10 Rarest PS1 Games You Should Probably Not Buy

$250 for a single video game feels like a lot.

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne

Between 1994 and roughly 2004 when production finally slowed right down, literally thousands of PS1 games were released — far too many for all of them to get their due. While we all hope prices in the retro gaming market come down to more reasonable numbers soon, the fact remains that rare titles for any console represent some of the most highly sought-after collector’s items in gaming. The original PlayStation is no exception, especially with the console entering its third decade and its games getting harder and harder to find out in the wild.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the rarest PS1 games of all time that might cost you more than a handful of Wumpa fruit to pick up.

 

10. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

JoJo PS1
JoJo PS1

Price Range: $250+

For many people, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure for the PS1 was their introduction to the deliriously strange (even by anime and manga standards) series by writer and illustrator Hirohiko Araki. Developed and published by Capcom, who published a staggering 60+ games during the PlayStation 1’s lifespan, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a straightforward 2D brawler that nevertheless features some of the most unusual characters the company ever committed to a fighting game, including a dog with a person’s face. Iggy’s a good boymandog, really.

An adaptation of the franchise’s arguably most popular arc, Stardust Crusaders, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was originally released to arcades but also got a  commendable PS1 port (alongside a much better Dreamcast version) that unfortunately got a little lost in the shuffle of the seemingly bottomless well of great PlayStation games that came out in 1999 alone. The game was later released digitally for a couple of storefronts, but was then delisted and hasn’t been seen since. That might go a long way towards explaining why the game is a holy grail item for many PS1 or even Capcom collectors.

 

9. Shadow Tower

Shadow Tower PS1
Shadow Tower PS1

Price Range: $300+

Shadow Tower is the sort of first-person dungeon crawler that they just don’t seem to make anymore. While not a particularly remarkable example of the genre, it’s a decent bit of fun for those who love nothing more than endless grimy walls, hellish monster fighting, and careful management of your ever-diminishing resources. Shadow Tower failed to make a big impression, with critics like PSX Nation writing in 1999 that the game “will likely be forgotten and deservedly so.”

This was unfortunate considering the developers FromSoftware had done relatively well with the similar King’s Field games, which were cult hits. Given the game’s lukewarm reception, and the fact that clearly there weren’t a lot of copies printed, it’s easy to see why Shadow Tower is almost impossible to bring out of the shadows these days.

 

8. Tail Concerto

Tail Concerto
Tail Concerto

Price Range: $350+

The utterly adorable Tail Concerto was a sure thing for furry friends who also liked giant mechs, with a 3D platforming game that bursts with personality, color, and charm.

The first game in the Little Tail Bronx series, Tail Concerto offered a degree of platformer challenge that made it a good fit for those seeking lighter or even family friendly fare in an era of games increasingly being rated for older teenagers or adults. Tail Concerto features anime cutscenes, a likable cast of characters, and really deserved to do better than it did upon release in 1998 and 1999.

Unfortunately, Tail Concerto might have just seemed a little too cutesy for all those badass PS1 players. It’s difficult to get your hands on a copy, as the game was yet another PlayStation 1 game that came and went in the veritable ocean of releases the console was seeing at this time.

 

7. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

Price Range: $380+

If you ask us, the real eternal punishment is this game! We’re kidding of course, as Persona 2: Eternal Punishment received rave reviews upon its release in the year 2000. A direct sequel to Persona 2: Innocent Sin, the game offered players a fascinating opportunity to experience a familiar story and characters from a wholly different perspective. At the same time, Eternal Punishment returned you to the task of navigating viciously complex dungeons, fighting demons, and potentially recruiting some of them to your cause through the game’s ingenious Demon Conversation System.

Persona 2 was an excellent continuation of a franchise we all know and love today, but at this point in time, the series was still something of a cult favorite. There just weren’t many copies in circulation, and today it’s a difficult find in the collector’s market.

 

6. The Misadventures of Tron Bonne

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne

Price Range: $450+

Somewhere in the multiverse is the timeline where the entire Mega Man Legends franchise spawned more than just the three wonderful games we got.

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne was released in 1999 as a spinoff of the Legends series, offering effectively the same sort of action platformer experience as those games. Players control the cheerful young criminal Tron Bonne in her bid to plunder enough loot to save her siblings and clear her family’s debt for good, and you can expect a game loaded with cute visuals, varied-if-much-too-short gameplay, and a sense of humor that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t seem to have sold especially well. If you absolutely insist on playing The Misadventures of Tron Bonne with original software, you’re in for a challenge for your accountant.

 

5. Rayman 2: The Great Escape (Watch Bundle)

Rayman 2 Watch PS1
Rayman 2 Watch PS1

Price Range: $500+

Dammit, Rayman, why do you insist on hurting us like this?! All we want to do is get our aging hands on the Watch Bundle Edition of your very good PS1 sequel Rayman 2: The Great Escape to truly feel happiness. Right?

This excellent 2000 sequel got released to a bunch of different consoles, and the PlayStation 1 version is basically as fun as any of them. This is a game you can get for far less than it originally cost on almost any console of the era, if you aren’t particularly picky about which physical version of this game you have.

However, if you want the Watch Bundle edition of Rayman 2: The Great Escape, you’re going to be waiting for a copy just to show up. Let alone one that’s completely new and unopened in the box. If you do come across one with the rather fetching watch inside, act fast, or you’ll be as depressed as anyone who tries to 100% these games without going completely mad.

 

4. Starblade Alpha (Longbox)

Starblade Alpha (Longbox)
Starblade Alpha (Longbox)

Price Range: $550+

Released in 1991 for arcades, Starblade Alpha was a solid commercial and critical success for Namco. Not surprisingly, it received a number of ports, including the Sega CD and PS1, and as recently as the PS3 and PS Vita in 2014. Reviews of these ports vary but are generally positive, with the PS1 edition of the game faring just a little bit better than the Sega CD release. How is it? While nothing particularly special, Starblade Alpha is still an enjoyable 3D rail shooter, and can be seen as an early influence on future games like Star Fox.

And if you want the PS1 longbox edition of Starblade Alpha, you’re going to be shelling out over US$1,000 for a brand-new copy. A copy that’s simply CIB is relatively more manageable, but if you enjoyed Long Dennis and want more long things, don’t wait too long.

 

3. Mortal Kombat 3 (Jewel Case)

Mortal Kombat 3 (Jewel Case)
Mortal Kombat 3 (Jewel Case)

Price Range: $500-$2,500+

Mortal Kombat 3 would be the last time the franchise would utilize mo-cap digitized graphics for its characters, and so for some MK 3 represents the end of an era. While the game received plenty of praise and commercial success, it was also criticized for omitting characters like Scorpion, among other issues. These problems were later addressed with Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, but Mortal Kombat 3 is today generally seen as a pretty good entry.

Whether you play Ultimate or the original version, getting your hands on a physical copy of Mortal Kombat 3 isn’t difficult or prohibitively expensive. The problem comes down to finding a PS1 copy of the game in good condition in a jewel case. Fascinatingly, even though long box PS1 games can be stupid expensive, Mortal Kombat 3 is rare because of the low print jewel case versions that came out after the long boxes.

Even a loose copy goes of this version goes for 100s of dollars these days, with a brand-new CIB edition selling for $2,500 or more.

 

2. Syphon Filter 3 (9/11 Edition)

Syphon Filter PS1
Syphon Filter PS1

Price Range: $1,000+

Everyone can relax, because the “9/11” edition of Syphon Filter 3 for the original PlayStation isn’t nearly as spicy as it sounds. The controversy is pretty straightforward.

Originally slated for release on September 25th, 2001, the game made its way to a few retailers, but was pulled almost immediately after the events of September 11th. This was merely a case of Sony playing it particularly safe by removing potentially offensive items, including an American flag, references to terrorism, and anything else that could be linked to the tragedy and its nightmarish aftermath.

As for the game itself, it’s a satisfying continuation of the beloved series. You can even play the third entry in the franchise on PS5, if you fancy a bit of upscaled stealth. But if you want this extremely rare physical edition, you’re going to be searching for a while.

 

1. NFL Blitz 2000 (Greatest Hits)

NFL Blitz 2000 (Greatest Hits)
NFL Blitz 2000 (Greatest Hits)

Price Range: $2,500+

No, we’re not messing with you. This is the rarest PS1 game in at least the west for the simple fact that very, very few copies under the PS1’s Greatest Hits banner were ever released. You can find the game for Dreamcast, N64, and in its original PS1 release form without too much issue. This arcade-style football game in itself is not particularly rare.

But if you find the game with the greatest hits packaging for less than a thousand dollars, you’ve hit the jackpot. For true PS1 completionists, this is the holy grail of hard-to-find PS1 games. No other PS1 variant even comes close, and keep in mind there’s nothing different about this version over the initial PlayStation 1 release. It just happens to have exceedingly rare, exceedingly gaudy packaging. This version is so rare that only one has sold in the last year, and there are zero currently listed on eBay.

As for the game itself, it’s no Madden 08, but it’s about as good as Dragon’s Dogma 2. Apparently.

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