MJR Extras – Midnight Club II running on the PS2 via the HDRetrovision component cables.
MJR Extras – Midnight Club II running on the PS2 via the HDRetrovision component cables.
The PlayStation 2 had some amazing games released on it back in the day. It is hard to believe that this year the console will turn 20 years old! In this video, I take a look at some good games the PS2 library offered and show you why the games I selected might be worth replaying. Which of the games shown was your favorite?
Masters of the Universe: He-Man: Defender of Grayskull
1945 I&II: The Arcade Games
Space Invaders: Invasion Day
Agent Hugo Lemoon Twist
Evil Twin: Cyprien’s Chronicles
Little Britain – The Video Game
With over 1,800 games released for the PS2, there are lots of Hidden Gems to discover and here are 10 more:
PS2 Games Shown:
Seek and Destroy
Asterix & Obelix: Kick Buttix
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION (ENGLISH)
– [Metal Jesus] Hey guys, Metal Jesus here. Now, over the years I’ve released four PS2 Hidden Gems videos and let’s be honest, with over 1,800 games released for the PS2, it’s no wonder I keep finding more. So with that in mind, here are 10 more PS2 hidden gems you might wanna add to your collection. All right guys, let’s go ahead and get started with a game called Seek and Destroy. So, this is part of the Choro-Q, Penny Racers, franchise. At least, Choro-Q is what it’s called in Japan, but we over here in the States know it as the Penny Racers franchise. And basically, instead of this being a RPG based around cars, as you can see by the footage here, this one is based around tanks. Yes, you heard that correctly. When I said a tank RPG, I really mean it. I mean, this game is like a lot of other RPGs where here you get to talk to NPCs, you’ll get missions from them, there’s a big world to explore as well as smaller towns to discover. You’ll cruise around those towns and you’ll shop for equipment, it’s a crazy game. As you win battles, you’ll also get new tanks with different stats and then you can customize pretty much every aspect of it. For instance, here you’ll see I’ve equipped missiles and a machine gun on my tank as well as I’ve customized the camouflage. And then once you’ve gathered up enough money you can upgrade the engine, you can add radar, and a lot more. What’s weird about the series is that it’s characters are not pilots on the inside of those tanks, but instead the tanks themselves are the characters. It kinda reminds me of the Pixar movie Cars. As you can see here, the graphics definitely don’t look that good, but the environments are pretty much destructible, which makes blowing up stuff really fun. This is definitely a really interesting game, I mean, it takes itself pretty seriously, but it’s also really fun. There’s also a decent challenge to be had here if you’re looking for it. I would say if you end up liking this game, definitely check out Road Trip, also on the Playstation 2. Same universe, same franchise, but just with cars.
Next up, we have Extermination. This is a survival-horror game that is exclusive to the Playstation 2. In this game, you play as a special forces soldier sent to a secret military base in the Antarctic, where you quickly learn that a virus outbreak has occurred and is wreaking all sorts of havoc. Right off the bat, I feel like this game is a mix of say, Siphon Filter with obviously Resident Evil and maybe even a little Half-Life with its Black Mesa-like environments. However, it has a fixed camera, which definitely feels a little dated and frustrating because you can’t really control it. But I guess that kinda plays into the tension of the whole survival-horror gameplay thing, just not my favorite. However, it compensates for that a little bit because it has a lock-on ability with your rifle. I mean, that definitely helps kill enemies, especially when so many of them are kinda wiggling around the level and the camera isn’t always showing you what you need to see. Thankfully, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome, as it’ll only take you about six or seven hours to complete. Now, I’ve seen this game for sale for as low as $10 for a complete copy, so if you’re a fan of survival-horror games and looking for something new, definitely check it out.
Next up is Nitro Bike, published by Ubisoft. So here is an arcade racing game that really flew under the radar of almost everybody like me, who loves these kind of games. This was developed by Left Field Productions, which also made Excitebike 64 for, obviously, the N64 and there also was a version that came out for the Wii. And as you can see by the footage, this is an arcade dirt bike racing game that controls and feels very similar to Excite Truck, also on the Wii. If you played that game, you know how much fun it is and this is definitely like that too. I mean, right off the bat you’re gonna notice there is just an insane sense of speed here, especially when boosting. I like how the perspective stretches, almost like you’re warping and bending time. It’s a cool effect, especially for long stretches of the track. There’s also a bit of a trick system and it feels very similar to SSX or Tony Hawk, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although here it’s definitely less complex. Now as you guys know, I’m a big arcade racing fan and I like to find these lesser-known games that have their own look and feel. This is a surprisingly fun game, so if you like dirt bikes and over-the-top action, this is highly recommended.
Dual Hearts, this is an action RPG that is exclusive to the Playstation 2. This game came out around the same time as another popular action RPG. That is the original Kingdom Hearts and therefore I think it kinda unfairly got overlooked and I get it, it’s hard to compete with Disney and Squaresoft characters. In this RPG, you wander around Sonno Island in search of a legendary dream stone. What that means is that you enter people’s dreams to look for lost keys, treasures, and other items to move the plot along. And as you can see by this footage, gameplay is often compared to say, Super Mario 64 or the 3D Zelda games, but the dream concept really reminds me of Psychonauts. Like other action RPGs, in this game you have two main attacks and you can charge up those attacks by holding down the button a little bit longer. Now that’s used both in combat and also in puzzle-solving. You can also jump on that weird, pig-like companion there. That’ll give you the ability to jump even further or do different styles of attacks, again which is used in combat and also in puzzle-solving. Now, I’m not gonna lie, boss battles can be a bit on the challenging side, even a little frustrating, but there’s plenty of other gameplay to be found here, too. It’s gonna take you about 20-plus hours to get through the game and there’s a lot more to discover if you wish. Is it as good as Kingdom Hearts? Of course not, but fans of the action RPG genre should definitely give the game a chance.
Oh boy, here we go, this is Space Chimps. And I know some of you are looking at this going what the heck? Have I lost my mind? Well admittedly, this came out on a number of other consoles because at the time, this movie was expected to do better than it did, but it basically bombed. I mean, I barely remember this movie was a thing, so obviously it was pretty forgettable at the time, but this is a surprisingly well-made 3D platforming game. I mean, it’s way better than you would expect for a licensed movie game. 3D platforming games live and die by the controls and thankfully the controls in Space Chimp here are very intuitive and gamers that are used to playing Ratchet & Clank are gonna feel right at home. Now in my mind, it’s really the level design that really stands out. I mean, it’s full of really interesting things to find and discover. Now, I particularly like that some of the platforms tend to kinda move around, making timing your jumps all that more challenging. Now admittedly, on the Playstation 2, the graphics are a little choppy with some frame rates kind of dipping here and there, but honestly it’s nothing that should hinder your enjoyment. Now be warned, this is not a very challenging game overall and it’s got some pretty brain-dead enemy AI. Also, it’s a little bit on the short side. But it’s way better than the movie it’s based on and it’s definitely a hidden gem.
Here’s a game that I originally reviewed back when it was new and it blew me away then. So this is one of the first cover-based shooters that I certainly ever played, and like I said, I was very impressed with it. So it’s really exciting to go back and re-play it for this video. Now, I know what you’re gonna say. This looks really generic and I would have to say that the level design is somewhat on the generic side, but don’t let that fool you, ’cause this is all designed for big battles and lots of strategy. So again, the big selling point for Kill Switch was its cover-based shooting. And maybe other games came out that tried to do it before, but this was the game that really tried to perfect it, and I like how it just uses the L1 button to make you stick to walls. I kinda feel like this has been lost on newer cover-based shooters where they try and guess if you actually wanna hide or not, sometimes leading to kind of frustrations like in games like Uncharted. I mean, Uncharted’s great, but this one it’s very precise, it’s very clear, and it works very well. And again, despite fairly generic level design, it’s still really exciting to kinda work your way slowly through a level taking cover and just trying to survive. I mean, I have to say this game is still really fun to play even today. It’s a really cool game. If you haven’t checked it out, usually you can get it pretty cheap, so definitely pick up Kill Switch.
HyperSonic.Xtreme, oh yeah baby, you know it’s great when it’s got the Xtreme in the title. Maybe to no one’s surprise, HyperSonic.Xtreme was released as a budget title. This futuristic racing game is immediately going to be compared to say, the Wipeout or F-Zero series, and it definitely takes a lotta inspiration from both of those, but I feel like for the better. Like those classic games, you control a hovercar as you glide across these futuristic landscapes, and also like those games, you use the shoulder buttons to control your turn. It allows you to kind of glide around corners with a little bit more control and that’s definitely the key to winning races. Also, jumps are a big part of this game, so knowing when to boost off big jumps will determine whether you’re gonna come in first or last. There’s also a really track level editor that is very intuitive to use. You see me using it here and again, you don’t have to have any experience creating tracks to just have a lot of fun with this, create something really wacky. Now obviously, there are a ton of games that kind of tap into this F-Zero-like style, but I’ve seen this game sell for as little as $5 used, and for that price you can’t really go wrong, especially if you like these type of racing games.
Here is a game so man people told me about and I finally got a copy, that is Asterix & Obelix: Kick Buttix. And as you can see from this footage, it is a 3D action-platformer/beat-’em-up game based on popular comic characters. So the game takes place in about 50 BC, where two friends from a village are trying to push back a Roman occupation. Now, it may not look like it, but this is quite possibly the best game in this video and it’s certainly one of the most fun and polished. You primarily play as Asterix, but you do switch over to Obelix when a little more muscle is needed. And let’s not forget that you have a little dog that can be commanded to bite the butt of an enemy to help distract them. It’s hilarious and very handy if they have a shield and you need to like temporarily distract them when you open them up for an opportunity for attack. So like I mentioned, it’s a 3D platformer, which is to be expected but again, it’s very much a beat-’em-up, so you’ll be spending a lot of time taking out Romans of all different styles and different attack methods. Again, sometimes you have to switch between characters, you have to use your dog to distract them, it’s pretty cool. You’ll also spend some time puzzle solving, like say to get a door open so that you can move on to the next level. It’s really fast-paced gameplay, the controls are excellent. Like I said, it’s very enjoyable, it’s highly recommended.
Here’s something a little bit different. This is Project: Snowblind. So this is a first-person shooter game developed by Crystal Dynamics. They may sound kind of familiar because they are the makers of Gex, also Legacy of Kain, and the later Tomb Raider games. Originally, Project: Snowblind was conceived to be a multiplayer-focused version of the Deus Ex games, but then they turned it into its own game, but yet it still has many of the cybernetic super-soldier elements of that series. I think gameplay-wise, this reminds me of the first-person shooter Black, and that’s definitely a good thing. And like Black and Deus Ex, there are a lot of scripted elements here, a lotta scripted action, and thankfully it controls very well. Plus, because you are a cybernetic super-soldier, you have a bunch of different augmentations. Again, very similar to Deus Ex. For instance, one of your augmentations will allow you to look through walls and track the enemy, or perhaps you wanna slow down time and maybe move between bullets. Early on in the game, you get an energy shield that withstands physical damage and more as the game goes on. I’ll be honest, it’s not a super-polished game. I mean, I did run into some hilarious glitches and weirdness, plus it’s a little on the generic side, but I do think it’s a solid first-person shooter and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Oh yes, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Another game I don’t think enough people are talking about. So while Hulk fans like me are waiting for a truly great Marvel movie based on the Hulk, in the meantime we got 2005’s excellent Hulk game by Radical Entertainment. By the way, if Radical Entertainment sounds familiar, well it’s because they went on to create the beloved Prototype games years later. Now, I do have to warn you that there were several Hulk games released at that time, but it’s The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction that you want, that’s the good game. What makes this game great is that it really let’s you feel like the Hulk and just smash everything in your path. I mean, they really nailed the power of what the Hulk is all about. And the combat is surprisingly deep and nuanced, allowing you to pick up almost any object that you see on a level and use it as either a weapon or projectile. Also, traversing the levels is a breeze as the Hulk because he can leap huge distances or even run up the side of a building. And as you play the game, you collect smash points that allow you to learn new abilities that essentially turn you into pretty much an unstoppable green smashing machine by the end of the game. For many years, this game was considered one of the best superhero games ever released, and for good reason. It’s also worth noting that this came out on the original Xbox as well as the Gamecube, so if you prefer those consoles definitely pick it up there, it should not be missed.
Alright guys, that’s another 10 PS2 Hidden Gems. I love coming back to this console. So many great games and of course I do realize that the term hidden gem is gonna be different for everybody depending on if you’re familiar with these games or not. Please let me know down in the comments below if there are other PS2 hidden gems that you would like to see in future videos. Alright guys, thank you so much for watching, thank you for subscribing, and take care.
It’s possible to output a standard PlayStation 2 (PS2) with High Definition graphics in either 1080i or 1080p, with NO MODS to the inside of the console. Here is an overview with gameplay footage.
Soft Mod Video Tutorial for Beginners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO5DmaXKZ0c
VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION (ENGLISH)
– [Metal Jesus] Hey, guys, Metal Jesus here, and today I’m back again with a pretty cool video. This is a modded PlayStation 2 to output HD. However, what’s unique about this is that it doesn’t require any modification to the inside of the console itself. It’s completely software-driven, and it’s pretty neat. So I was contacted by this guy named Chris who said he and his buddy, Brian, had been working for quite a while to find the perfect mix of the software that’s out there on the Internet to bring it together, to figure out what versions are perfect to try to get the maximum amount of resolution and performance out of the PlayStation 2. Now, right off the bat, I do wanna mention that this is using the PlayStation 2 fat model, the original, because it also includes a hard drive in there, and obviously the slim model doesn’t support that. So to get this running, you basically plug in a custom formatted MagicGate memory card. And you see one here labeled Metal Jesus Special. You also plug in a USB thumb drive into slot one, and then also this one has a hard drive. One thing to know about the hard drives is that, originally, when the PlayStation 2 launched, it supported IDE hard drives, so that’s a older style connector of hard drives. However, for this one, he is using a third-party solution here that supports SATA. And this particular drive is 500 gigabytes.
Let’s go ahead and turn it on and check it out. So what Chris did is he basically did a bunch of research to figure out just the right version of an application called FreeMcBoot, and then he paired that with the right version of OpenLoader. And essentially what that allowed this to do is kinda push a standard PlayStation 2 console to be able to output most games at 1080i or 1080p, or true HD. He kinda described to me as though he’s sort of replacing the standard graphics driver with something that is way more optimized and way more powerful. Let’s very quickly walk through the menu here. So on this device you have installed uLaunchELF. So this allows access to the USB thumb drive as well as the 500 gigabyte hard drive and also the memory card. There you have listed ESR. So that is part of the FreeMcBoot package, and that basically allows you to play backups. So what that is doing is that’s actually tricking the PlayStation 2 into thinking that you’re putting in a DVD movie, when actually you’re really just booting up a game. Simple Media System I believe is part of a package that allows this PlayStation 2 to play DivX movies and some other video formats that you would download over the Internet. Not something I probably will use, but it’s cool to have it there.
Now, like I mentioned, this particular PlayStation 2 came to me pre-setup by Chris, so I actually don’t know all the ins and out of the applications and how to configure that stuff. So I’m not gonna go really deep into all of that stuff. Just know that there are a bunch of tutorials out there on the Internet, both on YouTube, and also the web, and I’ll link to those down in the video description below if you wanna make one of these yourself, but we’ll continue on. Notice that he integrated in CodeBreaker cheat program. That’s pretty cool. You basically launch that, and then there are hundreds if not thousands of PlayStation 2 games that you can tweak, enable cheats, and then launch right from there, and just go into the game, and, again, it’s very seamless. Also included on here are a bunch of emulators, so you have the original NES, Super NES, Genesis, Master System, GameGear. Probably not gonna use that too much, but it’s cool to have. The GSM is the graphics synthesizer mode selector, and it’s my understanding that’s kinda the nuts and bolts of this device. It’s what is allowing you to tweak the video performance and essentially get the most out of this.
Alright, so let’s go ahead and check out some games. So this is Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. And this is outputting from the PlayStation 2 at 1080p. Now, this game never officially supported this resolution, but, again, with this modded PlayStation 2, it’s now outputting at that HD resolution and it connects and looks great to your modern HD television. Here here is Return to Castle Wolfenstein. This is also outputting at 1080p. I should probably mention at this point that the way I’m capturing this footage is that I’m using the component cables that HD Retrovision sells. And that is connected to my original Elgato Game Capture. Also, the output is stretched to widescreen 16 x 9 to fill the entire screen. I’m not a big fan of that look, and thankfully, most HD televisions have the ability to adjust the aspect ratio. And I’m compensating for that in Final Cut, so just be aware. Here is R-Type Final. Now, this is interesting because this is a game that actually runs a little bit better, a little bit more stable, in 1080i. And so that’s what you see right here. And so what Chris and Brian did is that they went through a bunch of PlayStation 2 games to see which ones would run better in what resolution. And that’s what you see right here in this manual that they sent. It was at this point I was kinda curious how it would compare to my favorite way of upscaling PlayStation 2 games to HD and that is using my original PlayStation 3.
So the first game we’re gonna compare is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Alright, so here is a side-by-side. So, on the left you have the modded PlayStation 2 outputting to 1080p over component, and then on the right is my trusty PlayStation 3 running the same game, but that is going through its upscaler and it’s going through HDMI. The results are pretty interesting, don’t you think? I mean, in some regards, I actually like the PlayStation 2 modded better because I think the colors are brighter. They’re more vibrant. But you definitely are seeing the jaggies. It’s not quite as smooth of a picture where to the right, on the PlayStation 3, yeah, the colors and maybe the contrast is definitely a little bit less, but it’s perhaps maybe a more softer and pleasing video quality. I should also mention I’m not using the smoothing option on the PlayStation 3, although we are gonna try that in a bit.
Here is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, one of the best Star Wars games ever made. Once again, we have the modded PlayStation 2 on the left. That’s via component cables. And then on the right, we have the PlayStation 3. The differences between the two are just striking. I mean, wow, I had no idea until I actually put these up side-by-side. Now, obviously, the modded PlayStation 2 on the left, that’s a little on the dark side. Well, no pun intended. But I actually really like the sharpness of the graphics. I think it actually looks really good. I think in this case, because this game is so dark, I probably prefer the PlayStation 3, but as you can see, I mean, the modded PS2 holds its own.
Alright, now let’s try something a little bit different. Here is Freedom Fighters. This is a game I’ve been wanting to go back and play for a while now. And like before, on the left-hand side, you have the modded PlayStation 2. It’s important to know that, for this particular game, the best resolution was 1080i. And then, of course, on the right you have the PlayStation 3. As you can see, both versions of this look pretty close. Pretty identical. But I wanted to show you what it would look like with the PlayStation 3 and smoothing turned on. With a scene like this, if you look at his sleeves, you can definitely see on the right-hand side that the PlayStation 3 is doing a little bit of smoothing. But again, it’s not radically better. I also wanna mention that I did get a lock up, a hard lock up in this game after about 10 minutes or so. Now, you can always go back to the main menu and adjust the graphics settings. You can actually force it into, say, 720p or something like that; see if you get better results.
Now let’s go ahead and check out some original PlayStation 1 games running on the modded PS2. So this, of course, is Wipeout XL, and it is outputting at 480p. Looking and running great. However, Soul Blade is not doing so hot here. As you can see, my character is having some problems with the polygons. While the game is perfectly playable and kind of hilarious this way, but yeah, you wouldn’t wanna play it this way for very long. Not sure what the problem is here, or maybe if there is a fix through the settings, but yeah, it’s kind of funny.
SO what do I think about this thing? Well, man, I think from a technical standpoint, I think it’s actually kind of amazing how it is taking a standard PlayStation 2 and basically just with better software forcing higher resolutions and pulling it off. I mean, these games actually look pretty good. As a hobbyist project, I think it’s actually pretty impressive. And the good news is, there are literally tens of millions of these PlayStation 2 fats out there. I mean, it doesn’t require any modification to the inside of the PlayStation 2, so if this one, you know, a couple months from now dies on me, well, I’ll just swap it over to another one. They’re not that expensive. The compatibility can be an issue. Like I mentioned previously, I did experience some lock-ups in some games, but there are a ton of options to play around with. And for this particular model, he tested about 160, 200+ games and most of ’em work just fine. Obviously, I didn’t include instructions on how to actually set this up, but I’ll include links to tutorials down in the video description below. And then, again, a huge shout-out to Chris and Brian for sending me this. It’s such a cool device. It’s such a cool project. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I’m probably gonna use it going forward when I need to capture footage and test things. It’ll be pretty awesome. Alright, guys, thank you very much for watching. Thank you for subscribing and take care.
A sampling of PS2 exclusive games from my collection, including:
Blood Will Tell
RAD – Robot Alchemic Drive
24: The Game
SOCOM 1 & II
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am
Champions of Norrath
Front Mission 4 & 5
Guilty Gear X2
Destruction Derby Arenas
Okage: Shadow King
War of the Monsters
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Xenosaga Episode I
Xenosaga Episode II
Xenosaga Episode III