Gaming sure isn’t what it used to be. I haven’t touched a console since the PlayStation 2 days, and I don’t think you’ll ever be able to convince me to purchase a new one ever again. Console gaming in the year 2013 strikes me as consisting of nothing more than overhyped first-person shooters and overly-cinematic “movie” games. That’s not my style. I’ve always been into quality gameplay.
It may just be the nostalgia inside of me taking over, but gaming was best in the ’90s. The Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and PlayStation are the three best consoles of all-time (in my opinion) and this is the age when they were ripe and at their peak. I’m a huge sucker for RPGs and the SNES really cracked that genre open. In this post, I want to introduce you to five of my favorite SNES RPGs online and show you how you can play them online.
This is the SNES RPG. I think this game really defines the genre perfectly, and it’s a game that hasn’t been tainted with countless remakes and sequels. Sure, there was Chrono Cross (and it was very underwhelming), but it was enough to look past. Chrono Trigger will forever be a top three RPG.
Chrono Trigger was an innovator in many senses. Where other RPGs offer battles based purely on random encounters, many of the enemies in this game are visible on the map. Chrono Trigger also uses the Active Time Battle system, which was popularized by the Final Fantasy series.
Chrono Trigger includes seven playable characters and one of the most fun and unique plots you’ll be able to find in an RPG. What other RPG of that time revolved around time travel? In Chrono Trigger, you’ll travel through time on the Epoch and experience RPG gameplay that you never have before.
Known by most Final Fantasy fans as Final Fantasy VI (the official Japanese title), this is what I consider to be the breakthrough game in Square’s coveted RPG series.
Oh, how I miss the days when Square Enix was just Squaresoft. Final Fantasy III is sometimes refered to as the last “real” Final Fantasy game in the series, before the series took the turn to 3D graphics, futuristic themes, and other huge changes to gameplay.
Like the games in the series before it, Final Fantasy III includes an overworld, town and dungeon maps, random encounters and boss battles, and your menu screens for items, equipment, and more. Those of you who are familiar with summons in other games in the series will really be pleased with the Espers system in Final Fantasy III. Final Fantasy III was also the first in the series to introduce powerful attack substitutions, such as what Limit Breaks are to Final Fantasy VII.
Final Fantasy III’s storyline is as beautiful as the 2D graphics. This game has a huge cast of characters, and it’s my opinion that they include some of the best in the series: Celes, Sabin, Shadow, Relm, Umaru, Gau, Gogo, and more. Not much introduction is required to a Final Fantasy game. III, VII, and IX are the elite games in the series, and if you haven’t played this one then you absolutely must.
Secret of Mana is a game that I never actually played on the SNES console originally. I had heard so much about the game after the SNES was practically dead and gone that I was inspired to boot up ZSNES and give it a spin. How many RPGs do you know that are actually two-player compatible? Two-player netplay is what got me hooked on Secret of Mana.
Like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana offered a lot of new elements to the RPG genre. In Secret of Mana, you’re able to switch between on-map control of one of three main players (the hero, the girl, and the sprite). The two not being controlled in this overhead view will simply follow and act accordingly via artificial intelligence.
Without question, the main pull to this game is the combat system. Combat takes place in real-time. You’re able to fight using a sword, spear, bow, axe, boomerang, glove, whip, or javelin. Using this weapon will cause your attack gauge to reach 0% and then quickly recharge. Weapons are most powerful when charged fully.
If you’re tired of turn-based battle systems and crave something that revolves more around mechanical skill, you need to give this game a try. The graphics and setting are awesome, and the combat system is just the icing on the cake.
Continuing on with this recurring theme, EarthBound is an extremely unique RPG adventure that may hit some like an acquired taste.
Many elements of the game are extremely traditional. You have characters venturing through a two-dimensional world of villages, cities, and dungeons. You fight through encounters, gain experience, and level up.
EarthBound gets pretty unconventional though. Weapons include baseball bats, yo-yos, and more. EarthBound includes special PSI attacks that require PP (psychic points), an element no other RPG seems to have jumped at. Another very interesting element is that when your player takes damage, your HP bar gradually rolls down rather than chunking all at once. This actually allows you to heal that player or finish the battle before a blow is able to kill you.
EarthBound’s storyline is crazy and futuristic. It takes place in the 1990s, and begins with Ness (the main character) waking to realize that a meteorite has hit near his home. From here, you encounter aliens, child prodigies, psychics, and a martial arts master named “Poo” (of all things).
EarthBound is a very special RPG and is worth playing.
This is the first RPG in the Mario series of games. Does much more need to be said?
To explain it as simply as possible, Super Mario RPG is a game with the story and action of a game in the Mario series, and the gameplay of a Final Fantasy.
Would it be a Mario game if the plot didn’t revolve around saving Princess Toadstool? To do so, you’re able to use a party of up to three characters in a turn-based system where you can attack, perform a special move, play defensively, or use an item.
Super Mario RPG is another of the few games that allow you to essentially avoid battles by showing enemies visibly on the field. Though it is an RPG, Super Mario RPG plays a lot like a traditional Mario game: an isometric platformer. Yes, there are still tons of floating question blocks for you to punch at.
If you love the Super Mario Bros. series then that is reason enough to give Super Mario RPG a try.
As linked in the headings, these games are all playable on SNESbox.com, and it’s the best place to play any SNES or NES game online through a Flash platform. There are a ton of amazing SNES RPGs online on the Super Nintendo console. Want to talk about any I missed in the comments? Feel free to drop me a line!