Ranking the 21 SNES Classic Titles

In what’s been a poorly kept secret to many, Nintendo announced the SNES Classic – the 16 bit follow up to their previous 8 bit NES Classic. A couple of months ago I wrote an article on the five safe bets and five dream SNES Classic titles (which nailed eight out of the ten predicted) and it only fueled my anticipation for the imminent announcement of the SNES Classic. While I knew the line up would be solid, I was absolutely floored by the official game line up.

Twenty-one Super Nintendo classics will be a part of this plug n play unit (not to mention TWO controllers), but what has shaken the gaming world was the announcement of the previously unreleased Star Fox 2 being included in this compilation. Many gamers never knew there was a Super Nintendo sequel that was nearly completed, but ultimately shelved due to how late into the Super Nintendo’s lifespan it was releasing; the Nintendo 64 and Star Fox 64 were a quickly approaching reality and the 16 bit era was all but over.

From top to bottom, the SNES Classic list of games is a who’s who of system sells, system superstars and gaming gems. Lets take a quick look at each game listed, and give them a 1-10 rating in regards to importance to the console and to gaming as a whole:

Contra III: The Alien Wars

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One of the safe bet titles I predicted, Contra III will deliver that “hard as nails” gaming itch most would have wanted for the Classic title. Two player simultaneous action, especially with two packed in controllers, will surely be a draw to those with a sibling, a friend dropping by, or even as a party game.

Rating: 7

Donkey Kong Country

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One of Rare’s finest achievements, Donkey Kong Country was the perfect alternative to the Super Mario franchise on the Super Nintendo in regards to 2D platforming. Gorgeous visuals, well crafted music and precision platforming helped to make DKC one of the top tier releases during the 16 bit era.

Rating: 8

Earthbound

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A cult classic, Earthbound is an RPG oozing with charm. Including this on the SNES Classic was a big plus, as the loose cart alone fetches well over $100 as of this writing, and has for many, many years. This will give gamers perhaps a first opportunity to get their hands on a game many hold dearly.

Rating: 9

Final Fantasy III

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One of the dream titles I had hoped for, it can be argued that Final Fantasy III was the best RPG in the 16 bit era, and perhaps one of the greatest ever. Lovable characters, solid gameplay and a memorable soundtrack, FFIII was a pillar of excellence back in the day, and is perhaps the best third party title between the NES and SNES Classic.

Rating: 10

F-Zero

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A safe bet prediction, F-Zero fills the racing genre slot nicely. The futuristic, blistering speed of the gameplay has held up quite well over the years, and will definitely be one of the repeatedly played titles from the SNES Classic.

Rating: 7

Kirby Super Star

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Kirby Super Star, a title I have actually never played, is another 2D platformer option for the Classic. With the general charm of Kriby and the enjoyable gameplay provided, it can easily be assumed that gamers will have yet another worthwhile title to spend time with.

Rating: 7

Kirby’s Dream Course

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Probably the only title I really have no feelings towards, Kirby’s Dream Course is a minature golf-like title featuring the pink puff himself. It’s definitely a title I will check out and give a go, but with so many top tier players, this one just doesn’t do much to keep my attention.

Rating: 5

The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past

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There was no doubt that one of Link’s finest adventures would be included on the SNES Classic. Immaculate dungeons, sublime audio and refined gameplay make a Link to the Past one game that will be played repeatedly for a long time to come.

Rating: 10

Mega Man X

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Capcom’s first 16 bit Mega Man title took quite a turn from its NES counterpart, with a whole new story, new hero and robot bosses that did not end in “Man”. Tight, enjoyable gameplay and a great package overall makes X yet another stellar third party inclusion.

Rating: 8

Secret of Mana

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While I did have this as a dream title, never in my wildest dreams did I think Nintendo would include this. One of the best Squaresoft games not named Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana is an action RPG of brilliance, from its beautiful visuals to its goosebump inducing musical score. It’s also a multiplayer title (it can actually host three players, but only two controller ports on the Classic?) so grab a friend and have the time of your life.

Rating: 9

Star Fox

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It can be argued that Star Fox and Star Fox 64 were the only two titles in the franchise that fared well in every aspect. This on rails space shooter has held up over the years, and with an HD coat of paint, it should look every bit as unique, only a bit shinier. Oh, and Slippy is still a useless sod.

Rating: 8

Star Fox 2

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No one saw this coming, guaranteed. Star Fox 2 was nearly complete before it was shelved. I’ve only had the most minimal of playtime via emulation, but I enjoyed what I played. If, for some bizarre reason, the other twenty games didn’t sell you on buying a SNES Classic, Star Fox 2 should easily do that, either as a curious, “unearthed” relic of the past, or as what could be one of the best games never released.

Rating: 10

Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

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A fighting game had to have been included, so why not choose one that remains a fan favorite? While I’d personally gravitate towards Super Street Fighter II, having Turbo was definitely a good call as a further selling point to how the SNES Classic feels more geared towards not just the single player, but the multiplayer gamer as well.

Rating: 8

Super Castlevania IV

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Konami took everything right with the previous Castlevania titles, and improved upon them all. Eight way whipping, mesmerizing music and refined gameplay has made Super Castlevania IV arguably the pinnacle of the franchise. This one will challenge you, but will be so satisfying to conquer each challenge laid in front of you.

Rating: 9

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

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As with Super Castlevania IV, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is balls to the wall difficult. Even as an early SNES title, Super GNG had some of the best and most atmospheric music on the console, as well as solid graphics bolstered by some Mode 7 effects. The difficulty may turn away a lot of people, but its inclusion to the SNES Classic library was very much warranted.

Rating: 7

Super Mario Kart

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The granddaddy of the kart racing sub-genre, Super Mario Kart still holds up incredibly well. Elementary track designs compared to the subsequent releases still hold enough depth and strategy to them. It might be a bit of an eyesore these days, but its importance and fun will never diminish.

Rating: 8

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

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Oh man. When it comes to overall content, the SNES Classic has several behemoths that will take dozens of hours to complete. Super Mario RPG was a marriage of the Mario franchise and the RPG genre, in what helped introduce new players to RPG’s while still having more than enough depth for the veteran player. An absolute gem.

Rating: 10

Super Mario World

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There’s nothing I can say here that either you haven’t heard before, or hypes this one any more so. Platforming bliss, replayable stages, a beautiful game world (and was a launch title, for crying out loud). A no-brainer inclusion of a brilliant experience.

Rating: 10

Super Metroid

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Yet another game many gamers call the greatest 16 bit title there is, Super Metroid comes so close to being perfection. The atmospheric game world still remains the best in the franchise, with a plethora of hidden areas and power ups.

Rating: 10

Super Punch-Out!!

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For some reason, Super Punch-Out!! never really did it for me. The meticulously detailed cartoony characters are still incredibly pretty, and the gameplay is solid. I’ve always been a Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! guy, and feel it trumps Super‘s gameplay and feel, but this is still a welcome addition to the SNES Classic’s catalog of games.

Rating: 6

Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2

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If I was forced to name my all-time favorite 2D platformer, it would have to be Yoshi’s Island. The charming visuals, quirky music and pinpoint platforming makes it hard to dislike. I was also never one of the whiners that moaned about baby Mario’s crying being annoying; just don’t get hit, and even if you do, it wasn’t really THAT bad. Regardless, Yoshi’s Island, in this stacked line up of games, is easily in the top three for me, and should be for you as well.

Rating: 10

— — —

Wow. Just….wow. The SNES Classic literally has something for everyone; platfomer fans have some the best ones ever released, RPG fans have several beefy adventures to partake in, a few sports titles included and games with a wide range of difficultly can be found here. If Nintendo can make the controller cords longer than eight inches, and they can produce a supply that will supersede the demand, the SNES Classic could be a massive money maker for them. Unfortunately, history has shown that Nintendo just doesn’t understand what it means to even partially supply a demand of epic proportion.

What do you think of this game line up? Anything you would have liked to have seen added in? Let me know in the comments down below!


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