A couple of weeks ago, I ragged on some pretty terrible PS1 games that, inexplicably, are up for sale on the PlayStation Store. For money! Well, now that baseball season is underway and I’m fresh off Spring Break, I’m in a much better mood. Plus, Final Fantasy IX was finally announced as being on the way for PSN, so I figured this is the time to explore the opposite of my hateful feature: Eight games that inexplicably aren’t up for sale. Come with me on a trip down Put-These-Games-Up-For-Sale-Already Lane.
Let’s begin with the game that I’ve been clamoring for since it released on the European PlayStation Store last summer. While it certainly hasn’t aged well graphically, let’s be honest: not many PS1 games do. Unlike those other games, however, the game is still very fun to play. It retains an awesome 70′s car chase movie vibe across 4 cities, and for a while was the go-to game for your criminal kicks. Until GTA III came along two years later and ate its lunch, that is.
In any case, the game is not only readily available to download in Europe, but there’s even a fantastic revamped version available for iPhone. What the hell gives? I’m getting a headache trying to comprehend why I can’t buy it from the US store.
This is another game that kept me absolutely glued to my PS1 back in the day. While the original game is all well and good, it’s the sequel that really reeled everyone in. Once you were able to chain tricks together with manuals for ridiculous combos, it was over. Paired with a licensed soundtrack that most people would describe as “badass”, this gem of a game quickly catapulted its way into its rightful place in a pantheon of all-time PS1 classics.
Alas, one of its best qualities is what will keep it from releasing on PSN. To re-release it would mean re-licensing all of the music from the game, which is a long process that I doubt the boys at Activision would see as worthwhile. Although it recently released for the iPhone, it was without the signature soundtrack, and it’s simply not the same.
With Final Fantasy VII-IX all seeing release on PSN, along with Tactics, this one seems a no-brainer. For the uninitiated, Chronicles was a compilation of two games: Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger. The God of War Collection of its day, if you will. At this point, Square Enix has re-released FFIV on Game Boy Advance, DS, and Wii’s Virtual Console. I’d say that PlayStation users are due for the ability to play the game on their PS3s, or on the go with their PSPs.
As for Chrono Trigger, I had never played it up until a few years ago on one of those evil emulators that The Man keeps telling you are evil. Going into it the first time, I was blown away. Beautiful art and sprites, brilliant soundtrack, a surprisingly still-fun battle system, 12 endings… what’s not to like? It’s almost a shame that they didn’t make a sequel. What’s that? They did!?
Like I said, I came to the Chrono party a bit. By that point, I was well into the PS2′s life cycle, so I’ve never played it; what I know about the game, I learned online. Admittedly, that’s not the best thing for a games writer, but that just proves that there’s definitely a market for this game, waiting with open arms (and wallets). I know I’m not the only person that wants to play the sequel to one of the greatest games of all time, so Sony and Squeenix need to make it happen, especially because no one wants to scour eBay just to pay $20 or more for a copy. $10 for a download? Absolutely.
Yet another game that I chalked up countless hours playing, Ape Escape was a breakthrough hit for the PlayStation when it released. It was the first game that required the DualShock to play, and it used it to perfection. You used the left stick to move (of course), the right stick to wave around your weapon in the desired direction, and the face buttons to select between them. A simple game to be sure, but it didn’t need to be anything more. Just you and a handful of monkeys to capture per level. Hell, Hideo Kojima liked the game so much he included a Snake vs. Monkey mode in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
If any game could claim to star the best pig-flingin’, pink-haired jungle boy in the biz, it’d be Tomba! This game immediately comes to mind when people start talking about underplayed games from the PS1 era; despite critical praise and an equally good sequel, poor sales forced developer Whoopee Games to shut down after just those two games. At its core, it’s a 2D platformer with an interesting mission-based structure, and Tomba has an interesting array of attacks and powers at his disposal as the game progresses. The character design is also excellent, though the soundtrack leaves something to be desired.
Also, the game is roughly $60 on eBay, which is just plain atrocious. That’s an underrated aspect of re-releasing games on PSN; you undercut those that leech off gamer nostalgia and everyone gets to pay a fair price for old software.
Ah, yes. While many people cite Final Fantasy VII as their gateway drug into the world of JRPGs, this was mine. I was immediately drawn in by the amazing graphics and was fascinated by its battle system, which kept you on your toes via timed button presses. The soundtrack was nothing to write home about, but it served its purpose well enough.
More importantly, though, fans of LoD have wanted a proper sequel for years. Despite the fact that the game sold well, their prayers have continued to go unanswered by Sony. Will a LoD2 ever be announced and see the light of day? No one knows for sure, but Sony would make a killing by re-releasing this on PSN.
I make no secret of the fact that I love a good kart racer, and I’ve played way more of them than most people would care to admit. At the time, I didn’t believe anything could top Mario Kart, but then CTR came along. With its Crash-themed tracks and weapons, it certainly offered a more interesting setting. Paired with an inventive drift mechanic that discouraged “snaking” that you saw in Mario Kart, this really was the kart racer to beat.
I suppose what keeps this game from releasing on PSN would be the fact that the Crash Bandicoot license has been passed around like a hot potato ever since it left the hands of Naughty Dog. Universal, Konami, Traveller’s Tales, Eurocom, Vivendi, Dimps, Vicarious Visions, Activision… they’ve all have had a hand in either developing or publishing Crash titles since the release of CTR. If someone could untangle that legal web, maybe one day this will go up on PSN. Until then, it’s but a pipe dream.
So that’s my list. Of course, there are plenty of other games that deserve to be up for sale, so go ahead and let us know what you’d like to buy from PSN one day.