While a number of PS1 games (Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy VII etc.) are already available for smartphones and tablets today, there are plenty more we want to take with us everywhere we go!
With the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Comix Zone, and Super Mario Run, two of the biggest companies on the planet have thrown their hats into the mobile-gaming ring – and there’s huge potential for Sony to give beloved PS1 games a new lease of life on smartphones.
As luck would have it, they’re doing just that! Their ForwardWorks studio is currently producing upcoming mobile games based on PlayStation franchises, starting with Everybody’s Golf.
Still, the big question is, will we get new versions of classic games? Sure, some people may have found ways to play these on mobile devices already, but an official (perhaps expanded) version would no doubt equate to a far better experience.
Revised controls built for touchscreens and compatible controllers, enhanced graphics, and updated sound would make classics as good as new. With that in mind, then, which PS1 games are ripe for a mobile port today?
Resident Evil 2
Without doubt, Resident Evil 2 is one of the PlayStation’s most unforgettable games. Not only did it deliver an atmospheric, often scary experience in itself, it expanded on the first game in a number of awesome ways.
For a start, there was more content – two scenarios for both Leon and Claire, as well as The 4th Survivor and The Tofu Survivor mini-games. The visuals were better, the characters felt a little bit less like tanks, and switching to a more open (yet still claustrophobic) setting was a great move.
Getting to explore a ravaged Raccoon City, filled with burning wreckage, boarded-up buildings, and shuffling zombies let horror-fans live out their fantasises like no game before had.
Bringing this to mobile devices would be a challenge, definitely, but if they can make Tomb Raider simple enough to control, there’s no reason Resident Evil 2 can’t receive the same treatment.
The first WipeOut was a stunning game when it first arrived, boasting incredible visuals, oil-slick gameplay, and a soundtrack featuring some of the top names on the 90’s dance scene. It was a simple racing game with a cool, futuristic spin – and the sequel took this further.
WipeOut 2097 was even more fluid and bold than the original, with its Blade Runner aesthetic and techno sounds. This is still one of the series’ highlights, and it would work beautifully on smartphones – the flight mechanics would probably adapt to touchscreen controls without missing a beat.
The PlayStation’s premier 3D platformer, Crash Bandicoot had all the makings of a classic, and spawned a series of Crash-centric games. It helped to show off the PlayStation’s power in its early stages, and gave platform-lovers graduating from Nintendo and Sega’s 16-bit consoles something familiar at its core, only with a shiny new style.
The simple running and jumping gameplay makes this ideal for playing on the move, without having to invest heavily while you’re waiting for your train stop to come up. Definitely one deserving the mobile-port treatment.
Final Fantasy VIII
This one’s something of a shoe-in, to be fair – the previous seven Final Fantasy games have been released for mobiles, and there’s no reason to think Final Fantasy VIII won’t either. Still, there are no guarantees, and if this epic adventure doesn’t make it to smartphones, it’ll be a bitter disappointment indeed.
Coming just two years after the seventh game, a monumental success beloved by critics and players alike, FFVIII had a lot to live up to – and it didn’t disappoint.
You might not have invested in Squall, Quistis, Zell, and the rest quite as heavily as you did Cloud et all, but they were still a fantastic group to spend time with. The Triple Triad card game would be a blast to play on mobiles, especially if you wanted to delve into FFVIII with only a few minutes to spare, and it’d no doubt just as addictive as in its original version.
PaRappa the Rapper
When PaRappa the Rapper first came along in 1996 / 7 (depending on where you lived), it was unlike anything most of us had seen before.
Widely considered one of the first modern rhythm games, PaRappa the Rapper saw you playing as a rap-loving dog (PaRappa himself) as he tries to impress Sunny Funny, an adorable flower-girl. The game sees you having to rap by tapping the right buttons at the right time – the sort of thing we’re all familiar with now.
PaRappa the Rapper’s a beautiful game, and everything about it would work perfectly on smartphones.
2000’s Spider-Man may not hold up quite as well as those of us who loved it at the time would like to believe, but it’s still one of the best Spidey games ever made. Not only did it steep you in a world that looked, sounded, and felt exactly as it should, it provided plenty of content to keep you coming back.
The (mostly) short stages, simplistic visuals, and straightforward swinging are all ideal for a mobile port. Being able to play through it again, with revised visuals, sound, and updated controls would be a great experience for its fans (and anyone curious to see how far Spider-Man games have come in light of Insomniac Games’ upcoming PS4 release).
Metal Gear Solid
An absolute classic.
Metal Gear Solid delivered one of the most unique, exciting gaming experiences we’d seen back in the late-90s. Hiding from guards, crawling through ventilation shafts, repelling down buildings while dodging gunfire from a helicopter, facing off against cybernetic ninjas – it was, and still is, a milestone.
This is why we need to see Metal Gear Solid released for smartphones in the near future. Again, as with Resident Evil 2, adapting the controls and mechanics to fit in with a mobile set-up would be a challenge, but who wouldn’t love to play Snake’s first modern outing at any time, any place?
Another PS1 classic that spawned a franchise. Silent Hill was a horrific game – in all the best possible ways.
Playing as an everyman, rather than a gun-toting cop or soldier, you explored the eerie, lifeless town of Silent Hill. Konami made clever use of fog to add atmosphere to the game, despite being a trick to mask some of the console’s graphical limitations.
It was famous at the time for having multiple endings, each dependent on how you played the game. Silent Hill could be translated to mobiles with a bit of work, and playing it with headphones and the lights low would be a nerve-jangling thrill (especially before trying to sleep!).
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Soul Reaver was a complete departure from its predecessor, Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen. That was a top-down RPG with basic graphics, but it featured a dark, engrossing storyline and oozed atmosphere like few other games of the era.
Soul Reaver made a huge jump narratively as well as technologically. Players were thrown into Nosgoth’s future, after Kain had chosen to doom the world rather than sustain it. As Raziel, one of his most-trusted former lieutenants on a quest for revenge, you were able to explore the vast settings on two different 3D planes – the material and the spectral.
Switching between these planes was simple, yet its effect was anything but: both planes looked dramatically different, and the mechanic proved essential to solve certain puzzles.
Soul Reaver was the second of five Legacy of Kain games, and is easily one of the best. With hack-and-slash and platforming aspects, we imagine Soul Reaver would lend itself to mobile platforms with ease.
Ridge Racer Type 4
The Ridge Racer series was one of the console’s biggest, and Ridge Racer Type 4 easily has the strongest visuals. Even now, it’s impressive how sleek and smooth the graphics are at times, and there’s a real sense of speed.
Everything about Ridge Racer Type 4 had a laidback feel, despite how exciting the action was, and the ability to unlock more than 300 cars (including the Pac-Man one) gave you plenty to come back for.
Being able to create your own decal for your car was a terrific feature too, and would be easy to pull off with touchscreen controls.
One of the Tekken series’ finest moments, Tekken 3 is way overdue for a mobile port.
Not only is this the game that introduced Jin – one of the coolest of all Tekken characters – it also gave us Tekken Force, the hidden volleyball mode, and some other great fighters. The visuals were gorgeous then, and still hold up now, while the combat’s still fairly fluid.
By their very nature, fighting games are perfect for mobile gaming – dip into a quick playthrough of Arcade Mode, try Team Battle, or even try your luck on a Time Attack. You can either lose yourself in Tekken 3 for five minutes or five hours!
Psygnosis were somewhat legendary in the PS1 era, mainly for creating the WipeOut series, and G-Police was another classic with their name on it.
Set in a stylish, Blade Runner-esque off-world city, G-Police put you in control of a powerful VTOL craft. Like an advanced helicopter, the VTOL allowed you to soar high above the streets as well as drift right down over traffic if needs be.
While G-Police led to a sequel, which added more vehicles and enhanced gameplay, the original is more memorable, perhaps because it felt so unique when it first arrived in 1997. 20 years on, G-Police would still bring a distinctive flavour to mobile gaming, and touchscreen controls would probably work wonders with the flight mechanics.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
This was actually made available on Windows and iOS devices (in 2010), but the latter wasn’t quite the definitive version fans were after. A couple of stages, and custom modes, were dropped, and it was ultimately removed a few years back. There’s a better mobile port to be made – and hopefully we’ll get it someday (across all operating systems).
There have been plenty of Tony Hawk’s games over the years, but Pro Skater 2 retains a special place in the hearts of many.
You could lose entire afternoons and evenings to this beauty without regretting a single moment, as you took your custom skater through one gruelling course after another. Whether you were trying to find every secret (of which there were many) or beat your own high score, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was an absolute masterpiece.
The soundtrack was another high point, and would hopefully survive a port to smartphones.
Fingers crossed for that straight translation, with all modes intact (and Spider-Man as a hidden character)!
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was a big step for the series. Following on from the original game, yet set against the same backdrop as the sequel, Nemesis dumped the mighty Jill Valentine right into the Raccoon City outbreak.
Of course, while Jill was the star of the show, the titular Nemesis played a huge part in the game’s awesomeness. Few things were quite as terrifying as hearing him growl “STARS” upon entering a new room, and his well-hidden rocket launcher only added to his ability to endanger your underwear.
We’d love to see Resident Evil 3: Nemesis resurrected (like a zombie, natch) for mobile devices. The save system would need to be overhauled – either infinite ink-ribbons or some kind of auto-save, as mobile play shouldn’t require you to play in long stretches.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Before Metal Gear Solid, we had Tenchu: Stealth Assassins … and it was glorious.
This classic ninja-em-up was set in feudal Japan, and cast you as one of two skilled killers-for-hire: Rikimaru and Ayame. Both had their own strengths and drawbacks (Rikimaru’s strong but somewhat slow; Ayame’s faster but a tad weaker), but whoever you chose, stealthing it up in historical Japan was an absolute blast.
Missions could be completed in different ways, and the diversity of weapons helped to add variety to subsequent playthroughs; you’d come back to levels again and again to improve your score however you could.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins would be a terrific mobile game, allowing you to slice-and-dice your way through levels when you have just a few minutes free, while enabling a deeper, more strategic experience for long journeys.
Which PS1 games do you want to see revitalised and updated with mobile ports? Sound off in the comments!