Ahh, ports… That classic, essential evil of living a gamer’s life. Though porting is often necessary to bring the treasured titles of one console to another, such titles rarely make the jump without a bug or two arising in the process. This list is intended to document a handful of SNES ports for which the process went even less smoothly than that, resulting in all kinds of fun stuff like censored assets, missing content, and controversy! So come along on this journey with me, if you would; your wallet just might thank me later.
#5 Final Fight
Though its lack of Guy, the industrial level, and two-player mode are almost enough to condemn Final Fight to its place in the list by themselves, it’s the removal of Roxy and fan favourite Poison from the game in exchange for two lame, forgettable punks that really snuffs out its ability to be taken seriously as a quality version of Final Fight. The absence of the two characters isn’t just limited to the SNES, either, remaining consistent with every release of Final Fight on Nintendo platforms.
#4 Mortal Kombat
Legendary as bad SNES ports go, (but by no means the worst!) Mortal Kombat is known to be inferior on the Super Nintendo. The controls and hit detection are a far cry from the arcade version of the game, but the final blow was dealt by Nintendo’s family-friendly policy at the time; the blood that would issue from the characters on a successful hit was replaced with an ugly gray ooze, all but ensuring that no fan of the edgy fighting game would be caught dead playing it on the SNES.
#3 Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame
Aside from the claims of “worse performance and controls” that you could level at most of the items on this list, the SNES version of Prince of Persia 2 also does away with much of the original game’s story content including its proper ending, instead dumping you to the credits right after stage 13. As if that weren’t bad enough, this version is also beset by a crippling bug capable of crashing the game when you kill one particular enemy. Fun!
#2 Space Ace
Space Ace is, frankly, one of the most lackluster attempts at a port I’ve ever seen. Originally cut from the same cloth as FMV (Full-Motion Video) games like Dragon’s Lair, (and playing very much like it, too) the SNES was unfortunately unable to support the full extent of the game’s content. Rather than doing us all a favor and cancelling it, however, they included what they could and inserted a very poor action game loosely based on the game’s story to fill in the blanks. The result is a pale shadow of the original.
#1 Pit Fighter
This may be the worst port of a game released for any system, much less the Super Nintendo. Though Pit Fighter itself is, by most accounts, a pretty redeemable fighting game at its best. Its reliance on digitized actors was still novel at the time, and I’m sure that counted for something in its other iterations. But here? On the SNES? I struggle to describe it using words. I would have to express it in the guttural, poorly-recorded grunting of every character in that game as they use their one effective move to flail weakly on-screen next to an opponent that they’re clearly not making physical contact with.
That concludes this list of the very worst ports available for the SNES. I hope that your sense of morbid curiosity has been sated, and that you have learned – as I have – that though the Super Nintendo is home to many quality titles and touchstones of gaming culture, it’s home to some incredibly dubious ports as well!