Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Best Super Nintendo Games: 6-4

We inch ever closer to the coveted No. 1 spot. Which game will it be? In the meantime, here are numbers six through four. Haters to the left.

6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

A personal favorite of Miyamoto, Yoshi's Island was kind of a wild card in the waning days of the Super Nintendo. While billed as a sequel to Super Mario World, it was more of a prequel, and you barely played as Mario. In Nintendo's official history of Mario games, they gloss over Yoshi's Island, even though they re-released it as Super Mario Advance 3. It's just this weird black sheep of a game.

It shouldn't be. Yoshi's Island RULED. You were taking more advantage of Yoshi's powers than before, like throwing eggs and eating enemies. Your goal was to bring Baby Mario to the end of a level, and if you got hit by an enemy an insistent counter would start counting down while Baby Mario cried.

Oh, god, did he cry. It was NERVEWRACKING.

Some people hated this game because of that baby cry, but did you ever feel such an urgency? When Mario started crying, all you could think about was shutting that baby up. Isn't that what they were aiming for? Plus, "Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy" is a great level and tons of fun.

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

Zelda's gone through many iterations of the same formula: Wade through dungeons, pick up weapons to solve puzzles, kill a boss, get heart pieces, rinse and repeat. It's easy to lose sight of where Zelda started out. When Link to the Past launched, there had been exactly two games in the series: 1986's Legend of Zelda and 1987's The Adventure of Link. It had been an agonizing five-year wait for a new Zelda game in 1991. What kind of Zelda game would we get?

The answer: Only one of the best games of all time.

A Link to the Past deepened the Zelda series and added or refined a lot of things that we take for granted now: The Master Sword, The Lost Woods, a Light and Dark World, potions and bottles, all sorts of stuff that's now part of every Zelda game.

The dungeons are also incredibly interesting and blew my teenage mind. While the original Zelda's dungeons were simple "here is a map, here are some keys, go exploring" affairs, Link to the Past had multi-tiered, multiple entrance juggernauts that could seriously mess with your head. An extremely impressive achievement.

4. Donkey Kong Country 2

If Donkey Kong Country was a good game, Donkey Kong Country 2 upped the ante: More levels, more secrets, higher difficulty and a whole new secret ending that was incredibly difficult to get to unless you really tried hard.

It's also notable that the characters actually played a little differently in Donkey Kong Country 2. I remember playing the original with a friend. We would always fight over who got to play as Donkey Kong because he was just that much cooler. Neither of us wanted Diddy Kong, because he couldn't do anything extra.

In Donkey Kong Country 2, both characters were worth using. Dixie Kong was actually pretty fun to play as since she could use her hair as a helicopter. I didn't mind playing as Dixie, and my friend would gladly take Diddy since he didn't want to play as a girl, and everyone was happy.

That was kind of the way that Donkey Kong Country 2 was built: Let's make everyone happy in the best way possible. People liked mine-cart levels? Let's put in four of them. People wanted the game a little harder? OK, here's Toxic Tower. More animal helpers? Here's a spider, a snake and a parrot. It's a bona-fide classic.
If you want to read the rest of this list, please look here:

The Final Three

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