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Sparkster could flip out, rocket-rush through the air, spin-slice his enemies and keep his rodent mohawk looking perfect all the while – an under-appreciated mascot in a great game. And now the other franchise that most defined the ’90s fighting genre.

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Illusion of Gaia was something of a spiritual sequel to it – and was done so well that Nintendo actually took notice of the game and published it as a first-party release here in America. (And took the opportunity to promote it with a new Zelda-like logo.) The game put you in command of Will, a young adventurer with latent psychic abilities – and the power to transform.

Soul Blazer wasn’t a direct sequel to ActRaiser or anything, but its premise was similar – you again played as a heaven-sent angel character tasked with restoring the wholeness of the world after a demonic cataclysm. The action sequences shifted from side-scrolling to a birds-eye action/RPG style, though, getting closer to something like A Link to the Past. All this mix of different elements and inspirations created one great and underappreciated game, and we’re happy to offer it some fresh appreciation here on the countdown. Video games bearing the Star Wars license have appeared on nearly every gaming platform released through the last three decades, but the Super Nintendo’s exclusive trilogy of film adaptations are some of the most memorable ever made.

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It was a clash of softened style and hardcore action that still gets us nostalgic to this day. Remember Soul Blazer, placed just two spots back at #76?

By the time Ultimate MK3 came around, though, the Big N let the carnage unfold unchecked. It’s true – before Toy Story ever put them on the map, the young film studio took offense to this game’s use of computer-generated unicycles, sued the Big N and won.

Super Star Wars started that set of three, taking the characters, settings and soundtrack of the 1977 cinematic masterpiece and reinforcing them with a fresh injection of early ’90s action. You never saw Luke flip out and blast this many monsters on the big screen – this was Star Wars with tons of extra battle sequences squeezed into every possible part of the narrative. The difficulty level was also famously brutal, but the game was nevertheless successful enough to warrant sequels based on Empire and Jedi. That graphical style – years before its time – was still impressing us in ’94, when Nintendo followed up their sci-fi action flight game with a comical racing title using similar visuals. Stunt Race FX was a little goofy and all kinds of blocky to look back on today, but its 3D cars and racetracks were sensational to behold on the Super.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 was released even later than Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and was the kind of late-to-the-party release that seemed just a little nonsensical – but, when you played it, it felt like a real labor of love. Capcom had crafted some truly excellent Street Fighter titles for the SNES in earlier years, and this port of Alpha 2 felt like a fond farewell to an old friend. It pushed the 16-bit system to its limits, and actually a bit too far beyond – it had to make some significant compromises to run on the aging console. But it’s hard to fault the effort, and that’s why it deserves this rank and recognition. Nintendo famously wimped out with the first Mortal Kombat, forcing Midway to censor its violence while Genesis players enjoyed all metroid prime rom rom the blood and gore intact.

  • After the competition was complete Nintendo sold the cartridges to Nintendo Power subscribers through a catalog.
  • They released Hyper V-Ball for Super Nintendo in June 1994 and Aero Fighters in November 1994.
  • There are roughly 2,000 copies assuming Nintendo only made enough for the stores that held the competition.
  • V-Ball is easy to find but Aero Fighters is extrememly rare.

What made the game even more fun was that the cars were given life and personality, too – way before Pixar dreamed up Lightning McQueen, we had the Coupe, the F-Type, and the 4WD smiling along and blinking their headlight eyes. Though he debuted on the Sega Genesis in Rocket Knight Adventures, Konami’s jetpack-equipped, sword-toting, armor-clad opossum offered Nintendo owners an exclusive sequel shortly thereafter.

He could morph himself into the fully-grown adult body of a knight named Freedan for extra fighting power, and also the alien-like lifeform Shadow late in the adventure. Saving the world required using each version of the hero at the proper time. Included in the Super Nintendo’s first wave of releases was ActRaiser, a unique hybrid game design that merged side-scrolling action sequences with top-down world-building simulation chapters. The game was bold and memorable, but you’ll have to wait until a bit later for it to show up here – SoulBlazer, in the meanwhile, was a "follow-up" of sorts released one year later.

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