Whatever your opinion on the quality of the games themselves, it’s hard to deny that Vicarious Visions did a bang up job with the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, a remastered collection of the first three titles in the Crash Bandicoot series. Featuring updated graphics and audio, as well as a number of quality of life improvements, the N. Sane Trilogy is arguably the new standard for how to successfully restore older games, as the core gameplay that everyone remembers from Naughty Dog’s original releases is fully intact, warts and all. The success of Crash Bandicoot has got me thinking of what other PS1 games or series would benefit from a similar remaster treatment.
Note: I debated whether or not to put Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on this list, but ultimately decided against it. The game’s retro 2D graphics really don’t need updating and the only thing that would really need to be remastered are the game’s cutscenes. I mean, I would love if Konomi did it, but I just don’t really now how much of a remaster the game would really need.
10. Ape Escape
Though it never quite reached the same level of popularity as other PlayStation titles like Crash Bandicoot or Metal Gear Solid, the original Ape Escape was nonetheless an important game for Sony’s first home console. Released in 1999, Ape Escape was the first game that made the DualShock controller mandatory, as the game’s controls centered around the use of the controller’s twin analog sticks. That being said, Ape Escape was more than just a game with a control gimmick, being an entertaining platformer in its own right. Sure, all you really did was run around and catch monkeys in a net, but the game kept things fresh by throwing a bunch of cool gadgets at you (rotating the right analog stick to use Spike’s propeller gadget blew my 10-year-old mind).
Of course, analog control is passé these days but Ape Escape still holds a special place in the heart of many a PlayStation fan and I’m sure many would welcome the chance to jump back in to a spruced up version of the game on PS4. Besides, with the last game in the franchise coming out over a decade ago, it’s not like we’ll be seeing a new Ape Escape anytime soon anyway.
9. Crash Team Racing
The N. Sane Trilogy is great but as any Crash Bandicoot fan will tell you, the collection really should have been a quadrilogy, as Vicarious Visions left out Naughty Dog’s final (and arguably best) Crash game, Crash Team Racing. Though written off by some as a Mario Kart 64 clone, CTR holds up much better than that game and is easily the best kart racer ever released on the PS1.
Sure, the game doesn’t stray too far from the Mario Kart template, but it does introduce some interesting ideas of its own (correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure CTR introduced the idea of collecting 10 coins — sorry, wampa fruit — to reach max speed). There have been a few other Crash kart racers released over the years, but Naughty Dog’s original is still the best and the one most deserving of a quality remaster.
While mascots like Crash and Spyro tend to get all the attention, many forget that the PlayStation was home to all kinds of colorful platformers, including the two Tomba! games put out by the now defunct Whoopee Camp studio. Unlike either of those aforementioned games, both Tomba! and its sequel Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Returns, were strictly side-scrolling platformers, but ones that got quite creative with gameplay on a 2D plane. At certain points in a level, you could alternate between different planes, which helped make the games feel less linear than they actually were.
The colorful, whimsical art design actually feels very reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot, so it’s easy to imagine how much both Tomba! games would look if they received the same graphical overhaul as that found in the N. Sane Trilogy. Unfortunately, Tomba! is one of those somewhat obscure PlayStation franchises that I don’t think has enough name recognition to justify putting resources into a remastered edition but if Sony did, the results would likely be nothing short of stunning.
MediEvil and its charming skeleton mascot, Sir Daniel Fortesque, were one of Sony’s most popular brands and mascots for the original PlayStation, but the franchise never made the jump to another platform (unless you count the 2005 PSP remake, MedEvil: Resurrection, which I don’t). The game’s look and feel is very reminiscent of a video game version of A Nightmare Before Christmas (that film has actually been cited as a big inspiration) and though the third-person action gameplay is sloppy by today’s standards, the controls could certainly be tightened up for a re-release.
The game’s developer, Sony Cambridge (later Guerrilla Cambridge) was closed earlier this year, so I don’t think there’s much chance of seeing a MediEvil 3 anytime soon, but it would be cool to see Sony honor one of its more overlooked retro franchises with a proper remastered compilation.
6. Dino Crisis
Capcom has not been shy about remastering old Resident Evil titles — the company is currently working on a remake of Resident Evil 2 — but has so far shown no love for its other big name survival horror franchise from the PS1 era, Dino Crisis. Although Dino Crisis played quite similarly to the early Resident Evil games, in that it was a third-person action game with awkward tank controls, the switch from slow, lumbering zombies to faster (and smarter) dinosaur enemies made the survival bits that much more intense, as you never quite knew when a velociraptor might jump out and chase you down.
Capcom has already proven with their various Resident Evil remasters that they’re invested in bringing back their old games, so it’s not unreasonable to think that they could release a compilation of the first couple Dino Crisis games at some point. It would also be a good way to gauge whether or not there is interest in the gaming community for the franchise to come back.
5. Twisted Metal
As much as I hate to admit it, the car combat genre is long dead and the mediocre Twisted Metal reboot released in 2012 pretty much put the final nail in the coffin. Still, there was a time when the genre was all the rage and no series was more synonymous with car combat in the PS1 era than Twisted Metal. The first two games in particular were an absolute blast in their day, featuring a colorful cast of psychopathic drivers all trying to kill each other in all sorts of exotic locales (remember falling off the ice sheets in the Antarctica level?). The series took a step back in overall quality once development duties shifted from SingleTrac to 989 Studios, but still featured some creative level design and solid soundtracks.
I haven’t revisited any of these games in a long time, so I have no idea whether or not the actual gameplay holds up, but i do know that that none of the PlayStation-era Twisted Metal titles have aged well visually. As such, I’d love to see what these games would look like with a new coat of paint and even though I highly doubt that remastering Twisted Metal 1-4 would be enough to bring back the car combat genre, I’m sure quite a few gamers of my generation wouldn’t say no to taking these old games for one more spin.
4. Jet Moto
What the heck happened to the Jet Moto series? Developed by SingleTrac, the studio behind Twisted Metal and Twisted Metal 2, these futuristic racers played like a mix of Wipeout and Waverace, as players sped around on hoverbikes that looked a lot like high-tech jet-skis. The original game’s track list consisted mostly of water-based courses like beaches and swamps, but SingleTrac got more creative as the series went on (a favorite of mine was the roller coaster from Jet Moto 2).
More than possibly any other game on this list, Jet Moto screams ’90s culture with its “xtreme” design … and the fact that there are Mountain Dew and Doritos logos plastered everywhere. Admittedly, each game in the trilogy doesn’t differ that much from one another but considering jet-ski racers don’t really exist anymore, a Jet Moto trilogy remaster with a fresh graphical overhaul would make for a neat, nostalgic addition to the PS4 library.
3. Final Fantasy IX
Square-Enix is already working on an ambitious remake of Final Fantasy VII, so why can’t the same thing be done for what is arguably the better PS1 installment in the long-running RPG series? Final Fantasy IX, with its more colorful aesthetic and cartoonish characters, tends to live in the shadow of its darker, edgier brother, but it’s become just as well-regarded in the years since its original release, to the point where many longtime fans rank it above FFVII.
Much like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, some longtime Final Fantasy fans were not on board with the look and feel of IX, which probably explains why it was overlooked by many at the time of its release (it also didn’t help that it came out right at the time when Sony was transitioning to the PlayStation 2). Nowadays, the adventures of Zidane the bandit and his diverse band of adventurers is looked back on much more fondly and is consistently ranked as one of the best games ever released for the original PlayStation. I’d say that more than justifies the game getting a remaster, wouldn’t you?
2. Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid is arguably one of the most important video games ever made and with that kind of legacy, I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen a proper remaster in the two decades since its release. Yes, we had The Twin Snakes on the GameCube, but that game is also looking pretty dated these days, and is so difficult to find that it might as well not exist for most gamers. No, what Metal Gear Solid really needs is the full remaster treatment, with the entire game rebuilt from the ground up on the Fox Engine, which gave us the stunning Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Updating MGS makes more sense than the majority of PS1 games, as it still holds up remarkably well in the gameplay department and it’s just the game’s cinematic side that needs some TLC.
Unfortunately, with series creator Hideo Kojima off working on Death Stranding for Sony and Konami seemingly not caring much about any of its popular franchises these days, it’s hard to imagine a Metal Gear Solid remaster ever seeing the light of day. That being said, remastering one of the most important video games of the last 20 years would be smart gesture of goodwill on Konami’s part and help reassure fans that the publisher still has a vision for the franchise beyond zombie spin-offs and pachinko machines.
1. Spyro the Dragon
Of all the games on this list, I think Insomniac’s Spyro the Dragon trilogy has the greatest likelihood of getting the same remaster treatment as Crash Bandicoot. The franchises were often compared to one another during their heyday and Insomniac Games had a friendly rivalry with Crash developer Naughty Dog that would continue into the PS2 era. And just like the Crash series, the games became more ambitious as they went along, to the point where the third game, Spyro: Year of the Dragon, featured a number of different minigames and playable characters.
Given the early success of the N. Sane Trilogy and the fact that that game’s publisher, Activision, also owns the rights to the Spyro brand, it seems like only a matter of time before we see Insomniac’s original trilogy — Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon — collected together in a similar remastered set.