Hit Replay: The Top Five SNES Games for Virtual Console
Writing about the original Nintendo has rekindled the gamer inside of me and I've decided to keep going, along with the Nintendo 64.. When I was a kid, I was a hardcore Nintendo fan, nothing could move me. A lot of that has to do with growing up with a NES but the Super Nintendo was the gold standard.
When I opened up my SNES for Christmas back in 1992, there was little that could take me away from the television. The Super Nintendo had beautiful graphics, a great controller, and a library of games that rivals even the best consoles of today. If you're looking to download some SNES games from your Virtual Console, these are some of the best games of the system, which make them some of the best games of all time.
Super Mario World
This game came free with your Super Nintendo and it was an absolute steal. If I had only had one game, Super Mario World would have been enough. It's hard to choose which of the plumber's entries is my favorite on the original Nintendo, but this remains my all-time choice for best Mario game.
From the new cape to the addition of Yoshi, I love everything about this game. It was challenging back in the day, but not to the point of complete frustration. The levels were always fun and full of surprises and it never gets old looking for keys. I loved the castles and the haunting dread of the ghost houses. Star World was another game entirely. Add to that the humor and charm, plus one of the best Bowser fights, and you have the standard to hold all 2D platformers up against.
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
The same Christmas I was given a Super Nintendo, I also got Street Fighter II. This game is so good that it still determines if I like a fighting game or not, specifically how it compares to Street Fighter II. I know the franchise has gone in many different directions over the years, but this is the core game that still remains challenging and fun to play, not to mention a great one-on-one match-up with a friend.
The soundtrack is one of the best in gaming history, with great beats for each stage. The stages themselves are perfectly designed for their characters. The characters are memorable and play in their unique style. The styles can be easy to grasp and incredibly difficult to master. I have wonderful memories of being seven and my mom kicking my butt with Chun-Li. Forget Mortal Kombat and its misspelled hype. If you're looking for an old school fighting game to download, this should be it.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
I didn't add the original Zelda game to my Nintendo list because I never loved the first game and thought there were better choices on the NES. However, when it comes to the Super Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda is gold. From the opening title screen to the moody first quest, this game is all class.
Every dungeon is a well thought out challenge to beat, with each one having it's own beautiful monster to slay. The main world is vast, with plenty to explore and unlock. The Dark World is a drastic change in tone but will test your skills with its complex puzzles and unforgiving bosses. It's always exciting to find a new item, heart, or bottle and the side-characters are as lovable as ever. The music is impressive and the graphics never age. You shouldn't even be reading this still; go download this game!
Final Fantasy VI
I had originally not wanted to add the first Final Fantasy to my NES list, but felt it was too good to pass. Final Fantasy VI, or Final Fantasy III for us Americans, gave me no such problem as it's one of the best games on the system. Leave to Square to give their last 2D Final Fantasy the best sendoff possible. This game is massive and will take you quite a time to finish, but you won't regret it.
The graphics are the best you'll find on the Super Nintendo, with the character animations giving you as much personality as anything 3D. Every character, and there are plenty, has a story worth telling and some will leave you moved. I could go on about the drama of Cyan's family, or Locke's lost love, or Terra's quest to find out who she is, but I'll assume you'll play it and save the surprises. If the complex gameplay and epic battles don't do it for you, the game also boasts the greatest soundtrack you'll hear in 16-bits. Give the best Final Fantasy a try and download it.
Donkey Kong Country II: Diddy's Kong Quest
This pick wasn't easy, as I'll explain below, but it would have felt weird not to have a Donkey Kong game on best-of list for the Super Nintendo. While Donkey Kong Country is one of my favorite games with an amazing soundtrack and level design, the sequel made the cut because it improves upon the original without feeling stale.
The levels are harder and you don't have Donkey Kong's muscle to help you out. Diddy is still fast and nimble, but Dixie Kong gives you the addition of limited flight. The levels are out for blood this time and you'll need all your skills to make it through alive. The sequel has a darker tone than the original, with more swamps and mines to keep you down. This game continues the tradition of great music and you'll be amazed at how atmospheric the tunes still are. Having just played the game last year with a friend, I can state that this game will still challenge you today and you shouldn't miss a chance to play it on the Wii.
The Super Nintendo's Super Library
This list was much more difficult to choose than the original Nintendo's. The SNES has one of the best libraries out there and you could spend days debating the best games. I would have put Super Metroid on the list but I already devoted an entire article to the game! The fifth spot was a constant rotation in my head, with Super Mario Kart, F-Zero, Chrono Trigger and Aladdin all fighting for a spot. I haven't even played some of the top choices, like Mega Man X and Secrets of Mana.
The point is, if you have access to the Virtual Console, you're doing yourself a disservice by not playing these classic games. The depth, charm, and visual agelessness of the SNES' best games is impossible to understate. Pick up a classic controller and get lost in the magic of 90's gaming!