Super Nintendo Game Reviews

At first this section was going to be devoted to Game Cube games, but I decided to go this route for a couple of reasons. 1)I have access to a much greater number of Super Nintendo games. 2)The Game Cube is still new enough to be mainstream, whereas the Super Nintendo has a certain retro chic that makes me appear more original than I really am.

Of course, you may be wondering why I don't review both. the answer to that is simple: because I said so, that's why, but more to the point, there's more to my life than video games (startling as that may seem), and I thought three categories of video game reviews would be excessive.

Anyway, I like the Super Nintendo because it's simple enough to rely on enganging game play, but advanced enough to allow for polished graphics and sound.

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Review Criteria

Difficulty
A game that's too difficult is frustrating. A game that's to easy is boring. A game with a high score in this category is challenging, but fun. Games with a low score rely on button-mashing, impossible (or childish) puzzles, or are so non-linear that they don't make sense.
Graphics
Does the game look good? Are the characters and backgrounds well drawn? Are the animations done well? You know, graphical stuff.
Sound
Is the game's music annoying? Do the sound effects get the point across? In general, do the audio effects enhance or detract from gameplay?
ROM
A ROM file allows you to play the game on your computer using an emulator. The ethics of such a thing are debatable. I'm not your father, and I'm not going to tell you what to do. This category, which does not factor into the final rating, is merely an analysis of how well the gameplay can be adapted to play on the computer.
Fun
This is the overall category. In the final analysis, a game's worth is in how fun it is.

The Reviews

Final Fantasy 3
Chrono Trigger

Final Fantasy 3

Synopsis:
Final Fantasy 3 follows the ups and downs of a group known as the Returners, as they oppose an evil empire that wishes to revive the dread force known as "magic," which nearly destroyed the world 1000 years ago. This game features a wide variety of playable characters; including a mimic, a ninja, a sasquatch, and a moogle; as well as number of memorable NPCs, the most notable of whom are Ultros, an arrogant octopus you must fight several times,and Kefka, who gets my vote as the greatest video game villain of all time.

Difficulty:7/10
Actually, for most of the game, the difficulty is just about right for an RPG, but there is one glaring problem that even I, an admitted fan, cannot ignore. Once you aquire the espers "Phantom" and "Shoat" it is possible to win almost every boss battle in the game with little to no effort. All you have to do is cast vanish on the boss to render it invisible, a state which makes it immune to physical attacks, but especially vulnerable to magic attacks. At that point, you follow up with doom, which in this case is automatically successful. I felt that this is enough of a mistake to warrant deducting two points from the difficulty score.
Note: This technique does not work in the later Final Fantasy games.

Graphics: 8/10
For a 2-dimensional game, Final Fantasy 3 looks pretty good, and I'm sure at the time it was considered a graphical masterpiece. Still, the Donkey Kong Country games (or Chrono Trigger for that matter) demonstrated that a lot more was possible from the SNES.

Sound: 9/10
Like many Super Nintendo games, sound effects are somewhat sparse, but Final Fantasy 3 makes up for it with one of the best musical scores I've ever heard. Even later efforts on the Playstation fail to exceed it.

ROM: 10/10
Absolutely no complaints here. Being an RPG, the control scheme is simple enough to not require the comfort of a controller, and there are no button-mashing sequences in this game to torture your keyboard. In fact, control with the keyboard actually makes Sabin's blitzes easier to do (except for Bum's Rush, but you get that late in the game anyway).

Fun: 9/10
There is a lot to do in this game. You can literally spend hours finding all the items and secrets. Add to that the fact that you can play the last half of the game in a completely non-linear fashion, and you have a game that guarantees hours of enjoyment.
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Chrono Trigger

Synopsis:
After accidentally stumbling on a way to travel through time, a group of young people witness the apocolypse and decide to find a way to prevent the disaster from occuring. To do this, they must move from epoch to epoch, ranging from 65 million BC to the end of time itself.

Difficulty8/10
The first time through, this is an incredibly solid and well balanced game (though if you don't know the trick behing beating Golem, you might be in trouble). Unfortunately, to get the most out of Chrono Trigger you must play through it multiple times to discover the alternated endings. And while it pains me to penalize a game for something that really should be considered a strength, the second+ time through (courtesy the new game+ option) are far to easy (though there is a certain pleasure to be derived from stomping bosses that previously gave you trouble).

Graphics:9/10
This is pretty much the pinnacle of SNES graphics. While the spell animations are not quite as spectacular as FF3, the strong character design and level of detail put into the various maps and dungeons more than make up for it.

Sound:8/10
Some of the sound effects, particularly the birds at the beginning, are really cool. The sound track is also fairly strong, though the number of truly classic tunes is not as great as in some titles.

ROM:9/10
My only complaint with the ROM version of this game comes from the sequence in 65 million BC where you have to beat Ayla in a drinking contest. I really don't like subjecting my keyboard to that kind of punishment.

Fun:9/10
Overall, this game is a strong contender for greatest RPG of all time. The sheer depth of gameplay, the double and triple techs especially, combined with the ultra-cool time travel elements make this a must have for any game-lover's collection.
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