Last week, we began our search for the greatest Super Nintendo game of all time by asking you to choose your favorites in a series of one on one match-ups. After receiving over 800,000 votes, WE HAVE OUR VICTORS! They're a great mix of commercial blockbusters, critical darlings, and hardcore-gamer favorites. Without further adieu, here are the 25 best SNES games as chosen by gamers.
Contrary to popular belief, a flashy sequel doesn't equal a bad sequel all the time. In a bold move, Contra III fast-forwarded the action to the distant future and improved not only the aesthetics, but the scope and storyline of the game, all while maintaining the "run and gun" appeal of the original. Though there have been plenty of knockoffs since, none have had a weapon as universally appealing as the Spread Gun. None.
Earthbound broke a lot of traditional rules established by previous SNES RPGs with its innovative, unique gameplay. To outsiders, Earthbound seemed like a cutesy kid's game. Any well-informed gamer will tell you otherwise. The characters had names like "Buzz Buzz" and "Poo," but it boasted a layered story with complicated characters and one of the most deeply unsettling final bosses in the history of gaming. While it hit the United States before the heyday of Japanese RPGs, it's held onto an incredibly dedicated cult following.
A solid follow-up, marred by terrible ports in years to come, the original version of Earthworm Jim 2 provided plenty of new features while adhering to its predecessor's insane pace and humor. While the first installment could comfortably be classified as a platformer, the sequel launched traditional level design out the window like a cow off a catapult. One level had you bouncing puppies off a giant marshmallow, Game & Watch style, and another had you inexplicably playing as a cave salamander named "Blind Sally." All this, and the protagonist is still an earthworm in a super suit. Groovy.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" was probably a motto chanted by the Kirby's Dream Land 3 developers. They didn't so much shatter the mold as much as smooth out the edges. New abilities to absorb and three new companions in the mix meant the player had a whole spectrum of new power combinations to explore. On top of that, it featured co-op gameplay and a gentle pastel art style, making it the perfect comfort game. Plus it had Kirby in it. That's probably why you voted for it.
As games have moved away from arcade-style life bars and towards autosaves and regenerating health, it's easy to forget how hard video games used to be. Nowadays, with enough time and patience, most any game can be waded through. F-Zero didn't give half a damn about some namby-pamby, new-agey, all-inclusive philosophy, preferring instead to grind its players' egos down to nubs with impossibly fast racing, unpredictable obstacles, and uncannily skilled AI opponents. If you think you've gotten frustrated playing Demon's Souls, you haven't played F-Zero.
Final Fantasy was for shut-ins. Secret of Mana was for kicking ass with buddies. The game offered wider opportunities for tactics and wit during battles, as well as beautiful visuals and a sophisticated player growth system. Setting itself apart from its RPG contemporaries, Secret of Mana featured a real-time combat system, teamwork-oriented co-op play for up to three players, and it streamlined clunky menu pages into intuitive in-game rings. It single-handedly justified the existence of the Super Multi-tap. What else were you using it for? OK, besides Bomberman?