Super NES Classic Edition Mini – Lowdown on the Games (Part 5)

Join me as i rundown the games for the Super Nes Mini console.

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.

Parts 1-4 covered the 16 games available in all regions worldwide. This edition will cover the 5 Western exclusives. Children vs aliens, boxing, street fighting (wink wink), horror, even golf (of a sort). Talk about variety, eh?

Western Releases (17-21):-

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Earthbound

Developer: HAL Laboratory

Publisher: Nintendo

Original Sales: 0.44 Million (Unconfirmed)

My experience with Earthbound is limited. It was never released in the UK until 2013, so that’s my excuse. Oh wait, 4 years already? Jeez. Time does fly when you have too many games to play.

Earthbound (or Mother 2 in its native Japan) is the story of Ness, a young boy whose merry band need to save the world from impending doom. Sounds simple? Well, for the most part it is, but there is something wonderfully left-field about Shigesato Itoi’s RPG.

The world needs saving, and Ness, armed with baseball bats, slingshots and yo-yo’s, is an unlikely hero, but one that can be related to. He eats burgers to regain health, catches colds easily and also gets homesick rather easily. Just like any 13 year old, right?

Such RPG nuances must have felt too much for Nintendo to release into Europe back in 1995. It wasn’t the only RPG to miss the European cut of course. But given it sold less than a million copies Nintendo clearly heeded on the sign of caution with Earthbound.

But for me, and with the progress i have made so far, its those aforementioned nuances that make it stand out. RPG’s don’t get more niche than this. And the SNES Mini gives Earthbound a new home it deserves.

 

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Kirby’s Dream Course

Developer: HAL Laboratory

Publisher: Nintendo

Original Sales: 0.59 Million (Unconfirmed)

Kirby’s Dream Course is a Kirby game in the loosest way. In Japan it is entitled Kirby Bowl, which for what is ostensibly a golf sim adds to the identity crisis Dream Course suffers from.

Visually it is akin to the isometric Sonic 3D on the Genesis; bumps, hills and obstacles make up the multiple Dream Land golfing landscapes. And like its visuals, that Kirby style is also successfully transitioned into a golf game.

With just 21 games to place on a SNES tribute console – one already lacking in decent sports titles – why this?! The inclusion of this isometric miniature golf sim is a strange one. Kirby is of course one of Nintendo’s top characters. No doubt redeveloping the once-named Special Tee Shot to represent the world of Kirby will have boosted sales. It’s by no means a bad game by any stretch, it looks and feels a little out of place on the SNES Mini.

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Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Original Sales: 4.10 Million

Capcom’s definitive 16-bit fighter is a true gem of the genre. The twelve most recognisable fighters in the world take each other on in The World Warrior tournament. Your chosen fighter has his/her own reasons, but all want to be the best. Which is what Street Fighter II Turbo is: The best. Some may say it is one of the best fighting games ever made. Even some say the best. But one thing is for certain: it is definitely among the best the SNES has to offer.

Sure, if you were to judge SFII Turbo against the test of time it has been surpassed repeatedly. Mostly at the hands of its own maker, Capcom. But if nothing else it serves as a perfect nostalgia trip. With the SNES Mini ROM running as the US 60Hz version, something that was often but a dream in the PAL regions of yesteryear, plus the added ‘turbo’ adjustable speed, it still serves as one of the purest one-on-one fighters in existence.

As a package however, i would have preferred to see Super Street Fighter II, which is on the Japanese release. It is also a fighter that has been previously made available via eShop. But nonetheless, Street Fighter II Turbo is still up there with the best the SNES has to offer for a fighting fix.

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Super Castlevania IV

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Original Sales: 0.50 Million (Unconfirmed)

First off, i need to proclaim that I’ve never been on the Super Castlevania IV bandwagon. It is critically acclaimed, but i find it dull, slow and simply annoying to play. Its a series that was yet to find it’s identity until Symphony of the Night 5 years later. But while it’s a title that simply isn’t for me, it does have endearing qualities that have stood the test of time.

Firstly, it is one of the few adult-themed games for the SNES. It’s distinct horror setting captures the doom and gloom in particularly detailed fashion; vines on railings in the background and the haunting shipwreck of stage 2 are still impressive. The use of Mode 7 also adds a level of disorientation to the already-increasing difficulty. The soundtrack is also excellent.

Super Castlevania IV is no pick-up-and-play retro paradise. It ranks among both Super Ghouls & Ghosts and Contra III in terms of difficulty, possibly even a level above that. It will take many a play-through to master the pixel-perfect requirement for both jumping and attacking – 2 of the games most basic and common actions. It’s a deliberately rigid and unforgiving experience that only applies to the hardcore.

 

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Super Punch Out!

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Original Sales: Unknown

Finally, a sports sim! And yet, not a true one. Like many a NES to SNES sequel, the goal was refinement, not reinvention or revolution. And Super Punch Out! is a perfect example of that.

Your fighter is the average Joe going up against a series of increasingly ridiculous opponents. Each of which requires their pattern or style to be discovered in order to lay some serious smackdown yourself. It’s a simple formula that gets increasingly difficult and ridiculous as it progresses. Beating all four circuits is a bit of a challenge, and once that’s done it’s a case of breaking your own records and honing your timing skills even further.

It may be title that’s a little lost in time by today’s standards but Super Punch Out! is heaps of fun. It’s a shame it isn’t supported by any other sports titles on the SNES Mini, but is a welcome addition nonetheless.

Now we’ve seen what the east is missing, the next (and final) part will look at the Japan-exclusive titles to see what we’re missing out on.

Previous entries: One Two Three Four

 

Super NES Classic Edition Mini – Lowdown on the Games (Part 2)

Join me as i rundown the games for the highly anticipated Super Nes Mini.

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.

You can read part one here. If those titles weren’t enough to whet the retro appetite, wait until you see what’s in store with the next 4 games. I’ve invested hour upon hour into this particular set in the last 20+ years. Like most of the titles included in the SNES Mini, they cemented my interest in video games as a medium for life.

The Locked 16 (5-8):-

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Kirby Super Star

Developer: HAL Laboratory

Publisher: Nintendo

Original Sales: 1.4 Million

The SNES Mini may include 21 games for a fixed price, but Kirby Super Star offers a surprise right off the bat. 1 title, 8 games! Okay so they’re all a little on the slender side, but Kirby Super Star is a title bursting with variety.

Kirby’s core ‘copy’ ability, allowing him to mimic abilities of those he ingests, is also the core theme each game is constructed around. This could mean Kirby wielding a sword, a laser cannon, or maybe even singing enemies to death. The most recognisable is Spring Breeze; essentially a SNES version of the original Game Boy Kirby’s Dream Land, albeit somewhat simplified.

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Other delights include Gourmet Race, where Kirby and King Dedede race across 3 levels whilst devouring as much food as possible, and The Arena, a gauntlet-style boss fight mode. The meatiest portion of this Kirby all-you-can-eat buffet is Milky-Way Wishes. Kirby must traverse over 9 planets in the same vein as any regular Kirby title, but with 1 subtle difference; Kirby can no longer obtain abilities from ingested enemies, Instead, you collect ability-laden items, much like the Super Mario series.

Each slice of this Kirby pizza pie has it’s own unique and fun topping. Some may be more filling than others, but there is something for everyone in this great package.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Original Sales: 4.6 Million

What is there left to be said for what is simply one of the best games of all time? It is simply a remarkably profound experience from start to finish. What’s even more remarkable is that it is still a brilliant game, more than 20 years on.

A Link to the Past has been re-released, remastered, and most important of all, replayed so many times. Ocarina of Time is the Zelda entry that has dominated so many best-games-ever lists. The sublime Breath of the Wild is sure to carry on that mantle for the next few years. But this 16-bit predecessor is still significant to this day. It’s nowhere near the biggest interpretation of Hyrule but it is still very big. Factor in teleportation to-and-from a Ganon-corrupted mirror image of Hyrule and it doubles in size and difficulty.

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The layered labyrinth-style dungeons, the vast array of tools and weapons, finding heart pieces. Yes all these are series stables to this day, but A Link to the Past is still capable of ingenious surprises; thieves in the woods after your stuff, bunny transformations (yes, really) and of course, the amazing Hookshot.

A Link to the Past is always a journey worth revisiting. It was one of my very first SNES experiences as a teenager, and often revisit on a semi-regular basis. Come September 29th, I intend to visit the world of Hyrule all over again. I recommend you do to.

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Mega Man X

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Nintendo

Original Sales: 1.1 Million

There’s an impression left by the Mega Man series that screams “they’re all just the same”. In the case of Mega Man 1-6 that is evident, with Mega Man 2 being the standout exception. Screenshots of the series’ upgrade to the SNES does little to suggest more of the same. Thankfully Mega Man X is anything but.

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The ‘X’ is not just a fancy spin off name (i’m looking at you Apple), but the birth of both a new character AND series. Dr Light’s supreme invention no longer has to rely on the abilities of defeated bosses; upgrades such as dashing and superior armour are also acquired throughout. At it’s core it is of course a Mega Man game. But these new dynamics, accompanied by excellent level design and freedom to tackle them how you want makes for the ultimate Mega Man experience. Plus it’s still pretty mutha-truckin’ hard to boot.

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Secret of Mana

Developer: Square

Publisher: Square

Original Sales: 1.8 Million

Ooh boy. Secret of Mana is a beast of an RPG. The premise is fairly simple; boy finds legendary sword, and is immediately tasked with saving the world. In between is an action RPG that hits all the right notes. It also provides a rare multiplayer experience for the genre, with up to 3 players on screen at once.

Secret of Mana’s initial moments play out in a similar vein to A Link to the Past. Once the first series of battles commence, Mana cements itself as an RPG with it’s intuitive menu system. This ‘ring menu’ system results in quick command prompts to use spells/items, with little intrusion on battles. All characters move freely during battle, a la Zelda, but weapon attacks require a brief pause to recharge to ensure a hit and more damage. This brilliant blend of real-time and turn-based combat makes for often-exhilarating boss battles.

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Memorable melodies of Mana soon become ingrained in the mind thanks to one of the greatest soundtracks of it’s kind. And like Zelda, Mana makes use of the SNES’ patented Mode 7 effects for the overworld map, with Mana’s world made up of several islands as opposed to Zelda’s solitary land with multiple landmarks. In the later stages the back and forth travelling can get a little confusing. Particularly when you step away for while and jump back in……yes, i am currently lost in my most recent play-through and haven’t the patience to get back on track.

But despite my lack of bearings and memory, Secret of Mana is a hugely enjoyable and engrossing RPG. Its many hours of combat, collecting, travelling and storytelling are one of the SNES’ most cherished experiences.

8 down, 12 to go! Are you excited yet? You should be! Catch you next time!

 

My 52 Game Challenge of 2014

2014 was a great year for gaming. Particularly for me, as I decided to undertake the ultimate lonely gamer task: complete 52 games in a calendar year. That works out at just shy of 4.5 games a month. Ouch.

Now I’m typically a gamer who starts many games, but takes forever to finish them. Save points are often my weak point in that I often to decide to call it quits once I reach one. Note to RPG makers: NO MORE SAVE POINTS, autosave all the way please.

Anyway, although late one, I completed the challenge. A simple feat for a lonely gamer such as myself, if I’d not started it in June! Yes, that’s 52 games completed in 6 months. And here they are:-

Xbox Live Arcade:-

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Streets of Rage 2

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade

Streets of Rage 3

TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled

Street Fighter III Third Strike

Final Fight

X-Men

Sonic Adventure 2

The Walking Dead Season 2

King of Fighters ’98

 

Xbox 360:-

Lego Batman 2

PES 2015 (Champions League)

 

PSN – Duck Tales Remastered

 

3DS:-

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Sega 3D Classics: Sonic The Hedgehog

Sega 3D Classics: Shinobi III

Kirby Triple Deluxe

Fantasy Life

Super Mario 3D Land

 

Wii U:-

Super Mario 3D World

Mario Kart 8 (Special Cup)

Bayonetta 2

 

Wii – Kirby’s Epic Yarn

 

Gamecube – Capcom Vs. SNK 2

 

Nintendo 64 – Lylat Wars

 

Gameboy:-

TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan

Kirby’s Dream Land

Super Mario Land

Super Mario Bros Deluxe

Donkey Kong Land

 

SNES:-

TMNT: Turtles in Time

Mickey’s Magical Quest

Final Fight 2

Excitebike: Bun Bun Mario Battle Stadium

The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mick and Minnie Mouse

Aladdin

Super Castlevania IV

Street Fighter Alpha 2

Castlevania: Dracula X

Starwing

Donkey Kong Country

 

Mega Drive/Genesis – TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist

 

Master System – Sonic The Hedgehog

 

NES:-

TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project

Castlevania

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

Where’s Waldo?

Super Mario Bros 2

Duck Tales 2

 

Turbografix – Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

 

Arcade – Sunset Riders

 

Particular highlights from this list have been many, but the standouts are Kirby’s Epic Yarn, A Link Between Worlds, 3D World, Fantasy Life and Bayonetta 2. LOVE THAT GAME. Not many particularly lengthy titles I know, with Fantasy Life probably the longest, but there were some tough cookies, the standout being Castlevania’s III and Dracula X. But that was the beauty of the challenge; it drove me on to finish even those difficult titles, in order to move onto the next one.

I shall once again be undertaking the challenge in 2015, in fact, if I get to 52 in 6 months again, I may well go for ANOTHER 52! I shall keep you all updated on here, plus I shall Instagram and Tweet each game as I finish them.

How about you, are you up for the challenge?