The Nerd Side Of Life

10 Best PS1 Platformer Games

By: Reza W.

The Sony PlayStation changed the game forever when it entered the console wars back in 1994.

Nothing less than a sea change with its 3D graphics and CD-ROMs, the PlayStation challenged the notion that the console wars was a two-horse race and eventually dethroned Nintendo and defeated Sega to claim the crown for the 32-bit generation.

One of the bread-and-butter genres of that era was the platformer game. Think Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sony had to have their own lineup of hot platformer titles, and we’ll tell you about them in this article.

If you want to know about:

  • The best PS1 games on the platformer genre
  • What makes them great
  • And why you should play them

Then you have come to the right place.

Here are the top 10 best PS1 platformers:

10. Spyro the Dragon

Join Spyro and his sidekick Sparx on their first journey through the Dragon Kingdom on the PlayStation. Released in 1998 towards the end of the PS1’s life, Spyro the Dragon shows the devs mastery of the hardware and both the graphics and the gameplay stand the test of time as a result.

Though it was since remade for the PlayStation 4 and other systems, the original game’s appeal was in targeting the audiences that Nintendo typically dominated. Spyro not only did that but it did so well that it spawned a slew of sequels.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
  • Crash Bandicoot (Sony PlayStation)
  • Nights (Sega Saturn)

9. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!

Basically the same game as the first title but with more of everything, Spyro 2 proved that the PlayStation could do platforming in 3D and could do just as well as the Nintendo 64 if not better.

Best of all is that Spyro 2 really pushed the platformer genre and pioneered new things such as unlockable abilities and stage exploration that was rewarding and intuitive.

Overall, Spyro 2 tries to do a lot more new things than its predecessor, and this works more often than it doesn’t.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Rayman (Multiple Platforms)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog CD (Sega CD and others)
  • Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly

8. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

Klonoa is a 2.5D game that reminds us of the modern game Fez but retains more of a classical platformer feel than that game which hews more towards a puzzle game.

Sporting some timeless graphics and equally compelling gameplay, Klonoa forces players to use both their wits and reflexes to succeed.

Considered among the best PS1 games over all, Klonoa spawned a series of games and even a remake on the Gamecube.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo Wii)
  • Kirby’s Adventure (Nintendo 64)
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns (Nintendo Wii)

7. Rayman 2: The Great Escape

The original Rayman was critically acclaimed for its Disney-like graphics and compelling gameplay. Rayman 2 is much the same but much, much more.

Expanding on the core gameplay in the first game, the sequel adds a lot of gameplay and doesn’t really mess with a winning formula.

Rayman 2 is one of those odd games where almost every single element of the game’s design is flawlessly executed from art design to sound and music as well as gameplay.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Rayman (Multiple Platforms)
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation and others)
  • Epic Mickey (Nintendo Wii)

6. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

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Oddworld is a strange game but that’s only before you get to know it. An interesting combination of platforming and puzzle solving, Oddworld also offers up a story worthy of a Hollywood movie.

What’s so compelling about Oddworld is just how…odd it is. From setting to character design to storyline, Oddworld doesn’t settle for normal and that’s a lot of why it stands out on PS1.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Lemmings (Multiple platforms)
  • Worms (multiple platforms)
  • Super Meat Boy (Steam PC)

5. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

It’s hard to emphasize how important it was for consoles to have a mascot way back when. Luckily for Sony and the PlayStation, they chose Crash Bandicoot and the first game was a legend on par with its competition Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros.

Crash Bandicoot 2 is basically the first game except for on steroids and without any fear of trying new stuff. The first game was very much designed with Super Mario 64 in mind while the sequel is very comfortable doing its own thing.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
  • Croc 2 (Sony PlayStation)
  • Pandemonium 2 (Multiple Platforms)

4. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped

Crash Bandicoot is known for quality titles and the third outing is no different. In fact, it has some of the most impressive graphics and gameplay on the PlayStation.

Building upon the legacy established by the first two games, Crash Bandicoot 3 relies upon tried-but-true stage design and gameplay elements in an expanded format to carry this game over the finish line.

If you couldn’t get enough of a good thing in the first two games, you’ll love this title.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • ICO (Sony PlayStation 2)
  • Ratchet and Clank Future (Sony PlayStation 3)
  • Ape Escape 3 (Sony PlayStation 2)

3. Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus

Oddworld’s sequel is the culmination of the story told in the first game but with a lot more complex puzzles thrown in for good measure.

Like many games on this list, Abe’s Exoddus knows what made the first game great and doesn’t really mess with that concept.

What makes this so compelling is that the storytelling, already excellent in the first game, really kicks it up a notch in this game.

You’ll find yourself drawn into the world of Oddworld in unexpected ways and it will definitely leave you with memories.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Flashback (Multiple Platforms)
  • Maniac Mansion (Multiple Platforms)
  • Another World (Multiple Platforms)

2. Ape Escape

Coming out towards the end of the PS1’s reign, Ape Escape is the culmination of everything good about Crash Bandicoot and Klonoa in one package.

Not only that, but it is extremely charming and even funny as well. If you want a more lighthearted game that is completely devoid of a serious story, Ape Escape can’t be beat.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Klonoa (Sony PlayStation)
  • Lego City Undercover (Multiple Platforms)
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (Sony PlayStation 2)

1. Spyro: Year of the Dragon

Released before Insomniac Games began their work on the Ratchet and Clank series, Year of the Dragon is basically a buffet of everything that made the first two games great.

Its strength is variety and diversity but it is also a solid game in terms of controls, music, and graphics. If there is one thing it highlights, it is the fact that developers do well by offering more of what worked before – a lot more.

You’re probably going to like this game if you also like:

  • Castle of Illusion (Sega Genesis)
  • Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo NES)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis)
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