PS1 games you may have missed: Non-RPG edition

Believe it or not, I like a few PSX games that aren’t RPGs! Of course, several of them are still hard-to-find (because I like to like things nobody knows about).

Unfortunately, I do not have copies nor solid recollections of all of them. But I can tell you about a couple more to look into that I’ve left of the upcoming list: Tomba! and Einhander are both solid games that are a good deal of fun. Tomba! being an action/adventure, and Einhander being a solid Square-made shoot-em-up.

However, on to the games!

Yes, aliens did give the ancient Greeks their superior technology and philosophical insight.

A solid co-operative game as well as an action-adventure game of some depth, Herc’s Adventures is an entertaining romp through ancient Greece. It’s a spiritual successor to the SNES game Zombies Ate My Neighbors. As you might expect, you collect various increasingly ridiculous pieces of weaponry and utility in your adventures. Unlike in ZAMN, there are three unique characters in Herc’s Adventures, each with a different standard and charge-up attack. There are also some semi-RPG elements in that you can power up some stats.

Although it is a difficult game, even with a friend, it’s great fun as long as you don’t take the title seriously. After all, the gods are variously slobs, creepy, or downright lazy (telling you to do the most menial of tasks), and it’s hard to take the game seriously with its art style. One of the most interesting features of the game is that when you die, you can fight your way out of hell. Each time you die, you must fight a bit further – so although you can die a time or two, you’re still dissuaded from letting it get out of hand.

Worms is a classic PC action/strategy game, but I originally played the game in a different form; in the game Hogs of War. At first glance, it’s just a 3-dimensional version of Worms. And, in the versus mode, it really is – up to four teams of hogs with set weaponry. Some of the guns are particularly nice to control, and the extra accessories like jetpacks and airstrikes make the game interesting, but it still smacks very strongly of Worms.

The campaign mode, though, is really fun. Not only are there multiple entertaining factions of pigs (each based as a parody on a country circa World War 2) with hilarious voices, but as you progress through the stages you can promote your squad to give them new weaponry and better health. For example, if you’re a big fan of planting dynamite to blast your enemies into the water (where they lose health swimming to safety), you can get an extra engineer. Though some classes seem more useful than others, it all boils down to your strategy – giving the game a lasting appeal in my book.

For those seeking insight into the bizarre culture of Japan, you need look no further than Incredible Crisis (note: Japan is not really this bizarre). When I saw this game, it blew my mind – not just how crazy it is, but rather how it got translated. Not to mention, of course, why I hadn’t heard of it sooner!

What an incredible crisis.

In Incredible Crisis, you play the members of a Japanese family on a “usual” day. What passes for usual is, of course, anything but. For example, in the first section, you are the salaryman father of the house. He’s sitting in his office, doing work, when an alarm goes off. It’s dance time! Everyone in the room starts dancing, and you have to play a DDR-esque minigame to keep up. Once he’s done with that, a giant wrecking ball crashes through the wall and you have to play a brief racing minigame to get away from it. No minigames are particularly compelling, but each one has its charm. Unfortunately, there are a couple repeats, and the game itself is not too long (less than 10 hours), but the good news is that the title isn’t particularly expensive either.

The other day I played a game of Risk with my friends (who does that anymore, anyway?). We gave up after nearly four hours, without a clear winner and with increasing card trade-in getting out of hand. I don’t mind playing the game, but I don’t like how incredibly random it is – the best strategy can be ruined by a few poor die rolls, and the worst can somehow turn out okay with a couple good ones.

Enter the Playstation game of Risk. Honestly, I don’t remember what prompted me to try this game out, but I’m glad I did. You can play the original game, complete with increasing set values – but why bother? The true value of the game is in Ultimate Risk mode, which has multiple maps and improved mechanics. Generals stick with troops and give you better strategies to use in battles, forts work as a defensive-only barrier against attack, and there are decent computer opponents as well. Bonuses crop up to keep things interesting – cannons that allow you to pulverize enemy armies or forts, for example. The rules are easy to configure to your liking, and it’s easy enough to play with friends as well. I see it as the actual ultimate game of Risk – what a nice computer and a simple interface can do to improve a flawed board game.

Stay tuned for the final entry, in which I’ll cover a few more PS1 games you likely missed.

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16 years ago

As a Sega nerd it is my duty to tell you Herc’s Adventures was also on the Saturn.

16 years ago

Incredible Crisis was a funny game!

16 years ago

Thanks for the Risk recommendation! I’m sure I pushed that game aside in many a bargain bin over the years- it’s precisely the kind of license that screams “I must be crap!”. Hopefully there are still a couple of copies floating around somewhere that I can swoop on.

I’ve tried Incredible Crisis, but I’m hopelessly stuck on the stupid stealth-based robbery foiling section with the mother character. I’m not even sure how that particular minigame works, exactly, only that I’m always spotted 2 steps from the starting point.