Tag Archives: Mario

Retro Gaming: Top 10 Super Nintendo Games

Retro gaming is big business at the moment, everything comes back into fashion as they say – so what did Dom Kureen pick as his top ten Super Nintendo games of all time? Read on to find out!

Mario Kart

Of all the consoles that I’ve had the pleasure to own or experience, my favourite remains the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (AKA SNES.)

With the advances in gaming that have taken place in the past two decades, it would be easy to scoff at the simple graphics and limited depth of the 16-bit era, viewing it as an eyesore fit only as a reference for how far games consoles have evolved since, with the current power players, the Playstation 4 and much maligned Xbox One, hammering home that point.

Still, that would be to dismiss the simple fun and focus on gameplay that defined the SNES, it was a brilliant machine that was responsible for memorable titles being released with reassuring regularity.

The return of retro has seen a boom in popularity for the machines from the Megadrive/SNES/Gameboy era, as once again those vintage devices are dusted off and given an airing as some sort of ironic fashion accessory.

With that in mind, I felt that it was only right to do a top ten of all SNES games, let us know if there are any that you think should have made the list, but weren’t included.

Please note that games such as Earthbound and the breathtaking Chrono Trigger were never released on the UK SNES and are therefore not under consideration.

10. Street Fighter II Turbo (1993)

Street Fighter 2 Turbo

With fighting games all the rage in the 1990s, the SF 2 series found its way to the forefront of the genre, despite the likes of Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct also making successful transitions from arcade to console.

The turbo edition of the game not only added an option to change the speed of combat, it also enabled the use of the four boss characters from the previous SFII game – of which M.Bison was undisputedly the most dynamic.

With slick cartoon graphics and easy-to-learn moves, this incarnation beats its sequel, Super Street Fighter II, on to the list, with the worthless additional characters adding very little to the latter. The only real competition comes from Mortal Kombat 2, but this just edges it out of the top ten.

9. International Superstar Soccer (1995)

As far as footballing games went on the Super Nintendo, most had followed a similar format, with small, pixilated graphics and muffled sound dominating games like Striker or Kick Off.

ISS changed all of that, with big bold sprites and even the occasional phrase such as ‘free-kick’, ‘throw in’ and best of all ‘gooooooooooaaaaaalllll!!!’ spouted by a wild commentator for good measure.

Easy to get to grips with and boasting international teams set up exactly as they had been in the 1994 World Cup, this added new layers to previous carts dedicated to the sport.

Perhaps best of all, the game had a scenario mode, which had matches set up at specific points, with the objective usually to overturn a difficult situation or hold on for dear life with a poor side against the likes of Holland or Brazil. One of these even has a biased referee who sent off two Italian players, so you begin your challenge with only nine men on the pitch!

Interestingly, this game was the predecessor to the more famous Pro Evolution Soccer series, which in 2013 still rivals Fifa as the must-own football game.

8. Donkey Kong Country (1994)

Donkey Kong Country - [Front]

A controversial choice, as most DK fans prefer the second part of the trilogy. For me, the incredible visuals and imagination of the original still give it the edge.

With a brilliant two-player mode, in which team-mates can tag to switch control midway through stages, this was innovative on numerous levels and reinvented a character who had for the most part been reduced to the role of a bad guy in doddery 8-bit games, something alluded to with tongue firmly in cheek during this version of the big ape’s antics.

Developers, Rage, spent 22 years designing this game and it shows. With its pre-rendered 3D graphics and three files to store progress in, DK Country was a must-own title, which helped to reinvigorate the Super Nintendo brand after sales had dipped during early to mid-1994.

7. Super Metroid (1994)

The third entry of the Metroid series, Metroid 3, better known as Super Metroid was indisputably the best of the three games.

A sideways scrolling platformer, which features run, jump and gun gameplay, players progress along their journey by adding new features and weapons as the difficulty increases, making the final embers of play a formidable prospect to overcome.

A huge challenge, with more than enough variety to keep any platform fan interested in the long term, Super Metroid is still considered one of the finest examples of what can be done with limited graphical and storage capabilities.

6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

How do you follow a timeless classic such as Super Mario World? By revamping the setup and letting his dinosaur pal take over at the helm!

With pressure to produce a new Mario adventure after a three-year gap in Europe, Nintendo decided upon a prequel where Mario was a baby, as opposed to the plump plumber that had captivated his fans in the first four installments.

This shouldn’t work, but somehow does. The hand-drawn backdrops stand out a mile and if Yoshi is struck by an enemy there is a countdown to collect infant Mario as he drifts away and whines. This makes it a tad easier to recover from errors than the previous adventures.

5. Super Bomberman (1993)

What could be more fun than blowing up your enemies with strategically placed bombs? It’s the age-old question that most scholars eventually put forward in one guise or another. Super Bomberman finally gave SNES owners the opportunity to do exactly that, with this exciting and bold offering.

With a terrific multi-player option allowing up to four people to get involved at any one time, this is frighteningly addictive with three different modes and a captivating storyline to keep players on their toes.

The various items that can be picked up include a boot and boxing glove, which both add unpredictability to your attacks. Meanwhile, progression towards the holy grail of maximum acceleration and full compliment of bombs means that the story mode takes some time to defeat, virtually guaranteeing hundreds of hours of entertainment in the process.

4. Super Mario All-Stars (1993)

Super Mario 3

Yes, this choice might be a bit of a cheap shot with all of these games re-releases from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but to have the first three parts of the Mario story on one cart, as well as the Lost Levels addition, was a shrewd move by Nintendo.

Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 are the standouts here, not losing any of their greatness in the conversion. The other two offerings are still above par and scrub up well.

With the graphics upgraded from the originals and the music revamped, there is no doubt that here we have a special collection, which helped to introduce newer fans of Nintendo to some of the classic games of yore, whilst gifting veterans a nostalgic journey down the railroad tracks.

3. Super Mario World (1992)

After releasing the superlative Super Mario Bros. 3 last time out, it would have been safe and easy for Nintendo to deliver something similar here, what they decided instead was to instigate a near 180 degree sea change and deliver a fresh take on things in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Bowser has once again captured the Princess and it is Mario’s job to save the day. This time his dinosaur pal Yoshi comes along for the ride, swallowing enemies and using different-coloured shells to acquire various special powers.

With over 100 ways of completing levels and tons of hidden pathways, there is little danger of getting bored until the task of completing the mighty game is complete. The only downside may be the lack of a two-player option, but that is a minor yawp in an otherwise terrific game.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A link to the past (1992)

Regularly cited as the best SNES game of all time and among the greatest ever on any console, Zelda comes within a gnat’s whisker of topping this list.

If you have enjoyed Zelda games in the past, either pre or post A Link To The Past, then the chances are that you’ll love this as well. As an adventure game Zelda is an explorative journey of discovery in which players uncover more with each phase of play.

With an original score to rival any computer game music of the time and graphics that are visually pleasing, this is clearly a game with which great care was taken. It isn’t all surface value though, as a substantial dose of carnage and vast array of bad guys to conquer ensure that this game should satiate even the fussiest fan.

1. Super Mario Kart (1993)

So we arrive at the peak of the mountain with Super Mario Kart, the most accessible, joyful and simple racing game ever created.

Where Mario Kart excels is the variety in courses, game modes and drivers. With Championship mode playable at either 50cc, 100cc or 150cc level, it offers the opportunity to gradually sharpen your skills until you are ready to face the epic struggle of courses such as Rainbow Road.

Better still, the battle mode offers a two player experience with few peers, with each driver aiming to inflict damage on their rival via shells, banana skins and magic stars, until one kart has managed the three hits required to secure victory.

With the karts all matched up fairly well (eg: big guys such as Bowser have a high top speed and can bash small ones around the course on impact, but lack acceleration and control and Toad vice-versa) there is always a new challenge awaiting as you try to master each skill set.

So there you have it. Do you agree, disagree or are you just confused by the retro scene? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier League Deadline Day – who needs what?

The Premier League kicked off more than a fortnight ago, with Manchester United’s woeful start forcing them to splurge a British transfer record £59.7m on Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria, one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup.

Other clubs, such as Arsenal and Everton, have embellished their squad with a handful of high-calibre additions, while Newcastle United and Liverpool have been amongst this summer’s most active deal brokers.

How has each club fared during the 2014 summer transfer window? Dom Kureen takes a look at the ins and outs of all 20 top-flight sides.

Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez
Best addition: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona, £35m)
Notable departure: Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona, £15m)

Last season’s FA Cup winners have operated shrewdly in market this summer, with the marquee signing of attacking maestro Alexis Sanchez adding yet more flair to an already heaving creative hub.

The likes of Matthieu Debuchy (£12m from Newcastle) and Calum Chambers (£16m from Southampton) were probably overpriced additions, although both improve what was, at times, a leaky Gunners back line last term.

What they need: A striker is a must now that Olivier Giroud has gone down for up to five months with a broken leg – Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon would be an excellent addition to Arsene Wenger’s squad.

8/10

Aston Villa
Joe Cole

Best addition: Carlos Sanchez (Elche, £4.8m)
Notable departure: Marc Albrighton (Leicester City, free)

A strange window has seen the Villains snap up veterans Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson and Phillipe Senderos – all of whom are past their best.

On the flip side Paul Lambert has managed to conclude deals for Colombian defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez Moreno and pacy French full-back Aly Cissokho, both of whom should command regular first-team spots at Villa Park.

What they need: a creative player such as Newcastle’s out of favour Hatem Ben-Arfa would add an air of spontaneity to an ostensibly uninspiring group of players.

5/10

Burnley

Best addition: Matthew Taylor (West Ham, free)
Notable departure: Chris Baird (West Brom, free)

Newly promoted Burnley have been active in the market this summer, adding seven new faces to the ranks without spending more than £1.5m on any of them.

The free acquisition of versatile veteran Matthew Taylor adds a glaze of experience to a youthful setup, although the Clarets still look well short of possessing the quality to stay up.

What they need: Three or four proven Premier League players would be helpful, although with their limited budget that may prove difficult and the pursuit of Watford’s Lewis McGugan isn’t likely to improve early season fortunes drastically should it prove successful.

2/10

Chelsea
Diego Costa

Best addition: Diego Costa (£32.2m, Athletico Madrid)
Notable departure: Romelu Lukaku (£28m, Everton)

A breathless turnaround for the always active Stamford Bridge club has seen the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Frank Lampard, Demba Ba, Ashley Cole, Fernando Torres and David Luiz depart – the latter to Paris Saint-Germain for an astonishing fee of £50m considering the regularity of the Brazilian’s mid-match brain farts.

Diego Costa has started well with goals in each of his first three league matches, and although Cesc Fabregas (£30m from Barcelona) has yet to sparkle, the ex-Arsenal man brings an abundance of pedigree to SW3. The return of ‘wunderkind’ custodian Thibaut Courtois, following a three year loan spell at Athletico Madrid, could prove the most pivotal addition of the lot.

What they need: Jose Mourinho would love to add Raphael Varane to the ranks, although it may take north of £30m to prise the central defender away from current club Real Madrid.

6.5/10

Crystal Palace
Neil Warnock

Best Signing: Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United, loan)
Notable departure: Danny Gabbidon (Released)

The Eagles lost their talismanic leader Tony Pulis this summer, whilst also missing out on most of their top targets, including free-scoring midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who snubbed a move from Spurs in favour of a return to Swansea City.

Newly appointed gaffer Neil Warnock has more than a whiff of the lower leagues about him, and the whole setup reeks of troubled times ahead – a lot will depend on the success of the returning Wilfried Zaha, with Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly the only other summer acquisitions of note.

What they need: A time machine to go back three months and draw up a more realistic list of targets, possibly placating Tony Pulis with the new faces that he desperately required.

2/10

Everton
Romelu Lukaku

Best signing: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea, £28m)
Notable departure: None.

Christmas came early for Toffees fans when the club agreed a long-term deal with last season’s loan star, Romelu Lukaku, whose £28m jump from Chelsea almost doubled the club’s previous transfer record.

A less heralded loan deal made permanent was the free transfer of evergreen Gareth Barry from Manchester City – a fine player who fits the ethos at Goodison Park, although the short term signing of Samuel Eto’o may prove one move too many for the experienced forward.

What they need: Another central midfield option would be handy, with Manchester United’s want-away England international Tom Cleverley the subject of tug-of-war between Everton and Aston Villa.

8/10

Hull City
Tom Ince

Best signing: Harry McGuire (Sheffield United, £2.5m)
Notable departure: Shane Long (Southampton, £12m)

Steve Bruce has been a wily operator in pre-season, making Jake Livermore’s loan spell from Tottenham Hotspur permanent for a cool £7m, snapping up brilliant young central defender Harry McGuire from Sheffield United, nabbing the reliable Michael Dawson and stealing Thomas Ince from under the noses of a dozen or more other admirers.

Of the departing players only Shane Long was any great shakes, meaning that Tigers fans can expect another season of progression and some exciting months ahead.

What they need: With Long having headed south, the need for a new partner for Nikola Jelavic has grown more pressing, expect Palermo’s Uruguayan hitman Abel Hernandez to be announced later today.

7/10

Leicester City
Leonardo Ulloa

Best signing: Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton, £7m)
Notable departure: None

The Foxes have shown faith in the majority of the group that brought them success last season, as Nigel Pearson’s men romped to the Championship title to gain promotion to the Premier division with weeks to spare.

Leonardo Ulloa should add some muscle to a lightweight frontline, although at £7m the former Brighton and Hove Albion man is probably a little overpriced. Marc Albrighton and Esteban Cambiasso are two of the better free transfers of the summer.

What they need: One more experienced player could prove invaluable – something that should be addressed by the imminent arrival of Lokomotiv Moscow striker Dame N’Doye.

5/10

Liverpool
Mario Balotelli 2

Best signing: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan, £16m)
Notable departure: Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £65m)

The departure of Luis Suarez hinted at an end to the controversial times at Anfield… and then they decided to sign AC Milan’s wild-eyed forward Mario Balotelli.

The Italian should prove a shrewd investment, likewise Dejan Lovren is a terrific defensive addition and Lazar Markovic has the potential to do well after his big bucks move from Benfica. In contrast Adam Lallana might find the going tough at such a high-profile club.

What they need: Not much. If anything the defence lacks a bit of depth, something that the potential signing of River Plate’s Eder Balanta would resolve.

7/10

Manchester City
Eliaquim Mangala

Best signing: Eliaquim Mangala (Porto, £32m)
Notable departure: Gareth Barry (Everton, free)

A quiet summer by Manchester City’s standards has been more courtesy of FIFA restrictions than design of the club, with the champions punished for a previous breach of financial fair play rules with a budget of ‘only’ £49m net expenditure allowed.

Almost two thirds of that amount was splashed on Porto’s promising centre-half Eliaquim Mangala, who should provide captain Vincent Kompany with a worthy partner. Midfield scrapper Fernando was signed from the same club, while the addition of goalkeeper Willy Caballero from Malaga provides decent competition for Joe Hart.

What they need: With Alvaro Negredo unsettled Manchester City might look to do a swap deal for Athletico Madrid’s creative starlet Koke.

6/10

Manchester United
Angel Di Maria

Best signing: Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid, £59m)
Notable departure: Nemanja Vidic (Inter Milan, free)

Louis Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford having taken the Netherlands to an impressive third place finish at the World Cup, in theory his presence was intended to create a quick fix for David Moyes’ doomed tenure, in reality it is proving more difficult.

This is despite a massive summer outlay of around £140m, easily the most in the division, and the addition of half a dozen very highly rated players to the roster. There is still a sense that the shiny new Dutch boss has plenty of streamlining to do before the window shuts.

What they need: Clearing out dead wood such as Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Anderson would be progress, as would the expected conclusion of deals for Ajax schemer Daley Blind and long-term target Arturo Vidal from Juventus.

6/10

Newcastle United
Remy Cabella

Best signing: Siem De Jong (Ajax, £6.1m)
Notable departure: Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal, £12m)

Following two painfully reticent previous transfer windows, Newcastle have been busy this summer, capturing nine new players and allowing a slew of second rate performers to depart.

The £14m spent acquiring Remy Cabella from Montpellier and Siem De Jong from Ajax should prove a bargain, although both will take time to settle. One player who has adapted quickly is £5m full-back Darryl Janmaat, recruited from Feyenoord to replace outgoing incumbent Mathieu Debuchy. Jack Colback’s free transfer from arch rivals Sunderland is a genuine coup for the club.

What they need: a 15+ goals a season striker and a pacy centre back are paramount, Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Virgil Van Dijk of Celtic are two players who could be the difference between a season of struggle and a top half finish for the Toon.

7/10

Queens Park Rangers
Rio Ferdinand

Best signing: Steven Caulker (Cardiff City, £7m)
Notable departure: Loic Remy (Chelsea, £10.5m)

Harry Redknapp made defence his priority this summer, pairing new signings Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker to add some much needed steel to last season’s play-off winners.

The versatile Mauricio Isla, on loan from Juventus, is a quality utility man and in Leroy Fer and Jordan Mutch the Loftus Road outfit have stoked up their engine room. Losing Loic Remy to Chelsea has severely depleted an already paper thin attack.

What they need: A replacement for Remy is vital to reduce the burden on Charlie Austin. Jordan Rhodes could probably be persuaded to take the step up, although Blackburn Rovers are demanding more than £12m for the Scotland international.

6/10

Southampton
Fraser Forster

Best signing: Fraser Forster (Celtic, £10m)
Notable departure: Adam Lallana (Liverpool, £25m)

The summer started horribly for the Saints, with manager Mauricio Pochettino heading to Spurs and no less than four key players and exciting young defender Callum Chambers all exiting, albeit generally for massively inflated fees.

New manager Ronald Koeman has managed to snap up some nifty talent to alleviate much of the misery from St Mary’s. The most impressive of these are goalkeeper Fraser Forster, Dusan Tadic of FC Twente and £12m hit man Shane Long from West Bromwich Albion.

What they need: A couple more squad players and centre-half would fill some of the gaping holes in the squad. Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld would solve the latter issue and is expected to join on loan today.

5/10

Stoke City
Bojan

Best signing: Bojan Krkic (Barcelona, £6.8m)
Notable departure: None

In typical Stoke City fashion, the club have made a series of solid, dependable signings this summer embellished with a couple of less predictable ones.

Bojan Krkic was once regarded as the next great player from Barcelona’s youth academy and it’s a measure of how far his stock has plummeted that he now joins The Potters with a reputation in need of salvaging. Mame Biram Diouf and Victor Moses perpetually lurch between potential match winners and a state of ineptitude.

What they need: Mark Hughes has publicly stated that he doesn’t wish to add any more players to the squad, looking instead to offload the likes of Wilson Palacios and Jack Butland.

5/10

Sunderland
Jack Rodwell

Best signing: Jack Rodwell (Man City, £10m)
Notable departure: Jack Colback (Newcastle United, free)

The Mackems’ investment in Manchester City’s want-away midfielder Jack Rodwell has paid instant dividends and given the player a new lease of life, with his point salvaging goal against Manchester United serving as testament to that.

The departure of another Jack – Colback – caused consternation amongst Sunderland fans, with the 24 year-old, cheekily nicknamed ‘ginger Pirlo’, heading to arch rivals Newcastle United on a free transfer.

What they need: A quality central defender, with the club strongly linked to Celtic’s Virgil Van Dijk and Athletico Madrid’s (Southampton bound) Toby Aldreweireld.

5/10

Swansea City
Bafe Gomis

Best signing: Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, free)
Notable departure: Michu (Napoli, loan)

The high flying Swans have attracted some quality players to the club this summer, including Lyon’s livewire forward Bafe Gomis and returning Gylfi Sigurdsson from Tottenham Hotspur.

Perhaps more crucially, they have so far hung on to star men Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey, despite intensive transfer speculation. Losing both Ben Davies and Michel Vorm to Spurs was disappointing, albeit unavoidable.

What they need: Jet-heeled Marseille winger Andre Ayew would add a sprinkle of dynamism to the Welsh side.

7/10

Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino

Best signing: Mauricio Pochettino (Southampton, £6m)
Notable departure: Michael Dawson (Hull City, £4.5m)

Luring new manager Mauricio Pochettino from Southampton seems to have breathed new life into Tottenham and should provide long-term dividends for the club going forward.

After last season’s wild spending spree, it was inevitable that the business would be a tad less hasty this time around. The likes of Ben Davies and Eric Dier are exceptional prospects and snapping up Sevilla defensive rock Federico Fazio is an astute piece of business.

What they need: Morgan Schneiderlin has been linked with Spurs all summer, although Southampton are for once proving reluctant sellers.

7/10

West Bromwich Albion
Brown Ideye

Best signing: Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev, £10m)
Notable departure: Billy Jones (Sunderland, free)

Eleven new faces should have put plenty of ‘boing’ into the Baggies’ step, only for closer inspection to reveal a dearth of quality among the new faces.

Brown Ideye has all the attributes to be a success in the Premier League, although his mediocre goal scoring feats elsewhere suggest that he might not be one to hang your hat on. Craig Gardner, Chris Baird and the like are solid enough reinforcements. Georgios Samaras lacks the quality to set the division alight.

What they need: Someone with a touch of class in the centre of midfield wouldn’t go amiss. Will Hughes of Derby County has been a long term target of the club.

5/10

West Ham United
Enner Valencia

Best signing: Alex Song (Barcelona, loan)
Notable departure: Joe Cole (Aston Villa, free)

The Hammers pulled off one of the coups of the window 48 hours ago by bringing in Alex Song on loan for a year from Barcelona, although his arrival probably spells the end for Mohamed Diame, who has his sights set on Hull City.

Enner Valencia is another exceptional addition, arriving just in time to cover Andy Carroll’s latest injury setback. Aaron Cresswell and Mauro Zarate are technically gifted players who will hopefully steer ‘big’ Sam away from his usual tactical anti-football.

What they need: Another body at the back. Micah Richards is being strongly linked with a late move to Upton Park from Manchester City, so watch this space.

8/10

Have you heard any rumours? Let us know. Make sure to ‘like’ Kureen on Facebook while you’re at it!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.