Top 100 SNES Review: #53 – Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (1991)

This Game Did Me Dirty.

One play through was already enough of a wasted life, none the less two. 

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #53/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

The en vogue thing to say is that Ghouls n’ Ghosts was the original Dark Souls: both are bone crushingly hard and guides are almost worthless. Your only option is to Git Gud.

And get good I did. I overcame frustration and not once did I throw the controller in disgust. No matter how many times screwed and scorned, I stayed steady and plugged away. Reaching the final boss was going to be the height of my retro gaming achievement. Defeating the reincarnation of an earlier boss, I thought I had done it.

Then, the princess says you need a bracelet, a bracelet that she has hidden somewhere in the world. With this, you are thrown back to stage one to repeat all your trials and tribulations but on an even harder threshold.

I have been broken.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #41 – Sparkster (1994)

Oh No, Opossum!

It’s more fun pretending to be marsupial digging through a trashcan than this garbage heap of a side-scrolling game. 

Sparkster

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #41/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

I don’t mean to come across as harsh, but I think this game really sucks. There is only one unique thing about Sparkster: a lighting-quick, rocket charge attack that propels you across stage at the speed of light to a quick death. The only reason to play is the very thing you shouldn’t do. Sparkster is really synonymous with Sisyphus, and you’ll feel like you’ve been rolling a rock uphill to only see it roll back with every level.

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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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