During the early stages of the racing genre, Sony’s PlayStation 1 or PS1 (also known as PlayStation) was an important platform for games like Gran Turismo and Need For Speed. Crash Team Racing and Vigilante 8 were both multi-genre games, but they were not the only ones.
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PlayStation racing games also had a few movies or TV shows with them, like Smurf Racer and Toy Story Racer, as well as Looney Tunes Racing and The Dukes of Hazard II: Daisy Dukes It Out. In fact, there were hardly any racing games when the console was at its peak, competing with Sega Saturn games as well as the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo 64.
Gran Turismo (1997)
In 1997, the first Gran Turismo game was only for the PlayStation. It went on to break all sales records, becoming the best-selling PS1 game of all time (with over 10.85 million copies sold as of 2013).
Garnering praise for both its Arcade and Simulation modes, Gran Turismo’s release was a watershed moment in the history of racing games creating a high precedent that was then followed by other franchises like Need For Speed. While its spin-offs and sequels may have made the gameplay better, the original creator still has a cult following.
Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)
The third game in the Need for Speed series is known for playing around with the idea of police pursuits in its gameplay (massively improving the police AI from Need For Speed II). This trope was later used in Most Wanted and other racing games as well, giving the games a new thrill of almost outrunning the law.
Legacy: Hot Pursuit 2 for the PlayStation 2 and a new version for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 kept the game’s name alive.
Need For Speed: High Stakes (1999)
High Stakes took some style cues from Hot Pursuit while adding new features like the Getaway and Time Trap modes. In the first mode, the player has to get away from the police in a certain amount of time. In Time Trap, the player has to win a race in that amount of time.
As you can see from the title, the stakes are high when you’re being chased by the police. Police cars often call for backup or set up spike strips on the road to make it hard for you to get through.
Jet Moto (1996)
In the game Jet Moto, or Jet Rider as it was called in some places, you race on a hoverboard and try to get the fastest time. Levels that are filled with excitement have the player fly over land and water in vehicles called “jet bikes.”
While the gameplay was unique for its time, the game divided people because of how hard it was. The track design was also pretty colourful and fresh, which made the whole thing even better. In spite of the fact that Jet Moto led to two sequels, none of them are as unique as the first one.
Ridge Racer (1993)
Ridge Racer started out as an arcade game, but in 1993, it moved to the PlayStation. The Namco Bandai classic still has some arcade-like features, like collisions that don’t do any damage but slow down the players. It also lets the players switch between first-person and third-person perspectives. Auto and manual transmissions were also available to choose from, as well.
Today, Ridge Racer is known for both its beautiful graphics and its techno-heavy soundtrack, which was written by Shinji Hosoe. As an IGN article says, “It’s clear that Ridge Racer was one of PlayStation’s first big system pushers.”
Crash Team Racing (1999)
Crash Team Racing is a great game in the Crash Bandicoot series. It may be the best kart-racing game on the PlayStation. This is how it works: Crash Bandicoot and his friends race through each level to defeat Nitros Oxide. Nitros Oxide wants to destroy the planet if Crash wins. Fans of the game will be able to choose from any of the eight characters, which include Doctor Neo Cortex.
As you might expect from kart-racing games, offensive attacks and speed boosts are all over the five-player races, making for a chaotic and fun experience.
Gran Turismo 2 (1999)
The long-awaited follow-up to Gran Turismo had its share of glitches and errors when it first came out, but it still sold millions of copies. There were a lot of similarities between this game and its predecessor. The main difference was that you could compete in individual races instead of qualifying for them through tournaments.
The brakes also got a lot better to stop oversteering, and of course, the number of cars and the number of tracks in the Simulation mode got bigger. Whether or not it lived up to the hype of the first game in the series is a debate that can be had by people who play games often. Even so, Gran Turismo 2 was still a good game and one of the best in its genre.
Jet Moto 2 (1998)
Jet Moto 2 is the first game on this list of the best PS1 racing games of all time. What better way to start than with hover bikes?
A hover bike is something I’ve always wanted. I’m not going to lie about it. When I first saw Jet Moto 2, it was the closest I ever came to one (aside from Jet Moto 1, of course). It let me fly over land and sea on a sponsored bike that had no limits.
Like the next game on our list, Jet Moto 2 had a lot of great places. We’re going to talk about roller coasters, deserts, mountains, and more!
OK, so it’s not the most realistic of ideas, but it still looks great. Besides, when did we start playing video games because they were so real that we thought they were real?
Fans of the first Jet Moto will notice right away that this is a more difficult game than the first one. In this game, the computer is impossible to beat, so anyone who finished this game should get a medal for it.
Even though there aren’t as many people playing, there are faster frame rates and a better gaming experience with less lag and more zooming.
Let me tell you, this game isn’t Wipeout, but it’s still a great one!
Hydro Thunder (2000)
Hydro Thunder is 14th on this list of the best PS1 racing games of all time. It brings all the excitement and danger of games like F-Zero X and Fast RMX to the water.
This game has a lot of epic levels, and I need to talk about them right away. There are so many more places and things you can do when you can race on water.
There are a lot of things that make the tracks look bigger, and the unmanned boats (which aren’t dangerous at all) go so fast that players often fly through the air for a long time, boosting up ramps and spinning over things.
It’s possible for players to race across a flooded New York City, through mountains, and even around the Arctic Circle in this game.
Speedboats under the Aurora Borealis would be a great sight!
Hydro Thunder was a hit on every console, but it’s one of the best racing games I own for the PS1 that I own. It never fails to make me smile when I play with friends or play it in the Retro Dodo office. The extra content you can get should keep you busy for a long time.
Rollcage is coming up next, and fans of crazy racing games will be more than ready for it.
… That’s why you’re here, right?
I think this is one of the more interesting racing games out there. It starts with the fact that there are only six racers in each race. Each level has a little bit of an underground-grungy feel to it, and there are weapons that you can fire at your foes.
A lot of people like this game because it lets them drive up walls and keep going after they crash, which is good.
The first thing I should have said was that.
Yes, this game is very fast-paced. Even blasting someone into the air won’t stop them. There’s a surface you can drive on no matter which way you land, which keeps the game moving and unpredictable at all times.
There are a lot of fun cars to choose from, but the main idea of each one is the same. There are a lot of very detailed levels for a game that is 22 years old at the time this is being written.
If you play Rollcage, you know that the multiplayer mode is the best way to have fun with your friends. I’ve been able to settle a lot of fights with friends in the Rollcage arena (not a real thing), and I’ve also won a lot of games there.
This isn’t important right now.