This was the year that changed everything about the 1980’s and made the 1990’s! Releases like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Nirvana’s Nevermind, The Gulf War, nickelodeon new original shows, launch of Comedy Channel (now known as Comedy Central), Jerry Springer, Beauty and the Beast, Silence of the Lambs, and the Super Nintendo were all released in this very year. These are all the things that destroyed the 1980’s stereotype and popculture in the first world countries . However, since the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released, it completely changed the whole gaming industry where Sega and Nintendo went in an even further level of competition and other 16-bit consoles started to loose their popularity. 8-Bit games were still around (people were still playing Super Mario Bros. 3) but those days were over and where they push the boundaries and limitations with their sprites and 2D graphics into brand new areas getting closer to the goal of realism of 3D graphics. During this year SNES has launched some of the best launch titles from any video game console (Super Mario World, Pilotwings, F-Zero, Gradius III, and Sim City) while Sega finally gave their own mascot Sonic the Hedgehog. No doubt that 1991 is remembered as one of the best years in gaming and these are the games that shows why! I like to remind everyone that there are just too many great games released this year but I can only fit in only ten of the best games of released on this very year.
Number 10. – Sonic the Hedgehog
It’s was either picking this game or F-Zero, and although F-Zero was literally faster (Blast processing…HA!) Sonic deserves to be in the list more than anything released on the Sega Genesis. But why so low? Because there were better Sonic games than this one (and also worse ones as well). When I look at the original Sonic the Hedgehog game, I just look at it as the game that’s more about the character than the game itself because it’s more about appeal and what you can do than the actual experience. People will always say what you can do in this game that Mario can’t like the speed and fast pace gameplay, but out side of that, there’s nothing more than what you can already do in other platformers. Yet there are so many elements in this very game that will never be removed from all the Sonic games after it; from the level of speed, loops, collecting rings that are used as health, finding secrets, and going through bonus levels to get a chaos emeralds. Sega hyped up Sonic more than anything else that it is now everywhere relating to Sega. Still to this very day, people still talk about this game and its the reason why anthropomorphic mascots were nearly everywhere in the video game market. This was the first real success for Sega, but it’s just that there weren’t that many great games for the Sega Genesis in 1991 that did better than Sonic The Hedgehog.
Number 9. – Pilotwings
The biggest thing to talk about when it comes to the Super Nintendo was the mode 7 graphics where they were able to make a 2D plane and sprites to make it look like it has a 3D effect. For one of the first games that used mode 7, there hasn’t been another SNES game that use the technology better. You really get the scale and feel when you play this flight simulator and out of all the others in the genre, this one still is the most replayed. Objects keep going either further and coming closer to the player and it plays by the rules on how you use the jetpack, airplane, parachute, and hand-glider (and helicopter at the end) and it really test your skills on how to use them from lift off, to passing through rings, and even landing properly it is such a tremendous experience and it’s one of the games I played the most as a child. Pilotwings has an emotional connection to me because it is the first game I’ve ever played and since then this hobby of mine became my personal well being!
Number 8. – Sid Meier’s Civilization
Here’s the reason why I don’t like 4x Strategy games, they’re all literal imitations of Civilization! Sorry fans of the genre, but it’s true! What other 4X strategy game out there could really be different than playing as a ruler, creating your own empire, deciding to make warfare or diplomacy, gain new knowledge and to evolve the empire, make enemies or allies, and create all sort of benefits for your power. Sid Meier really made such an ambitious game to be educational as the player understands what it means to be a leader and also learn how to make decisions for the society that you are leading. Everything that was offered here is an everlasting staple on strategy games as a whole! I may, dislike the 4X Strategy games for just being copycats of Civ, but the original Civ & its sequels is all that matters in this uninspiring genre.
Number 7. – Bonk 2: Bonk’s Revenge
What a sequel this game really is! I mean, for the fact that it’s twice the experience of the first Bonk game is really impressive! Getting back to head-smashing the evil dinosaurs, it offered much more enemies, better animation, and has more qualitative challenge than what has been seen in the first game! Best of all are the new power-ups that made it feel like Mario Bros. 3 all over again when they introduced some of the most creative power-ups ever seen in a side-scrolling platformer; freeze enemies, shoot out fire breath, super ground pound, and invincibility. Best part of this installment of the Bonk series is that each time you make it to the end of each level, the game rewards the player to certain bonus challenge depending on how many collectables you’ve collected. Never before was there a game that rewarded the player so much for collecting as many items as possible. Any doubt of this game being one of the best game on the Turbografx-16 is irrelevant.
Number 6. – Final Fantasy IV
I refuse to called it FF II because it really is IV. But despite this old problem that Square constantly makes in the series, the one thing that Final Fantasy IV will always be remembered is that it pioneered many common console role-playing games features with the whole concept of dramatic storytelling. Every fan will always praise it’s graphics, active-time turn-based gameplay, and definitely its score. For the first time in the series, it featured a complex and involving plot instead of selected bland heroes sent out to do a quest. There were so many iconic and unforgettable moments in this game that I still can’t believe that it still holds up to this very day. Introducing an active-time battle system where combat never felt so engaging where characters and enemies fills up their meter to have character’s turn to make a move. It as also the first time the series used the mode 7 technology that was everywhere in the SNES. This is not just another Final Fantasy game, it’s an execution on making a really dramatic and epic game like no other!
Number 5. – Act Raiser
Being part god/strategy game and part side-scrolling action-platformer never felt this creative and ingenious at the same time! It really was a hard decision to pick this or Sim City (SNES version) but overall, Act Raiser did feel like your accomplishing something special. Though Act Raiser would of been an uninspiring game if it was an action-platformer throughout, but the aspects of saving city after city, defeating monsters who tried to rule over the land, help citizens of the city with their wants and needs, protecting, and so much more never felt so meaningful in a video game. The fact that in God-mode, you can shoot out lightning, rain, sun, wind, and earthquakes to make miracles or destruction truly made it one of a kind God-game. Though it is annoying to do all of these things and kill flying monsters at the same time, at least once you get it done, you go to another action-platformer segment. It’s amazing to see Enix could ever think of a game that is so different and yet it delivered on a fulfilling gaming experience!
Number 4. – Super Castlevania IV
You bet your ass that this is a “Super” game because being that it is a more or less a remake of the original, it really perfected the Castlevania linear gameplay. I mean, never has using a whip felt like so in control to the player’s hands as they can whip to any direction against some of the nastiest monsters ever seen in the 16-bit cartridge. Not only that, but the animation quality is so rapid that it basically demonstrated what horror games can do at this level of graphics. It took all the monster cliches and delivered with an explosive experience with so many surprises that no one could see coming when first playing it! This is one of the big reasons why getting a Super Nintendo was a great choice of console and it was very impressive to see the serie’s jump from 8-Bit to 16-Bit!
Number 3. – Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
Need I say anymore? I mean we’re talking about the fighting game that started the fighting game boom throughout the 1990’s and we’re still making more and more games in the genre. The idea of having two players to competitively play against each other, let them choose their own characters that each has their own move sets and abilities, and let them go at it by depleting their health bars till theres a player that wins the most rounds is some of the most ingenious ideas that has ever been in a video game. Hell, there were even actual tournaments held around the world when playing Street Fighter II and it’s no brainer why it has gained billions of quarters from everyone who wants to compete. This is one of the main reasons why playing at the arcades was so much fun because of the level of competing against other players is just as exciting. Anybody who doesn’t really get why we all love fighting games are really missing out of the sheer level of fun as it is engaging and heavily action-packed. As for Street Fighter II, it is the game that is so popular that nobody can ever forget the characters, their moves, and the soundtracks on each and every stage. This is a game that is so popular that it needed so many improvements and installments in later versions of the game at the arcades and home consoles to keep the popularity alive after its release! And yet we’re still playing Street Fighter II (regardless which version it is) and that should tell you something!
Number 2. – Out of this World
For every game that is cinematic, realistic, atmospheric or even has very great presentation, we all have to thank Another World (or Out of this World) for innovating such amazing features. This could have been done by so many talented developers, but amazingly enough, it’s only been developed by one man; Eric Chahi! It was less like a game and more like interacting with a short film. Though it really is a short game, at least the game uses more than plenty of trail and error to keep it from a brief experience. Not to mention that the death sequences were some of the most brutal visuals ever seen in a video game and it’s worth checking out all of Lester’s deaths. This is the one very impressive title that inspired developers to be part of the Cinematic Platformer genre (Oddworld, Blackthrone, Flashback, Heart of Darkness, Weird Dreams, Limbo, and onEscapee) and it inspired other creators to make Ico and Metal Gear Solid, that should tell you something!
Number 1. – Super Mario World
Any doubts in your mind that this could possibly be the best Mario game ever released? If you owned a Super Nintendo, how could you possibly missed out on this game? It’s literally sold with the Super Nintendo console! For the fact that it was an more expansive world that has so many more levels and secrets, features like Yoshi (everybody loves Yoshi) that improves the sidescrolling experience, and variety of worlds and levels that feels like nothing like it earns itself my number one spot. This really is my favorite Mario game for the sake that it captures the joy of the Mario experience. As a huge installment, the animation quality is the best seen in Mario, it played a lot more faster than any Mario game before it, the inclusion of the spin jump feature obliterates the enemy or jumps over deadly objects, and it has the best controls ever in a Mario game. I love the fact that you can select whatever level you want in the map world like Mario Bros. 3, and unlike Mario Bros. 3, you can replay any level as many times as you want. It really was unpredictable on where the level is going to take you and not knowing what creative challenge the game has up on its sleeve. The only complaint I have with Super Mario World is the fact there isn’t as many power-ups as seen from Mario Bros. 3, but I never really had a challenge that was this creative in all my years with the Super Nintendo (which is why it’s debatable on which of the two is better). I’ve done so many tricks and accomplishments that I’ve never seen in any other Mario game before and after it. You have to agree that for a launch title and still withstands as one of the best on the SNES should really tell you something about this game. While it’s not quite as groundbreaking as Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World is more fun than any of its predecessors. And that’s what really matters. That, and the fact that it helped to introduce the Super NES, which went on to sell over 20 million units in the U.S.
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