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Best of SNES

S Updated
There Will Be Games

I won't comment on the popular or well known games, those that go without saying, e.g. Zelda 3, Super Metroid, F-Zero, etc.

(J) = Game was only released in Japan, but an English translation is available for emulators.

  • Aerobiz Supersonic: A game about managing an airline. As usual for games from KOEI it is also a good simulation: Every major aircraft is represented with unique stats and historical events occur, like for example the war in Iraq, which renders flights to Baghdad unprofitable. The goal is to become the dominant international airline, which can be quite difficult if you start out in Cuba for instance. A solid 7.
  • Ball Bullet Gun (J): This is one of the first tactical games using the action point system. As the name suggests it recreates skirmishes with airsoft guns, but the many different weapons have very realistic stats and functionality. You're also tasked to build your own squad with various specialists. The game is especially fun in two-player "hot seat" mode, as searching for the opponent is an important aspect of the game. I rate it a strong 7.
  • Banka (J): A very profane side-scrolling Beat 'em Up which provides for quick fun, but also allows the player(s) to perform more moves than the usual side scroller such as Final Fight 3 for example. Still, only a weak 7.
  • Blackthorne aka. Blackhawk: A Shoot'n'Run from the early Blizzard. The control system is similar to Prince of Persia, only that you can choose for yourself when to switch to your weapon, which is a shotgun here and has to be used often. Another solid 7.
  • Cannon Fodder: This was a very innovative game at its time, because it could be played with the SNES mouse. You're moving around a map with one or more squads; left-click means "move here", right click means "shoot here". "Move and shoot" is also possible, as is using grenades or rocket launchers, several vehicles and buildings. The goal is to kill all enemy soldiers, to destroy key buildings or both. You lose if you lose soldiers faster than you receive recruits. Just a 7.
  • Clocktower (J): A Japanese horror game and an early point and click adventure. Despite being a two dimensional game, the game can actually be very scary. Trust me, I'm not scared easily. My rating is equal to the number of different endings: 7.
  • Cybernator: A very good Shoot'n'Run, where the player controls a mech, which can jump, hover, charge and use a shield, machine gun, fist punch and other weapons/tools. The game requires to constantly switch between weapons, offense or defense and the different movement options. An entertaining 7.
  • Der Langrisser (J): A very innovative game, which was one of the first tactical RPGs and introduced different advancement trees and story arcs into the genre. Basically you use several heroes, who can also recruit troops, to battle the enemy. The game provides the player with many different tactical and narrative options. A strong 7.
  • Earthbound: The coolest RPG ever created. I bet the designers/programmers were on psychedelic drugs when they made this game. The single most defining piece of media in my youth. This one almost goes up to 8.
  • EVO: A game about evolution. You start out as a fish and get "evolution points" for eating other animals, which you may then use to grow strong teeth, tougher skin, spikes etc. or to change your species to amphibian, dinosaur and later even human. An innovative 7.
  • Firestriker: This game takes the basic game play from Breakout and adds several cool elements to it: a hero, moving monsters and various items. I rate it a small, fun 7.
  • Firemen: What appears to be a boring game about firefighters turns out to actually be an action shooter. You enter a chemical laboratory, which is on fire, and have to extinguish ever changing and evolving flames and rescue the employees. A hot 7.
  • Front Mission (J): A very cool tactical, turn-based RPG, which puts the heroes in wanzers (walking panzers). Constant modification of the wanzers is very important and every battle is very challenging requiring good planning and tactics. It features one of the best storylines in video gaming and a great ending. A strong 7.
  • International Superstar Soccer Deluxe: The best soccer game for the SNES, whose defining game play can still be found in modern soccer games today in only slightly changed form. I once won the world cup with Nigeria on the hardest difficulty level, which was cool. I rate it a sporty 7.
  • Ken Griffey, Jr. presents Major League Baseball: People who played it agree, this is the best baseball game of all times. It didn't have the license to the players' names, but this was made up by cool naming (e.g. the San Diego Padres are punk rockers) and stats and appearance of the players are real. Definitely a 7 for baseball fans.
  • King of Dragons: This is a great fantasy side-scrolling Beat 'em Up. Character options are: Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Dwarf and Elf. One or two players battle several fantasy creatures and steadily get better abilities and weapons. A weak, but recommended 7.
  • Kirby Super Star: The best Kirby game for the SNES. Next to the classic story, several different game modes are provided, such as a treasure hunt, food race and some mini games. A star-surfing 7.
  • Lufia 2: I never finished this RPG, but every time I play it, I'm convinced that it is very special. Just a 7.
  • Metal Marines: A simple but addicting real-time strategy game. You're based on one island and try to capture another, by first setting up basic defenses, factories and power plants to generate energy and resources, so to later go over to the attack. The name giving Metal Marines are tall mechs which are required to the destroy the enemy bases. I rate this fun game a 7.
  • Ogre Battle: An awesome tactical RPG, which is all about organizing an army out of many creatures and maneuvering them around in the different levels. Each squad fights for itself under a given command, e.g. kill the enemy leader. Timing is very important as is creating suitable squads for the different maps. Each creature can also advance to at least one other type, e.g. amazons can become witches, clerics or valkyries, but each requires different manipulation of alignment and other attributes. The game play is very special and I haven't seen it used in another game yet. Almost an 8.
  • Pacific Theater of Operations 2: A great game about World War 2 in the Pacific, which gives the player complete control over all forces on strategical and tactical levels. It is epic and time consuming. The controls also take a little to get used to. If you manage to get into it, you'll see that this is definitely a 7.
  • Robotrek: This game might have inspired Pokemon. The player controls a young engineer who deploys robots with different abilities in battle. A weak 7.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms 4 - Wall of Fire: Another great strategic game by KOEI, which has the player trying to become the next emperor of China in the 1st and 2nd century. The heroes and events of the famous historical novel are all represented. This is an advanced version of Gemfire, which is also recommended. A solid 7.
  • Shadowrun: I disregarded this game after playing it first, but it is really a very good real time RPG set in the role-playing universe of the same name. In the SNES game though, you are a fighter, decker (hacker) and shaman at the same time. It has an interesting story line set in the near future and can get pretty hard at times, too. I rate it a 7.
  • Street Fighter Alpha: This is the best Street Fighter game for the SNES, which introduced many elements found in modern Beat 'em Up games. It also has very good graphics for a SNES game. Just a 7.
  • Smash TV: A stupid and fun action game. What is not to like about having four different fire buttons? (One for every direction.) You are the participant of a modern game show, firing your way trough masses of mutants, while collecting dollar bills, credit cards and pink slips of sport cars. A brainless 7.
  • Syndicate: If this was a board game, people would call it a "hidden gem". It was difficult for me to wrap my head around this game at first, since I didn't have a manual. But once I did, I had great fun with this little shooter. You control four agents, each of which can be individually armed and equipped (cyberware, etc.) and try to achieve missions set in the near future. These almost always consist of shooting opposing agents with various weapons in real time. A good 7.
  • Tecmo Super Bowl: I was a big fan of Tecmo Super Bowl 3 at first, but this game is actually better. It's simpler to control, but has less bugs to abuse and is a lot more difficult. It's almost impossible to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs, since Emmit Smith is unstoppable. I had great fun playing this game against people who don't even know the rules of American Football. I usually pick a bad team and give them the Cowboys, which would then always make for an exciting and balanced match. Without a doubt a strong 7.
  • Tetris Attack: OK, I just had to include a puzzle here and this is an interesting one. It has several play options and while it is simple rule-wise, it's hard to find the really good, high scoring combinations. Absolutely a 7 for puzzle fans.
  • Top Gear 2: Another game from a different genre, here's a racing game. Top Gear (1) was already a cool game, but the graphics were a little slow, which made the game too hard to savor. Top Gear 2 is a very enjoyable  game, where you are racing long tracks with a very neat graphical representation. This is probably one of the first games where you could upgrade and customize your car with the money you earn from races. A quick 7.
  • Uncharted Waters 2: This is yet another very cool game from KOEI. You can choose from six different characters who, after the discovery of America, all sail around the world for different reasons. Available for play are an adventurer, a merchant, a pirate, an admiral, a discoverer and a cartographer. This should give you a general overview of all the different things you can do in this game all around the globe. You start out in a small vessel and after some progress you can buy a big ship fit to cross the Atlantic, or equip cannons and go pirating. I rate this game a very strong 7.
  • UN Squadron: This is a fun little "flight sim" (aka. side scrolling shooter) which allows the player to pick one of three different pilots, choose from several contemporary fighters and equip different weapons. The game depicts the war against a "desert dictator", i.e. it was "inspired" by Operation Desert Storm, but actually has cartoon graphics. Rating: 7.
  • War 3010: This is an early game from ID Software and while it looks crappy, it is sort of an early version of Advanced Wars, only that it is set in space. You are given an assortment of different specialized spacecraft and battle an evil alien imperium. The missions get very tough over the course of time. A tenuous 7.
  • Wonder Project (J): Last but not least, another very innovative game which used the SNES mouse. Arguably a supreme version of Tamagotchi, you are training a robot doll (Pinocchio) to perform various tasks. The robot has several interlocking attributes. For example you can teach him to read books and be nice to animals, but then he will run away scared upon seeing a sword. So to make him aggressive, he first has to read some comic books. This is really more of a kids game, but quite funny. A solid 7.
There Will Be Games
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