So next month marks the original Playstation’s US and European birthday – the success of the console catapulted gaming into the mainstream thanks in part to its ridiculously varied catalogue of games ranging from Wipeout and Crash Bandicoot to three new main series Final Fantasys as well as the behemoth that was Metal Gear Solid. In amongst these massive titles, there were of course smaller games and series which made their way to the platform – while a lot of these titles either found their way onto another platform, received a digital release or were lucky enough to see sequels, some were left behind and are currently only playable with Sony’s cobweb-covered grey box. Here are three great games that fell by the wayside and never saw a sequel or a re-release.
Back in the early days of the Playstation where 3rd party reigned supreme and was one of the major catalysts in its success, Psygnosis were a go-to developer for Sony to bolster exclusives (full and console) onto their platform and were most notable for some great racers including Wipeout, Destruction Derby and Rollcage. And while the Wipeout series would become their most well-known and popular IP, it was actually their three-game space combat series, Colony Wars, that produced the best games.
At the time, the graphics were absolutely astounding and the gameplay for a controller-based space combat was easy to learn and most importantly the ships were fun to fly. The games missions thrust you right into the middle of the action and the games sound design made you feel as close to the action as 1997 could get you. Two sequels followed which were both well received but unfortunately space-sims didn’t make the cut in the jump to the next gen and the variety in the titles that Psygnosis (now Stuido Liverpool) worked on was pulled back to Wipeout and F1 titles, thanks to the newly acquired license. Colony Wars was never to be heard from again.
No One Can Stop Mr Domino
Variety was the name of the game in the PSOne era. The most famous examples of the out-there games that the console gave us include Vib Ribbon and Parappa the Rapper, but of course these were just the tip of the iceberg; there were a mountain of interesting, fun puzzle games like Devil Dice and Kurushi, but perhaps none of these are as strange as No-One Can Stop Mr Domino.
You play a living domino with arms and legs who runs around Micro Machines-esque circuits collecting domino tiles that you will need to use to create domino toppling chains and also avoiding obstacles in order to get the highest score possible. The game is endearing and could not be more weirdly Japanese if it tried, and its strange hip-hop soundtrack compliments the visuals which looked a little dated even at the time but retain a blocky charm to them thanks to the level’s various settings. It’s kind of obvious why this title got forgotten given its bargain bin price and less than stellar visuals but the game’s overall design and challenging learning curve have earned the title its cult status.
Another title from Psygnosis’ diverse stable of PSOne era titles, Team Buddies was perhaps the game that validated my purchase of the unnecessarily expensive multitap. A mix between a 3rd person shooter and RTS, you controlled one of four ‘buddies’ as part of a team (see where they got the name…) with the aim of destroying the opposing team’s base. To do this, you need to collect crates and take them back to your base’s 2x2x2 grid to get weapons. The crates you bring back can stack too, so a single crate may earn you a gun, but stack four together and you get a rocket launcher. Complete the grid with 8 squares and you get a tank, and so on.
Simple gameplay which was hours upon hours of fun with friends – the game’s cheap and cheerful colour pallet and its almost Lego-esque world design meant you were never distracted, while each team of buddies also had an accent e.g. Scottish buddies offering a Glasgow smile added to the game’s sense of humour. There were the usual slew of modes as well as a surprisingly fleshed out single player campaign but as this released at the very end of the console’s life, it was never destined to do very well and wasn’t that well advertised despite being a quality exclusive.
So there we are, three titles that deserve a second chance somewhere. But what do you think – should these titles stay in the past, or are there any titles that only ever came out on the PSOne that I’ve missed and should get another look in? Let me know in the comments.