may have pioneered the 3D action adventure genre, but when it was first introduced, the PlayStation was young and many gamers had never truly been confronted by a purely polygonal being before. By the time Tomb Raider 2 landed one year later, everyone knew who Lara Croft was. Everyone was ready.

And Core Design did not disappoint. The developer learned a lot from creating the first game, and in turn gave us a bigger, cleaner, more exciting world in which to maneuver. TR2 felt like a big step up from its predecessor - something we can’t really say about the slightly tweaked cash-in that Tomb Raider 3 turned out to be. 

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14. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee

Dammit, Abe’s Oddysee was beautiful. Maybe not in a conventional sense (a forcefully muted slave leading a revolt to escape death by meat grinder is hardly soothing), but the high artistic value of both the visual design and soundtrack were hard to deny. Oddworld was exactly as its name implied, and that was a huge part of the appeal.

Even the game engine was unique enough to garner its own name: A.L.I.V.E (Aware Lifeforms In a Virtual Environment). Enemies and allies both had personality, and responded in different ways to specific stimuli as opposed to just predictably walking left or right. The result was a world that engaged you in a cerebral and contemplative way - a fresh concept for 2D platformers at the time. 

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13. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

Soul Reaver was one of the most memorable 3D action adventure games on the PlayStation thanks to its dark story, impressive voice acting, and varied mechanics. It was surprising that it turned out so well, considering that stylistically, Legacy of Kain was a brand-new take on the series, its prequel being a top-down RPG.

Switching between the physical and spectral realms in order to solve puzzles was a fresh and fascinating element that helped cover up the fact that the game as a whole was pretty easy. But easy doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and we fondly remember kicking vampire ass with the Soul Reaver. 

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12. Final Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy 7

Of course this game is on our list. But really, there's not a whole lot we can say about Final Fantasy VII that you don't already know. This game raised the bar for the RPG genre; it's the Beatles of role-playing games. Cloud and Sephiroth have become icons in gaming, all because of their grand adventure in 1997.

Final Fantasy 7 succeeded at all three of the major gaming points: gameplay, story, and graphics. The Materia-based battle system still influences game design today, the story features one of the most tragic plot twists of all time, and the graphics (at the time) were beyond anything we'd ever seen. FF7 was a revolution, and everyone else just had to catch up. 

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11. Ape Escape

Ape Escape

When the Dual Shock controller was introduced, few games took advantage as well as Ape Escape. Instead of using the right stick for camera movements, you controlled a multitude of unique and fun gadgets in an effort to capture increasingly elusive simians. Whether it was an ape squirming under your net or a revved-up dash hoop spinning around your waist, every precisely controlled action was rewarded with unprecedented tactile feedback.

And honestly, who wouldn’t want to travel through time bashing rogue apes over the head with something that looked like a lightsaber before scooping them up in a Time Net and instantly zapping them back to the present? The concept sells itself. 

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10. Tekken 3

Tekken 3

It didn’t take much to sell a three-dimensional fighting game during the second half of the '90s, but Tekken 3 definitely wasn’t content to rest on its laurels. The arcade port pushed the boundaries of the PlayStation’s graphical capability, and the highly acclaimed gameplay improvements took the series even further into the third dimension.

There we so many new fighters and so many things to do (thanks to the addition of mini-games) that it was hard to believe Tekken 3 could even exist on the PS1. But exist it did, and it was awesome enough that many people still consider it the best of the entire series. 

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9. Worms Armageddon

Worms Armageddon

Controlling worms has never been so much fun. Especially when those worms set out to kill other worms with an arsenal that would make the US Army sweat bullets. When another player gets involved, well, friendships will be tested.

Our worms have swung on ninja ropes, blown each other up with missiles, and sent plenty of their brethren into the watery depths below each stage. No matter how long we play, no matter how much we destroy, it never gets old. We still have a blast with it, over 10 years after we originally tried it. Our love for worm destruction will never die.

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8. Gran Turismo 2

Gran Turismo 2

Remember that time when your parents walked into the living room and thought you were watching TV, even though you were actually playing a video game? Chances are, that happened during a race replay in Gran Turismo 2. Yep, it looked that good.

Obviously, GT2 was more than just a super-sleek tech demo. The series popularized the racing sim genre with its faithful yet accessible action, and GT2 was simply as good as things got on the PS. Even those who were uninterested in cars and/or racing were drawn in by the influential power of the title. And let’s not forget the over 600 highly detailed vehicles and a realistically robust customization system. Good times. 

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7. PaRappa the Rapper

PaRappa the Rapper

The precursor for rhythm games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Rock Band, PaRappa the Rapper took the nifty idea of timing button presses to match specific beats and added charming paper-like animations, funny lyrics, and seriously catchy tunes. With songs about learning to drive a car and competing for a turn on the toilet, the tone was always light-hearted and extremely enjoyable.

It didn’t take much for that enjoyment to quickly devolve into a hilarious mess if you mistimed your button presses. Honestly, hearing PaRappa miss his cues and come in at the wrong times was just as satisfying as winning the game. Well, for spectators at least. 

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6. Silent Hill

Silent Hill

Silent Hill wasn’t content with mere jump scares and ugly creatures. It aimed to psychologically devastate you, to ensure you were afraid to go to sleep. And for some reason, we absolutely loved it for that.

With its dense fog, smothering darkness, and multiple dimensions, Silent Hill created one of the most terrifying (and memorable) environments ever seen in a video game. Even more unsettling was that the game’s protagonist, Harry Mason, wasn’t some chain-smoking space marine: He was a normal dude who sucked at fighting. Whether this was an excuse for a poor control scheme or an intentional combat deterrent, we certainly gained a new appreciation for the term “survival.”

Running away is exactly what you would do if being chased by deadly monsters, and we’ll always appreciate Konami’s understanding of this idea. Also, an alien abduction ending was possible. Too cool. 

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What's our top pick? Click 'next page' to see our countdown of the top five best PS1 games.