The Game: Follow Chrono and his band of time traveling adventurers as they attempt to defeat Lavos and prevent him from destroying the world.
My Take: You know it is too bad I wasn't more into RPGs in the mid-90s. The SNES was such a great system for them, it is too bad my general preference for platformers pretty much meant that was what I wanted to play. Because of that I missed a lot of these classics and then Final Fantasy 7 came along and instead of getting me more into the genre it almost killed my interest. A game like this to get more into the genre probably would have been better for than that....."game". Anyways, while the story is relatively a simple one the characters and battle system are great and make for a great RPG.
9. Final Fantasy II - 1991 - Square
The Game: Guide Cecil in his quest to defeat the sorcerer Golbez and save the world all the while redeeming himself as a Paladin.
My Take: Funny story, as of this date FF2 remains the only Final Fantasy that I have ever beaten. Though it took me until my second go around of collecting SNES games to finally play and beat it (after losing my copy of the GBA version) it confirmed the claims of my friend that Square was really on their game with the SNES. While not exactly a complex story either, the tale of Cecil and his quest to save the world and redeem himself is I think quite a good bit of characterization especially for an early SNES. And this is in spite of some of the dodgier translation and edits. I mean really, did they have to remove all the cool dark knight powers that Cecil had?
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time - 1992 - Konami
The Game: Krang and Shredder and have stolen the Statue of Liberty and only the Ninja Turtles have the Turtle Power to get it back.
My Take: As any good child growing up in the '80s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a cartoon favorite of mine. A few of my favorite games are the arcade and NES version of the first Turtles game. I actually didn't know about the arcade version of Turtles in Time for quite awhile. And after playing both, I find that outside of the lack of 4 player and some lacking animation and music the SNES version is overall the best version and maybe the best 2D beat-um up on any system. While covering some of the usual territory for a Turtles beat-um the time travel conceit makes for some fantastic stages and the bosses are just plain fun. Some of my best memories as a kid were playing through this game with my brothers (and recently with my 5 year old nephew though I did most of the work) as it a good game for teamwork as well as upping your own score. Unfortunately the side-scrolling brawler is all but a dead genre and these kind of experiences are becoming less and less common.
7. Mega Man X2 - 1995 - Capcom
The Game: Mavericks led by the X-Hunters are after Mega Man X and claim to have Zero's parts. It is up to X to stop them from fulfilling their plans.
My Take: Strange thing about me, in each series of Mega Man that I have played my favorite has so far been the 2nd one in the franchise. Probably just because this is the one I got first as opposed to Mega Man X which is popularly considered to be the better of the series. While not as big step up from X as the Mega Man 2 was to the first X2 still provided that very solid game set-up that we've were familiar with additions of new upgrades and the side quest to reconstruct Zero. Plus I loved the effects that Capcom put in with the wireframe 3D graphics that they made using their special chip the CX4. While not as good as the SFX it made for a few cool scenes.
6. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - 1995 - Nintendo
The Game: Kaptain K. Rool and his Kremlings have kidnapped Donkey Kong and it is up to Diddy Kong and his girlfriend Dixie to rescue him.
My Take: While Donkey Kong Country to me was like Super Mario Bros. in its scope, Donkey Kong Country 2 was like Super Mario Bros. 3 in relation. It took everything that the first had done and made it bigger and better. Stages became less straightforward, with stages going more vertical and secrets being more than just 1UP farms. While Diddy and Dixie were more similar than DK and Diddy, they were both just as important to clearing the stages with their own strengths and weaknesses (Dixie's hover or Diddy's faster climbing speed) and some things couldn't be reached without one or the other. To this day DKC2 is one of my more commonly played through games as it just a ton of fun to play.