2D on the Playstation

Where the Saturn felt like it was a 2D virtuoso, when it came to 3D you‘d often think "wow, it’s trying its best!" and quite often the result of that would be neat, interesting, weird, curious, beautiful, odd, etc.

Likewise on Playstation the 3D almost felt effortless, though of course it wasn't, where higher end 2D games often made one think "wow, it's trying its best!"

I want to talk about some of the Playstation exclusives - not arcade ports, or games that also came out elsewhere - that pushed 2D, either fully or in part, to interesting results. There's kind of a unique vibe there, which we might get at through this discussion. To me the way the Playstation does transparency is quite different from any other console, so that's a defining factor in my mind. I'll start with just a few.

[**NOTE**: since folks already started posting ports I'm gonna say if you really want to put a port out there make sure it's got unique features on the ps1 and tell us what is unique about it!)

Gear fighter dendoh. Really neat 2D beat em up stages followed by 1v1 3D fighting segments. Lots of moves, really fun and fluid to play.

Chippoke Ralph no daibouken - Little Ralph's Big Adventure. No long play will show this but it's a very branching path sort of game with secrets galore. I just wish it were a little easier on normal mode, one hit kill is a little hardcore for me. Super fun though, and again 1v1 fighting battles for bosses, but still 2D this time. It's more fun than it looks on replay.

goemon shin sedai shuumei. It's the weird 2d sidescrolling goemon that apparently people don't like. But look at it! It's weird! It's trying its best!

Adventures of Lomax. I don't own this one and wish I did. Just a pure pixel tour de force, the last gasp of the bouncy pickups, over animated, strangely laid out Amiga dream. (whoops this also came out for windows but we all know that doesn't count)

Philosoma. Mostly 2D, sometimes 3D perspective shifting shooter - it moves from vertical to horizontal to behind the back to semi-isometric alongside an ambitious script (continued in Phase Paradox). People didn't like it at the time but it's neat and weird.

Metaphlist. Weird omnidirectional shooter where your shots can basically grow to infinite size. Just bizarre (click around the 1 hour 49 minute mark and you can get a taste).

Alundra! It's Alundra!

That's where I'll start for now. Any fun ones you've got, especially lesser known ones, do drop them here!


@“exodus”#p141868 Philosoma

Ooh, I've always loved Philosoma! I've still got my original long box copy which it looks like has gone up in value somewhat.

I feel like I'm always mentioning Hermie Hopperhead, but it had an outsized presence for me in my perception of early import PS1 games that were never localized to North America. It's fun! It's a real remnant of its time! It's got some good looking 2D!


(Edited the rest of the post because I obviously can’t follow directions)

I really love the huge sprites in Crossroad Crisis. It feels like the natural evolution of the hand-drawn crayon art style from Super Famicom games like Yoshi's Island or Kirby's Dream Land 3. I‘m surprised that I can’t think of many others on the Playstation attempting this aside from like Rakugaki Showtime. Anyone got recommendations? Anyways, this is probably my favorite pause screen ever:


More screenshots under the cut:



One Piece Mansion is a great example of the late era kind of budget-y PS1 puzzler / light on action 2D games, but it actually has a Capcom budget behind it


So much animation and a cool art style, I bounced of it back in the day, but I feel like two decades later I could maybe wrap my head around it

Also @exodus I had never heard of Gear fighter dendoh and it has shot up the top of my list. It looks very Mad Stalker

@“robinhoodie”#p141894 it‘s less hardcore than mad stalker but it’s real good. Super smooth to play, lots of moves to mess around with, it‘s just one of those games you can put on and play through. It starts feeling repetitive, but you can just turn it off when that happens! Hopefully it’s still cheap since it's a licensed game (or just mister it)

@"Karasu"#p141887 okay since the very first post broke the "no ports" rule I am gonna amend my rule to say if you post a ps1 port you gotta say what's specifically unique or cool about that port!!

Okay here's one I learned about from @chazumaru - choukousoku Grandoll. If you wanna play a middling run and gun with bat movement, an unusually tall character for the genre, and light Captain Commando grapple platforming, this is the game for you! And of course that is indeed exactly the kind of thing I want to play.


Allow me to post this giant candy drop elephant in room, Harmful Park! Oodles of little sprites, bunch of medium sprites, and tops off with BIGGGG sprites!


I also gotta post Guilty Gear. This certainly is not a port since PSX is where it's started! One of the best looking, sounding, and feeling 2d fighters on any system. Pretty amazing how it came out of the gate so fully formed.


It‘s not obscure, but because it’s 2D I feel empowered to say that Valkyrie Profile has one of the best “Open Chest/Item Get” soundbites of any game yet released


Not obscure by any means but the way Legend of Mana combines good background art with transparent layers and light 3d effects looks great and very PS1 I think.

(there is a recent remaster for everything but I don't think it counts)


Also Asuka 120%'s Fill-in-Cafe's Panzer Bandit somehow remained exclusive:

Those Popolocrois games don't exactly push the technical envelope, but they do make you think a lot about what more 16 bit RPGs would look like with an unrestrained palette, no real storage limit on animation, and a harpoon injection of Sony money.


nothing beats popolocrois but here's Bloody Bride: Imadoki no Vampire

After wondering if there was a PS1 Itadaki St, google showed me this wonderful commercial (but the only gameplay I could find was on nico)


Still don't make sense there's not one of these on switch (ignoring the Wii game sales, we deserve another chance)

@“Kite006”#p141997 this “can you 4p” tag line takes on new meaning as 3p has come to mean “threesome” in Japan in recent years.

Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer on PS1, now it is a port! (maybe not even a great one) BUT one interesting thing I remember it having a “3d” mode. In this mode the game is shown painted onto a flat polygon in a psudeo 3/4th perspective. I can‘t find any screenshots or video of this but seem to remember the background being on one plain and the characters on another. Maybe many 2d sprites on PS1 are done like this? I don’t know the technical side of that. I'll try and dig my copy out and see if i can take a screenshot on an emulator.

@“Kite006”#p141997 The reality is SQEX completely mismanaged Itadaki Street by stucking the series into what should have been a one-time FF&DQ spin-off (and then releasing it on PlayStation Vita of all things) in an age when “being a FF&DQ fan” is way less mainstream than before in Japan, and mainstream users getting nostalgic about FF or DQ can get their fix on mobile for free in a myriad of ways. Itadaki Street needs not only a Switch version but more importantly it needs to escape the FF/DQ branding, to appeal to modern families that buy Momotetsu and Jinsei Game in 2023. Exactly like Gorgeous King was able to capitalize off the same Momotetsu’s and Jinsei Game’s successes on the PS1.

Anyway, here is a (7 hours long) speedrun of **Itadaki Street Gorgeous King** on Youtube.



A cute 2DPS original not yet mentioned here is Capcom’s light-hearted card battle RPG **Suzu Monogatari**, probably one of their most obscure releases ever. Released in the same late _anything goes_ era of the PS1 as One Piece Mansion mentioned above. I can only find a debuting Vtuber’s channel showing it properly so please excuse the accompanying Vtubing.


@“Punchmaniacs”#p142079 never heard of this 3D mode so if you can get some footage of it I‘d love to see it! I never picked this up because I have it on neo cd and whatever and it’s not that amazing anyway. But a weird 3D mode would put me over the edge!

[edit] I'm seeing people say the 3D mode is terrible, so now I want to see it even more

@“exodus”#p142124 Ok, here are some screen shots I took. Yeah its not a good port or mode but just something I found interesting.

Gowcaizer and the Neo Geo Double Dragon fighting game were ported by a company called Urban Plant, and they both have a silly 3D mode: Gowcaizer came later, so the 3D mode in that game has a more guided camera and perspective-corrects the sprites so that they‘re always legible no matter the angle, but the Double Dragon mode lets you manually move the camera on three axes and turn the character sprites any which way, including Paper Mario-ing them into virtually invisible slivers, and it’s absurdly easy to mold it into a state of unplayability.

They're both throwaway gimmicks but I think Gowcaizer's is more infamous because the port itself has a lot of issues, so it's like, why'd they waste their time on this silly thing instead of getting the actual game to play correctly?

@“gsk”#p142132 Great Post and good point, I forgot about double dragon too! thanks for the reminder. I agree.

Gegege no Kitarou. Nothing too fancy but has nice artwork.


Gundam Battle Assault has giant graphics