Top 100 SNES Review: #4 – Super Mario World (1991)

An Easy Cake Walk.

I don’t remember a single hiccup.

Super Mario World Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #4/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

There is a VHS somewhere at my parent’s house of me playing this game for the first time. I wear an expressionless face as I have difficulty processing the vibrant colors. When the friendly dinosaur hatches, my mom is heard off camera going “It’s Yoshi!” as I silently mouth the same words in total shock.

I wore a similar expressionless face this time around, but not because of being blown away: Super Mario World is auto-pilot easy. There are some hidden levels that really challenge your skill, but the other 95% of the game barely requires participation. With 47 lives to spare, I unlocked the ending sequence wondering “why is this so easy?”

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Top 100 SNES Review: #29 – Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen (1993)

I Ran Out of Steam.

With more than twenty levels each requiring hours of your time, the game ran out of incentives to keep me going. 
Ogre Battle Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #29/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

February 2nd, 2019.

That’s when I started this enthralling and highly encompassing strategy game. Three months later, while only a few levels away from the finish line, I can honestly say I have no more — this game has successfully grounded me to dust.

The game’s biggest fault is that it peaks atmospherically during the first ten battles. The randomly-generated unit names will stick with me for the rest of my life. I wrote them on pieces of paper, categorized by their expertise and purpose. This might seem silly, but this game is pretty serious and requires so much thought that the units grow to be something akin to colleagues.

The pressure to sweat the details dissipates in the later half: after assiduously managing your brigade, you reach a point where it becomes a cakewalk. The last handful of battles were only slightly above point and click campaigns. With the 1.5 to 2.0 hour campaigns no longer demanding the riveting planning and execution, there was no point to continue.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #8 – Final Fantasy II (1991)

Lovable Even With The Rough Edges.

An RPG with one foot in past and one foot in the future. 

Final Fantasy II Title Screen

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #8/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

There was a lot you had to put up with to get through a role-playing game pre-90s: convoluted menu systems, unknown item/spell effects, poor inventory management, requisite level grinding. It’s amazing any of us thought those games were “fun.”

Final Fantasy II/IV for the SNES is where story telling became the center point for role playing games, and it attempts to shed some of those harsh old-school elements. This game is still very unpolished, but there is something endearing about all the mistranslations, odd programing, and strange things found within.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #48 – Legend of the Mystical Ninja (1991)

Another Entry of Japanese Quirk.

The game is not good — no amount of Miso Soup changes that. Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 10.05.56 PM

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #48/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

“BUT IT’S SO JAPANESE,” says the internet.  “BUT IT ISN’T THAT FUN TO PLAY,” says me.

From deep within the south of the USA, it wasn’t until the 2000s when we really started having a diversity of culture, and by diversity of culture, I mean more restaurants. It must have been within this world before globalization that people were yearning for any type of cultural integration.

Enter Legend of the Mystical Ninja. A side-scrolling game that uses the imagery, humor, and style of Japan to try and buoy everything else. Unfortunately, that everything else is kind of important: the game is kind of boring.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #7 – Mega Man X (1993)

Part Two Led to Exit Stage Right

The first half is a repetitive adventure while the second half just repetitive. 
MegaMan X Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #7/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Gaming in the early 90s was compartmentalized to your immediate sphere of influence. Outside of Nintendo Power, there was no media access for new releases or reviews. Your choice of games were influenced by whatever your parents brought home, the blockbuster employee’s suggestions, or what your friends owned. Due to this randomness, Mega Man completely bypassed me.

I see the allure of Mega Man: having to figure out which bosses to defeat first to get the right weapons that then let you defeat other bosses. This made the repetition of going through the same eight stages at least worthwhile. After that, I’m not sure there is any reason to play Mega Man X.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #6 – Chrono Trigger (1995)

Still Unlike Any Other RPG.

A culmination of concept and creativity, Chrono Trigger still gave me those “off to save the world” chills.

Chrono Tigger1

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #6/100
Developer: Square
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Memory is a funny thing. I didn’t play Chrono Tigger until college, the days of Xbox360 and PS3. I only did so because of the insistence of my nerdy friends — they wouldn’t let it go that I never played it. So I borrowed their copy and spent my first Spring Break traveling through time.

Whenever I recall playing it, though, I always recollect the wrong things: I envision playing as a kid in the basement of the house I grew up in. It’s easier for my mind to classify it as a childhood experience rather than an adult one. Chrono Trigger perfectly captures the spirit of imagination with its craving for adventure, wonder, and sense of importance. You too will be sent back to an unbounded childhood feeling.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #23 – F-Zero (1991)

A Realistic Morning Commute.

F-Zero captures the intensity of getting to work on time, even the part about avoiding landmines.

F-zero5

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #23/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

I’ve been in Jacksonville for nine weeks. Not a day has gone by where I did not see an accident either in real-time or post-impact. I’ve witnessed people ride over medians to make a u-turn. I’ve caught people going the wrong direction on the wrong side of the street. It’s rekindled my love for paranoid defensive driving where you pretend everyone is possessed by a demon.

While it might not help my blood pressure, it sure did help me deal with F-Zero — no one does what you think they will. There is some fun moments to be found, but this 1991 legacy seems a bit bare today only worthy of a couple nights of play.

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