LA-based entertainment journalist & 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast host.
The early 1990s were an interesting time for video gamers. The Console Wars were in full swing. 16-bit gaming had fully taken over, as symbolized by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES and the SEGA Genesis or Mega Drive. But most of all, one of the most standout developers at the time was Capcom. It seemed from fighting games, to beat ’em ups, to action platform games, Capcom had a game for every type of gamer and every type of flavor. Capcom could literally do it all.
Capcom games on the SNES were some of my absolute favorites, and I believe many of them still hold up today. I wanted to showcase a list of some of my favorites and the games that absolutely deserve the title of “Best” in terms of Capcom games for the Super Nintendo.
Author’s Note: Please note that this is my own personal list of favorites. Yours is not wrong.
Honorable Mentions: Final Fight 1-3, Demon’s Crest, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Breath of Fire, X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Mega Man & Bass, Captain Commando, Magic Sword, Mega Man X 2 & 3.
10. The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse
Believe it or not, Capcom made some pretty amazing Disney games for the SNES, and this was definitely one of them. While the game may seem childish, it’s actually a well done game all about Mickey searching for his lost dog. It’s got cool cutscenes, tremendous graphics and animation, great boss fights, some fun alternate costumes with new abilities for Mickey, and some great Disney cameos. If you like platform adventure games, this one is definitely worth a look.
9. King of Dragons
This was another great side-scrolling, arcade beat ’em up that actually received a great SNES port in the 1990s. You get to play as a band of fantasy heroes facing down an army of monsters.
I liked that this game mixes elements from tabletop fantasy gaming, along with classics like Gauntlet. There’s a variety of different heroes to choose from, great boss battles, and your weapons and attacks will be upgraded as you progress throughout the game.
Plus, you also get to fight an evil, giant dragon. Beat ’em up games are some of my favorites, and this was a SNES port of an arcade one that didn’t feel like it sacrificed anything in terms of quality, ie the original Final Fight when it got released for SNES.
8. Knights of the Round
There were many great arcade beat ’em ups made by Capcom in the 1990s. Knights of the Round was one of the better ones that actually received a solid port on the Super Nintendo. This one had an Arthurian legend theme as players could take the role of King Arthur, Lancelot, or Perceval.
I’m always a sucker for knights and Arthurian legend, so a Capcom beat ’em up game that combines that is awesome. One of the great features about this game was the upgrade system.
After each level, players could upgrade their chosen hero’s weapons and armor. So, it gave you an incentive to keep playing and getting to improve your character’s gear. It was a neat type of RPG-esque feature added to a beat ’em up that you didn’t often see at the time.
7. Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
Yes, there was a Marvel video game released in 1996 where Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, and Wolverine all have to work together to defeat Thanos. And this was all 22 years before Marvel Studios released Infinity War.
The Marvel Capcom fighting games that were all the rage at the arcades in the 1990s were fantastic. Unfortunately, the SNES hardware wasn’t powerful enough to really support these games. The Marvel Super Heroes fighting game by Capcom is an all-time favorite. It never got released on the SNES, but this was the next best thing.
The gameplay was very similar to the previous Capcom X-Men game, Mutant Apocalypse, released earlier. It gives you Marvel heroes in a Mega Man X-like setting. I love the graphics and design here. The controls are nice and simple, and it’s got all your favorite Marvel heroes in an action game setting. It was fun to play, and the graphics made it look like a comic book come to life onscreen.
6. Disney’s Aladdin
I think in terms of gameplay and visuals, this is one installment where I believe the SEGA Genesis version has the SNES version beat handily. That said, the Capcom game on the SNES adapting the hit animated movie still had a lot going for it. The graphics and level design were great. It did a good job of translating the amazing music from the film. You had a little sprite version of Abu that would follow you around from level to level as well.
Additionally, the game actually had the Genie of the Lamp. There was a whole level where you could go inside the lamp and interact with the Genie who would help you out. If you were a 1990s kid and loved Disney’s Aladdin, this was a time when you could get games based on a movie that were actually good and fun to play.
5. Saturday Night Slam Masters
If you were a pro wrestling fan, this was definitely the game to check out for the SNES. Capcom already knew how to create some great fighting and beat ’em ups, so it made sense that the developers in the 1990s could great a pro wrestling game this good and this fun. The official WCW and WWF video games that were getting released for the consoles at the time weren’t all that much to write home about. However, Saturday Night Slam Masters was amazingly well done and fun to play, and it captured the fun, over-the-top spirit that makes pro wrestling so exciting.
Slam Masters didn’t have official, real-life pro wrestlers or a wrestling roster. However, it made up for that with its character, attitude, and fun gameplay. Plus, it had Final Fight’s Mike Haggar on the roster as a playable character, which makes sense since his occupation was a former pro wrestler. I wish Capcom got to make more wrestling games like this and with some official rosters that could’ve made future installments even better.
4. Mega Man 7
Oddly enough, this was the only mainline Mega Man game to ever receive a release on the SNES. Even though it was the only one, Capcom still made it a good one.
Mega Man 7 had all the classic hallmarks of the Mega Man 7 series, but with the nice graphics and hardware of the SNES to back it up. It was nice to get one more Mega Man game on a Nintendo system when the Mega Man X series was in full swing. Not to mention, Mega Man looks great in 16-bit.
3. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
There are few words that can describe this game other than “classic.” It’s exceptionally difficult, yes, but that’s also part of this game’s charm. Players are back in the role of Sir Arthur for this new installment of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series released for the SNES in 1991.
The game’s music is downright iconic and sounds epic. It also provided players with a challenge. They had to basically beat it twice in a row to truly win and get the true ending. The double jump feature was also a nice addition to the platforming aspects. The level design and aesthetic here are fantastic. Few games are made as well as this now.
2. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo
The 1990s was like the decade of the fighting game where many great franchises emerged and staked their claims at the arcades. However, few did it better than Street Fighter II. SNES probably had one of the better ports of the arcade game at the time with Super Street Fighter II, and the game was very good. However, it was missing some key elements that were perfected in Super Street Fighter II: Turbo
In Turbo, you could finally play as the last four boss stage characters: Sagat, Balrog, Vega, and Bison. So you could finally play as these cool characters and didn’t need a Game Genie to pull that off. Street Fighter II was a special game, and Street Fighter II: Turbo was like getting an even better version of an already great game, and it defined my years as a SNES gamer.
1. Mega Man X
Mega Man X is quite possibly my favorite game of all time. I love the Mega Man games and what they accomplished, but Mega Man X is where I really think the series matured and grew up. Mega Man X fully embraced the SNES hardware and gave an interesting story and some amazing, new game mechanics. Mega Man could do more than just steal the weapons of the bosses. Now, he could actually add his own upgrades to a newer, better suit of armor.
Everything about this game from top-to-bottom is near perfection. The music score is top-notch. The level design is great. In fact, the layout of certain levels will actually change based on the order of how you tackle the bosses. The enemy battles were rewarding, especially once you figure out the best weapon combination for specific bosses. And of course, once you get a fully unlocked Mega Man X, the game gives you several more levels o complete, along with the ultimate boss challenge in Sigma.
I think my favorite thing about Mega Man X, though, is the fact that you can unlock a special attack: Ryu’s Hadoken from Street Fighter. The fact that this was put in the game, and you can unlock a powerful attack that can one-hit kill enemies is amazing. This is my favorite gaming secret of all time, and Capcom and Keiji Inafune made it a damn good one.
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