25 Essential PSone classics revisited

Are your favourites as good as you remember?

Your memory can play tricks on you. Go back and you'll find the tree you climbed when you were seven wasn't taller than your house. Your faster-than-light urban cool BMX was actually a tacky piece of junk. And those incredible games you played on PSone, back in 1996? They were blocky and simple and rubbish.

Not then, of course. But they are now. Or... are they? By and large, dust down the majority of the PSN Store's 90-plus PSone titles and you're met with grim textures, basic control and a reason why the past is the past.

But there are a handful that, through great storytelling, sharp humour or exceptionally accomplished design, remain genuinely tempting propositions. Fact: PSN Classics are a minefield. Here's our quick guide to sorting the elderly from the ageless.

1. Metal Gear Solid
Release 1999 Price £7.99
Snake? Snake! Snaaaaa- Oh, there you are. Hideo Kojima's influential stealther still plays superbly. The gadget-heavy hide, seek and climb-in-a-box epic stretched PSone to its limits, if only for storage. Arguably, the necessity of limited resources was the mother of invention here, forcing Kojima into a (relatively) economical inventiveness he's never repeated. Age can't spoil atmosphere, tense action, amusing secrets and - most vital of all - fun

As good as you remember? Not as pretty as MGS4's retake, but still essential.

2. Final Fantasy VII
Release 1997 Price £7.99
This is proof you don't need Pixar-quality cutscenes and Hollywood voices to create emotional experiences. What does it here are the grand post-industrial setting, characters so engaging they're still inspiring 'tributes' on Deviantart, and cutscenes of an artfulness capable of producing actual tears. There's a key sword-to-the-solar-plexus moment in Final Fantasy VII that's routinely tagged as the saddest gaming moment ever, too, and it still works after all these years.

As good as you remember? Visuals are creaky, but it's still a classic RPG that you can lose yourself in for hours.

3. Command and Conquer Red Alert
Release 1997 Price £3.99
The best of the three C&C titles on the Store, and therefore the best real-time strategy too. The 'horde, build, conquer' approach is the same as the original, but with refined (read: usable) controls, plus factions from the real world - vodka-drenched Soviets riding over Eastern Europe to meet Western Allies.

As good as you remember? Its strategic core hasn't aged a bit, even if the 2D visuals are a bit pixelated.

4. Theme Hospital
Release 1998 Price £3.99
Management sims faded from popularity in the '90s as players demanded ever more frantic action. Nowadays however, they provide a welcome change of pace, and few were better than this. Rather than studiously tweaking chip-salt levels, as in Theme Park, you're curing ludicrous ailments such as Bloaty Head, Third Degree Sideburns and - ew - Heaped Piles.

As good as you remember? Colourful visuals still work, gameplay is still fast and fun.

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