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Topping Up My SNES Classic... Suggestions?

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I think, both from some graphical similarities in spots and having names starting with "B", I also tend to group Brandish and Brain Lord together. They're very different from a gameplay standpoint, though - Brain Lord is much more traditional ARPG, while Brandish has that weird "rotate the screen" deal with no intermediate frames that makes navigation pretty challenging, especially on SNES where you don't have a mini-map on screen at all times.

But anyway! Brain Lord was a lot of fun. Very puzzle-heavy. And if you want to play Brandish, I highly recommend the PSP version, Dark Revenant.
 
Well, that's strange. I'm starting to develop a tolerance- perhaps even an appreciation!- for ActRaiser. It just confused the heck out of me as a kid, but now I'm starting to grasp the play mechanics of the world building segments. The first city, Fillmore, eases you into the gameplay, explaining what powers need to be used and where. You learn that you can expand the town by one square immediately after the "under construction" warning vanishes, speeding up your progress considerably. Also, the angel can protect your citizens by firing little cupid arrows at monsters as they attempt to burn down houses and kidnap strings of villagers. It's not super deep, but it's compulsive, and it's just easy enough to learn without the need for an instruction manual. That's in contrast to Herzog Zwei, which desperately needs a tutorial and didn't get one until it was released for the Switch many years after its Genesis debut.

The action scenes still kind of bite, though. They're stiff, simplistic, and aside from the orchestral music by Yuzo Koshiro, feel a bit undercooked. You expect a little more punch from a Super NES platformer, and ActRaiser doesn't deliver. They're integrated well with the world building, at least. You seal off all the monster squares in a town, and the citizens beg you to finish off some minotaur that's menacing them from a nearby cave, forcing you to switch to the side view to clean house. The side-scrolling segments could be improved, but you don't spend so much time in combat that you start to resent it.
 

Ghost from Spelunker

BAG
(They/Him)
Regarding the SMW2 save state clocked in at 76 hours, it looks like the previous owners got to the end of world five. Are there eight worlds in this game, as is tradition? The last stage they reached was a nightmare of platforms suspended over bottomless pits and these weird gray Jujubee people that just won't die no matter what. I'm not overly familiar with the game, preferring the original, plain but satisfying Super Mario World. I think I cleared like, two worlds in the Game Boy Advance port, maybe slightly less.

As much as I liek Yoshi's Island, the levels are painfully long, especially after playing Super Mario 3 and World. And the red coins/flowers/30 stars in every level started to feel more like a Rare collectathon. And because they are in almost every level (secret levels, I forget), you have to be in OCD mode so much.
Mario World did it better: levels that don't ask you to commit to walking 500 miles, and only the red spots on the map had secrets, which were pretty simple compared to YI. YI did have some nice boss battles though.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
Literally every level has the 100 points. It's just that the extra levels tend to be short enough that none of the collectibles are actually hidden
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Honestly, the best way to play Yoshi's Island is to not play for 100% on the first go, only attempting to do so if you're hungry for more. When I was younger, I most certainly was. The game still triggers that OCD for me, but I have to force myself to just say, nope, it's fine I didn't finish the stage with a perfect score.
 

4-So

Spicy
The only time I ever played all the way through Yoshi's Island was shortly after it was released. Even as a teenager with nothing but time, I thought the game was too long. I'm still fond of it though; "Flower Garden" is one of my favorite SNES tracks.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Are the levels so long? I don't remember, haven't played the game in ages. But I always loved the flowers and red coins, collecting stuff is a joy to me, if there is a finite number. Always loved, that the game had these as a bonus challenge. Except for the stars, I would have preferred something else to collect, instead of needing perfect health.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
I'm sure the game was conceived has having different levels of difficulty/engagement without something as artificial as a difficulty option. If you're hungry for more after finishing the easiest challenge (beating the game) you can come back to 100% on the levels, and once you've succeed at that you can go for the next difficult, the bonus levels, then the highest challenge, 100% the bonus stages. It feels like a natural evolution of the dragon coins in Mario World. It is a little messy in how much it emphasizes the scoring—the idea is executed more elegantly in the Donkey Kong Country games—but I don't think it's badly done in Island at all. It certainly is a core part of the game's identity and is understandable why it's endured into the rest of the series (though I wish they hadn't got rid of the items in the sequels. The magnifying glass is a lifesaver.)
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him)
YI is my personal GOAT. It's the missing link between SMW and SM64. You have crisp, rewarding platforming, crossed with wide-open areas for you to dig into. It's got all of the classic, charming Mario imagery, but it's so much more lively than either of the two above. Enemies are expressive, animated, and hugely varied (I believe at one point I counted over 100 distinct enemy sprites, and even some of the recolors have drastically different behaviors). Yoshi is so versatile, and you can transition from one action to the next so smoothly. There's so much crazy experimentation you can do with this game (like it's often faster/more direct to spit enemies than egg them, and different enemies have a bunch of different trajectories/reactions to getting spat).

I certainly don't mind all of the collecting, because the game has a ton of cool secrets and one-off areas/enemies, and I love just poking around even without having things to go after. And while it takes its time to ramp up, there's some immensely satisfying platforming in there (and again, Yoshi just moves so well that even the easier stuff is pleasant). The levels certainly get long, but there's no timer and generous health/checkpoints. I'll just turn it on, play a stage or two, and it's a good time. Each stage is so fleshed out and has its own identity and little secrets (what's crazy is on top of all the collecting, there are a ton of SMB3-style secret areas that don't figure into 100% at all). I know that some people get fatigued, but in a game like this with so many natural breaking points, and with each stage being so rich and satisfying, I'd take two more worlds of this caliber of content.

In the ideal world, it'd be great if you didn't have to collect everything in one pass for it to count. And the GBA version is nice because it gives you a 100-point margin of error for each world (so in both games, you unlock an extra stage in each world by getting 800 points in that world. But the GBA version has a new stage in each world unlocked just for beating it. So there, you need 800/900 to unlock the old bonus worlds, while on the SNES you need 800/800). The GBA's exclusive levels are also really creative and well thought out. But man, the audiovisual downgrade on the GBA is unavoidable...if only there was a version with its content and the SNES graphics and music.

I think it's notable that the game has some generous workarounds for the collecting. There's the magnifying glass item that reveals all red coins, and a ton of items that let you get stars (which almost every stage will give you more than enough of anyway, and always provides them in groups), particularly the +20 star item that essentially lets you ignore that category. And you can unlock the ability to play bonuses for items infinitely. Or, as folks have said, you can just savor the beautiful world and the non-essential secrets and ignore 100%. There's something for everyone!

(I know, there are legitimate reasons not everyone flocks to this game. But I wanted to inject some positivity toward it in this thread).

Anyway, just out of curiosity, I checked my SNES Classic, and I have put about 8 hours total into YI. Now, my first child was born a few months after I got the SNES Classic, or that number would have been much higher. And that doesn't account for my Wii U VC version, my GBA cart, or my SNES cart, all of which have seen me 100% it multiple times. Or the *ahem* method through which I recorded my LP of it. What I'm saying is I've probably surpassed 76 hours of YI in my life, but doing so since the SNES Classic debuted is quite impressive.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
You know, I think what has disappointed me about a lot of the Yoshi's Island sequels is that for whatever reason, they just don't seem to control as well. In particular, Yoshi's New Island feels "sticky" to control, and actively feels bad to play.
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him)
YES! Story improves in some ways (8-directional tongue, lots of speed variation via the analogue stick), but it takes away the cool options and variety I spoke of above with spitting enemies. Also its egging system removes all the cool trick shot options from Island (there is a bit of strategy used sometimes in that you want to hit enemies with splash damage rather than the egg itself, and how the splash radius is tied to your current health). And yeah, Yoshi doesn't feel nearly as "crisp" in that game.

DS is a big tease, because it gives you different powers with different babies, and some of these are really fun. In particular, I like Baby DK, because he turns vines and foliage that are otherwise set dressing into climbable objects, and also has the fun little detail of scaring away monkeys. But Yoshi's normal speed and momentum is tied exclusively to Baby Mario.

With Woolly World, I feel its level design and creativity actually rivals and even surpasses the original, and egg throwing/spitting is even expanded upon, what with integrating yarn and crafting properties into different enemies and objects. And it has co-op, which is a lot of fun, because you can throw your partner in egg form. AND things you collect in one pass stay collected in subsequent passes! In short, Woolly World is really, really good, and some of the folks here who kinda like Island but are put off by some of its elements may actually appreciate it more. More people need to play it! Maybe it will pull a Tropical Freeze, and gradually have more and more gaming writers and YouTubers put out content praising its superb level design until it suddenly gains common recognition as the classy platformer it is. But Yoshi moves just a BIT too slow for my liking. The game is so close to surpassing the original!

Also, all of these try to recapture the original's Bowser fight and they all fail miserably. I mean, the mainline Mario series has also tried and failed several times, so can't be too ashamed of not topping one of the greatest boss battles of all time. But maybe try something different and don't force the comparison?
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Yoshi's Woolly World is my favourite Yoshi game, but Yoshi's Island is still one of the greatest of all time
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
I never played Wooly World but adored Crafted. Total charmer and buckets of fun.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I did indeed like a lot of what I played of Woolly World. Should probably get back to that. I think it got the closest to YI.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
I did it! I hacked my first thing! I thought that, this being a tiny console, I would need to type really fast on a tiny keyboard to hack it, but the process was surprisingly easy. My first round of additions were thus:

ActRaiser
Axelay
Breath of Fire
Chrono Trigger
Cybernator
Darius Twin
Demon's Crest
E.V.O.: Search for Eden
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Gradius III
Joe & Mac
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
Lufia & the Fortress of Doom
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
Mega Man 7
Mega Man X3
Pilotwings
Rock 'N Roll Racing
Run Saber
SimCity
Super Bomberman 2
Super Mario All-Stars
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Top Gear

I would have added Mega Man X2 as well, but it seems like I got a bad rom because hackchi didn't recognize it. Shouldn't be too hard to track down another. Pilotwings isn't on there because it's a great game or anything, but because it just seems synonymous with the SNES. I spent the evening revisiting E.V.O., a childhood favorite that I haven't been back to since college. It's grindier than I remember! But I'm having a great time regardless.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I use No-Intro ROMs myself, but there's also an "SFROM Mega Pack" out there that probably has good ROMs prepped for the classic.
 
Just grabbed that from the Internet Archive (boy, they sure have been living dangerously lately...). Thanks for the suggestion.

I was playing E.V.O. earlier tonight, and wow. I don't know if I love or hate this game... conceptually, it's brilliant, but as someone else mentioned, it's grindy as all hell, and the bosses are huge jerks. The patterns aren't too tough to figure out, but one mistake is too many. If you get struck by the "King Bee" (uh, I don't think that's how eusocial insects work), you get stunlocked and are at the mercy of his rain of stingers (again, pretty sure male bees don't have these). Save states are practically mandatory to beat the game's bosses... the reset button on my Super NES Classic got one hell of a workout, I'll say that.

It must be doing something right if it managed to keep me glued to my television for two hours. Two freaking hours, with most of that time spent bouncing off fat newts and dragonflies with a springthorn tail. Don't leave the Cretaceous Era without it.
 

shivam

commander damage
(he/hiim)
i was able to hakchi my nes classic but i cannot for the life of me get it to work with my snes =/
 
(I realize some have been mentioned already - take those as additional vouches!)

Treasure of the Rudras and Bahamut Lagoon are two excellent JRPGs that haven't appeared anywhere else but do something different. Treasure of the Rudras with its three parallel stories you can flip between at will (and its glorious spelling-based magic system), Bahamut Lagoon for mixing SaGa-esque "feed X to this party member to make them mutate into something else" mechanics with monster-raising fare as well as using a Devil Survivor-esque mix of TRPG and traditional JRPG in battles.

Uncharted Waters: New Horizons is impressively freeform (dare I say 'open world'?) for a SNES JRPG, and it compares well to its closest cousin, Sid Meier's Pirates! Inindo: Way of the Ninja is even more ambitious but the JRPG portion (which you have to play a lot of at the start) is so dull and basic that it makes it hard to recommend fully - still, a JRPG you play as a turn-based strategy game of Nobunaga's Ambition plays out in the wider world above your lower-level action was an excellent concept.

I have fond memories of the Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth and Ranma 1/2 JRPGs but I'm not sure how well they hold up now. I hadn't read/watched any of them at the time, so maybe I was just hungry for any and all JRPGs haha.

The original Star Ocean and Tales of Phantasia are pretty great too in their SNES forms (I prefer both to each's later enhanced ports), though each relies on at-times-questionable fan translations.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I'm still surprised no one has gone and fixed Tales of Phantasia's translation... at least replacing stuff like the "f***s like a tiger" line that clearly wasn't in the original.

I really liked First Departure, but that's because I really like Second Story. I really should finish the original Star Ocean one of these days.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I’ve been playing Tales of Eternia on PSP. I hit a scene today where the male lead takes the other main male player character away from the two female party members to tell him something. I thought of that tiger line with dread, but it was fine - I don’t even remember what was actually said, but nothing like that.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
I'm still surprised no one has gone and fixed Tales of Phantasia's translation... at least replacing stuff like the "f***s like a tiger" line that clearly wasn't in the original.

I really liked First Departure, but that's because I really like Second Story. I really should finish the original Star Ocean one of these days.
I’m pretty sure PS1 fan translations are better, so my guess would be that by the time people were mature enough to decide the original SNES fan translation was too crass, most had something that could emulate PS1 games fairly easily.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Yeah, the PS1 versions are definitely more accurate and true to the original. But I figure folks might like a way to play the SNES version without that sort of stuff in it. I remember my aunt playing ToP and being pretty dumbfounded by that line being in there.
 
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