Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Best Super Nintendo Games: 10-7

More great Super Nintendo games! Today we count down 10-7.

10. Secret of Mana

Multiplayer action/RPGs were still in their infancy when Secret of Mana burst on to the scene. There wasn't anything really like it at the time: A game where you levelled up your weapons, your magic and your own stats all while actually pressing buttons to attack instead of sitting in a turn-based menu.

But the best part of Secret of Mana? You could play it with a friend, or even two friends if you had the equipment for it. Name me another co-op multiplayer game for consoles in 1993. Go on. I'm waiting. Not only that, but with some seriously unforgettable music and a cool story, Secret of Mana deserves a place in gaming history.

9. Donkey Kong Country

Shigeru Miyamoto famously didn't like Donkey Kong Country. That's his loss. Donkey Kong Country may not be the most innovative game in the world, but there's a good reason that it's the highest-selling game for the Super Nintendo.

It's not just the great graphics that still hold up years later. It's not just the music, by turns haunting and pulse-pounding. What made Donkey Kong Country so great and continues to make it great is the incredibly solid controls and tight level design. Cheap deaths are rare and secrets abound. Some secrets require great leaps of faith and some require you to be extremely inquisitive.

And if that wasn't all, Donkey Kong Country kickstarted the trend of mine-cart levels. That alone has to be worth something.

8. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Square and Nintendo had developed a close relationship during the Super Nintendo years. This relationship was so close that Nintendo handed over their flagship franchise to Square for an RPG, something that Nintendo never, ever did. Nintendo's trust paid off, and we got Super Mario RPG as the result. Using the computer-generated graphic style that powered Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario RPG unleashed the gamer on the Mushroom Kingdom to defeat Smithy.

Super Mario RPG also popularized a major change in the way battles in RPGs were run. Most RPGs to this point were merely spreadsheet wars, where you select a command and let your character do it for X amount of damage. Instead of selecting your moves and waiting for the character to act, you became an active participant with Timed Hits, where you could to press a button at a certain point during your attack animation in order to increase your attack power. You could also defend yourself against attacks in the same manner. It's hard to overstate how impressive that is. Since then, RPG battle systems have changed considerably, and you can thank Super Mario RPG for some of that.

Super Mario RPG is also notable because it's the first game that lets you play as Bowser. Of course, now we're used to Bowser being a cuddly, bumbling force of evil, but before Super Mario RPG he was notable merely as a foil for Mario. Now he actually has a personality, and that's all thanks to the fine work of Squaresoft.

7. Final Fantasy VI

Some will argue that Final Fantasy VI is the best game of the Final Fantasy series. It's hard not to agree, since Final Fantasy VI packs in beautifully emotional moments, an epic story and an excellent magic system.

Let's also talk about the villain. Kefka was one of the first villains that I had a deep personal dislike for. His actions were unforgivable. He was the equivalent of a mad dog on a chain that the Emperor failed to keep a grip on. Kefka may have lacked a little depth, and his motivation was primarily summed up in his evil laugh, but when a character's laugh is that evil, motivation is moot.

Everyone who plays Final Fantasy VI has at least one favorite moment from this game: Shadow's dreams, the opera scene, Celes and Cid on the desert island or the attack on Cyan's kingdom. I could go on about memorable moments, but people who've played it are most likely nodding along in agreement. Those who haven't need to do themselves the favor of picking this game up by any means necessary. It's worth every penny.
If you want to read the rest of this list, please look here:

The Final Three

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