We all know about the likes of the classics. Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Super Mario Kart (anything with Super in it really), the list goes on where the SNES is concerned. However, there are so many other classics on the machine that for the most part went by quietly and didn’t hit the sales figures that the well-known hits did. The titles that weren’t played by the casual Nintendo fans.
Naturally, this is more of a personal faves list of mine so don’t go into conniptions because I didn’t list EVO, Saturday Night Slam Masters or Live a Live! Simply enjoy reading through a list of games you may not have heard of, or maybe you just shrugged them off after judging them by what they looked like. Either way, I hope you take something from this and appreciate the SNES even more the classic console it is.
1. Illusion of Time
A game which has been vastly over-looked over the years, Illusion of Time (or Gaia depending on which region you’re playing) was an awesome RPG which came with a very unique setting and storyline revolving around a version of our Earth mired in an age of exploration.
The game would see you as the hero Will traversing across the globe visiting ancient sites like Angkor Wat, the Great Wall of China, and the Pyramids of Egypt acquiring pieces to a puzzle which can only be solved in the Tower of Babel. Crazy.
The game doesn’t follow your usual turn-based RPG rules, instead opting for an action based battle system, a mish-mash of Zelda games and Alundra. Collectables are a part of the game if that’s your thing, the soundtrack is cute at times, epic at others and the cast are very likeable.
If you’re a fan of RPGs and never tried this out, you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s linear, but the storyline is worth the slog through.
2. Goof Troop
This game is a perfect example of not judging the book, or game, by it’s cover. At a time when licenced games were ten-a-penny (and awful to boot), Disney’s Goof Troop was released to little fan-fare and cast aside as yet another kiddy game.
It’s a shame too as there’s a cracking Zelda-lite game hidden here, which never takes itself seriously and gives you some neat touches to play around with. The presentation is superb, the game playing out like an episode of the cartoon of the same name. The game strikes a perfect balance between easy and difficult giving all ages a suitable challenge and the main complaint which can be given is that it’s simply too short at 5 levels which feature about 20 – 30 different screens in each level.
If you’ve never played it and want a fun romp which lasts a couple of hours your first time through, give it a shot!
Developed by the same company who created Illusion of Time, Terranigma is the first of two games on this list which were not released in the US, which probably never helped it’s cause in trying to get the word out there about it.
It looks gorgeous, very similar to Secret of Mana and its sequel. Like Illusion of Time, it is also an action-battle based game, but with a heavier concentration on level building elements than Illusion had. The locales are less inspired but it follows another alternative take on Earth, this time with your character helping to ‘resurrect’ the planet from the inside out. Or outside in. You’ll see what I mean if you play it.
With a beautiful soundtrack, fast-paced battles, and the chance to play a game which had a very limited release (and boy does Ebay know it), you’d be a fool to give this a miss.
4. The Adventures of Batman & Robin
Yeah, we all know that Spider-Man 2 and Batman: Arkham City are the two greatest comic book games ever, but there was a time when AoB&R could hold a claim to the throne before they came along.
An extremely faithful rendition of the very popular kids cartoon of the 90s, the game isn’t your standard comic book platformer. The Riddler brings along puzzling elements, while the Penguin’s stage affords you the chance to don your detective cowl and get investigating. You’ll battle Joker whilst riding on a Rollercoaster in Mode 7 heaven and fight Scarecrow outside of an airborne plane.
Top-down car chases, cameos from other villains, if you were a fan of the cartoon this will be heaven for you, just be aware; the game has quite the challenge but it’s so rewarding when you finally move onto the next stages.
5. Wild Guns
Probably the most ‘out-there’ title on the list, Wild Guns sees you play as either a Calamity Jane or Roland the Gunslinger type character, fighting your way through the wild west, of all things. It’s quite similar to most arcade gun-shooters like Lethal Enforcers and Time Crisis, main difference being that you can actually see your character.
The first stage begins sensibly enough, until that is you come across the first boss, a screen-filling robotic hulk of a beast. From that point on it’s anyone’s guess as to what you can expect next, as suddenly you’re fighting tanks, SWAT type enemies in factories, and doing battle on racing side-by-side trains.
Sadly, the journey doesn’t last long at all and a good player can complete the game in about 40 minutes. Play this though and it’s just another example of what seems like a typical game on the surface of things which ultimately turns the genre on it’s head to provide a stellar experience.
Annie is hot too, hot damn!
6. Secret of Evermore
Yeah, the game that most Secret of Mana fans think is the reason that Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 2) was never released here (it isn’t). I remember buying this the DAY it came out, simply because I knew it was going to be very similar to SoM, and boy was I right. The ring-menu system was back, an AI partner who would aid you in your battle, and the trusty Mode 7 map was back in it’s splendour.
The story was an oddity featuring a B-Movie obsessed teenager who ends up in the wrong mansion, gets transported back to pre-historic times, and then goes on a time-travelling journey to fix things. A few things differentiate it from SoM however. You actually find your spells whilst playing through the game, and can only use them when you have the correct ingredients for them. Your AI partner, your dog, is actually useful this time round and will passively hunt down ingredients by sniffing them out for you.
Otherwise, it plays very similar to its well known spiritual brother, SoM. And that can’t be a bad thing, but please be patient with the market-place area. It’s a HORRENDOUS experience to get your head around!!
7. The Firemen
The 2nd title on the list which wasn’t released in the US, I already covered what makes this game one of the most underrated titles in video game history, check it out:
8. Super Tennis
Simplicity here. No silly amount of moves to remember. A straight-forward tournament mode which rewards next to nothing if you complete it, and nothing even remotely close to any kind of create-a-character can be found here.
But it’s one of the best tennis games you’ll ever have the fortune to play. 4 buttons for 4 different types of shots, which are affected by where you are in the court, swerve can be applied with the shouder buttons, it’s super simple to play. You can play doubles, on different court types, and even change the colours of the ball if need be.
And brace yourself if you happen to ace all 4 major tournaments in the career mode as you then have the pleasure of taking on the game’s super secret boss. Who is a MASSIVE challenge to beat.
9. Kid Klown in Crazy Chase
At a time when we didn’t have all of the ‘run into the screen’ games that we’re absolutely swamped with these days, this game was one of the first to really use the idea to great effect, and nothing today matches the creativity found here. You play as Kid Klown who needs to rush to defuse a bomb which the evil villain Black Jack has set. He also kidnapped a Princess of course.
The graphics are cute with a cartoony feel which works perfectly. The soundtrack can be a little grating and boy is it annoying to have to replay a level because you missed out on collecting just one of the 4 card suits, but the game (for the hour or so it takes to complete) is such an endearing quick playthrough.
The standout moments for the game are found within the many set-pieces you run across. Whether it’s Black Jack the villain sticking his foot out from behind a tree to trip you up on your way to defusing his bomb, or seeing Kid Klown get flattened by oncoming traffic because he didn’t quite make that last jump, the humour on display here is fantastic. You almost want to fail in your mad dash just to see all of the fun animations play out.
That bomb though…
10. Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge
I hated the Tiny Toons cartoon. It was Babs Bunny who did it for me, no-one should be funnier than Bugs Bunny’s counter-part Buster and yet she was given all the best lines and characters; just delivered terribly.
It then came as a surprise to me when I fell in love with this game. It’s a cross between the Olympics and Mario Party’s mini-games. Such sensible sports like skiing, discus, and swimming run alongside ice cream tossing, bungee jumping, and stopping as close to a cliff edge as possible without going over. A lot of heart went into this game and the presentation is extremely respective of the cartoon.
If there’s any gripe to be had here it’s that the game can be difficult to initially grasp. Most of the events all differ greatly in how they’re played and you find yourself having to learn quite a few different modes of control.
Persevere though and it can be a great game to play, especially with friends around. Just don’t play as Babs.
And that’s it! Now I look back at the list and with the exception of the RPGs, most of these games have very little to do with them once you’ve completed them the first time. Which is a shame as they are all SO fun to play through the first time you do. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of the SNES, maybe have one set-up or hidden away in the loft somewhere, AND if you have the money to throw at purchasing these little fellas, dig em’ out on Ebay and enjoy some of the best hidden titles out there.