Best Video Game Compilations from the PS1 Library

Chances are, the reason you’re visiting The Old School Game Vault is that you’re interested in building your retro game collection. Lucky for you, we’re about to make that a whole lot easier.

You see, rather than buying retro games one cartridge at a time, you can purchase classic game anthologies that include several games. And, below, we’ll tell you how to get your hands on the best classic game compilations for PS1.

Why PS1, you ask? The original PlayStation is one of the best platforms for collecting retro game anthologies, for several reasons.

One: the PS1 has a lot of truly excellent anthologies—some of the best, really. A few of these contain bonus content, enhancements, and other PS1-exclusive features. And many include unaltered ports of original arcade games as opposed to the inferior ports that were released on previous consoles.

Two: PS1 discs are (usually) also playable on the PS2 and PS3 consoles. You probably already have the console you need to play these games. And three: PS1 games are still widely available and, therefore, very affordable.

So, which compilation should you buy first? Read on to find out.

8. Arcade’s Greatest Hits (4 Titles)

Arcade Greatest Hits Compilation

The Arcade’s Greatest Hits series includes these 4 titles:

  • Williams Arcade’s Greatest Hits
  • Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 1
  • Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Midway Collection 2
  • Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2

These anthologies include unaltered ports of arcade classics that are essential to every retro gamer’s collection. The most well-known examples are

  • Defender and Defender II
  • Joust and Joust 2
  • Asteroids
  • Missile Command
  • Centipede
  • Super Breakout
  • Gauntlet
  • RoadBlasters
  • Paperboy
  • Burger Time
  • Root Beer Tapper

There are also loads of lesser-known, but still awesome, games like Robotron: 2084 and Marble Madness. Additionally, these collections include bonus content such as FMV documentaries.

7. Namco Museum 1-6

There’s actually not much to say here. Namco has released compilations like these on pretty much every game console. Each one is packed with familiar arcade favorites like Dig Dug, Galaga, Xevious, and more Pac-Man games than you even knew existed.

We already mentioned the reasons you’d want to spring for the PS1 versions. Namely, they’reArcade Party Pak Compilation cheap—about $5 per disc—and they’re compatible with PS1, PS2, and PS3.

6. Arcade Party Pak

Arcade Party Pak is an excellent collection of beloved arcade classics complete with bonus content (FMV interviews with the games’ creators). Highlights include Rampage, Toobin’, Klax, and a port of the dual-stick shooter Smash TV that’s finally faithful to the original.

Previous ports of Smash TV had to alter the control scheme due to controller limitations. But, thanks to the PlayStation’s Dual Analog Controller, this version plays beautifully.

Although there are only 6 games, this collection is truly fantastic. In fact, it’s worth buying purely for the experience of playing Smash TV with two analog sticks. The inclusion of 5 other games is like an added bonus.

5. Arc the Lad Collection

Undoubtedly, 99% of you just wondered, “What is Arc the Lad?” There are two reasons for this.

First, the Arc the Lad series by Working Designs is a trilogy of highly-acclaimed JRPG games that weren’t initially released in North America. Second, when it finally was released in the US, it was Arc the Lad Collection Compilationcrippled by a bonkers marketing strategy devised by lunatics.

In 2002, Working Designs localized and bundled the entire trilogy together for North American audiences, at a launch price of $75. Apparently, they thought US gamers were willing to blow a third of their yearly gaming budget on 3 old RPGs they’d never heard of.

Instead, US gamers collectively asked, “What’s Arc the Lad and why is it so expensive?” And it was rhetorical. They didn’t actually care what the answer was.

The tragic thing is, American gamers would love these games if they had a chance to play them. They form a long, continuous story that’s deep and engaging. And they require a lot more strategy than most RPGs.

To complicate matters even more, a used copy of the collection still costs over $100. But it remains the only legitimate way to enjoy these games.

4. Street Fighter Collection 1 and 2

The Street Fighter games are a world-renowned nostalgia phenomenon. No gamer, retro or otherwise, should lack these classics in their collection, period. And we reiterate: buying 1 compilation disc is usually cheaper and easier than seeking out and purchasing 3 separateStreet Fighter PS1 Compilation cartridges.

The first Street Fighter Collection includes the Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo iterations of the game. Despite the word “Super” in the titles, these are the original arcade versions, not ports of the SNES facsimiles.

Collection 1 also features an enhanced version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 dubbed “Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold.” Like a director’s cut, this is the ultimate version of the game. It features all the secret characters from previous versions, as well as an exclusive appearance by Cammy.

Collection 2 features the first three versions of the original Street Fighter II arcade game: The World Warrior, Championship Edition, and Hyper Fighting. The World Warrior is the original Street Fighter II arcade game, the one that literally defined the entire fighting game genre forevermore. Through the other two games, players can see how Capcom continued to shape the genre in its own image, fine-tuning the game through subtle yet significant improvements.

3. Final Fantasy Origins

In 2003, Square Enix released Final Fantasy Origins, an astonishingly beautiful remake of the first two Final Fantasy games. The games feature improved graphics and audio, reminiscent of the SNES Final Fantasy games. There are also CGI intros added to each game.

This is the first enhanced upgrade of the original game ever released in North America. In fact, it’s the first American release at all since the NES version in 1990.

More importantly, Final Fantasy II had never seen an American release before this compilation. Final Fantasy Origins gave us the lost Final Fantasy game we’d been missing for 15 years. And it’s one of the best and most influential RPGs in the whole series.

2. Final Fantasy Anthology

Final Fantasy Anthology includes ports of Final Fantasy V and VI with added CGI intros and other bonus content. Final Fantasy VI (previously released in NA as FFIII) is widely regarded as the best of the early, sprite-based games in the series (games I-VI, prior to Final Fantasy VII).

Final Fantasy Anthology CompilationIt was the first to break away from the medieval setting, choosing instead a steampunk pseudo past that combines ancient magic and steam-powered mech suits. A dismal color scheme makes everything look like it’s under a dark cloud, perfectly suiting the dark tone of the game.

Others would argue that Final Fantasy V is actually the best sprite-based Final Fantasy game (including certain writers who post articles on certain retro video game blogs). While the graphics and audio of Final Fantasy V are more simplistic, the characters are loveable and hilarious.

Despite the bright, happy color scheme, the story is grittier than you’d expect, with plenty of exciting plot revelations. Even better, the drama isn’t as (unbearably) over-the-top as Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy IV

1. Final Fantasy Chronicles

The final compilation on our list (no pun intended) is the misleadingly titled Final Fantasy Chronicles. Only one of the two included games is technically a Final Fantasy title, namely Final Fantasy IV.

Final Fantasy IV was originally adored as Final Fantasy II by Americans, who were at the time still starving for anyFinal Fantasy Chronicles sequel to the original Final Fantasy. It’s notable for a larger cast, deeper story, and better sound/graphics than all previous games.

But that doesn’t matter. None of that matters. We repeat: Final Fantasy IV doesn’t matter.

The reason that you must buy Final Fantasy Chronicles is the other game: Chrono Trigger. 28 years after its release, people are still calling it the greatest game ever made.

And they’re correct. Chrono Trigger is the greatest game ever made.

Why? WHY??

  • Beautiful music and settings
  • Visually stunning cinematic scenes
  • Hollywood-worthy storylines
  • A dark and devastating apocalypse
  • Time travel
  • Multiple endings
  • Mind-bending answers to life’s greatest questions

This game has everything that could possibly make a game great. Plus, this version features a cool anime intro and endings—by the guy who created Dragon Ball Z, no less.

Get the Best Classic Game Compilations For PS1 Now

After reading this list, if you don’t have the best classic game compilations for PS1, you’re probably curled up on the floor, crying like you just got stabbed in the stomach. 

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Wednesday, 22 May 2024