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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
 Written by Adam Woolcott  on June 18, 2001

Specials: This time you only need a PlayStation 2 to time travel

Man, I could of used a PS2 back in my younger days. Trying to convince my parents that it was worth the money to buy a Super Nintendo, when my NES worked just fine and I had 50 something games for the thing. ?Can you play your old games on the new Nintendo?? They'd ask. Of course the answer would be no (as would their response be, once they learned of this), abruptly ending the conversation. Oh, I'd eventually win, but it took mucho ass-kissing, grass mowing, laundry doing, dishwasher emptying, don't really want to do it but I want that damn SNES chores. And I won't even start on my attempts to snag a Sega Genesis.

But hey, if I had a PlayStation, and was looking to upgrade into a PlayStation 2, I could finally ask for one, and when the inevitable ?can it play PS games on it?? question would come up, I could smirk and say ?yup.? Of course, convincing them to buy a $300 game console would be the hard part.

However, I'm well past those days, and I don't have to worry about approaching parental units about the purchase of a new game system. Yet, strangely I based my PlayStation 2 purchase on that very ideal of playing all my old PlayStation 1 games on it. If there was anything that ?sold? me fully (besides the games for the actual PS2), it was being able to play PSOne games whenever I felt, instead of bringing my PSOne out of the closet and hooking it up. Actually, my original PlayStation was busted, so that wouldn't work anyway. But I will admit, I bought my PS2 as a replacement for my PSOne, with a focus on the new games later down the line. I had too many PSOne games to complete still!

Really ? if you're like me, with a large collection (and thus investment) of PlayStation 1 games, I doubt you really want to get rid of most of them if they are classics (and there are a LOT of true classics on PSOne). The PS2's ability to play all these old classics on top of the new software available is an impressive sell to those parental units similar to mine, as well as those folks who don't want to part with their collection of PSOne games, but don't want to have to break out their old consoles to play them. And for those who missed out on some of the great games from the old PS, a giant library of hits becomes available if you get bored with the PS2 games you own.

First, the accessories ? Not only can you play the games on PlayStation 2, you can also use accessories too! To an extent, that is. There are particular variables that come into play that limit the use of some of them.

Memory cards are first off. You can use PSOne memory cards in your PS2, but you can only use them to save PSOne games. PS2 games wouldn't fit anyway, but PSOne games stick with PSOne memory cards. Same goes for PlayStation 2's 8 MB card. You can only use a PS2 card for PS2 games ? you cannot save PSOne games to PS2 cards. Sorta. You CAN use the PS2 card as an archive to copy PSOne data over in case you wipe out a PSOne card, but you can't load the game from the PlayStation 2 card. PSOne games won't recognize it, since forward compatibility isn't exactly possible in this era (whoever invents it is going to be one rich dude, that's for sure).

In short: PSOne sticks to PSOne, PS2 sticks to PS2, but you can use PS2 as an archive for PSOne. Got all that?

Now, for the controllers ? Yes, you can use all your old PSOne controllers, be it the original one, the analog, or Dual Shock versions, with no problem. For now, as seen with the Bouncer, the controllers will be obsolete if the PS2 games require the pressure sensitivity the Dual Shock 2 comes with. Of course, you can use your PS2 controllers on PSOne games, and PSOne controllers on PSOne games, but eventually, once most games begin to use the pressure-sensitive feature more often (happening currently actually), the PSOne controllers will be worthless on PlayStation 2 games.

However, the main snag is with the multitap game. Sure, Sony should have included 4 ports for controllers on the PS2, there isn't much we can do about it. The problem is, the original PSOne multitap is completely incompatible. Doesn't even work on old PSOne games. Thus, you're forced to spend $35 bucks on a whole new ?tap for your PlayStation 2, which may upset some people. That seems to be the only snag with the accessories not working completely ? most of the other things like lightguns and steering wheels will work fine.

The game end ? Of course, the accessories mean jack if you don't have any games to play them on, and thankfully the PlayStation 1 has more than its fair share of excellent, as well as some sleeper, titles.

There are 2 options that you may set for the PlayStation drivers through the OS of the console ? one for adjusting the speed of the disc reading (if applicable of course), as well as an option for texture smoothing. While it doesn't make the game radically different looking, it does smooth out the edges of most PSOne games. It's much more noticeable when you go from the special effects to no effects: you'll never want to go back to the non-enhanced graphics.

There are some variables that can affect the games ? mostly with CD speeds. A lot of games these days load off the CD while you play ? making the disc speed faster can mess things up. Go and pop Syphon Filter into the PS2, set the CD speed effects on, and notice how the music and voices are severely thrown off in contrast to the graphics and gameplay. It's times like that when you leave the CD speed alone. Other 2D games, like the incredible masterpiece Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, will not run properly with either of the effects on. The game simply will not load. Some games, like Mortal Kombat Trilogy, are incompatible; they'll freeze with no effects or all effects. A few others will not work, but they are rare. Newer games, like WWF Smackdown 2, feature enhancements for PS2 built right in ? on PSOne the load times are atrocious, but on PS2 it loads very quickly. It's a trial & error thing really; something you have to experiment with to see the results.

So, just what ARE the best games for PSOne to play on your PS2? Really, there are plenty of excellent, classic games that can't be missed. Even if the graphics are a lot rougher than the current generation, solid gameplay never goes out of style. Here are my 10 personal favorites ? 5 games almost everyone loved, and 5 unknown games. There are many more games to choose from of course, however these are 10 of the best.

5 To Own
5 ? Tekken 3: When it comes to 3D fighters, this one clocks in as the best on PS. Not even Tekken Tag can compete with this game. The engine is fast, the graphics are excellent, and the amount of things to unlock, like hidden characters & modes, makes it a rare breed of fighter with a load of depth & replay. While Namco's own Soul Calibur outclassed T3, Tekken is still the best fighter on this platform. It barely beat out Street Fighter Alpha 3, because SFA3 is also loaded with unlockables and has incredible depth. Only the lack of extras knocked it below Tekken 3, besides hidden characters. SFA3 is a close 6th, however.

4 ? Metal Gear Solid: Definitely one of the most cinematic and classic games of our time, very few games can match the experience Metal Gear Solid can, besides MGS2, that is. The deep storyline, awesome characters (with incredible voices for a video game), multiple endings, and the super-cool stealth angle towards it make for a unique experience. It is a somewhat flawed experience, however, with a somewhat short game length, as well as that nagging feeling that you're spending more time watching the story than you are playing the game (which works ina lot of cases truthfully, if executed well). In the cases when you DO play the game, you cannot avoid getting the feeling that this is a special breed of game. In the wake of MGS2, it's perhaps a smart idea to give the original MGS a good run prior to that release.

3 ? Resident Evil 2: The RE series ushered in a genre that may have not been created by Capcom (Alone in the Dark can have that accolade), but took it to the mainstream and made Survival Horror the latest ?me too? milking category. Of all the PSOne releases, RE2 sits as the best of the series. RE 1 and 3 are also solid games, but both have nagging flaws (especially RE3 which seems like it was thrown together to appease those up in arms about the release of Code Veronica on DC), but 2 is the standout. The excellent graphics, involving story, multiple endings, and the cool zapping system, and even the campy voices and misplaced puzzles make RE2 one excellent game. And unlike MGS, you don't get a feeling you're spending more time watching, than playing. And Tofu. Who can forget Tofu?

2 ? Gran Turismo 2: The Gran Turismo series is the latest in greatest in racing games ? single-handedly changing the landscape of the genre. GT2 is the current king (until GT3 hits the US in July), with a huge (and I mean HUGE) amount of cars (with a lot of things to do to them), seemingly endless race modes, lots of license tests (which is a negative for some), and some darn good racing action (be it street or rally racing), no other racing game can lay claim to being as good as GT2. Geez, Bleem! emulated it to Dreamcast and it became their best racer instantly. What does that say about how good GT2 is? While the earlier versions had some bugs and was definitely rushed, there's no mistaking how good this game is.

1 ? Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ? When it all comes down to it, gameplay rules all, and while Castlevania is a 2D game, it can lay claim to being the best PSOne game released. In its 2D state, the graphics are excellent, and the gameplay rules all. The awesome RPG system, lots of bosses, a huge castle that can become even huger if you find all the secrets (no spoilers here), and just plain classic 2D platforming; no game can come close to being as deep and entertaining. The mix of Castlevania and Metroid makes for a match made in Heaven, and should appease fans of both. If not, they're way too jaded. Don't be shortsighted and knock SotN because it's 2D, or you're cheating yourself out of a true classic, and one of the best games ever made; and definitely the best on PlayStation.

5 Unknown ?
In no particular order, these 5 games are semi-classics that never got their due attention. No, they aren't as good as the top 5, but still are very good, yet overlooked, games.

Gex: Enter the Gecko: A blatant Mario 64 clone for sure, Gex however takes the 3D platformer to a different area: humor. There are some truly creative moments within this game, besides the prerequisite smart remarks from Gex himself. The parodies of Sci-fi, computers, Kung fu flicks, cartoons, and even the Flintstones are smart and genuinely funny. The camera is tolerable for once, and the gameplay is simple enough, yet difficult enough to not make the game a breeze. The multiple objectives per level and hidden bonus games add to the mix, making for a long-lasting platformer. It is truly a shame that a game that is this solid was so ignored.

The Granstream Saga:I'm not a big RPG player, but this game got me hooked in. With a real-time battle system instead of the annoying turn-based system, GS is more of an action RPG really, but there are plenty of RPG-ish objectives to keep it true to the roots. It's not a long RPG by any stretch (only 25-30 hours), and rather linear by most means, but it's still very entertaining. The multiple endings and story twist at the end is worth the price of admission, making up for the somewhat dragging story through the first parts of the game. Granstream Saga was one of the more underappreciated RPG's, even though it shouldn't have.

V-Rally 2: Need For Speed: For 20 bucks, this one isn't too bad. The original V-Rally was awful, but the sequel makes up for it. There are a ton of tracks, a load of cars (with even more to unlock), and even a create a track mode. There is a rather long learning curve to get used to the loose control, but after a few races you'll get adjusted to it and cut back the amount of annoying flip-overs that you'll probably encounter. Unfortunately the game was released too late in the PS cycle and never got the light of day, despite solid reviews.

Tomba: Definitely not for everyone (such as the worrywart who doesn't want to get caught playing what looks to be a ?kiddie? game), Tomba is a unique, and quirky experience. In a 2.5D plane, playing as a little guy with pink hair, fighting a horde of evil pigs (sounds like a bad acid trip), and accomplishing over 100 objectives. It's probably a little bit kiddie, but it's challenging enough and has enough depth to last a while. And there's something appealing about a pink-haired hero fighting against evil pigs.

Einhander: The 16-bit Genesis era was the golden age of shooters, be it side scrolling shooters or overhead shooters. Unfortunately, the 32-bit era saw very few shooters, thus killing the genre. Squaresoft took the opportunity to create a polygonal 2.5D shooter, Einhander, however, in an attempt to bring the genre back to life. Despite its popularity and excellent reviews, Einhander didn't sell very well, perhaps because of the disinterest in the shooter category. However Einhander is a tour de force in shooter ? difficult, but not so difficult that it's impossible, with plenty of levels and tough, huge bosses. Rarely does a Square game get ignored, but this one did, unfortunately. Too bad, because it's an awesome shooter.

If you own a PlayStation 2, you'd be foolish to not take a look into the vast collection of truly excellent games available to you thanks to the backwards compatibility. While there are some kinks and variables in all facets of this area, you can't deny the novelty of playing your old games on the current hardware, hopefully creating a trend that the other hardware makers will follow when the time comes for their future consoles. Sure, Atari did it first, but it was a last-ditch effort to beat the NES. In this case, it's Sony's bright attempt at easing the pain of a system transition. How thoughtful of them.

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