PSN Wishlist

With the continuing dearth of games to justify my PS3 purchase (I'm awaiting my copy of GTA4) I've been browsing the Japanese PSN store, which by all accounts is a little more luxuriously stocked than the US one, and playing a few PS1 classics. Most notably I am surprised at how playable, enjoyable, Crash Bandicoot 2 and 3 still are, despite the graphics being so rough the polygon edges poke your eyes out. All this got me thinking about which PS1 games I'd love to see available on PSN and which I'd buy immediately, again.

Alundra
When this game was first released it looked fairly quaint, as it used the kind of 2D graphics we were used to in the SNES era, but in the end it means it has aged a lot better, visually, than most other PS1 titles. It’s very much an action RPG in the Zelda school of gaming. You play a young boy who can step into other people’s dreams and has to battle the usual types of villains Hell-bent on destroying or conquering the world or the dream world or whatever guff these types of games usually come up with. So it doesn’t quite have an award winning storyline, but it has everything that made Zelda fun: action battles, items that unlock new abilities and areas to explore, puzzles and dungeons. I remember it being a little slow paced, but immensely enjoyable. With the lack of more 2D Zelda games, this is pretty much the next best thing.
Alundra on MobyGames

Tomba!
If you don't have a smile on your face as the developer logo slides onto the screen before this game starts then you have no soul. "Whoopee Camp" the text sings in unison with the helium voiced choir. "Whoopee Camp" is officially, I state here, the best ridiculous name for a developer ever. I have no idea if this game sold well, though it obviously did enough business to warrant a sequel, yet sadly not enough to keep the developer alive.
Tomba, or as he and the game are called in Japanese Tombi, is the hero of the game, a pink-haired, grass skirt wearing freak with an appetite. The world is overrun by evil pigs. Who said game story writing was in the dumps? Aside from the charmingly madcap setting, this game is great because it is of that most delicious, and most rare genre, the adventure platformer. Playing in a solidly 2.5D world, with 3D graphics and 2D gameplay you guide Tomba/i through many side scrolling levels with a foreground and background playable area, and complete missions. Some are puzzles, some are fetch quests, but all are fun. Just for this game mechanic alone the title is worth another purchase!
Graphically it hasn’t aged that well, as with most 3D PS1 titles, but the game is still charming and bright and a lot of fun! The sequel offered pretty much more of the same which, in this case, is not a bad thing at all.
Tomba! on MobyGames

Ghost in the Shell
Though I am not a huge anime fan, much to the chagrin, I'd imagine, of the many Japanophiles who envy my position, there are a few that I really like, including the Ghost in the Shell films and comics. They are moody, cerebral and beautiful, yet the recent games have not really grabbed me. This PS1 outing, though, was supremely excellent for a variety of reasons, not least the anime intro where Major Matoko Kusinagi has some kind of orgasmic fit while wired up, leaking certain substances from certain areas that had a profound effect on the young man I was then.
The game itself puts you, if I remember correctly, into the mind of an anonymous new recruit which is then transplanted into a Fuchikoma unit, the spider-like tank, and sent out on missions. Using the left and right triggers you could do a cool strafing dash and, being a spider droid kind of thing, you could climb onto the sides of buildings and ceilings, which was at first confusing but later became second nature and a great way to sneak up on turrets. The first boss battle pitted you against a cloaked tank and the final battle, spoiler alert, took place on top of a giant skyscraper. But that was not the best of it. After defeating the last boss, in its dying moments it grabbed you and jumped off the building. What followed was a 40 second timer, sweaty palms and an initial "oh MY GOOD CHRIST!" exclamation as you rabidly tried to pump your bullets and any left-over grenades into the falling boss, hopefully killing it for good this time so you'd have enough time to grab onto the side of the building and save yourself. It was a bit of a cheat, but one of those defining moments in my life as a gamer that I won't forget in a hurry.
On top of that it had a pumping techno soundtrack, worthy of a separate purchase, and a training mode that was infinitely replayable for high scores. In my humble estimation this title was the best Ghost in the Shell game ever made, and though graphically it'll look quaint, if not downright ugly, I'd buy it again in a second on PSN, should they have the decency to release it, because I'm sure it is still playable to this day.
Ghost in the Shell on MobyGames

It’s madness to recommend old games for a system as shiny and new as the PS3 but the titles listed are all fantastic little games worth a second look, or first look if you haven’t yet. Besides, a generation this recent is often overlooked in the retro spheres. I hope they will become available to buy on-line but it might be worth keeping your eyes open at flea markets and second hand shops for these little gems.

13 comments:

  1. Alundra was a nice game...a very earthy colour palette!

    I used to have Tomba as well - I recall reading that a bunch of ex-Makaimura staffers made it.

    Is Jumping Flash 2 on the PSN yet? I love that game - wonderful, charming "blue sky" gaming. One of my favourite PS1 memories.

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  2. I bought GitS years ago and only just played it a couple years back, but it holds up surprisingly well. I was mildly disappointed in the lack of a Japanese voice option (this being the NA version, and released at a time when anime wasn't as big, therefore subtitling was death), but that's a minor complaint.

    It does have a jump that will always stand out in my mind because of its difficulty and the lack of a save just before.

    Though honestly, I'd be satisfied with Sony releasing the Wipeout Pulse download packs on the store for this region. The DLC was one of the reasons I bought the damn game.

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  3. y. datura, both Jumping Flash 1 and 2 are available on the Japanese PSN. Thanks for reminding me I need to get those too! :)

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  4. They really should put the three Spyro the Dragon games on there. I'd buy them in a heartbeat, if only to be able to play them on my PSP.

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  5. I'll put my vote in for two PS1 games that occupied me for more hours than I'll ever admit. Ape Escape (the original is the only great game in the series); and Vagrant Story (if you can master the weapon customization system, it's a terrific and fairly different for its era RPG).

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  6. Good call again! Ape Escape (Saru Getchu) is available, and I had my finger hovering over the button, but I'll probably download it anyway over the weekend. At 600 Yen each they are dangerously cheap. I spend more than that on cigarettes a day....And Ape Escape was a truly wonderful game.
    I *think* Vagrant Story is also up, and Sypro 1 definitely is, Freakyoid, though I was never that impressed by it...

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  7. まさか家のエレベーターでフ ェ ラされるなんて思ってなかったよ。。ww
    「ここでフ ェ ラさせてくれたらもっと報 酬あげるよ♪」
    って言葉に負けましたwww
    途中で扉が開いた時は焦ったけど、おかげでもっとオッキしたwww
    http://pak3.net/yutori/

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  8. Oh, wow... this almost makes.. or rather, definitely makes PSN so much richer than Xbox Live Arcade. I almost regret making the "jump in"to Xbox360 recently.

    I played Ghost in the Shell long time ago when I was only a little brat, without knowing the anime. I just thought it was a fun game. Now that I've been enjoying the anime for several years, I just want to play that game again.... and your mentioning of a detail in the opening makes me yet more desperate!

    Any word on Ogre series? Tactics Ogre (or was it Ogre Tactics..) is one that everyone should know about and play.

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