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The Best SNES Action Games You Should Play

Updated on June 6, 2018

The Super Nintendo is by far my favorite classic gaming system. Every couple months I'll hook the old console up and adventure into some retro gaming fun. This time around I thought I'd pick out some of my favorite action games from back in the day.

Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Super Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi takes number ten on my list. This game is part of a trilogy for the SNES but this one is my favorite of the three. This run-and-gun action platformer was released in North American on June 22, 1994. And good news, all three Super Star Wars games are available on Wii virtual console.

Super Return Of The Jedi features iconic stages from planets across the Star Wars Galaxy. Battle thru places like Jabba's palace and The Death Star. Characters include Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and more. Each character has different weapons that can get you thru various situations. In addition to the epic action-platformer stages there is also racing stages that allow you to enjoy some fast-paced race sequences. Definitely start with this one if you’re curious about the series.

Earthworm Jim

This game is coming in at number nine. Earthworm Jim is an action platformer originally released for the Sega Genesis in August 1994. It came out for the Super Nintendo in October of the same year. It's an action-platformer game. One of my favorites as a kid and very popular in it's day. The stages are beautifully rendered. This game is also pretty difficult and will have you busy for hours trying to master the wacky stages. If you haven't played this game you are missing out on something special.

Metal Warriors

Metal Warriors, a mech-combat focused action platformer for the Super Nintendo is my number eight Action game. This game was developed by LucasArts and released April of 1995. The one player mode features nine levels which take place in stages that include depths of the enemy’s mechanical facilities and the icy cold of Alaska. This is a great mech battle game and anyone who is a fan of the genre should try this one out.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors

This overhead shooter was released for Super NES and SEGA Genesis in July of 1993. This game pays homage to the classic horror movies of the day. You play as Zeke and Julie, a couple of suburban kids on a mission to rescue their neighbors from the horde of zombies. There's 48 levels in which you have to rescue the victims. But you must be careful if the zombies get to them first, they're dead. This is a top down game where you rescue multi people per stage. You must save at least one neighbor to progress to the next stage. Believe me this game can be hard when trying to save all the neighbors and collect the most possible points.

Contra III: The Alien Wars

This notoriously hard side-scrolling shooter was released in April of 1992. I've wasted hundreds of hours running and gunning in this addictive shooting game. Anyone who has owned a SNES has most likely played this game. Plugging in the second controller and playing with a friend was my favorite part of this game. Me and my friends would battle the flying bullets and baddies smashing those buttons until our fingers bled.

Contra III Speedrun Video

Super Castlevania IV

The fourth game in this epic series. Every 100 years the power of good fades and Dracula is resurrected. You play as Simon Belmont and you're tasked with taking the evil vampire Lord down. This grueling fast paced action platformer will put your gaming skills to the test. Use multidirectional button combinations to jump, whip and attack your enemies with different weapons. This game took everything that made Castlevania on the classic NES and amped it up with the Super Nintendo's power and extra buttons. Give this game a play, for sure!

Mega Man X

This famously popular action side-scroller was released in 1993. Most people will recognize Mega Man. You play as Mega Man in this game trying to defeat other robot bad guys. Each stage has a unique boss. When you defeat that boss you gain a new weapon that coincides with the boss you have defeated. Playing the levels in different order makes some stages more difficult or easy. This depends on which bosses you choose to defeat first. This game has some enhanced graphics and controls compared to it's NES predecessors. If you love jumping and gunning you should definitely try this game. It's an exciting challenge with some replay value due to you being able to pick which stages you want to tackle first.

Super Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II came to consoles in 1992 after tearing up the arcade and eating tons of your precious quarters. Street Fighter II is a pure fighting game that everyone knows. Pick Ken and spam down back kick to beat your opponent with a flurry of flying kicks. If you haven't played this I don't know what you're doing with your life. 'Nuff said.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time

This action beat 'em up from Konami was brought to the Super Nintendo's in 1992. You can choose from the four Turtles to play as. The game is a classic side scrolling beat 'em up with varying enemies. Some even have weapons you can pick up and use after defeating them. The real fun in this game is the multiplayer. Allowing you to team up with a friend and combine forces to destroy your enemies. Each stage ends with a boss fight that can actually be pretty difficult. You must remember the patterns for the bosses allowing you to defeat them. I spent hours upon hours playing this game and I suggest you do too!

Super Metroid

Coming in as the number one Action game for the SNES is Super Metroid. You play Samus, a robot suited up woman battling to destroy aliens and escape the planet. Samus can jump shoot spin and drop bombs. All of these helping you to defeat your enemies. I probably played this game for 100 plus hours and it's still fun. Samus is one of the most iconic Nintendo characters and always will be. I'm just still waiting for a sequel to the Game Cube release.

What's your favorite action game for the SNES?

Which game is your top pick?

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