Sometimes, the best games are the ones that slip under the radar and don’t get the attention that they deserve. In fact, when it comes to the PS1, there are a whole host of weird and wonderful games created by whacky developers testing the boundaries of console game development.
That’s great news for you, as there are plenty of games for you to get all nostalgic about or, even, dust off your old console for. In no particular order, here are some of the best obscure PS1 games.
15. Parasite Eve
Parasite Eve is a winning blend of horror and RPG that was executed masterfully by Square when it was first released back in 1998. Yet, few people know about the game and it is at risk of being consigned to the abyss of forgotten and PS1 games.
Based on the novel of the same name by Hideaki Sena, Parasite Eve follows an NYPD police officer called Aya Brea as she sets out to save humanity from the evil plans of Eve, the game’s antagonist.
At times, Parasite Eve is genuinely spooky, and when this atmosphere is combined with some gripping story telling, Parasite Eve easily goes down as one of the best obscure games for the PlayStation One.
Tomba! is a vibrant, fun, and colorful obscure PS1 game that, despite a tepid sales performance, received universal critical acclaim for its gameplay and visuals.
Tomba! is a PlayStation hidden gem that follows the story of Tomba, a pink-haired boy who lives in the wild and begins searching for his grandfather’s precious heirloom. Anthropomorphic pigs stand in the way, but you have to jump and bounce your way around the island in order to uncover new areas and locate the bracelet.
As platform-adventure games go, Tomba! is up there with the best and, despite a strong cult following, it’s surprising that this fun PS1 game isn’t better known.
13. Team Buddies
Team Buddies is a top down strategy shooter that follows a group of cartoonish buddies who start blowing stuff up for reasons that are only loosely described in the background story. But the game is not about the story at all, the fun in Team Buddies is found in its tactical gameplay.
Played in realtime, you have a base and a few characters who have to perform various tasks to get the win. There are deathmatches, capture the flag, and bomb ball, among other things.
This is a weird PS1 game that takes a while to get used to, but it’s certainly worth it.
12. Hogs of War
Published by Infograms, Hogs of War is a relatively forgotten PS1 game that is better than history gives it better for. It’s basically Worms 3D before Worms 3D was created. Instead of worms though, Hogs of War follows homicidal pigs as they try to blow each other up in various ways.
The graphics are as standard as you can imagine for the era, but the gameplay is mindlessly fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Hogs of War is one of the best obscure PS1 games that will give you a good laugh, if nothing else. Read about Hogs of War here.
11. No One Can Stop Mr. Domino
Mr. Domino is a puzzle game that follows a bear shaped domino as he navigates fun and varied obstacle courses in order to set up domino runs that will successfully fall from start to finish.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t so. Well, the controls and graphics are, but the puzzles aren’t, and that’s what makes No One Can Stop Mr. Domino a hidden gem for the PS1.
10. Omega Boost
Omega Boost is one of the gaming industry’s great mysteries – how can such a fun and well-designed game be so forgotten.
Developed by Polyphony Digital, this 3D shooter possibly fell victim to being overshadowed by the developer’s more famous contribution to the gaming world – Gran Turismo.
Omega Boost is impressive graphically and is as addictive as it is enjoyable. This is an obscure game to try if you’re wanting to see the full visual capabilities of the PS1.
9. Future Cop: LAPD
Seen by many as a pioneer in the third-person 3D shooter world, Future Cop LAPD is a cyberpunk style game in which players take on the role of a large transformer-like robot warrior.
Fighting as the robot, you are tasked with reducing crime war in a futuristic dystopian Los Angeles. That’s about as much as you need to know when it comes to the story. The gameplay design is innovative, and the visuals are impressive for the time. You can choose your style, play as a fast agile vehicle, or destroy your enemies as powerful combat mecha.
8. Legend of Legaia
Legend of Legaia is one of the many turn-based JRPGs that seemed to slip under the radar in the early PlayStation era.
The fact that it is so unknown is a real shame, as some of the gameplay mechanics in Legend of Legaia are innovative and withstood the test of time. The world is full of variety, and in between battles you can gather money (seru) and go and try some of the many mini-games. The sound effects and visuals are as good as any other JRPGs of the era, and the story is fairly engaging.
Legend of Legaia is truly one of the most underrated PS1 games out there.
7. Bishi Bashi Special
Bishi Bashi Special is a rather bonkers collection of mini games that provide a generous amount of variation and can be played as both a single player and a multiplayer.
There’s not really a lot to say about Bishi Bashi Special, which is probably why the obscure game is so anonymous. That being said, it’s fun, light-hearted, and well worth a bash.
Einhander is a side scrolling shooter that loosely follows the Greek mythology story of Endymion and Selene.
The game is simple, blow up enemy ships, steal their weapon upgrades, and attach them to your own ship. Soon enough, you will be able to destroy anything in sight.
The game has a futuristic sci-fi aesthetic and simple gameplay. It’s not the best ever, but it’s an underrated PS1 game that perhaps should have gotten more attention at the time.
5. Star Ocean: The Second Story
When most people think of RPGs by Square Enix, they will automatically jump to the FInal Fantasy series in their minds, and as good as the FF franchise is, there’s another gem of a series that is often overlooked – Star Ocean.
The Second Story is the second entry in the series and follows Claude as he attempts to make a name for himself on the planet of Milocinia. The usual RPG elements are present – gain exp, level up, learn new abilities, defeat enemies, etc. The game also has a really cool aesthetic and some of the best RPG storytelling for its era. Read about the other Star Ocean games here.
It’s a slightly weird game at times, and the translation is loose in parts, but it’s still one of the better obscure games around for the PS1.
4. Intelligent Qube
If you’re a fan of Puzzle Games, you’re gonna enjoy Intelligent Qube.
It’s not going to win any awards for visuals, but it’s worth forgiving when you start playing it. The aim of the game is to survive the onslaught of rolling cubes and by selecting the correct block within an abstract puzzle that is both simple and challenging.
It’s easy to get lost in this fun PS1 game, but it’s totally worth it.
3. Tobal No.1
Step aside Tekken, and enter Tobal No.1. No, really, this fighting game is one of the smoothest 3D fighting experiences that you can find for the PlayStation.
The controls and the play movements are fluid and satisfying, and the simple aesthetic is a nice change from the genre usual.
2. Brave Fencer Musashi
Brave Fencer Musashi is another one of Squaresoft’s weird games for the PS1 that was a great mixture of solid RPG gameplay and just downright absurdity.
Playing as Musashi, you travel the multiverse to defeat an evil uprising, encountering some weird and wonderful characters along the way. The voice acting is great, and the story is compelling. Brave Fencer Musashi is one to try if you haven’t already done so.
1. Guardian’s Crusade
Guardian’s Crusade is a JRPG that follows a young knight and his companion fairy as they attempt to return a cute monster dragon-hippo creature back to his family.
The graphics are questionable at best, but that just adds to the game’s charm. The story is whacky but engaging, and some of the monster designs will give you a little chuckle.
No doubt about it, though, this is an obscure game you’ll want to try.
Read about other great PS1 RPGs here.
Get in Touch
Which game would you like to see in the list? Let us know in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this dive into the past to look at hidden gems for the PS1, you may also enjoy reading about Xbox 360 horror games.
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Check out some Brave Fencer Musashi gameplay down below.