Top 30 Best SNES & Super Famicom RPGs Of All Time –
The SNES was a great platform for RPGs to try new things and reach great heights.
Since the first RPG came out in 1991, countless incredible RPGs have found their way into the SNES library – and if you count the Super Famicom reserved for Japan, the list seems endless.
I’ve always strived to make it easy for our readers to read these documents – so here are some of the best NSS/CFS GPRs you shouldn’t miss.
30. Lord of the Brain (1994)
I am fascinated by the dungeon crawlers that manage to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Background music, claustrophobic corridors and puzzles that can put you in danger if you get it wrong, that’s what it’s all about.
This and much more can be found in Brain Lord, where your hero explores the Tower of Light, the Volcano of the Droogs and three other dungeons in search of his father with his two Jade units that heal you and perform distance attacks.
29. Unpolluted water: New Horizons (1994)
Like I said, I’m always up for unusual RPGs like Uncharted Waters: New Horizons is the best pirate strategy adventure for Sid Meyer’s Pirates!
In Uncharted Waters you can choose from six characters, including Joao Franco, Catalina Eranzo and Otto Baines.
Some are traders, some adventurers, some sailors.
Depending on who you choose, your experience abroad will be very different.
28. Series of missions in the front line: Fire hazard (1996) (JP)
If you loved the parts of the Mega Man X series where you had to ride around in an armored suit, then you’ll love the Front Mission series: Danger from the weapon.
Developed by Omiya Soft, this unique title combines the mechanics of RPGs with the gameplay of side-scrolling shooting games.
Progression consists mainly of upgrading your evil mechanics with new weapons and other equipment that improves your mechanized armor.
27. Shadowrun (1993)
At the time of the SNES, Japan dominated the RPG market.
But the console wouldn’t be the same without Western RPGs like Shadowrun.
Shadowrun is developed by Beam Software and is based on the role-playing game of the same name. The setting, plot, and battle are heavily influenced by his paper and writing.
The gameplay is not that great. But the story is really exciting and stands out from the SNES series.
26. Soul Blazer (1992)
If you like dark RPG series and dark plots, you’ll want to play Soul Blazer.
This ARPG follows an angelic warrior sent by God to help his people against the evil Deathmonger.
As the game progresses, you will find that the world around you changes as a result of your actions. These are the components that make a great game – although the groovy soundtrack and creative dungeon design add a lot to it as well.
25. Robotrack (1994)
If you’re looking for a truly unique game, Robotrek is the RPG for you.
Instead of the epic warriors of the Middle Ages, the game asks you to collect robots and power them with the debris you find during your adventure.
Although statistics ultimately determine the amount of damage inflicted or received, the game’s combat system abandons traditional turn-by-turn mechanisms and replaces them with billiards. No, really.
24. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992)
The SNES gave birth to many important games for Nintendo, including The Legend of Zelda : A link to the past.
While this is not the first Legend of Zelda title, this game sets the standard that the series will try to emulate for a long time to come.
The gameplay is well balanced between exploration, puzzle solving and hardcore combat, and the graphics are to die for.
Many people don’t consider this title an RPG – or a Zelda title for that matter. But I’d say it’s a somewhat simplistic action-RPG that takes the focus away from the mechanics of the RPG and presents progression and nutrition as part of the story.
23. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (1996) (JP)
Most long-time Fire Emblem fans in the West have only known about the series since the release of Fire Emblem : Blazing Blade for Game Boy Advance.
But at that point, the series already had a long history in Japan.
And the best Fire Emblem title for the SNES would have to be Genealogy of the Holy War.
It is located in Jugdal, a continent divided into eight countries founded by the Twelve Crusaders. The story follows two generations of warriors who fight to prevent the rebirth of the ancient dragon god.
It was produced by the legendary Gunpei Yokoi, known as the father of Game & Watch and the original Game Boy. In such capable hands, it’s no wonder this game is so good.
22. Fantasy Tales (1995) (JP)
The Tales franchise is one of the most popular and prolific of the last twenty years.
Most fans have been following him since the incredible Tales of Destiny on PlayStation, the first game to be released in the US, but he started three years ago with Tales of Phantasia for SFC.
This first title already had the setting of high fantasy, great intrigue and exciting battles – although the AI partner is notoriously stupid.
I’m a fan of Tales, so I’m grateful to this game for launching one of my favorite franchises.
21. Bahamian Lagoon (1996) (JP)
You may remember Bahamut as the hardcore boss of Final Fantasy II or the useful challenge of Final Fantasy X – but did you know he has his own game?
Bahamut Lagoon was developed by Square and plays a bit like Pokémon, in that you can capture and raise dragons to command them in battles.
That said, Bahamut Laguna is a tactical RPG.
And the battles take place in netarenas where you will strategically command your dragons in the name of justice.
You can give your dragons different equipment or food to make them more powerful, and that’s honestly half the battle. Finally, you can only choose commands like Go! or Wait! instead of specific moves.
You have to trust your dragon.
20. The Mystery of Eternity (1995)
If the name Evermore’s Secret reminds you of another ARPG on the SNES, you’re in the right place.
Square developed the Mystery of Evermore as a kind of American spiritual successor to the Mystery of Mana.
Unfortunately, he never managed to step out of Sum’s shadow. But it’s still a fantastic entry in the SNES rankings.
If you’ve played SoM, you’ll find the combat and exploration in SoE very familiar, except for one thing.
Instead of learning magic or equipping items with assigned spells, players must prepare magical potions through alchemy. It’s actually a really fun game once you get the hang of it.
19. Mystery Quest from the movie Final Fantasy (1992)
Some people find the math and deep strategic thinking of most traditional RPGs too demanding when they just want to relax and finish with a good video game.
If you’re like that, I recommend playing Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.
Square has designed this game as a simple role-playing game that can be played by anyone without any prior experience. You can enjoy the story and graphics as you slowly make your way through the role-playing adventure.
Additionally, the use of RPG elements allowed the developers to focus on making the exploration more dynamic.
The soundtrack is also fantastic and you’ll enjoy the story – which follows the protagonist Benjamin as he tries to recover the four stolen elemental crystals and save the world.
18. Gaia’s Illusion (1994)
What developer Quintet started with Soul Blazer continues in Illusion of Gaia, a spiritual successor with similar touches and the same top-down RPG action.
The protagonist Gaia instructs Will to kill the monsters by beating them with his flute, occasionally turning into various powerful warriors.
The rolling mechanism is not the deepest. But the eccentric plot was unique to the Super Nintendo in that it dealt with darker themes like child labor, cannibalism, and yes, strange things too.
Plot aside, the drawing of the dungeon in Gaia’s Illusion is one of the best in the system – and the way the protagonist walks through it, changing shape as he goes, was pretty intriguing.
17. Live (1994) (JP)
This unorthodox role-playing game, not to be confused with DateA-Live, aims to offer the player variety – lots of variety.
In Live A Live, players are presented with seven different scenarios, each with a different gameplay mechanic – including one in which battles are excluded altogether.
Each of these campaigns is like its own game, and you can play them in any order. Once you’ve taken them all out, you’ll get to the real end, where you can finally settle the score with Odio’s returning antagonist.
If you want something short and delicious, this is the place.
16. The Secret of Mana (1993)
Secret of Mana is one of the most iconic and well-known games from the SNES library, thanks in part to its fantastic action-RPG gameplay and stunning graphics.
This is the second game in the Japanese Seiken Densetsu series, which is technically a sequel to Final Fantasy Adventure on the GameBoy. The location patterns of the last century are strange.
Despite some flaws, this game will grab your attention like few others if you give it a chance.
But if you want to do it again, that’s always another option.
15. Dragon Quest V (1992) (JP)
Japanese Dragon Quest fans must have been overjoyed when Dragon Quest finally made the switch from the Famicom to the Super Famicom.
The graphics were great, the music incredible and the DQ franchise had everything it needed to please its fans.
The game is also known for introducing the monster-tampering system, which eventually became the Dragon Quest Monsters.
Sadly, Dragon Warrior never made it to the SNES – and has been forgotten for years. Dragon Quest V was an exclusive Japanese title until the release of the NDS remake in 2009.
14. Dragon Quest VI (1995) (JP)
Dragon Quest VI is the first installment in a franchise developed by Heartbeat instead of Chunsoft – and also the last installment in the Zenith trilogy, which began with Dragon Quest IV.
Like Dragon Quest V, the sixth entry in the series never made the jump from Super Famicom to SNES.
Western fans had to hold out for over 15 years until DQVI came to the DS in 2011.
It’s a shame, considering how incredible this RPG has been in the past.
The graphics and soundtrack remain as impressive as its predecessor, and a few minor gameplay improvements enhance the experience, including improved inventory management.
13. Stellar Ocean (1996) (SP)
The Star Ocean series became popular in the West after the release of the Star Ocean series : Second Story for PlayStation in 1999 – but the first installment in the franchise remained stalled in Japan for over a decade.
Finally, Square Enix has released a remake of this revolutionary title for the PSP, called Star Ocean : First start – but even though it’s fantastic, it makes a big difference in the charm of the original for anime portraits and animated interludes.
The game is best known for its fantastic score and graphics that pushed SFC to its limits.
It also introduced private actions, a way to improve the synergy between your characters by watching scenes where they strengthen their bonds.
Soon after, versions of this system will appear in other role-playing games.
12. Battle of the Ogres The march of the black queen (1995)
If you know anything about tactical RPGs, you’ve heard of Tactical Ogre: Let’s team up for PlayStation.
But did you know that the ogre fight took place on the SNES?
Developed by Quest, the real-time tactical role-playing game follows a group of rebels leading a revolution. To achieve this, it is necessary to build a competent army, train it and lead it into battle.
There is an exhaustive list of unlockable classes for your soldiers, a morale system, and over 10 alternate endings based on your actions during the campaign.
11. Final Fantasy V (1992)
After FFIV revolutionized turn-based combat with its ATB system, it was refined even further in Final Fantasy V.
Which she did by giving the players a lot more information about the fight.
The most important addition was the action queue, which indicated whose turn it was.
The game follows the main character Bartz as he is embroiled in a battle for control of four elemental crystals. If he cannot protect them, the dreaded death will be unleashed and darkness will cover the world.
In addition to a great story and an improved ATB system, the game has added a complex quest system that allows players to develop unique constructs.
10. Seiken Densethu III (1995) (JP)
One of the biggest acts of cultural vandalism committed by gaming companies in the 1990s was locking up Seiken Densetsu III in Japan.
The sequel to The Secret of Mana was never released for the US SNES, but is part of the 2019 collection for Nintendo Switch, and a modern 3D version of the game called Trials of Mana was recently released and has been well received.
A good reason to choose SFC or Nintendo Switch for this new remake is the cooperative multiplayer aspect.
What’s the point of hunting a mana sword if you can’t do it with friends?
9. Terranigma (1996)
The latest installment in the Soul Blazer Quintet trilogy is Terranigma, a fantastic action-RPG that never reached the United States, but was released in English for the European and Australian markets.
The game follows Ark, a boy from the underground village of Krysta, whose mission is to bring the underworld back to life so that the people can return to it.
In addition to the stunning graphics, the game retains much of the surreal aspect that has characterized the series since the beginning. The combat is very satisfying and the gameplay is much more fluid than in the previous two games.
8. Earth (1995)
Few games have attracted as much attention as Earthbound, a game whose story grows by the minute.
Part of this hype is due to the excellent storyline and eccentric gameplay. But I think it has more to do with the bizarre depiction of suburban America in the 90s, which evokes a kind of nostalgia.
In addition to hippies and seedy government agents, the game features strange encounters, including puking enemies and taxi conversations.
Like many SNES games, Earthbound is actually a sequel to an older Japanese game, Mother.
If you want to play the game as it was originally intended, you should try the MaternalBound Redux ROM hack.
7. Breath of Fire (1994)
The original Breath of Fire is a milestone in RPG history. And that was the first contact many gamers had with the RPG genre.
Breath of Fire is the pre-eminent RPG of the 90s.
It presents an epic tale of high acrobatics, a paltry protagonist with a mysterious past, and classic turn-based combat – all of the highest caliber, even if it lacked innovation.
Subsequent games in the series are all homages to the original, with specific features, such as a main character named Ryu who can transform into a dragon, and a winged girl named Nina, among the main characters.
6. Breath of Fire II (1995)
The sequel to the original Breath of Fire had the same level of quality as its predecessor.
It has great sprites, a fantastic soundtrack, and a very advanced round-by-round combat system.
The biggest attraction of the game is the extended scenario.
It is set 500 years after the events of the original Breath of Fire. And it follows Ryu Bateson (not from the first game) as he struggles with his identity as a were-dragon after his family mysteriously disappears from existence.
The variety of gameplay in Breat of Fire is also a big plus. You can fish, hunt, run a fairy village, and travel the world in search of elemental shamans to strengthen your allies.
5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the seven stars (1996)
I love unorthodox RPGs that dare to step out of their comfort zone and try something new – something like having Mario play the lead role.
Super Mario RPG was an exciting experience owned by Big N.
An RPG featuring the popular video game plumber? Leave that to the GPR experts.
Instead of plastering the groundbreaking Final Fantasy prototype with Mario sprites, Square has created an entirely new time-based combat system for the plumber’s first RPG. And it works well.
The game also has a fun writing style and a cheeky personality that will continue in later games like Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi series.
There are even some hacks if you want to try some variations of this song.
4. Final Fantasy IV (1991)
Final Fantasy IV (released in the US as Final Fantasy II) took the RPG genre a big step forward with its Active Time Battle (ATB) system, which made turn-based battles more dynamic.
The game follows Cecil, the somewhat evil Dark Knight, as he tries to prevent the evil Golbez from taking control of the crystals and destroying the world.
Such an in-depth story was a first for the franchise, but it has been preserved for all subsequent versions.
If you’ve managed to avoid playing Final Fantasy until now, and you’re ready to tackle this giant of the franchise, then FF4 might be your best bet.
3. Lufia II: The rise of the Sinistrales (1996)
If you missed Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, you can’t let the sinister rebellion pass you by.
The game features Zelda-style adventure elements and puzzle solving in a more traditional RPG in terms of combat and story.
That helped set things straight and gave the game a much needed boost.
While some people don’t like it, I think the leprechauns in this title are fantastic – especially with some of the main bosses.
Lufia II is also memorable for its Ancient Cave, a 99-story dungeon where each level is random when you enter. It’s a serious challenge that adds incredible replay value to this great game.
2. Final Fantasy VI (1994)
With the release of Final Fantasy VI, the Square franchise reached one of its highest points – and is still considered by many to be the best installment in the series. As for 2D, I agree.
This game immerses players in the scariest world the series has ever known.
The main antagonist, a wizard named Kefka, remains the coolest, meanest and coldest the series has ever seen.
The final boss fight against Kefka’s final form is just unforgettable.
It has all the makings of a good RPG: real missions that take you further, 14 interesting characters with complex stories, beautiful SNES-style graphics, and an incredible soundtrack.
1. Publication of the chronograph (1995)
One of the most influential games of the 1990s was Square’s Chrono Trigger, a time-travel adventure that used the deep mechanics of RPGs and the great story of the FF franchise as inspiration to tell a new epic tale.
History is fast-paced and fascinating.
It’s easy to get an emotional attachment to the characters in the game and their battles, and every part of the story seems to have a purpose.
There is nothing superfluous about this fantastic title.
The ATB system introduced in FF4 gave Chrono Trigger an even more refined look and helped make it the legendary and esteemed game it is today.
Nobuo Uematsu’s incredible OST and Akira Toriyama’s iconography were crucial to the game’s success.
A true masterpiece among the many great RPGs.
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