Demon’s Crest (SNES)

Pub & Dev: Capcom | November 1994 | 16 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Capcom | November 1994 | 16 MEGS

It’s rare in video gaming that an enemy will receive his or her own spin-off series. Yet that’s exactly what happened to Firebrand from Ghosts ‘n Goblins. You may remember him as that red little flying devil that terrorized you back in the ’80s on your 8-bit NES. Capcom saw dollar signs because they released Gargoyle’s Quest on the Game Boy in 1990. It was followed up with a sequel, Gargoyle’s Quest II, on the NES in 1992. Finally, in late 1994, Capcom released the final game in the trilogy, Demon’s Crest. It flew a bit under the radar during that holiday season of ’94 despite receiving more than its fair share of press. It was considered an underrated SNES action title for many years until it made so many underrated lists that it’s probably no longer that today (thank goodness too since it’s finally received its due props). Demon’s Crest is, in my humble opinion, Capcom’s finest hour on the SNES not named Street Fighter. It’s a tough call between this and Mega Man X, but I give the slight edge to Firebrand’s trilogy finale. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


He's known as Red Arremer in Japan
He’s known as Red Arremer in Japan
Capcom gave him his own game in 1990
Capcom gave him his own game in 1990


Then came the sequel on the NES in 1992
Then came the sequel on the NES in 1992


These games were well received and thought of rather fondly. Not only did Capcom take an antagonist and give him his own spin-off series but it’s also the only one (that I know of) to ever start out on the Game Boy, followed by a sequel on the NES and finally the SNES. I can’t think of another trilogy that can claim that. Speaking of the SNES, we come to the star of the show…


I got back into all things SNES on January 17, 2006. Demon’s Crest marked my 100th SNES game purchase and I did that on February 8, 2006. I know, crazy, huh? It took me just three weeks to accumulate 100 SNES games. But this was back when most of them were going for $5-$10. I had a want list in the hundreds and it was open season.

I'm a bit of a document guy as you can see...
I’m a bit of a document whore as you can see…




Yup, we all owe it to Sir Arthur. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is awesome but Demon’s Crest is even better. Just my opinion, of course.



Uhhh... don't quote me on it...
Uhhh… don’t quote me on it…
I got five bucks on the demon, ahem
I got five bucks on the demon *cough*






He wasn't in this game
Ahem, as I was saying


Ah but of course
Ah but of course
Also see the Infinity Gems...
Also see the Infinity Gems…


Right away you know it's going to be special
Right away you know it’s going to be special
Shame you didn't spot his warning until it was too late
Shame ya didn’t see the warning until it was too late

Apparently some cursed prisoner was here before you and left a final note scrawled on the wall. You can even see the tally marks he scribbled against the wall. Looks like whatever terrible beast captured him got hungry after just four days… and guess who’s next…

Such a dramatic opening!
Such a dramatic opening!
Long lost brothers
Long lost brothers
He's a big pussycat though
He’s a big pussycat though


NOT SO FAST!  Somulo rises again for one last go...
NOT SO FAST! Somulo rises again for one last go…
He should have stayed down instead
He should have stayed down instead

[SHEEEEET, why didn't you warn me earlier? -Ed.]
[SHEEEEET, why didn’t you warn me earlier? -Ed.]
Your initial firepower consists of a single fireball shot. While somewhat slow and weak, it serves its purpose well for this opening level.

Looks like he's got Firebrand in his grasp! Neat
Looks like he’s got Firebrand in his grasp! Neat
Life Lesson #87: Never mock the dead
Life Lesson #87: Never mock the dead
Told 'cha so
Told ‘cha so
Now you're playing with super power. Obviously
Now you’re playing with super power. Obviously
Extend your health bars? Ah, one of THOSE games
Extend your health bars? Ah, one of THOSE games :)



After the introductory stage you’re taken to a lovely giant overhead map screen where you swoop to your next location. Rather than holding your hand and forcing you to progress in a certain order, Demon’s Crest is nonlinear and allows you some creative freedom. I love games that do this. It really plays a bit like Super Metroid-lite. Be sure to search everywhere! Never know what you may find. Not all areas are filled with enemies but rather helpful denizens and other peculiar oddities…



Pressing start takes you here. Select wisely. All of these are to be found throughout the game. Some are well-hidden while others are simply well-guarded!


You can even see him flip the pages
He even flips the pages. Nice

This is the wise man known as Malwous. He runs the Talisman Shop in town. No, you can’t coax the geezer to sell them to you. His sole purpose is to disclose their special powers… or is it… ?

"Yeah? Well we'll see about that, old-timer!"
“Yeah? Well we’ll see about that, old-timer!”
So far, so good...
So far, so good…

Soul energy recovers lost health. After finding the Skull Talisman and equipping it, it increases the percentage that slain enemies will drop soul energy. Only one Talisman can be equipped at a time so you’ll want to switch accordingly as each unique situation deems it so. Therein lies the strategy, options and customization of Demon’s Crest that put it (severed) heads and shoulders above the rest.


But just in case the geezer planted the soul energy in those jars and is trying to hoodwink me — a reminder that no one messes with Firebrand!


[There goes all the vital info. Smart… -Ed.]

Morack sells spells
Morack deals in the black arts

And this git here runs the Spell shop. For the price of some bills with dead demons on them, Morack will sell you whatever your heart desires most… or at least what Capcom has prearranged, anyhow. You’ll also need to find the spell vellum in order to carry spells. Up to five can be found. Make sure you explore every last hooker and nanny [That’s “nook” and “cranny” ya fool! -Ed.]

"Yes let's measure the circumference of your head..."
“Yes, let’s measure the circumference of your head…”

At the spooky Black Lotus shop you can stock up on various potions. For a fee, of course. Sometimes a finger, sometimes a toe, or even a whole leg. Hey, he’s gotta keep his hungry hounds well fed…


Hey, it’s an eye for an eye…

"Well if it isn't my drug dealer"
“Well if it isn’t my drug dealer…”

Trio the Pago runs various set-ups around town that specializes in “game for demons.” For a small fee, skulls will appear against the wall and it’s your job to smash as many as you can before the torches flicker off. Gold is your prize. There’s beginning, intermediate and expert to challenge players of all skill levels.

A head bangin' good time
A head banging good time

The high ones are the toughest. You can gain some invaluable practice by smashing the windows in town. You may also find some gold in the process too. Double whammy!

Makes for good practice
This makes for good practice


For each torch that remains lit you’ll earn five gold pieces for. Er, they look silvery but you get the picture, no pun intended [Har har -Ed.]

"Word on the street is Phalanx wants your head!"
“Word on the street is Phalanx wants your head!”

This denizen is something of a gossiping demon hobo. He even asks you a yes/no question. It’s little touches like this that help to give Demon’s Crest its own pulse and universe that very few 16-bit games managed to achieve.

Say hello to Phalanx...
Say hello to Phalanx… *gulp*
You wish this was Phalanx, the boss!
Were you expecting this guy instead?
"I also hear Sally is seeing Dan..."
“I also hear Sally is seeing Dan…”
"Damn Trump and his walls!"
“Damn Trump and his walls!”

This barrier can’t be flown over with your standard form, nor shot down. Hmmm, what could be behind that door? Valuable treasures locked up, or perhaps a vile beast fenced off from the rest of society? This creates a level of intrigue and anticipation. Jot it down as a place to revisit later…

Unlimited flight comes in handy
Unlimited flight comes in handy

Ah, a potion bottle, hurrah! Only four more lie in waiting. Firebrand can fly and hover in this form as much as you want, instantly separating Demon’s Crest from your typical SNES action platformer. Perks of controlling a winged demon, eh?

A spell vellum! I wonder where the other four are...
A spell vellum! I wonder where the other four are…
He's a stage five clinger...
He’s a stage five clinger…

[Reminds me of an ex... -Ed.]
[Reminds me of an ex… -Ed.]
In addition to hovering, clinging is another useful skill that the first form allows. Just because it’s Firebrand’s first form doesn’t necessarily make it the least significant. You can also headbutt objects in the background to possibly reveal goodies, so each form has its specific use throughout the game. You’ll find yourself switching back and forth rather than discarding a form. Forms don’t get “better” — they just serve different purposes. Pretty smart of Capcom as it increases the versatility of gameplay.

The night life's a bit dead, I reckon
The night life’s a bit dead, I reckon

Firebrand is such a kind, gregarious lad.

Or not!
Or not!

I love when a game has small quirky amusing details like such. You can actually smash in the skulls of these lifeless skeletons draping from bedroom windows. It reminds me of killing the chained innocent prisoners from Blackthorne. Always good for a laugh.

Some shit just never gets old
Some shit just never gets old
Looks familiar, Capcom...
Looks familiar, Capcom…

The game expands as you gain more powers. The Tornado allows you to create temporary platforms, acting much like the Magnet Beam from the original Mega Man game on the NES.

Magnet Beam from Mega Man
Magnet Beam from Mega Man
Backtrack lovers unite!
Backtrack lovers unite!

Whatever’s hiding behind this wall you won’t be able to access until much later in the game after you’ve acquired a certain weapon. I’m a sucker for these type of games, yes I am.

It'll be well worth your time
It’ll be well worth your time
But you can't move that statue in your current form
You can’t move that statue in your current form
But the Ground Gargoyle can!
But the Ground Gargoyle can!

I can’t stress enough the importance of exploring. The game can be beaten without finishing all the areas, but you won’t get the best ending nor the complete satisfaction knowing you’ve conquered this fantastic game.

Let’s take a look at some of the stages.



Ah indeed, this all wouldn't be possible prior to 1994!
Ah indeed, this all wouldn’t be possible prior to 1994


Around the middle of 1994 was when Nintendo revamped their violence policy. It started with Mortal Kombat II being uncensored, and allowed for games like Demon’s Crest to be released unaltered. Its dark and gruesome imagery probably would have been severely toned down prior to mid ’94.

Even the Game Boy got hit with some of that 'tude
Even the Game Boy got hit with some of that ‘tude


What a way to go
What a way to go


How to get that bottle there...
How to get that bottle there…
Firebrand the Forest Ranger
Firebrand the Forest Ranger

Strangeness abounds in this deranged woodland area. Keep your eyes peeled as there are secrets waiting to be found!

Incredible graphics!
The visuals are classic Capcom

Smokey Bear’s words (“Only YOU can prevent forest fires”) goes up in flames as the whole place goes ablaze. Tentacles awaken from a long slumber, rising up from the ground searching for its next meal.

Um, what's Capcom's deal with forest fires? O_o
Um, what’s Capcom’s deal with forest fires? O_o
Capcom makes Smokey a sad bear
Capcom makes Smokey a sad bear
Hmmm, where might this lead?
Hmmm, where might this lead?
Meet the boss, Flame Lord
Meet the boss, Flame Lord

Flame Lord is fairly tough. He has tricky offensive patterns so make sure you’ve got some herbs packed before taking him on.

His second form is a bitch
His second form is a bitch


Now there's no holding back
It must be poisoned water…

The water actually hurts Firebrand until you acquire the Crest of Water and equip it. Then, and only then, may you explore what lies beneath.


Scula is quite the menacing monster.

Heads will roll
Heads will roll [My eyes are -Ed.]





Absolutely nothing like a two for one special!

Wickedly fun
Wickedly fun



Shout out to LL Cool J
Shout out to LL Cool J







Maximizing your gains by selecting the right form at the right time is all part of the fun. Ground Gargoyle is perfect for taking out enemies down below.


This enemy explodes into fragments when killed, so stay vigilant during the aftermath.









Afraid of the dark? HA! It pays to keep the lights on…


Hang on a second there, playa
Hang on a second there, playa
You'll need something stronger for this
You’ll need something stronger for this
[Just like the gawd damn in-laws -Ed.]
[Just like my in-laws -Ed.]
Such a memorable entrance
Such a memorable entrance!
I don't want to know what that goo consists of...
I don’t want to know what that goo consists of…

Best not linger around! One of the game’s most dramatic moments is about to happen.




Not really. It's just your death spell in action :P
Not really. It’s just your death spell in action :P
Eye of the ti -- demon
Eye of the ti — demon
You thought you had eye boogers
You thought you had eye boogers



When in doubt, break things
When in doubt, break things
Capcom and SNK playdate!
Capcom and SNK play date!
[Steve did it -Ed.]
[Steve did it. It was Steve -Ed.]
A sweet sound plays when you get one, á la Metroid
A sweet sound plays when you get one, á la Metroid








Crawler comes slithering after you relentlessly. Better not pussyfoot around! Statues block the way just to add a little extra drama. Nice touch there, Capcom.


At the end of the hallway you’re trapped and forced to do battle with this giant mass of tissue. It’s the kind of monstrosity that does the Contra franchise proud.


He gets more red
He gets more red
... as he weakens
… as he weakens


Blast the blocks to oblivion
Blast the blocks to oblivion


Tough to go damage-free here
Tough to go damage-free here







Carefully blast the blocks so that you leave just the upper and bottom one intact. Recklessly destroy all the blocks and you’re likely to get badly punctured.


Hes a nasty bugger!
He’s a nasty bugger!



Gotta have an ice stage, eh?
Gotta have an ice stage, eh?



What terror lies beyond that door?
What terror lies beyond that door?
More doors of terror I suppose
More doors of terror, I suppose







Should have kept your cocky trap shut. Now you’ll face the true terror that is this mid-boss.







Remember the rule: keep the lights on.

Arma is a recurring challenge
Arma is a recurring challenge
Did you tried pooping on my head?!
Better not poop on my head!







Grewon is a very agile and powerful wolf. Good luck.

Youll need it!
You’ll need it!


Control is super smooth
Control is super smooth
Errors usually human based!
Errors are usually human based


Should you? I dont know about this...
Should you? I don’t know about this…
Play it to find out for yourself ;)
Play it to find out for yourself ;)
Surely it couldn't be Fortunato... right?
Surely it couldn’t be Fortunato… right?


Nearly a religious experience
Nearly a religious experience
Hey, I've seen you before!!
Hey, I’ve seen you before!!
Yup, back in the first stage
Yup, back in the first stage
C'mon Capcom. Don't be lazy
C’mon Capcom. Don’t be lazy :P
Perfect game to play in October
Perfect game to play in October
Its atmosphere suits Halloween
Its atmosphere suits Halloween
Another crippled demon
Behold, the Legendary Gargoyle!
Not this bastard again
Not you again
At last we meet, Phalanx
At last we meet, Phalanx







Phalanx has three forms. Yup, it’s going to be one of those final boss battles.


The water will damage you unless you stay over it or unless you morph into the Tidal Gargoyle. It’s your call.

Uh oh...
Uh oh…
Best of luck, playa
Best of luck, playa


Meet your ultimate form
Meet your ultimate form

The Ultimate Gargoyle can only be unlocked by beating Phalanx with 100% of your inventory slots filled. This then grants you the Crest of Heaven. And it’s only in this form that you can tackle the game’s true final boss.







Ultimate Gargoyle is Firebrand at the zenith of his power. It’s a combination of all previous forms, plus it gives Firebrand a charge shot similar to the Blue Bomber. So Capcom rewards the persistent player who fully explores the game. Otherwise, you can’t use this form. It’s a nice bonus for the dedicated completionist.

Say hello to the Dark Demon
Say hello to the Dark Demon
The game's TRUE final boss!
The game’s TRUE final boss!



Similar to Super Metroid, certain areas are playable but not until you’ve discovered weapon or power-up X. Only then can you backtrack to access these previously blocked off areas, opening up the game tenfold. There weren’t many games cut from this cloth in the 16-bit era. You can’t help but fall in love with Demon’s Crest. It really is kind of like a Super Metroid-lite.

Even a demon has his limits...
Even a demon has his limits…

Another example: Firebrand will actually get damaged if he falls into the water there. That is, UNLESS you use the Water Crest. After which, you’re feel to explore the water regions of the game fully unhindered. This of course opens up the game even more, unlocking new goodies and power-ups. Keeping a journal to jot down some notes is not a bad idea.

I dare call it a can't miss experience for SNES owners
I dare call it a can’t miss experience for SNES owners
It has shades of Super Metroid
It has shades of Super Metroid


This game is lit, fam [Stop it -Ed.]
This game is lit, fam [Stop it -Ed.]

Demon’s Crest did extremely well with the critics. Not only was the game well previewed within the pages of EGM and GameFan Magazine during the holiday season of 1994, but it was well reviewed, too. EGM gave it scores of 8, 8, 8 and 9. GameFan gave it ratings of 97, 97 and 98%. Super Play rated it 80%. Yet despite the praise from the press, it’s been a well-documented fact that this game sold very poorly. According to Nintendo Power Magazine, the game flopped at the box office. Capcom did very little to hype this release. True, Demon’s Crest did come out around the same time as Donkey Kong Country (which sold off-the-chart numbers), but did you know during one week Demon’s Crest generated NEGATIVE sales?! Preposterous! It’s a gaming tragedy that more people returned the game than bought it for that one particular week!


Moments like this add to the game's overall brilliance
Moments like this add to the game’s overall brilliance

While Demon’s Crest performed poorly in 1994 based on sales (despite critical acclaim), it’s made its mark ever since. Over the past 15 years or so, many people have had the pleasure of playing it and it’s been on many “Underrated SNES Games” lists. So much so, in fact, that it’s probably rated just right nowadays. I’m happy to see this game get the kind of respect that it deserved from day one. Magazines did their part to extol the virtues of Demon’s Crest but the buying public did not bite, and they missed out on a true gem as a result. Thankfully, one of the many luxuries of being a retro gamer is the ability to revisit these titles from yesteryear. And after playing through Demon’s Crest back in 2007, there is no doubt in my mind that it stands as one of Super Nintendo’s very finest action adventures.

A bit of a voyeuristic lad, are we?
No wonder he likes hanging around Arthur’s boxers!

Playing through this game reminded me of the early SNES days where the games came packed with a true sense of awe and wonder. Titles like F-Zero, Contra III, Super Castlevania IV, Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Remember the sense of magic you felt playing such games early on in the SNES lifespan? Somewhere along the lines, the magic got a little lost in a wave of countless decent but ultimately forgettable “me too” titles. Demon’s Crest, however, was a mighty return to the fold; it recaptured the spellbinding wonderment of early SNES masterpieces that you remember fondly even to this day.

We've got to stop meeting like this
“We’ve got to stop meeting like this”

Graphically, almost every trick in the book is used: transparency, umpteen layers of parallax, soft eerie swirling mist, some excellent Mode 7 and so on. It fares even better with regards to the sound and music. At times it feels like a slice of Castlevania! You can’t ever go wrong when you can rightfully claim that. The music runs circles around other games which try desperately to summon a foreboding atmosphere but fail to do so. Demon’s Crest is packed with authentic sounding church organ, haunting horns and jiggling flute effects. It’s very orchestral and that boss theme is unforgettable! It’s tense and dramatic which perfectly fits the mood as the behemoth boss reveals itself to you. Classic Capcom quality. Even the little sound effect that plays each time you add another life unit to your health is spot-on perfect.


Gameplay? It’s the best part of all! The nonlinear, open-ended aspect of the game made it extremely fun to play. I love how gaining new powers would open up new parts of a world you’ve previously conquered. It’s quite similar to Super Metroid in that regard. There’s also an “RPG quest” flair to it, thanks to its various side games, shops, interesting NPCs and so forth. And let’s face it, Firebrand is an awesome anti-hero to control. Discovering and properly utilizing your various spells and forms add much strategic quality to a stellar product. However, for as much as I have raved about this game, it isn’t without a few imperfections. Namely, Capcom failed to make use of the shoulder buttons. Unlike Mega Man X where you could switch weapons on the fly using L or R, you cannot do that here. Thus, there’s quite a bit of menu toggling and it can interrupt the flow of the action. When you consider Demon’s Crest came out nearly a year AFTER Mega Man X, you can’t help but feel Capcom dropped the ball a bit here. It’s no deal breaker by any means, but would have made for a smoother playing experience.


Bottom line, Demon’s Crest just sucks you in with its macabre and dark nature. It’s definitely not another me-too platform action game from the mid ’90s! And yes, there are multiple endings depending on what you do or don’t do. The game is pretty short, and you’ll feel bad when it ends all too soon, but you’ll have an absolute blast while it lasts. Not only is it one of the best action games on the Super Nintendo but, in my book, it’s one of the best, PERIOD. I recommend it highly. Sans the Street Fighter II games, Capcom’s finest hour on the Super Nintendo — the best of the rest — is easily…

Put some respeck on my name
Put some respeck on my name

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 9.5
Longevity: 7.5

Overall: 9.5

Double Gold Award
Double Gold Award





Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (SNES)

Pub & Dev: Capcom | November 1991 | 8 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Capcom | November 1991 | 8 MEGS

One of the earliest titles to hit the SNES, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is also often referred to as one of the top classics of its era. Its difficulty is well documented; in fact, rumors swirled back in the early ’90s that even Chuck Norris had trouble finishing it twice. As Sir Arthur, you must clear eight savage lands ranging from dark haunted graveyards to an icy forest in order to save your main squeeze. Easier said than done, especially back to back!


Capcom's original horror franchise! Sorry, Resident Evil
Capcom’s original horror franchise! Sorry, Resident Evil

Ghosts ‘n Goblins originated in the arcades in 1985. It later received a couple home ports, most notably on the 8-bit Nintendo. I remember seeing this game for the first time at my friend’s house in the late ’80s. Being a lover of monsters big and small, the stunning cover art immediately grabbed me by the ghoulies. Just look at those vile creatures! Now there goes a law-abiding group of good Samaritans if I ever saw one. I watched my friend Tommy fumble through the first level. The zombies were relentless. Arthur not exactly being a ballerina didn’t help matters any, either. But there was something compelling about it. I loved the ghoulish atmosphere.

NES version was so hard!
NES version was so hard!

Capcom released a superb sequel, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, in the arcades at the tail end of 1988. A Sega Genesis version was pumped out in 1989 to much critical acclaim. Then in November 1991, Capcom treated brand new SNES owners with an exclusive sequel, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. This franchise has certainly developed a loyal fanbase since the first game hit the scene in 1985. To this very day, fans still love playing through these classics and fans still clamor for a proper return. It’s a shame Sir Arthur’s future is up in the air. But hey, at least we’ll always have these great games to keep us warm.



Several months following my SNES rebirth in January of 2006, I decided to reinvest in another old childhood favorite… the Sega Genesis. Those were some fun and reckless days, I tells ya. I was scouring eBay nonstop, checking the forums for people unloading games and surfing Craigslist daily. It was on a crazy rainy Friday afternoon that I met ex-gamer Kevin outside a local grocery store to cut the deal. It was my $20 for his five Genesis games. Among them, of course, was Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. Kevin must have felt nostalgic that rainy late afternoon, because before he handed me the game, he looked me dead in the eye and he said, “This is one of the best video games I have ever played.”

The arcade original. Such a classic!
The arcade original. Such a classic!

I stood outside his red truck holding an umbrella as he sat inside all warm and toasty. A small cute looking beagle stood on the passenger seat, tilting its head as it stared at me. Kevin went on to tell me that these games were all purchased from him back in the day and that they had been resting unused in his attic for a good number of years now. But it was time to let them go to a new home that would play them rather than have them sit on a shelf collecting dust. He cut me a great deal, 20 for all five as I said, and I couldn’t have been a happier camper that rainy Friday afternoon. It was one of my most favorite experiences off Craigslist and a very fond game memory from that crazy year of 2006 — the year where I set out to reclaim bits and pieces of my childhood. As the gray afternoon skies continued raining Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, I drove home on that wet freeway with a grin plastered across my face as wide as the Mississippi River. What a bargain, sure, but it was the human element that made it such a memorable transaction.

Genesis port admirably held its own
Genesis port admirably held its own

I had briefly seen and played Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, coincidentally, once again at Tommy’s place in the late ’80s. It had amazing visuals for its time. Who could ever forget that first gigantic boss who rips his own freakin’ head off? Arthur wasn’t much more athletic here than his NES outing but at least now he could shoot up. And like the NES game before it, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts was damn tough. Let’s see how Sir Arthur fared in his next adventure, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts








“Look everyone! Our hero, Sir Arthur, is back! Hip hip hooray!”

"OH Arthur! Welcome back home!"
“OH Arthur! Welcome back home!”

“Thank you, Princess Guinevere. I’ve come back to check up on you. While journeying all over the world seeking more knowledge, I had a very strange premonition. So, how are things? Anything peculiar? Sick guards, dying crops, red demons, perhaps?”

*cue I always feel like somebody's watching me!*
I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me!

“Oh Sir Arthur, I too have felt an uneasy premonition as of late. I feel that someone… or something… is watching me… waiting in the shadows…”

“Not to worry, Princess. I’m here now. I won’t let anything bad happen to you ever again.”

“Thank you, Arthur. Your words comfort me but still, I can’t shake that horrible feeling that we’re being watched as we speak…”







Meanwhile… somewhere in the distance just beyond the castle…



"AWWWW! We NEVER get to have any fun!"
“AWWWW! We NEVER get to have any fun!”


“I sense something wicked watching us now!”

“Relax, Princess! You’re safe with me.”

“Oh you mean just like the last time, huh?”

“Don’t start that with me, woman!”

“SHHH! You hear that?”

“Hear WHAT?!”


"AW CRAP, not this shit again!"
“AW CRAP, not this shit again!”





A welcomed change: he's not so unathletic anymore!
A welcomed change: he’s not so unathletic anymore!
Find these inside treasure chests
Find these inside treasure chests

You start out with the steel armor. Next upgrade is the Bronze Armor (middle), then finally the Golden Armor (right). The Bronze Armor grants Arthur power to use the Weapons of Enchantment while the Golden Armor allows him to cast magical spells. The shields are also invaluable.

Torch is eh, but the crossbow is my favorite
Torch is eh, but the crossbow is my favorite
These only become available with the Bronze Armor
These only become available with the Bronze Armor


Here’s the Flaming Lance in action. Not only does it leave a nice trail but it’s twice as effective as the normal Lance shot.


Whether you’re using the regular weapons or their powered-up versions, you can release a stronger shot at the peak of your double jump. A successful attempt is highlighted via a red-ish glow. It’s a neat technique that adds a bit more strategy to the game, particularly during those boss battles.


Here’s the Magic Dagger in action. Discover the rest for yourself!


Magic is yours to use once the Golden Armor is worn
Magic is yours to use once the Golden Armor is worn







Check out the Thunder Magic — this is when you’re wielding the Flaming Lance and rocking the Golden Armor.


Have the Magic Dagger on ya while wearing the Golden Armor? Then you have the power to call forth some Fire Dragon Magic! The weapon you’re currently in possession of determines what kind of magic you can unleash. They range in terms of effectiveness so it’s fun to figure out which ones work best when and where. One magic power doesn’t harm enemies; rather, it searches for hidden treasure troves! Acquiring AND maintaining the Golden Armor is key to success.


Thanks for this map
Thanks for this map

Trek through eight deadly worlds to save the blasted Princess. Er, actually 16 but uh, let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet…


The original Capcom zombie right there, folks!
The original Capcom zombie right there, folks!

Ah, such a classic first stage — take a ghoulish romp through a haunted graveyard! From this forgotten cemetery, zombies arise to attack the living. Only the bravest and strongest will survive a journey through this cursed land.

So cool how the landscape shifts and changes
So cool how the landscape shifts and changes
Thank you for that one, Mr. Nick Adams. Rest In Peace
Thank you for that one, Nick Adams. Rest In Peace
Love having choices: do you go above or through?
Love having choices: do you go above or through?
Danger lurks at every turn. Beware of savage wolves!
Danger lurks at every turn. Beware of savage wolves
Whew! That was a close one... TOO DAMN CLOSE
Whew! That was a damn close one…
"Who needs a lousy key?!"
“Who needs a lousy key?!”

Occasionally, treasure chests will pop up out of the ground. Inside lies a random item. Perhaps a different weapon choice or even precious armor…

... and other times the evil Conjurer!
… and other times the evil Conjurer!
Better kill him fast or else...
Better kill him fast or else he could…
Hell turn you into a baby!
… turn you into a baby!
UH OH! U-turn!
UH OH! U-turn!

Thank goodness it’s only temporary. You can also be turned into a little girl or even a bee. Capcom sure had fun making this one…

It's not very potent but I love its range and speed
It’s not very potent but I love its range and speed







Pillars provide safe harbor from the crashing waves, which will carry you ruthlessly away to an early, murky grave.








(Double) jump at random points — you never know when doing so may trigger a hidden treasure chest to reveal itself from its hiding place. It’s fun to find them and feels a bit like an Easter egg hunt at times. It’s all a bit weird and cool at the same time.

NOW were talking!
NOW we’re talking!

You just found the Bronze (even though it’s green) Armor! With this bad boy you can now employ the almighty Weapons of Enchantment. Unfortunately, one hit strips Arthur straight to his boxers rather than back down to his regular steel armor. That’s a bit of a bitch but it sums up the toughness of this game. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts separates the men from the boys.

Kill the wretched bubbly masses before detonation
Kill the wretched bubbly masses before detonation

Now equipped with the Bronze Armor, the crossbow becomes a homing weapon of destruction! Too bad though you can only fire one triple shot at a time. Should one shot linger searching for a target, you are left defenseless and are forced to wait until that last shot dissipates. This, as you can imagine, can prove costly in the heat of battle.

Leap over these fiery skeleton carts
Leap over these fiery skeleton carts

Be sure to look back for a nifty surprise!

Too bad one hit reduces Arthur to his boxers
Too bad just one hit reduces Arthur to his boxers

Congrats, it’s the almighty Golden Armor. So now not only do you have the powerful Weapons of Enchantment at your disposal but also magic! Charge up Arthur to unleash these magic powers.

Have the Crossbow? It seeks out hidden treasures
Have the Crossbow? It seeks out hidden treasures
"Ah I'm safe now... TOTALLY in the clear..."
“Ah I’m safe now… TOTALLY in the clear…”

Remember how I said make sure you look over your shoulder after leaping over these fiery skeleton carts? Here’s why…

The ground shifts, sending em your way
The ground shifts, sending ‘em your way
Double jump straight up in the air to be safe
Double jump straight up in the air to be safe
This is amusing to you, isnt it, Capcom?
This is amusing to you, isn’t it, Capcom?
Plus the dramatic boss music hits. Gotta love it
Plus the dramatic boss music hits. Gotta love it
Nothing hits me in the feels like big bosses that flash
Nothing hits me in the feels like big bosses that flash
Déjà vu
Déjà vu…


[Get this fake 1998 Godzilla crap outta here! -Ed.]
[Get this fake 1998 Godzilla bull crap outta here! -Ed.]
"Hey pal, don't get any funny ideas now..."
“Hey pal, don’t get any funny ideas now!”
What an amazing visual the Cockatrice was. And still is!
What an amazing sight the Cockatrice was and still is!

The Cockatrice, like all the bosses in this game, is easy to beat. In addition to laying its eggs, it’ll stretch that horrible long neck out in hopes of pecking you to a bloody death. This is a great example of a simple but effective boss design. Large, menacing and all-around badass. Few did it better than Capcom back in the early ’90s.



This level is quite atmospheric. For starters, Arthur leaves this decrepit dock. No sooner then does it crumble into the sea, and you have the makings of yet another memorable level to come.


You find yourself trapped on the Graveyard of Ships. Long ago, this thriving harbor was home to hundreds of sea-faring men. But now the entire port is laid to waste, and only the restless and wicked ghouls remain.

Hurry, ascend before the sea swallows you whole!
Hurry, ascend before the sea swallows you whole!
Prepare yourself for a bumpy ride...
Prepare yourself for a bumpy ride…
You'll encounter man-eating mutant fish
You’ll encounter man-eating mutant fish
As well as this horrible squid-plant hybrid
As well as this horrible squid-plant hybrid
[HAR HAR -Ed.]
[HAR HAR -Ed.]
Like the Cockatrice, he's easy enough
Like the Cockatrice, he’s easy enough
Yeah, what's the Princess ever done for ya anyway?
Yeah, what’s the Princess ever done for you anyway?
Ah, I see the mandatory fire and ice worlds up ahead...
Ah, I see the mandatory fire and ice worlds up ahead


The mini Firebrands are a nice touch
The mini Firebrands are a nice touch

Brave adventurers must first make it through the Crucible of Flame. Deep within the earth, the flames of evil burns brightly. Its glow drips with despair and darkness to all who venture forth.

Capcom having another laugh
Capcom having another laugh
Double jump, if ya dare, to nab the money
Double jump, if ya dare, to nab the money

Visually, this level is pretty stunning. I love all the fire pits and how they turn different shades of red and orange. Nice. And you know what those demon head fire-spewing statues remind me of?

These guys from Genesis Ghouls 'N Ghosts!
These guys from Genesis Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Almost a shame to kill this guy. ALMOST
Someone could use a Tic-Tac

I just love this guy. He’s like the Andore of Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. He’s bigger than most other normal bad guys and takes several shots before tapping out. I have a thing for regular enemies who are extra tough and a little bigger than the rest of the non-boss cast.

The green glow up top makes this part VERY cool
The green glow up top makes this part VERY cool

Capcom was so damn good at adding in these little details to make their levels even more interesting than they already were. Gotta appreciate the craftsmanship.

Evil eyes from the darkness track your every move...
Evil eyes from the darkness track your every move…

The pillars move up and down. Be patient but don’t take your sweet ass time, either! Used properly, the double jump comes in extra handy here. Sometimes you need to head back to the drawing board so save that precious second jump for any last second change. It could determine the difference between winning and losing, yes sir.







Safely past the Crucible of Flame, it’s on to the Towers of Molten Steel. The mere sight of the twin towers strikes terror into the hearts of men. Within these demented walls, the ghouls of the Phantom Zone practice their darkest and most unspeakable acts of evil.

Who needs fancy 3D graphics eh? ;)
Who needs fancy 3D graphics when you got this :P

Slightly reminiscent of Nebulus (Commodore 64), this is a rather impressive bit. The twisting and turning of the tower while those gargoyle statues slowly reveal themselves is splendid stuff, especially by 1991 standards.

Nebulus (Commodore 64)
Nebulus (Commodore 64)
Kirby's Adventure (NES)
Kirby’s Adventure (NES)
Sky Blazer (SNES)
Sky Blazer (SNES)
Foreboding skies greet you on the way to Tower #2
Foreboding skies greet you on the way to Tower #2
Nasty spear-wielding one-eyed demons give chase
Nasty spear-wielding one-eyed demons give chase


I dont think hes friendly
I don’t think he’s friendly…

Talk about a monstrosity! He’s easier than he looks, though. I find it best to stay right there where Arthur is positioned in the pic and fire away.



To enter the frozen lands of the Emperor of Evil, you must first pass through the foul Ghoul’s Stomach. It won’t be easy, and it sure as hell won’t smell pleasant, either. Those axe-wielding goblins are annoying bastards. Deal with them quickly — you don’t want a pack of them coming after you.

Hope you've mastered your double jumping...
Hope you’ve mastered your double jumping…

Every so often the landscape changes from bad to worse and players must hotfoot it to safety via these platforms, or else.

Witness the amazing rotating prowess of the SNES
Witness the amazing rotating prowess of the SNES
Shades of Godzilla's nemesis, King Ghidorah
Shades of Godzilla’s nemesis, King Ghidorah


BRRR! Good to have that armor... for now anyhow!
BRRR! Good to have that armor… for now anyhow

First up is the Ice Forest. The blizzards constantly blow in this frozen world of ice and snow. Many have tried to conquer this land over the years but none have yet to return. Hope you don’t run across their decayed remains…

Ah, my favorite guy's back, but in icy form this time
Ah, my favorite guy’s back, but in icy form this time
"Nice boy... nice boy..."
“Nice boy… nice boy…”

Beyond the Ice Forest lies the Ice Wall. A wall of sheer ice surrounds the palace. If the freezing cold doesn’t kill you, surely the savage wolves will.

Hang onto a ladder during avalanches to stay safe
Hang onto a ladder during avalanches to stay safe
I guess you haven't found your better half yet...
I guess you haven’t found your better half yet…

At the end of this icy prison you come face to face with this terrible ice demon — the one they call Freon. He looks quite tough but he’s really not. The design isn’t bad but I would prefer if he was whole and not broken before you could lay a finger on him. Would have been much more satisfying if you could damage him bit by bit until nothing remained but his frozen head. But perhaps that’s just my sadistic side speaking. Also, it would have been more dramatic if he came bursting out of those frozen prison bars, but now I’m just nit-picking!

Come on Arthur, you know NO girl is worth all this
Come on Arthur, you know NO girl is worth all this


"One day I'll star in my very own SNES game... you'll see!"
“One day I’ll star in my own SNES game… you’ll see!”

At the beginning of this level, you’re once again greeted by the double tough Red Arremer, Firebrand.

The castle possesses a strikingly sinister design
The castle possesses a strikingly sinister design
Thats... not disturbing at all...
That’s… not disturbing at all…

A version of the Cockatrice stuck within the castle walls?! What kind of foul play is this?! It’s all twisted and PLAIN WRONG like a nightmare come to life.

"Whadaya think, does this coat color suit my eyes?"
“Whadaya think, does this coat color suit my eyes?”

It’s the mighty demon, Astaroth! Love the design. He’s the right-hand monster to Sardius (AKA Demon Emperor Samael). Astaroth sports two faces so hideous not even a mother could love. The bottom one looks like an evil tree.


Looks oddly familiar...
Looks slightly familiar…
Red Falcon from Contra III
Red Falcon from Contra III
We meet once more
You again?!

Once more you must duel with Astaroth. He spews fire from his bottom mouth and fires lasers up top. Be patient and don’t double jump unless absolutely necessary; otherwise, his laser beam might slice you in half.

Meet his ultimate form
This doesn’t look too promising

After defeating Astaroth, you face a superior demon in the form of one, Nebiroth. Watch out for his laser shot which cuts a huge swath. He’s a tough cookie but you should be fine if you play it smart.



Welcome to the Throne Room, home to the one and only Sardius! Talk about a menacing and imposing final boss. Towering over Arthur with his golden armor, it sure looks like a tall task ahead. To set the mood proper, lightning strikes the dark night sky, sending waves of white blinding flashes across the throne room. It’s a modern day David and Goliath. On paper at least. But in reality Sardius is pretty easy. You can kill him without even getting hit.

Positioning yourself properly is the key
Positioning yourself properly is the key

A set of laser beams fly out of his mouth. Position yourself roughly around here. His right or left leg works fine. Oddly enough, just for your convenience, Sardius also sends out two icy platforms. Double jump on to one of them but not when he sends the lasers late, which he does a time or two.

His face is his only vulnerable point
His face is his only vulnerable point

The platform takes you up to his head level. You’ll be able to land a couple shots in before the ice gives way.


Regrettably, he’s all bark and no bite. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a challenging game but that comes mostly in the levels themselves. The bosses are surprisingly easy to dispatch. It’s too bad too, because they’re wonderful designs and you expect them to put up more of a tough fight.

Speaking of challenging, you must beat this game TWICE but more on that later. For now, let us enjoy our victory and bask in the glow of a job well done.

"OH ARTHUR! Calm down will ya -- NOT RIGHT HERE!"
“OH ARTHUR! Calm down will ya — NOT RIGHT HERE!”
Somebodys getting SOME tonight
Somebody’s getting SOME tonight
Thanks Capcom for yet another classic gem
They lived happily ever after, right? Right…
All is right and peaceful... for now at least...
[Sucker -Ed.]


"You know... I've JUST about had enough of you..."
“You know… I’ve had JUST about enough of you…”

You must beat the game twice and kill Sardius with the Bracelet to get the true ending. The Bracelet isn’t exactly the best weapon, either. The difficulty of the game also rises in the second round. To find the Bracelet, you must have the final power-up item, the Sun Shield. The next treasure chest you uncover will contain the weapon required to properly kill Sardius. Don’t lose the Bracelet either or you’re screwed. Talk about tough love.


God bless this option to jump anywhere in the game
God bless this option to jump anywhere in the game
Continue off where you please... sweet
Continue off where you please… sweet

How nice of Capcom to even let you to pick the area in the stage you want to go to! With no save or password option, this cheat does well to increase the game’s longevity. Level select code is my favorite type of cheat, especially when the game is lacking a password or save option.












Demon’s Crest, released in November of 1994, continued the high quality Capcom tradition on the SNES with gnarly visuals, amazing sound, addicting gameplay (Super Metroid fans will instantly eat it up), huge bosses and a totally badass protagonist. What’s not to love? It’s actually my favorite Capcom SNES game not named Street Fighter. Sorry, Mega Man X, but I give the slight edge to Demon’s Crest.

It's a lovely masterpiece
It’s a lovely masterpiece

Firebrand is so fun to control. Who knew back in the mid ’80s when we first faced the red demon that he’d get his line of awesome video games? Be sure to also check out Gargoyle’s Quest on Game Boy (1990) and the 8-bit NES sequel, Gargoyle’s Quest II (1992).

Lets listen in...
Let’s eavesdrop…

“Hey Arthur… remember that time long ago where I failed miserably to kill you by dropping you high from the sky?”

“Sure… kinda hard to forget stuff like that, you know?”

“Well I just want to thank you for making me see the light. I turned the other cheek and got my own Super Nintendo game, and it’s even better than yours.”

“WHOA! Slow your role, playa. Jeez, some things never change, I guess.”

They dance off to prove whos got the better game
They dance off to prove whose got the better game

Firebrand also appeared in SNES Brandish [Stop it -Ed.]
Firebrand also appeared in Brandish [Stop it -Ed.]



Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts was well received by critics and fans alike. It’s universally considered as a classic Super Nintendo game, and its inclusion in the upcoming SNES Classic Edition speaks to that. Super Play rated it 85% and EGM ranked it #22 in their Top 100 Games List in issuer #100 (November 1997). Below is an excerpt from RETRO GAMER Magazine.





Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is simply a classic. I’ve had a lot of fun playing through this one and discovering all the little nuances, from perfecting the double jump to finding out the secret locations of hidden treasure chests. This game kicked my ass, too. But never in a cheap way. Not because of faulty controls or anything like that. The level design is brutal, especially the first 20 times through. Some video games are frustrating in a cheap way but this isn’t one of them. It’s tough in a “Oooh, I’ll get you next time!” sort of manner, reeling you back in for another go and before you know it, an hour’s flown by. And if you’re good, maybe the level too. I never found myself blaming my losses on account of the game. It always came back to human error. And there’s something compelling and addictive about Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts that pushes me to say, “Alright Capcom, one more try…”

"Ever thought of getting a pedicure, mate?"
“Ever thought of getting a pedicure, mate?”

The game has a great atmosphere and truly lives up to the name of the title. Rotting zombies litter the Haunted Cemetery, the swirling mist in the Graveyard of Ships soon turns itself into ghastly apparitions, and what can you say about those vile monstrous bosses? Their incredible size and grand detail is awe-inspiring. From the sight of the very first boss, the abominable Cockatrice, you knew you were in for one hell of a ride. The monsters steal the show. Arthur is nothing special to look at, but his enemies sure are. The levels have a great deal of detail to them and though there are two areas per level, they’re actually fairly short. I was expecting the game to be a bit longer than what it is, but no matter, it’s a blast to work your way through them bit by bit. From undertaking tumultuous raft rides of death to scaling demon-infested towers, Arthur has plenty to do in his quest to save the day.


Not only are the visuals and sound right on the money and exactly what you’d expect from Capcom of that era, but the game is simply a sheer joy to play. From its varied locales to tricky predicaments, multiple tools of destruction and even magical spells, it’s got the lot, this one. Capcom was also nice enough to give us four difficulty options. On Beginner, it is actually very manageable. So is the default Normal difficulty in my humble opinion. Personally, I don’t think this game is as hard as many tend to say. With grit, patience and the right equipment, that is. But don’t get me wrong, it IS a very challenging game, especially on the second loop where it automatically gets more difficult. I don’t consider myself an expert player by any stretch of the imagination, but even I was able to get through the game on Beginner and Normal (the first loop, anyhow). As I said, the key is having a good deal of persistence and the having the right weapon in tow. It’s too bad you can only carry one weapon at a time (I hope you don’t get stuck accidentally with the torch) and it’s even worse that Arthur can only withstand two hits — regardless of whether you have the highest armor or lowest. But it’s a fun challenge. And that’s the big fundamental difference between games like this and games that are flat out impossible. The fun keeps you plugging away until at long last you break through, and it’s a great high when you finally do.

Super Ghouls 'NnGhosts: it's a scream!
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts: it’s a scream!

The more I played Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts the more I came to appreciate it in all facets. Initially, I didn’t really like Arthur’s “stiffness” but it slowly grew on me. Mastering the double jump is crucial. Arthur can no longer shoot up but oddly, it somehow works for this game. This is thanks, of course, to the level design. Yeah, there is some slowdown during the more hectic parts, but does it adversely affect the gameplay? Not really. Bottom line, this game delivers in all the areas where it counts. There’s a reason why Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is considered as one of the many “essential must-have” games on the Super Nintendo. No truly great SNES collection is complete without a copy of Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 7

Award4Overall: 9.0
Gold Award


Is it really? Is it?  You're a better man than I am, Arthur
Come on, you know it isn’t…
You're a DAMN good man, sir
This game is lit, fam [Stop it -Ed.]

SNES Classic Edition

It's happening
It’s happening

Yesterday news broke that Nintendo would indeed be releasing their SNES Classic Edition starting on September 29, 2017. Last year they released their NES Classic Edition for $60 and it was a smash hit. Rumors began swirling immediately that the SNES Classic Edition wouldn’t be far behind and sure enough, it’s almost here. For the low price of $80 here’s what you get:

  • HDMI support
  • SNES (super) mini
  • Two classic SNES controllers
  • 21 classic SNES games preloaded into the system


Let’s take a closer look at all 21 games, in alphabetical order.



One of the most intense action-packed 2 player SNES games ever made. Contra III is classic run and gun mayhem. Best experienced with a friend in tow, there’s nothing like blasting alien scum to Kingdom Come as you navigate your way through some of the most memorable moments in 16-bit gaming.



There were three DKC games released on the SNES, with many citing the second (Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest) as their favorite. I actually prefer the first one. Call it nostalgia but it was fresh, mind blowing for its time and the difficulty was just right. A little on the easy side at times, but it cranked it up when it needed to. Mainly, I enjoyed using Donkey Kong in all his glory. Don’t forget those amazing tunes, either!



Take The Wonder Years, Peanuts, Doug, The Goonies, Dragon Quest and put them all in a blender. You’d probably get something like EarthBound. Whimsical, unique and different, EarthBound is charming and captivating as hell. But there also lies some sneaky mature themes throughout, such as the loss of innocence in a corrupt world. A classic RPG any SNES fan should play through before all is said and done.



Arguably the greatest 16-bit RPG ever made, Final Fantasy III is an epic adventure. It took me nearly 50 hours to beat back in 2008 when I experienced it for the first time, and I loved every second of it. Memorable characters, plot twists, haunting music… it has it all. It’s too bad the almost-just-as-good Final Fantasy II isn’t also included, though. But if you had to pick just one, they made the right choice here.



It may seem a little outdated today, especially to F-Zero virgins, but this blew our minds back in 1991. It still holds up well, although it is a bit bare bones. Still a good choice. The music is awesome. You could say that for most of these games, quite frankly.



Of all the games featured on the SNES Classic Edition, this is the most surprising. I don’t say that disparagingly! Kirby’s Dream Course combines the best of Kirby and golf. It’s a blast to play and addicting as hell. Glad this made the cut. It doesn’t get the props it deserves. Now a larger audience will get to experience this for the first time. As well as SNES fans from the ’90s who somehow missed out on this back in the day. A definite dark horse candidate for “Game I Didn’t Expect To Sink So Many Hours On.”



Rather than one grand adventure, Kirby Super Star is a compendium of nine standalone games. It’s vintage Kirby, and it’s loads of fun.



A no-brainer. One of the best SNES games ever, nay, one of the best video games of all time. A masterpiece in every sense, this adventure will forever remain timeless and quintessential. Who could ever forget the first time they saw that rain come whipping down?



The best Mega Man game on the SNES. Never before could the Blue Bomber move around like he does here. The ability to scale walls, ride armored machines and even throw a Hadoken made Mega Man X one unforgettable journey.



The first ever 3-player action RPG, Secret of Mana was a marvel for its time. It’s a great game but one that I do feel is slightly overrated. Still, the ability to play it with two friends made it something special. It’ll be interesting to see if Nintendo releases a multitap for the SNES Classic Edition. 2-player Secret of Mana is still awesome but it’d be a shame not to be able to experience it as a 3-player affair. On a side note, I much prefer the Super Famicom-only sequel, Secret of Mana 2 AKA Seiken Densetsu 3.



Star Fox was pretty amazing back in 1993. It’s a little rough around the edges today in 2017, but hopefully people will be able to overlook the dated visuals which were considered fairly groundbreaking for its time.

12. STAR FOX 2


The biggest news of this SNES Classic Edition is the inclusion of never before officially released Star Fox 2. This game was programmed back in the mid ’90s but never saw the light of day as the N64 was looming over the horizon. Of course the repro of this game has been available for many years now, but it’ll be nice to have an official release (especially HDMI-supported).



Some people argue Super Street Fighter II is better, but I’ll take Street Fighter II Turbo. Street Fighter II created a revolution, but it was Turbo that refined it. For my money this is hands down the best fighting game on the SNES. So many sore thumbs and even more sore egos courtesy of this game back in 1993. Good times.



It’s a little slow and the visuals are a bit outdated by today’s standards, but this was the definitive Castlevania game for many folks prior to Symphony of the Night. Being able to swing Simon’s whip in all directions made controlling him a breeze and loads of fun. There’s a beautiful simplicity to this game. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy taking down Count Dracula?



Probably the hardest game of this list, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts suffers from some slowdown but still provides one hell, pardon the pun, of a romp through some ghastly levels. I’m glad this game made the list. It’s a classic but often slightly overlooked in lieu of some bigger names such as Super Metroid and Contra III. Well deserved, Sir Arthur. Well deserved. You’ll terrorize a whole new generation of gamers. Congrats, good sir.



The Mario Kart franchise is one of the most beloved of all time. It’s so good that it attracts even the most casual of gamers. There’s something very likable about the characters from the Mario universe, the various weapons and imaginative course designs that constantly bring people back for more and more. This is where it all started — it’s the granddaddy of all Mario Kart games. Still playable after all these years!



Mario in an RPG? Nuts. Bowser as a playable good guy? Even more nuts. Yet it all works, to no one’s surprise. Super Mario RPG brings timing to the RPG party as well as some wacky, lovable characters. A good time for sure.



Released on the Super Famicom’s Launch Day of November 21, 1990, Super Mario World is still as playable today as it was nearly 30 years ago. Shigeru Miyamoto knows how to make a damn good video game, and his fingerprints are all over this one. Great visuals, amazing music and smooth gameplay. Can’t ask for much more.



If there were a Super Nintendo Mount Rushmore, anyone who doesn’t include Super Metroid automatically has their list disqualified. You just can’t talk about the very best SNES games without mentioning this 24 MEG GEM. Adventure, atmosphere, gun slinging, exploration, Super Metroid has it all. And that is all.



Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! was one of the best NES games ever made. Its sequel, Super Punch-Out!!, is also an excellent arcade-like take on the sport of boxing. It’s all about patterns, timing, memorization and execution. While the new boxers here may lack the personality of the NES game, it’s still one of my favorites and I’m happy to see it made the list.



Aside from baby Mario’s incredibly annoying crying whenever he’s dismounted, Yoshi’s Island is a daring and brilliant deviation from the standard Mario game formula. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I find it equally as splendid as Super Mario World — just in slightly different ways.


The NES Classic Edition had 30 games, but the SNES Classic Edition only carries 21. However, the 21 games here are obviously much lengthier than the ones found on the NES edition. While the 21 games represented are great choices, there are a few glaring omissions. Whether due to licensing or whatever, here are nine great SNES games (in alphabetical order) that are conspicuous by their absence.

Oh, and before we begin, I will refrain from including the following two titles due to the simple fact that it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any sort of multitap with the SNES Classic Edition. While both these games are still great as 2-player games, the real magic comes with a room of 4.

NBA Jam T.E.
NBA Jam T.E.
Super Bomberman
Super Bomberman



An early first generation title and a classic one at that. ActRaiser switches seamlessly between side-scrolling levels of good old hack and slash platforming and a simulation mode where you must help build the land and protect the people. It’s a little simplistic but it didn’t need to be complex.



Perhaps the most glaring omission of all, some believe Chrono Trigger to be the best SNES game ever created. Quite a loss, then, not to have one of the very best titles ever made in 16-bit history. Although I do understand at least a little bit since Nintendo already packed in three RPGs. Still, it’s tough losing out on this one.



Although I prefer the original Donkey Kong Country, I’ll concede that this does play slightly better. If you had Yoshi’s Island to go along with Super Mario World, you probably should have added this as well. Alas, poor Diddy and newcomer Dixie Kong are left hanging… [HAR HAR -Ed.]



Another classic 2-player SNES game from the system’s early days. Perhaps this was a little too offbeat for Nintendo to include for the mainstream, however. If that is the case, that’s a shame because the gameplay shines through and speaks for itself. Note: This game is included in the Super Famicom Classic Edition as Ganbare Goemon.



Hard as nails, but also super fun with a friend right alongside ya! It’s too bad this got snuffed… it would have exposed Pocky & Rocky to a brand new generation of gamers.



Vintage glorious 2-player gun slinging action. ‘Nuff said.



Next to Chrono Trigger, this is the biggest glaring omission. Not to mention it would have been the only beat ‘em up on the SNES Classic Edition. That makes its absence all the more egregious. No beat ‘em ups represented?! That’s a crime! But I totally understand it might have been a licensing issue and Nintendo simply not wanting to pay the extra cost for the Ninja Turtles brand. Whatever the case may be, it’s a shame. This defined many of our 16-bit childhoods and is arguably the finest beat ‘em up on the SNES.



No puzzle games are represented either, and Tetris Attack is the best as far as I’m concerned. This inclusion would have provided endless hours of cutthroat competitive play, and it saddens me that it didn’t make the cut. Well, at least for the American release. The Super Famicom Classic Edition does include this game but under its Japanese title of Panel de Pon.



Come on, Nintendo. This is another classic childhood game for many of us who grew up in the early ’90s. Every kid played this game to death that holiday season of 1993. Sure, it may be a little overrated but it’s freaking ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS! Nintendo, you could have even tweaked it to make it better. Think about an easier difficulty setting, a strafe button, etc. A missed opportunity any way you slice it.



This is my honorable mention. I love this game and it was also published by Nintendo. I see why it wasn’t included, though. Fake player names, outdated rosters and so forth. But damn is this game fun. Many people, even non baseball fans, still play it to this very day. It would also have been the only sports title featured in the package.



In Japan, the system will include Panel de Pon (Tetris Attack)Fire Emblem: Mystery of the EmblemGanbare Goemon: The Legend of the Mystical NinjaSuper Soccer, and Super Street Fighter II. These titles replace EarthBoundKirby’s Dream CourseStreet Fighter II Turbo, Super Castlevania IV, and Super Punch-Out!! from the US model.

Super Punch-Out!! was never released in Japan. Strange but true. I guess they’re keeping true to form 20+ years later…


Welcome back, dear old friend
Welcome back, dear old friend

For $80 this is an insane bargain. Having 21 classic SNES titles, with HDMI support, in one tiny system is greatly appealing particularly to those who don’t already own these classics. You’re talking less than $4 a game, and that’s not including the system. Sadly, the NES Classic Edition suffered from lack of production and over demand, causing scalpers to swoop in and take advantage. Preorders for the SNES Classic Edition are going fast and resellers are everywhere posed to capitalize. $300 markups would be a safe bet. Of course, when you consider some of these games sell TODAY for close to $300 individually, $300 might still seem like a good deal for 21 games. And it is, at less than $15 a game. But it would be a shame to pay $300 for something that is retailing for just $80. As always, it’s a call only the individual can make. I already own all these games so I’d pass if the asking price is $300, but at $80 I would probably bite. But what are the odds I’ll be able to find one for $80? Probably not high.


But on a more happy note, I’m just ecstatic that my favorite console, the Super Nintendo, is back in the mainstream spotlight. I expect a ton of nostalgia to overcome young adults in their 30s who see this package and go “Oh wow, I haven’t played these games in 20, 25 years!” It just makes me happy knowing the SNES will once again bask in the glow of the spotlight. Nintendo plans to stop production of these Classic Editions at the end of 2017, so the spotlight will be short-lived, but it’s nice knowing come September a lot of casual people will be buying a Super Nintendo in 20-freaking-17. And who knows, it may lead to something bigger. At the very least, exposure never hurts and it thrills me that younger generations of gamers will have a chance to play and appreciate these classics. That’s a definite win in my book!



Speaking of SNES comebacks...
Speaking of SNES comebacks…

By the way, it recently came to my attention that BS Shockman is getting an official Super Famicom release June of 2017! Wow! The SNES scene is booming right now in a way we haven’t seen in a long time. BS Shockman is also known as BS Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero. Check out my review for more info.

Fun 2-player game worth checking out
Fun 2-player game worth checking out

Rock on, SNES. Rock the f*ck on.