We look at some of the most sought-after, and rarest, PS1 games around. How much you got? ‘Cos this is gonna cost ya…
Sony launched the PlayStation in Japan in 1994 and it soon became a worldwide hit. Over the course of 12 years, more than 102 million consoles were sold and, while they included some huge hits such as Gran Turismo (which shifted close to 11 million copies), there were many undiscovered, overlooked or underappreciated gems along the way too.
In all, over 4000 games were released for the original PlayStation around the world, and some of them have gone on to become very rare, and in turn very collectable.
Here then is our look at some of the rarer games out there. And, using eBay as a price guide, just how much they’re likely to set you back. Of course, the prices depend on the quality: you may not always be able to find a mint, sealed copy nor want to go that far. And the prices we’ve pinpointed are simply a gauge. You could pay a little less or much more. What’s certain is that if you want any of these, you’re likely to need a robust credit card…
LSD: Dream Emulator
This game was limited to Japan, and it hardly got a huge release there. To that end, you likely never to have even heard of it. If you’re intrigued enough to want to snap up a copy, you’re not alone: the game gets covered in videos online because of its surreal, eccentric premise and this has built up a cult following for it. You’re doing well to pay around £500 for this one but we did see one eBay seller attempt to get £1,413.88.
Syphon Filter 3 911 Edition
Third-person shooter Syphon Filter 3 which was originally going to ship on 25 September 2001 with an American flag and green gas featuring on the cover. Just 14 days before launch, however, terrorists struck the United States and letters containing deadly anthrax spores were being discovered across the country.
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment decided to push the release back and change the cover imagery, but some copies managed to get out into the wild.
Sellers of sealed copies of the so-called 9/11 edition have been known to ask for as much as £1,500…
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
By the time this Japanese prequel to the first Mega Man: Legends game was released in North America and Europe in 2000, gamers already had one eye firmly on the PlayStation 2. Unfortunately, it meant too few people managed to pick it up Capcom’s gem – a situation not helped by a limited print run – so gamers missed a treat.
Playing as Mega Man’s female nemesis, Tron Bonne, the short spinoff covered a trio of genres and, despite an outing on PSN in North America in 2015, it still fetches around £250.
Silent Hill isn’t necessarily rare. After all, it certainly sold well and there are lots of copies about. But the demand for Konami’s defining and influential survival horror remains high, not least because it was a PlayStation exclusive which is now tricky to play unless you have an original console, a PS2 or PS3. Enjoy it if only to see how the limitations of the PlayStation could work to its advantage (snow helped hide issues with draw distance, for instance). Prices veer around not-too-scary amount of £60.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Namco’s cute and colourful platformer, directed by Hideo Yoshizawa, perfected a 2.5D perspective. It mixed a cleverly realised 3D world with a style of play long familiar to 2D gamers. Spread over 14 levels and packed with secrets and bonus areas, the game’s impact would be seen in later titles such as LittleBigPlanet. It was this ongoing influence that eventually saw gamers become turned on to how innovative Klonoa was, and the clamour to see the fuss in its original 1997 form means it’s worth in the region of £200.
Tintin: Destination Adventure
Publisher Infogrames felt it was a good idea to launch Tintin: Destination Adventure on 21 September 2001 as a Europe-only release. Trouble is, the PS2 had launched the previous November so gamers were largely moving on. To make matters worse, les aventures de Tintin in this particular release were critically panned. Indeed, the only reason anyone would want the game is because so few were sold in the UK. Find an English version and don’t be surprised to pay more than £160 for it.
One of the best and most original RPGs released on the PlayStation, Valkyrie Profile not only boasted a grippingly fresh Norse tale, a deep cast, beautiful visuals and stunning sound, it also allowed the developer Enix to stare Final Fantasy makers Square straight in the face (little wonder the two firms merged in 2003). Unfortunately, this particular game arrived in 2000 in the US on a small print run and failed to make it to shop shelves elsewhere. For some that just made it even more desirable and so it’s valued at £350.
Prices for Suikoden II have been high for a good while and that’s generally down to too few copies having being released outside of Japan. Although launched in 1998, it took nine months to make it to the US and close to another year to be released in Europe. Still, slowly but surely Suikoden II became a sleeper hit as word spread of it. When gamers also fell in love with its retro-style graphics, interest began to pique. You’ll find it selling for roughly £300.
Japanese gamers had been playing the Megami Tensei series of titles since 1987. Then, just short of a decade later, the west was blessed with the Persona subseries of which Revelations was the first. Five further follow-ups were released alongside a host of spin-offs, and the original became viewed as a sought-after cult classic. That’s despite some iffy localisation which saw skin colours changed and names Americanised. Buy with the strategy guide and artbook for – gulp – £550 or so.
Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions
As with Silent Hill, it’s not that difficult to find used copies of Metal Gear Solid but the Special Missions expansion (as it was known in the PAL region) is going to be worth hanging on to or seeking out if you don’t already have it.
Released as a third disc that needed the original game, it added a host of features and challenge maps, and while digital versions were released for later machines, you’ll need the disc version to play on the original hardware. Once £25, we saw a sealed copy fetch £325 on eBay.
Tales of Destiny 2
In the original PlayStation era, 3D tended to rule the roost – and it’s likely why a reasonable number of rare and valuable games have 2D graphics. Could that be part of the reason why Namco only gave Tales of Destiny 2 (Tales of Eternia in Japan) a limited worldwide release? Maybe, but that was often the case for other Japanese RPGs. Besides, it was also 2001, at the end of the PlayStation’s natural life. Not a problem in Japan where 873,000 copies were sold but you’re still looking to pay about £200 if you want a copy now.
Psygnosis – long folded into the Sony empire – is often applauded as having been one of Britain’s best developers, responsible for the likes of Lemmings, Destruction Derby and Shadow Of The Beast. Team Buddies wasn’t its finest hour but it was at least unique: not many games are so packed with profanities they’d earn a parental guidance sticker on the box. Kids looking to shock their parents didn’t buy it in great numbers, though, and American audiences didn’t even get the full swears. But if you want check this ****** out, it’ll cost you roughly £50.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The original version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (not the version released on the Essentials or Greatest Hits labels) has been rising in value of late. Is it because it’s one of the greatest games ever made, one which still holds up well today? Or because the developers overcame difficulties with the hardware – notably its lack of scrolling support – making it a technical triumph? Maybe its more to do with the limited edition collectors pack featuring artwork and a music CD. Pay in excess of £200 for it, whichever theory you subscribe to.
Batman Forever: The Arcade Game
Although this side-scrolling beat-em-up is no Arkham Asylum, it does at least star the Caped Crusader which is always worth a few quid in itself. The game might have fared better had it been released a year earlier to coincide the movie on which it is based. But poor reviews in general saw relatively few copies sold. You won’t need to employ detective skills to find a decent copy for about £40.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Capcom converted this 2D fighter from the manga-inspired arcade classic and it instantly proved to be a faithful, fast port with super controls. In the west, however, JoJo was nowhere near as popular an anime as it was in Japan so the game sold fewer copies. Only when fans become more aware of JoJo’s delights did they begin to pay attention and it was at that point JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure also began to become more expensive, given that there were relatively few copies knocking around. It’s now hard to find for less than £200.
Blizzard North’s role-playing hack and slack action dungeon crawler made its debut on the PlayStation in 1998, having been converted from the PC. It was the only entry published by Electronics Arts but that’s unlikely to be the reason why it remains in demand and attracts reasonable prices. It’s more likely because the game didn’t appear on a digital distribution platform until 2019 (when it was released on GOG.com) and also because many want to enjoy the experience on the original hardware. It may only allow two-player co-op as opposed to four on the PC but you’re still going to pay £50 for this one.
Japanese gamers didn’t seem to take a shine to the cute anthropomorphic cats and dogs of Tail Concerto, leading to poor sales of Atlus’ game. But those who didn’t buy it missed a short but almost-satisfying treat, that aside from platforming included some fun RPG elements. The game struggled to find a publisher outside of Japan for a while and it perhaps got saddled with being a game for kids. But seek it out and you’ll find a heap of fun on that disc, albeit at £300 or so for the privilege.
The Adventures of Lomax
Another game by Psygnosis, The Adventures of Lomax was a spin-off of Lemmings released in 1996, boasting amazing 2D graphics courtesy of Henk Nieborg as well as superb sound. In fleshing out the environment in which the Lemmings lived, gamers could see the characters as more than tiny critters to save as they platformed over 22 levels broken into stages. Demos of the game are rare enough but we’ve seen retail copies on eBay going for an average of £150.
Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena, to give its full US title, didn’t make it to Europe or anywhere outside of America and Japan for that matter. But given it was created by Atlus, a firm that’s developed a strong line-up of Japanese RPGs, it’s no surprise to hear that it’s highly thought of. It earned a sequel on the Nintendo Switch some 22 years later! Released in 1998, there was an expanded version dubbed the Grand Edition a year later. Whichever you choose to buy, you’re not getting much change from £160.
Unless you go down the emulation route (and that’s always a minefield), then a physical copy of Square’s scrolling shooter is really the only way to go. But wait: scrolling shooter? Yes, RPG royalty Square tried their hand at a single-player blast in the vein of R-Type and it more than ticked the boxes for fans of the genre. Play it to see the PlayStation’s technology being stretched and admire the mix of 2D and 3D. It’ll cost you a not too unreasonable sum of about £140.
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