To say that the Super Nintendo Entertainment System has a storied history would be the understatement of the century. This system, which was released on 21st November 1990, is arguably one of the most influential pieces of gaming hardware ever to exist.
From its groundbreaking graphics and sound capabilities to its vast library of games, such as Final Fantasy III and Super Mario World, there’s no denying that this system is one of a kind.
Expanding on the graphical capabilities of the SNES, developers were able to create some of the first games to utilize polygonal graphics. This allowed them to create 3D environments that were similar in gameplay and style to what is used in 3D gaming today.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the SNES also has some of the best real-time strategy games ever created. In fact, in this article, we will be looking at seven of the absolute best Super Nintendo real-time strategy games to have ever existed.
#1: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
From the moment that Tactics Ogre hit the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it was clear that this was a game of the highest quality. In many ways, this is one of those games that looks simple on the surface but offers incredible depth and complexity when you start getting into it.
Unlike other SNES games, which so often resemble block puzzles, Tactics Ogre is a game of politics. With the majority of your units being built with a simple click of a mouse, it’s vital that you carefully choose who you give those resources to.
By doing this and equipping them with the right items, you can affect the story’s progress at different times, making this one of those games that are truly hard to put down.
Not only does Tactics Ogre offer a gripping story that sees you trying to build an army to overthrow a tyrant, but it’s also full of content. Long after you’ve played this game from start to finish, you’ll still be able to unlock items and challenges.
This is thanks to the fact that there are two different endings in this game, with different variations on each.
Gemfire is one of those games that you can’t help but get sucked into. While the start of this game makes it look like a tower defense game, it soon becomes clear that this is more of a hybrid that combines strategy gaming with RPG elements.
Given that you can choose one of six different magicians, and then place them throughout Ishmeria, it’s up to you to decide where each magician goes and how they affect the story. Not only does Gemfire have a great story that takes you from one side of the country to the other, but it’s also full of challenging battles and plenty of ways to customize who your magicians are.
This is all before we even get to the fact that this game offers a very well-balanced RPG system. Each level is designed so that you’ll have a team of units that are all leveled up and ready to go. As this progresses, you’ll find yourself taking your team from one battle to the next, working your way through the different levels.
Not only is this a game that can offer you hours of gameplay, but it also has many experimental elements that you might not expect from a game at this stage in its lifespan. For example, the Gems that you use to attack have a unit value to them, meaning that if you lose them in battle, their value is subtracted from your ending score.
Developed by MicroProse and published by KOEI in 1995, Civilization was among the first games to be released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It remains extremely popular today.
In Civilization, you play as a ruler who has been tasked with building an empire in a randomized world that is full of danger. The game may seem complex to many, but it’s very simple to get into.
The game is played in turns, and as you go along, you will make decisions, such as which units to build and where to place them. This creates a sense of strategic choice that will really allow you to fine-tune your playing style according to what the enemy presents.
As well as this, Civilization also gives players various ways of winning the game. This variety of choices allows players to create their own unique style of play, and it certainly makes for an exciting game.
#4: Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
Ogre Battle is a tactical role-playing game released for the SNES in Japan on 12 March 1993 and made its way to English-speaking countries in September 1997.
The premise of this game is actually quite simple. Empress Endora has governed Zetegenia for the previous twenty-five years. As her authority became repressive, people of all socioeconomic levels and positions began to wish for a better future.
The Liberation Army, a rebel force, was eventually formed. The player-chosen protagonist, whose name and background are predetermined, gets command of the new army and leads his compatriots into revolt.
The gameplay is very much like that of other tactics games on the Super Nintendo. However, the game does feature some aspects that make it stand out from the crowd.
For example, there are both land-based and naval battles, making this one of the few games in which this occurs. The game also features character creation, allowing you to customize your army in any way you see fit.
Released in 1991 and still not bested by its many successors, SimCity was a revolutionary game that allowed players to construct their own city. This was done in an attempt to keep their populace happy.
It’s a very simple premise, but the freedom you have when playing this game has made it one of those classics that have stood the test of time. SimCity is all about building your very own city from scratch.
You will have to build your city from the ground up. Depending on what you do, you will face different obstacles. You can either build a city, and everything will be fine, or you could decide to try and find ways to maximize the benefits of what you’ve built.
This game was originally released for computers in 1989, but later it was ported onto the Super Nintendo by Maxis Software. Despite the first version of the game being released nearly a decade before, it was considered one of the best games available on the console at that time.
ActRaiser is a game developed by Quintet, and it was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991. Interestingly, this game featured music by Yuzo Koshiro.
In this game, you play as God in a world inhabited by humans. You have been tasked with guiding humans and showering them with divine blessings while they continue to live in ignorance of your presence.
However, there is another power at work that threatens to destroy the world, and you must fight him off before he can succeed. ActRaiser has been labeled as an “action-adventure role-playing game,” though it also possesses elements of other genres.
In it, you control both a human and an angel at the same time. The two characters have different abilities that complement each other nicely. The angel is able to fly, while the human is able to jump.
You move both characters simultaneously through a side-scrolling level. This dynamic duo-play style also makes for a fascinating story and a fun game overall.
#7: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776
Developed by Intelligent Systems, Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 was released in Japan in January 1999. This game is part of the popular Fire Emblem franchise. It is widely known for being the second installment to be released for the SNES and for featuring a larger map than its predecessor, Genealogy of the Holy War.
This game was released in the U.S. in February 1999. Called Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon in the U.S., this version of the game is extremely similar to its Japanese counterpart, Thracia 776; aside from a few minor differences here and there.
In Thracia 776, you play as a prince named Seliph who wishes to unite Jugdral with Grannvale, his birth country. In order to do this, he must fight against the vile King Bloom, as well as his army of manaketes.
When you start playing Thracia 776 for the first time, one of your first interactions on the screen will be with a mysterious man in black clothing named Frielei. He will give you useful information regarding your next objective and offer to join your party if you so wish.
The game also allows for two-player cooperative play. Both players will be playing as prince Selph and his friend Frei, who both serve under the Grannvale army. When playing with a second person, they will have slightly different stats than you do, and their level of experience compared to your own will be lowered the same way.
Tips to Choose the Best SNES Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time
Playing real-time strategy games can be very entertaining, especially if you’re used to playing other titles in the same genre. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for new SNES real-time strategy games.
Many SNES real-time strategy games may have been re-released in other forms, so you will want to ensure that you’re getting the original version of the game and not a remake. You should also check what platform the game is available on and buy it on the original system.
While it’s true that you do get what you pay for, some SNES real-time strategy games cost a fortune when they were released. If money isn’t an object for you, then there is nothing wrong with getting these titles.
However, if you have a budget to stick to, then make sure that you stick to it. Plenty of other great games out there won’t set you back as much as the rare titles will.
One of the most important aspects of a video game is its core gameplay. The best tactic games are the ones that are easy to learn, but difficult to master. There is no point in buying a game that will frustrate you with its high difficulty level.
At the same time, it is not a good idea to purchase an entry-level title that has a simple and easy gameplay style. It’s best if you balance your new purchases between challenging titles and beginner-friendly games.
In a game where you have so many things happening at once, you want to ensure that you can control everything easily. Some games are notorious for having flickering issues or for having controls that don’t work as they should. Ensure the game has clear and easy-to-read graphics and the controls are simple enough.
A lot of SNES real-time strategy games have been released over the years, but there are still plenty of other great games to try out. For example, there are plenty of SNES real-time strategy games that are limited to one type of gameplay.
You should look for the ones with a diverse selection of things to do. There’s no point in spending so much money on a game that will have you do the same thing repeatedly.
You want to make sure that the graphics are clear and that you will be able to see what’s going on without any trouble. There’s no point in buying a very expensive game that is hard to see, especially if you have poor eyesight.
The last thing you want to do is buy a game that has earned a bad reputation from many players. Some games are known for having buggy issues, and others have even been known for being somewhat unfair. Be bold and ask around about a title if you need to decide whether you should buy it.
It is no secret that the SNES had many great games, which are still remembered by fans to this day. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was also the first console to have support for a CD drive, so you could play your favorite music on the system without having to go out and buy a separate CD player.
Whether you’re an old SNES fan or just getting into the real-time strategy genre, make sure you pick up one of these games.