For a while, the Super Nintendo was the only 16 bit console in my household. With the NES and even the Commodore 64 still getting plenty of play time, there was little use in purchasing yet another gaming console (the Sega Genesis.) Before the 32 bit console started hitting the market, by dad eventually did purchase a Sega Genesis for himself, which basically turned into my system. For the most part, I was able to enjoy the best of both worlds, and being able to try out and buy whichever 16 bit game, or any game for that matter, from my previous job at a game store, there’s isn’t much that slipped my radar on any important system. By important I mean Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Microsoft based, no so much Panasonic, Atari, NEC and so on.
Lets take a look at my Top 25 16 Bit Games (#25 – 21.) This list isn’t as one sided as the 8 bit list, though a majority of titles lean towards the Super Nintendo catalog.
X-Men (GEN) – I pretty much enjoyed X-men back in the days. When I tried playing in a couple of years ago, I really couldn’t stand a lot of what was offered.
Super Castlevania IV (SNES) – More or less #26. Quality title through and through, though I always point out other Castlevania titles as the cream of the crop.
Contra III (SNES) – I never did spend copious amounts of time with Contra III. I definitely recognize how well received it was, as well as how much I enjoyed my time with it (what little time I’ve ever had) but the core 25 selections deserved their place more.
Earthbound (SNES) – I have yet to sit down and play more than four minutes of Earthbound. No particular reason other than “it’s somewhere in my game queue!”
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Earthworm Jim had plenty of charm to it. Launching cows, a boss with a money for a head, a main character that’s literally an earthworm in a super suit, and so on. It was unorthodox, but that was part if the charm. The game was brutal in difficulty too, but with how off the wall things could be, it was more incentive to work harder just to see what comes next. Worth the trip if you have a sense of humor and some thick skin for the more notoriously difficult aspects.
For anyone else, Street of Rage 2 would be in the top five. Why is it so low on my list? Well it’s definitely a standout beat ‘em up title that needs to be experienced by all fans of the genre, but I never really got to play this one until the late 90’s, and it was never as frequently as others in the genre. The fact that I still feel strongly about Streets of Rage 2 that I added it to this list should mean something though. It’s definitely a timeless classic.
Mortal Kombat didn’t have much of a legitimate fighting engine until a number of sequels later, but Mortal Kombat 2 was without a doubt one of the finer releases in the entire franchise. The addition of the Babality and Friendship were a welcome tongue in cheek change of pace t the gruesome decapitations and dismemberment, but even those aspects were spruced up some. It might have lacked a tangible combo system (which was still better than what Mortal Kombat 3 offered) but the action and entertainment value never ceased with Mortal Kombat 2, even to this date.
From a fighting game with solid action and no feasible combo system, to a fighting game with solid action and a feasible combo system. Killer Instinct was rather technical for its time, with long winded combos, combo breakers, fatality like moves and a unique cast of characters. It was rewarding when a long combo gets strung together, and even more rewarding when a combo breaker could be unleashed to stop the progression of said combo. Killer Instinct is another franchise that could take the world by storm if its brought back to the limelight.
The mascot racer that started the mascot racer craze, Super Mario Kart remains one of the best the sub genre has seen. The Mode 7 visuals can become nauseating to look at, but the gameplay, power ups and track layouts still remain as some of the strongest in the franchise. To this day, Rainbow Road in Super Mario Kart remains the premiere version of the track throughout the series, providing a more thrilling race whether you know the layout like the back of your hand or not. It was not my favorite of the franchise, but it was a launchpad to a successful line up of titles from Nintendo through several home consoles and handhelds.