In September 2017 the dreams of retro videogames fans around the world were realised once again. The successor to the sold-out NES Mini, the Super NES Mini, hit stores worldwide. The Super NES Mini will follow the mould of the NES Mini by including 21 of the most classic games the platform has ever produced.
The Locked 16 (13-16):-
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Original Sales: 2.14 Million
Super Mario RPG is a dream collaboration between 2 giants of the SNES era. Square, kings of the JRPG throughout the SNES’ lifetime, developing Nintendo’s hottest property, Super Mario himself. But this is no typical Mario title; it is a fully-fledged JRPG starring the Mushroom Kingdom’s favourite plumber. It is also another title that got away from Europe during the 90’s.
At first glance it’s more a case of Super Mario Out-of-His-Comfort-Zone; JRPG turn-based battles, an isometric 3D viewpoint, even full dialogue. It looks and feels more like a subversive dream to begin with. But after just the introduction alone any fears are quickly extinguished. The isometric view allows the Mushroom Kingdom to be given life never seen previously. A world inhabited by Yoshi’s, fish, moles and many other creatures and surroundings. There is tons to discover in such a massive world, but none of it is a chore. Even with Square’s much-maligned random battles interrupting proceedings.
The real charm and appeal comes from the volume of various amusing scenarios, accompanied by cameos and multiple in-jokes throughout. There are many platform-based secrets to find, cleverly incorporating the Mario element into a Square-developed world.
It’s incredible to think Super Mario RPG didn’t get a SNES release in Europe. Then again, it wasn’t the first JRPG to be withheld a release. As a result Super Mario RPG is one of the most anticipated games for the SNES mini. With this amount of creativity and humour added to the plumber-saves-princess formula, it is also one of the best.
Super Mario World
Original Sales: 20.61 Million
There isn’t really much left to say about Super Mario World. Given it was a console-bundled title, most if not all SNES players will have at least sampled its greatness.
Super Mario World is often considered the greatest of the 2-dimensional Mario games. But lets be honest, you could pick pretty much any of them as a favourite and all have their justifications. But what is probably most impressive about Super Mario World is that while it was the console’s first ever release, it is as good as game as any released in the SNES’ 13-year lifespan.
Dinosaur Land is a vibrant, colourful continent throughout all of it’s seven worlds. And while Super Mario was 6 years away from venturing into 3D, an extra dimension to the Mario series comes in the form of now-iconic Nintendo character, Yoshi the dinosaur. He can crush enemies Mario cannot, swallow enemies to use against others, even become a platform for Mario to vault to otherwise inaccessible areas.
Regardless of your favourite Super Mario choice, everything about Super Mario World is simply iconic. It may not be the first choice when you power up your SNES Mini, given it has been available on almost every Nintendo platform in years gone by. But it is an essential addition to the collection.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Original Sales: 4.12 Million
With Super Mario World, the introduction of Yoshi added an extra dimension to the Mario series. With this direct sequel, Nintendo added an entirely new dynamic to the series. A dynamic so significant it has gone on to become a spin-off series in its own right. Set as a prequel to the entire Mario series, Yoshi must escort a Baby Mario across 6 worlds in order to save his baby brother Luigi. It may be a Mario game, but Yoshi is now the star of the show.
Yoshi’s Island differs from the traditional Mario series in many ways, despite being just another platformer at its core. The egg ready-aim-fire mechanic is Yoshi’s main source of attacking and collecting. It gives Yoshi his own identity in the Mario ser- sorry, what is now the Yoshi’s Island series.
But it is the visuals that are Yoshi’s Island defining feature. Shigeru Miyamoto, showing his aversion to Donkey Kong Country’s pre-rendered graphics, opted instead for a hand-drawn style that is simply a feast for the eyes. The animation is crisp, fluid, and at times wonderfully fluorescent. Powered by the Super FX2 chip (the sequel), there are effects in both the foreground and background that were not previously possible.
Yoshi’s Island is up there with the most anticipated of the SNES Mini titles. This is the first re-release of the original SNES version. As faithful as the Game Boy Advance remake was, it fell behind somewhat in the sound department. But here the original soundtrack is back in it’s full glory, and serves as the cherry atop a very delicious, satisfying and colourful cake.
Developer: Nintendo + Intelligent Systems
Original Sales: 1.42 Million
Yoshio Sakamoto’s sci-fi exploration platform shooter is one of the finest video games of all time. It is such an atmospheric, adept and amazing experience that unusually appealed more to the western market. Not that I’m complaining.
Super Metroid is the third title in the Metroid series, and follows on directly from the Game Boy’s Metroid II. Samus Aran ventures to Planet Zebes in order to save a kidnapped infant Metroid. Zebes is of course no theme park; it is the base of the Metroid’s kidnappers, the Space Pirates.
The Metroid formula quickly comes into play. Samus is drained of her robotic suits’ abilities and power. At this point, the open-ended tunnels of Zebes are ripe for exploration. And what a journey it is. The learning curve is attributed to the new abilities and health banks you unlock over time. Like the Legend of Zelda series, certain areas require a certain weapon/ability to progress. But as there are so many extra items to be found throughout, those abilities become essential for entirely different reasons.
For me, this is what makes Super Metroid so special as an adventure; you want to speed through it? It can be done in less than 3 hours. Want to collect everything? It will take a lot longer. Either way, Super Metroid is an essential experience.
You can read part one here, part two here and part three here.
That’s the locked 16 done and dusted. But don’t despair! The next part will cover the Western exclusive SNES Mini titles.
What are your favourite SNES Mini titles so far?