Sunday, 21 November 2010

Recommended Super Famicom Games

A list I compiled about 10 years ago of recommended Super Famicom games:

ACTRAISER 1 / 2 (Enix) - Classic god-sim and action game. The sequel is a straightforward action game with nice visuals and sound, though isn’t as good

AKUMAJO DRACULA (Konami) - Essential DRACULA game, only bettered by AKUMAJO DRACULA X on the PSone

ASSAULT SUITS VALKEN (NCS Masiya) - Fantastic and imaginative mecha shooter. The battle to stop the asteroid fall to Earth is a memorable moment. Known in the West as CYBERNATOR, without the manga inserts

AXELAY (Konami) - Beautiful shooter. Sadly the mixtures of play styles don’t gel. The side-scrolling levels are the best

BAHAMUT LAGOON (Square) - JAP-only strategy RPG with beautiful presentation

BATMAN RETURNS (Konami) - The best single player punch ‘n’ scroller on the SFC

BATTLE PINBALL (Banpresto) - The best SFC pinball game, each table hosted by Banpresto’s SD characters. 2D overhead view

BIKE DAISUKI: HASHIRIYA DAMASHII (NCS Masiya) - A rip-off of SUPER MARIO KART that actually plays okay. Not in the same class though

BIKER MICE FROM MARS (Konami) - Fab isometric racer. Very fun, despite the TV connection

BS F-ZERO 2 GRAND PRIX (Nintendo) - Updated vehicle visuals and a whole new league of tracks. BS-X Satellaview release

BS LEGEND OF ZELDA: SEKIBAN (Nintendo) - Another BS-X Satellaview game, a SFC conversion of the overhead FC RPG

BS GOLF DAISUKI! O.B. CLUB (NCS Masiya) - Shelved NCS game gets a BS-X release. Isometric golf, crazy golf style

CHOHMAKAIMURA (Capcom) - SFC sequel, aka SUPER GHOULS ‘N’ GHOSTS. Challenging and playable


CHRONO TRIGGER (Square) - Forget CHRONO CROSS, this is another RPG gem from the masters of the genre

CONTRA SPIRITS (Konami) - Feel the pulse! Fast-paced and imaginative action shooter. The hover-bike level that ends leaping between sky missiles is an all-time memorable SFC moment! Also released as CONTRA 3: THE ALIEN WARS and SUPER PROBOTECTOR. Occasional slowdown doesn’t spoil the fun

COSMO GANG: THE VIDEO (Namco) - A cute update of Namco’s GALAXIAN. Simple and fun

COTTON 100%: MARCHEN ADVENTURE (Datam Polystar) - Side-scrolling shooter with gorgeous visuals (though occasional slowdown)

DOKSUN! GANSEKI BATTLE (I'Max) - One of the best SFC puzzlers. A blatant rip-off of COLUMNS, but better

DOLUCKY NO KUSAYAKYU (Imagineer Zoom) - A playable and fair baseball game starring Zoom’s Dolucky and his furry chums

DO-RE-MI FANTASY MILON NO DOKI DOKI DAIBOUKEN (Hudson Soft) - Sequel to the FC game MILON’S SECRET CASTLE, this is a beautiful and cute scrolling action platformer. Catch foes in bubbles, bright colours - lovely!

EXHAUST HEAT 2: F1 DRIVER HENO MICHI (Seta) - Utilising Seta’s own DSP chip, this game is the only contender to compliment F-ZERO. Fast! (Aka FI RACE OF CHAMPIONS 2 in the West)

FIGHTER’S HISTORY / FIGHTER’S HISTORY: MIZOGUCHI KIKI IPPATSU!! (Data East) - After Capcom’s SF series of releases, these two coin-op conversions make fine one-on-one beat ‘em up alternatives

FINAL FANTASY 4 / 5 / 6 (US FF 2 / 3) (Square) - The pinnacle of the FF series. Complex characters, characters and gameplay, culminating in the yet to be bettered FF6 (aka FF3 in the US)

FINAL FIGHT / FINAL FIGHT GUY (Capcom) - Released in 2 versions, one with Haggar and Cody, the other with Haggar and Guy, this is included as one the first SFC releases that cemented the console as being a world beater

FINAL FIGHT 2 (Capcom) - Underrated sequel. Lovely Capcom references and some wonderful visuals

FLYING HERO BUGYURU NO DAIBOUKEN (Sofel) - Minor cute up-screen shooter. Big sprites and plenty of nice moments

FRONT MISSION (Square) - The first and best in the series. Beautiful visuals and addictive turn-based strategy gameplay. JAP-only, though many Western gamers find it easy to play thanks to the English menu system

FUSHIGI NO DAIBOUKEN 2: FURAI NO SIREN (Chun Soft) - Pseudo-sequel to TORNECO NO DAIBOUKEN (related to the DRAGON QUEST SERIES), this 32Mbit gem is a complex action-based maze RPG

F-ZERO (Nintendo) - No home game had ever looked like this before the SFC. Still as playable and impressive today

GANBARE DAIKU NO GENSAN (Irem) - Better known as HAMMERIN’ HARRY inspired by the coin-op, this is perhaps even better. Big sprites and old-school action with a distinct PC-E look and feel to it

GANBARE GOEMON 1 / 2 / 3 / 4* (Konami) - The SFC Goemon series has never been bettered. The first is arguably the best, the 2nd is strictly action-based and is well remmended, the third is a mixture of action and RPG, while the fourth returns to pure action though is challenging to Western gamers. Classics. Only the first game made it West as THE LEGEND OF THE MYSTICAL NINJA

GO GO ACKMAN 1 / 2 / 3 (Banpresto) - Side-scrolling action platformers starring the characters created by Akira Toriyama of Dragonball Z fame. They’re all excellent

GOURMET SENTAI BARAYAROU (Virgin) - The best all-round punch ‘n’ scroller on the SFC. 1-2 player (even with occasional CPU assistance in 1-player), and very bizarre!

GUNDAM W GUNDAMWING: ENDLESS DUEL (Bandai) - An impressive one-on-one beat ‘em up borrowing from SF and X-MEN: COTA. Solid control and impressive visuals, all with a distinctly ‘Natsume’ flavour of look

HAGANE (Hudson Soft) - Another gem from Red, a side-scrolling mecha-ninja action game. Lovely style, dark visuals and challenging gameplay

HANSEI ZARU JIRO KUN NO DAIBOUKEN (Natsume) - Known as SPANKY’S QUEST in the West, a minor release from the masterful SFC developers Natsume. Old-school platform puzzle / action game reminiscent of Taito coin-ops of the late 80s

HARMELUN NO VIOLIN HIKIO (Enix) - Side-scrolling action / platform game. Control a violinist who attacks by playing music. A partner follows along, and throughout the game abilities can be collected to change her into animals to assist progress. Subtle and enjoyable

HEBEREKE NO POPUN (Sunsoft) - Simple though addictive puzzler that perhaps relies too much on luck. Crazy combos and intense long rounds soon become the standard. Known elsewhere as HEBEREKE’S POPOON

HOSHI NO KIRBY 3 (Nintendo) - A Kirby platform game with an in-cart SA-1 chip. Say no more

HOSHI NO KIRBY SUPER DELUXE (Nintendo) - More Kirby action, though split into distinct themed areas. Known elsewhere as KIRBY’S FUN PAK

J. LEAGUE EXCITE STAGE `94 / ’95 / ‘96 (Epoch) - The only competition to Konami’s JIKKYOU WORLD SOCCER series. Classy visuals and great gameplay, the first came to the West as CAPCOM’S SOCCER SHOOTOUT, cut from 16Mbit to 12Mbit without the Barcode Battler options to improve stats to your players!

JAPAN GT CHAMPIONSHIP: HYPER BATTLE GAME (Kaneko) - Coin-op style, brash racer with an overhead-cum-isometric viewpoint. Loud sound and tough gameplay

JIKKYOU POWERFUL PUROYAKYU (Konami) - This baseball series ran to 6 games on the SFC alone. Its cute styling belies the strictly complex and tight gameplay. Great commentary

JIKKYOU PRO WRESTLING 96 (Konami) - A little known wrestling game, with great visuals, sound (commentary again) and many great characters

JIKKYOU WORLD SOCCER 2: FIGHTING ELEVEN (Konami) - The sequel to JWS: PERFECT ELEVEN (a series released as INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTAR SOCCER in the West). One of the greatest soccer games ever created. Amazing commentary too

KID KLOWN IN CRAZY CHASE (Kemco) - A minor little game, starring a clown that must negotiate an isometic pathway avoiding all manner of traps to collect items and reach a bomb before it explodes. Very amusing, if a touch repetitive

KIKIKAIKAI: NAZO NO KURO MANTO (Natsume) - Highly playable version of the Taito coin-op. Sprite-flicker and slowdown spoils things a little, but it’s a game I’m still fond of. Released in the West as POCKY & ROCKY

KINGYO CHUUIHO!! TOBIDASE! GAME GAKUEN (Jaleco) - A mini-game collection starring SD school kids and a cow! Great party game, the best of its type on the SFC

KIRBY BOWL (Nintendo) - Known outside Japan as KIRBY’S DREAM COURSE, this is a fun crazy golf game starring Kirby as the ball. A new version without Kirby and new courses was released on the BS-X as SPECIAL TEE SHOT

MACROSS: SCRAMBLED VALKYRIE (Zamuse) - The best side-scrolling shooter on the SFC, and one of the best ever created. Never released in the West (why?!), this is hardcore shoot ‘em up heaven. No wonder it now retails for between £150-£200!

MAGICAL DROP 1 / 2 (Data East) - Another favourite puzzle series that debuted on the Neo Geo. Two fantastic versions that rank as one of the most hectic puzzle games ever invented

MAGICAL POP'N (Pack-In-Video) - Beautiful side-scrolling action platformer, little known and very reminiscent of games that graced the PC-E

MARVELOUS (Nintendo) - An RPG with great character and invention with a cart that utilised the SA-1 chip

MOKOKOCHAN NO WONDER KITCHEN (Ajinomoto) - The award for the most left-field SFC release. Only available via a promotion from Ajinomoto mayonnaise, this is a game where you must unlock areas and mini games to collect ingredients to cook various meals (recipes that of course use Ajinomoto mayonnaise!). What’s interesting about this game is that it was developed by NCL. It shows - very magical

MOTHER 2 (Nintendo) - Known elsewhere as EARTHBOUND, this RPG is wild in its simple child-like style and fantastic B-Movie storyline

MR. DO! (Imagineer) - The coin-op classic comes home in perfect style. This plays just as well as it always used to

NBA JIKKYOU BASKETBALL: WINNING DUNK (Konami) - While the West enjoyed NBA JAM and the like, I preferred Konami’s more coin-op approach inspired by their coin-op WINNING DUNK. Known elsewhere as NBA GIVE ‘N GO

PANEPON: ACTION PUZZLE GAME (Nintendo) - The presentation and slickness of this addictive puzzler is stunning and magical. Released in the West with new characters and visuals under the title TETRIS ATTACK (starring Yossy), this in turn was re-released on the BS-X Satellaview as YOSSY NO PANEPON

PARODIUS DA! SHINWA KARA OWARAI HE / GOKUKYOU PARODIUS / JIKKYOU OSHABERI PARODIUS (Konami) - Although not perfect, these three PARODIUS games are worth a mention. The third cart contained a data compression chip to contain its extensive and amusing commentary. Surprisingly, only the first game received a Western release in Europe as PARODIUS: NON-SENSE FANTASY

PILOTWINGS (Nintendo) - Who’d have guessed that flight training was so much fun?! The first and best version, still a joy to play

POP 'N TWINBEE (Konami) - Classic cute up-screen shooter, the best of its type on the SFC. Simply gorgeous visuals and fantastic style of play and levels

POPFUL MAIL (Falcom) - With the look and feel of the PC-E game, this minor side-scrolling action / adventure is old-school entertainment

RENDERING RANGER R2 (Virgin) - Developed by Rainbow Arts though only released in Japan, this is the third TURRICAN game on the SFC. Technically astounding - the game opens with some very dull stages, but as soon as the side-scrolling shoot ‘em up stages kick in, the action hots up. Incredible visuals in places, almost 32-bit in quality

ROMANCING SA.GA 1 / 2 / 3 (Square) - Never released in the West, a serious and more complex RPG series than FINAL FANTASY. Will we ever see RPGs of this calibre ever again?

RUDORA NO HIHOU (Square) - Squaresoft’s last cart release is again a serious RPG with slick design, characters and story. It goes without saying that the presentation and visuals are top drawer

RUSHING BEAT RAN: FUKUSEI TOSHI (Jaleco) - The second RUSHING BEAT game (Jaleco’s ‘tribute’ to the FINAL FIGHT series). Nice colours and coin-op style visuals. Known in the West as BRAWL BROTHERS

RUSHING BEAT SYURA (Jaleco) - The third RUSHING BEAT game, is actually quite good! Released in the West under the new (terrible) name THE PEACE KEEPERS

SD BATTLE RACER (Banpresto) - Another SMK clone, this time with those Banpresto SD characters. Like NCS Masiya’s effort, not in the SMK league, but nevertheless still fun

SEIKEN DENSETSU 2 / 3 (Square) - SD2 was known as SECRET OF MANA, and performed well in the West. I was only fond of its simultaneous 3-player gameplay, but the JAP-only sequel was incredible, perhaps the best turn-based-cum-action RPG ever created. An amazing ROM patch is available for SD3 to convert all the text into English

SEPTENTRION (Human) - Inventive and touching action game inspired by the classic 70s disaster movie THE POSEIDEN ADVENTURE. The game is tough, allowing only a strict time limit to escape. Mode 7 rotation comes into its own to describe the unstable and sinking liner

SIM CITY (Nintendo) - NCL took the dry and serious PC game and added their own touch, transforming this strategy game into a compulsive obsession. Difficult to reach the goal of Megapolis status, it’s also difficult to put down!

SPARKSTER (Konami) - A sequel to ROCKET KNIGHT ADVENTURES on the MD, this side-scrolling action game is pacey though perhaps not tight enough in its gameplay. Still impressive though

STREET FIGHTER 2 TURBO: HYPER FIGHTING (Capcom) - Okay, so the visuals aren’t coin-op perfect, but it’s the game that counts. And this is a perfect conversion of the original’s fast action and is the best one-on-one beat ‘em up on the SFC. The other SF games are worth a look too

SUPER ALESTE (Toho) - Developed by Compile, this is a brash and playable up-screen shooter making full use of the SFC’s capabilities and hardware. Slick and colourful, this is perhaps a little too OTT. Known in the US as SPACE MEGAFORCE

SUPER BOMBERMAN 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (Hudson Soft) - Take your pick, some are better than others, but essentially they’re all classic games

SUPER BOMBERMAN: PANIC BOMBER WORLD (Hudson Soft) - A conversion of the coin-op, an enjoyable puzzle game that, of course, makes full use of bombs and explosions! The cart uses an SA-1 chip to keep the action going, even in 4-player

SUPER DONKEY KONG 1 / 2 / 3 (Nintendo) - Rare’s reinvention of Donkey Kong went down a storm (aka DONKEY KONG COUNTRY 1 / 2 / 3), with lush visuals and solid gameplay. Not up there with NCL’s own platform games, but still very impressive

SUPER DRAKKHEN (Kemco) - A minor SFC recommendation, a side-scrolling action RPG with good visuals and control. Alternative name - DRAGON VIEW

SUPER FAMILY GELĂ„NDE (Namco) - The Nintendo Power format allowed Namco to release this previously shelved game. A brilliant one-against-one downhill skiing game with some truly effective controls and rich gameplay

SUPER FAMILY TENNIS (Namco) - The best tennis game on the SFC. Highly amusing too, with all the insane court locations. Known in the West as SMASH TENNIS

SUPER FINAL MATCH TENNIS (Human) - The next-best SFC tennis game. More serious but just as playable. A sequel to the PC-E game

SUPER FIRE PRO WRESTLING X PREMIUM (Human) - Human’s long-running wrestling series has changed little since 8-bit days, but like SF, it has evolved into the best of its type. The SFC hosted 8 in the series, including one specifically starring all-female wrestlers. The last is the best, with over 100 fighters, all with unique moves and character. A ROM patch is available to convert all the text into English

SUPER MARIO COLLECTION (Nintendo) - A genius compilation of 4 FC Mario games, with updated visuals. Genuine classics. Released in the West as SUPER MARIO ALL-STARS, there was also released the even better SUPER MARIO ALL-STARS + SUPER MARIO WORLD all-in-one cart!

SUPER MARIO KART (Nintendo) - The best SFC racer and perhaps my favourite videogame of all time. The N64 sequel stood no chance in trying to better it, and failed abysmally. The same goes for the GBA version

SUPER MARIO RPG (Nintendo) - NCL and Squaresoft team up to create a dream development team, and a lovely RPG strictly for the younger gamer

SUPER MARIO WORLD (Nintendo) - Along with F-ZERO, the SFC launch game. One of the best platformers ever

SUPER NAXAT OPEN GOLF (Naxat) - An overhead golf game starring none other than Dorabotchan, aka Dracula Kid

SUPER NINJA KUN (Jaleco) - Cute and playable 1-2 player action platformer with a distinct JAP flavour

SUPER PUNCH-OUT!! (Nintendo) - The best boxing game on any format. A sequel to the FC and coin-op original, only officially released in the West, though recently available in Japan via the Nintendo Power download system

SUPER PUYO PUYO 1 / 2 / REMIX (Banpresto) - Classic puzzle series from the coin-op. One of my favourite puzzle games. The first game arrived in the US as KIRBY’S AVALANCHE and in Europe as KIRBY’S GHOST TRAP

SUPER TETRIS 2 & BOMBLISS (Bullet Proof Software) - Definitive SFC TETRIS, along with a variation based around exploding blocks

SUPER TETRIS 3 (Bullet Proof Software) - Solid TETRIS yet again, though with the added option of 4-player simultaneous games

SUTTE HAKKUN (Nintendo) - Old-school action puzzle game, with platforms and a jelly-like player-character. Definitely NCL. This game also received two BS-X releases

SYONEN ASHIBE (Takara) - Known as SYO THE SEAL, this simple side-scrolling platform game has the cutest central character ever seen - a baby white seal!

TAEKWON-DO (Human) - Serious one-on-one beat ‘em up that relies upon timing and restraint. Skillful

TAKAHASHI MEIJIN NO DAIBOUKEN 1 / 2 (Hudson Soft) - Inspired by WONDERBOY, the first game is simple action fun (with great music, though an ugly player-character). The sequel is an action game based around an adventure, with much puzzle-solving. Known in the West as SUPER ADVENTURE ISLAND 1 / 2

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 4: TURTLES IN TIME (Konami) - Nice conversion of the coin-op

TENCHI SOUZOU (Enix) - The best strictly action-based RPG on the SFC. Known as TERRANIGMA in the West, developed by Quintet (famed for ACTRAISER, SOUL BLAZER, SLAPSTICK, GAIA GENSOUKI, etc.). Brill!

TETRIS BATTLE GAIDEN (Bullet Proof Software) - Cute TETRIS game that makes use of special attacks and the like

THE GREAT BATTLE 4 (Banpresto) - A tribute to Rockman games. Stylish platform action

THE IREM MAJOR TITLE (Irem) - Slick conversion of the coin-op, known in the US as THE IREM SKINS GAME

THE NINJA WARRIORS AGAIN (Taito) - Developed by Natsume, this single plane punch ‘n’ scroller is classy, with plenty of moves, tight control and beautiful visuals. Known in the West as THE NINJA WARRIORS

TINY TOON ADVENTURES (Konami) - Tough and varied action game, a definite classic game. Stunning. (Western name: TTA: BUSTER BUSTS LOOSE)

TINY TOON ADVENTURES: DOTABATA DAI UNDOUKAI (Konami) - A sports compilation / party game. Good to play with friends, aka TINY TOON ADVENTURES: WILD & WACKY SPORTS

TSUYOSHI SHIKKARISHINASAI TAISEN PAZURUDAMA (Konami) - An addictive and balanced puzzle game, with humorous characters and style

UMIHARAKAWASE (TNN) - A puzzle platformer where you must negotiate stages using the skills of a nifty hook-shot, inspired by the gameplay of BIONIC COMMANDO. Lovely control and physics, swinging, jumping, etc. Nice understated visuals too. Also on PSone

UNIRACERS (Nintendo) - A fun and fast racer, controlling unicycles and gaining speed by performing tricks. Inventive and rather good. Alternatively called UNIRALLY in Europe

WAGAN PARADISE (Namco) - The 3rd in the SFC series of games for younger children. The previous two had a more educational slant, though this is more a basic and colourful platformer

WILD GUNS (Natsume) - Another classic from Natsume. A fantastic 1-2 player target shoot ‘em up. Fast and frenetic, this game’s tough and demands split-second reactions. Great sci-fi Wild West settings - gunslingers and robots! As ever, slick visuals

WILLIAMS ARCADE'S GREATEST HITS (Williams Entertainment) - A top compilation of trend-setting retro coin-ops. I’ve mentioned this because of the inclusion of a favourite of mine - ROBOTRON 2084

XANDRA NO DAIBOUKEN (Namco) - Challenging side-scrolling action game starring a minor Namco mascot. A good range of moves and challenge; an oldy but goody. Known elsewhere as WHIRLO

YOSSY ISLAND (Nintendo) - Perhaps the best, if not the most beautiful 2D platform game ever. The cart’s SA-1 chip provides all manner of visual tricks - rotation, scaling, etc. A gem of a Mario game, with Yossy taking centre stage. Known in the West as YOSHI’S ISLAND: SUPER MARIO WORLD 2

ZELDA NO DENSETSU (Nintendo) - A memorable RPG, and the best Zelda game so far. Fantastic, imaginative and action-based, this opened the genre to a wider audience. Known in the West as LEGEND OF ZELDA 3: A LINK TO THE PAST

*The full titles of GANBARE GOEMON 1-4 are as follows:


Other games worth a look:

ALCAHEST (Square Soft)
CHIBI MARUKO CHAN (Konami) 4-player head-to-head action, the precursor to the likes of POY POY
HELLO! PAC-MAN (Namcot) aka PAC-MAN 2: THE NEW ADVENTURES (only because the original PAC-MAN and MS PAC-MAN are available as hidden games)
KARURAOU (Epic/Sony Records: SCEI) aka SKYBLAZER
KEY KUMA BUSTER (Kadokawa Digital Entertainment) aka THE JETSONS: INVASION OF THE PLANET PIRATES (with new visuals)
ROCK & ROLL RACING (Interplay)
SUPER GENJIN 1 / 2 (Hudson Soft) aka SUPER BONK / SUPER B.C. KID (the sequel is JAP-only)
WRECKING CREW '98 (Nintendo)

And that’s just for starters!

STARFOX / STARFOX 2 (Nintendo) in hindsight, YES!


  1. Don't mean to post on a blog that probably isn't being updated, but great list, you have pretty much every game that I have played and thought was good (minus Starfox, Super Metroid, Area 88, Final Fight Tough, the Rockman-Megaman games, Front Mission Gunhazard, the second Kikikaikai and maaaybe Darius Force?) and a ton that I will want to try after reading your list. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for the comment! Yeah those additional games you mentioned are good too. I'm not a huge fan of the Metroid series, and it's such a shame that Area 88 is crippled by slowdown.

    Another game that should be added to the list is Nightmare Busters, which more recently came to light as an unreleased game from Nichibutsu. It's very similar to Capcom's Roosters, though a little too tough

    Also, my occasional game related posts can be found here: