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The Top 5 Super Nintendo (SNES) RPG video games

By Edited Jun 10, 2016 0 2

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES for short is a third generation 16-bit video game console released in 1991. It featured one of the largest collections of great video games and had a bunch of highly successful and well received role playing games. I have created a short top five list which briefly explains some of the better RPGs for the SNES and why they are highly regarded by fans and critics a like. I have also included titles that were left out near the end of the list in case you have played all of these amazing games and are looking for a new challenge.

Super Nintendo

1. Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger (15964)

Chrono Trigger was developed and released by Square Enix (formerly Squaresoft) back in 1995 when the fourth generation of consoles were starting to be released and consoles such as the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were becoming obsolete, yet that didn't stop Chrono Trigger from becoming one of the greatest RPGs of all time. It had a dream team of designers including the creator of the Final Fantasy series of video games, and two designers that had worked on the Dragon Quest game series working on it so expectations from RPG fanatics were extremely high and Chrono Trigger completely annihilated those expectations while raising the bar for all console RPGs released there after.

The main selling point of Chrono Trigger and one of the biggest reasons to play it is the exhilarating story line that brings your starting character Crono and his friends through vast exciting areas in an adventure across time. You will not only be fighting for the future but also fighting for the past and present as well while encountering many great friends and even greater enemies. I won't really explain much more of the story as I don't want to spoil the game because it's a story you'll just have to experience your self. The game presents the usual console rpg game play such as world maps, area map travel, and overhead views but it also combines turn based fighting with real time game play in a unique but very fun to play combination. When Chrono Trigger was released it received an enormous amount of praise for it's story, character development, and game play and to this day it is still rated by many as the top console RPG ever created. I highly recommend you experience Chrono Trigger and find a copy to play before you even continue reading this top five article, the game is just that good!

2. Final Fantasy 3 (NA) / 6 (JP)

Final Fantasy 3

Many Final Fantasy fans quote Final Fantasy 7 for the Sony Playstation as their favorite game in the Final Fantasy series, however while Final Fantasy 7 was a great RPG I believe the pinnacle game in the series would have to be Final Fantasy 3 for the SNES console. The game was released in Japan as Final Fantasy 6 and then was released in North America as Final Fantasy 3 due to series continuity problems in 1994. It has also been ported over to the Playstation 1 as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology collection and the Gameboy Advance due to it's success and many fans wanting it released again.

The story of Final Fantasy 3 is celebrated as being well above average and was the first Final Fantasy game to stray away from the typical fantasy theme of the current time and focus the story on a steam punk type setting. You start the game as a character named Terra who has been a slave to the empire for most of her life due to a mind controlling device they forced upon her. Soon after the game begins she is released from the device and will start a long journey encounter friends along the way to save humanity from the empire, a dictatorship led by Emperor Gesthal who is determined the use the powers of espers and magic to evil.

When Final Fantasy 3 was released it was very well received and earned itself many game of the year awards from almost every publication. Critics praised the game for it's story, characters, and it's use of multiple choice game play all combined to make an exciting and unforgettable RPG for fans to remember for years to come.

3. The Secret Of Mana

Secret Of Mana

The Secret of Mana was released in 1993 by Squaresoft and was an innovative action RPG for it's time. Rather then use a traditional turn based combat system used in many RPGs it uses a real time battle system that integrates seamlessly with the world. Another unique aspect of the game is a ring like command system that had not been used before.

The Secret of Mana featured an engrossing and expanding plot line, beautiful graphics that showed off a variety of colors, and fun real time battles. The game even features the ability to play with two players as you work together to finish the game which not many RPGs even current ones offer. The story takes place in a world right after a war between humans and beasts over the use of mana to power a flying warship called the "Mana Fortress." The game lets you play through it as three different characters; a boy, a girl, and a sprite and when you're not controlling a character, the AI will take over. The Secret of Mana is listed on many best games of SNES lists and even listed as one of the greatest games of all time according to IGN.

4. Earthbound


Earthbound is a a cult classic hit known for it's originality, story line, graphics, and humor. It was developed by Ape and HAL Laboratory and released by Nintendo in 1994 in Japan and then released in North America in 1995. Earthbound was an immediate success in Japan, but suffered in sales when it was brought to North America even though it received mostly rave reviews.

Earthbound features a unique setting where characters use weapons such as baseball bats and bottle rockets instead of the usual sword and shield provided in many RPGs. The story begins when a meteor falls outside the house of a boy named Ness who then goes outside to investigate what happened. Ness finds out that an alien named Giygas has came to Earth and has started to corrupt people's minds and Ness is destined to stop him by bring together a crowd of friends he will meet throughout his journey. At first look you might figure that Earthbound is directed towards kids but you'll find the story line very engrossing and filled with many important real world adult scenarios/issues. If you're looking for something different and have yet to play this amazing game, what are you waiting for? Purchase Earthbound and be prepared to spend countless hours of entertainment with Ness and his crew!

5. Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals

Lufia 2

Lufia 2 is an RPG game that adds an element of puzzle solving with the usual console RPG formula and was very well received when it was originally released in Japan in 1995 and in North America in 1996. Lufia 2 is very different than it's predecessor as it no longer contains random combat encounters, introduces a variety of new skills, and offers new challenging game play by including many puzzles that become increasingly difficult as you dwell deeper into the game. It also features a randomly generated dungeon that has 99 levels as a side quest.

In Lufia 2, you play as the hero Maxim and are on a journey to destroy the Sinistrals. Lufia 2 is a prequel to the game Lufia & the Fortress of Doom and is set 90 years before the events contained in that game. Along the way you'll find others in your quest also determined to defeat the Sinistrals. The Sinistrals are four beings who are determined to bring the world to it's knees and are hell bent on destroying any warriors who come across their path including Maxim and his warrior friends. With as many challenging puzzles this game offers, you're going to need all the help you can get to beat the Sinistrals, but your journey through this game will be seriously entertaining and is a jewel all RPG fans will enjoy.

There are many other great RPGs for the SNES that you might also want to check out including: Breath of Fire 1 & 2, Lufia 1, Secret of Evermore, Star Ocean, Super Mario RPG, Front Mission, Ogre Battle, and the Dragon Quest series.



May 5, 2010 4:25pm
Super Nintendo was amazing. I never played RPG games though, mostly Mortal Kombat and Mario All-Stars. I think I have anger problems from Mortal Kombat now...lol...
May 5, 2010 4:49pm
Haha, I absolutely loved SNES and I'm just now getting back into gaming on it as I'm finding most games lately just lacking in fun factor.
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