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 (#10 – 6.) This list isn’t as one sided as the 8 bit list, though a majority of titles lean towards the Super Nintendo catalog.
Platform gaming was all the rage for the 8 and 16 bit generation of games, so it’s not a shock that yet another would pop up on this list. Donkey Kong Country was a release that never completely resonating with gamers as much as the likes of Super Mario World, and I never quite understood why. The controls were spot on, the game world was quite gorgeous, the audio package was fitting, and there were plenty of hidden bonus areas around the game. There’s tons to explore and discover, with a likeable cast of characters all throughout. If you were one of those that saw displeasure with Donkey Kong Country for one reason or another, check it out again. It’s definitely a lazy Sunday title that’s worth the time and day.
One of the more difficult titles out there, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts knew how to push a gamers buttons. If the rigid jumping mechanics lent themselves more towards Mega Man and less towards Castlevania, a moderate portion of the game wouldn’t be such a challenge. Even still, the wonderfully constructed yet highly treacherous level layouts, impressive visuals for a first generation title, outstanding music and power up system more than made up for that fact. I just wish I didn’t have to play through the game two straight times in order for me to get the real ending, which wasn’t really worth the effort anyway, but boy did conquering some of those later levels feel like an accomplishment all on its own.
Another one of those rare instances in which the audio in a Sega Genesis game isn’t a complete disaster. Castlevania: Bloodlines had quite a bit going for it, from that strong music presence, to having two different character to choose from. Whether you select a whip wielding protagonist or a pike wielding hero, that Castlevania difficult will keep you on your toes, while providing a more than satisfying playthrough. It’s often passed up due to the likes of Super Castlevania IV (which in its own right is a magnificent release) and it’s a shame too, since I feel that Castlevania: Bloodlines is one of the best installments in this legendary franchise.
Definitely a number one selection for many gamers out there, I had to put The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in the seventh slot. Another one of those near flawless games, A Link to the Past has that near perfect pacing, proper item upgrades, a lively game world and so much content available to it. Like many of the all-time greats, just about everything has been said already, and if you somehow never had a chance to play A Link to the Past, I strongly urge you to grab a copy, either on the Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance or Wii Virtual Console. As for why such a cherished title isn’t much higher on the list….well, take a look at the final six titles and hopefully that will explain it all.
On my first playthrough of Chrono Trigger, I never really seemed to click with the gameplay. I rushed through it mostly because I had borrowed it from a friend while in junior high school, just to say I beat it. But when I later got my own copy, I started to realize why so many gamers felt that this was such a piece of work. The characters are all enjoyable and give more than enough reason to become emotionally invested in them. The fact that there are around a dozen endings, the powerful musical pieces, the engaging battle mechanics, just everything came together in such a profound manner. I’m actually surprised I didn’t rate this higher now that I think about it, but the top five I have….