SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) or also known as Super Famicom for the original Japanese version is a 16-bit video game console that was released in 1990 by Nintendo. Although it has been more than a decade since it launched (or you name it old, classic, or whatever suits you), it is known as the pioneer of RPG. SNES RPG is believed to be the core of modern RPG with all of its limitations.
Although the games are classic and old, but it doesn’t deny the fact that it is timeless and still irreplaceable. With the limitations of the console I still think that it hosts the legendary RPG that still worth to be re-played even now. Even with the console’s limitations, SNES can still deliver a good graphic and gameplay for its era. Here are the top 7 SNES RPG that you should try before you die.
7. Final Fantasy IV
As one of the best of Final Fantasy series is enough reason for this title to have a re-port on PC. We will play as one of the knight of Baron who serves under the king. Unlike most main characters of RPG games that begin as a good guy, this game will give players different experiences as we begin as a “bad guy”.
Cecil, the main protagonists is a Dark Knight. Yes, we will start the game unusually as a bad guy, but there will be surprises as the story goes on. Initially, Cecil the Dark Knight is tasked by his king to bring the four elemental crystals. But as his journey continues, he begins to question the king’s motives. This leads him to fight back and restore peace to both the world and his kingdom.
The class change feature also becomes one of the selling points in this game as it affects the storyline. This game is still using the classic turn-based Final Fantasy style battle that will bring nostalgic feelings to Final Fantasy lovers. The difference is that this game uses a real-time ATB (Active Time Battle) system, so if we did not act fast we are vulnerable to enemy attacks at any time.
6. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Maybe most people know Super Mario games as a side-scrolling adventure where the character will run to the end while fighting enemies along the way. But you should know that there is a RPG-style Super Mario game called Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Mario RPG is developed by Square and published by Nintendo. As we all know, Square was known for its masterpiece: Final Fantasy.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars which was released in 1996 adapts the gameplay mechanics that Square used in all of its creations. That is why, although it is a Super Mario game, the gameplay of Super Mario RPG is FF-alike. The battle system is a simple turn-based battle with unique features. For example, if we press a button upon attacking we can unleash greater damage to the enemies.
In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, we will fight the bad guys who drove out Bowser from his own castle. The game begins with Mario battling Bowser as usual, but suddenly Bowser’s castle struck by a giant living sword. Then after that incident, Mario must go on a journey alongside Peach, Bowser, and other characters to restore the Mushroom Kingdom back to normal.
5. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistral
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistral or also known as Lufia in Europe and Australia, is a Japanese RPG for SNES which was released in 1995. As the developer, Neverland chose to fuse this RPG with cool puzzle element and successfully astonished the audience at its time. It may be not as advanced as other RPG, but the graphic and sound is enough to amaze us, with an addition of nice fight scenes.
As the prequel to Lufia & the Fortress of Doom, it follows the story of the first main character’s ancestor and explains the origin of war between mankind and a group of gods called the Sinistral. The story centered around the hero Maxim, a swordsman from the town of Elcid who is born with the natural ability to fight and destined to destroy the Sinistrals.
4. Secret of Mana
Secret of Mana is known for a high quality action-RPG that could stand up to Zelda series in both the quality and timelessness. This game is another creation of Square, as the expert in making wonderful RPG for consoles. Released in 1993, this game stands out with its uniqueness and later became an inspiration to other action-RPG.
Secret of Mana features three main characters fighting an empire which tries to take over the world by abusing the power of Mana. The strong point in this game is the detail of the visuals, where you can see the bones-littering cavern floor, or colorful flowers and plant-life lining the trails as we walk upon. The water and clouds also moves naturally, giving life to the visualization of the graphics.
The combat system used in Secret of Mana is unlike any other. It has a reason why some later games adapt the combat mechanics of game such as Secret of Mana. The combat is all about hack-and-slashing the enemies with the press of a button, and there is a percentage meter that determines how strong our attacks can be. The higher the percentage, the more damage you deal to the enemies.
Earthbound or also known as Mother 2 in Japan, is a Japanese RPG developed by Ape Inc. and HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo in 1994. Unlike any other RPG which the characters fought with swords and other weapon, Earthbound is set in a rather contemporary setting where instead of battling with swords and spells, we will fought with baseball bats and psychic powers.
The game follows Ness, a young boy who lived in the town of Onett and awakens one night after a meteor strikes a hilltop outside his house. Inside the meteor he found Buzz, a talking bee from the future who is on a mission to warn the Earth of a coming invasion by evil alien called Giygas. Together with three other kids, they travel the world to collect the 8 melodies in order to defeat the Giygas.
2. Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI was released in 1994 by Square for SNES (now also available in PC, Android, and iOS). It is also known as Final Fantasy III for the North American version. The sixth installment of the Final Fantasy series was known to be one of the best Final Fantasy game ever made. It added more depth to both gameplay and narrative than any Final Fantasy game before.
The story tells about a technological world which dominated by an evil empire by the use of Magitek technology. As usual, we will control the characters with different backgrounds. The heroes consist of the people who have been a part of the empire, brainwashed by the empire, or those who rebels against the empire. That makes this game has 6 main characters.
Final Fantasy VI stands out in a lot aspects: expansive world full of wonders, refined Active Time Battle system, and also a personalized skill sets for each characters. Not only that, it also introduces many new features as the relic system. With the relic system, characters equipped with relic can get special abilities or even get a permanent status effect such as Protect.
1. Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is always on top of player’s mind (including me) since it was initially released in 1995 by Square (now available in PC, Android, and iOS). And now, I guess it really deserved to be in the first place once again, after winning almost more than half amount of total pollings that I’ve read online. After this paragraph, you will understand why it becomes a wonderful RPG that is ever created.
Not only great battle system, this game has the best soundtracks, awesome dialogue and multiple endings which can be triggered by meeting certain conditions as a requirement. For your information, this game was created by the three awesome designers known as The Dream Team: Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy series), Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest series), and Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball).
In this game, we will play as Crono, a swordsman from a small town who travels time to prevent the world from destruction caused by Lavos. A princess, a frog swordsman, a prehistoric blonde girl, and a robot will be your party members as you progress through the story. The battle system focuses on opening encounters, meaning that the enemies that we will fight can’t be seen in the field.
If someone asked me which one of my favorite from the list above, I would answer Chrono Trigger. The endless nostalgic feeling makes me never hesitate to re-play it more and more. Furthermore, it has a beautiful 16-bit graphic and stunning battle system that everyone loved so. I think that it really deserve the 1st place for delivering such a great gameplay even with SNES limitation of its time.
Which SNES RPG do you think is best from the list above? Please share your thoughts in the comment below.