Towards the end of the PS1s lifeline a variety of "budget" games were released, some for as little as $5 and as much as $20, with $10 being the norm. Most games were poorly translated butcherings of almost unknown Japanese releases, with a few quick PC game transfers. Not counting re-releases and "Greatest Hits" games which have no business being here, here are what I say are the best of the budgets.

A great example of budget game, japanese import butchering if there ever was one. Where the front case image and title screen have nothing to do with the actual game, and almost all of the ingame story elements have been removed. Basically it's a Breakout clone with boss battles, a magic system and two player gameplay. It's a fun game, I just don't know what the crap is going on.

Often called the 3D Diablo, what with the random dungeons, sidemissions and overhead combat. Featuring it's own town theme song, and the appearence changing armor and accessories make the game feel more like a spiritual prequel to Baulders Gate or Champions of Norroth. Good game, if you can get past the overall genericness and standard "we're on a budget dammit" glitches.

Decent Horizontal Shmup with a GREAT weapons system and control. Crappy engrish translation, choppy graphics and overall shortness are the games main, and only, downfall however.

Great multiplayer Retail simulator in the vein of Monopoly, where you buy and upgrade stores to make enough money to buy out the other players stores to win. But also like Monopoly, it's not as fun if you don't have friends to play with or play with you.

3D version of a classic. The story actually follows the book more closely then the game, as a sequel to. Decent FMV, and authentic in-car/out of car and into cave exploration, though the somewhat simplistic gameplay and LACK of original features (No wall climbing?!) impare the game immensly.

Resident Evil style game set on Mars in the Future, where you have control of three different, unique characters that must work together to solve puzzles and survive, but CANNOT be in the same room together or everyone dies horribly for some reason. EVERYONE!!! Great Story and Voice Actors, marred by crummy graphics and various technical glitches. Still worth a play for fans of the genre.

A unique puzzle game where you rotate a spindle which holds "bubbles", which explode when three or more like-colored bubbles are connected, sending the bubbles located on the opposite of the spindle flying at "petals" located on the outer edge of the "flower", which must themselves be filled and "popped" with like-colored bubbles. The fruity premise and character design may put off some, which is a shame given the great gameplay and challenge offered.

An almost typical vertical shooter, right down to the typical popcorn enemies and Vulcan/Missle/Laser(Actually, Lightning) weapon system. What sets this game apart are the amazing amount of detail, enemies crashing into the ground and background elements responding for example, and the 9 different, unique Difficulty settings, ranging from the PocketStation mode, strangely hilarious Comical mode and Ancient mode complete with dancing screen lint and Sepia tone colors. All of which make this a MUST for any Shmup fan.

A simple 3D Astroids-type shooter where you constantly battle the clock, with three different Ships to choose from, as well as three different subweapons which give you nine different combinations. You move from room to room to defeat each of the games midbosses and then the stage boss to move on. You only gain more time by defeating bosses, but the games weapon power-up system, which depends on how many rooms you clear connected to the room you fight in, force you to make the decision of going in potentially underpowered, or wasting time powering the room up first. The control is top-notch, if you know what you're doing. The ships hover and move backwards depending on weapon recoil, you have to "go with the flow" if you want to win. The simplistic polygonal graphics are easily overlooked with all the "flash" and computerized imagery that create an exciting, if sometimes confusing, experience.

Despite the jagged polygons and 2D infantry, this game turned out to the be one of the, if not the most, realistic World War 2 Tank Simulation game ever created. Featuring several real historic tank missions, 6 fantasy tanks and a fantasy battle mission between two of the most powerful modern tanks today. You are given the option of playing as three different countries, USA, Russia or Germany. Each tank was precisely and accurately rendered, right down to the amount, type, performance and name of the ammunition used. Not only that, but the same tank may be completely different depending on the year and mission they are portrayed in. The games true highpoint however, are it's battles. There is no "Health Bar" as in other such games, tank's can be knocked out in a single shot depending on where you hit it, what ammunition you use and how far you were when you shot at it. It can make for some very suspensful battles, where you may forced against several superior opponents, in some cases having to use artillery and commanding a small squad of tanks. You can even edit some missions to whatever you want! This is a great game and full of awesome! It's just too bad the sequel was cancelled, for the US anyway, so this is as good as it gets.

Most of these games can still be found in popular stores, like Walmart or Bestbuy. If not, then they can be had at Pawnshops and online though usually for higher then the original release price. It's probably unlikely that many of these games will increase in value, despite the surprisingly high quality and rarity of some of these titles, but due to the small price almost all of them are worthy purchases. You either get a great deal, or you get what you paid for, which is very little regardless.

List by illOx (03/20/2006)

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