The PlayStation 1 has one of the best gaming libraries ever. Find out which titles Screen Critics Shaun believes deserve modern remakes.
In the last few years, we’ve seen developers plundering their back catalog of classic titles . Considering how many great/underrated classics reside on Sony’s PlayStation 1, it’s no surprise to see many of the games holding up today. With Crash Bandicoot making waves again, we decided to take a look at seven PlayStation 1 classics we feel deserve HD remakes on Sony’s PlayStation 4.
For the purposes of this list, I’ll be ignoring games that have remakes in development (Looking at you Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil II).
Parasite Eve II
Imagine if Resident Evil leaned more towards an RPG mindset – you’d have the basis for Parasite Eve II. While not the biggest name on PlayStation 1 – the second game in the series delivered arguably one of the best experiences across the entire console.
You play as FBI agent Aya Brea – tasked with taking down the Mitochondrial creatures that have taken root in the city. The game has a devilish difficulty curve – with later creatures proving to be an absolute nightmare if you fail to learn the games core mechanics.
Could we get a HD remake?: Rumors persist that one is coming, but nothing has been announced. I’d certainly be interested to see how a modern twist on the franchise is taken.
One of the tougher games on the PlayStation 1 – Vagrant Story was developed by Square (Yes, that Square) as an attempt to cater to the more mature audiences on Sony’s console. It took some of the ideas from Final Fantasy and meshed them with a more exploration base.
The city of Lea Monde is stuffed with some of the most difficult monsters this side Square’s library of titles, with frequent deaths a constant theme. I’d even go as far as to say this has similar themes to a certain Dark Souls.
The game didn’t sell too well when it released, lost in the maze of mega franchises and huge blockbusters, but that doesn’t diminish from its quality.
Could we get a HD remake?: Not saying it wouldn’t be possible – but Square-Enix has very much moved on from this classic game. With so many bigger franchises fighting for the company’s attention right now – I can’t envision a way back for this game – much as it pains me to say.
Here’s a unique one for you. Intelligent Qube (Kurushi to us Europeans) charged you with clearing an ever dauntingly large platform from the cubes that threatened to crush you. While the game might seem simple, it very quickly got hard and punished those who didn’t learn its mechanics.
Kurushi actually found a lot of success when it landed – selling over 1 million units in its lifespan on the PlayStation 1. While not top on everyone’s wish lists, there’s an argument that the gamer would work very well in the 4K/VR field. Seriously, can you imagine running away from those cubes in VR?
Could we get a HD remake?: The franchise has long since been left on the table. Rumors of a remaster come and go, but never really go anywhere. If it were to happen at this stage, I’d fully expect a VR version of the game.
WWF Smackdown 1/2
Back around 1999/2000, you couldn’t move without bumping into WWF wrestling. The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker and all the rest of Vince McMahon’s clan of weirdly dressed grapplers became pop culture icons – and their videogames weren’t half bad around this time either.
While Nintendo 64 users got WWF No Mercy (Also VERY worthy of a HD remake Yukes…) PlayStation users got WWF Smackdown 1 & 2. Released within the same calendar year, both titles are impressively over the top and hilarious fun to play through – capturing the general spirit of the TV product at the time.
While an outright remake would be impossible now (A lot of the roster is long gone, meaning WWE would have to use modern wrestlers) a remake that used the current roster wouldn’t be unreasonable.
Could we get a HD remake?: No, very sadly. 2K own the rights to WWE license these days and seem intent on delivering the most bland experience possible. It’s all about realistic grapples and holds – not flying around the ring at 100mph.
Spyro: The Dragon Trilogy
Mirroring Crash Bandicoot’s fortunes – Spyro became a mega hit on Sony’s initial console. Sadly when this generation passed into the next, Spyro’s fortunes also seemed to take a nosedive, as the lovable dragon disappeared from the gaming landscape. Thanks to the success of Crash Bandicoot’s return, it may have opened the door to the idea once again.
Fans adored Spyro for its open approach to levels, colourful worlds and general charm. It was a nice compliment to the realistic racers and gritty action shooters popping up later in the consoles lifespan.
Could we get a HD remake?: I’d put this one very much in the “probably” camp. It would make sense after the success of Crash Bandicoot.
Tomb Raider II
Lara Croft may be busy having more cinematic experiences these days, but there’s no denying that many fans of the series still hold the second game in high regard.
After the wonderful Tomb Raider: Anniversary, it seemed inevitable that the most popular game in the series would get a remaster/remake. Alas we never got that, and it’s a real shame.
Tomb Raider II is a hugely ambitious outing that adds a heap of new features into the series. From the addition of underwater weapons, to more grander levels (The inclusion of more outdoor levels helped to define the game more than its original outing) the game feels bigger in every aspect. It’s also got some of the best level design in the series; which a HD remake could shine a light on.
Could we get a HD remake?: Unlikely at this point. Square-Enix and Crystal Dynamics seem intent on pushing the series down a grittier, more action orientated route. The window for a remake was probably in the shadow of Anniversary. I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Metal Gear Solid
Iconic doesn’t quite cover just how huge Metal Gear Solid was on the PlayStation 1. It’s a game that not only helped to set the PS1 apart from Nintendo’s offering, it helped to underline that consoles could deliver deeply cinematic experiences.
While not the first Metal Gear game, it was arguably the first one many people played. It’s blend of stealth, action and story helped to craft one of the most different experiences on Sony’s little console. The fact that many people to this day consider it one of the best games in the series is testament to how strong the game’s legacy is.
Yes, the game was remade as Twin Snakes on the Nintendo Gamecube – and re-released as part of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on PS3. But really, this game deserves oh so much more from Konami. It deserves to be shown with some of the best graphics and remade in a way that showcases why gamers loved the title so much. It’s easy money for Konami – if only they actually listened to gamers.
Could we get a HD remake?: It’s hard to gauge Konami’s feelings here. On the one hand, they’ve talked openly about the series future being their main concern – indicating that a HD remake wouldn’t be worth the effort. On the other hand, it would be a guaranteed draw on PlayStation 4 – and probably help to get the series one last hurrah before Konami inevitably burn it to the ground. I can see them doing it one day, but not right now.