And without further ado, here is part two of our Top Ten SNES Games. Let’s get to it, shall we?
5. Chrono Trigger
The fact that Chrono Trigger only appears at the halfway point on this list is a testament to how incredible the library of the SNES was. Quite simply, Chrono Trigger is a classic that remains just as excellent today as it was in 1995. I say this as someone who has been playing the DS re-release and has been captivated all over again. In a time where people who make video games were rarely known, Chrono Trigger was a game crafted by some of the first celebrities in game design. At least, they were celebrities in Japan. We wouldn’t realize how amazing this production really was. In short, it was a dream collaboration between people responsible for Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, the biggest names in RPGs in Japan at the time. That may not seem like a big deal since Enix and Square merged, but in 1995 this was a big deal. As much as I’d love to see more from Chrono Trigger, perhaps it is better for this game to stand on its own. Chrono Cross, while not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, didn’t capture that personality of its predecessor, and the second collaboration of Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yuiji Horii, and Akira Toriyama resulted in Blue Dragon. So…yeah.
4. Super Mario World
Now here’s a game that I almost didn’t want to put on this list. Not because I don’t love it, but because it is such an obvious choice that it almost belongs in a realm above list making. Of course Super Mario World is on this list. How could it not be? For gamers of a certain age, the argument boils down to this: Super Mario 3 or Super Mario World. There are no other games in the series to debate. For my part, I consider SMW to be my favorite. This stems mainly from the fact that Mario World was the first Mario game that I really got a chance to sit down and play all the way through. I got an NES way late and, while I had played all three of the Super Mario Bros. games, I had never sat down and played them from start to finish. I played through each and every one of the 96 levels of SMB, and I did it pretty much all on my own. I think I may have had to check Nintendo Power for help on one level, but I am still proud to pop this cart in and see that little star next to my save file. While the Mario 64 and Galaxy are amazing in their own ways, for me the level design, music, and game mechanics of Super Mario World are the apex of the series.
3. Final Fantasy III
Yes, I know that this is really Final Fantasy VI. But for the sake of talking about U.S. releases for the SNES I’m going to go with the name of the game as we saw it in 1994. Thanks to EGM, I knew at the time that we had missed out on a game between II and III, but once I got my awkward, puberty-afflicted hands on Final Fantasy III any feelings of loss over V were long gone. Even though this is not my favorite game in the Final Fantasy series, I don’t mind saying that, in my opinion, this is the best-designed game in the franchise. While there was the esper magic system to add an element of growth and strategy to how you leveled your characters, each member of the 14(!) person cast had specific strengths and abilities. Accompanying this diverse cast is a haunting score that many consider to be Nobuo Uematsu’s finest work. The game looks amazing, even today, and FF III has some of the most memorable scenes in RPG history. Who can forget Locke sneaking into and Empire-controlled town, or the opera house, or the breaking of the world? Simply epic stuff, and a game that I will be revisiting for the rest of my life.
2. Final Fantasy II
This is, quite simply, my favorite Final Fantasy game. Again, this was one of those games that me and my cousin would rent and play to death. In fact, every time we would rent it, we would start from scratch, because we loved it so much. We would absorb the music of FF II, and sometimes just spend long amounts of time in our favorite towns just to listen to the tunes. For the record, my favorite place to hang out was Mysidia, while David’s was Fabul. FF II also had a pretty dark story when compared to most Final Fantasy games; there are characters dying or sacrificing themselves at every turn. Some call it melodrama. I call it my favorite Final Fantasy story. It would be years before I actually finished Final Fantasy II, but it didn’t matter, because the music, the world, and the characters were so special for me that, when I finally did reach the conclusion, I cried. Yes, I was a blubbering hyper-emotional kid that cried at the end of video games. Sue me.
1. Super Metroid
Super Metroid isn’t just my favorite Super Nintendo game, it’s my favorite game of all time. Super Metroid was one of only a handful of new games for the SNES that my mom bought for me (I was able to convince her to get Final Fantasy Mystic Quest the same day. Big mistake.), and as such it was one of the only games that I played when it was still a new release. From the moment that I heard the words “The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace.” I knew I was in for an amazing experience. Super Metroid is a game that is all about the details. It’s interesting to hear people talk about the Metroid franchise as a whole and talk about what an amazing story Super Metroid has, and what a great character Samus is. But the truth is that the Metroid games have never had much story or character to them. But I think that the feelings of isolation, exploration and, yes, even fear of the unknown that Super Metroid elicits from the player creates a story far more interesting than anything Gumpei Yokoi could ever have crafted. This is a perfect melding of gameplay, level design, and pacing. Factor in the impressive graphics, art, and soundtrack (which I’m listening to as I write this blog) and you have a game that remains just as engrossing in 2011 as it was in 1994. I played it earlier this year and enjoyed it immensely. If you’re playing it for the first time, I envy you.
Of course, there are a ton of amazing games that narrowly missed this list, like Skyblazer, Flashback, Rock ‘N Roll Racing, and Hook. Yes, Hook. The SNES had an amazing library, and I was glad to be there when it was happening.
What are your top ten SNES games? Let us know in the comments below!