Back in 1991, you had a gamble to either own a Sega Genesis or a Super Nintendo because either one of the consoles could have been the best console of all time. History speaks for itself that the SNES is better. Though it’s looked as a “kiddy console” (thanks to Sega’s bashing commercials), it had at least a game that captures anyone’s interest. Think of a genre and you’ll bet that the Super Nintendo has at some of the best in its library. Nintendo didn’t abandon any of their NES fans by delivering twice the experience that left an impression on their old fans and new fans alike. While the Sega Genesis had add-ons and peripherals to expand on their console (like Sega CD, Sega Channel, etc.), so did the Super Nintendo as offered an SNES mouse, superscope, and the Super Gameboy where you can play Gameboy games on your bigger and brighter screen television. Sure people would love to criticize the over-usage of the word “Super” as it is on almost everything on the Super Nintendo (like 64 in Nintendo 64), but “super” is a statement that’s taken to the next level. There are just things that the Super Nintendo did that no other console has done for their consumers like including two controllers and a copy of Super Mario World with the console, along with several launch titles that note even modern consoles could do any better. And remaining “Super” is what the SNES did as they pushed so far with graphics (Star Fox & Donkey Kong Country), created gameplay innovations, and top notch experiences. There are just so many games on the Super Nintendo that it was tough for me to only choose only 10, so count my video game rankings from 1991 to 1996 to be honorable mentions if they didn’t make it on the list. Nevertheless, from the beginning of the system’s life span, to the very end, this system gave us such a grand experience that no other console could even do the same. This has been the most passionate list that I’ve ever made so far and I’m more than proud to give you ten of my most favorite games from the very first gaming console I’ve ever owned..
Number 10. – Killer Instinct
If you remember that Killer Instinct on the arcades kept telling all of us that Killer Instinct console port will be released for the “Nintendo Ultra 64″ in 1995, the “Nintendo 64″ was delayed in release but Rareware still managed to deliver Killer Instinct as a console port. Though it had no choice but to be released on the Super Nintendo because it was still the only Nintendo console in the market in 1995. This could have been a bad idea considering that the arcade version was so technologically advanced, it’s predictable that a 16-bit console will end up in a lot of limitations. Surely enough, the Super Nintendo port used everything it had (using the same development technique as Donkey Kong Country) and managed to make it not half bad. I really like to look at this Killer Instinct version as the different 2D fighter that managed to be half as entertaining as the original version. Almost everything that everyone loved from the game remains in this port; from the characters in the selection, the move-sets, ultra combos, and everything right in a 2D plain. If that’s not enough, the game just spoiled it’s buyers by including the Killer Instinct soundtrack from the arcade version. It’s remembered as some of the most wildest and hard rocking soundtracks ever heard from a video game and to have it with the game it’s a full priced bargain! This copy of the game did everything to satisfy it’s fans after all the console limitations. And for that it earned itself to be on the list.
Number 9. – Super Mario World
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. 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 old school 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, it 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 United States alone.
Number 8. – Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Konami’s TMNT game series may have had a rough start on the NES, but the games kept on getting better until, finally, TMNT 4 became one of their all-time classics. If you’re a Ninja Turtles fan, then it’s absolutely the best Ninja Turtles game to own and if your a side-scrolling beat ‘em up fan, it is the best game of the genre! I brutally love that it is a blend between all the Turtles incarnations from the comics, cartoon, and movie where all of those characters and their designs were featured in this game. Sure the arcade version was released in 1991, but the SNES version, believe it or not, is actually superior. Sure the arcade offers a four player cooperative play, but even the consoles only can offer two players, it had a more redefined level design, the score were more clearer and catchy, the enemy and boss variety was vastly improved (Tolka, Razzah, and Super Shredder from TMNT 2: Secret of the Ooz were featured), and the gameplay is the most fluid of the whole genre. Remember all those times where you smashed foot soldiers “Hulk-style”, through them off the screen, and so many variety of wiping out a foot soldier? It really showcased what 16-bit graphics can really do. The fact that I played this game to death as a child, its still one of the quintessential pick-up-and-play experiences from the SNES!
Number 7. – Super Metroid
This game is one of the pinacles of 16-bit gaming. You can say that this game is more of a revamped version of the original Metroid, though it is in the same planet Zebes, but it was so perfectly revamped at the point where it really does feels like no other game in this era could even beat. Even after all of these years, Super Metroid is consider the finest game of all time for reasons of have a large expansive world, variations of boss fights that is simply unforgettable, and power & abilities your character gains is extremely satisfying. It controlled a million times better than the previous games where you can shoot in eight directions and gave us wall jump. From the opening sequence you can tell that you’re in for a treat and by the end, after putting so much time figuring out what to do next, you’re left with complete satisfaction after you escaped Zebes from detonation.
Number 6. – The Secret of Mana
Very rarely do we ever see a video game that has such a beauty and wonder that gave us an impression that could last for a life time! This game was a spiritual successor of Final Fantasy Adventure on the Gameboy, which made such a fast-paced, action-RPG and expanded it to every bit of space of an SNES cartridge. How big you may ask? It really had better animation, wider space of level designs, a faster recharge attack, and an innovative ring menu system that makes it so much easier to select items and weapons. If that’s not enough, how about being that this is an RPG that was massive enough to even give us a two-to-three player co-op which no other game of the genre could offer. Sure you have to wait till you have another character to come to your party, but for the sake that we still don’t have a video game RPG that offers multiplayer like Secret of Mana does, it should tell you how special this game really is. There were so many gameplay innovations which players does get various damages where you can be unconscious, get poisoned, shrink, get under a spell, and so many other random consequences when you get hit. All of these gameplay innovations also gives it attention to detail and polish in the game’s presentation. The graphics are colorful, charming, and stylish, and, most of all, the soundtrack is simply stunning. If you still have a sense of hearing, you can grasp into the magic just to urge you to continue to play. There are so much more that I could praise this game for, but what matters now is that if you haven’t played Secret of Mana, you owe it to yourself to finally play it. But if you already have, you need to give it another playthrough.
Number 5. – Final Fantasy VI
This game is regarded as one of the best RPG’s of all time and I can really see why. It had a narrative and an adventure that no video game since and after could ever replicate. Though the gameplay is similar to previous Final Fantasy games when using the active time battle mechanics, it was the pinnacle of video games that uses the post-apocalyptic and steampunk setting. From graphics, to gameplay, to plot, it all feels like it nailed what they were going for to be done perfectly like a well-done steak. Though this game doesn’t have class customization like the original Final Fantasy or Final Fantasy V, but you have relics that totally upgrades your characters abilities depending on what relic you choose. It casts spells on hostile situations when you’re about to die that simply makes the game so much bearable considering the other Final Fantasy games were really difficult. And let me say that even the game’s presentation is some of the richest aspects of the whole game. Even the game’s opening captures the audience to engage on the epic adventure that only this game can offer. Final Fantasy VI is blessed enough to be recognized are a true classic because it has been released so many times outside of the Super Nintendo and it still is being re-released or remade so that anyone who’s interested in the Final Fantasy series could play the peak of the entire series. This classic stood the test of time that survived countless generations of gaming and it will be continued to be played and loved by many generations to come!
Number 4. – Donkey Kong Country
I gave so much praise to all the games lower on the list for how fantastic they are, but Donkey Kong Country isn’t just fantastic, it’s simply lovable. It has probably the best appeal I’ve ever witnessed in a video game because of it’s colorful graphics, wondrous and magical score, and even the platforming variety of challenges that this platformer offers makes me weep. This was a fantastic comeback of a forgotten mascot since Jump Man now known as Mario took the spotlight and became more recognizable. This is the singular game that really save the Super Nintendo from loosing to the Sega Genesis because it showed that you don’t really need to have great graphics and gameplay with these add-ons, peripherals, and other separate object to improve anything. This singular cartridge game totally captures what I love about video games. The fact that this game is loaded with secrets, so many challenges, great enemy variety, breath taking visuals, and even fantastic sound system, Donkey Kong Country was lucky to have this much production value. I doubt that without this game, no one would ever recognize Rareware as that great gaming company that we all remember for. It showed that mode 7 isn’t the only graphical capabilities that the SNES can show and it also showed Sega Genesis’s blast processing (and all of their add-ons) to look more like a whimper. Because of it’s well-crafted design and giving more variety and challenge to the basic platformer gameplay, it holds special place in video game history as the best game of 1994 and quite possibly one of the best games of the Super Nintendo!
Number 3. – The Legend of Zelda:
A Link to the Past
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) just has more than enough bad sequels (Mario Bros. 2, Castlevania II) and Zelda II is the most despised of all. We wanted nothing more than another Zelda game that plays like the original Legend of Zelda and that’s why A Link to the Past not only delivered, but gave us more than what we all asked for. The joys of playing on an over the head view point, sword slashing (and many methods of attacking) so many variety of enemies, finding items and secrets, going through dungeons to solve puzzles, fight bosses that offer different challenges, and go anywhere you want as long as you have the necessary requirements, seen all formula of every Zedla game, but it never felt so grand! But the period in time of Zelda II to A Link to the Past was indeed a long time in the coming, it was well worth the wait. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past provides hours of action and a surprising amount of replay value as well. The graphics are vibrant and the music is infectious, which enhance the enjoyment. The story itself is well written and adds to the game’s charm. But most importantly, the gameplay is not only a huge improvement over the first Zelda game, but it was a completely new side of the Zelda world. Weather if it’s the iconic stormy opening, entering any temple, or facing any kind of creature, it was a huge adventure that no other game before it has even came close. And to go an extra mile, you have have a light and dark world to travel that made the adventure much bigger than anyone can imagine. Jump shifting from light and dark world is one of the coolest and most innovative level designs that even the likes of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes heavily borrows. Not only that, but there are more than enough weapons, items, and gears that improves Link to the very warrior that you want to play as. Though he may be overpowering towards the end, but that’s the whole fun of this adventure, plus the puzzles are tough but fun as well. I can argue that single Zelda title has more action and many ways to kill enemies than any other Zelda game to date and it didn’t feel like a waste at all. There’s a multitude of so many things to discover that it kept players connected for many years! It’s no wonder why this very title has been on Nintendo Power’s Top Game list for five years it should tell you why it’s so loved. The gameplay and adventure of Zelda: A Link to the Past felt seamless. Every subsequent Zelda takes their cues from this very game; as it introduced many familiar creatures, elements, and characters that would appear throughout the rest of the Zelda series. This is a game that never gets old no matter how many times you played it!
Number 2. – Donkey Kong Country 2:
Though 1994 was the year of Donkey Kong Country, I’m one of those people who knows by heart that the sequel is better than the original. Sure, most of us who are emotionally attached to Donkey Kong are upset that he’s unplayable thanks to Kaptain K. Rool capturing him, but at least we have the next best thing; Dixie Kong. It was great to have Dixie Kong as a new playable character to help Diddy Kong because she’s just as fast as Diddy and she has a ponytail so long that she can spin so fast to propeller herself to long distanced platforms. And better yet, you got yourself the richest and qualitative level designs that even make grown men emotionally weep. Plus backed up with the most immersive soundtrack ever scored into a video game. I felt like life is complete whenever I adventure through the game as a kid because it has a fantastic variety of levels that feels like the greatest pirate adventure in a video game. Not only that, but the secrets, bonus levels, and collectable were so well crafted that it’s worth attempting to make that 100% completion, despite its hardcore difficulty. Though it doesn’t have a story nor any character development whatsoever (like any other platformer in existence), but I’ve grown such a huge emotional attachment to the adventure and atmosphere that this very game presents itself! And it’s clearly one of the main reasons why I’m proud to have this very game to be, not only a part of my childhood, but part of me as a gamer!
Number 1. – Chrono Trigger
Very little games out there could even come close to the awesomeness of this very game. I always see Chrono Trigger as the game that was a build up on everything Squaresoft accomplished before this title and delivered with every ounce that they got! From top-to-bottom, start-to-finish this game is quality, quality, quality! It’s a game that demands your attention and will not let go of it until the final credits roll. It has everything that a game could ever need; a well fleshed out cast, devistating moves and team combos (never been done in an RPG), a fulfilling time-traveling experience, some of the greatest and memorable scores in video games, great villains, and multiple endings to make the player have a sense of high replay value. If you never played Chrono Trigger in your life, saying that you’re missing out is an understatement of the century; you owe it to yourself to play this game, even if you detest RPGs like I used to. When people say that Chrono Trigger will get people who hates RPG’s to become a believer, they are right because I used to hate RPG’s as it’s just a mathematic game in a fantasy setting. After I played this game from beginning to end, not only did I want to play more of this game, but I was eager to start playing other RPG’s of the genre. For a game that does that to me, personally, then it should really say something to you. I never been as satisfied as am I now after I played Chrono Trigger countless times because this was a time-traveling experience that I’ve never seen before and quite frankly, I may never see again.
The Top Listed Super Nintendo Games
10. 9. 8.
7. 6. 5.
4. 3. 2.
- Top 10 Nintendo 64 Games
- Top 10 Gameboy Games
- Top 10 NES Games
- Top 10 Sega Genesis Games
- Top 10 Sega CD Games
- Top 10 Sony Playstation Games
- Top 10 Video Games of 1996
- Top 10 Gameboy Advance Games