Friday, August 26, 2011

Super Nintendo @ 20: My Top 20 SNES Games Part 1

Did you know that the Super Nintendo turned 20 years old on the 23rd? Actually it kinda snuck up on me as well. But I thought to celebrate this momentous anniversary I'd make a list of My Top 20 Super Nintendo games. But first a little reminiscing on my part.

I love the Super Nintendo. It ranks as my favorite system for just the sheer high amount of great games on it as well giving us some of the best looking games of all time that still stand up well even today. I do believe that there is so much quality on this system that 10 people making 10 top 10 lists could produce a list that is very different from the other. That is how good the system is.

When my family got our SNES for Christmas years back (I can't remember exactly when we got ours, judging that our first games were all released in 1991 it is conceivable that we got it in '91 though I'm thinking '92) my dad being the joker he is, decided to give us our games first. So being stupid me and my brothers gave him the long, sullen looks as we couldn't play those on our NES. And at that moment my dad says something along the lines of: "Well then you are going to need this!" and pulls the SNES from behind his lazy boy. What made the SNES special for me and my brothers was that this was the last system we'd agree on as well. As we got older, I remained a Nintendo fan and my brother's gaming interests changed from liking RPGs for one and sports for the other. Unfortunately that SNES we got back in the early '90s would be lost as one of my brothers, under the guise of charity, gave away our SNES to some friends of his behind me and the other brothers back. I know he was trying to be nice but without consulting any of us, he just gave away something I still played a ton of.

It would take 4 years until I finally could get my hands on another SNES through an eBay auction which netted me the SNES, Mario World, ALttP, Super Metroid and a few other games and since then I've been steadily building up collection. The used game store in my state has seen quite a bit of business from me that is fore sure. Also the Virtual Console has proven a bit of a boon as well (though limited) as it not only allowed me to pick up some harder to find or more pricey games but also allowed me to have favorites all in one place.

So now I present the first part of My Top 20 SNES games. I may do a few things more as well as a retro review for what I consider to be the worst SNES game I ever played but that will be for a later time.

Mr. Saturn's Top 20 Super Nintendo Games Part 1

20. Final Fantasy III - 1994 - Square
The Game: Considered by many to be Square's greatest RPG and arguably the best RPG ever, FF3 (or 6 if you are so inclined) has you control members of resistance group, the Returners, against the machinations of Emperor Gestahl and Kefka, the evil clown. Well eviler than your usual clown.

My Take: I'm sure there are a lot of FF3 fans wondering why I have this game so low on my list. Because well to be honest, I have yet to ever beat the game. Yet to have it on my top 20 and the first of five RPGs is pretty good, I'd say. And to be perfectly honest I didn't really play FF3 all that much until the GBA version was released. Despite this, I can honestly see why FF3 is regarded so highly amongst fans and gaming in general. A simple, yet involving storyline with a large cast of very likeable characters. Which one of my biggest problems with more recent Final Fantasy titles is that the characters are just plain unlikable. But with 3, you actually get a better feel for the characters (despite not really having a definite main character) as they actually have emotional up and downs instead of always being down. And because of that the game's big twist about 3/4 of the way through actually makes you want to see these characters succeed. With a strong battle system with each character having his or her own abilities it makes for about as strong an RPG as one can get.

19. Lufia II: Rise of Sinistrals - 1996 - Natsume

The Game: A very late RPG (a month before the N64 came out in NA) has you playing as Maxim a young monster hunter out for adventure. A strange event has caused monsters to become more active and a group of super beings known as the Sinistrals has started to make their presence known and it is up to Maxim and the warriors he meets on his journey to stop them from taking over the world.

My Take: Lufia II is much more traditional RPG than games like FF3. Its battle system is more straight forward as well as the plot, though something that about the plot really kept me playing. The characters are likable and even the romance between Maxim and Selan, while rushed, actually occurs in the story instead in a vague point after the game. It is a fairly unique thing for an RPG to have. Add into the mix a fairly fun dungeon crawling experience with Zelda-ish puzzle solving and a rudimentary Pokemon-ish monster helper system there is a lot to do even if the overall game is more traditional than what was expected by this time.

18. Killer Instinct - 1995 - Nintendo
The Game: The Ultratech corporation is holding a fighting tournament called Killer Instinct. Fighters from around the world as well as beings from Ultratech compete in this tournament for various reasons and rewards.

My Take: Killer Instinct is one of those fighters that you had to be there to get why it is fun. Nowadays it looks to be rather run of the mill but back in the day the graphics and the fighting system were very enjoyable as it was an early game in the wave of combo-heavy fighting games. The SNES version while not nearly as pretty as the arcade version (obviously) did a great job of recreating the fighting system. I spent many hours playing it, I had the thumb blisters to prove it, and would recommend it to anyone looking for something different as far as 2D fighters are concerned.

17. ActRaiser - 1991 - Enix
The Game: The world is in peril. In the Master's absence, the world has been thrown into chaos by Tanzra and his minions. It is up to you as the Master to restore peace to the world by fighting Tanzra's forces as well as leading the people back to peace and prosperity.

My Take: While I didn't play ActRaiser back in the day, bought it on the Virtual Console, I could easily see why this was yet another cult favorite of the early SNES. Mixing a strong platforming element with a simple yet engaging "god-mode" it offers a strong bit of variety and keeping things interesting. As you tame and resettle areas as you gain new followers who will offer you gifts to use in the platforming sections and increase your experience levels. It is a pity that Quintet removed the god-mode sections of the game for the sequel as you don't often see unique mixes of two gameplay styles mixed together so well.

16. Super Castlevania IV - 1991 - Konami
The Game: A remake of the original Castlevania that greatly expands on the original and makes several improvements to the classic Castlevania gameplay.

My Take: Why is it called Super Castlevania (add emphasis)IV? Anywho, Super Castlevania IV does one really great thing for the Castlevania games, added play control. No longer is Simon Belmont's movements stiff he moves with a relative grace compared to past versions. As well as having a flexible whip makes battling the denizens of Castlevania a far more enjoyable task. Being able to attack in 8 directions is a fantastic ability that hasn't been seen in a Castlevania since which is weird. Of course Castlevania has taken a far different path in the last 14 years or so. As well as being a gameplay advancement a lot of the cool Mode 7 effects used in the game brought a great bit of character to the world. Another early SNES game (though I didn't really play it till the VC) that showed off a lot of what the SNES could do as well as provide a great experience.

Part 2 will be tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. What about Super Metroid!?? Hahaha