The original PlayStation (PS1) had a giant library of games with titles from any genre you can think of, including a nice selection of great platformers. Many of the PlayStation’s platformers are still beloved today, and for good reason.
Whether you’re looking to diversify your retro game collection or just want to relive some great video games from the past, here are the top 10 best PS1 platformers.
1. Ape Escape
Ape Escape is not just the best 3D platformer on the PS1 with its creative use of both analog sticks, but it’s flat-out the best 3D platforming game of the entire 5th generation. You can try to argue all you want, but we both know it’s the truth.
2. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage
There are three great Spyro games that were released on the PlayStation, and any one of them could have made this list, but Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage is probably the best game out of the bunch. Spyro 2 added a lot of improvements, such as a mini-map, meaningful powerups, and a fleshed out world. Spyro 3 went overboard with mini-game after mini-game, too many playable characters, and levels that seemed a tad too long. In my opinion, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage is the quintessential Spyro experience.
3. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
When Crash Bandicoot 3 came out, it was considered by some to be the best 2.5D platformer ever released. It’s easy to see why; Crash Bandicoot 3 was just more Crash Bandicoot with some extras added in. However, some could argue that Crash 3 suffered from the same problem as Spyro 3 with too much variety (I’m looking at you, vehicle and underwater levels).
Rayman is the perfect example of why 2D platforming didn’t peak in the 4th generation, at least in visuals. Rayman is one of the best-looking platformers on the PS1, and it looks even better if you’re playing it on an old-school CRT. But don’t be fooled by the game’s cartoonish visual style. Rayman is a brutally hard game for those who aren’t seasoned veterans of the 2D platforming genre.
5. Threads of Fate
Some people might not consider Threads of Fate a true 3D platformer. After all, it has RPG elements and it was developed by the RPG giant Square. However, Threads of Fate has a surprising amount of platforming, even with a few difficult platforming portions. Admittedly, this game isn’t high on the list because of its platforming gameplay. There’s a lot more to this game that makes it worth checking out.
6. Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is a controversial 3D platforming because of the “tank controls,” but I never found an issue with the controls. If you’re playing on an OEM DualShock controller, the analog controls feel great. If you’re playing Croc through emulation or with the D-pad, I could see where the complaints about its controls are justified. Controls aside, Croc is a very solid platformer. The game’s focus is entirely on precise platforming and it will certainly put your 3D platforming skills to the test.
7. Gex: Enter The Gecko
Gex: Enter The Gecko is the gecko’s first attempt at 3D platforming, and it worked out well. The platforming in this game is not as solid as some of the games higher on this list, but it’ll still scratch your platforming itch. If you’re a fan of outdated movie and TV references, you might even get a chuckle out of this game.
8. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
If you ever want to drop an entire paycheck on a video game, you might be the type of person to buy a copy of Klonoa Door To Phantomile. Ridiculous price aside, Klonoa is a pretty solid 2.5D platforming game.
9. Muppet Monster Adventure
Muppet Monster Adventure is a commonly overlooked 3D platformer, and that might be because it was released late into the PlayStation’s lifespan. It’s actually a pretty fun platformer. You take control of Robin the Frog and can use abilities of different Muppets along the way.
10. Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus
Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus was widely seen as an improvement over the previous title with the addition of a save feature that allows the player to save on any screen. Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus provides a unique puzzle-platforming gameplay that is unmatched by any other game from the time.
Is there another PS1 platformer that you think deserves a spot on this list? Let us know in the comments below.