Between SNES, Genesis, PlayStation, and Saturn; the mid-90s was a great time to be a gamer. It's New Year's Eve and everyone's already counted down their top games of 2015 but I do things differently, so why not turn back the clock a couple of decades?
Breath of Fire II
When it comes to RPGs, Breath of Fire never reached Final Fantasy's popularity but it did garner a dedicated fan base. To this day, Breath of Fire II remains one of the most enjoyable old-school 2D tales ever told with its beautifully rendered world, endearing cast of characters, newfangled "Monster Meter", and satisfying battles that allow you to use more strategy than before.
Sega continued their streak of innovation when they unleashed Comix Zone on Genesis owners. The authentic comic book visuals fused perfectly with its challenging beat 'em up gameplay and light puzzle mechanics to create one crazy brawler.Sega Genesis Classics Review
First of all, I admit that this PlayStation racer hasn't aged all that well. However, its sequels would continually improve over the years to the point where it became the quintessential futuristic racing series. Although it hasn't been around for a while, game developers continue to try and mimic its addictive adrenaline-pumping gameplay.WipEout Omega Collection Review
The Atari Jaguar, Sony PlayStation, and Sega Saturn all promised to deliver top-of-the-line 3D gaming experiences. This promise sparked the imaginations of gamers everywhere, so what the heck was this limbless two-dimensional fellow doing on all three of these cutting edge consoles? He was proving to the world that 2D platforming wasn't dead, that's what!
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
As a follow-up to the previous year's impeccable Donkey Kong Country, Diddy's Kong Quest did a fantastic job carrying the torch of 2D platforming greatness. Even though Donkey Kong had to sit this one out, Diddy and Dixie filled his oversized shoes quite well.
Sega's Sonic Team is responsible for some of the best 2D platformers ever created. To this day, it surprises me how Ristar remains one of their most underrated masterpieces. Stretching the cute little guy's arms in eight directions to grab enemies and climb walls makes for some satisfying platforming, combat, and puzzle solving. Oh, and the fluid animation is simply awe-inspiring.Sonic Mega Collection Plus Review
Say what you will about rail shooters, but even the biggest hater will find it difficult to put this thrill-ride down. Shooting monsters while riding on the back of a dragon is pure awesomeness no matter what your gaming background is.Panzer Dragoon: Remake Review
As the sequel to Japanese-exclusive RPG Mother, EarthBound blew SNES owners away when it arrived in the west with its solid gameplay, simple visuals, awesome soundtrack, and superb sense of humour. One aspect that set it apart from similar games was the fact that it took place in a humble Americana town as opposed to a fantasy world. This made it feel like a more personal experience instead of having to take a large leap into unfamiliar territory. That is, of course, if you believe in aliens.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
So far, I've discussed a few 2D platformers but none of them are as delightful as Yoshi's Island. It may be adorable in every sense of the word yet its gameplay is impressively deep, challenging, and varied. Whenever I play it in this day and age, I realise that even modern games in the genre still haven't matched its high level of quality. All of that being said, Baby Mario's crying sure is annoying...Revisiting Yoshi's Island Quiz: Yoshi Trivia
Considering I've gone back in time for this top 10 list, isn't it fitting that I end it with an RPG where you can time-travel? On a personal note, I played Chrono Trigger back in the day after finishing Final Fantasy VI and I couldn't believe how they crafted a non-linear story with multiple endings while managing to maintain an unyielding cohesiveness throughout. I still get its catchy soundtrack stuck in my head randomly and when I do, I can't help but crave journeying again with Crono, Marle, Lucca, Frog, Robo, Ayla, and even Magus, too.Also featured in: Top 10 Epic RPG Stories Final Fantasy VI vs. Chrono Trigger