Time has not been good to PS1
Posted by Captain K
I threw out my back. It hurts. As a result I found myself on my ass all day. I decided to make the best of this time and spend it playing games I own but never played/haven’t played in years. A little while ago I wrote about how PSX games don’t hold up as well as older games and I decided I should put that theory to the test. I grabbed a stack of PS1 games because a PS2 is all I have in my bedroom and went to town. That was a strange era for me because while I loved so many games during the NES and SNES age, most games from the PSX days really don’t hold up. Especially the ones in 3D.
Now, I only hit up a few games today that really illustrate this but I plan to play more. I started out playing the Namco Museum games. They all feature what I’m sure was considered cutting edge CG cinematics as their intros and good lord are they ugly. It’s also worth noting that Namco Museum Vol. 4 is a piece of trash. Pac-Land was never, and never will be worth its weight in human shit.
I moved on to some classic smhups (Thunder Force V and Xevious 3D/G+) and those still looked and felt pretty darn great. Then I moved on to Blaster Master: Blasting Again. I played this for a total of 30 seconds when I first bought it. The original Blaster Master is one of my all time favorites and I decided that I hated this one pretty fast. I played it today for almost an hour. It’s not a bad concept, but the controls are archaic, the camera is terrible, and man is it ugly. Then I hit up Castlevania: Chronicles and Strider 2. Fantastic. Both of them look and play like a dream, just like I remember. I finished off my extravaganza with another game I own but never gave the time of day, and that was Mega Man Legends. When it released I played it for a little over 10 minutes and gave up on it with extreme prejudice. Classic Mega Man is another one of my favorites and this game is exactly NOTHING like it. I will say that I have to give props to Capcom for making the game look so good. It’s still ugly, but it holds up better than most other games form that era, mostly because it’s supposed to look jagged, like a cartoon of sorts. The controls on the other hand are a complete mess.
The pattern I noticed was that all the games I really enjoyed today were 2D. I think back to some of my favorite games from that era and they are all evolutions in 2D/fixed perspective gameplay. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, NiGHTS: Into Dreams…, Strider 2, Panzer Dragoon, these games were so few and far between but they stand the test of time where a game like Syphon Filter looks like a complete joke today.
Only now are we starting to see a true resurgence of proper 2D games and I can’t help but think of all the time we lost because so many people felt that it was impossible to make a good game if it wasn’t in glorious 3D. Don’t get me wrong, Metal Gear solid, Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the like are of the upmost importance, but for every one of those there was a Tomb Raider, Bubsy 3D, and a Quest 64. It was a rough time to be a fan of the games I loved because watching gaming go through puberty was one of the ugliest sights I’ve ever witnessed. I guess what I’m trying to say is that upon reflection on this age in gaming it warms my heart to see developers taking 2D more seriously. I love that there’s a world where Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: The Brave and the Bold can coexist. We’re in the midst of a really great time in gaming and we’re all reaping the benefits.
I plan to continue my trek through time with a revisiting of Final Fantasy VII and possibly a few other key titles. I put a few hours into FF7 when it was released and it bored the shit out of me, but as I’m told repeatedly that it’s basically gospel, I’m willing to give it another go. I’ll keep everyone posted on how it turns out. In the meantime, I can’t wait till Donkey Kong Country Returns comes out!