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Top 10 Hardest PlayStation 1 Games

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Kurt Hvorup Sony certainly knew how to challenge gamers, if the line-up for the original PlayStation was any indication. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Hardest PlayStation 1 Games. For this list, We're taking a look at the many titles that graced the Sony PlayStation console, highlighting those that are truly the most challenging and difficult by design. Unfair or unbalanced difficulty is out of the question – our focus is strictly on games that were built to be tough, without being impossible to beat. Special Thanks to our users "MikeyP" for suggesting this topic with our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 Hardest PlayStation 1 Games


Sony certainly knew how to challenge gamers, if the line-up for the original PlayStation was any indication. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Hardest PlayStation 1 Games.

For this list, We're taking a look at the many titles that graced the Sony PlayStation console, highlighting those that are truly the most challenging and difficult by design. Unfair or unbalanced difficulty is out of the question – our focus is strictly on games that were built to be tough, without being impossible to beat.

#10: “Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee” (1997)


“Abe's Oddysee” focuses on the titular Abe, a slave at a meat processing factory who sets out to rescue his fellow Mudokons from a grim corporate plot. The game's delicately balanced mix of side-scrolling platforming, puzzles and light strategy elements would be plenty for players to contend with, but it takes steps to further ensure careful play. From Abe's one-hit deaths, to a set number of Mudokons that need to be saved for the good ending, to even a checkpoint-centric save system, everything is built for challenge and caution.

#9: “Grand Theft Auto” (1998)


For a game about stealing cars and causing mayhem, it's also surprisingly keen on testing one's limits. Ported to the PlayStation in 1998, “Grand Theft Auto” puts gamers in a top-down open-world setting where the goal is to attain points by engaging in all sorts of criminal activity. However, stealing cars and killing indiscriminately is not as easy as it seems; the game places a limit on your lives, and your character dies after one hit. Topped off by the rarity of powerful weapons and a deliberate lack of mid-level saving, it's clear that the game isn't shy about its intent.

#8: “Darius Gaiden” (1996)


Ah, the classic challenge of a shoot-em-up. “Darius Gaiden” has players flying the starship Silver Hawk through a series of scrolling levels, attempting to destroy enemy ships while dodging obstacles. Silver Hawk's journey, as per the genre of choice, is made harder by said enemies flooding onto the screen in multiple groups at once, making for hectic action. The constant movement of Silver Hawk, coupled with unyielding streams of projectiles, means dodging and split-second manoeuvring is key here.

#7: “Fear Effect” (2000)


Being afraid, as the title suggests, wouldn't be an inappropriate reaction. Developed by Kronos Digital Entertainment, “Fear Effect” serves as a merging of polygon-era horror controls and tactical action into a singular experience. It has you switching between three mercenaries on a mission to Hong Kong, dealing with sudden firefights and environmental puzzles... and punishes anything less than pitch-perfect reflexes and problem-solving. Recklessness is detrimental here, as the game demands precision and caution with every step.

#6: “Metal Gear Solid” (1998)


It's one heck of a sneaking mission, that's for sure. Hideo Kojima's beloved 1998 game “Metal Gear Solid” pushed gaming forward with its Hollywood-inspired cinematography, high-quality voice acting and sense of atmosphere. It also reinforced the hardest elements of the stealth action genre to great effect, by dropping elite soldier Solid Snake into a complex riddled with security cameras and highly perceptive guards. Add to that secret death traps and bosses requiring careful strategy to beat, and the difficulty inherent to “Metal Gear Solid” shouldn't be in question. At least you’ll never forget the main characters name.

#5: “Heart of Darkness” (1998)


Into the depths of danger we go. This cinematic platformer, telling the tale of a young boy venturing to an alien realm to save his dog, embodies the age-old ideal of trial and error gameplay. Each sequence in which the kid hero Andy must overcome natural hazards and defeat living shadows is designed to be completed in a specific manner... on threat of instant death. Fortunately, the game offer unlimited lives, so it's possible to learn the patterns and techniques necessary to push forward.

#4: “Tomb Raider III” (1998)


Lara Croft's third outing doesn't lack for challenge, that much is clear. First and foremost, the 3D action-adventure game “Tomb Raider III” relies on save crystals, rare collectable items sparsely scattered throughout levels that limit the number of times you can save. This makes the typical mix of firefights, puzzle-solving and tomb exploration all the more difficult – as the game has no shortage of lethal traps and combative human and animal foes. Topped off by a steep learning curve that comes into play early on, “Tomb Raider III” is nothing short of a test of player ability.

#3: “Tenchu: Stealth Assassins” (1998)


With only 10 levels, this game effortlessly proves to be hard. Set in Feudal Japan, “Stealth Assassins” is an action game wherein the player controls one of two ninjas conducting night operations. The player is given a grappling hook and unlimited tries at each mission... before being left, with little exposition, to determine how to progress. Thus, the game is built on trial and error, with the added threat of losing items upon dying reinforcing the need to both choose one's inventory carefully and learn quickly.

#2: “Rayman” (1995)


Colourful, lively... and undeniably tough. This is the legacy of “Rayman”, a side-scrolling platformer developed by Ubisoft. Its fantastical visuals and vibrant colour scheme give way to a classically-built platforming experience; many a level in “Rayman” is lengthy and light on checkpoints. To add to the challenge, the titular Rayman has a limited number of lives and everything from giant insects to musical notes are deadly to the touch. Then there's the matter of the 102 Electoon cages needed for completion – which are invisible until their triggers are found.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Vagrant Story” (2000)

“Syphon Filter” (1999)

“Crash Bandicoot: Warped” (1998)

“G-Darius” (1998)

#1: “Alundra” (1997)


Much loved from the outset, this PlayStation action role-playing game delivers in many respects – including rewarding hardship. “Alundra” features platforming segments from time to time that, by design, ask the player to adapt to the game's isometric perspective and plan jumps accordingly. There's also the matter of its puzzles, built around very subtle solutions that reinforce the theme of exploration. Little details can be easily missed and valuble items lost, meaning players must constantly be on alert and paying close attention. It can be brutal at times, but it's worth the effort to succeed.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think are the hardest games for PlayStation? For more difficulty-focused Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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