You forget the world around you as your green-haired lively little character is bounding through the forest.
Legendary sword in hand, elven boots have done your feet, in pursuit of a dragon quest. You are on a vital mission from the fairy oracle.
You are their only hope. The fictional world within your Super Nintendo lies upon your shoulders.
Role-Playing Games are so immersive we forget where we are. What time is it? Did four hours really pass?
Before today’s gaming world of addicting games and lifelike graphics where we could practically smell the characters sweat, we had the foundation of what would become the world of Role-Playing Games.
These games had to rely on having thrilling storylines, gripping battles, and soundtracks that pulled at your heartstrings. Super Nintendo’s Role-playing video games really captured your imagination and made you feel as if you are part of another world.
For many of us, it is time to take a trip down memory lane. For others, this will be an adventure into the past that you have not yet had the chance to experience. Where should you begin?
Now begins our list of the best SNES RPGs ever made.
Chrono Trigger is a timeless role-playing classic where you embark on a journey to different eras. As the story unfolds, you will travel to the middle ages, future, prehistory, and ancient times. Chrono Trigger gives a new spin to the traveling and monster-killing that you’ll have to do.
The battle system, which is a new take on the “Active-Time-Battle” ( or action RPG) system seen in the Final Fantasy games, is enjoyable and unique. You can perform special moves called Techs and even combine with a couple of your party members to deliver a triple combo Tech. The use of Mode 7 graphics pop off the screen, and the level of detail is absolutely amazing. The overall visuals of the game are brilliant for the time.
Developer Square once again proved that they are a force to be reckoned with in RPG gaming.
Chrono Trigger is widely considered one of the most unique RPG’s ever to hit console. This is a definite must play!
Secret of Mana
This one is yet another fantastic RPG hit created by Square. Secret of Mana features an epic story that highlights the balance between good and evil and how it tilts one way or another depending on what situation you find yourself in. This game is uniquely in real-time as opposed to the classic turn-based RPG battle system and the ability to be multiplayer.
You fight monsters with a wide variety of weapons, ranging from spears to different swords. You also have a charge system – if your weapon isn’t at 100% charge, it won’t do as much damage. Secret of Mana will provide gamers many hours of endless entertainment.
“No one has never quite managed to recapture the magic of this Super NES classic” – Jemermy Parish, Polygon
Final Fantasy III
With a compelling emotional narrative with a story of personal sacrifice and immense emotional struggle, Final Fantasy III is one of the most epic RPG stories ever told. With tales about Terra and her quest to regain her humanity, Celes’ struggle with dark depression and the villagers who just want to live in a place where the soil and water aren’t poisoned, FF3 provides multiple mature lessons in the story.
For battle, you can freely switch between characters who already have a default vocation or specialty in the turn-based system. You can build this party up however you like with a mix of spells and attacks or a magic monstrosity that can annihilate giant demons in a second. The choices are up to you in this tale, so choose wisely.
Final Fantasy II (aka Final Fantasy IV)
Final Fantasy II is another iconic example of this fantastic series. It features a great soundtrack, rich storyline, and deep, engaging characters that you will fall in love with. You play as Cecil, a Dark Knight who has lost your position in the airship force because you had ethical issues with the King asking you to slaughter innocents.
The game main character Cecil’s journey of discovering himself and eventually saving the world. You’ll also some interesting characters like Kain and Rosa along the way. The musical tracks for the game are also impressive ranging from intense battle music to simplistic harp solos.
This is one to add to the list of SNES must plays!
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is not one of the more well-known RPG’s on SNES, but it truly deserves a spot on the list! Not only does Lufia 2 have an incredible combat system, but the story of the game is one of the best around.
Lufia 2 switches things up by offering plenty of puzzle rooms, some of which are quite the brain-twisters. Another unique aspect of the gameplay is that you can spawn a capsule monster.
There are seven of these spread throughout the game’s world, and once you spawn them, they will remain in your party forever. These monsters evolve much like Pokemon and, in their final forms, are formidable allies in tough combat situations.
The combat system itself combined with a fantastic soundtrack means you need to give this game a second glance.
Illusion of Gaia
Illusion of Gaia is somewhat of a hidden gem. They combined the concepts from the underappreciated Soul Blazer, which puts the world of RPG gameplay and basic building elements together. Enix took that formula and added a few twists!
In this game, you play as Will, the son of a famous explorer who inherits a magical flute that allows him to enter portals where he communes with Gaia, the Earth Spirit. She sends Will on a mystic quest to gather several artifacts that have been scattered around the world. You’ll visit locations inspired by real-world places like Angkor Wat and the Great Wall of China.
During your journey, you will also be hunting for red jewels in each off the lands. When you collect all of the 50 gems, you obtain access to a bonus dungeon. Don’t pass up the chance to give Illusion of Gaia a try!
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is the last collaboration between Squaresoft and Nintendo in the mid-’90s. Mario, in general, is not known for having deep storylines, and this game is no exception. However, this game introduced the ‘timed attacks’ concept that has since become a staple of games.
Another overlooked aspect of Super Mario RPG is how many gamers it introduced to the RPG genre. Mario is one of the gaming world's most recognized characters, and putting him in a game virtually guaranteed that many people would pick it up. Combining the strength of Nintendo with the legendary work of Squaresoft created a formidable blend that is worthy of giving the game spin.
Secret of Evermore
After the success of the Secret of Mana, Squaresoft decided to allow a North American development team to create the sequel. The secret of Evermore continues the action-RPG gameplay mechanic of the Secret of Mana and even improves on some aspects of its predecessor.
Are you a fan of potion-making in the Witcher series?
Well, the Secret of Evermore introduces the ‘Alchemy’ concept, which allows you to combine multiple ingredients into a magical potion. The gameplay for Evermore is very similar to its predecessor. The trick to combat is swinging your weapon at the right time and waiting for it to recharge fully to strike again.
After giving the Secret of Mana a playthrough, be sure to grab a copy of its sequel.
Amongst a time, full of very serious RPG’s, Earthbound is one of the many games in gaming history that wasn’t really appreciated until years after its release.
Earthbound provided a more lightheaded storyline than the others in the market. You are Ness, a young kid who meets Buzz-Buzz, a time-traveling fly that warns Ness about a future full of gloom and destruction. Ness must now find three other kids who must help him with this quest, or all is lost.
The combat system was different in that it contained an auto-win against weak enemies, had no random enemy encounters, and a hit-point system that gave you a chance to heal yourself after a fatal blow.
It is a unique take on the RPG genre that still has a dedicated fanbase. Try this one out and see what all the hype is about!
Breath of Fire II
The fictional world of Breath of Fire II is very reminiscent of the previous game, though very few locations have survived the 500-year transition. Windia, home to the royal Wing Clan, still resides to the north. Ryu begins the game as a young boy, the son of a priest in the town of Gate. When his sister Yua Bateson goes missing, Ryu's father asks him to fetch her before she gets into trouble.
Breath of Fire II features a challenging difficulty, and several dungeons that you venture into will feature overpowered enemies that will shut down your adventuring quickly if you aren’t careful.
Even with the occasional bump around in the storyline, this game is a solid RPG worth spending some time on.
These iconic SNES entertainment system legends paved the way for future RPG games. With their gripping storylines, unforgettable music, and fascinating characters, they left enormous shoes to fill for their predecessors.
For those who just took a trip down memory lane, this is a great time to revisit the most excellent games that sparked your love of playing through an immersive story.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to try out these RPGs in your youth, now is a great time to give them a go! The charm of the old school graphics, along with the immersion of the stories, will keep you entertained for hours on end.
It is never too late to plug in your SNES and embark on a new, or old story! Which one will you try first?
Be sure to watch out for our next article on the best PS1 RPG’s!