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The best Super Nintendo games of all time

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past A Link to the Past brought the Zelda series back to its roots while building upon the original title to create the template for all other games in the series (and action-adventure games) to follow. The two massive over-world maps were expertly crafted and contained some of the best level designs of all time. The highlights were the dungeons, which featured just the right amount of challenge without being too annoying. This game is every bit the classic many claim it to be.

Chrono Trigger One of the last great 2D RPGs was none other than Chrono Trigger. As with most SquareSoft RPGs of the time, Chrono Trigger was a visual feast, boasting some truly impressive sprite-based graphics. Centered around time travel, the game featured multiple endings depending on the player's actions throughout the game. Thanks to a then innovative new game plus mode, replaying the game wasn’t the chore it could have been. The fact that this gem is constantly being remade says something about how great it is.

Earthbound Earthbond was more or less a dud when it was first released in 1994. This was due to how different it was from other RPGs of the time. It was weird, funny, and had themes that went over most people’s heads. 25 years later, it is recognized as one of the greatest games in the genre. While it is sad that audiences didn’t take to Earthbound initially, it eventually found the recognition it deserves.

Earthworm Jim Earthworm Jim is easily one of the weirdest games ever released. You play as a worm who commandeers an alien space suit and becomes a bad-ass. How is that possible? It doesn’t matter, as everything about the game is designed to be ridiculous. Gameplay-wise, this was one of the more challenging titles of the era. Let’s also not forget to mention the excellent animation that looked straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon.

Final Fight Beat ‘em up games were huge back in the early 90s and one of the best was Capcom’s Final Fight. After all, what other game let you play as a politician who ran around his city beating up bad guys bare-chested? Even though this version of the game was missing a couple of levels and the super awesome ninja, Guy, it was still one of the best the system had to offer. Final Fight makes eating random meat found in dumpsters and smashing in gangsters' faces into an art form.

F-Zero Super Mario Kart may be the more popular racer, but for many SNES fans (myself included), the racing game to beat was F-Zero. Featuring ludicrous speeds, this was one of the fastest racing games of all time. So fast in fact that other racers seemed slow in comparison. F-Zero was also one of the most beautiful looking titles of the era, featuring slick-looking hovercars that glided along twisting roads amid futuristic cities. Subsequent games in the series never quite contained the magic that this first one did.

Mega Man X Instead of just doing another Mega Man game, Capcom instead took the best bits from the NES series and mixed it with new elements to create Mega Man X. This was a slick update that modernized the Blue Bomber and his world with the harder edge that the 90s was known for. This one rivals Contra III for the best action game on the Super Nintendo.

Mortal Kombat II The first Mortal Kombat on SNES was notorious for being a tame version of the hyper-violent arcade classic. Thankfully, the second made it on the system intact in all its bloody glory. Arguably the best game in the series before the 2011 reboot, Mortal Kombat II featured more characters, stages, and of course, fatalities than the first game. This port was about as close as you could get to the arcade game and was one of the few fighters that could challenge the mighty Street Fighter II.

NBA Jam Hearing the words “he’s on fire” would normally be a cause for concern, but not in NBA Jam. With the exception of a missing Michael Jordan, this game featured some of the most famous players and teams from the early 1990s. The game’s focus was on pure fun. Characters could jump insanely high, and basketballs would catch on fire after a player scored three consecutive times. The fact that most of the rules of basketball were disregarded also made the game more enjoyable. The Easter eggs were great too, with President Clinton and Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero being hidden characters.

Super Mario Kart Kart racers may be a dime a dozen these days, but back when Super Mario Kart was released, it was a novelty. Future games in the series improved upon the basics laid out here, but the simplicity of the first Mario Kart is part of its charm. This was a great game to play with friends -- even the ones who cheated by throwing turtle shells at you just as you're about to cross the finish line.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars SquareSoft was the king of RPGs during the SNES era so it should come as no surprise that the company would team up with Nintendo to make a role-playing game starring a certain popular mustached plumber. Super Mario RPG had the same visual style of Donkey Kong Country and even a story that managed to stand up to some of the other SquareSoft games of the time. As crazy as it may sound, Super Mario RPG is a genre defining title.

Super Mario World Arguably the greatest Super Mario Bros. game ever released, Super Mario World was not only one of the best games of its time, but one that still puts most platformers to shame. Every level in the game featured its own unique twists and challenges. It should have been impossible to top Super Mario Bros. 3, but Super Mario World took everything its predecessor did to a whole other level. This title is gaming perfection.

Super Metroid When people talk about the ‘Metroidvania’ genre, they often forget which name in that amalgamation comes first. Super Metroid took everything its predecessor did and perfected it. No one can deny the game’s genius level design and gameplay mechanics, but personally, I always remember Super Metroid for its stunning presentation. This was the first title I played that felt "cinematic" due to its superb visual and audio presentation. Many have tried to imitate it, but none can truly match the power of Super Metroid.

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