The PS Vita hasn't got a particularly expansive library of titles to choose from at this time, so the recent news that a 129 game salvo of PSOne titles has arrived on the European PlayStation Network ready for download onto the handheld is more than welcome addition.
All the games are labelled 'classics,' but it might not surprise you to know that there are a fair few duffers in there – but there are a fair few gems amongst them too. It goes without saying that Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Ridge Racer Type 4 and the Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil, Syphon Filter, Final Fantasy series are all worth playing if you haven't already though – so it's the lesser known titles that we'll focus on here.
We've listed five specific titles at the end that you should avoid, but also 15 (technically 18, pedants) gems that are ripe for rediscovery through the Vita's luxurious 5-inch screen. With 129 games to choose from we're sure that we may have missed your personal favourite though – so let us know what you'd personally include in the comments section below,
15 Must Have PsOne Gems For Your Vita
1. Alundra (Not currently available)
Not currently available (but hopefully will be soon), Alundra has its flaws but is still a hugely underrated 2D action adventure - often likened to The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. The main draw here are the dungeons you'll face throughout your adventure, each of which throw interesting challenges, puzzles and enemies at you.
2. Arcade Hits: Shienryu (£3.99)
It may look a straightforward vertically scrolling shoot 'em up, Shienryu is far better than you might expect, even if it's not as good as its obvious inspiration – the classic Raiden series. There is a plethora of weaponry to try out in the enemy laden stages, but don't expect that to make the game any easier.
3. Bishi Bashi Special (£3.49)
A spiritual precursor to Warioware, the Bishi Bashi has you facing short mini-game challenges that usually last no more than a minute and involve only a few button presses. Combine the inconsistent art style combined with the oddball sense of humour and this is a game you won't forget in a hurry.
4. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (£4.79)
A dark game – both in its tone and art direction – Legacy of Kain is a hack and slash RPG which puts you in the shoes of a soul gathering vampire. If that description didn't sell the game for you, the fact that it's not just all about mindless action - there are several dimension swapping puzzles to get your head around – should be more than enough to.
5. Cho Aniki (£3.99)
If games were judged purely on how weird they are, then Cho Aniki would probably be in the top ten video games of all time. Loosely described as a side scrolling shoot 'em up, the game subjects you to a constant stream of oddball enemies and surreal imagery, throwing in some homoerotic imagery for good measure. Experiencing Cho Aniki is cheaper than getting drunk, but it may be more harmful for your long term mental health.
6. Dezaemon Plus (£3.99)
An interesting make-your-own vertical 2D shooter, Dezaemon Plus is more in-depth than you'd expect. You can tinker and create your own enemy sprites, and even compose your own soundtrack in a Mario Paint style music editor.
7. Fear Effect & Fear Effect: Retro Helix (£1.99 each)
Even without the low price tags these cel-shaded third person adventures would come highly recommended. They may have both aged a little in the visuals department, but their combination of Resident Evil style gameplay and Japanese manga sensibilities still feels fresh to this day.
8. Front Mission 3 (£4.79)
Don't be put off by the '3' in the game's title – this is actually the first of the turn based strategy RPG series to be released in Europe, and is fairly simple to get to grips with for newcomers.Although there's a fairly deep story to follow, the main game sees you moving mechs (called wanzers – don't ask) on a grid from an overhead perspective. There's a dizzying amount of customisation for each unit, and over 60 missions.
9. Grandia (£6.29)
It may be pricey, but Grandia is an admirable RPG in that it doesn't simply plump to overwhelm you with bombast, but instead attempts to get you to truly care about its main characters – and then tells its story through them. The fact it succeeds in doing this is enough to make it a notable, and worthy of rediscovery.
10. Kula World (£3.99)
A simple and appealing core concept – tilt a ball around twisting maze like structures – helps to make sure Kula World doesn't feel outdated nowadays, but it's the complexity of the latter stages that really impresses. Also notable for being developed by the now closed Psygnosis.
11. Kurushi Final (£3.99)
A pared down puzzler, Kurushi Final has you strategically placing bombs in front of an approaching fleet of cubes, so that you can subsequently run your way through them without getting crushed. It may sound a little humdrum, but it can become a strangely hypnotic experience.
12. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus (£3.99 each)
Two of the better known titles on this shortlist, both of developer Oddworld Inhabitants's slower paced 2D puzzle platformers have aged surprisingly well. The dark sense of humour – the cut-scenes are still great - and interesting puzzle/action gameplay make both games worth looking into if you haven't already.
13. Pandemonium & Pandemonium 2 (£3.99 each)
The Crash Bandicoot series may have done 2D style gameplay in a 3D style brilliantly, but the Pandemonium titles attempted something similar – and have aged fairly well today as well.They may involve nothing more than working your way down linear paths while a 3D world rotates around you, but they're solidly designed and are enjoyably challenging to play through.
14. Vagrant Story (£4.79)
Another title many will know of, this Square Enix developed RPG could be overlooked by many thanks to Final Fantasy V to IX being available to download. This is almost half the cost of those titles though, and (whisper it) is seen by some as the superior experience. The visuals aren't as incredible as they were back in 2000, but the battle system, soundtrack and story are still effortlessly brilliant.
15. Wild Arms (£3.99)
It may look nothing more than a straight-laced RPG, but Wild Arms is a game that does all the important things well.The plot – which involves playing through three characters stories – is unexpectedly engaging, and battles not being turn based are also a welcome change from the norm.
And 5 PsOne Titles To Save Your Vita From
1. A Bug's Life (£3.99)
Some of the Disney titles in this list are actually good fun – Toy Story 2 is a notable example – but A Bug's Life is the definition of a license being lazily exploited. A poorly designed and vacuous 3D platformer that isn't worth more than a second of your time.
2. Arcade Hits: Sonic Wings Special (£3.99)
Unlike fellow Arcade Hits title Shienryu listed above, this is a far less interesting title, and a rather lacking port of the very Neo Geo arcade titles it contains.
3. Hardcore 4x4 (£1.99)
I doubt many will be enticed by this – titles don't come much more generic – but considering this is a washed out and outdated racer that's probably just as well.
4. Judge Dredd (£1.99)
With the new film based on the British comic book character you might look at this title and think 'why not for £1.99?' But let me tell you why not – it's a tired looking light-gun title that was already dreddful (sorry) when played with the Guncon (or other light gun).
5. Rageball (£2.99)
A Speedball style sports title that decides to have you view the action from a side-on perspective. It might have worked if the opponent AI wasn't so horribly easy to exploit.
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