Top Ten PS1 Games to Revisit for the Summer

3. Armored Core

Armored Core

In the distant future the world has been scorched by a cataclysmic war. With mechs. You play as a new member of the Ravens, a skilled mercenary group that uses mechs to carry out jobs, essentially playing the two major world-spanning corporations off one another in order to make as much cash as possible. But a plot unfolds threatening more than just your prospective income. Your mechs, called ACs, are the clear focal point of the game. And where other mech series have focused on mechs operating in a fashion similar to the human body, Armored Core goes the opposite direction. Obtaining new parts, trying out customized loadouts, and fine tuning them to match the needs of your next mission is a never-ending process that yields many hours of productive fun for those Type A personalities among us.

2. Legend of Mana

Legend of Mana

Legend of Mana is the fourth title in the Mana series and the only one to drop for the PlayStation. It features a focus on calming, nature-oriented environments and music, which some people have been known to use for the sake of meditation prompts. It maintains the action/RPG elements of the previous title, Secret of Mana, by allowing you to use loot taken from enemies to customize your weapons and armor which you can use in real-time fights as opposed to the turn-based battles common to RPGs of the time. What probably sticks out most is that you actually get to feel as if you’re creating your protagonist’s world of Fa’Diel because, with each completed mission, you are allowed to designate where the next level will appear on your world map. This amounts to a cosmetic issue only, but succeeds in changing the feel of the game to one that has significantly more replay value. That is helped along by being able to upgrade your home, continue leveling after the game’s been beaten, and return to previous levels to complete side quests, many of which can only be completed after the game’s plot has ended. This makes for a title that can be picked up and continued months if not years after completion, and one that is never left to rest on my shelf long.

1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Castlevania

The Castlevania series has vacillated between excellent side-scrolling action games and terrible 3D adventure titles, compounding insult to injury by relegating these sidescrolling gems to handheld game platforms and the 3D monstrosities to full-sized consoles. And I don’t know about you but I can’t stand to strain my eyes staring at a tiny glowing screen when I’ve got a perfectly good television to use. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the one time Konami got it right. In this sidescroller for the PlayStation with strong RPG elements, you play as Dracula’s son, Alucard. Learning that Castle Dracula has reappeared, you attack it to ensure that your father is not resurrected. Symphony of the Night combines the solid platforming and combat of previous titles with sparkling graphics, a soundtrack that was so popular it was sold separately, a dizzying bestiary, a map that seems without end, new vampiric abilities, and RPG elements such as an inventory and stats which can be upgraded by looting and leveling respectively. In short, the epitome of the Castlevania series, as well as PlayStation gaming, exists in this title.

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About The Author

John Richard "Chrysophase" Albers
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John Richard Albers, an author, armchair psychologist, amateur historian, freelance, peacemaker, dragonslayer, warmaster, and part-time herald of the apocalypse, hunts ghosts when he isn't hunting crazy people. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature, is working toward a degree in parapsychology, and is acting CEO of Prior to Print Proofreading LLC, where he gets to torture editors instead of them torturing him for once.

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