Top 80 SNES games

80. Rendering Ranger

Rendering Ranger must be one of the most impressive games for the SNES at simply throwing masses of action around the screen, half the stuff in this game has to be seen to be believed! the actual game play isn’t quite as impressive but the game is still certainly a lot of fun, though to be fair nowhere near good enough to warrant the extortionate prices it goes for on Ebay. Still if you manage to find a copy cheap then don’t hesitate to grab it fast.
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79         Street Racer

Street Racer is a Super Mario Kart clone which actually manages to outdo its source material in certain areas, firstly and most importantly it has a full screen display for single player, and secondly it sports a 4 player simultaneous mode, unfortunately the game play isn’t quite up to Mario Kart par but its extra features and game modes help to make it a worthwhile purchase.
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78        Umihara Kawase

An import only platformer with strong puzzle elements, Umihara’s game play centers around the use of a grappling hook to navigate around cleverly designed levels
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77        Rainbow Bell Adventures

Playing kind of like a cross between Rocket Knight Adventures and Sonic the Hedgehog, Rainbow Bell Adventures stands as one of the best of the unknown gems on the SNES, with over the top cutesy graphics, a cool variety of power ups taken from the Pop N’ Twinbee series (this is an offshoot of that series after all) and some excellently designed levels, Rainbow Bell Adventures is definitely a game worth checking out.
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76        Super Tennis

A great Tennis sim which got every thing right and had a nice cartoony style for the graphics.
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75        Sim City

Who would have thought that creating your own city could be as much fun as this? the game contains loads of depth and addictive replayability, and the SNES version also contained a very welcome tutorial.
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74        UN Squadron

An old arcade classic that gained a new lease of life and popularity on the SNES, UN Squadron is pretty much your standard shmup fare but it was all realized so well that the game became somewhat of an arcade classic. Capcom also generously added a bunch of new options and features to the SNES version to keep it fresh
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73        Kirby Super Star/Kirby’s Fun Pak

This game just did so much stuff right, it worked and improved upon the core Kirby game play, had a great 2-player mode, and some really over the top set pieces. Its just a shame that the game is so short and easy that its over quite quickly, if not it would’ve definitely scored higher.
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73        Zombies Ate My Neighbours/Zombies

Zombies is a very fun horror themed top down shmup, where the aim is to shoot the zombies and save the hostages, it plays kind of like a light hearted take on the old Sega game Alien Syndrome.
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72        Troddlers

Puzzle game which is basically a cross between Lemmings and Solomon’s Key, in it you create blocks to move around and to lead the little troddlers to the exit before the time limit is up. It contains great graphics and music, and some cool two player modes thrown in for good measure.
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71        Pilotwings

Nintendo somehow actually managed to make flight sims fun for the mainstream gamer with this mission based classic that set the scene perfectly for the later, even better N64 sequel.
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69        Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen

A strategy RPG strangely enough named after a couple of Queen’s (the rock band) songs. The game contains a lot of interesting features such as the way your characters alignments changes depending on how the game is played, as well as passage of time between night and day.
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68        Uni Rally/Uni Racers

Really fast, unique and fun racing game that’s excellent on multi-player. You get a 3rd person side-on view of a uni-cycle which you control as it speed up and down hills and around loops, every time you successfully pull off a stunt you get a speed boost whilst bad landings slow you down.
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67        Jungle Strike
The Strike series always contained an excellent combination of strategy elements and classy action, the second game includes more missions, refined game play and a much better graphical variation between levels compared to the original.
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66        Sparkster

Here the SNES was blessed with an iteration of one of the Mega Drive’s most popular series’ of action games, this being the unofficial third game in the Rocket Knight Adventures series. Sparkster plays very much like the original game but with much more emphasis on speed and action.
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65        Secret of Evermore

Not to be confused with the series of games made famous by Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore was made by a completely different team of people based in the US, and to an extent it shows as the game has a very American style plot, this isn’t really a bad thing though as it really helps to give Secret of Evermore a certain amount of unique flavour of its own.
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64        The Firemen

Think of your usual top down shooter and then replace the enemies with spreading fire instead and you’ll pretty have a good idea of what The Firemen is about, an extremely well put together game with a great style with fun game play throughout.
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63        Harvest Moon

The first game in the long running, and still popular series of farming simulation RPG’s. You spend most of the game tending your farm and attempting to get married and have children, its honestly a lot more fun than it sounds!
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62         Cybernator
A member of the Assaults Suit series (like Target Earth on Mega Drive) Cybernator has an excellent mix of action and exploration, the levels are quite open and must be carefully searched if you want to power up your mech properly, leading to the game containing a bit more depth than the average platforming action game.
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61        Pocky and Rocky 2

Happily the SNES’ relative lack of quality shoot-em-ups didn’t extend to the top down variety as this, along with many others stand as some of the best of the era. Tons of fun, Pocky and Rocky is is a fast and frenetic game with a lot of charm, the graphics are some of the best for the SNES and the game play very well judged.

60 Goof Troop

With Goof Troop Capcom proved that they weren’t opposed to taking a chance with their disney licenses, instead of the usual platforming fare they instead went with a fun puzzle design. A very nice overall design coupled with a fantastic 2-player mode makes it one of the best puzzle games on the system, its just a shame that its a little on the short side.
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59        Metal Marines

Classic strategy game where you order mechs around, a must for any SNES fans with an interest in strategy game.
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58        Mega Man X

The first big change for the Mega Man series, with the original Mega Man now being replaced by the new, more agile “X”. Game play was also overhauled, using a more exploration based design with new power-up elements, these really help to give the game more depth. One minor criticism though, I could never really shake the feeling that instead of getting stronger i’d just been crippled in the beginning only to have to work to reach my normal power level as the game went on.
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57        Mega Lo Mania
Brilliant strategy game ported from the Amiga, unfortunately never released in the US (though the Genesis version did see a release under the title “Tyrants”)
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56        Super Turrican

An awesome update of the classic games which brought the series perfectly into the new generation, containing more focused game play, the return of some of the classic bosses and quite possibly the highest quality music to ever come out of the SNES, Super Turrican was a fantastic success of commendable quality.
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55        Lost Vikings

Puzzle platformer containing clever level designs where you have to control three different vikings each with different specialties.
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54        Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts

For the SNES Capcom decided to design a completely new game in their well loved series, they toned down the action elements and went for a more precision based platforming experience here, with a heavy emphasis on the new double jump feature, the outcome was yet another original take on the platforming genre.
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53        Mega Man & Bass/Rockman & Forte

Personally I feel that this was the best of the original Mega Man games on the SNES. Unlike Mega Man 7, with this you didn’t quite feel as much like you were taking a step backwards after the excellent X series, mainly due to the fact that not only were the original series’ elements reworked and improved upon, but you were given more features such as character choice. Apart from the game play this also had a really mellow feel, from the difficulty level to the atmosphere and music.
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52        Kirby’s Avalanche

A re branded version of the excellent Puyo Puyo series of puzzle classics with an added Kirby theme. Its kind of like the counterpart to Dr Robotnick’s Mean Bean Machine on Mega Drive.
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51        Addams Family

Few games treated the player with as much respect as this, you’re pretty much thrown into a completely non linear world with this game and given complete freedom to do whatever you want, its pretty much designed with people who’d played the Mario games to death and now wanted a bigger, more difficult challenge in mind
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50        Majuu Ou

One of the things that the SNES seemed to have a lack of was proper horror experiences, mainly due to Nintendo of America’s stringent censorship policies of the time. Majuu Ou, a Japanese only release stands as easily one of the best representations of these types of games on the system, it takes a zoomed out perspective which allows it to really go to town on the huge monster designs.
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49        Killer Instinct

Playing like the unholy love child of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct played a major part in popularizing combos in the fighting genre and was one of the more intense games of its day.
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48        Lemmings

A pure genius puzzle game where you’re charged with protecting a group of Lemmings and leading them to safety. The elegant core design leads to some interesting puzzles that can often be solved in a variety of different ways
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47        Super Punch Out
Sequel to the NES classic, loads of fun, nice stylish graphics and probably the best game play of any boxing title of the day.
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46        Flashback

A truly timeless atmosphere, and phenomenal graphics for the time with amazing animation help to flesh out the world in which Flashback takes place. In fact I would say that Flashback actually contained one of the most fully realized gaming worlds from that gaming period.
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45        Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move

Unique and clever puzzle game which was a big and successful departure from the earlier Bubble Bobble games. The aim is to shoot bubble into each other grouping them together in three’s.
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44        Sky Blazer

Fast and fun action game with great level designs and unrelenting game play that feels a little reminiscent of the older Ninja Gaiden games, it also contains some awesome bosses and a lot of classy use of Mode 7 and SNES graphical effects.
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43        Parodius/Parodius Da!

With this Konami pretty much made the opposite of their earlier game Gradius III, instead of the tired retreads of previous games and questionable programming you found in that game, here you find loads of clever and interesting level designs and a much more acceptable level of slowdown. Easily one of the best scrolling shmups on the system and definitely a must own for anyone who’s a fan of the genre.
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42        Demon’s Crest
The third game in the little know Gargoyles Quest series of games (themselves being a offshoot of the Ghosts N’ Goblins series) Demon’s Crest goes more for a Wonder Boy/Metroid style of level design whereby you have to collect different abilities throughout the levels to progress. loads of depth and atmosphere but a little too short on levels which caused it to drop places.
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41        Donkey Kong Country

After a long hiatus Donkey Kong finally returned in style with this amazing game, the digitized graphics really astounded people when the game was first shown and the atmosphere and attention to detail for the time was pretty much second to none. Game play is similar to the Mario series but faster, more fluid and much harder.

40    DoReMi Fantasy

Maybe not the most original of games, DoReMi makes up for its lack of originality by simply doing everything well and to a high standard with tons of polish. The game is very playable and contains more than its fair share of charm.
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39        Lufia & the Fortress of Doom

Lufia has to easily be among the top tier turn based RPG’s on the SNES, its storyline does a fantastic job of grabbing the player right from the beginning, the characters are likeable and the battle system is pretty well thought out too.
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38        Magical Pop N’

Behind the cutesy exterior of Magical Pop N’ lies fast and furious action game that controls and plays like a dream, on top of this are fantastic graphics and some minor adventuring elements similar to those found in Metroid, with excellent power-ups including an awesome grappling hook to navigate the levels in style.
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37        Illusion of Gaia/Illusion of Time

I see this game as a real coming of age for the action RPG genre, much in the same way that FF4 had been for the turn based variety, all the hallmarks of the genre had been built upon here, and many influential new elements added. Its also one of the few SNES RPG’s available in Europe at an affordable price so those from that part of the world should grab a copy.
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36        Shadowrun

Very different from the other 16-bit Shadowrun games, this version uses a point and click interface to go with its with its RPG and adventuring elements. The great storyline and unique game play make it a game worth tracking down.
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35        Super Aleste/Space Megaforce

In my opinion this is probably the best vertical scrolling shooter on the system, it has the usual classic and finely honed Aleste game play whilst also using many of the SNES’ graphical features to give a distinct atmosphere and graphical look.
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34        Earthworm Jim

A nice port of the Mega Drive classic, the hallmarks of which were great game play, atmosphere and loads of humour and charm. Not quite as good as the original (there’s a stage missing and a few warping issues) but its still well worth owning.
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33        Super Bomberman

So addictive in multiplayer it should be illegal, Bomberman contained a simple yet elegant system which provided some of the best game play ever conceived. Along with Saturn Bomberman the SNES games are the best iterations of the series to this day.
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32        Breath of Fire 2

Capcom must’ve really analyzed the first Breath of Fire as the sequel pretty much lays to rest everything they did wrong with the original and is a far more engrossing experience overall.
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31        Wild Guns

Easily one of the greatest action games on the system Wild Guns plays like the old arcade game Cabal (you move left and right and fire into the background, dodging oncoming fire), its tons of fun, has great graphics and is a very unique experience.
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30        Hagane: The Final Conflict

Hudson Soft’s little known answer to Sega’s Shinobi series of games, like said series Hagane focuses on precision based action gaming, giving you access to a sword and kunai’s as well as various acrobatic moves. A very well designed game with a whole load of set pieces.
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29        Populous

Classic computer strategy game where you take the role of a deity and shape the future of a race of people.
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28        Contra III: The Alien Wars

A true benchmark for action games when it arrived, Contra III wowed people with its huge enemies and massively over the top set pieces (riding on a missile whilst shooting a flying space ship?!) These days though, certain aspects haven’t aged too well so it lost some places in the list (those top down levels have seen better days)
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27        Axelay
Includes everything you need from a good scrolling shooter, an excellent and well thought out weapon system, great set pieces with cool bosses (the Ed 209 style boss is especially classy) great graphics effects and brilliant music throughout.
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26        Spindizzy Worlds

Sequel to the classic 8-bit micro game, thankfully they made the game play far more focused this time and overall its a serious improvement. It takes time to get used to, but when you do what you have here is one of the best puzzle games out there, it plays like Marble Madness with more puzzle and platforming elements.
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25        Actraiser

Actraiser is a hybrid of platformer and strategy games, you spend half the time fighting through the platforming levels and the other half re-building the world in a sim city fashion, both sections are so good on their own that you get the idea that they could’ve made two separate games out of what they had here!. Everything in the game gels together admirably and the sound track is a first rate job throughout.
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24        Mortal Kombat 2

After the less than stellar port of the first game Mortal Kombat came back to the SNES in style with this excellent sequel, and it was far better than the original anyway, with a better and refined fighting engine and more interesting characters.
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23        Super Castlevania IV

The classic series was brought into the new generation brilliantly with this first 16-bit iteration for SNES. Using the original NES game as its basis, Castlevania IV expanded on all the prior elements of the series whilst also improving on control with the more versatile whip, and adding some amazing set pieces of which really showed off some of the SNES’ hardware tricks..
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22        R-Type III: The Third Lightning

After the lackluster, slowdown ridden Super R-Type, Irem managed to redeem themselves in style with this, unlike its predecessor, R-Type III was designed from the ground up to take advantage of the SNES hardware and it really shows, it has far more action going on as well as numerous graphical effects but this time there’s very little slowdown to speak of.
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21        Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals

After their fantastic original, Lufia’s developers decided to go for a prequel for their next venture to tell the story of the characters met in the beginning of the first game, apart from the story which was as great as ever, the game play was overhauled for the better, incorporating a less random play style and a much more interesting puzzle orientated stance.

20. Earthbound

A uniquely lighthearted and quirky take on the RPG genre, Earthbound delivers an experience full of charm and humour in a genre usually associated with a leaning towards the morose, which helps to make it stand out somewhat in the crowd.
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19        Turtles in Time

Without doubt the best beat-em-up on the SNES. Konami took their years of experience with the series and honed what they’d learnt to create a highly polished, fast and fun game, the move set and general controls were excellent and responsive, and the whole thing was held together with a narrative which allowed for loads of variation in the levels and enemies.
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18        Terranigma

The third game in Quintet’s unofficial series of action RPG’s that started with Soul Blazer and continued with Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma heralded a return to the roots of the series, playing somewhere between its two forebears. I would say that in my opinion this is the best of the three games, its just a shame it was only released in Japan and Europe in small numbers as the game is now seriously overpriced on Ebay.
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17        Super Turrican 2

For me this is the greatest action game on the snes bar none and serves as a real unappreciated gem, Super Turrican 2 contains all the action of its predecessors now “taken up to 11”, it has set piece after set piece, amazing graphics and loads or interesting ideas and elements.
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16        Legend of the Mystical Ninja

A nice amalgamation of different game play styles, Mystical Ninja manages to admirably merge platforming and RPG elements with scrolling beat-em-ups and mini games into a cohesive whole. It contains loads of charm and humour, a great 2 player co-op and game play that contains loads of variety and masses to do.
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15        Super Mario RPG

Square did an unprecedented job here with fleshing out the world and characters of the Mario series, i’d imagine that many (myself included) probably thought that Mario’s world would make for a pretty limited RPG storyline but this really isn’t the case as the game is full of a lot of charm, and even though Mario himself does little talking his actions and manner are very expressive. The game play as a whole is the usual RPG set-up (though a bit simplified), but this time with an isometric viewpoint with minor platforming elements. The simpler RPG elements make the game suitable to those new to the genre.
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14        F-Zero

A phenomenal game when it first came out, F-Zero was one of the only console racing games of the time which gave you a real feeling of fast racing in 3D. The courses and music were both excellent and as a 16-bit racer the game was only really bettered by Super Mario Kart.
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13        Yoshi’s Island

Mario and friends came back for their second main branch SNES game with this cool change of pace. Yoshi’s Island’s biggest feature is its highly original and distinct graphics style which looks fantastic. Game play wise it incorporates an interesting low penalty energy system (similar to the one used in the Sonic the Hedgehog series) whereby you’re safe so long as you’re carrying Mario but after taking a hit you lose him and are sent into a mad rush to recollect him, this system helps to lessen the frustration factor, and along with the more linear level designs compared to its predecessor make the game much easier (whether for better or worse depends on personal preference)
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12        Final Fantasy IV

On release this game really set the bar for all RPG’s that followed, with a big scope, excellent storyline and some truly timeless music, FFIV blew away the competition. This was where the Final Fantasy series really started on its road to uber stardom.
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11        Mega Man X2

Personally in the original Mega Man X I felt a little weak and underpowered starting out, not so with this sequel which also saw massive improvements in graphics and far more polished and interesting exploratory elements, now forcing you to really check every nook and cranny of every level to get hold of those precious upgrades.
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10        Star Fox

With the new consoles rapidly approaching Nintendo needed something to try to show that the SNES could still compete, and along with Donkey Kong Country this was exactly what they needed. Technical achievements aside though, the all important game play was still there in spades too, with the game giving off the feeling of controlling a spaceship in battles reminiscent of those from Star Wars.
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9        Donkey Kong Country 2

After the impressive original Rare came back with an even better Donkey Kong game, including better designed levels with much more rewarding game play, a more interesting theme and longevity which far exceeded that of the first game.
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8        Secret of Mana

An action RPG with really beautiful atmosphere, a great storyline and excellent music, Secret of Mana not only excelled in most areas but also included the totally unprecedented feature of an awesome three player co-operative option. The game includes loads of charm, be it the quirky transportation (being fired out of a cannon) to riding on the back of a dragon. Well worth hunting down with a multi-tap.
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7        Super Mario Kart
Has to be one of the first racing games available for a home console with a pretty much perfect and addictive competitive multiplayer component. As with F-Zero the Mode 7 SNES features worked perfectly to bring the courses to life, but the real master stroke was in adding the RC Pro-Am style weapons to give an element of sneakiness to the proceedings.
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6        Final Fantasy VI

Epic storytelling at its best, Final Fantasy’s story was engrossing, twisting and memorable. It doesn’t end there though as the game play was fully honed, with more features than ever and an elegant battle system, there were masses of characters all with their own nuances and personalities, and really memorable set pieces. The game was just extremely ambitious in scope.
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5        Super Mario World

Nintendo really had a challenge on their hands to try to better the superlative Super Mario Bros 3, what they came back with was the same classic game play but now with the fantastic addition of Yoshi, a nice minimalistic graphics style, and most importantly masses of different exits which made the game play much deeper than its predecessor (though to my mind, Super Mario Bros 3 still has the edge in charm)
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4        Street Fighter II Turbo

The game which single handedly rescued and re-popularised the one on one fighting genre, with deep and most importantly fun game play as well as a cast of interesting characters, Street Fighter II took the gaming world by storm, and who would’ve thought that the arcade game could be converted to the SNES quite this well?
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3        Chrono Trigger

After much thought, I’ve decided to place Chrono Trigger above Final Fantasy VI as the best RPG on the SNES, mainly due to the fact that I like the way that Chrono Trigger eschews the usual melodrama of many RPGs for a more lighthearted, and exciting swashbuckling style. The usual RPG game play is also well represented along with awesome music and the game also brought a bunch of new interesting elements of its own to the RPG genre.
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2        Super Metroid
Pretty much excelling in all areas, storyline, action, depth, Super Metroid contained some of the most supremely clever and intricate level designs, a great power-up system with loads of cool to use weapons, really memorable set pieces and boss battles, and a generally first rate style and atmosphere. A commendable achievement.
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1        Zelda: A Link to the Past

An amazing design that built on the original in so many ways, very much like Super Metroid this game also excelled in all aspects, game play, graphics and sound. The adventure was pretty long but managed to be a lot of fun from start to finish and finding all the secrets added a level of longevity to the game. Still easily the greatest Zelda game ever made and pure 16-bit perfection in every way.

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