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15 Best SNES RPGs You Must Play

15 Best SNES RPGs You Must Play

The world has already migrated to playing on PSPs and other consoles of high resolution. But there are those who still haven't forgotten the SNES. It may be a relic of the past, but the memories stayed with us in the future too. We have compiled a list of the best SNES RPGs, and hope you have fun reliving those memories, as we did writing this article.
Vijith Menon
Fact
SNES was one of the first platforms on which 16-bit games were launched.

Before the advent of hand-held games, there existed a console that led the race in role-playing games. The dream of every kid was to play just a little more. Every weekend we'd drift away to an unknown land with fantastic creatures or explore the lands to give us that extra life boost. Yes, we are talking about Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Nintendo already had Nintendo Entertainment System ruling the video game market. But with Sega launching their new console Genesis, they couldn't sit by idle. Thus, they launched the SNES. It was an instant success, selling over 300,000 units. The main cause of its success was due to the fact that it retained some of its key developers, namely Konami, Square, and Capcom. With just two games - Super Mario World and F-Zero available on their console, they still ruled the video game market. With the demands of the fans increasing, they successfully adapted the Street Fighter arcade game in to SNES, and Donkey Kong soon followed. SNES has impacted culture with its fantastic games, and their main hero, Mario, being idolized the world-over for his shenanigans. Many of the original games on SNES have been adapted into the ninth-generation consoles like the Wii. It was released on cartridges called GamePak in the US, and cassettes in Japan.

With SNES being replaced by consoles with better graphics, the legacy has been preserved with the help of emulators. Let's take a trip back in time, and relive our memories of some of the best SNES RPGs ever played.

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Publisher: Konami
One of the first games that featured multiplay, Contra had a linear storyline that outlines the adventures of Bill and Lance, part of an elite guerrilla warfare unit sent to destroy the terrorist activities of the Red Falcon. In this game, however, they are replaced by their descendants, Jim and Sully, as the Red Falcon tries to destroy humanity using aliens. Get ready to feel like Rambo, as you destroy alien after alien, to clean up the streets of this ugly menace.

Earthworm Jim 2
Publisher: Playmates Interactive
You have probably heard the saying 'The early bird gets the worm'. Well, that's tough, considering this one's in a robotic suit, and can move like RoboCop. Meet the spunkiest ground-digger, as he battles the minions of Psy-Crow and rescues Princess Whats-Her-Name, in this fantastic sequel to the original.

EarthBound
Publisher: Nintendo
You start off as a young boy named Ness, as you investigate a meteorite crash with your neighbor Pokey. An alien force has enveloped the planet with hatred, and turned animals and humans alike into malicious creatures. Joined by a psychic, an inventor, and a martial artist, you collect melodies in a Sound Stone to defeat the evil alien Giygas responsible for this mess. With an isometric perspective, you have a third-person view of the town and its residents. And the gameplay is similar to Pokemon, with players losing hitpoints (HP) when taking damage, and gaining experience by defeating enemies and leveling up. Play the game responsible for being the spiritual predecessor to many action RPGs of the future, like Ragnarok and Warcraft.

Mortal Kombat
Publisher: NetherRealm Studios
As a fan of the fighting genre, you can't forget the contribution of Mortal Kombat. With a storyline that leads you through the game, and martial artists with kick-ass moves, choose the best player to take the lead in this tournament that will determine humanity's future.

Final Fantasy IV
Publisher: Square
Fans who love to search and explore; this one's for you. The map is revealed slowly as you navigate through the darkness. With people familiar to Final Fantasy, this particular game lets you control multiple characters, as you complete quests to advance to the next level. With an equally good score accompanying it, the players fight in a group against bosses and monsters, with support players using magic to heal others. Every game in the series narrates a different chapter, and this one's the same. Three races inhabit Earth, namely the Humans on the surface, Dwarves underground, and the Lunarians living on an artificial moon. The Lunarians are in suspended animation, waiting for the day when humans and Lunarians can live in peace. But Zemus, one of the Lunarians, refuses to go to hibernation, and attacks Earth, so his race can take over the planet. Defend the Earth and thwart Zemus's ambitions, before the Earth gets colonized.

Super Castlevania IV
Publisher: Konami
This is a side-scrolling game, where the player takes control of Simon, a man destined to keep evil at bay. The Lord of Evil resurrects every hundred years. And the only one to stop this menace are the Belmonts. Simon is the next head of the Belmont family. Though very young, he's nonetheless determined to take this daunting task, as he fights enemies using the weapon of his ancestors - the whip. Play this game to prove that monsters are best hidden in the dark, not lurking outside in the human world.

Secret of Mana
Publisher: Square
An empire is hellbent on creating a warship purely on mana. The Gods, angry over the exploitation of the valuable source, send down beasts intending to destroy the source as well as the user. With a war that exhausted all energy, we meet our hero, who unwittingly becomes the recipient of a sword capable of storing mana. With two companions accompanying him on his journey, he travels around the world collecting mana seeds, all the while defending against the King's barbarians. Will they succeed? Play this game and find out now, in the best action RPG since Final Fantasy IV.

Brandish
Publisher: Koei
With a voluptuous mage gracing the cover of this game, it's hard to forget. But for those who need a reminder, you play a swordsman named Ares, who falls into a pit while being pursued by your nemesis Dela, a sorceress. With no way but to go forward, you travel the dark labyrinth hoping to reach the surface soon, as you try to unravel the mystery of the dark dungeon. With forty levels and each boss tougher than the last, can you hope to see the light?

Donkey Kong Country 2
Publisher: Nintendo
As far as family members go, none are as loyal as Donkey Kong. But this time around, it's up to us to rescue him from the evil clutches of Kaptain K. Rool and his pirate crew. You play the characters of Diddy Kong and his girlfriend Dixie, traveling the various districts of Crocodile Isle looking for Donkey. The second-bestselling game on the SNES platform, it's time to go bananas on this adventure.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Publisher: Nintendo
Will this list be ever complete without mentioning Mario? Our favorite plumber is back, but his rescue of Princess Toadstool goes awry, when a giant sword rips the castle she's captive in, to pieces. The enemy responsible for the chaos is Smithy, a blacksmith from an alternate dimension, with plans of world domination. Pissed that his army has left him and the castle in ruins, Bowser joins Mario in this unusual quest to thwart the enemy's plans, and restore natural order. Play this game for its unusual twists and fantastic gameplay, as you use Bowser to crush enemies.

Flashback
Publisher: U.S. Gold
With a science-fiction story at its core that would satisfy even Issac Asimov, Flashback is one of the rarest games of its era. Unlike other games which required players to be guided by the AI, you play Conrad Hart, who doesn't remember his own identity. With various acrobatics and weapons in tow, and wormholes to find, the game is noted for its cheek-in-face action. Jason Bourne, better take some lessons from this.

Mega Man X
Publisher: Capcom
For fans of the cartoon Mega Man, you'll enjoy this game even more. As the only robot capable of human emotion and free will, you play X, trying to understand his own creation and the depth of human morality. In the 22nd century, humans are aided by robots in menial tasks as well as complex ones. But curiosity makes the human mind delve into mysteries that don't concern him. X is found by Dr. Cain, and replicated to aid humans better. But with a will of their own, the rebel robots, nicknamed the Reploids, question the existence of humans. When they try to colonize Earth under their leader Sigma, it's up to you to put an end to this menace, and remind the robots that human spirit is immune to any attach on the planet.

Super Mario World
Publisher: Nintendo, Mattel
The game lets you go to the kingdom of Dinosaur Land, which is under the rule of Bowser and his minions. He has kidnapped Princess Toadstool again. Where's a GPS tracking device when you need one? In this game, you are endowed with a honorable steed in the form of a dinosaur called Yoshi. Clear the levels quickly and face Bowser in a climatic battle sequence, to show him who's the boss?

Terranigma
Publisher: Enix, Nintendo
A fairy tale that reveals the beginnings of creation on Earth. People who live on the surface represented growth, and people who lived underground were blamed for decline. Soon, they came to be recognized as God and Devil. As tensions boil over, the war between God and Devil leads to the annihilation of the planet. You play as Ark, one of the humans living in Crysta, located in the underworld, who unwittingly opens Pandora's box resulting in the release of Yomi, demons from hell. Repentant on his mistakes, he travels to the surface world to find answers, and maybe find an end to this maddening chaos.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Publisher: Nintendo
The only Zelda game available to the SNES platform, it gives an overhead perspective of the world as you control Link, currently undergoing training with his uncle. When Princess Zelda is kidnapped by the wizard Agahnim, it's up to Link to rescue the princess and free her descendants in the other dimension. With time travel being a novel concept at the time, defeat the demons in both dimensions, as your actions will determine the future of both worlds.

Some Honorable Mentions
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Tales of Phantasia
  • Dragon Quest
  • Soul Blazer
  • Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
  • Shadowrun
  • Breath of Fire 2

These are some of the best Super Nintendo Entertainment system RPGs that you can lay your hands on. Try them out one by one, and have a ball.