The first Sony PlayStation console went on sale in 1995 in North America and changed the way the world played video games. While it had strong competition in the still-popular Nintendo 64 and the soon-to-die out Sega Saturn, the PlayStation was an instant success. It was the first console to sell over 100 million units, which took place nine years after launch.
While Nintendo had a hold on some of the most popular video games of the previous decade, this meant that Sony had to mine other companies for existing titles. However, they also worked with companies to create titles exclusive to the PlayStation. With 7,918 titles released for the console, here are the 10 best PS1 games ever made, based on Metacritic scores.
10 CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT (93)
Castlevania is a video game that has been around since 1986. After making several games for Nintendo game consoles, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was the first for the PlayStation and also arrived for the Sega Saturn. It ended up as the highest-rated Castlevania game at that time.
As with other games in the series, this was 2D with the side-scrolling screen. Despite the old-school style of gameplay, the popularity of this game was great enough to make it a cult classic and one of the best PS1 games of all time. The reviews credited the game's massive quest with great RPG elements.
9 STREET FIGHTER ALPHA 3 (93)
Street Fighter debuted in 1987 and became one of the most popular arcade fighting games in history. That game was ported over to the PC, and the Street Fighter franchise kept a stronghold in both consoles and arcade games. Street Fighter Alpha 3 was the third and final game in the Alpha series.
This game for the PS1 had 28 playable characters with three fighting styles. Reviews on Metacritic points to the extra playing modes and the speed of the gameplay as perfect when it comes to 2D fighting games.
8 GRAN TURISMO 2 (93)
When it comes to the Sony PlayStation, it was essential to create some original titles to make the console a must-buy. The biggest of these PlayStation originals was the Gran Turismo franchise, and there are two games from that series on this list of the best PS1 games of all time, according to Metacritic.
This second version of the racecar franchise is not as highly rated as the first. However, it still gets a lot of credit thanks to the advanced racing gameplay, and is a great follow-up to one of the PS1's greatest titles.
7 METAL GEAR SOLID (94)
Released in 1987, Metal Gear was a computer video game for MSX home computers. It was so popular that it spawned several sequels. The biggest was a PS1 original only released on that console and the PC called Metal Gear Solid. Released in 1988, this PS1 game focused on the hero Solid Snake.
Solid Snake is a government agent sent to regain control of nuclear weapons and defeat terrorists trying to launch a war. The game was considered the greatest action game in the entire PlayStation library. Metal Gear Solid showed that being sneaky and quiet was just as important as running in guns blazing in these games.
6 CHRONO CROSS (94)
One thing Nintendo always had to keep it ahead was the Zelda franchise. That does not mean other consoles didn't try to steal some of that business. One of the top 10 PS1 games of all time according to Metacritic, is the RPG game Chrono Cross.
The game has a single story thread but with multiple scenarios and different endings. This gives this title endless hours of gameplay as fans try to get through every alternate ending possible. While some fans complained about the game moving too far away from Chrono Trigger, it is one of the only games that GameSpot ever gave a perfect score on.
5 ISS PRO EVOLUTION (94)
When it comes to soccer games, there are many of great options to choose from. However, ISS Pro Evolution is the best on the PlayStation, and it might be the best of all time regardless of console. Released in 2000 in North America, this version of the International Superstar Soccer game improved on the graphics and player movements.
Reviews on Metacritic called it the best soccer game ever made and breath-taking while giving the players every aspect of control over the gameplay. The PS1 game also won the ECTS Interactive Entertainment Award as well.
4 FINAL FANTASY IX (94)
Final Fantasy is the king of the RPGs, the first game released in 1987 with 14 more games released since that time. Each game adds aspects to the original game engine; some changes loved by fans and others dismissed. When it comes to the PS1, Final Fantasy VII was the first entry, with the two previous versions hitting the PlayStation over the next two years.
However, as the fourth PS1 release, Final Fantasy IX that stole the show when it hit the console in 2000. This returned the franchise to its roots, and both critics and fans loved it, the final version of the game to hit the PS1.
3 GRAN TURISMO (96)
The game that set the PlayStation on fire was Gran Turismo. The racecar game published by Sony was widely popular and ended up selling over 10.85 million copies since its release. The ratings for the game by critics made this first version in the franchise the highest-rated racing video game ever made.
Reviews on Metacritic call the game realistic with incredible depth. It is challenging when it comes to sim gameplay and has more cars than any other racing game. The franchise ended up with several sequels, but the first remains the title to beat and the best of the best on the PS1.
2 TEKKEN 3 (96)
While Street Fighter was one of the most popular fighting games in arcades, it was Tekken that took over when the console wars got underway. The very first Tekken debuted on the PlayStation in 1994, and the franchise was PlayStation-exclusive until 2007 when it debuted on the Xbox 360 with Tekken 6.
The last title that was on the PS1 was also the first for the PS2 with Tekken 3. The game hit arcades in 1997 and then on the PlayStation one year later. There was a new cast of characters with 23 total to choose from, with over 100 moves per character, and almost perfect gameplay controls.
1 TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 2 (98)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is one of the top video game franchises of all time, regardless of console. It has versions at the top of most lists for all consoles. That includes coming in as the highest-ranked PS1 game of all time based on Metacritic scores, two full points higher than Tekken 3 and only two points short of a perfect 100.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is not only one of the best skateboarding games of all time but one of the best PlayStation games of all time, regardless of the console. The levels are bigger and there are more tricks on this game than any to that point.