Tag Archives: super nintendo

Best SNES Games: Gaia Trilogy Edition

best-snes-games-gaia-trilogy
Share Button

Best SNES Games: Gaia Trilogy Edition

 

So far, the Best SNES Games features explored specific genres of video games that were released on the Super Nintendo. Today, we’re changing things up to take a look at an underappreciated JRPG trilogy from the classic 16-bit developer, Quintet. Of course, I’m talking about the Gaia Trilogy.

Read more

Super Adventure Island Review

superadventureisland_boxart
Share Button

Super Adventure Island Review

Super Adventure Island was first released in 1992 and is now on the Virtual Console. Developed by Hudson Soft, Super Adventure Island is a continuation of the series, which follows its lovable hero, Master Higgins. The adventure begins with Master Higgins and Tina hanging out and enjoying life. Moments later, an evil sorcerer appears and turns his girlfriend, Tina, into a stone statue. Motivated by love, Master Higgins sets off to save Tina from the clutches of evil, and to reverse the spell’s effect. A feat he accomplishes without wearing a shirt.

Gameplay wise, Super Adventure Island is very much like its predecessors. Adventure Island games – up to this point – have been simple platformers in which the main objective is to find the end level goal while avoiding, and killing enemies. Super Adventure Island also retains one hit deaths and its famous – and sometimes frustrating – diminishing timer mechanic. Once this bar is empty you will die; however, you can add time back on by collecting fruits.

All of the elements from the original titles are here, except for one of my favorites: Master Higgins is no longer able to ride dinosaurs. I realize that this feature isn’t present in the first game, but this was an element that I thoroughly enjoyed; however, Master Higgins can upgrade his basic weaponry this time. Tomahawks and boomerangs will be your main sources of attack, and after collecting multiple tomahawks (or boomerangs), you will be given an extra to throw at the enemy. After collecting four of the same item, you will acquire a powered up version of said weapon. At this stage, the weapon takes on a fireball-like appearance and does much more damage. Fully powered up weapons make boss fights a complete joke.

There are five worlds in Super Adventure Island, each consisting of three stages a piece. Stage themes range from a jungle setting, to the belly of a whale and more. Also, at the end of each world you must fight a boss. Level design varies greatly and offers much more than just scrolling to the right. Some levels have you swimming inside the belly of a whale, another sees you climbing a large tree, plus, there’s even a mine cart level. All of this variety will no doubt fulfill your platforming desires. Its challenge, however, isn’t in the variety, but in the actual level design itself.

Levels are built to challenge your platforming skills and this is evident with the placements of enemies and bottomless pits. Enemies are placed to stall your progress, which forces you to take them down; otherwise you will fall to a one hit death. Pits on the other hand will test your jumping skills.

Master Higgins uses three different jumping techniques with one of them being a basic jump. Jumping higher can be done by pressing jump while moving. Lastly, Master Higgins can also utilize a super jump. To perform the super jump you need to duck then press the jump button; it is important that you master this jump as it will save you many lives. Also, making the levels challenging is the way that Master Higgins handles. He has a heavy feeling, which makes accuracy very important to your survival. More than a few deaths happened because of this heavy feeling, which forces you to compensate with precise timing of your jumps. It can be frustrating because even if you’re sure you landed the jump, the game may disagree. If his movement was tightened, the game would be easier and more enjoyable to play.

Graphically, Super Adventure Island is superior to the NES titles. Sprites are extremely detailed, colorful, and well-animated. In fact, the entire game takes advantage of Super Nintendo’s graphical capabilities by creating a ton of awesome looking environments, and huge bosses. The levels have colorful, detailed backgrounds and in some cases are even animated.

Mode 7 is also used, albeit sparingly. Its uses are effective because of this; you will first encounter Mode 7 as Master Higgins falls from the sky before the first level, and it looks pretty darn cool. On another note, I personally don’t dig the soundtrack for Super Adventure Island. Technically speaking, the music is superior to earlier games in the series, but ultimately, I felt that it didn’t carry the same spirit of the NES Adventure Island games.

3 out of 5 D-Pads3/5 D-Pads: Overall, fans of the Adventure Island series will really enjoy this journey with Master Higgins. It brings forth everything you love about the series to the Super Nintendo, including secret bonus stages and the skateboard. One hit deaths and well-designed stages will keep you involved, even if it is a tad challenging. Now that the game is on the Virtual Console, I recommend that Adventure Island fans check it out for only 800 points. Fans of platformers may also be interested, that is, if they are up for the challenge.

Final Fantasy VI Review

finalfantasy3_boxart
Share Button

Final Fantasy VI Review

finalfantasy3_boxart

Most gamers know the Super Nintendo wasn’t lacking in the RPG department. It was home to many great RPGs including the innovative, time travelling adventure known as Chrono Trigger, and the quirky, unconventional Earthbound. A little game known as Final Fantasy VI also happened to find its home on the SNES. It is without a doubt among the best of the best even today. It didn’t do much to evolve the genre, but it executed everything with excellence, and set the standard for many RPGs to follow.

Final Fantasy VI has a deep and engaging story that follows several characters on their journey to take down the Gestahlian Empire. The game doesn’t point out a particular main character – some may argue that it’s Terra because of her significance to the plot – but I think that’s what makes this journey feel so epic. Every character has a rich background with each carrying a motive to fight the opposition. Each character comes from a different walk of life, which brings a lot of variety to the story. From the magical and mysterious Terra, to the brothers of royalty – Edgar and Sabin – living completely separate lives, and of course Shadow, the ominous assassin who comes and goes like the wind.

Throughout the journey, the story continuously unfolds with twists and secrets waiting around every corner. You will learn about the Espers’ significance, and watch as Kefka – mad with power – spirals out of control. Kefka Palazzo plays a supporting role to Emperor Gestahl in the beginning, but is following through with a plan to overthrow him and become the God of Magic. Kefka is not only a great Final Fantasy villain, but quite possibly the best villain of all time. He is a maniacal nihilist determined to achieve ultimate power. His rise to power is a gradual one, but he eventually becomes the most feared person in existence.

Final Fantasy VI is a standard RPG in terms of gameplay; gain experience and level up, buy and find new items and equipment, travel to towns and dungeons while enduring random enemy encounters. However, Final Fantasy VI does bring a few unique elements to the series.

First, I’d like to mention that Final Fantasy VI can actually be adjusted to support two players. In the game’s menu you are able to assign characters to each player. Of course, this is after you activate the multiple controller option. This configuration only plays out in battle, but it adds a neat co-operative spin on the game, which makes it necessary to work as a team.

Each character holds a special ability in battle; two great examples are Sabin’s Blitz and Edgar’s Tools. Whatever the special ability may be, it is usually character specific and matches their characteristics. These techniques are powerful, and quite useful in battle. I predict that you will be using Sabin’s Bum Rush more than once.

Another unique aspect of the gameplay is found in the Esper system. Espers can be equipped to your party and will let your party members learn magic. Espers also serve as summons in the game, but that isn’t all they offer as Espers play another important role. Espers, when equipped, will boost certain stats when you level up. Some will raise your vigor (strength) and some will raise your magic attack, while other Espers will increase the amount of HP gained when you level up. You will find yourself grinding a lot to build your stats as you see fit, and of course, to learn magic. Grinding will help you get out of some tough spots, but if you grind too much the game will become really easy. For reference, at level 70 you are overpowered for the final stretch of the game and Kefka becomes a pushover.

Overall, the gameplay is well-balanced and its gradual difficulty curve shouldn’t discourage newcomers to the genre.

Graphics wise, Final Fantasy VI is gorgeous. It contains some of the best sprite art on the SNES, in my opinion. While a certain Mode 7 section looks dull (mine cart ride), everything else is nicely detailed and unique, which is always a plus. It is especially fun to fly around the world map in the airship, which is nicely done with Mode 7. Final Fantasy VI also excels in the soundtrack department. It has some of the most recognizable themes in the series, and they are definitely some of the best 16-bit chiptunes in existence. Kefka himself even sports a chilling signature laugh, which adds another layer of evil to his character.

4.5/5 D-Pads: Final Fantasy VI is pretty much one of the best RPGs in existence. It lacks a little in the gameplay department, but it’s easy to see past because the Esper system offers a unique spin on the genre. Final Fantasy VI combats its weakness by adding a truly epic story, and well-crafted characters, not to mention gorgeous sprites and a classic video game soundtrack. There are secret characters and items to find, which adds to the replay value of the game. It will take roughly 20-30 hours to complete your first time, but I can see that decreasing during a second run. While there is a lot more to talk about, I feel I have covered the most important aspects; I need to leave some surprises for you to discover. Overall, Final Fantasy VI is a fantastic experience and anyone that calls themselves a gamer absolutely needs to play this game.

Best SNES Games: Shooter Edition

bestsnesgames_shooter
Share Button

Best SNES Games: Shooter Edition

 

It’s been a long time coming, but finally, I have decided on a list of some of the best SNES shooters to grace the super console. This list only contains four entries, but four entries worthy of being called some of the best SNES games. There will be some great titles left off this particular edition, so keep in mind that they may appear in  a future entry. With that being said, let’s get on to an interstellar battle for the ages.

Read more

Best SNES Games: Platformer Edition

bestsnesgames_platformers
Share Button

Best SNES Games: Platformer Edition

 

Last week I published Best SNES Games: RPG Edition, a new article for Mini Fortress that explored some of the best RPGs to hit the Super Nintendo. As this will be an ongoing series intended to explore most genres, this week I’ve decided to get away from dungeon crawling and turn-based battling to look at platformers, perhaps one of the most popular genres from the early nineties.

It was inevitable, platformers were destined to grace the SNES because of their enormous popularity, but also because developers could give their trusty heroes the pretty new facelift they deserved. The SNES era brought back Mario and Master Higgins, but also paved way for new heroes to emerge, heroes like Donkey Kong.

Read more

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island Review

yoshi'sisland_boxart
Share Button

How do you follow the excellent Super Mario World? I’m sure this was a question proposed to Nintendo many times in the early 90’s. Their answer would end up being Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Yoshi’s Island would prove to be a much different experience and not so much a sequel to Super Mario World. In fact, Yoshi’s Island is actually a prequel.

In the opening scene, we learn that a stork carrying twins is attacked by a shadowy figure. This mysterious figure is revealed to be Kamek and he’s out to kidnap the twins. He manages to grab one of them while the other falls from the sky. A Yoshi out for its daily walk is surprised when a baby falls onto his back. This baby is none other than Mario! Yoshi brings Baby Mario back to the other Yoshies and they decided to escort Baby Mario on the search for his brother. Meanwhile, Kamek notices that he didn’t actually get both babies. He instructs his toadies to try and capture Baby Mario before the Yoshies can find Luigi. Read more

Super Metroid Review

supermetroid_boxart
Share Button

Super Metroid is often called the best game in the Metroid series, and for a good reason. It makes enormous leaps in gameplay, visuals, sound, and pretty much everything over previous titles. Super Metroid also introduces a deeper story which really draws the player into the Metroid universe. The game picks up right after Metroid II: Return of Samus. During the opening, Samus narrates the story with text and cut-scenes covering the events from the first two Metroid games. As seen in the Metroid II scene, a baby Metroid adopts Samus as its mother. Samus then takes the baby Metroid to a galactic research station in Ceres to have its energy producing abilities studied. During this research phase, Ceres is invaded by the Space Pirates and Samus comes face-to-face with her nemesis, Ridley. Ridley manages to escape with the baby Metroid and the adventure Samus is about to undertake is set up quite nicely. Read more

Super Mario World Review

supermarioworld_boxart
Share Button

Super Mario World was bundled with the Super Nintendo during its North American launch. It was a highly anticipated game at the time as the three previous Super Mario Bros. videogames set the bar pretty high. Super Mario World takes what worked best in the previous three Super Mario games, tweaked them a little, and added new gameplay mechanics to sweeten the pie. It is a game most known for its addition of everybody’s favourite dinosaur, Yoshi. Yoshi adds a bunch of new gameplay elements not previously seen in the franchise. Read more

Eek! The Cat Review

eekthecat_boxart
Share Button

Eek! The Cat is a video game based on the television show of the same name. It was released in August of 1994 and is a 2D platformer in which Eek “tries” to help various individuals reach their destination. It isn’t much of a story driven game by any means and the game doesn’t reveal much until the ending, which basically shows you that Santa is trying to throw a Christmas party for Eek. Nowhere in the game do you receive any hint that it is a Christmas themed game, well, unless you count the final level. One thing the game does make apparent is that a blind grandmother needs to travel through a dangerous jungle, filled with snakes and other wild animals that won’t be satisfied until they kill. Read more