The 20 Best Retro Games for PS5

Image credit: SNK

Retro is a term that can define many games. This word is often used to label old games, like those from the 16-bit era and before. Yet, retro is also a term that many people use to describe modern games that look like older titles.

Gamers who lived through the NES and SNES era, including myself, have a deep appreciation for platformers, pixel art, and other common characteristics of games from decades ago. However, we already have a list of the best pixel art games for PS5. For that reason, this article will focus on actual retro games — those that are at least two decades old.

Unfortunately, there aren’t that many actual retro games available on the PlayStation 5. Still, if you look for them enough, you might be able to find a few lost pearls. Fortunately, companies such as Capcom and SNK usually rerelease their older games. Most of these old games are available for PS4 and, therefore, for PS5 as well. That being said, from the twentieth to the first, here are the best retro games on PlayStation 5.

Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man

For most people, Pac-Man needs no introduction. However, if for some reason you don’t know what it is, Pac-Man is a classic video game series made by Namco. It usually features the classic yellow guy who has been frequently referenced in pop culture since it first appeared in an arcade machine. There’s also a game in which the main character is Ms. Pac-Man, but it plays pretty much the same way.

The main goal of the majority of the games in the series is to navigate a maze while dodging four ghosts called Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. You do that while eating dots, power points, and fruits. Although bumping into a ghost usually means game over, you can also eat them if Pac-Man eats a Power Pellet.

Due to its absence of violence and simple rules, Pac-Man would eventually become immensely popular. Unlike many other games from its time, it didn’t feature dozens of ships, sci-fi elements, or some sort of combat in general. It’s just this head moving around and eating everything in its way. The straightforward concept was very inviting, but now you get to play it on your PlayStation 5 without spending your coins on each attempt.

Quake

You may now play the original, authentic version of Quake with widescreen resolution and compatibility for up to 4K. It also has improved models, vibrant, dynamic lighting, immersive, and a bunch of other enhancements that make this game feel much better. On top of all that, two of the game’s original expansion packs and two of MachineGames’ expansions are also included in this edition.

In Quake, you play as the Ranger, a warrior armed with fearsome weapons. You will fight against a horde of wicked creatures, warped ogres, and corrupted knights. While searching for four magical runes, you will traverse four ominous realms where you will find Gothic cathedrals, ancient medieval castles, lava-filled dungeons, and even infested military bases. Once the runes are gathered, you will be able to destroy the ancient evil that threatens all of humanity.

This Quake version, however, offers more than just the primary game. You can enhance your Quake experience on your PS5 by using a variety of free official and fan-made mods while you play it. You should expect more mods for Quake over time since you have both the developers and fans working on many cool projects that present fresh ways to enjoy the game.

Doom

I would’ve never thought I would, at some point, be able to play Doom on my PlayStation 5. This game is a timeless, challenging, and brutally entertaining shooter. In the single-player story, you will destroy hordes of demons in the depths of Hell. There are also some multiplayer modes in which you can compete against friends. In the single-player story, you will destroy hordes of demons in the depths of Hell. 

Doom has a very noticeable theme reflected in its plot and brutal gameplay. It knows what it is, a game about moving forward and shooting demons. When it comes to a Doom game, you will find all the staples of the franchise. It has destructive weaponry, ferocious monsters, and intense first-person combat. To take down and tear apart demons in violent and inventive ways, you have to play smart and use the greatest guns you can find. 

In this version of the game, you will be combining your armory of iconic and futuristic weapons with a new melee combat system. This version of Doom also comes with the Doom SnapMap editor. With it, you can quickly create, play, and share your own material with the world while expanding your game experience.

Strider

In 1989, Capcom launched Strider, a hack-and-slash platform game. Originally, in the Japanese arcades, the game was released under the name Strider Hiryu. Strider takes place in a dark futuristic world and features a variety of stages that heavily influence gameplay. The game was born from a collaboration between manga publisher Moto Kikaku and Capcom.

Strider Hiryu made his video game debut following his introduction in the 1988 manga Strider Hiryu. The game first appeared on Capcom’s arcade board, the CP System. In 1989, Tiertex created a number of home computer ports that U.S. Gold released. This character became so popular that it would receive different games and appear as a guest character in other titles. He shows up in Marvel vs. Capcom, and Street Fighter V shows Zeku wearing an outfit reminiscent of Strider Hiryu.

This game is now available via Capcom Arcade Stadium, and you can play it from your couch. This is great to appreciate the game without worrying too much. Strider could easily take all your quarters until you’ve learned the location and timing of all the presented threads. Thanks to the success of Strider in the arcades and home consoles, we even got a modern version of the Strider Hiryu in Metroidvania Style. This new game, called Strider, is also one of the best Metroidvania games for PS5.

Flashback: The Quest for Identity

Flashback takes place in 2142. In this game, the renowned scientist Conrad B. Hart wakes up on Titan, a colonized moon of Saturn, after escaping from a spaceship. Unfortunately, he is afflicted with amnesia and is still being pursued by his captors. Besides avoiding the kidnappers, Conrad must navigate his way back to Earth while fighting off threats and dismantling a cunning extraterrestrial scheme that endangers the planet.

One of the top 100 video games of all time, Flashback is a timeless classic. Undoubtedly, it was among the best games available of its time. Flashback was among the earliest video games to employ motion capture technology for more lifelike animations. This fantastic title also features beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds and a compelling science-fiction plot.

In addition to being a great video game, Flashback was a significant turning point. It contributed significantly to the Sci-Fi platform genre, being one of the most relevant titles to the evolution of video games back in the day. 

Unfortunately, at least by modern standards, Flashback is far from perfect. In fact, Flashback is clearly a product of its time. That means you should expect clumsy controls, leaps of faith, and combat that can sometimes feel unjust. However, none of those things take away from the fact it is one of the best retro games available on PS5.

Blazing Star

This is the proof that SNK was so much more than The King of Fighters. Blazing Star, one of the best Shoot ’em Up video games ever, was developed by Yumekobo and published by SNK in 1998 for Neo Geo arcade and home systems.

The game is Pulstar’s spiritual successor. However, it presents better graphics, fantastic boss designs, and ships with different strengths and weaknesses. It also has a charge mechanic that allows your spaceship to shoot a special attack after holding its fire for a while. This title is a classic. Although it wasn’t that well-received by critics at first, Blazing Star was a visual spectacle that would only gain popularity over time.

Even if you don’t know anything about the genre, this game is unique and enjoyable. The first stages are difficult enough to help you grasp the basics and show you how this game is meant to be played. However, there is a significant difficulty bump after them. With a two-button control system and an intuitive power-up system, Blazing Star was able to simplify the genre without compromising depth.

Final Fight

The year 1989 marked the start of a new franchise. Final Fight quickly became a successful game, and its characters would even make their way into the world of Street Fighter. Final Fight, which is set in the fictional Metro City, tells the tale of a band of brave vigilantes who battle against criminal groups that corrupt the city. The first game is mainly about rescuing the Mayor’s daughter. The characters are Haggar, the Mayor himself, and his daughter’s friends, Cody and Guy.

The first Final Fight is not the best game of the genre, and it shows its age, but its concept and graphics were quite interesting back in the day. Not only that, even though the genre evolved and produced mechanically interesting games, Final Fight still is fun to play. Each character has a different playstyle. Guy is the fast ninja, Haggar is a muscular powerhouse, and Cody is somewhere in between.

This game was so influential that the arcades would soon be infested with many similar titles. Home consoles would also get into the competition. For instance, the amazing Streets of Rage would never have come to be if it wasn’t for Final Fight’s success. You can play Final Fight via Capcom Arcade Stadium, which has a few extra features not existent in the original arcade version.

Ikaruga

Ikaruga is a vertical Shoot ’em Up that features unique polarity-switching gameplay. This game is undoubtedly one of the best bullet hell games ever made, and it is fantastic to play it again from my couch. The one thing I love the most about Ikaruga is its polarity system. In it, you get to absorb enemy bullets as long as you switch to the proper polarity. This system allows you to fly through a bullet hell that would destroy your ship, but it also forces you to pay attention to your current state and the enemy bullet’s polarity.

All enemies and bullets in this game are either black or white, and you can change the polarity of your ship at any time. This is the game’s way of communicating what is happening since your ship can absorb enemy bullets of the same polarity. Once you’ve filled your energy supply with absorbed bullets, you can use potent homing lasers. 

Although this game is very exciting to play alone, Ikaruga also has a local two-player mode. That way, you can share this experience with another Shoot ’em Up lover. Ikaruga has three difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard. Because of its tactical level design and creative boss battles, the game forces you to consider the best approach to each stage and difficulty level. 

Cyberbots – Fullmetal Madness

Although it might not be one of the best games of its genre for PS5, it is certainly one of the greatest of its time. Cyberbots – Fullmetal Madness is available for PS5 through Capcom Arcade Stadium. It’s a fighting game in which players control giant robots that duel and perform special moves and combos on one another. This game was revolutionary in many different ways. For instance, the sprite work for Cyberbots is insanely good. This is something that only Capcom could have made real back in the day.

Cyberbots is a spin-off game. The robots and concepts presented first appeared in Armored Warriors, a Beat ’em Up game in which players pilot the same kind of giant robots that you see in Cyberbots. Much like the Armored Warriors series, players can mix and match different legs, arms, and weapons between the available robots. Each part of your selected robot influences its movements, speed, reach, and attacks. 

Cyberbots’ gameplay is comparable to that of other fighting games developed by Capcom. Each robot has access to a moderately sized command list for various special and normal attacks. Every time a robot hits an opponent or the attack buttons are pressed simultaneously, an energy gauge is charged. That gauge can be used to perform a “super special” when it’s full.

Metal Slug 3

Generally speaking, Metal Slug as a series is a masterpiece, and Metal Slug 3 is often considered the best of the franchise. Millions of fans all across the world still find Metal Slug a fun and relevant title today. Metal Slug 3 is one of SNK’s most iconic 2D Shoot ’em Up titles. It managed to keep everything that was good about the franchise from older games and improve upon it. 

The game’s stunning sprite artwork and straightforward game controls were crucial to its arcade popularity. We retro game enthusiasts can now play it from the comfort of our couches thanks to SNK’s PS5 port of the game. Now you can use your dual sense to progress through multi-path challenges that let you explore intriguing places.

One of Metal Slug 3’s most intriguing elements is the branching path system. The player must select one of several forking roads from which to proceed in most missions. Each path has its own obstacles and ranges in length and difficulty. Every option ultimately leads to the same final encounter. However, players may come across different tools depending on the path taken. Some paths might also have more power-ups, while others can have fewer enemies to fight. There’s a lot of player choice involved in Metal Slug 3.

The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match

The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match is a revised version of the game with rollback netcode and characters that weren’t in the original game. Eiji Kisaragi, Kasumi Todoh, Geese Howard, Mr. Big, and Wolfgang Krauser are just a few of the 64 playable characters that are included in it. There are also alternative versions of a bunch of characters, such as Robert, Terry, and the New Faces Team.

This version brings with it a number of system improvements as well as visual enhancements like brand-new stage backgrounds. It even comes with the option to switch between 2D and 3D stages. You also have a gallery mode and other forms of content in it. The game’s audio includes vintage voiceovers and a remixed soundtrack with orchestral arrangements.

This was the first Dream Match game associated with The King of Fighters. For that reason, developers went crazy adding characters that wouldn’t ever meet due to plot issues. That, combined with a refined gameplay that is reminiscent of The King of Fighters ’97, made KOF98 one of the best games of the franchise and one of the best fighting games of its time. This version of the game also has rollback netcode, which allows you to enjoy this game online without headaches, making it one of the best SNK games for PlayStation 5.

Mega Man X Legacy Collection

In the Megaman X series, you play as X, the formidable successor to the iconic blue bomber known as Mega Man. Much like his successor, X faces off lethal adversaries known as Mavericks. Its X’s mission is to keep the peace between sentient robots, known as reploids, and humans. There is no average game in Megaman X Collection since each of them is good and has something to offer. You get the first three games, which are 16-bit adventures, and Mega Man X 4, the first 32-bit game of the franchise.

X, the Maverick Hunter, gains strength by eliminating Mavericks and stealing their weapons, much like the little Mega Man. However, he has many new features, such as a dash and wall jump. These new abilities make the stages much bigger. As a consequence, the games feel much faster and more frantic than what you’d see in a usual Mega Man game. X can also collect armor parts that make him even more powerful, granting him special skills such as a more powerful charge shot or the ability to dash in the air.

Mega Man X Collection is not just a single excellent retro game; it’s four. Each game in this collection could have made it to this list alone, so there is no way I could leave this title out of it. This collection has some of the best games this franchise has to offer, which is why having four of the best Mega Man X games in a single package is such a great deal.

Final Fantasy VIII

This was the second Final Fantasy to use science fiction elements and modern looks in the series. Although this is many people’s favorite game of the franchise, I dare to say it fails to be as good as games like Final Fantasy VI or VII. Either way, Squall still is a memorable character for his innovative gunblade weapon.

Final Fantasy VIII happens in a time of war.

 Under the control of the sorceress Edea, the Republic of Galbadia prepares to wage war on the other countries of the world with its sizable army. As a consequence, a rebel warrior named Rinoa teams up with Squall and the group of Elite mercenaries named SeeD. By resisting Galbadia’s oppressive rule, this alliance seeks to prevent Edea from reaching her ultimate objective.

This game was innovative in its systems. For instance, it doesn’t use Magic Points for spell casting and summoning. Not only that, the spells that you have might influence your stats as well. On top of that, Final Fantasy VIII has a very interesting card mini-game that you can play throughout the story in many different areas. It might not be one of the best Japanese games for PS5, but it certainly is one of the best retro ones.

ACA NeoGeo Shock Troopers

The Shoot ’em Up known as Shock Troopers was released by SNK in 1997. Players take part in a rescue mission for Dr. George and his granddaughter, who were abducted by the sinister Bloody Scorpion organization. One of the most complimented characteristics of this game is the branching paths feature. Players can choose their own path through the game’s progression, which increases the game’s replay value.

Players must go through seven stages, each ending in a boss battle. The weaponry can be shot in all eight directions, although strafing is possible by holding down the fire button. Items like point boosts, weapon upgrades, and life can be obtained by attacking an adversary while they are close to you.

In Shock Troopers, each character has unique qualities that set them apart. While some may move more efficiently, others may begin with higher life totals. Besides that, each soldier is also equipped with a special weapon. Much like any SNK Arcade game, you have eight directions and four buttons. The A, B, C, and D buttons are used to switch characters, do evasive maneuvers, use the player’s special weapon, and move in eight directions while using the joystick.

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

The SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, which includes 24 different retro games from the 1980s, is the ultimate collection of vintage arcade games from SNK’s arcade prime. Not only does it have a bunch of great games, but it also comes with many extra features like watch mode and rewind for the most pleasing possible arcade experience on your Playstation 5.

This selection of classic SNK games is unquestionably good. Just keep in mind that the polish of the games in this compilation won’t be as high as that of some of the later 90s and early 2000s SNK releases, such as Metal Slug, Shock Troopers, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and King of Fighters.

This collection will please any fans of old SNK games. Among the 24 games available, you will find Alpha Mission, Ikari Warriors, Prehistoric Isle, Psycho Soldier, Street Smart, Chopper I, Fantasy, and many others. If you know what you are going for and miss those old SNK titles, I believe this collection will scratch your arcade itch.

ACA NeoGeo Sengoku 3

The side-scrolling action game, SENGOKU 3, was released by SNK in 2001. This old-school Beat ’em Up game implemented new combo mechanics and special moves. The sprite work is very impressive. I’m pretty sure that Sengoku 3 would easily pass as a retrocade game decades after it was released.

In this game, you play as one of the Shinobi that battle the dead all around the world to exterminate evil spirits. Each available character has significantly different special moves, adding a lot of replayability to the game. Much like other Beat ’em Up games, you can cut, smash, toss, and utilize weapons in addition to your special moves and Ultimate Ninja Arts.

Thanks to ACA NeoGeo’s version of the game, players can adjust the game’s difficulty and the arcade’s display settings and mood at any moment. Since the scores are not kept only in your console, players can also compete against one another globally. Now you get to enjoy the masterpiece on your PlayStation 5. Sengoku 3 lifted to a much higher level and influenced the more mechanically complex Beat ’em Up games that came after it.

Powered Gear

Powered Gear – Strategic Variant Armor Equipment is the name received by this game in its US release. However, most people know it by its original name, Armored Warriors. This game is one of Capcom’s best-looking and most interesting Beat ’em Ups for so many reasons. The sprite work is insanely detailed. Players and enemies are all controlling gigantic metal machines, and it is astonishing to see how the artists convey weight and details while keeping Capcom’s cartoonish style.

When it comes to gameplay, this game is way beyond older Beat ’em Ups. The ability for users to add a wide variety of different pieces to their mechs to customize their attacks is Armored Warriors’ most notable feature. This idea was so interesting that it returned in Capcom’s Cyberbots, a fighting game that takes place in the same universe as Armored Warriors.

These parts were acquired by damaging foes, resulting in various enemy parts falling down from their robots. When that was the case, the players could pick up those parts to use them. Hands-held weapons, arms, and other parts of the mech could all be exchanged as you advance in the game. Each piece could significantly change something about your chosen robot. For instance, a claw for a hand would allow you to grab enemies, and jets for legs would change how your robot moves.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Garou: Mark of the Wolves came out in 1999, and it still is one of the best games I’ve ever played. This game is a timeless masterpiece, which is why it’s also one of the best fighting games for PlayStation 5. Garou was SNK’s response to Street Fighter III, and it was initially made for the Neo Geo system. This is the eighth installment of the Fatal Fury series. Ten years have passed since Geese Howard’s passing in Real Bout Fatal Fury when 

This game was able to do something that many people didn’t think to be possible. Garou: Mark of the Wolves managed to make a successful new fighting game with mostly new characters. Even Terry, the only recognizable face from the Fatal Fury series, had his looks completely redesigned. There was a lot of love put into the new characters of this game, and players embraced them all. Through Garou, SNK gave us Tizoc, Rock, Gato, Hotaru, Marco, and others that would become fan favorites of the franchise.

The animations in this game are something else, but they had to be. Street Fighter III had some of the most impressive 2D artwork of its time. The game feels great and plays very well too. This port runs smoothly on the PlayStation 5 and has many pleasant surprises. For instance, the game has a training mode and can be played online. To make it even better, it has a very impressive rollback netcode.

Street Fighter 30th: Anniversary Collection

Street Fighter 30th: Anniversary Collection is a celebration of the legendary history of the franchise. It’s the ideal way to play arcade Street Fighter games on a console. This vast collection of 12 Street Fighter games includes Street Fighter I, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, and the Street Fighter Alpha series. 

The four most iconic Street Fighter games in this collection may be played online in Arcade mode to recreate the arcade experience. In addition, you can play with friends in the online lobby. Rest assured that your online experience will be good. Street Fighter 30th: Anniversary Collection uses rollback netcode for its online matches, and the netcode’s execution is pretty good.

This collection is impressive. It’s a great deal for fans of arcade games and fighting games in general. Not only do you get 12 different Street Fighter arcade games to play on your home console, but you also have a way to play four of them online. It’s a lot of content for a single title, and it is definitely worth it for fans of the genre.

Final Fantasy VII

The original Final Fantasy VII came out in 1997 and still is one of the best JRPGs ever made. In this game, everything on the globe receives life from the lifestream, which is the planet’s lifeforce. They refer to the lifestream as Mako when it goes through a process to become electric energy for cities and machinery. 

The Shinra Electric Power Company, a world-dominating megacorporation with its headquarters in the city of Midgar, is draining the Planet’s Lifestream in Final Fantasy VII, causing it to die. The game starts with the main characters trying to attack the Shinra Corporation. However, what begins as an attempt to stop a titanic company soon becomes a fight to save the entire world.

This game is very dear to so many people. It was the first time Final Fantasy to use over-the-top science fiction elements. In many ways, this game is a science fantasy. It’s also somewhat innovative by mixing sci-fi and magic, giving it personality and making it stand out. Final Fantasy VII was so popular that it received numerous spin-off games, including Final Fantasy VII Remake, one of the best Japanese games on Steam.

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