Old PlayStation games
offer cheap enjoyment
By Michael Ahlf
Daily Cougar Staff
If you aren't one of those people who have
bought a PlayStation 2 yet, chances are you own an original PlayStation
by now, since the system's been in the United
States since 1995.
For college students on a budget, the resale
game market is a great place to get some fun games and save some cash.
GameStop stores (formerly FuncoLand) and
other software resellers offer games at
prices usually well below the cost of a new game, and they usually have
some form of trade-in deal for the old games you
have gotten tired of. With that in mind,
here's a short primer: 10 games to look for if you're trying to figure
out what to buy.
10.) Street Fighter games -- they're fun,
classic beat-em-ups. Try to get the expanded versions (EX+ or Alpha3) if
they're around, or for a taste of nostalgia grab
Street Fighter Collection, a PlayStation
translation of the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System classics.
9.) King of Fighters games -- in the same
line as Street Fighter, but this is the line of fighting games that kept
SNK's NeoGeo arcade system going forever. Give it a
try if Street Fighter bores you.
8.) Resident Evil/Dino Crisis -- These
two series have been Capcom's fallback line as of late, amounting to a
video game version of scary zombie movies and
monster flicks. If horror is your thing,
these are your games.
7.) Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver -- A third-person
puzzle game with an excellent storyline, rather dark and gothic. You play
an undead vampire-hunter, reclaiming
the world from the vampire scourge that
has taken over. The added bonus is that the sequel is coming for PS2.
6.) Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen -- This
is actually a 2D roleplaying game rather than a 3D puzzle game, but it's
got a decent storyline behind it as well as being the
backstory for the Soul Reaver line. Again,
watch for the sequel on PS2.
5.) Twisted Metal 2 -- Twisted Metal has
anything an action gamer could want -- flashy cars, funny weapons, and
completely unrealistic physics, not to mention the
explosions. I suggest No. 2 in the series
because it's really the best in the line.
4.) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
-- Castlevania started out as a video game spoof on the old monster movies,
but it's turned into a great series. Symphony
of the Night expands things a bit further,
adding in roleplaying elements as you control good old Vlad's son, Alucard,
in getting rid of his father once and for all.
3.) Einhander -- One of the first really
great games for the PSX, Einhander is your classic horizontal shooter game
in every sense of the word, with gameplay
reminiscent of even older classics like
Defender. This one's a blast.
2.) Megaman X4 -- Megaman's been a favorite
for players ever since the original NES games, and Capcom's move to the
PSX gives you the ability to toy around
with X as well as the much more interesting
Zero. Great gameplay and an okay storyline, along with the addition of
video cutscenes to draw the player in.
1.) Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee or Abe's Exoddus
-- If you're looking for a game that breaks all the rules, Oddworld is
for you. No guns, no lives to count, just a
spindly little weakling who happens to
be the savior of his race.
You have to use all your wits to solve
the puzzles and save your friends. If that weren't enough, Oddworld doesn't
just present a story, it gives the player an
incredibly funny, if somewhat disturbing,
world to explore. If you haven't given Oddworld a try, put one of these
on the top of your list.
By the same token, there are a few games
that you should avoid at all costs -- after all, why spend your hard-earned
money or store credit on something you'll wind
up trading back next week? Here's a few
rules of thumb:
• This should go without saying, but anything
based on a movie or television show means you should be extremely wary;
the temptation for game developers and
studios to skimp on production costs,
not to mention lack of time for development cycles, really tends to make
them mediocre at best. Case in point: Simpsons
Wrestling, one of the few games I'd ever
give an F. And Tomb Raider -- the first game was decent for its time, but
everything's just gone downhill since.
• Also be wary of translations of games
that were hot on the PC, especially first-person shooters like Quake. The
console game systems usually don't have the
control ability to handle these properly,
something that's been proven repeatedly between games like Starcraft for
the Nintendo 64 and Quake 2 for the PSX.
• Several retailers, both real-life and
online, offer the money-conscious college student a wide selection of used
game options. Perhaps the most widely known
used-game store is GameStop, which carries
everything from old-school eight-bit Nintendo games to brand-new Dreamcast,
PS2 and N64 releases.
There are several GameStop locations around
Houston, including 8138 Kirby Drive, the corner of Westheimer Road and
Dunvale Road, and 449 Uvalde Road.
GameStop also has an extensive Web site
Another, similar store is Game Proz, which
also has several Houston locations. Try 631 Uvalde Road, 1100 E. Southmore
Ave. in Pasadena, 512 Almeda Mall B or
444 Northwest Mall 533.
Online auctions are another excellent place
to locate inexpensive software. Try everybody's favorite Web site, www.ebay.com,
which generally has an extremely
wide selection; Yahoo! Auctions; or, if
you're desperate, Amazon.com auctions (selection is reasonable but prices
often are not).
Outside the auction arena, there are several
Web sites to try. Game Trading Zone, at www.gametz.com, puts users in touch
with other gamers for trading purposes.
One no-frills site is www.usedvideogames.com,
which allows visitors to sell their old games as well as purchase new ones.
• A final point: College students, like
anyone out there, have access to a rich amount of information when trying
to make a decision. Before heading off to your local
game store, hit the Web, read the reviews
in the Cougar or elsewhere, and get an idea whether that game you've got
your eye on is really going to be worth it.