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It's sometimes hard to pinpoint just a small selection of games that compose the very best of a generation, but then sometimes you start recounting how amazing some games are and it gets a little easier. That's about always the case when it's time to talk about some of the best games from the golden age of gaming back during the 1990s. In particular, if you were wondering which games to check out for the SNES and add to your collection, or play through the Virtual Console (if you still have a Wii or Wii U), you'll definitely want the best of the best, and this here list will give you the rundown on the 10 best Super Nintendo games ever.
No. 10. Chrono Trigger
Any best games list that starts with Square's Chrono Trigger means you're only picking the best of the best. But on a list of the very best SNES games, there are bound to be games that challenge even the greatness of Square's epically classic JRPG. Nevertheless, Chrono Trigger easily makes the list because it's one of the few JRPGs that featured multiple endings way back during the 1990s. The high-quality sprite work and active time-battles ramped up the expectations and standards for role-playing games on home consoles. Having an unforgettable soundtrack thanks to Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda was the icing on top.
No. 9 - Super Mario Kart
There's no way that you could talk about the best SNES games without talking about the kart-racing game that eventually became a franchise phenomenon: Super Mario Kart. The game ushered in the popularity of console-kart racing, where gamers were treated to some two-player split-screen racing. Just like Mario Kart 8 on the Nintendo Switch, there's countless hours worth of replay value. The game featured item pick-ups, a variety of colorful tracks, and a cast of characters from the previous Super Mario up until that point. It may not hold up graphically like some other SNES titles, but it's still one of the best games on the console.
No. 8 -- Star Fox
Nintendo's Star Fox was one of the first games to utilize 3D vector graphics on a home console. It required some special skills on the designer side to get the game to run on the SNES in the way that it did, but it set an all new standard for what gamers expected from arcade shooters on home consoles. It also ushered in a brand new franchise for Nintendo to exploit for years to come, with sequels spanning the N64, GameCube and even the Wii U. The original game was a fast-paced, high-octane romp with great music and non-stop action from start to finish.
No. 7 - Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium
Human Entertainment's Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium doesn't seem like the sort of game that would make a list like this, but the reality is that Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium is one of the most addictive fighting/wrestling games ever made. This was one of the first games to include a mixture of pro wrestlers from WWF, NJPW, MMA champions, boxers, and a few fantasy characters as well. The game has an impressive AI logic system, a wealth of moves, and damage system that allows you to target body parts. Despite being made back in 1996, the game is still thoroughly enjoyable even to this day, making it one of the very best the SNES had to offer.
No. 6 - Final Fantasy VI
It's rare to have two of the same kind of game on a list, but in this case there had to be an exception made for both Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI because of these games truly helped define the 16-bit JRPG era. While Final Fantasy VI is oftentimes overshadowed by the more popular Final Fantasy VII, the 1994 release was actually the culmination of a loosely strung together spiritual trilogy of Final Fantasy games from Final Fantasy IV up through Final Fantasy VI. The game has some of the best characters in any Final Fantasy title and combines many of the features from the previous games into one giant story. It's also best known for being one of the few games where the main villain actually wins.
No. 5 - Donkey Kong Country
There's no way this list could be complete without Donkey Kong Country. This game really pushed the SNES' hardware to the limit with some truly high-quality sprite-work based on 3D models. The transition is a seamless depiction of a fantastical jungle world trilogy brought to life at the eve of the 16-bit era's retirement. The combination of the game's high-quality music, inventive side-scrolling levels, and the unique take-turn two-player helped set it apart from so many other games out there. The mixture of creative and challenging levels also ensured that it was the sort of game that really gave you your money's worth.
No. 4 - Super Bomberman 5
Hudson Soft's Super Bomberman 5 is probably one of the most underrated games of all time despite being one of the very best games of all time. This was a culmination of all of Hudson's efforts throughout the entire 16-bit era of Bomberman titles and it was nothing short of a masterpiece. There's a thorough single-player component and an infinitely replayable multiplayer mode complete with character customization. Hudson Soft attempted to follow-up with some N64 entries but they didn't quite compare to the zenith of quality that was accomplished with Super Bomberman 5 on the SNES.
No. 3 -- Super Double Dragon
If you love beat-'em-up games you have to love Super Double Dragon. It takes everything that worked in all the previous Double Dragon titles and compiles them into one and then evolves it. Two-player co-op action? It has that. Awesome sprite-work and high quality animations? It has those, too. Deadly and unique cache of usable weapons? Yup. Challenging stages with tough-as-nails bosses? Well in tow. And how about a great soundtrack to match? You bet. Super Double Dragon was such a rare gem and you'll be hard pressed to find anything wrong with the game, given that it's still playable and still fun to this very day. It's no wonder it makes the top 10 as one of the best games of all time for the SNES.
No. 2 -- Super Metroid
There's no way you could talk about the best games on the SNES without talking about one of the most beloved games of all time. While Metroid may have existed before Super Metroid, it was the 1994 outing that put Samus Aran on a whole other level and helped define the Metroidvania sub-genre. A haunting score, a dark planet to explore, and a spicy selection of upgradeable weapons helped set Super Metroid apart from almost everything else on the market at the time. The high-quality animated intro cinematic and the intense, constantly-moving gameplay helped carve out Super Metroid a solid place as one of the greatest of all time, and easily one of the best games on the SNES.
No. 1 - Super Mario World
Of course the top of the crop would be the one and only Super Mario World. There are few games that hold up through the tests of time the way many of Nintendo's iconic classics hold-up, and Super Mario World for the SNES is a sterling example of that, especially given that it's sold more than 20 million copies since release, as noted by GameCubicle. The game features the introduction of Yoshi into the game, along with a variety of new stages, power-ups, and abilities that helped usher in Mario and Luigi into the 16-bit era in uncompromising fashion. The plethora of levels, sharp graphics, and inviting music not only made Super Mario World one of the best games of all time on the SNES, but easily one of the best games of all time.