SB Recommends SNES/Super Famicom Games

snes_papercraft.jpgNintendo's entry in the 16-bit console wars. Probably the most popular “retro” system due to its huge library of JRPGs, polished graphics, prevalence of GBA/DS ports and ease of emulation. The Super Famicom had a little-known second life in Japan well into the 32-bit era, due to re-writable cartridges that you loaded stuff onto at the store. The controller would be copied by Sony and become the iconic standard of button layout. There was a planned CD add-on that never materialized, though it turned into what we would know as the PlayStation.

Aside from the stellar Scrambled Valkyrie, and UN Squadron (and maybe Axelay), the system's lacking a good selection of shooters—head to the Mega Drive and PC Engine for those—but has a strong catalogue in most other console-fitting genres.

  • 7th Saga / Elnard (JP)
    • 108: Is excellent and amazing and at times is so unforgiving and difficult it feels like you're walking a razor's edge. I ain't even kidding. It's like Phantasy Star II with the safety off. It's like Phantasy Star II for licensed carriers. For serious.
  • Actraiser (also on: Wii VC)
    • aderack: Like the meeting point of Rastan and SimCity. It's actually got power!
    • spinach: […]a deplorable story of the virtues of colonization[…]
  • Aerobiz Supersonic (also on: Genesis, PC-98)
    • username: It was never the most complex strategy game but I enjoyed Aerobiz Supersonic as there weren't exactly a ton of multiplayer strategy games available back then. The times I got to play it with others it got more heated than one would anticipate as putting low fare flights on your opponent's most profitable route to undercut them was almost always not appreciated.
  • Alcahest
    • The Blueberry Hill: A slightly messy, but nicely arcadey, action/adventure game from Halken.
  • Assualt Suits Valken (JP) / Cybernator
    • costel: A frenzied, yet methodical mecha masterpiece that would cause me to become addicted to Metal Warriors years later.
  • Axelay
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Spectacular shmuppy effort from Konami that samples a little from every popular STG at the time (mainly R-Type and Thunder Force) while remaining truly unique. Stages alternate between vertical and horizontal scrolling, and the vert sections take place on an interesting sort of Mode 7 conveyor belt. Every inspired, meticulously detailed setpiece feels different, with highlights including a Gundam space colony and a Sonic-esque casino city on Mars. There's close to nothing wrong with this game aside from some bouts of slowdown, and I can't recommend enough that you try it at least once.
  • Batman Returns
    • The Blueberry Hill: If memory serves this is a really solid feeling beat-'em-up.
  • Battle Clash / Space Bazooka (JP)
    • The Blueberry Hill: Wonderful lightgun boss-rush game by Intelligent Systems, full of large, handsome sprites featuring great mecha design. Don't forget its sequel Metal Combat.
  • Battle Cross
    • dessgeega: One of those fantastic single-screen racers where all the players are given ample opportunity to rumble with and sabotage one another. Each of the (huge number of) courses is full of obstacles like cannon-firing pirate ships, and — using the SFC multitap — the game can be played by up to six people at the same time.
  • Biker Mice From Mars
    • Toptube: If you like isometric view racers, try Biker Mice From Mars on SNES! Complete with Mario Kart sports games style signature power attacks! and Top Gear style performance upgrades!
  • Biometal
    • swimmy: There's so much going on in the background of the first level that I can't see anything,
  • Brandish
    • Glam Grimfire: also since you can find it in english, the SNES version of Brandish is a great game with a nice soundtrack (and a weird control scheme)
  • Castlevania: Dracula X (NA) / Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss (PAL) / Dracula XX (JP)
    • NFG: Very underrated game. It's nearly as excellent as the PC Engine game it succeeded.
    • Diplocephalus: Castlevania ranges from mediocre to great. This is one of the mediocre ones. It essentially boils down to someone tracing a great drawing, but only the outlines. The level design and visuals are rotten, and there's even a hellish bit where one knock off of a platform can screw-up your plan to get the best ending - for good.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Gotta disagree about it being almost as good as Rondo. While the graphics have been osmosed onto the SNES quite well from a technical standpoint, the levels have a certain dullness to them that Rondo's don't, where you don't always really feel motivated to progress further, and there's a serious lack of variety and creativity inherent within. With so many excellent other classic-style entries in the Castlevania to choose from, you shouldn't bother with this one until you've seen everything else.
  • Cho Jiku Yosai Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie (AKA: SDF Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie)
    • The Blueberry Hill: This, right here, is my favourite shooter on the system.
  • Chrono Trigger (also on: DS, iOS, PS1, PSN, Wii VC)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Unquestionably the greatest thing Square ever did. If JRPGs don't make you want to puke, you owe it to yourself to play this one. I personally prefer the DS version's re-translated script.
    • Broco: “overwrought fanfiction” is not inaccurate, but its story is still tight and consistently clever, with hardly an anticlimactic or demotivating moment. It's the still-unsurpassed polished pinnacle of JRPG design, and I can count on my fingers the games I think are better-written.
    • gatotsu2501: Play the SNES (or VC) version if you possibly can. The PS1/PSN version is plagued with constant loading times, the DS version looks and sounds overly compacted and contains an overwrought and charmless retranslation despite some nice (and not-so-nice) bonus features, and frankly this is a game that deserves to be played on a large screen. Other than that, it's just as good as its reputation holds. It's one of the few JRPGs with truly taut pacing and consistent focus, never getting bogged down in excesses of filler or bullshit and constantly moving forward while still giving the player just enough freedom to explore and just enough of a sense that they're truly in control. A masterclass in form and a near-perfection of its genre, and yet it never feels like it's showing off. Chrono Trigger wants to be your friend, and if you have an ounce of heart in you then by the time the end credits roll you'll be more than happy to reciprocate.
  • Clock Tower
  • Contra III: The Alien Wars (NA) / Super Probotector: Alien Rebels (PAL) / Contra Spirits (JP)
    • RT-55J: Manages to achieve a perfect balance between the level design of its predecessors and the boss-rush-mania of its successors.
  • Darius Twin
    • aderack: Though not as interesting as Sagaia, still a pretty neat Darius. You don't lose your power-ups!
    • Sniper Honeyviper: A strictly average shmup, though it's got enough curiosities to be worth checking out. The music, while pretty bad, at least has a strange, buzzing presence to it; and the boss fights are just spectacular enough to be mostly on par with the rest of the series.
  • Demon's Crest / Demon's Blazon Makaimura Monshou hen (JP)
    • showka: Demon's Crest is short, but shit we're all adults with no time now right? I say find it and play it. The game is the best adventure Capcom made for the SNES aside from (debatably) Megaman X1.
    • Pijaibros: I love the environment the game provides with it's Ghouls n' Ghosts heritage. Dark, foreboding environments and terrifying enemies. A wonderful haunting melody accompanies all this. Absolutely Gorgeous! One of my favorite titles in my SNES set. It's a wonderful combination of the aesthetics of Ghouls n' Ghosts with the action of Mega Man.
  • Donkey Kong Country (also on: GBA, Wii VC)
    • Diplocephalus: Looking back, years ago, when I drooled over this game, and playing it now, I realize one thing: graphics. Yawn.
    • RobotRocker: Forget the original, get straight to the sequel and see why Rare were considered THE premier dev' house of the Late 90's.
    • spectralsound: it's not bad, necessarily, but it doesn't really stand out as anything special mechanically. the soundtrack does some killer mood-setting though. Rare must have realized that was their strong point, because they made sure to play it up for the next game.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Yeah. Average platformer distinguished by exceptional audiovisual presentation. The soundtrack is, like, all-time-top-10 good though.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (also on: GBA, Wii VC)
    • spectralsound: it's pretty much the same game mechanically, and the collect-a-thon bullshit is actually even worse. but what it does have going for it is some far wilder and darker worlds to play in, a slightly added emphasis on speed now that the lumbering gorilla is absent, and the second- or third-best SNES soundtrack of all time. the actual game itself is okay, i guess.
  • Do-Re-Mi Fantasy
  • Dragon Quest V (also on: DS, JP PS2)
    • 108: In terms of story and general appeal, it's the best Dragon Quest game. Where Dragon Quest IV was “clever” by splitting the story into four parts that came together, Dragon Quest V is about one man's life, from his traumatic childhood as a poor boy, led around the world on a mysterious quest by his noble father. And before you know it, it's all about growing up, taking responsibility for one's legacy, and even starting a family. The Japanese version is as highly revered a Dragon Quest game as Final Fantasy VI is a Final Fantasy game. System-wise, it lets you capture and raise monsters as members of your party, which was said to be one of the inspirations for the Pokemon series of games. There is a PlayStation 2 remake by Arte Piazza and Matrix, and it looks wonderful and smooth, with a slowed down encounter rate and slightly better balanced experience and gold bonuses per battle. (Though there are some weird little issues, like being unable to adjust the message speed after starting the game.) As far as I'm concerned, Dragon Quest V is the best flat-out RPG experience on Super Famicom (not counting Mother 2, which is just something else), dated as the graphics might be. If you have an emulator, track down the English translation. Wonderful to play on PSP, that way.
    • Rud13: Tim nailed everything about this game system and storywise. I'll warn you that the encounter rate is absolutely obnoxious to a point that if I had been playing it on a real super famicom, I would have given up. The game also kind of falls apart in the final third. I enjoyed it but didn't *really* enjoy it.
    • gatotsu2501: The writing is lovely, but I found the game to run out of steam in a big way after about a dozen hours.
  • Earthbound (also on: Wii U VC) - forum thread
    • Sniper Honeyviper: The precise moment when the Japanese Role-Playing Game gained self-awareness. (Mother 1 wasn't quite there yet, I think.) Far outclassed by its sequel, but still a precious artifact.
    • Talbain: What can be said about this game that hasn't already been said? It's pretty much an RPG that revolutionized thinking about RPGs. It made the abnormal normally accessible. It's hard to really describe this game unfortunately, other than generalizations which everyone's heard before. If I had to say what it is, I'd say to look for what it isn't and you'd begin to understand it.
    • gatotsu2501: Combat can get pretty tedious, despite the consideration of allowing you to skip battles with lower-level enemies. If you're okay with the simplistic battle system of Dragon Quest you'll probably be fine with this; if you're not, well, consider yourself warned.
  • F-Zero (also on: Wii VC, Wii U VC)
    • The Blueberry Hill: The fantastic sound design may be the main reason it's still my favourite racing game.
  • Famicom Tantei(detective) Club Part II
    • kerobaros: If you've ever wanted to play a mystery game that was worth a damn? Hunt this one down. Good luck doing so, as it only ever appeared on NoJ's Nintendo Power flash-cart system, but hey, it's worth it. Also, Demiforce released a translation patch a while back. Maybe slightly easier to play it that way. Either way, the story is.. twist-a-riffic, in a way Law and Order wishes it could be.
  • Final Fantasy IV (JP) / Final Fantasy II (NA) (also on: GBA, PS1, PSN, PSP, Wii VC, WSC; remade for DS) - forum thead
    • BandanaBandelero: Between the emulation and Game Boy Advance routes, I am in the camp that doesn't see any need for the old american cartridge. The Game Boy Advance version's bugs, it seems to me, have been overstated. Sometimes a character will get a double turn. This happened to me maybe seven times in an entire 30-hour game. It has the best graphics of any version, though you might like some of the older character portraits better than the new ones. The translation is better for the most part. The challenge is just right. I also enjoyed the Sony PlayStation version for its accurate soundtrack emulation until my save file was somehow corrupted. On the Game Boy Advance the soundtrack just barely passes. Apparently the European Game Boy Advance version fixes some of the bugs, so you might want to try and nab that one if you go the portable route. The fan-translated hard type version is the best way to go if you want the nostalgic, more pure feel of the SNES version with a slightly better script and the added convenience/performance of playing on a PC or laptop.
  • Final Fantasy V (also on: Android, GBA, iOS, PS1, PSN, JP Wii VC)
    • TOLLMASTER: Merge of classic gameplay, storyline, and graphics with the prototype for character customization that would dominate the next two generations of RPGs. The last truly “retro” Final Fantasy.
    • gatotsu2501: One of the best customization systems in the series, while at the same time one of the simplest. Be sure to play the GBA version, which spices up the otherwise forgettable plot with a goofy Paper Mario-style localization.
  • Final Fantasy VI (JP) / Final Fantasy III (NA) (also on: GBA, PS1, PSN, Wii VC)
    • TOLLMASTER: RPGs cross a line where they stopped becoming games and started to become stories with games attached. Still holds up today because it took a lot of risks, and the risks that paid off standardized the JRPG genre for the PS1 Golden Era of JRPGs. Worth visiting for history's and nostalgia's sake, but seems awfully clunky now. Despite that, the Esper system is fun and the JRPG which standardized a story for the next console generalization largely did it right, especially for an age where plain text still took up significant amount of space on a ROM.
    • spectralsound: kind of paper-thin these days in terms of world and mechanics, but the cast is still instantly likeable. (and as thin as their world.) probably the best soundtrack of any Final Fantasy game; FF7 comes close, but the poor arrangements really hurt it.
    • Felix: This is probably the most seriously that Final Fantasy ever took itself (or was in a position to take itself), and it's sure impressive, but I've never found it as likable as what came before or after. It's not as straightforwardly fun or as foundational as the Sakaguchi SNES titles, and compared to Square's later SNES and early PSX releases, it's a little underwritten and unspectacular. I know that some of this was supposedly due to the localization, and I don't want to ignore that it was the first title in the series to have female leads and an ensemble cast and faithful representations of Amano's art and fairly weighty direction for 1994, but it's far from my favourite.
  • Fire emblem: Thracia 776
    • mothmanspirit: I like Fire Emblem Thracia 776 a lot. It's a tactics game, but it feels like a puzzle game. There are levels you might replay fifteen or more times, trying to slide the right guys into the right tiles, but there's never just one answer.
  • The Firemen
    • The Blueberry Hill: The system's best fire fighting game.
  • Front Mission: Gun Hazard - translation patch
    • Teflon: Front Mission: Gun Hazard is pretty spectacular. Platformer with a honest-to-god serious plot, often told by shit actually happening in-game (this does raise the problem of it being rather impossible to read text boxes and perform superhuman feats of mecha-control simultaneously but that's realism okay). It's also moody in a particularly gorgeous way. And of course it's a Front Mission game so you can nerd out on some robot parts (shotgun/punchyfist all day every day).
    • Loki Laufeyson: Agreeing on Front Mission: Gun Hazard. even with my massive SEGA bias, I'll still say it's one of the best looking 16-bit games there is. And one of the best 16-bit games there is, too. Definitely the best of the Assault Suits genre.
  • Fushigi no Dungeon 2: Furai no Shiren (also on: DS)
    • dessgeega: Chun Soft's second sfc roguelike, and probably their most compelling. recently translated by aeon genesis.
    • kerobaros: Later rereleased on the DS. gogogo.
  • Gradius 3 (also on: arcade, Wii VC)
    • wourme: I much prefer this to the arcade version. Though it's not my very favorite shooter, I've probably played it through more times than any other.
  • Hagane
    • NeoZeedeater: The SNES was lacking in terms of ninja action games compared to its competitors but Hudson/Red delivered a great one with Hagane. It reminds me of the Shinobi and Strider series'.
  • Kendo Rage / Makeruna! Makendou (JP)
    • MrSkeleton: An interesting little 90's anime based game for the SNES that's actually a loving homage (and actually better than every game in) the Valis series.
    • The Blueberry Hill: I have a soft spot for this pretty average game (and the rest of the series) because of its Datam Polystar connection, and Ano Shimizu illustrations, but that's about all I like about it.
    • Glam Grimfire: Is an interestin little 90's anime based game for the SNES that's actually a loving homage (and actually better than every game in) the Valis series,
  • Kirby's Dream Land 3 (also on: Wii VC, Wii U VC)
  • Kirby Super Star (US) / Kirby's Fun Pak (PAL) / Kirby of the Stars Super Deluxe (JP) (also on: DS, Wii VC, Wii U VC)
    • showka: fucking epic with two people. Its easily my favorite Kirby game. This is the fully realized original bad-ass Kirby, before he became all about pastel colors and appealing to pre-schoolers (instead he appealed to grade schoolers).
  • Illusion of Gaia / Illusion of Time (PAL) / Records of the Illusion of Gaia (JP)
    • starblood: It has aged better in production values than Soul Blazer. It also came with a T-shirt, which as every Nintendo Power nerd can attest to, it was the coolest thing you can wear for school. Quintet at this point has mastered the template for what they wanted their future games to be like. It was really big in Europe, even though they used Time over Gaia at the end of the name, which is weird. Too bad the plot does not make much sense after the ship
  • Laplace no Ma
  • Legend of the Mystical Ninja
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Your enjoyment of this game will hinge entirely on your nostalgic attachment to the series.
    • gatotsu2501: Even when I was young and obsessed with all things Zelda, I always found ALttP kinda… boring. Next to Ocarina of Time (which is practically a remake) it feels like it lacks personality, even if it's technically held up better.
    • misadventurous: I think A Link to the Past deserves a little more credit, here. The two-world concept was genuinely novel at the time, and I really enjoy the contrast created between the light world and the dark world. The dungeons are really solidly designed, clever & challenging without ever being too obtuse, and there is a decent amount of wiggle room in the main scenario. Newer Zelda games fall into a common JRPG trap of using the story to trap you in increasingly larger boxes, not letting you travel around as you like until the game is almost over, but back in the day the games were built to let you pretty much go where you wanted, only constraining you based on what treasures & tools you'd unearthed. I think ALttP is at the zenith of that “lock & key” design. The whole thing holds up really well even today, I don't think nostalgia has everything to do with its reputation at all. Also, Pegasus Boots > Epona.
  • Libble Rabble (also on: Arcade, FM Towns Marty, X68000)
    • dessgeega: Libble Rabble is a dual-stick game designed by Toru Iwatani after Pac-Man success made him, temporarily, Namco's golden child. Instead of a game about shooting, like all of its dual-stick contemporaries, though, Libble Rabble is a game about gardening. Each stick controls a small marker, which can move autonomously, though they have a line strung between them which can wrap around posts planted in the field. The goal is to use the line to fence in and harvest struttin' mushrooms (Mushlins) while keeping the markers away from wandering baddies (Hoblins).
      Libble Rabble is a great game, and the [SNES] port is excellent.
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  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (NA) / Lufia (PAL) / Estpolis Denki II (JP) (remade for DS)
    • negativedge: Very quick battles with enemies that are visible. Dungeons are action-puzzle based like a Zelda game, complete with items usable outside of battle (arrows, etc.). It has the monster recruitment of DQV (kind of). The game pretends the story is the same stupid JRPG story from a million other games (including the random dumb anime hero) but in reality its much more muted and grounds itself in reality a little bit. the result is something with some surprising depth and genuine emotion. and then you get a rogue-like tacked on in the form of an enormous bonus dungeon that is awesome.
  • Majuu Ou / King of Demons (Fan-Translated Title)
    • Loki Laufeyson: a pretty nice platform shooting game, with unusually dark themes for a SNES game, and great, tiny graphics in a similar style to a horror version of Ninja Cop or Elevator Action Returns.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Yes! It doesn't really feel like a SNES game, at all. I'd love to see more SNES games in this colour palette.
    • remote: It's very cool, a bit like an even weirder Castlevania with a handgun and some odd Berserk-style atmosphere.
    • Baseballkappe: I love Majuu Ou.
  • Mario's Super Picross (also on: Wii VC - JP and EU only)
    • The Blueberry Hill: My favourite picross game, perhaps mostly because of how satisfying it feels just marking the board. The game keeps the archaeological theme from Mario's Picross and those little squares are really crunched off the board.
  • Mega Man X (also on: Gamecube, PS2, Wii VC, Wii U VC)
    • TORUMASUTA: I feel like [Mega Man X, and Mega Man X 2, are] the closest Capcom ever got to doing a Treasure game; not manic like Treasure's stuff, but good quality all around combined with a movement system where you had enough freedom that the game could punish you for misusing your freedom. I don't know why regular Mega Man plus clinging to walls plus dashing makes it that much better, but it DOES.
  • Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge
    • The Blueberry Hill: Outstanding Super Scope/lightgun game. Big, beautiful mecha graphics, interesting enemies. The game this succeeds, Battle Clash is highly recommended, and this is even more outstanding.
    • SuperWeş: Gunpei Yokoi worked on Metal Combat, also known as “the best light gun shooter of all time.”
    • Koji: Metal Combat really is pretty amazing, though it's hell of long. I mean, it has a plot twist (not that the plot matters or manages to catch one's attention) which makes the game twice as long as it should have been, which kind of sucks when you have to hold that uncomfortable bazooka. And darned batteries; if it weren't for them I'd play that or the Super Scope 6 games every now and then.
  • Metal Marines (also on: PC (Windows 3), Wii U VC)
    • The Blueberry Hill: A neat strategy game. Players' bases are isolated from each other, with attacking involving transported mechs, launching missiles, and defending via building gun and anti-air batteries. The whole package feels unique.
  • Metal Max Returns - forum thread
    • Chris B: Rather nonlinear postapocalyptic stuff that doesn't take itself seriously.
    • Gideon Zhi: Metal Max is an open, nonlinear RPG with a heavy focus on sidequests and tank tweaking. The main game has you chasing bounty heads and finding new vehicles for your entourage, but there’s so much other stuff to do! You can pimp your tanks with decals and accessories, you can buy furniture and wall hangings for your home, play with little critters that eat your money and grow to enormous proportions, or enjoy a host of minigames. Go hunting for this week’s target and become a rich and famous bounty hunter!
    • Simon Belmont: I had save files for hundreds of games on my old computer, but it's the Metal Max Returns save that I mourn for the most. I'm not sure what other games I could compare it to; it's a weird blend of Western and Eastern game design philosophy in one Mad Max inspired setting. On a Venn diagram with “Wasteland”, “SaGa Frontier” and “Gran Turismo”, Metal Max Returns would occupy the space where those three games intersect.
    • ?: Metal Max is Romancing SaGa except the emphasis on random techniques is now on CUSTOMIZING TANKS. You find strange vehicles, equip them with strange weapons, and fight the absolute weirdest enemies ever found in a JRPG. Like it sounds, it's a Mad Max parody, except it doesn't care so much about being a parody of an Australian wasteland movie and more wants you to have fun in a JRPG environment. If the “bad” part about JRPGs is the grind, why not make battles fun, and then make them the main part of the game? You can equip your tanks to fulfil different roles to take down certain enemies, you eventually need to be careful about proper Special Weapon and Main Cannon ammo usage, and instead of just pre-set boss battles, you'll find bosses right on the world map in random encounters who are worth bounties once turned in.
  • Metal Warriors
    • NFG: Developed by Konami and LucasArts, some considered it a sequel to Cybernator (Assault Suits Valken in Japan) but it's not. Features a great 1P mode and as well as possibly the very best two-player action on the SNES. Exceptionally well balanced mech combat - no one mech is conclusively better against the rest in the hands of a skilled player.
    • 108: Great game. The two-player mode, which revolves around split-screen platforming/run-and-gunning duels between two equally matched robots, is something the videogame industry should have learned from. At any rate, the sense of scale and the expert handling of cross-sections makes this game a must for anyone who likes, say, Rolling Thunder, The Outfoxies, or Valken (though I reckon the game owes more to those other two games than Valken.)
    • Loki Laufeyson: probably the SNES's best versus mode outside of Bomberman and fighting games.
    • TORUMASUTA: A rare (if not singular) example of a Western company not only learning lessons from the guys on the other side of the Pacific, but actually building onto those fundamental foundations, and creating an entirely different game. While you can see where Metal Warriors lifted ideas from Assault Suits Valken/Cybernator and Front Mission: Gun Hazard, they put those ideas in the context of an almost puzzle-like gameplay where you could switch mecha multiple times through the stage to meet different obstacles with different approaches.
  • Mystic Ark
    • 108: one of the greatest games ever if you have that kind of imagination. It's every bit as nuts as 7th Saga, only it does an infinitely better job of explaining itself (sparsely, yes).
    • spectralsound: kind of weirdly unsettling at times if you think too hard. (this is not a bad thing!)
  • NBA Jam (also on: arcade; GB; Game Gear; Mega Drive; Mega CD)
    • Bennett: For reasons mentioned earlier, a wonderful way to implement a basketball game. The first and last design we can say that about.
  • NBA Jam: Tournament Edition (also on: 32X; arcade; GB; Game Gear; Jaguar; Mega Drive; Saturn; PlayStation)
    • 108: Unlike the Genesis version, it has no music! This is a good thing! I consider this to be the only game I have ever “mastered”.
  • Ninja Warriors (NA) / The Ninja Warriors Again (JP) / The Ninja Warriors (PAL)
    • q 3: Ninja Warriors Again is a side-scrolling beat'em up with lots of style and lots of stylish moves, a sequel of sorts to the ancient Taito arcade game. It was released in the U.S. as “The Ninjawarriors” but the female ninja enemies were removed and the story (all two paragraphs of it) was toned down — now your mission is not to assassinate the evil dictator, but merely depose him.
  • Nosferatu
    • mothmanspirit: I like Nosferatu, which is like Prince of Persia but you punch werewolves. It has a sort of industrial soundtrack that doesn't sound much like any other 16-bit game - I can't find my favorite track off of it, but I promise it's there, in the second part of the first level I think.
  • On the Ball (NA/PAL) / Cameltry (JP)
    • dessgeega: It's cameltry with quadruple the stages. Brilliant and probably easy to find. Justifies mode 7's existence.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Uses the SNES mouse!
  • Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen / Densetsu no Ogre Battle (JP) (also on: Wii VC)
    • Talbain: I loved this game for the potential challenges, potential flexibility, and potential gameplay more than anything else. It was the first game where I really got the concept in my head that the user should have ultimate control over a great deal of what goes on around them and their characters. I think that's why I'm so adamant, is because this game really introduced me to aspects of customization with certain limitations.
  • Panic in Nakayoshi World
  • Phantom 2040 (also on: Game Gear, MD)
    • MrSkeleton: Based on a terrible cartoon, Phantom 2040 is a metrovania/platformer for the SNES based on the Phantom license. Really good.
  • Pocky & Rocky / KiKi KaiKai: Nazo no Kuro Manto (JP)
  • Prince of Persia
    • username: The SNES version of Prince of Persia is a unique version of the game that has about twice as many levels as the original one, so for fans of the game it is much worth checking out.
  • Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (also on: Mac; PC)
    • Bennett: Didn't settle for just adding a world and a story to Prince of Persia. Some awesome twists and epiphanies. I love epiphanies in gaming, they are very rare.
  • Radical Dreamers
    • gatotsu2501: Low-budget Squaresoft visual novel/adventure game that serves as a prototype of sorts to Chrono Cross. Short, but charming and memorable - in some ways even better than its “proper” successor. Great soundtrack, with a number of especially memorable pieces and themes that were reused or remixed in Chrono Cross. CT-style New Game Plus and multiple endings make it surprisingly replayable. A quality ROM translation patch should be very easy to find.
  • Rock n' Roll Racing (also on: GBA; MD)
  • Saturday Night Slam Masters
    • username: My favorite wrestling game from that era as it is basically a dumbed down Capcom fighter with great looking characters. It has a Capcom sprite version of Vader, so obviously it is a great game.
  • Secret of Evermore
    • 108: super awesome ambience, horrible game breaking bugs that are the stuff of legend, and . . . well, shit, i consider this one of the most underrated videogames of all time and it's definitely one of the best games ever on the super nintendo entertainment system, so yeah.
    • diplo: secret of evermore is just great. the dialogue's schlocky as hell, but beyond that there's a world that's alive and secretive. i love being able to search every cranny and find some element for alchemy spells.
  • Secret of Mana / Seiken Densetsu 2 (JP) (also on: Wii VC)
  • Seiken Densetsu 3
  • Shadowrun
    • The Blueberry Hill: An odd, atmospheric, RPG, that's a bit short. There's potential in the mechanics for something grander. Made by Beam Software.
    • Broco: Yeah, Shadowrun SNES has some of the sweetest isometric artwork. It really makes the world feel substantial. It seemed like they spent a lot of time building a cool semi-open world to explore and populated it with this stuff, but on the other hand the gunplay seemed to have been tacked on at the last minute. It's awkward to control and hitscan-based — which makes some encounters feel unfair — and weirdly lacking in visual impact. It has some elements of a classic though, I carried for years a vague memory of awesomeness after renting it for a day as a kid.
  • Shodai Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun
  • SimCity
    • ry0n: Fairly painful to play with a SNES controller, this was a slightly upgraded version of the computer game. A few features (gifts, music, Bowser attacking Godzilla-style) set it apart from SimCity Classic for the PC. Important because games of this type seldom appeared on consoles, and arguably still don't.
    • The Blueberry Hill: This is my favourite version of the game. Especially with a fast forward key close to hand.
  • Star Fox / Star Wing (PAL) (also on: Wii VC)
  • Star Fox 2 - forum thread
    • The Blueberry Hill: This unreleased game is one of the highlights of the 16bit era. The map screen in now alive, and events will take place here, even as you play missions.
    • The Blueberry Hill: The low frame rate may render this little more than a curiosity now. But it's worth a shot, particularly the stunt mode, which is an arcadey, timed, obstacle course.
  • Super Aleste (JP/PAL) / Space Megaforce (NA)
    • NeoZeedeater: The best shooter on the system.
    • wourme: A lot of fun, with some pretty interesting graphical effects in places.
    • Rud13: These two forget the mention that the levels are way too long.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: We're talking TEN-MINUTE LONG levels with the same backdrop and tilesets repeated in an endless cycle. It's a mechanically sound shooter, but kind of painful to put up with. You'd be better off with any of Hudson's Star Soldiers.
  • Super Bomberman 3
    • Arisu: Super Bomberman 3 is my favorite in the series. 2 gets brownie points for not doing single screen levels, it was noble for a time when Bomberman was mostly known for arcade action. Its adventure ideas didn't kick in until the late 90's. It is too bad Hudson didn't release SB3 to the US.
  • Super Castlevania IV / Akumajo Dracula (JP) (also on: Wii VC, Wii U VC)
    • Diplocephalus: Occasionally called a tech-demo (for prolific scrolling, I guess). Its levels aren't as specially observant as Castlevania 1, nor are they even close to being as downright artificial as Castlevania 3's. The whip feels more conscious than in any other game. A weirdly subterranean ambiance and bizarre soundtrack also help make this something unique.
    • BandanaBandelero: For me this is one of those weird games that can be quite difficult (in the later stages, and there's also a few tricky timed jumps), but when I get in the proper groove/mood I can make my way easily enough. Eh, perhaps the same could be said of all religions? But more than any other game I can think of this is one where I can really suck at in one attempt, but then play brilliantly in another instance as if I somehow spiritually meld with the whole thing. Oh christ, this is lame… Which brings me to my next point: Don't smoke crack. Uh, yeah, so…the soundtrack in this one is magic! The ending theme is how a fucking Castlevania ending theme should be. It's really emotional and cathartic.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Worst Dracula battle in the series, otherwise a competent but rather unremarkable entry.
  • Super Mario All-Stars / Super Mario Collection (JP) (also on: Wii)
    • ry0n: Four classic mario games on one cart with reworked 16-bit graphics and sound. Being able to save progress kills most of the challenge. An amazing and fun bundle of Miyamoto.
    • wourme: The reworked graphics in this collection really bugged me—I couldn't stand to play these versions, and wished they had included the originals as well. It was nice to finally see the real Super Mario Bros. 2, though.
  • Super Mario Kart (also on: Wii VC)
  • Super Mario RPG (also on: Wii VC)
    • gatotsu2501: A charming little game with several impressive-for-its-time innovations that periodically poked their heads up again in both its more polished Nintendo-developed spiritual successors and a handful of subsequent Squaresoft games. May not quite live up to its reputation if you're over the age of 10 the first time you play it.
    • CubaLibre: I actually think SMRPG is probably a contender for best JRPG. People remember it fondly as charming and cute and so forth but I think it's also eminently playable and briskly, minorly challenging the way a good JRPG should be. It and Chrono Trigger are probably the only JRPGs I'd pick up and replay for fun (not counting Earthbound and Mother 3, which are sort of different beasts).
    • Broco: I think Mario RPG is a bad game primarily because it's ugly-looking. Much of the reason to like the Square games of the same era is their fantastic pixel art; SMRPG has this really disjointed pseudo-3d look.
    • schroeder: My favorite part of SMRPG is that it harnessed the impatient tapping everyone does in JRPG battles and made it a mechanic.
    • Felix: unless you absolutely hate the isometric pre-rendered 2D aesthetic or you're not into relatively literal interpretations of jRPGs circa 1996 (with cool vertical level design and no random battles), very charming and lots of fun. actually has a run button to motivate its platforming elements, which later titles lost sight of. frankly the only thing keeping me from rating it higher is that saying “mario x final fantasy circa 1996 is close to perfection” is sort of depressing.
  • Super Mario World (also on: GBA, Wii VC, Wii U VC)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Dumb bullshit. The floaty, mouse-cursor physics are a real downer after the high of SMB3. The (admittedly pretty) graphics would become the new standard for the franchise. But hey, it's Miyamoto, and it's still perfectly playable.
    • The Blueberry Hill: 'admittedly pretty'? I'd say the quality of the sprite work is far below Mario 3's. But I still enjoy the playground atmosphere. I still sometimes go back and do a 96 star game over a day or two. The lack of difficulty, even in the 'special world', is it's main problem. The sound design is curious.
    • Take It Sleazy: Despite being completely worthless because it doesn't have the real underground theme, the level and depth and intelligence at play here is incredible. The fact that there is even an argument about whether it is better than Mario 3 shows the level of love and care on display. A work of genius that is to date still smarter and more complex than 90% of the 2D platformers that came after it.
    • gatotsu2501: The way I see it, the neverending war between SMB3 and World fans is indicative of the “obstacle course vs. playground” schools of design theory. I myself lean towards playgrounds, so World is and forever will be my definitive Mario game. (As a point of interest: Miyamoto himself recently said that World was his favorite Mario game as well.)
    • misadventurous: completely disagree about the physics. i wish this game demanded more of the player more often, because i think it's a collection of some of the most deliciously satisfying mechanics ever devised for a videogame. there is such a tight degree of control over Mario at all times that masterful high-level play is almost addictively satisfying. this is a game begging for virtuoso romhackers to pull a Lost Levels on it. the thing itself is pretty solid, so long as you're shooting for unlocking all the goals. i think the “normal” playthrough is about the most boringly sleepwalky Mario scenario ever devised up until about Chocolate Island, the game squirrels away its best levels in the secret areas and opening up the world yourself through finding those secrets is highly satisfying. this is, for better or for worse, the game i think of when i think of the SNES.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (also on: GBA)
    • NFG: Very possibly the best platformer ever made.
    • RobotRocker: Unless Artoon performs a miracle and the DS sequel rocks our socks, this is the definitive Nintendo game. Donkey Kong Country 2 runs it close for best platformer on the SNES but for sheer awesome, Yoshi's Island smokes everything in its path.
    • Diplo: Simply wonderful stages. Even the forced scrolling ones are fun! Also, one of the best looking games ever made. This creation bursts with love. Or maybe spite, against DKC.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Way too fiddly and gimmicky, and it all kinda feels the same. Some of the later levels are truly idiotic. Worth playing through once to see the bosses, though.
    • TORUMASUTA: Yoshi's Island is brilliant and taught me a lot about proper level design. It also looks like no other game out there. It's a Super Mario exploration type game, except the puzzles are integrated into the levels rather than it being something like “level, puzzle, level” if that makes any sense. Like, the level will have a “theme” and figuring out how that “theme” works is itself the puzzle, it's not “here are some fucking Goombas and halfway through, OH GOD THERE IS A KEYHOLE YOU BETTER GET ON THAT SHIT.” And the aiming of egg shots made it a Mario game with action elements, which worked surprisingly well. Maybe Nintendo needs to give Mario Mario to Epic Games and put him in Super Mario Galaxy of War
  • Super Metroid - ROM hacks and game mods (also on: Wii VC, Wii U VC)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Archaeology: The Game.
    • Broco: In some ways it holds up as a seminal and polished game, but it's the Metroid I enjoy the least personally. […] The first two Metroids are these really grim, harsh, lonely mazes and there's a real satisfaction to getting further in them. In the name of polish and accessibility, Super Metroid sort of lost that edge. On the other hand, it's not nearly as streamlined as Metroid Fusion is (Fusion's pacing and controls are improved). So it's kind of in this awkward halfway point that doesn't really let it hold up as the best at anything in particular in the series (except possibly some kind of sense of “epicness”).
    • spectralsound: does the “epic story-driven Metroid” thing about a hundred million times better than both Fusion and other m. might also have the series' best soundtrack; hard to say. (why do i keep being drawn towards games with excellent sound design? who knows.) the linear nature of the game is guaranteed to bug you once you notice it.
  • Super Offroad (Arcade; Amiga; Amstrad; Atari ST; C64; GB; GG; Lynx, Master System, MD, NES; PC; Spectrum)
    • YourImaginaryFriend: Super Offroad is actually one of my favorite multiplayer games. Me and my little brother spent a lot of time playing that game together (along with TMNT Arcade and Super Contra) and we got hours of entertainment out of it. I love the way it feels, and it's the only racer of its type that I've enjoyed playing.
  • Super Turrican
    • RT-55J: Probably the best Turrican for those unwilling to get used to the clunky controls of the Amiga installments.
  • Super Turrican 2
    • RT-55J: basically the Anti-Turrican. Gone are any vestiges of the series' large, maze-like levels. In their place is a linear action game that competently apes the Konami's situation-rushes of the day. The result is marked improvement over Mega Turrican, which was already going in that direction anyway. The weapons feel balanced, the grappling hook is no longer cripplingly unwieldy, and the setpieces don't need to be forgivingly idealized. The bosses are rather impressive, with the spider and the final boss being the standouts.
    • RT-55J: Just a word of warning: the Axelay stage is the stuff of horrors.
  • Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (remade for: PlayStation, PSP) - translation patch
    • Felix: The primary reason that I and five other people love Tactics Ogre so much is the way it makes you desperate for your characters not to die.
    • Talbain: Another game with a great soundtrack. This one adds a great story and good characters to boot. What is most interesting about this game is that it's intriguing how much you can abuse things that are never abusable in most games. Things such as stuns or paralysis, abilities that, in general, are useless in most other games.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
  • Terranigma
    • The Blueberry Hill: A grand action adventure by Quintet. People complain of its length, and consistency, but I'm always sufficiently charmed by the way the character feels, in motion, and in combat.
    • ionustron: the game just feels completely depressing and uneven, almost like it should've ended when you restored humans. Really the HG101 article explains it much better than I could, the game just takes a nosedive at that point. I do intend to complete it, but… man, the second half game does alot of things that seem wonderful until you try them. Just needed much more time to bake.
    • Broco: I don't know, I found Terranigma really tedious after about 5-6 hours of play. I tried twice but never managed to get through it. The fighting is repetitive and not as viscerally satisfying as e.g. Secret of Mana, and doing silly subquests for the animal kingdom gets boring fast. The story is pretty weak in my opinion, and the English localization is terrible. (That font!)
    • Dark Age Iron Saviour: It's a very good game, quite possibly the fullest of the titles Quintet has made. I kind of wish I could tell you non-Terranigma-having-played guys all the neat things you should do one way or another to maximize the gaming experience - there aren't actually that many, but they're pretty much all spoilers. That said, in Chapter 3, don't go to Mosque until you've talked to a chicken and fought a ghost and enjoyed the subsequent reward!
    • Dark Age Iron Saviour: no matter what you may think about any individual portion of the game (it's a pretty uneven ride), I think Terranigma is one of the few games that is genuinely, honestly worth playing all the way through. That doesn't mean you have to do all the late-game town sidequests (although they are pretty interesting, like the election) or collect all the stuff, just complete the game and sit through all the ending. It's pretty much up there with seeing the full Final Fantasy VI ending sequence.
    • Gin: Terranigma is like having a journey of self enlightenment, and coming home to an empty lot.
  • Tetris Attack / Panel de Pon (JP) (also on: Satellaview & GB (as Yoshi no Panepon); GC)
    • q 3: Panel de Pon is Tetris Attack only minus Yoshi and plus saccharine sweet magical girl characters. (Well, technically it's the other way around.) Still the best destroy-vertically-moving-blocks game out there, especially for co-op play.
    • Diplo: I'm not a fan of puzzle games, but this one is oddly entertaining. A lot like Kirby's Avalanche, except maybe not as good.
  • Tetris Battle Gaiden
    • Loki Laufeyson: Play it with a human opponent, and see how long it takes to turn into actual physical violence.
  • UN Squadron / Area 88 (also on: arcade)
    • The Blueberry Hill: This is my second favourite SNES shooter. Its structure feels unconventional, and its difficulty is just the right amount of hard.
  • Umihara Kawase (also on: DS, PlayStation)
    • dessgeega: possibly the most perfect game ever designed. one of the few games genuinely worth playing on the super famicom.
  • Unirally (PAL) / Uniracers (NA)
    • The Blueberry Hill: DMAs curious, very fast, programmer-graphic-ed, side-view racing game. Courses twist and loop, and you perform mid-air tricks (and there are lots of them) to gain speed. Multiplayer is great, providing both players are skilled at the game.
    • Infernarl: Uniracers is the best sonic game.
  • Wario's Woods (also on: NES, Wii VC)
  • Wayne's World
    • aderack: Perhaps the most amazing game in the universe. In a bad way.
    • kerobaros: So very not recommended at all. But whatever.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: “NOT WORTHY!
  • Wild Guns
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbours / Zombies (PAL) (also on: Mega Drive, Wii VC)
    • vamos: Brilliant fun in co-op, excellent B-movie aesthetics.

See Also

1) Written like 'LIVE A EVIL', with the 'E' and 'L' mirrored, in the logo
 
 sb/recommended/snes.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/23 22:01 by felix
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