The From A to Z series lets our editors go back and take a look at games from past generations that are classics, overlooked gems, or just titles they remember fondly. The idea behind this is to pick five games from each letter of the alphabet, once a week to showcase. This delivers 26 weeks and tons of games to talk about. Hopefully it sparks some conversation, and of course plenty of memories.
The system everyone has been waiting for, the Super Nintendo.
Let’s continue with the letters “C, D, and E.”
Arguably one of the best games ever created- a dream collaboration from key members from Square and Enix that spawned a timeless classic. Chrono Trigger did away with standard random battles by showing enemies on the map before encounters and used a flexible combination skills system that had multiple characters unleashing a single devastating skill together. It features a soundtrack of such renown that it’s been covered by over a hundred different artists and features over 10 endings, featuring dramatically different outcomes. Truly a masterpiece for the ages and a huge influence on my love for the JRPG genre as a whole.
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Continuing the proud tradition of incredibly difficult but satisfying platforming action, this title was every bit as challenging as its predecessors while introducing a slew of new mechanics including implementation of the SNES’s MODE 7 technology with top-down sections and set pieces that had the players riding motorcycles or hanging on to missiles. A quality game for some jolly couch co-op with a buddy.
Donkey Kong Country
Using a brand new technology to cleverly render 3D sprites on a system that didn’t actually support them, Rare managed to create a one of the best looking games of its generation. Not only did DKC look nothing like anything that had come before on the SNES, it had some great level designs and charm to spare. It was also much more challenging than a Mario bros game at the time adding another notoriety to this instant classic.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest
Building on the success of DKC, this follow-up was exactly what a sequel should be. Bigger and better in basically every way. More levels, playable characters, and variety in level designs. While I quite enjoyed DKC 1, it wasn’t till the sequel that I really fell in love with the series as a whole.
There’s your everyday cult classic and then there’s Earthbound. Just when every JRPG seemed to follow the same kind of formula, Earthbound or as it’s called in Japan “Mother 2” came along to show how different it could all be. From the zany plot to its rather insane enemy designs, many games to follow would draw inspiration from Earthbound(like the recent Undertale, for example). I still remember the very first time I fought against Giygas and how creeped out I was.
What more can you say about Earthworm Jim other than the fact that he’s a worm in a space suit? With such an outlandish character, the developers didn’t really need to try too hard to make the game interesting but they managed to use the idea in clever ways to make the game even more charming and humorous. I still distinctly remember the animation where Jim takes himself out of the suit to whip himself at his enemies- brilliant stuff.
Tune in next week for the next collection of titles.