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10 best SNES games

Jacob Yothment

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Back in the days before the Xbox-PlayStation-Nintendo console wars, there was just the Nintendo-Sega console war.

Super Nintendo

Sega had a phenomenal advertising campaign that used the made-up term “blast processing” to sell the Sega Genesis.

Kids on the playground and buses would quote the commercials saying things like, “Genesis does what Ninen-don’t.” However, when it came to what games were better, they shut their mouths when they saw the Super Nintendo library. 

Holy mother of God, this console has some classics.

Sure, the Genesis had a few classics, but nothing even compared to the treasure trove of games the SNES had to offer. The Genesis simply could not compete.

Remember that commercial above that had the nerve to infer that Super Mario Kart was boring? Even if you think the game isn’t as high paced as a racing game on the Genesis, take a look at the SNES exclusive F-Zero:

Is that 16-bit action intense enough for you?

We could make a list of the top 50 SNES games, and even that would leave off some classic titles. Narrowing it down to 10 seems like a fool’s errand, but we’re willing to give it a try. Let us know in the comments below what games you think should have made it!

Top 10 SNES games

10. Street Fighter II Turbo

Street Fighter II TurboWe were torn between putting this one and Mortal Kombat III on this list. As much as we love ripping the heads off our enemies, we love Hadoukens more.

Street Fighter II Turbo was the most fast-paced tournament fighting game of its time. At the arcade, we wasted quarter after quarter on this game. When we found out we could play this bad boy at home, we were thrilled.

Street Fighter II Turbo was fast but efficient. After a few goes, you could commit combos to memory, and watch your enemies cower in fear. It was a fighting game unlike any we had seen before, and, arguably, haven’t seen since.

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Turtles in time

The Ninja Turtles are no stranger to Nintendo Games. The turtle-trilogy on the NES was decent but had room for improvement. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time gave the franchise the shot of adrenaline the franchise needed.

This time, the turtles must travel through time in order to stop Shredder and the Foot Clan. This brings them to different eras in history including the Jurassic Period where the turtles fight a “prehistoric turtlesaurus.”

Come on, do we really need to say more?

8. Yoshi’s Island

Yoshis Island

For many of us, Super Mario World was the game that introduced us to Yoshi.

In that game, Yoshi can fly, shoot fire, and cause the Earth to shake under him. That’s cool and all, but here’s the thing: Mario can do those things too. However, Yoshi’s Island gave Yoshi a whole new repertoire of moves. Now, Yoshi can turn eaten enemies into eggs, throw eggs at enemies, hover jump, turn into a whole assortment of vehicles, and even ground-pound.

Levels feel much different from what you see in a Mario game. Rather than being a typical sidescrolling platformer, levels feel more like small dungeons. You need to hunt for the exits, secrets, and fun power-ups to enhance your experience.

7. Mega Man X

Mega MAn X

Mega Man had quite a long stay on the NES. Six games, in fact. When the series came to the SNES, it certainly didn’t tip-toe into the 16-bit world.

Mega Man X was and is an absolute smash hit.

You go through the same spiel of fighting a slew of robot bosses while stealing their powers. However, even after six games on the NES, this title still feels fresh.

One of the bosses is named “Boomer Kuwanger.” You can’t go wrong with Boomer Kuwanger.

6. Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart

There are three certainties in life: death, the inevitable extinction of us all, and that the red shells will always hit you. 

Nowadays, the Mario Kart franchise is pretty crazy. We got power-ups that will turn you into a Bullet Bill, courses taking place on an erupting volcano, and now even Link from Zelda is a playable character!

Back in the day, we didn’t have any of that, but we didn’t need it. We need two things: the Grand Prix and balloon battles. 

Dust off this cartridge, and you can play for hours without noticing.

5. Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country

Let’s start this off right:

He’s bigger, faster, and stronger, too. He’s the first member of the DK crew.

Donkey Kong Country was the first in a DK trilogy on the SNES. It is also the best one by a mile. Donkey Kong and his BFF Diddy Kong are out to thwart the evil King K. Rool who has stolen their entire banana horde.

If that sounds weird, it’s only because it is.

Donkey Kong Country celebrates its 25 year anniversary this year, and might we say this game has aged like fine wine. This sidescrolling platformer is still fun to pick up to this day. Donkey Kong and Diddy can bounce on tires, throw barrels at baddies, and ride an assortment of animals.

The soundtrack?

Perfection.

If you can track down a copy, get ready for one of the best adventures the franchise has to offer.

4. Super Castlevania IV

super castlevania

Everything before this game on this list is a great game. However, we have now entered the realm of legends.

Super Castlevania IV is one of the best looking games ever created. You play as a whip-wielding hero on a quest through a gothic, horror landscape to find and kill Dracula.

Along the way, you fight Frankenstein’s monster, Medusa, and even Death itself. The game uses a password system, so if you want to jump to the best parts we’ve got you covered:

Castlevania IV passwords
Source: IGN

This game feels like it was created by the same people who made the classic Universal monster movies. There are so many creative enemies and stages that feel like they were ripped from the pages of a classic horror novel.

It’s a game for people who love horror, monsters, and just great side-scrolling action in general.

3. Super Mario World

Super Mario World

Oh yeah, you know this list is serious business when Super Mario World only takes the number 3 spot.

There’s really nothing we can say about this game that hasn’t been said before. It’s side-scrolling Mario at his best. He has a slew of power-ups both new and old. You can break out the new Feather to become a cape-wearing Mario who can soar through the sky. You can also down the Fire Flower which will allow you to mow down enemies with fireballs.

The game encourages you to plot your own course. If you want, you can avoid all hidden levels and bonuses, and get through the game in a day or two. You can be a full completionist and beat the game in a week or so. Or, you could go crazy and take advantage of every warp zone and beat the game in less than 10 minutes like this guy:

Look, most of you reading this list have probably played this game. If you have, then you know firsthand just how awesome this game is. If you haven’t, then finish reading, and go track down a copy!

2. Super Metroid

Super Metroid

The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace…

Super Metroid turns 25 this year. If you think Donkey Kong Country aged well, wait until you see this beast.

The first two Metroid games dealt with the hero Samus Aran destroying the parasitic Metroids from spreading across the galaxy. The games build these creatures up to be mindless, killing machines. At the end of Metroid II: Return of Samus, Samus almost uncharacteristically spares the life of the last Metroid.

In the events of Super Metroid, the last Metroid is kidnapped by space pirates who plan to use it to take over the galaxy. After making her way through their base, Samus is confronted by their leader, Mother Brain. 

Mother Brain kicks. your. ass.

All hope seems lost. You just spent hours navigating this labyrinth while collecting power-ups and honing your skills. You thought you were a pro at this game who could handle whatever was throw at you, but you just lost and it wasn’t even close.

Suddenly…

In one fell swoop, the game throws a complete curveball at the player. It takes a huge risk by changing up the villains of the last two games in one of the biggest twists in video game history. 

Super Metroid is one of the greatest non-linear platformers ever made. It transcends the realm of being a video game and turns into an experience.

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Link to the PAst

When it comes to video game top 10 lists, it’s almost unfair if there is an eligible Zelda title. Zelda titles are some of the best if not THE best titles in every Nintendo console’s library.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is no exception.

This game introduced us to some of the best weapons in all of Zelda including the Hookshot, Pegasus Boots, and the Mirror Shield. It gave us an incredible story with some of the coolest boss fights in the entire franchise.

Link to the Past is one of the greatest Zelda games ever created, which makes it one of the greatest video games ever created.

Link to the Past captures all the things that make Zelda one of the greatest video game franchises of all time. It is also undoubtedly the greatest SNES game ever made. 

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