The SNES game library is brimming with great games. As I mentioned in my article about underrated SNES RPGs, some very good games got lumped in with low-quality games because of the sheer number of amazing choices we had on the system.
That’s why I’ve decided to comb through some SNES titles that either flew under the radar or simply didn’t get the love they deserve. Not all of these underrated games I’ve chosen are “S-tier” or anything, but they’re certainly worth playing today.
Take a look at the 15 underrated SNES games presented in no particular order and see if I unlock a core memory of you having a good time with them.
15. Metal Warriors
The 1990s were a time where mech-suit manga and television shows were starting to filter into the United States. The result was that we got a boatload of cool mech games like Metal Warriors.
Metal Warriors is a side-scrolling platformer game that also has run and fun elements. This game lets you control one of six assault suits with unique attacks and looks. You don’t stay in the mech the whole time, either. You can hop out of it to attack certain people and advance in the level by opening gates.
The game was certainly fun, but even though it got good ratings it flew under the radar. I’ve rarely seen or heard people mention this game when talking about the best games on the system.
14. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
The SNES version of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was pretty unusual for a game in the series. The basic idea was that you played through each ranger’s story individually as you faced Rita Repulsa’s threat. Oddly enough, she’s a rare sight in the game.
You would traverse the levels as one of the regular teenagers, beating up enemies until you find your morpher. Then, you would turn into the appropriate Power Ranger and trounce the enemies.
Once you collected all the rangers’ morphers and beat the levels, the boss battles started. You assembled the Megazord and started thrashing the gargantuan beings until the world was saved.
Was the game great? No, it was probably best reserved for the fans of the series. For those fans, though, the game was very fun. With decent graphics, a reasonable difficulty, and a unique take on MMPR gameplay, this title is certainly underrated.
13. Ghoul Patrol
Did you know they made a sequel to Zombies Ate My Neighbors? Well, now you do. You’re welcome. Just kidding, I had no clue either.
Ghoul Patrol follows up with Zeke and Julie, two kids with awful luck. This time, it’s a horror exhibition that comes to life and it’s up to them to save the town once again.
The game featured the same graphics and gameplay set in different horror-themed worlds. Ghoul Patrol was such a good sequel, and it’s one that didn’t get much fanfare for some reason.
I’ve always said that SNES RPGs are some of the greatest ever made. The exception is the PS1 RPGs, of course. As someone who only played Terranigma a few years ago, I’m not going to spoil the story for any of you. I will say that it can be a little confusing and it’s a tad dark at times.
Terranigma is part of a series that includes Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia, but don’t go looking for a continuous story or anything.
This action-RPG is interesting, nice to look at, and hard to come by. The reason that a lot of people never heard of this game is that it never got a release in the U.S. on the SNES. The only way to play this for a while has been to load it up on emulators.
The bottom line is that anyone who loves RPGs needs to play this game for its graphics, music, and story.
11. The King of Dragons
The King of Dragons was a hack-and-slash game with a few RPG elements in it. Originally, the game was arcade-based, but it got a port to the SNES. In some ways, this game resembled a mash-up of Gauntlet games and Golden Axe games.
You travel through the levels, killing enemies and gaining experience points that give you more levels. The game featured five classes including the fighter, dwarf, ninja, cleric, and wizard. You could create a balanced team with your friend on the SNES port of the game, and conquer your enemies.
The game’s graphics and settings were definitely high points in my book. Unfortunately, the game didn’t get a huge number of sales, but it was still fun and addictive nonetheless. The game also had a good amount of replay value, extending the otherwise short game.
10.Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom
Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom was an actual D&D game that flew so far under the radar that I still don’t know how the heck I ended up playing it. The game picks up on the previous campaign and requires you to know the rules of D&D.
You couldn’t just hack and slash your way through this title. You might find some monsters that didn’t fight at all, or one of your characters could suffer an alignment shift. If you went into this game blind, you’d probably throw it at the wall. The game had somewhat disappointing graphics, catchy music, and unique gameplay. It’s not something everyone likes, though.
Back when Blizzard Entertainment wasn’t such a disaster, they developed some pretty cool games. One of them was Blackthorne, a stylish platform/shooter that did the impossible: It made someone named Kyle cool.
You basically go Army of Darkness on the evil Sarlac and his minions, letting your boomstick do the talking. The game probably wasn’t as popular as it could have been because it placed a large emphasis on puzzles.
Still, this game looked great, had fun gameplay, and had great sounds and music. It’s definitely not as popular as it deserves.
8. Demon’s Crest
Demon’s Crest took a page out of the MCU’s playbook and had 6 magical stones, called crests, that would grant you the Crest of Infinity when combined. You are a demon that seeks to gain control of the crests and become the conqueror of all the realms.
The game’s concept was definitely cool, and it was backed up by some solid platforming, music that you won’t get out of your head, and sweet level designs.
I mean, how often do you get to play as the “bad” guy?
7. Uncharted Waters: New Horizons
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons was way ahead of its time. The game lets you choose from six different characters to play as, and you trade, go on adventures, or become a swashbuckling pirate.
The game is a combo of an RPG, adventure, and business simulation game. You had to have business savvy, make sure you kept your ship well-provisioned, and work hard to ensure you didn’t fall victim to enemy ships.
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons is a tad open-ended, and it allows you to amass riches while enjoying some nice music and addicting gameplay. If the game was remade now and expanded upon, it would look like EVE Online or something.
Remember that awesome movie called Hook with Robin Williams? Okay, maybe awesome was too strong of a word to use for that film. Anyway, they made a video game based on the movie and it was actually very good.
The game tries to follow the story from the film, putting you in the shoes of a resurgent Peter Pan. The story was fun to play along, but the game really shined with the platforming elements. You jumped around and battled while also flying with the aid of fairy dust.
The graphics and level designs were nice, the music was really good, and the combat was engaging. My favorite thing was the little touches with animation, like when Peter lands on a close edge and crosses his arms, just showing he’s the coolest guy around. This guy doesn’t walk, he struts, and little things like that made the game more enjoyable.
Do you like the idea of smiting people? Then Actraiser is the game for you! This unusual game puts you in control of The Master, or God if you’re feeling particularly blasphemous. You decide to bestir yourself and send an angel into the world to do your bidding.
You can help humanity flourish, construct towns, have your angel perform miracles, and smite monsters to prevent them to allow civilization to flourish. The story is a mind-blower and the implications of your actions are cool and troubling to say the least.
I don’t know if the game developers were trying to say something about religion. All I know was the game was so unique that it’s a must-play for any retro game lover. They combined a platform game with a city-building game and made it good, and then gave us a crazy good score.
If you looked at the box art and bought the game based on that, please leave a comment explaining your thought process.
Phalanx takes place in the future, and you’re called upon to defeat the alien bioships that have emerged and wreaking havoc. Using the A/144 Phalanx, you go out to start blowing away the alien threat.
The game is a shoot ‘em up, but it’s so much fun. You can fly at three different speeds to adjust to the challenges in front of you. The level design is pretty basic, but the music and sounds are good. Also, the amount of weapons you get to combat the enemies is great and really lets you hammer them in a lot of different ways.
3. Batman Returns
Batman Returns is another movie adaptation, and it’s a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, vehicle combat, and platforming game. The game did a whole lot, such as letting you take to the streets of Gotham and beat the holy hell out of the Penguin’s minions.
I mean, seriously. Batman is throwing like three punches a second in this game, so you just obliterate the low-level guys. I particularly liked the game’s backgrounds that captured the essence of the film.
The combat was fast-paced and fun. The music is mostly okay, but every once in a while it swells with that Batman theme and brings everything back together. Some parts of the game, like the Batmobile battle stages, could have used a little polish, but the game was still really solid.
2. E.V.O.: Search for Eden
Another game with a pretty weird premise is E.V.O.: Search for Eden. You start as a lower life form, a weak fish, and it’s your job to eat other creatures, grind out some levels, and begin to evolve along a course that you set for yourself. Sounds weird, right?
This is a cool concept, but a lot of people probably quit the game before getting too far into it. I know I did when I was younger. It takes a while to evolve, but you eventually become a land-dwelling animal and then other creatures depending on how you level up.
The story is a little weird but it’s not the driving force of the game. At least, it’s not for me. I wanted to see what I could evolve into and continue to listen to the awesome soundtrack.
E.V.O is really entertaining and weird, but the wacky concept limited the game’s appeal to a lot of gamers.
1. Star Ocean
The reason this game didn’t get a lot of attention was that it didn’t get a U.S. release. The only way to play this game for a lot of people was by using emulators. My only complaint about this game was that it isn’t terribly long, but the developers packed a ton of greatness into this game.
The story is crazy. Basically, you’re on a less-developed planet and a plague strikes. Visitors from outer space come and you team up with them. Sounds bonkers and a little like Star Trek , right? Well, the game gets deeper and better every hour you put into it.
The active combat was sweet and became even better in future entries into the series. The music and sounds were wonderful, and the character-based storytelling lets you change the outcomes of your team in many ways.
This game was amazing then and it’s great now. Fortunately, you can buy this game and play it much easier these days. The only downside is the Star Ocean series kinda went off the rails in a bad way, but we can ignore that and just play the first three or four.
Final Thoughts on 15 Underrated SNES Games
The SNES has an incredible game library. You can find great games in every genre. Now that some of the less-popular games are falling into the back of our gaming consciousness, it’s always a good idea to pluck up a few memories of underrated games.
What games did I miss, though? What game did you play and love that nobody else seemed to remember or know about? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!