I am a big video game fan. I can’t even count how many nights of sleep I lost because I had to finish that one last level, or got involved in a complex storyline.
However, as the majority of the games that I tend to play are role-playing games, many of the games that made my list are RPGs. However, I think this list is a fair representation of some of the best that the SNES offered.
10. Lemmings – We all know the myth about lemmings, these little rodents that apparently will mindlessly kill themselves by walking off cliffs. It’s not true. But it is in this SNES game!
In this game, the lemmings are these cute, simple, little creatures that fall onto your screen. Your task is to give them different jobs to allow transportation from one part of the screen to the end (which, depending on the level, could me more than one screen long). There are eight tasks in all:
• Diggers – When you set a lemming to be a digger, he digs straight down.
• Builders – These little guys start building staircases. These staircases go in a diagonal direction. They have a limited number of bricks so they will stop in the middle and then need to be reassigned as a builder.
• Climbers – This would be the opposite of a digger. They climb a wall and go straight up.
• Bombers – No, these guys don’t set the bombs, they are the bombs! You set a lemming to be a bomber and after 5 seconds he explodes, which leaves you a much needed hole.
• Bashers – Sometimes you don’t need to go up (so no climber) or down (so no digger), but you need to go straight through a wall. That would be this guy. Mind you, he will stop as soon as he gets through the area he is bashing. So, be ready with another job.
• Blockers – Pretty self explanatory. These guys become a wall to block any other lemmings from falling to their deaths or to make them turn around to go where needed.
• Miners – Similar to the diggers as they go through the ground, but they move at a diagonal instead of straight down.
• Floater – I think these guys are cute. They get a little umbrella so that they can “float” their way down from any distance.
The levels are different puzzles that definitely make the player think outside the box. The answer may seem obvious, but there are problems with doing the simple answer. And, then you start losing lemmings. And each type of death comes with its own sound effect. Did I mention that as you take more time, more lemmings fall onto your screen?
Most levels can end up with about 100 lemmings. The only problem is that sometimes that slows down the play (although on the trickier levels this might be a plus). As more and more lemmings appear and are gathering around each other, it gets difficult to pick specific lemmings out. But, that just adds to the fun.
Lemmings has had versions on most systems. The SNES’s version is particularly special because it allows a two-player mode of play. For a two player game, the idea is to see who gets more lemmings safely to the end. This works because it’s a split screen and each team has a different color. Of course, if you can get your opponents lemmings to your exit, so much the better. And, this of course, leads to much sabotage and mayhem. Of course, in single player mode I have sabotaged my own group and watched them all plummet to their deaths, or blow themselves up. That was part of the fun. It just seemed particularly satisfying to find new and interesting ways of having them die. I did prefer the Amiga version of Lemmings, but the SNES’s version was quite good.
I will warn you; however, this game is very addictive. Prepare to get less sleep than you normally would.
9. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals – Most people to whom I mention this game have never heard of the Lufia series. And, although I liked the first one, it’s the second that makes my top ten list. Technically, however, this is not a sequel but a prequel to the first game.
I am a lover of RPGs and this game had everything I was looking for. First of all, the graphics were much better than the first Lufia. Although that isn’t as important to me as it is to some, it added to the overall effect of the game. The music was also very good, and that also adds a lot to the experience.
The characters and their interactions among themselves and those around them are what drew me in. They were individual, believable, funny, and quite poignant. At times, what would have seemed cliché and corny, just wasn’t with this game. You also get capsule monsters of the various elements. These monsters become a part of your team and earn experience.
Gameplay is pretty easy and fun. And, I have played this game over many times. What I like about this game are that there are no random encounters and, of course, the puzzles. Each dungeon has many puzzles that keep you on your toes. And it’s very satisfying when you figure it out.
If you love RPGs, puzzle-solving, good interactions among your main characters in the game, Lufia II is the game for you. Of course, as with many of the great RPGs, there are many twists and turns that will just leave you wanting more. No RPG library should be without it.
8. Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past – I have always had a soft spot for the green garbed Link from the Legend of Zelda series. The game play is relatively easy and fun to do. And, this title is no exception.
The Zelda series has always been about being geared to all ages. So, everything is menu driven, with easy to understand icons. The weapons are the already known sword and shield, but also bombs, a boomerang, a lantern and other items to help you on your way.
The plot is not too intricately plotted; Link is awakened one night with a telepathic message from the Princess. Young women are disappearing and she is the only one left. Ignoring his uncle, Link decides to go help and thus begin his adventures against the evil Agahnim.
This game is a great combination of swordplay, solving puzzles, and exploring all of hyrule. The music is pretty good and the graphics for the SNES were very good. If you like the Zelda series, then you need to have this one in your collection.
7. Donkey Kong Country – Donkey Kong started with Mario. The latter would try to reach Donkey Kong who was holding his girlfriend captive, jumping over barrels and other things being thrown.
For his return to platform gaming, we get not a simple screen, but a whole rich world and adventure. The graphics were amazing for their time, the play was very simple and a lot of fun.
I especially liked the grumpy old Kranky Kong. He made me laugh. He was either dispensing advice complaining. And, I got a kick out of it, when I read in the instruction manual that he was apparently the original Donkey Kong that would throw the old barrels at Mario.
This was a very good game. There were sequels, but the original was the best. It is definitely recommended.
6. Super Marioworld – Mario’s first platform game for the SNES, and the best!
This was a wild adventure. Mario finds out that Princess Peach has been kidnapped and Bowzer has taken her. What a surprise!!! Anyway, he goes through different levels, which all lead up to our hero rescuing the Princess.
Each level is a separate castle, with an individual boss for each castle. The bosses were pretty easy to beat if you have been doing platforms for a while.
There are many great things added to this. Mario can fly!! Yes, he gets a cape. It’s pretty cool. Plus, we get to meet Yoshi!! We rescue him as a little baby Yoshi, but after eating enough, he quickly becomes an adult. Yoshi eats your enemies and you can travel atop him. But, he doesn’t go into the various castles. Ah well…
This game is also very vast. There are so many secret areas, that, even after playing a few times, you may not have found them all. Sometimes, the first is the best and this was very true for this game.
5. Super Mario Kart – Most people who know my gaming style would probably have been surprised to seeing a racing game make it to my top five, let alone to any favorites list. But, this wasn’t a typical racing game.
You got to be one of eight players: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowzer, Toad, Koopa Troopa, Donkey Kong, Jr., and Yoshi. Each character has his/her pluses and minuses depending on whether you want speed, handling, or power.
The tracks were based on well-known levels of Mario such as: Bowzers castle, Ghost Valley and many others. What I liked best about this game are the weapons. Yes, I said weapons. You drive over a “?” and it allows you to a get a particular weapon. This could range from a banana peel to have an opponent slide out of control to lightning, which caused all your opponents to streak so you could overcome them. There were plenty more and experimenting with what you could do with them was half the fun.
Also getting in the way are the various obstacles like the thwomp bars, or areas with ghosts, etc. There are items around to help with those as well.
This game was most fun in two player mode, where you are racing against a friend. But, I played many a single player game. They also have a time trial mode, where you can work on your agility and speed using the different characters. My favorite was the battle mode. It’s always fun to attack your closest friend.
All in all, this was a great, fun and highly entertaining game. Although Super Mario Kart has been released on later systems, the original still stands up. Loved it!!
4. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – Are you surprised that Paper Mario was not the first RPG for Mario? Most people are. But, this lesser known gem was an incredible journey and one of my all-time favorites.
Our game begins like any other Mario game, Princess Peach is kidnapped by Bowzer. Of course, it’s Mario to the rescue and he quickly takes Bowzer to task to rescue Peach. But, Mario is separated from Bowzer and Peach by a new bad guy named Smithy.
Thereafter, Mario teams up with some new and some old favorite characters to save the day. He even teams up with Bowzer. How good a story is it when you actually feel sorry for Bowzer?
There are platforming elements as well as some great roleplaying moments. The game is absolutely a lot of fun. There are puzzles to solve and some timing issues to resolve, and that was just fine with me. Combat is turn based with a timing element. If you hit the “A” button right as they hit you or right as you hit them, you either get 1 point less in damage or 1 point more. It was a nicely added touch.
The sound track was pure Mario, very cheery and enjoyable. This game is the best of both worlds. The following RPGs, Paper Mario, Mario Galaxy, etc., are good, but they were not nearly as complex and endearing as this game. If you have never played this before, do so. You will not be disappointed. That is something I can absolutely guarantee.
3. Earthbound – Of all the games on my list, this was the most fun to play. It’s a roleplaying game set in modern times. Well, the year 199X and you start with Ness, a little boy who is awakened at night by something eerie that happened. Turns out a spaceship landed near his home and now his adventure begins.
His next door neighbor is a spiteful little boy named Pokey who keeps getting involved against him on the bad guys side. But is he the nasty villain? Only playing the game will give you that answer.
Ness is joined by 3 other children (Paula, Jeff, and Poo). Together the four of them have various exciting adventures and, of course, save the world. Along the way they meet very interesting people, both friends and enemies.
This RPG game has the kids dressing they way such kids would, so Ness’ armor can have a baseball cap, whereas Jeff’s weapon are what he puts together himself as he rests in an inn. To help divert some damage, the group can carry a stuffed bear, which the bad guys sometimes attack.
Put together some very unusual encounters (they fight opponents such as a scalding hot cup of coffee, wild crow, or the ever grotesque vomit monster), amusing locales (they visit deserts, Egyptian type pyramids, ancient prehistoric areas, etc.) and very funny people they meet along the way and you have a truly marvelous game. And, it’s also not as frustrating as some RPGS because there are no random encounters and if you get clobbered, you still keep the items you had already gotten.
If you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest you do. You won’t be sorry.
2. Final Fantasy III (released as Final Fantasy VI on the Playstation with Final Fantasy V in Final Fantasy Anthology) – This was the second Final Fantasy game I ever owned, and I never get tired of playing it. Even with the graphics being so much older.
This game has everything an RPG should strive to have: a great storyline, great characters, good game play, and it leaves you wanting more.
The story is about a group of rebels who are working together to overthrow a devastating dictatorship. But, it is so much more. With perhaps the largest amount of playable characters for a Final Fantasy game, you will have plenty to do and explore with each character.
If you truly consider yourself an RPG aficionado, then this title is a MUST HAVE for your video role-playing library. You’ll wonder why you haven’t been playing this before.
1. Chrono Trigger – There is no doubt whatsoever when I say this is my favorite role-playing game of all time. Developed by Square Soft, this game kept me amused and staring at the screen until I was bleary eyed.
The main character is Crono. And he is joined by many others on his adventures across time. Yes, the heroes go forward and backward through various points of time. They meet new members of the team and also new enemies. What an adventure! Things change based on what you do in the past as does the ending. With a great and intricate storyline, wonderful cast of characters, great music, and a combat system that lets you work together as a team, this was one worthwhile title.
Also, as a plus, the developers put an extra into the game. When you finish the game you can reload and start from the beginning, but with all the items and experience. Plus depending on when you go up against the big bad enemy, you get different endings.
A fan favorite, people have been clamoring for a sequel for years. They got somewhat of one in Chrono Cross, but it was a disappointment to most fans, who wanted to see the characters from Chrono Trigger.
This game is a spectacular ride and one you will be sorry you missed. So, don’t let that happen. Chrono Trigger can be found on Final Fantasy Chronicles for the Playstation.
These are my Top 10 picks. It was pretty hard for me to narrow it down, but I think I caught the best. I know I enjoyed them.