Sunday 2 May 2021

Top 10 SNES All-Time Best Games

10. F-Zero

Do you find Mario Kart a bit slow? Then F-Zero is the game for you. Set in the 26th century, you’ll zip along futuristic courses at ludicrous speeds in one of the most challenging racers ever. Alongside skilled opposition, you’ll also have to contend with your vehicle’s health bar, which drops whenever you slam into the track’s side barriers or other racers. This forces you to think more tactically, which makes any podium finish all the more satisfying. And that’s without mentioning one of the most celebrated video game soundtracks ever!

9. Starwing (Star Fox)

Known as Starwing in Europe and Star Fox throughout the rest of the world, what we can all agree on is that this is one of the most revolutionary games of all time. Using the power of the brand new Super FX boosted cartridge, it managed to deliver the most realistic 3D graphics ever seen at the time. You’ll zip through the air in your Arwing fighter ship in high paced, futuristic dog fights. It might look quaint by today’s standards, but the gameplay holds up well to this day and will give you some backstory to that furry fella in Smash Bros. 

8. Pilot Wings

One of the launch titles for the SNES designed to show off the capabilities of the new hardware, Pilot Wings still holds up remarkably well today. You’ll be tasked with completing aerial obstacle courses and challenges involving planes, jet packs and parachutes. What makes Pilot Wings so addictive is that you’re scored on each challenge, meaning you’ll want to revisit each time and time again to best your previous score. It might be a simple concept, but it’s one that’ll keep you occupied for many, many hours.

7. Street Fighter II

The first truly brilliant fighting game to grace home consoles, there’s a reason Street Fighter II is still played competitively today. Featuring one of the most iconic roster of characters ever assembled, each of which has their own distinct move set and style to master, it’s the sort of game you can either dip into every now and then or deep dive and spend hours (if not days) mastering each fighter. Just remember that if you spam the electricity attack as Blanka, you’re the worst kind of person and aren’t allowed to play with us.

6. Super Castlevania IV

Metroid’s edgy goth sibling, Super Castlevania IV takes open-world platforming action into the depths of Transylvania. Working as somewhat of a reboot of the original game, you star as Simon Belmont, tasked with taking down the infamous Dracula and his minions of the night. With sufficiently spooky visuals and tone, challenging yet rewarding gameplay, and one of the best soundtracks of any game from the era, it’s perfect for gamers who like their games on the darker side.

5. Donkey Kong Country

When Donkey Kong Country arrived on the scene, it was a game-changer. With 3D-style graphics, it was a cut above anything else seen on the SNES, adding a level of depth and immersion never seen before. Aside from the fantastic visuals, it’s still one of the best platforming games ever. As Donkey and Diddy Kong, you explore rich, lush locations, ranging from tearing through the jungle to swimming in the sea, and even riding a rickety mine cart. There’s enough variety to please even the most discerning gamers. 

4. Super Mario Kart

Head back to where it all began! Although there might be 7 mainline sequels, a lot of what makes Mario Kart so addictive can be found here. You still zip around colourful tracks as your favourite Mario characters, using all manner of power-ups and weapons to gain an advantage and ruin your friends’ day. Definitely, one to experience in multiplayer, it’s a masterclass in ‘easy to pick up, difficult to master gameplay, and best of all, not a blue shell to be found. Bliss! 

3. Super Metroid

Metroid is one of the most highly regarded series in video game history, and Super Metroid on the SNES might be the best of the lot. Heavily inspired by sci-fi classics like Alien, we head back to the planet of the first game to end another universe threatening plot. With a mixture of new levels and remixed stages from the earlier games, it’s an absolute blast zipping through the connected stages, all the while zapping a plethora of alien menaces. With smooth controls and slightly less punishing difficulty, there’s enough for both newcomers and Metroid veterans alike. 

2. Super Mario World

It’s like Super Mario Bros. but better! If you’ve ever played a Mario game before (and if you haven’t… how?), you’ll instantly recognise the side-scrolling action in which you run, jump and dodge your way to the end of the level. But what makes Super Mario World so special is that it was the first game in the franchise to enter the 16-bit era of graphics, meaning the characters and worlds are just dripping with charm. Couple this with inventive level design, plenty of secrets to uncover and the debuting Yoshi, and you’ve got one of the best Mario games of all time. 

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Although the Zelda franchise began on the NES, A Link to the Past is where it truly came into its own. As Link, you’ll explore the gorgeously rich overworld of Hyrule, filled with locals to chat to, enemies to defeat and dungeons to discover. This is a very oversimplified summary of the experience, as it’s the little things that make this game so iconic. The visuals, the iconic soundtrack, the accessible yet satisfying gameplay. It all makes for a game that doesn’t feel a day old, despite nearly hitting 30. A masterpiece in every sense. 

Honourable Mentions

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Saturday 1 May 2021

Top 10 Nintendo 64 All-Time Best Games

10. Wave Race 64

If you told us that on a console featuring football, tennis, baseball and hockey titles, a jetski game would be the best sports title, we’d be laughing you out of the room for sure. But Wave Race 64 proves to be an absolute blast! With water physics that other games of the time could only dream of, it strikes a near-perfect balance between realism and arcade fun, that’s just as fun in single player as it is in multiplayer. As well as finishing first, you can also earn points by executing a variety of tricks, making it feel like part racer, part Tony Hawk Pro Skater. And if you can think of a better combination, we haven’t heard of it. 

9. WWF No Mercy

Remember when wrestling games were good? Well, WWF No Mercy might be the best of that esteemed bunch. Featuring over 30 wrestlers, including Rock ‘The Dwayne’ Johnson, you can compete in all manner of bouts such as ladder matches, steel cage brawls and backstage hardcore slobber knockers. With responsive controls, a wide array of movesets and a compelling story mode, there’s plenty to entertain wrestling and non-wrestling fans alike. 

8. F-Zero X

When you’re four Red Bulls deep and Mario Kart isn’t doing it for you anymore, F-Zero X has you covered. This futuristic racer amps up the speed and the challenge as you square up against other racers to not only try to top the podium but also finish the course with your racer in one piece. With plenty of different modes to try out such as time trial and the battle royale-esque ‘Death Race’, there’s plenty to keep any speed freak’s twitchy fingers satisfied.

7. Doom 64

Like a lot of great art, Doom 64 wasn’t appreciated fully in its own time but has since built a cult following that insists it’s one of the best games in the series. Taking place after the events of Doom II, you can expect all of the frenetic demon-slaying action that makes Doom so much fun, yet with a brand new art style that helps it to stand out from its 90s counterparts. When it comes to single-player, first-person action on the N64, you can’t do any better than Doom. 

6. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

It’s not often you see movie tie-ins in the running for best game, but Rogue Squadron bucks this trend in a big way. Allowing you to relive some of the key space battles from the original Star Wars trilogy, it has some of the tightest, most satisfying controls of any flight sim, and the power fantasy you get from blasting the Empire’s forces out of the sky is bound to put a smile on your face. 

5. Pokemon Stadium

Pokemon Stadium is what happens if you took the turn-based battles (i.e. the best bits) out of the mainline games and made it the whole experience. The first home console release to feature our beloved pocket monsters, the graphics have been upgraded from black and white 2D sprites into colourful, full 3D models. By focusing on this one element of a wider experience, there’s room for more depth in the combat, meaning you can personalise how you approach each opponent, learning all the strengths and weaknesses of the extensive roster. It can be such a hoot to play, there’s some of us here at CeX Towers that prefer Stadium over regular Pokemon games! 

4. Banjo Kazooie

One of the most beloved platformers of the ‘90s, Banjo Kazooie sees you take control of the titular bear and bird as you embark on an adventure to stop the evil witch Gruntilda. What really helps Banjo to stand out from its competition is its excellent story and sense of humour. It feels like you’re playing through a Pixar or Dreamworks film, complete with vibrant locales and enough edge to entertain older players too.  

3. Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64 took everything that made the first game so good and made it better. With more tracks, more characters to choose from and a clever mix of 2D and 3D graphics, this is where the series first matured into the franchise that we all know and love today. You can also now play with up to three friends in multiplayer races, as well as chaotic balloon popping action in battle mode. A staple of house parties to this day, it’s one of the best racing games on the console. 

2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Often touted as one of the greatest video games of all time, Zelda’s first 3D adventure is an essential experience. The evil Ganondorf has captured the titular princess, spreading his evil throughout the land of Hyrule, and it’s up to you as Link to save the day. With a mixture of exciting, heartwarming, and some genuinely creepy moments, it’s still a magical experience exploring the different areas and dungeons in what’s undoubtedly an all-time classic. 

1. Super Mario 64

Although there had been games with 3D graphics before, Super Mario 64 effectively ushered in this era of gaming. Taking the classic Mario formula of running, jumping and platforming into a new dimension gave us an unparalleled level of immersion, while retaining all of the charm that made the series so iconic. Whether you’ve never tried this classic before or are on your 100th replay, it’s impossible not to fall in love with it every time. 

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