Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Top 10 Games from Generation Four


Systems I have spent a decent amount of time with from generation four are Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and Game Boy. It's a generation with so many great games that this list was very hard to narrow down. Unfortunately if you read my Top 5 Favorite Games article then you already know what three of the games are going to be, but that's fine! There are still seven games that are a total mystery, so read on!


#10 Dark Wizard
Publisher: Sega | Developer: H.I.C. | Released: 1994

This is a game that I love so much and would play again, but I simply just don't have the time to now. Dark Wizard is a commitment, and it's the type of game that is very difficult to come back to later and remember what you were doing if you put it down for a while. As a kid, however, this game was the best. Games had to last you a long time because you got new ones at the mercy of relatives. Unless you got an allowance, which I didn't.

Aesthetically, Dark Wizard is a very bland looking hex-based strategy game; a lot of brown scenery, a lot of text all over the screen. It's so fun, though! And the soundtrack will blow your hair back. It's so good that my girlfriend took notice of it, and she doesn't really enjoy game music all that much. I wouldn't say that this game is for everyone, but for me, it's definitely top ten material.

#9: Super Street Fighter II
Publisher: Capcom | Developer: Capcom | Released: 1994

There has always been a debate about this game being a step back in a lot of ways from Street Fighter II Turbo. I agree that the sound effects and music don't hit as hard as they do in Turbo, but the addition of four new characters (Cammy!) and the vast variety of different color palettes you can select for your character make up for it.

Super Street Fighter II is a great game and I still play it more than any other incarnation of Street Fighter. For as influential as the original Street Fighter II was for me and gaming as a whole, it is lacking in features that have been implemented in each subsequent revision. Champion Edition let both players select the same character and play as the bosses, Turbo added speed to the game, and Super added four additional characters. Granted the speed took quite a hit between versions, but I always found the higher speeds in Turbo to be too fast. So Street Fighter II is definitely one of my favorite games, but this version of it is the one I go back to the most.

#8: Kirby's Dream Land
Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Hal Labs | Released: 1991

This game was almost an obsession for me. I first laid eyes on it in issue 39 of Nintendo Power. Something about the game grabbed me and never let go. This game is what made me a Kirby fan for life. A friend of mine got it before I did, and he complained about how easy it was. When I next visited his house, I too beat the game in one sitting the first time I played it, but it didn't matter. I still knew I had to have the game. There was some inescapable charm about the game and it had quite a hold over me.

I think the simplicity of this game is what makes it so charming to me. It's a quick pick up and play game that you can actually finish in one go. It's a game for everyone. It's a game a child can enjoy as well as an adult looking for a relaxing gaming experience. Are there better Kirby games? Absolutely. But this one is so important to me that I have to include it.

#7: Kirby Super Star
Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Hal Labs | Released: 1996

Speaking of Kirby games, this is the Kirby game that rises above all others. This isn't just one Kirby game, this is several different Kirby games in one! Now something like this would probably be a mini game collection, but not Kirby Super Star. The eight games found here are generally fleshed out experiences, with only a few being what I would consider a mini game.

I got this game for Christmas in 1996, which was after I had received a Nintendo 64 over the summer. The Nintendo 64 was struggling quite a bit at launch with only a handful of games released by Christmas (like literally, you could fit them all in your hand) so this game was a very welcome release. I played it so much, particularly the Great Cave Offensive part of the game which seemed so massive. Kirby Super Star just further cemented my love of all things Kirby.

#6: Sonic the Hedgehog
Publisher: Sega | Developer: Sonic Team | Released: 1991

The original Sonic the Hedgehog still holds the title as favorite Sonic game to me. I do prefer that the second game only has two acts per level as opposed to the three found here, but this game is just more fun to me from beginning to end. And don't even get me started on Sonic 3 & Knuckles and how bloated that game feels.

This game is just... pure. You're Sonic, and you collect rings and the occasional Chaos Emerald. There's no Tails bouncing around behind you. No spin dash. No convoluted "collect blue spheres" bonus area that is more disorienting than fun. Not to say that the other Sonic the Hedgehog games aren't good. But this game is the reason why I had to have a Sega Genesis, and this game is still one of my favorite games from generation four. I can't say that for the other games in the series.

#5: ActRaiser
Publisher: Enix | Developer: Quintet | Released: 1991

This game is one that captured my imagination from the first time I saw it. I have heard of people not enjoying the simulation aspect of the game, but honestly the sim part is one of my favorite things about ActRaiser! I was disappointed when I discovered that they removed that part of the game from the sequel.

The fact that this game came out so early in the Super Nintendo's life is incredible. It has the aforementioned simulation part of the game where you rid the land of monsters and help civilization grow, but then it has the standard side scrolling part of the game where you take on the baddies in person. There's so much to do in this game, and it's just a real masterpiece and a bright shining jewel in the Super Nintendo's already stunning crown.

#4: Super Mario World
Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Nintendo | Released: 1991

I would say that there are two schools of thought: One, that Super Mario Bros. 3 is the best Mario game ever made, and another, that Super Mario World is the best Mario game ever made. I fall into the second category. If you'll recall, Super Mario Bros. 3 didn't even appear on My Top 10 Games from Generation Three article the other day.

This game is the first time that a Mario game felt like it was more than just a pick up and play side scrolling platformer. While it did have the same gameplay elements from other Mario games, it introduced an expansive world where you could replay levels and find hidden exits. It was a great title to have come with your brand new Super Nintendo, and it really gave you a glimpse at what the system was capable of.

#3: Wonder Boy in Monster World
Publisher: Sega | Developer: West One | Released: 1992

I feel like I have talked about this game to death, whether it was my Spotlight feature or my walkthrough of the game or it being on my Top 5 Favorite Games list. I have basically sang the praises for this game time and time again. So... here we go for the fourth time.

I unfortunately cannot recall the first time I ever saw Wonder Boy in Monster World. I know I was the first of my friends to play it, and after seeing it in action, they all quickly got it for themselves. The world that this game presented was colorful and full of beautiful varied locations to explore. It's definitely my favorite Sega Genesis game but it's unfortunately what I would consider to be a hidden gem on the system. Not enough people have given this game a shot, but they should! Look how high it is on my list of favorite games!

#2: Final Fantasy II
Publisher: Squaresoft | Developer: Squaresoft | Released: 1991

I never played the original Final Fantasy to any length. I saw a friend play a bit of it once, but I was always more of a Dragon Warrior guy. This game, however, was one that I desperately wanted from the first second I saw it in action at a friend's house.

I have played through this game several times, which I think really says something about it because RPGs are not typically games you replay over and over. I used to have a habit of playing through it once a year. There are many different versions of Final Fantasy II/IV, and I have tried to play as many of them as I can, but the Super Nintendo one is still my favorite of the bunch.

#1: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Nintendo | Released: 1992

I wouldn't say I'm a huge Legend of Zelda fan. In fact, I probably like less of the franchise than I like.

But this. Favorite game of all time? Yes. And I don't just mean from generation four. I will play through this game at any time, find every item, and probably do it without dying at any point. In my opinion, this is the best Legend of Zelda game in existence by far. If someone hadn't ever played a Zelda game before and they asked me which one I would suggest, it would be this one without hesitation. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is just, well... it's perfection. I don't think there's any other word for it. That's why it's #1.