Top Five SNES RPGs

This article was published on 04/30/2018.

As the title of this article indicates, this is my top five role-playing games for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The SNES has plenty of RPGs and plenty of them are good. It's pretty difficult to pick just five of them, but I've got it covered. As is usually the case with these things, I'll be listing the games from good to better, because it'd be less exciting if I did it the other way around. There are some things you should keep in mind when reading this list, though. For one, this list will only contain traditional turn-based RPGs, which means action RPGs like Secret of Mana are disqualified from being on it. Secondly, and this much should be obvious, only games that I've played are eligible to be on here. I have played almost every single RPG on the SNES that's worth playing, though, so I consider this list to be fairly conclusive.

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#5) Earthbound is number five and it makes me feel truly alive. I never got the chance to play this game growing up, but I did learn of it when I was older due to its reputation online. When I finally tried this game out, I was completely blown away. The setting and premise were the first things to catch my eye. Set in contemporary times, Earthbound is about a band of children who use their psychic powers to overthrow a mysterious alien conspiracy to take over the world. The second thing to catch my eye was the quirky writing. Every line of dialogue in this game is a delight to read, as it's all funny and strange in a very wholesome way. However, the thing I enjoyed most about this game was how trippy the battles felt. Featuring colorful, swirly backgrounds, psychedelic music, and bizarre enemies, every battle felt like an acid trip. It's weird, but the good kind of weird.

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#4) Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is number four and it's rather hardcore. The first Lufia isn't anything to write home about, but the second game is fantastic. On top of great graphics and music, this game does something that few other RPGs do: it mixes the mechanics and battle system of a traditional RPG with the dungeon exploration and puzzle solving of a Zelda game. It's a brilliant combination, because the frequent Zelda inspired puzzles help break up the monotony of the turn-based battles, and vice versa. Unlike most traditional RPGs, there are no boring dungeon crawls to be found in Lufia II. Another cool thing about Lufia II is that it's one of the only games out there with a true bittersweet ending. I won't spoil it here, but it genuinely brought a tear to my eye when I first played it. Eat your heart out, Final Fantasy X.

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#3) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is number three and it fills me with glee. As I've stated in a previous article, this was the first RPG I ever played. That turned out to be a good choice, because not only is it good for newcomers to the genre, it also happens to be one of the best RPGs out there. The main reason for this is because it introduced a revolutionary concept known as timed hits, which make the turn-based battles far more interactive and thus far more fun. That's in addition to the occasional platforming and puzzle solving that occurs outside of battles, which are also entertaining and serve to further balance out the game. The writing is surprisingly good, too, as it's filled with little jokes and puns. We all know how much I adore puns. Nintendo has tried to top Mario RPG with countless Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi games, but Mario RPG remains my favorite.

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#2) Chrono Trigger is number two and it's cooler than any shoe. Heralded as one of the finest RPGs of all time, Chrono Trigger is no slouch. It's no wonder, considering the talent behind the game. The development team included three designers that Square dubbed the "Dream Team:" the creator of Square's very own Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi; the creator of Enix's popular Dragon Quest series, Yuji Horii; and the famed creator of the Dragon Ball franchise, Akira Toriyama. This is the "Back to the Future" of video games, being that it is an exhilarating adventure across time. As far as I'm concerned, no game does the concept of time travel better than Chrono Trigger. Most of the popular time periods are represented quite well, as if you're in a time travel themed amusement park. The turn-based combat also had a unique system that allowed multiple characters to combine their techniques to do really awesome stuff. This game is awesome stuff.

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#1) Final Fantasy VI is number one, son. This game is a work of art, and not just because it has good art. Besides beautiful visuals and an excellent soundtrack, Final Fantasy VI has a vast cast of endearing characters, a riveting story, and one of the best villains ever: Kefka. He's basically the Joker from Batman, except he can use magic. This dude is so bad that he successfully destroys the world about halfway through the game, which puts him way ahead of most villains. On that note, the game design changes drastically after the world's destruction, allowing players to feel the contrast through their own experiences. The precursor to Final Fantasy VII's Materia system also made its debut here in the form of Magicite, giving the characters' a good bit of customization. I could go on, but you probably want me to stop now. Not only is this my favorite RPG on the SNES, it's my favorite RPG of all time.

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It's kind of predictable, but these are honestly my top five favorite RPGs for the SNES. Even now that I've grown to utterly despise the RPG genre, I can still go back to these games from time to time due to how good they are. My fond memories do have a little something to do with that, but these are just splendid games.

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