When it comes to the original PlayStation, Insomniac Games is best known for its Spyro the Dragon trilogy but before creating an unofficial purple dragon mascot for Sony, there was Disruptor. Released in 1996, Disruptor predated GoldenEye 64 and proved that the Nintendo 64 wasn’t the only console that could pull off a competent first-person shooter at the time. While it did little to set itself apart from other corridor shooters of the era in terms of shooting mechanics, Disruptor did give players access to a variety of “Psionic” powers to help give them an edge in combat, such as healing and a blast attack.
One can see the genesis of Insomniac’s later Ratchet & Clank games in Disruptor’s design fundamentals, as the game featured impressive visuals (at least for a console FPS in 1996) and a wide array of unique weaponry. Still, despite its reputation as one of the PS1’s best shooters, Disruptor tends to get overlooked because of Insomniac’s success with the Spyro games. Even though it’s hard to go back and play it today due to how far FPS design has come in the last twenty years, Disruptor is a gem worth seeking out, especially for fans of Insomniac’s later work.
13. Motor Toon Grand Prix
Before redefining the racing genre with Gran Turismo, game designer Kazunori Yamauchi worked on a very different kind of racing game — the early PlayStation release Motor Toon Grand Prix. A cartoony racer in the vein of Mario Kart, Motor Toon has the expected speed boost and weapon power-ups you’d expect but was also a surprisingly technical for a game featuring characters with names like Billy the Tough and the Penguin Bros.
In a 1995 interview with Next Generation magazine, Yamauchi explained that team’s goal was to create a realistic driving simulation that wouldn’t get in the way of the game’s enjoyment. “Basically we’re not trying to fake reality,” Yamauchi said. “I’d rather create the sensation of handling a remote control car but with the kind of dynamics that you’d expect from a real car.”
In fact, Motor Toon’s vehicles actually have realistic suspensions, which comes as a bit of a surprise given that many of them are anthropomorphized cars that look like early mock-ups for Pixar’s Cars franchise. Whether you’re a fan of kart racers or Yamauchi’s work on the Gran Turismo series, Motor Toon Grand Prix is an early PlayStation curiosity that is well worth taking for a spin.