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#75 - Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge

The final Super Scope game! And the uncontested champ of the bunch. This is the one game I can unquestionably recommend. The one game that everyone should check out. The one game that makes one wish that Nintendo had tried just a little harder to explore their strange little bazooka peripheral.

Battle Clash, this gameís predecessor, is a fun game. A very good game. But a bit simplistic. And not especially long. And once youíve fully memorized each of the bosses and their patterns, the replay value (presumably) falls off a cliff. Or at least it would if there weren't a time trial mode. Still, I canít imagine many kids who grew up with that game got years of play time out of it.

Metal Combat rectifies that a bit by offering a longer experience, trickier bosses, and more gunplay options. I guess the idea was bigger and better. And that works for me, because I like both of those things.

Gameplay still boils down to being a boss rush against a series of ninja-esque robots. Laser cannon against laser cannon. And youíre still constantly dashing to your left or right, trying to keep them in front of you, so that you can nail them with charged blasts. If you saw footage of the two games side-by-side, you might have a hard time telling them apart. But there are a lot of subtle differences that reveal themselves the more you play it.

And the runtime is longer too, which is a great boon. Maybe only an hour longer, but when the games are only a couple hours long in the first place, it makes a big difference.

But the important thing is that the game is just fun to play. Easily the most fun Super Scope game on the system. It kinda makes you wish that the franchise hadnít prematurely died with this installment. Nintendo could have gone great places in the following decades, further exploring this formula. Alas, it wasnít meant to be.

Did I beat it?
Yes, with a mouse and keyboard.

#74 - Super Buster Bros

Check out that radical artwork. Makes you want to chug some Mountain Dew or Sunny D or something, right? God bless the 90s.

If there were two words to describe Super Buster Bros. - and make no mistake, there are only two words to describe this game - itís ďbubbleĒ and ďpopping.Ē Or I guess maybe bubble ďbusting.Ē See, this is a game where you, as one of the 'tuded-up children, use your gun to explode the legions of bubbles that are bouncing around the enclosed arenas you find yourself in.

Thatís it. Thatís the entire game. Point gun, shoot bubbles. It barely gets any more involved than that across any of the difficulties or play modes.

But thatís the genius of it. It doesnít need to get any more complicated because it works so well. That one mechanic is enough to make a great game, with a lot of replay value, and a great cooperative experience.

I guess thatís a testament to just how good the core gameplay is here, because in the hands of most developers, youíd barely have a game. Or youíd have a game that would get old after a few minutes. But it doesnít. The endless mode remains addictive. The challenge mode - especially on the Hard difficulty - sucks you into playing it again and again until you overcome it. And playing with a friend? Sheer joy.

Did I beat it?
Many, many times.

#73 - Castlevania: Dracula X

Oh man, this is one Iíve struggled with a bit. By that I mean Iíve been all over the place with this ranking over the years. Do I have it too high? Is it too low? I keep going back and forth, never feeling completely satisfied with what I come up with.

For those of you who donít know, Dracula X is a ďportĒ of a mega-respected PC-Engine game named Rondo of Blood. And by port I mean itís aÖ re-imagining? A standalone new game that was heavily inspired by the PCE game? A newish game built with existing assets? I honestly donít know. Itís similar, but different; letís leave it at that. But because the two games have been so tied-at-the-hip for the last 25 years, you constantly see SNES Dracula X being held up in Rondoís light. And for that reason it is usually trashed by gamers and critics alike.

And thatís fair. To a degree. Rondo of Blood is inarguably the better game. Iíve played through both games, and feel thatís a completely fair assessment. No one will argue otherwise.

But these rankings are about what these Super Nintendo games are. Not what they arenít. Ya follow me? Because I didnít trash the ports of Doom and SimCity 2000 for being horrible versions of phenomenal games. I placed them in these rankings where I felt they belong, strictly based on their own merits in comparison to the rest of the library. And Iím doing the same thing here. If Rondo of Blood didnít exist, or if Dracula X was some completely unrelated property, this is where I would stick it. Definitely in the top 100 of the library. There might even be an argument for top 50. People are gonna balk at that, but thatís just the way it is. This is a quality Konami platformer, with great graphics, great sound, a lot of fun setpieces, and some killer atmosphere. Haters be damned.

Of course, I will mention that I have played through most of the 2D Castlevanias. And I will concede that this is a lesser entry in that canon. But thatís not anything against Dracula X. Itís a testament to the franchise. Because most Castlevania games are phenomenal. Itís a legendary lineage. Most of the games command top 25 spots in their respective libraries.

So, is this game better than Super Castlevania IV or Bloodlines? Probably not. Is it better than the original game or Castlevania III? I think very few people would say so. Better than Symphony of the Night? Obviously not. Better than the GBA or DS games? No. Rondo of Blood? Absolutely not.

But itís still a damn fun game, and one that every fan of the SNES should check out. And the final boss is not nearly as bad as people make him out to be.

Did I beat it?
I did.

#72 - Hagane

I just noticed how many rare and lucrative games Iíve got sitting in this part of my rankings. I guess it would make sense; these games are lucrative because people enjoy them and want to play them. Or, at least they want to buy them and let them sit on a shelf and think about playing them. Potayto potahto.

Hagane is one of the more infamous games in the library for a number of reasons. First, itís the most expensive cartridge there is, at least when talking about normal ďretailĒ non-promotional types of games. And second, itís known for being on that Mike Matei ďHidden GemsĒ video, where he mentioned it was a Blockbuster exclusive. Cue a decadeís worth of debate on the matter, and a million other videos dissecting its history.

But we donít need to talk about any of that. Other people have endlessly trod that ground. The only thing I care to talk about is just how good the game is, and how fun it is to play. And luckily for us, itís a great one.

When talking about the gameplay, the immediate comparison has to be Shinobi. Just like with Segaís well-known action franchise, Hagane stars a (robotic) ninja who needs to use his katana and shurikens to slice and dice his way through a million foes across increasingly difficult levels.

Furthermore, Hagane also has access to a ďgrappling hookĒ type of weapon, which he can use to hook himself to the ceiling, in addition to another grenade-like explosive weapon. You can toggle between the four different main weapons with a touch of the X button, and you will need to, repeatedly, because theyíre all highly situational if you want to get the best use out of them.

Thereís also a screen-clearing magic attack, which is limited in nature. Youíre almost always better off saving them for the bosses and minibosses. In fact, I think I can safely say that if you ever waste them on the mooks, youíre gonna have a bad time.

The last attack is a diving head stomp of sorts, where you can dash down into your enemies. Tricky to master, but oh so satisfying to pull off.

Finally, you have access to a couple different types of acrobatic moves, including a spinning ďdouble jumpĒ thing, though I hesitate to really call it a jump since it moves you horizontally and not vertically. That is, unless you hit a wall and bounce off of it. Thereís also a couple of dodge maneuvers that are super helpful in tight spots.

All in all, itís a great moveset, and really helps you feel like a badass ninja. Once youíre acclimated to the game, and get used to all of the moves at your disposal, you feel like a one-man wrecking crew.

The game is relatively short, with just half a dozen stages, but each stage is broken up into different sections. There are unlimited continues, but using one will send you back to the beginning of the entire stage. Not just the section you are on. Fortunately, lives can randomly drop from defeated enemies, and arenít especially hard to come by.

Every single one of the boss fights is also super cool, and super cool looking. Some of the later ones are among my favorites on the system. Especially the final boss that you must chase as it rises up to the top of a missile silo. Awesome stuff.

Of course, if there is one thing this game is known for, aside from its price and rarity, itís the punishing difficulty. And to be fair, it is a rather hard game. But itís not an overwhelming challenge, and itís certainly not unfair. There are plenty of much harder games in the library. Especially games without infinite continues. So unless youíre the sort of hardcore whacko who has to 1CC all of your games, I wouldnít let the gameís reputation scare you. Itís certainly not bad enough to deter people from playing it.

So yeah, one of my favorite action platformers on the system, and a great game that absolutely earns its ďhidden gemĒ moniker. I don't know that you need to go get a second mortgage to pay for a cart - thereís a lot of difference between collecting and gaming - but I do think you need to figure out a way to play it. Right now.

Did I beat it?

#71 - Equinox

Equinox is another one of those Super Nintendo games that I rented once upon a time when I was a little kid. I donít remember ever hearing about the game beforehand, and I donít remember studying the box art in the video store, or choosing to grab it. I just remember playing it. Perhaps my dad picked it out for me.

In any case, I had a total blast. It was a bit too tough for me to get much of anywhere, but I didnít care. I was just happy to play it. And happy to get lost in the gameís expansive world and mysterious dungeons.

For those who may not know (or havenít guessed by now), this is the sequel to Solstice on the NES. And maybe other systemsÖ PCs, probably. I havenít played that game very much, but Iím guessing a great number of you have, considering how ubiquitous the cartridges seem to be. And as far as I can tell, both games offer the same basic setup: navigate large underground dungeons from an overhead/isometric viewpoint, with a heavy reliance on puzzle-solving. Specifically, puzzles that make clever use of the angled perspective, which leads to a lot of deliberately misleading your depth perception. Or, more accurately, your lack of depth perception.

There is combat in Equinox, but itís super basic, and never a high point or anything. And the boss fights are exercises in frustration and pattern recognition, where a single hit sends you back to the beginning. The less said about them the better.

But thatís okay, because you donít play this game for the combat, or the boss fights. You play it for the wonderful puzzles, and this game delivers them in spades. Seriously, there are hundreds of rooms across all of the dungeons, and it is EXTREMELY easy to get lost or stumped. But in a good way. Conquering this game without any sort of outside help could take you months. And you'll want to draw your own maps. You'll absolutely need them if you want to get through the later dungeons.

But thatís a good thing. Because the exploration is so fun, and finally conquering a tough dungeon is so satisfying, that I absolutely recommend you do it. Play the game, draw your maps, have patience, and get lost in the world. You won't regret it.

Did I beat it?
Another tough one, but I conquered it.

#70 - Goof Troop

Is this the final Disney game on the list? I think it is. And for good reason: this is a great game. Easily one of the best cooperative experiences on the Super Nintendo, easily one of the best puzzle games on the system, and easily one of the best games put out by the house of Mega Man.

Now, I havenít watched the Goof Troop television show in at least 25 years, but I feel safe in saying there werenít too many episodes set on tropical islands. And I donít recall Goofyís neighbor Pete commandeering any pirate ships. I guess Capcom needed to exercise a little artistic liberty in order to make the game work.

Gameplay is kind of like a more puzzle-oriented version of The Legend of Zelda. Well, that doesnít really make any sense - Zelda games are super puzzle-oriented. So I guess itís like a Zelda game withÖ less combat? Uh, no thatís not really accurate either. A Zelda game without the inventory? And with the addition of cooperative play? And a procession of stages as opposed to an overworld with dungeons? Yeah, I guess thatís true enough.

And make no mistake, when I say thereís cooperative play, I mean itís the only way to play this game. Do not bother playing solo; youíre only doing yourself a disservice by experiencing the game in a way it was not meant to be played. Because the 2-player mode is awesome. One of the best cooperative experiences I had on the system. And one of the only games that I managed to convince my non-gamer wife to play through with me. All the way through. And even she was addicted. Thatís the ultimate testament of a game, when it can suck in someone who would normally never consider playing it.

So grab this game, grab a friend, and lose track of time for a few hours.

Did I beat it?
Yes, including once with my wife. Some day I'll do it again with my sons.

#69 - Cybernator

Cybernator aka Assault Suits Valken aka the sequel to Target Earth on Genesis (probably) aka the game that is totally not related to Metal Warriors even though it really, really, really seems like they are related.

I love this game. It has a lot of flaws - namely, itís way too short, the difficulty is too uneven, and the story is completely incoherent - but I donít care. I don't care because I have a ball every time I play through it. Which is something that happens a lot. Just writing about it kinda makes me want to play through it again. Right this very moment.

Maybe I love it because Iím a huge sucker for giant Japanese mecha. Who isn't? Theyíre pretty much the coolest thing ever. Or maybe IĎm just a sucker for big flashy setpieces in my games. God knows Cybernator has enough of those. Itís probably both things. But theyíre served up in spades, so I ainít complaining.

Gameplay is relatively nuanced for the genre. Your giant robot has a nice arsenal of weapons, all of which can be permanently upgraded. It can also boost into the air, fire in every direction, lock its direction of fire, and even whip out a giant shield which protects it from attacks.

The levels are great too. Most of them are relatively linear progressions through corridors and open space-faring sections, but they have a nice variety to them. And the final boss is epic, one of my favorites on the system. I wonít spoil it, but they nailed the challenge there.

Now, all of the accolades aside, I donít feel like many people are gonna argue that Cybernator is a better game than Metal Warriors (or Gun Hazard for that matter). As fun as the gameplay is, Metal Warriors added many more elements that fleshed the formula out even more. In addition, it added a multiplayer mode which is simply sublime to play. So as much as I feel like I just gushed about Cybernator, I canít help but compare it against the superior follow-up that LucasArts gave us.

Did I beat it?
Many, many times. That's becoming a bit of a theme, right?

#68 - Soul Blazer

Right now Iím sitting in my man cave, surrounded by thousands of video games, trying to figure out what the hell Iím gonna write about for this installment. What can I possibly come up with thatís fresh or original? I mean, does anyone really need a basic recap of what Soul Blazer is all about? I can cover that in a few sentences:

Itís an action RPG, that makes up a loose trilogy with Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, where clearing dungeons gradually restores the worldís destroyed villages, kinda similar to the way you rebuild the world in games like Actraiser or Dark Cloud for the PlayStation 2.

There you go, thatís the game in a nutshell.

I guess one thing that just occurred to me is just how much I appear to love action RPGs. I mean, most of them did very well in my rankings. I think Lord of the Rings and King Arthur are the only two that got any sort of negative reaction from me, and that was despite my efforts to love the both of them.

In fact, looking around at the millions of carts and discs that are piled on my shelves, Iím suddenly blown away by just how many action RPGs Iím now realizing I own. Theyíre everywhere. I swear Iíve got every Ys game known to man. Iíve got every hack-and-slash game on the PS2 that is even remotely related to Baldurís Gate Dark Alliance. Iíve bought an alarming number of Kingdom Hearts games, for some reason. Iíve bought Vagrant Story and Legend of Mana over and over and over again. Iíve purchased every Zelda and Zelda clone that Iíve been able to get my hands on. I know those arenít generally considered action RPGs, but itís close enough for me. All of it. I naturally seem to gravitate towards these games.

And I think itís really easy to understand why. Theyíre great. I mean, obviously theyíre great. But theyíre also deep, yet accessible at the same time. I guess thatís the genius of the genre. You can have your cake and eat it too. I mean, how many times have we all purchased a huge 80-hour JRPG, and had to shelve it because we know it takes a commitment, and we donít have the energy or bandwidth to deal with it at that given moment?

But action RPGs? Usually lean and mean, and easy to jump into. I never have problems making space for them at the top of my backlog, and always seem to find the time to get through them. And I almost always have a really good time.

The Quintet games for Super Nintendo are no exception. Theyíre super easy to get into, theyíre super easy to burn hours with, and they keep you engaged without demanding a ton from you. Sometimes thatís all you want from a game. Thatís something I often want from my games.

So I guess that makes these the video game equivalent of comfort food.

Did I beat it?

#67 - Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals

A while back, I wrote up Lufia & the Fortress of Doom and Breath of Fire, almost as one collective, two-part entry. I attached the two games at the hip because I almost consider them to be two different sides of the same coin. Two different games that initially seem to promise the world, but end up delivering very basic experiences, not really doing a single thing to set themselves apart from the RPG pack.

I think the developers over at Neverland and Capcom must have realized this as well, because both games got sequels that tried to rectify all of their predecessors' problems. Breath of Fire II came along, and instead of merely imitating Dragon Quest, tried to outdo it with a bigger quest, better graphics, more characters, more secrets, more mini-games, more everything. And it succeeded, to some extent. BoF2 is undeniably an improvement over the first game.

But what about Lufia II? How could Natsume and Neverland possibly improve upon the first game? I mean, for all its strengths (whatever those may be), I donít think many people would argue that it wasnít just about the mostÖ well, plain and generic, as a Super Nintendo JRPG experience can be. Was it an enjoyable game? Sure. But I donít see anyone on the internet crowing over the strength of its storyline, the innovation of its combat system, or the ingenuity of its dungeons.

So they did the same thing Capcom did. They tried to improve every single little thing in the game. In fact, not only did they improve everything, but they went back to the drawing board in one crucial area: the dungeons.

You see, anyone who is a fan of this game will always rave about the same thing: the puzzles. The dungeons have had a complete overhaul (including the removal of random encounters) and now place a major emphasis on puzzle-solving. And it works. Theyíre some of the most enjoyable on the system, really only rivaled by the likes of Brain Lord. And thatís a very good thing, because this series needed something like that to help keep the gameplay engaging.

Not every game can have the insanely good storytelling of a Final Fantasy III or a Chrono Trigger. And they canít deliver the timeless characters that those games gave us. But they can win us over with great gameplay.

I also have to speak about the absolutely wonderful ďAncient CaveĒ that Lufia II boasts. What the hell is that? A bonus dungeon, to put it simple. Hardly the biggest selling point for most JRPGs.

But this one is different. Itís insanely addictive, and insanely fun. I donít want to spoil too much about it, but just know that I have no problem calling it the highlight of the game, and easily one of the best ďextrasĒ in the entire Super Nintendo library. I donít know if it is worth the price of admission alone, but I recommend any fan of JRPGs play this game, and I recommend every single one of them take the Ancient Cave out for a spin.

So, if youíre in need of a JRPG fix, and youíve already exhausted the systemís well-known heavy hitters, this is absolutely one of the next titles up. Itís not in that absolute top tier of games, but it is the next best thing.

Did I beat it?
You know it!

#66 - The Lost Vikings

#65 - The Lost Vikings 2

I love this series. Itís such a perfect cooperative experience. And theyíre such great puzzle games. I heartily recommend them to anyone and everyone who considers themselves any sort of fan of either.

Of course, in addition to ďgreatĒ I also mean ďmaddeningly frustrating.Ē Maybe some of the most frustrating titles on the entire system. If there are any two-player games on the Super Nintendo that are gonna make you want to kill your buddy, itís this duo.

Both games place you in charge of three goofy vikings namedÖ uh, Olaf andÖ well I forget. Probably Leif and Erik or something. Anyway, these three doofuses find themselves lost in time (twice) with only a series of portals and magical helpers to assist in getting them back home. This means getting through several dozen levels of escalating difficulty.

Now, what sets these games apart from your typical platformers is the way you need to use each vikingís unique skillset in order to traverse through each of the levels. Erik (I cheated and looked their names up for this part) is the speedy viking, who can jump high, swim through deep water, and bust open walls with his head. Olaf carries a large shield to protect against enemy attacks and fire-breathing hazards, and in addition can rip an explosive fart that tears apart any blocks that are beneath him. And finally, Baleog has the trioís only real means of attack with his sword and bionic arm, which can also be used to retrieve hard-to-reach goodies.

Where the gameplay really shines is (like I already said) when youíre adventuring with another player. See, when playing solo you have to manually switch between the three vikings in order to access their unique abilities. That's something you will be doing A LOT. Thereís a lot of back and forth, a lot of trial and error, and itís a much less fulfilling experience. But with a friend, the fun really takes off. You work in tandem, and the entire experience is streamlined. Itís easily the preferred way to play the games.

Öassuming you can laugh at your stupid mistakes and stupid deaths. And I mean hundreds upon hundreds of deaths. These games are no joke when it comes to difficulty, and the margin for error because slimmer and slimmer with each level.

As far as differences between the two games, theyíre pretty minimal. The Lost Vikings 2 (aka Norse by Norsewest, which is actually the version I grew up with) adds two additional characters - a dragon and a wolf - but otherwise keeps the exact same formula. Which isnít a bad thing - donít fix what ainít broke. It does ratchet up the difficulty even higher, which is probably exactly what people who play through the first game would want. But I do mean harder. Iíve had the game for almost 25 years, and across multiple playthrough attempts Iíve never reached the end. Some dayÖ

So check these games out. See what Blizzard was up to before they conquered the gaming world. Just make sure to bring a buddy along.

Did I beat the first game?
I did!
Did I beat the sequel?
I didn't! This game always kicks my ass.

#64 - Tiny Toons Adventures Wacky Sports Challenge

I have to confess that I am not a huge fan of track-and-field-styled video games. I have every single one that was released for the NES and SNES, and I honestly canít be bothered to play most of them. Not even the Konami ones. I don't know why, I just find them boring. And I know Iím something of an exception to that rule, because Iíve busted a number of them out at game nights Iíve hosted, and they always seem to be a hit. A hit with everyone but me.

That being said, there is one track-and-field game that I do like. Hell, one game that I love. Of course Iím talking about Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge. It's one of the best games Konami put out on the Super Nintendo, and nearly one of the top 50 games on the system.

As the title suggests, it's a collection of "wacky sports" minigames:

Ice Cream Throw - Aim your cursor and take down the targets before your opponents can. Simple, but a lot of fun.

Chicken Dash - This one is gonna be tough to explain. You have to power up your run by backing up into a giant rubber band, which launches towards a cliff. The further you get, the more points you get, but if you overshoot you fall over the edge and lose. Lots of trial and error here, which means this is one of the lesser events.

Weightlifting - Button mashing, with a few timing wrinkles thrown in. One player is eliminated per round, so itís a ďlast man standingĒ sort of thing. Itís good for what it is.

Saucer Throw - Maybe my absolute favorite event. Itís the discus throw, and is dependent on your speed of rotation, your direction, and the angle of your launch. Very fun, and very tricky to get the best possible distances.

Obstacle Course - A footrace where you try to outmaneuver the other players to various goodies that are lying around, while avoiding hurdles and pits and other obstacles. Itís fun with other players, but is basically just a chaotic mess. In a good way.

Birdman Contest - Another strange one. Fly through the sky, following a biplane that drops points. Ends with a bombing run on Montana Maxís mansion.

Ski Race - Exactly the same as the chicken race, but with a snow theme.

Pole Vault - Similar to the saucer throw, this is a mix of button mashing and timing. Itís also pretty hard to figure out, but once you do, itís a lot of fun as well.

Bungee Jump - A Mode 7 level where you drop down onto a large flashing ďboardĒ and try to run over various panels that give you points, bonuses, time extensions, and various other things. Fun, but not a lot of depth.

Log Cutting - A reskin of the weight lifting, with slightly different timing and goals.

Swimming Race - A 2D version of the mad dash racing we saw with Obstacle Course and Ski Race. More chaotic fun.

Hammer Bash - Button mash to send your rocket into orbit, and then try to bash your opponentís rockets into various obstacles that float across the screen. Another winner.

A hell of a lineup, right? Usually these kinds of video games offer a fraction of that number of minigames.

And of course everything else screams production value, just like youíd expect from Konami. Killer graphics, animation, controls, all of it. They never let us down.

So if you want a party game, and youíre tired of Super Bomberman, grab this. It might not be everyoneís cup of tea, but I think youíll find a winner. In fact, I guarantee you will.

Did I beat it?
Uh... maybe? I have played this quite a bit, and I have beat it on the lower difficulties. But in typical Konami fashion you don't get the credits until you clear Hard or Very Hard or something. Mostly I just play the multiplayer.

#63 - Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

#62 - Street Fighter II: Turbo

#61 - Super Street Fighter II

Okay, so, I knew going into this whole thing that a handful of games - and the placements I gave them - were gonna stir up some controversy. And by controversy, I mean cause a handful of bored readers on the internet to roll their eyes and call me an idiot.

NBA Jam and the Mortal Kombats were some of those games. Secret of Mana, which I just covered, is gonna be one of those games.

But Street Fighter II? Thatís where Iím really straying from the pack. I mean, who doesnít love this game? Who doesnít acknowledge its place in gaming history? Who doesnít remember what an absolute phenomenon it was upon release? Who didnít play it for thousands of hours with their buddies?

Well, Iím intimately aware of all of those things. I was forced to play it myself for hundreds of hours with my friends back in the early 1990s, and Iím painfully aware of how much people still adore these games to this day.

And thatís fine, because I can acknowledge that theyíre great. Some of the greatest fighting games in history. Maybe still the greatest games in fighting history. Certainly the most influential.

And I can admit that I came around on them, to a degree. While I mostly detested having to play them during their original run (probably because I got so sick of them), when I got my own copy of Turbo a few years after the hype had died down, and actually put in the time to play through it and master the mechanics, I must admit Iíd had a good time with it. A good enough time to beat it on every difficulty with every character. Yes, I was starved for games to play, but I still gladly put the time in.

Even today, when I have gaming parties at my house, and we stray into fighting game territory with Mortal Kombat II or Super Smash Bros. or whatever, Street Fighter II is always the game I feel the most comfortable with.

And yes, I realize some people are going to object to me lumping the original game, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II, and Street Fighter Alpha 2, all together like this. In fact, I expect several detailed explanations on why Alpha 2 needs to be much lower, or much higher. And thatís okay; some people will feel strongly about the improvements made with Turbo and Super, or feel strongly about the load times in Alpha 2. I didnít. I split them up a number of times when shuffling games around, but always ended up back where I started, with grouping them together. At the end of the day it just feels like the right move to me.

So, bitch me out, or roll your eyes if you must. I went with honest rankings, instead of pandering to the crowd. Obviously these games will have a higher placement with people who deem themselves superfans of the franchise. Or even just regular fans. Theyíre great games, just not my absolute favorites.

OK, fineÖ If I had a gun to my head, Iíd say Alpha 2 is the single best game of the bunch. Are you happy now? And yes, I expect to hear about it.

In fact, screw it. I'm bumping Alpha 2 up in the rankings. At the very last second. I don't care.

*removes Alpha 2 from the #60 spot*

Did I beat Street Fighter II?
A million times.
Did I beat Turbo?
A million times.
Did I beat Super?
Several times.

#60 - Gradius III

When people talk about Gradius III for Super Nintendo, there's one thing that always gets mentioned: slowdown. Heaps and heaps of god-forsaken slowdown. Thatís what this game is known for, thatís what people remember it for, thatís its legacy.

And to be fair, there is a shit-ton of slowdown. Itís not as bad as Super R-Type - which was real bad - but itís still extremely noticeable, and happens extremely frequently. You canít escape it. Thatís just the reality for this game, just like it was with a lot of the early titles that were released in the first year of the Super Nintendoís life.

But you know what? Iím okay with it. In fact, I barely care. Honestly. Iím not the sort of guy to get hung up on technical details. And I find thatís true for all games, not just the Super Nintendo. Some brand new Switch game comes out and people lose their minds because it canít maintain 30 frames per second? Doesn't phase me one iota. Godís truth. Itís not going to affect my playing experience, and - honestly - I probably wonít even notice.

So when I play Gradius III, I have a ball. Because I love the Gradius formula. The weapons, the way you choose your power-ups, the level where you have to navigate a series of tight corridors, the rotating Moai statuesÖ I love all of it. I own every game in the series that got an American release, and play each and every one of them to death. It is one of the shmup genreís crown jewel franchises.

And for a series consisting of nothing but great games, Gradius III has a claim for being the best of the bunch. I know most people will probably choose Gradius V or Gradius Gaiden, or maybe even the original game, but III is the game thatís had the biggest impact on me. And to this day, it's still the game I go back to the most. Granted, part of that could be nostalgia, since this is the first game in the series that I owned and played. And yeah, I had added incentive to revisit the game because I had to rank it and write this little summary. But I feel a spot in the top 100 is very much deserved. This is absolutely one of the most fun games on the system, and some of Konamiís best work in the genre.

So, if you donít get hung up on the technical problems, and you like a challenging game that youíre not going to be clearing anytime soon, Gradius III is the game for you. One of the very best shmups on the system, one of the best Konami games on the system, and absolutely one of the best overall games in the Super Nintendo library.

Did I beat it?
I did. Another one that took me years and years before I was finally able to conquer it.

#59 - Harvest Moon

Story time. And I can already tell this is gonna be a long one, so consider this fair warning.

When I was in high school - long after the Super Nintendoís heyday - I bonded with a group of guys over video games. Guys that Iím still great friends with to this day. One of them was even a groomsman at my wedding. And it wasnít just any particular game that kicked off that bond, it was the one and only Chrono Trigger. That was the catalyst. Actually, let me back up even further.

Freshman year of high school, I began hanging out with a new friend that Iíll call Brad. I donít remember what exactly initiated that burgeoning friendship, or where I even first met him. Perhaps we were both on the football team together, maybe? Iím not sure. But we hung out, went out to the movies (Pearl Harbor and The Mummy Returns, Iím clearly a man of refined taste), and did everything we could to kindle a real bromance.

It didnít work. The dude never had anything interesting to say, had no real interests that overlapped with my own, and didnít really offer much in the way of further social links. How heartlessly mercenary of me, right?

But he did invite me over to the house of another friend of his (weíll call him Miles), where weÖ well, I don't remember exactly what we did. Sat around, probably. But at some point we started talking about video games, and before long me and this new friend both discovered our mutual love of Heroes of Might and Magic III. That started us down a gaming discussion rabbit hole, which eventually led him to his pride and joy: a SNES emulator, and a huge library of ROMs. Keep in mind this was circa 2000, when such a thing was moderately exotic. And the ROM he wanted to show off the most? Chrono Trigger.


My response?

ďOh, yeahÖ I love Chrono Trigger. Play through it all the time. I actually have the cart. And Final Fantasy III. And Secret of Mana. Basically all of the big SNES RPGs.Ē

Boom, weíve been close friends for over 20 years, stemming from that conversation. Bromance indeed.

Eventually that led me into a whole new circle of friends, which I then merged with my existing circle of friends, resulting in one mega circle of friends. Many of those people are still great friends to this day. And I like to think I was at least partially responsible for all of that happening.

Anyway, in that group was another person, weíll call him Ron (I apologize for introducing so many characters to keep track of with this story), whom I also immediately made a connection with. We were both into various types of nerd culture. We both had the exact same absurdist sense of humor (weíd dupe unsuspecting acquaintances into renting Spaulding Gray movies). And we both loved Super Nintendo RPGs.

And yes, I realize most everyone loves SNES RPGs. Thatís not an uncommon thing. But it was fairly uncommon for a ďjockĒ in 2001 who only secretly played games like Baldurís Gate and Might and Magic in between practices. I had never talked to anyone about these types of games before all of this went down.

Anyway, the one game that Ron owned that I had never gotten a chance to play was the original Harvest Moon. In fact, I was only vaguely aware of Harvest Moonís existence, stemming mostly from whatever throwaway feature it got in Nintendo Power. But Ron, bless his heart, lent me his cart. and I got to play all the way through it. I plowed all of the fields, harvested all of the crops, married the girl, had all of the kids, and reunited with my parents. The whole playthrough. In 2001. Which means I temporarily stopped playing games like Half Life, Grand Theft Auto III, Counter-Strike, and everything else. I stopped playing all of the great new-fangled games, so that I could get sucked into a 16-bit farming simulation. It was that great.

In 2021, Ron, my longtime friend, the youngest PhD Iíve ever known, and one of the great success stories from my graduating class, took his own life, leaving behind a wife and two young children. I still try to see them regularly, knowing just how hard it has been them. Itís impossible to fully understand what demons haunted Ron, or what his motivations were. I donít think anyone will ever know. But Iíll always remember a conversation I had with him in college, when I came out to visit.

During that visit, at some point late at night after we had all imbibed a million drinks, Ron reminded me that I had never returned his copy of Harvest Moon. It had been sitting, gathering dust in some drawer at my fatherís house for a number of years. Mortified, I vowed to immediately figure out where it was when I got home, and ship it to him (which I did). Was he pissed that Iíd held onto his rare game all those years? Pissed that Iíd been selfish enough to not respect his property? Pissed that I had been careless with something that was important to him?

No, he just wanted an excuse to talk about old games with an old friend. Which we did, all night.

Did I beat it?

#58 - Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Everyone seems to love this game. And how can you blame them? Zombies. Axe-wielding maniacs. Sandworms. Massive babies. Layers upon layers of horror movie fan service. And if there is one thing us horror fans love, itís fan service.

Luckily, itís also a pretty sweet little game. Dozens of levels, lots of fun weapons, sweet, sweet cooperative play. Thereís a ton of things to love, and a lot of content to get through. And the devious challenge? Enough to keep any gamer occupied for days or weeks.

Now, here is where I get critical. Because, though I think highly of the game, and agree that it deserves much of the praise that is heaped upon it, it still represents something of a missed opportunity. In a way. Hear me out.

First off, the controls. Why oh why couldnít they use the twin stick, Robotron/Smash TV-style control setup? That should be a no-brainer. Any overhead shooter in the history of video gaming should use that control style. I donít see how thatís even debatable.

Second, the stupid password system. You only get a new password every couple of levels, and they donít track your inventory. So the later parts of the game - which practically require that you carry a built-up arsenal - become extremely challenging, but not in a good way. More of a ďpull your hair out and scream at the TVĒ kind of challenging.

Third, the final boss. Jesus Christ. Iíll just leave it at that.

Anyway, missteps aside, this is absolutely a great game that everyone should play. I donít want my grievances to sound overblown, so just know that they are nit-picks, and nothing more. So grab it, play it, preferably with a buddy, and have a great time.

Did I beat it?
No! This is another one where the final boss has been my roadblock. Some day...

#57 - Dragon View

Ever heard of this one? Probably not. And if I told you it was the sequel to Drakkhen, would you believe me? Would you care? Well, you should. Because this game is awesome. Truly, one of the most unheralded, great games on the system. Something that deserved a lot more attention than it ever received.

Now, if you may remember, I actually kind of like Drakkhen. I like it enough that I even put it under the ďguilty pleasures'' section of the rankings. It was the kind of experience where I could recognize its (many) flaws, and understand why most people canít stand playing it, but none of that mattered to me because I had such a good time with it. Not only did I play through the whole thing, I may do it again some day.

Dragon View is an improvement across the board. In fact, itís so completely different that the two games may as well have no relation. The only single thing they have in common is the 3D overworld you explore. The ugly, low-pixel, slow-moving, drab overworld. Itís a lot less prevalent here. But most everything else is completely different.

For example, in Drakkhen when you encounter an enemy on the world map, or enter any of the gameís indoor areas, the game switches to a 3rd-person viewpoint. From there you navigate small areas, and/or engage in automated real-time combat. Itís kind of a mess. A glorious mess in my opinion, but a mess nonetheless.

Dragon View keeps the world map, but does away with the janky combat, and the party of adventurers. Instead, you have a single hero that you have direct control over. And instead of the hodge-podge of D&D-esque attacks and spells flying all over the place, itís a straightforward action RPG. Swing your sword, launch your spells, jump over pits, and so forth.

Itís a huge improvement. The combat is a lot of fun, and stays consistently engaging for the entire playthrough. And the challenge level is also right on the money. The ďdungeonsĒ and bosses are always challenging, and you always have the option to grind out levels or find better gear, but things never feel too hard or too easy. Nothing ever gets too out of whack.

And itís a decent-sized quest too. The overworld is rather large, and contains a number of towns, dungeons, and secret areas to explore. Itís not the longest RPG on the system, not even close, but you get your moneyís worth.

The controls are also razor sharp, the enemy and boss designs are fun, the music gets the job done, just a complete package all around. The story is a bit lacking, as it usually is with Super Nintendo action RPGs, but thatís about the closest thing I have to a complaint.

So, if youíve played through your Secret of Manas and your Illusion of Gaias, and you want something else to scratch that action RPG itch, this is absolutely one of my foremost recommendations. Itís the sort of game that should please just about everyone and anyone, and keep you engaged for the duration. Truly, one of the systemís genuine hidden gems.

Did I beat it?
Yes. Have I mentioned my track record with beating the RPGs in this library? Very few got the best of me.

#56 - Super Castlevania IV

I feel like there are two different kinds of people when it comes to Super Castlevania IV.

There's the first kind, who believe this is one of the best games on the system. Possibly in the top 10. Definitely in the top 25. They're the people who adore the soundtrack, adore the Mode 7 effects, adore Simon's "limp" whip, and play through the game every October. Ritualistically.

Then there is the other kind of person. They're the ones who believe this game is one of the most overrated titles in the Super Nintendo library. They believe it's a weaker entry in the series, that features a neutered difficulty level, too many janky mechanics, uneven levels and boss fights, and a number of re-hashed elements from the first game in the franchise.

I think both groups are correct, to a degree. This is a great game thatís a ton of fun to play through. Itís also an uneven experience, and arguably one of the weaker classic Castlevania games. Yeah, I said it. But just like with Dracula X, which I just talked about, even a weaker Castlevania game is a superior gaming experience.

I mean, who doesnít love whipping vampires and werewolves in the face? Who doesnít love facing off against giant hydras or Frankenstein creatures? Who doesnít love the challenge of the Clock Tower levels, or dodging those damnable mermen? Who doesnít love finally taking down Death himself?

And, yes, I do believe that Simonís added abilities, including the ability to send his whip out at new angles, clash a bit with the classic level designs and mechanics that were so rigidly defined with the original NES trilogy.

I also think that the struggle to marry the older design with newer ideas is a big reason why the franchise moved a few years later into the ďMetroidvaniaĒ style of play thatís dominated the franchise since. Which I think was a good move. I love the old style, but I think the more open-ended direction of the newer games is a natural evolution. And it is telling that many people still consider Castlevania III to be the seriesí peak, and not this game. And why you see games like Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and Curse of the Moon 2 being directly inspired by that title and not this one.

So absolutely give this game your time, and enjoy it. Just have slightly tempered expectations. Itís not an elite Castlevania game, not by a long shot. And itís not even one of my absolute favorite Konami games on the Super Nintendo. But it still remains a highly enjoyable experience that everyone should play through once or twice. Or annually.

Did I beat it?
Yeah. One of the easier 'vania titles, if anything.

#55 - Shadowrun

Shadowrun is a must-play game for the Super Nintendo. Full stop. It offers such a unique experience, with such a fully-realized world that just oozes atmosphere, that anyone with even a modicum of interest in SNES RPGs has to give it a spin. Must give it a spin.

Actually, let me slow down, because I shouldnít even be calling this an RPG. Itís more like a hybrid of point-and-click adventure and RPG. But mostly adventure. There is combat, and stats, and skills, level-ups, boss fights, and everything else, but the majority of your time is gonna be spent solving puzzles, figuring out where to go, and figuring out who to talk to.

And frankly, thatís awesome. Because there is an absolute dearth of adventure games on the SNES. Really, thereís just a handful of them, depending on how loose you want to get with defining the genre. And even fewer that I would call great games. So Shadowrun was an extreme breath of fresh air when I finally got around to playing through the whole thing.

The story is totally awesome. I donít want to spoil too much, but it starts with a botched ďdelivery,Ē an attempted assassination, and amnesia. All relatively trope-y things in the cyberpunk genre. But then it follows that up with junkyard gangs, and gladiator matches, and frickiní dragons. I donít know much about the wider Shadowrun universe, but this game makes me want to jump into it.

The controls are good, for what they are. It's the sort of game that begs for a mouse and keyboard, and not a Super Nintendo controller, but what Beam Software came up with gets the job done well enough. Thereís minimal frustration with trying to use the D-Pad to move your cursor around (a few gladiator fights aside), and I never felt like I was fighting the game, trying to get my guy to do what I wanted.

The difficulty can be a bit uneven at times, and itís not always clear what you need to do, but I figure that pretty much comes with the territory with this genre. If you werenít forced to spend some time trying to solve the puzzles or sort out the progression, you wouldnít have as much opportunity to explore the world and soak in the atmosphere. And atmosphere is key with adventure games. You want to spend time getting absorbed, chatting with all of the characters, and digging through all of the locations. Thatís part of the genreís charm.

Really, as I write this, Iím struggling to come up with many negatives at all. In fact, I canít come up with much of anything that isnít more than a nitpick. Are the graphics amazing? No, but they have a lot of character. Is the soundtrack great? No, but itís good. Do all of the puzzles make complete sense? I mean, honestly, itís way above par. Certainly better than something like Young Merlin.

So, thatís it. Iím wrapping this up because itís just all superlatives at this point, and anything else I say will just be redundant. I had a wonderful time with this game, and I think many of you will as well. Itís not a game for people that need instant gratification, and itís definitely not like your typical SNES RPG. Especially not like any of the JRPGs. But it is absolutely one of the best games on the system, and something everyone should at least give a try.

Did I beat it?
I did. I killed everyone, killed a dragon, and got the girl. Probably.

#54 - Battletoads Double Dragon

Across my hundreds of write-ups, Iíve mentioned several times that Battletoads Double Dragon was one of the very first games I ever owned. And I mean very first. When I got my SNES console for Christmas in 1993, I was also gifted Madden NFL Ď94, and this game. So youíll have to understand if I harbor some long-standing positive bias and nostalgia for the title. I mean, we all love our childhood games, right? And I was lucky enough to own a lot of great ones. And I have no qualms calling this a great game.

For a little background, the early 90s were a time when companies were just beginning to experiment with the idea of a crossover. And Iím saying that without any facts whatsoever to back me up. Actually, come to mind, there was a Flintstones/Jetsons crossover in the 70s(?), and Scooby Doo crossed over with everyone and anyone, so I donít really know what Iím talking about. I guess it just seemed like the crossover was a big deal at the time. Aliens vs Predator. Aliens vs Batman. Aliens vs Superman. Batman vs Superman. Robocop vs The Terminator. The ďvsĒ moniker was a hot item.

So it makes sense that Rare(ware) andÖ uh, whoever licensed off the Lee brothers, got in on the action. Though thinking of this as a true Battletoads and Double Dragon mixture is not really accurate. Really, itís a Battletoads game with a lot of Double Dragon window dressing. The varied levels and types of gameplay are much more reminiscent of the former, with token DD enemies and bosses occasionally thrown in. Which is fine by me, Battletoads is sweet.

Speaking of the varied levels, I feel like I have to shine the spotlight on each and every one of them, because they deserve it:

Tail of the Ratship - Probably the most straightforward stage. Move across the hull of a gigantic spaceship, destroying basic mooks, some floating shooty robot things, and large segmented hands that try to smash down on top of you. The boss is our old friend Abobo.

Blag Alley - Begins with some fights against those long-legged walker things from the first level of the original Battletoads, then transitions into the worldís easiest Turbo Tunnel, and ends with a fight against Big Blag that is very similar to his first Battletoads appearance.

Ropes 'N' Roper - One of two very long 2D stages. This battle across the ship's innermost compartments has sections from the Wookie Pit, the whip-wielding Linda from Double Dragon, and ends in a battle against Machine Gun Willy (but heís called Roper now).

Ratship Rumble - In a major twist, this level moves you off the large ship youíve been traveling across, and into outer space, with action that is reminiscent of the arcade classic Asteroids. After some tense fights against enemy UFOs, you take on the massive spaceship in a one-on-one dogfight.

Missile Mayhem - Another very long 2D stage; this one is also full of hazards, and is easily the hardest level in the game. Caps off with a fight against Robo-Manus.

Shadow Boss Showdown - A short stage, ending with a fight against the Shadow Boss. He looks nothing like his NES incarnation(s).

Armageddon II: The Showdown - Another short stage, ending with a fight against the Dark Queen.

Of course, seven levels is quite a bit fewer than the number we saw with Battletoads, and it is missing out on some of that seriesí trademark stages like the Snake Pit and the Rat Race. Some people may see that as a good thing, but Iíd have liked to see them. And the less said about the neutered Turbo Tunnel, the better.

But even without the missing stages, I think the seven we did get carry their own weight. The space level is great, the 2D stages are challenging in a good way, and blasting fools with spinning jumpkicks and oversized fists is always, always a blast.

And I think the controls are perfect. I own every version of this game that exists, and find some of them to have various levels of unresponsiveness. But that is not an issue here.

The graphics are also over-the-top - which is what you would want with a Battletoads game - and look great in my opinion. I love how each of the bosses look, and even the mooks have nice designs. And the cartoonish animations for the Ďtoads and Lees are all great.

All in all, it adds up to a very fun Battletoads experience (with a dash of Double Dragon), with some great levels, some great boss fights, and a very demanding, but fair, difficulty level.

Hereís the other thing though: this is absolutely one of my favorite multiplayer games on the system. See, while the original Battletoads is known for basically being impossible in cooperative mode, this game gives you an option to play without being able to hurt each other. So if you actually want to progress, and see the whole game without handicapping each other, itís very doable thanks to that option. And if you want to drive each other crazy and ďaccidentally" kick each other off of cliffs, or smash their fingers while theyíre hanging on ledges, youíll have opportunities in spades.

It also makes for a killer deathmatch. See, level four is secretly one of the best ways to try and play competitively thanks to the depth of its physics, lock-on missiles, and slow-firing bullets. Donít believe me? Track down the game, find a level-select cheat, and go to town. Youíll thank me later.

Did I beat it?
Millions of times. I might have more completions with this game than any other.

#53 - Uniracers

Is Uniracers the best racer on the system? Not quite. But it can certainly make a claim.

Trying to sell this game to you guys is not going to be the easiest thing in the world, either. Just like Iím sure it wasnít easy for Nintendo to sell this game to consumers back in the day. I mean, a side-scrolling racing game? With unicycles? Doing tricks? With one of the most minimalist art designs across the entire Super Nintendo library? I canít imagine many of the gamers who have gone into this game blind have had high expectations.

And yet it works. It really, really works. The 2D perspective, the minimalism, the tricksÖ it all works. Nintendo did a hell of a job here, taking a weird, unorthodox idea that had no business making for a great video game, and somehow pulling it off.

The main single player campaign is split into 9 different groups of 5 stages. Those stages take three different forms, two of which are races (one against an opponent and another against the clock) and the other being a variety of ďstuntĒ tracks, where you need to complete tricks in order to try and attain high scores. Both track types are consistently fun.

The controls are simple, but effective. You pretty much just ďgoĒ and launch yourself into the air. But depth reveals itself in the way you can contort your unicycle in midair. Youíll want to do this to score points by pulling off tricks, and also to help stick your landings so that you donít lose speed. Oh, and tricks also give you a speed boost. So it pays to master all of the midair contortions that the game provides you. And they completely nailed these mechanics.

The game offers a ton of replay value too, because each collection of stages can be beaten for a bronze, silver, or gold medal. In sequence. So you can slowly master the stages, acquiring better and better times and scores, in order to unlock more challenges. It probably sounds like a great way to milk the same 45 stages for triple the game length - and it is - but it works. Because it takes practice to master the stages. Lots of practice. Getting the later gold medals, and beating the final 9th stage of the game, is no joke.

The game also offers a consistently great frame rate, which helps with the sense of speed. No doubt thatís why it offers such a stripped-down graphical style, but thatís not a bad thing. Itís a good trade-off to make.

So, overall, even though this sounds like a really strange game, and not one that jumps out as something you need to try out, I heavily recommend it. Solo or with a friend. The depth it offers, and the buttery smooth controls, make for a consistently great time playing it. So quell those doubts, and give it a spin.

Did I beat it?
Yes, this was another recent completion. I'm not sure if I beat absolutely everything, but I got the credits.

#52 - Street Fighter Alpha 2

See, here it is? Promoted at the last second to a few spots ahead of its predecessors.

Did I beat it?
Yep. Ryu is always my go-to.

#51 - Pilotwings

Pilotwings, the introductory installment to the long-running Nintendo franchise, and one of the Super Nintendoís launch games. I feel like itís a bit under-appreciated.

I mean, for one thing, in all these years the franchise has only seen three total games across all of Nintendoís consoles. This game, Pilotwings 64 for the Nintendo 64 (obviously), and Pilotwings Resort for 3DS. Two games in the 90s, and one since. And none of these games get much attention nowadays. Pretty much a completely dead and forgotten series.

Which is crazy to me. Theyíre all great games, they all helped launch beloved consoles, they all sold lots and lots of copies, and they were all critical successes. Fact check me on any of those things. Pilotwings should absolutely be a staple Nintendo franchise going into the 2020s.

But that never happened. Maybe itís because itís such an inherently unsexy genre. ďFlight simulation?Ē The only thing that sounds more boring than that is commodity trading. Which, unsexy as that is, also made for a couple of great Super Nintendo games. But no one wants to do those kinds of things when they can instead be blowing up giant space insects or whipping Dracula in the face.

But enough about why the series doesnít get the love it deserves. Instead letís talk about what this game is. And that is a tough series of challenges that you have to complete in batches in order to progress. Those stages can be grouped based on the type of vehicle or device you have at your disposal:

Plane - By far the easiest and most straightforward stages. Guide your plane through rings, land on runways, and donít crash. The controls are great, the challenge is on the money, and these are a lot of fun.

Skydiving - The shortest stages, though still surprisingly tricky. The perspective can make the landings a pain, but it doesn't stop it from being a good time.

Rocket Pack - Now things get interesting. These stages involve strapping a set of rockets onto your body, and using them to finesse your human missile through a series of rings, constantly trying to stay under control. The name of the game here is not overshooting your mark, which you will, over and over and over again. I love these stages.

Hang Glider - This is what breaks people. This is where the challenge shoots through the roof, and separates the men from the boys. Or the ladies from the girls. Use the wind currents to give you boosts into the air, and carefully manage your angles and speeds in order to hit your targets before you lose too much elevation. These stages are extremely hard by the end of the game.

Chopper - Finally, at the end of the game you get this bonus of sorts. Guide your rescue chopper through enemy territory, grabbing hostages, bombing turrets, and trying to get out alive. Fiendishly hard, I nonetheless found the experience quite enjoyable, and a nice change of pace from the rest of the game. A neat little cap to tie off the whole experience.

Now, anyone who has played this game can attest to how unforgiving some of these sections are. I cannot stress that enough. Most gamers will never have the patience to see many of the levels through to the end. Could Pilotwings have benefited from a slightly more forgiving progression system? Maybe. Could the hang glider sections have been smoothed out a bit? Yeah, probably. Could there have been an ďEasyĒ mode? Sure.

But I donít think any of that really detracts from the experience. It just gives you something to work towards, and skills to refine. Thatís not a bad thing, and for me, it helped give the game legs. All in all, it was a highly enjoyable experience.

Did I beat it?
Yes. I nearly had an aneuryism at several points, but I did it, dammit.