Best PS1 Box Art Covers: The Ultimate Ranking

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The original PlayStation was the start of the gaming journey for many of us.

And for old-school gamers, it was an affordable way to enter the age of 3D.

The PS1 library was rife with excellent titles that showcased the medium’s possibilities, such as Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, and Metal Gear Solid. In addition, you could find the newest entries in all kinds of classic franchises like Mega Man X and Castlevania.

There’s nothing quite like a well-organized collection of PS1 classics in their iconic jewel cases to get blasted back to the good old days.

Of course, not all cases are made the same.

Some games had exceptional box art, far more noteworthy than others.

And we’re looking into some of the best in this ranking.


15. Resident Evil (1996)

Resident Evil (1996) NTSC PS1 Box Art

I can almost hear you guys laughing as I type this.

I mean, how could this mess of a cover be counted among the best?

It feels as if the art people over at Capcom just added every scary thing they could think of and called it a day.

Still, there’s something about the symmetrical placement of the monsters, Chris’ GI Joe look, and the bright red Resident Evil logo that makes me think of old-school horror.

It’s like a B-movie poster, and I love it.


14. Fantastic Four (1997)

Fantastic Four (1997) PS1 Box Art

The Fantastic Four may not be too relevant nowadays, but they’ve seen better days.

The foursome was still pretty popular in the late 90s, and this cover art was sure to attract some gamers.

Comic book art makes for great video game covers.

It’s colorful, dramatic, and says a lot in very little space.

The heroes’ facial expressions are vivid and make you feel like something big is approaching.

If only the “Fantastic Four” logo didn’t look like it was drawn by a six-year-old, this might be somewhere near the top of the list.


13. Vigilante 8 (1998)

Vigilante 8 (1998) PS1 Box Art

In contrast, check out Vigilante 8’s fiery font.

That’s how you write a video game title!

I never got to play Vigilante 8 as a kid, but I remember feeling intrigued by its cover art.

The bright and colorful logo drew me closer – and the violent scene of a sports car trading paint with a school bus while shooting their mounted turrets was exhilarating.

It’s a shame I never played it back then, because the game is fantastic.

It got a few sequels, but none of their cover arts managed to capture even a fraction of the original’s cool factor.


12. Shadow Man (1999)

Shadow Man (1999) Box Art for PSX

Shadow Man was one of the most intriguing action-adventure games out there right before the turn of the century – mainly because of its cover art.

No, the game didn’t rip off The Matrix with its Morpheus look-alike main character.

The movie was released just a couple of months after Shadow Man.

If anything, Morpheus looks like protagonist Michael LeRoi.

There’s just something about the character’s “couldn’t care less” facial expression that sells me the voodoo-wielding hero.

It’s also the only PSOne title I know of with an African American on the cover besides MIB: The Game.


11. SaGa Frontier 2 (PAL) (2000)

SaGa Frontier 2 (2000) PAL PS1 Box Art

SaGa Frontier 2 had pretty cool cover art in all regions, but my favorite comes from the European version.

There’s something about the fine outline of a cool anime character on what looks like an ancient map that tells you a massive, globe-trotting adventure awaits.

It’s also consistent with the game’s hand-painted watercolor environments.

Of course, the series’ sleek red brushstroke logo looks just as dynamic and epic on this entry, and the number two on the middle of the map’s compass is just solid graphic design.


10. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (1998)

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (1998) Box Art PSX

I’m a big fan of Klonoa, and Door to Phantomile was the first game I played starring this long-eared mascot.

Naturally I was drawn in by the colorful cover and the game’s distinct logo.

The well-defined lines of Klonoa’s design made me want to run home, grab a piece of paper and try copying the drawing right away, as you do when you’re eight.

There’s also the background, which shows Klonoa and his friend Huepow on one of the game’s levels. Their faces show the same surprise and awe the player would feel in Klonoa’s extraordinary platforming levels.


9. Mickey’s Wild Adventure (1996)

Mickey's Wild Adventure (1996) PS1 Box Art

We usually think of Mickey as a happy-go-lucky character who’s more interested in having fun with his friends than going on dangerous adventures.

For this action-packed platformer, Disney Interactive decided to re-frame the character as a daredevil – starting with the game’s cover.

Skeletons, fire, and barrels rolling downstairs are only some of the dangers Mickey will have to face.

If his determined facial expression is anything to go by, he’s up for more.

And this is certainly one of the better Disney-focused games that the company has put out.


8. Final Fantasy Tactics (1998)

Final Fantasy Tactics (1998) NA PS1 Box Art

Final Fantasy Tactics is a cult classic that profoundly influenced future tactical RPGs.

The focus on political intrigue and class struggles gave the story a lot of depth.

Instead of showcasing the game’s graphics or action-packed gameplay, the cover conveys the game’s themes.

Five brave warriors march under a bridge on their war-ready Chocobos in a scene that mimics historical paintings depicting victorious armies marching into town after a battle.

If you’ve never played this PSOne classic then definitely look into it and try it out one day. You won’t regret it.


7. Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Final Fantasy VII (1997) PS1 Box Art

Opposite from FFT’s design for PSOne, Final Fantasy VII goes straight to the point.

The main element in this classic RPG’s box art is Cloud’s iconic Buster Sword – an image most gamers know well.

Big swords were already popular in RPGs and fantasy anime. Still, this game (and its cover) sparked a revolution, with tons of Cloud look-alikes with massive swords popping all over the place for years after its release.

The box art also gives you a glimpse of what you’ll be facing:

The Shinra Electric Power Company, though many of us thought it was a gigantic robot at first.


6. Skullmonkeys (1998)

Skullmonkeys (1998) Box Art for PS1

The sequel to the iconic point-and-click graphic adventure The Neverhood took the series in a more active platforming direction while retaining the unique claymation style that made the original stand out.

You can tell just from looking at the game’s cover art, which depicts a clay-modeled skull with only one eye and the Skullmonkeys logo in bright green right in the middle.

Even if you never played the game, you’d remember seeing this at the game store at least once.

The game is one of the best platformers on the PSOne.

Give it a try if you can – you wouldn’t want to miss out!


5. Metal Gear Solid (PAL) (1998)

Metal Gear Solid (1998) PAL PS1 Box Art

Unlike the American box art for Metal Gear Solid, which had a minimalist approach showing only the game’s logo on a white background, the European release features a close-up of Snake’s face drawn by star MGS artist Yoji Shinkawa.

Shinkawa is the main character (and mecha) designer for the Metal Gear Solid series and other Kojima-headed games like Zone of the Enders and Death Stranding.

His art style is unforgettable and unmistakable – two traits passed down to the game’s cover.


4. Spawn: The Eternal (1997)

Spawn: The Eternal (1997) NA Box Art PS1

The inclusion of Image Comics’ famous demonic hero in Mortal Kombat 11’s roster was an unexpected stroke of genius, but it wasn’t the first time Spawn made its way into the realm of gaming.

Spawn: The Eternal for the PSone attracted players young and old with a gorgeous comic book art cover like you’d see on the front page of a classic comic magazine.

The colors are rich, the lines detailed, and Spawn looks as menacing as ever.

Regrettably, the game received poor reviews – but that doesn’t make the cover any less exciting.


3. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) PS1 Box Art

A title whose excellent cover matched the game’s quality is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, considered by many the best entry in the famous series.

This iconic portrait of the main character, Alucard, was drawn by Japanese artist Ayami Kojima.

The cover was so well received that she worked on almost every other Castlevania game until 2010, creating that easily recognizable goth art style the series is known for.

She also created the main packaging artwork for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (2019), which is fitting for a game that draws so much inspiration from this PSOne classic.


2. Resident Evil 2 (1998)

Resident Evil 2 (1998) NTSC Box Art PS1

The original Resident Evil may have had a questionable cover.

But that only makes the massive jump in quality on the acclaimed sequel’s box art all the more remarkable.

Instead of throwing every single phobia-inducing thing they could find on the cover like last time, Capcom went for something subtle for RE2.

You only need one look to tell it’s a horror game, but you’ll need to look a lot closer to see the zombie hiding behind the door. It’s tasteful and unforgettable.


1. Vagrant Story (2000)

Vagrant Story (2000) NTSC PS1 Box Art

Vagrant Story was one of the most unique action RPGs on the PSOne.

Its gameplay strayed from other popular RPGs by removing shops and NPC interactions and focusing on weapon crafting and strategic gameplay.

This fantastic title also has one of the best cover arts I’ve ever seen.

It successfully showcases the game’s characters in a very cool art style that makes you wonder what awaits inside.

It’s all thanks to the skilled hands of Akihiko Yoshida, whose work you might know from the Ogre Battle series, many Final Fantasy titles, and NieR Automata, where he worked as the main character designer.

This is the kind of game cover art you’d want to print out super large and hang on your wall.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.