Written by J. Weagle
The original Playstation console is known for many things. Released in the mid 1990’s, it was the first console to truly show cinematic scenes thanks to CD ROM capabilities. It was notorious for being perhaps the first gaming console to not only have adult oriented games, but to showcase them above anything else. For me the original Playstation will always be remembered for one major thing, and that is for that amount of horror games in its library, and the console that for many created the survival horror genre.
Don’t get me wrong, the little grey box supported many other popular titles and genres outside of horror. From the fun loving platforming of Crash Bandicoot, the stealth espionage weirdness of Metal Gear Solid to the epic scope of Japanese RPG’s such as Final Fantasy. However looking back in gaming’s history and no other console had the sheer amount of quality horror titles that the original Playstation did. This is a list of some of the most notable from that era, as well as some that may have gone unnoticed during video game’s golden era of survival horror.
Resident Evil (1996)
No the original Resident Evil is not the best in the series, hell it’s not even the best on the Playstation but leaving it off this list would be almost criminal. Not only did this game help make survival horror games mainstream in such a way that no other game had managed to do before it, it also set the template for what a good horror game needed to be. Going back to this game now is a bit hard, due to the horrendously cheesy dialog, and low poly characters, but the terrific atmosphere and location remain in tact allowing this game to go down as a classic.
Silent Hill (1999)
Hands down the best survival horror game on Playstation and perhaps one of the greatest games of all time, the original Silent Hill was released a bit late in the consoles life cycle. Sure the graphics don’t hold up especially well, but to this day Silent Hill can still managed to scare you with its fantastically haunting sound design, and atmosphere that is still not to be rivaled to this day.
Dino Crisis 2 (2000)
It was tough for me to decide which Dino Crisis game to put on this list, and quite frankly both belong but I had to go with my gut. Sure the first game is more of a traditional horror game – taking what Resident Evil did and replacing Zombies with Dinosaurs, but the sequel was just too damn hard to put down. Going a more arcade route, and trading in atmosphere for more big budget style jump scares Dino Crisis 2 was an edge of your seat experience in the early 2000’s, and one of the most underrated games on the Playstation.
Parasite Eve (1999)
Quite frankly I’m still shocked to this day that Parasite Eve didn’t become a bigger franchise then it did. Sure we got a sequel also released on Playstation, and a somewhat spiritual successor on Vita but nothing much more than that. Combining both what Square was doing with RPG’s and what Capcom had done with Resident Evil, Parasite Eve became one of the more interesting games of that era. It was the violent, sexy, mature role playing game that people wanted and had a good dose of horror and supernatural thrown in for good measure.
Nightmare Creatures (1997)
Nightmare Creatures was one of the most overlooked games of that era, being released on both the Playstation as well as the Nintendo 64. Sure it was more action oriented similar to the Castlevania series, but what it lacked in scares it made up for with some great Gothic environments and characters, and a strong combat system that allowed you to dismember zombies.
Resident Evil 2 (1998)
Released one year after the original, Resident Evil 2 was a massive improvement over the first in almost every way possible. Introducing us to two new characters who would go on to be the most iconic in the series, brand new environments that felt much more varied and a deeper plot. For many fans this game is still to this day considered the best the series has to offer, and while I don’t necessarily agree with that I can understand why the feel that way.
Countdown Vampires (1999)
Countdown Vampires was an extremely difficult game that perhaps has a worse reputation then it should. At the time of its released it was seen as nothing more then a Resident Evil clone, only instead of killing Zombies you fought against blood thirsty Vampires. Although that might not be entirely untrue, Countdown Vampires did manage to create its own universe and turned the violence and sex up to eleven.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)
Yeah I know, you could basically call this list the best Resident Evil games on Playstation but that only shows just how amazing this series was in the mid to late 1990’s. This game added to the scariness but introducing Nemesis, a huge lumbering beast that had a thing for wanting to kill S.T.A.R.S members like Jill Valentine. It was unique in that, at certain sections of the game he would should up and as the player your only option was to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. It was an added dose of tension that this series needed at the time and something that modern horror games seem to overuse.