The “Console Wars” of the 16-bit generation, bitterly fought between Nintendo’s SNES and Sega’s Genesis, were a turning point for the industry. Such direct and savage competition had never been fought before, and, much like a real war, the burning rivalry inspired both major players to continue to innovate their technology and push themselves even further beyond in order to come out on top.
Due to this, some may state that the Super Nintendo is one of the greatest systems ever released, likely due to the enormous amount of all-time classic games from multiple genres that stuff its stables. Despite all these all-time classics and the competition with Sega that fueled some of the most important innovations the industry has ever had, Nintendo had a penchant for cutting some fantastic content from not just their own beloved games, but third party games as well. Sometimes due to censorship, or other times due to technical limitations, the lauded SNES library has more than a sizable collection of games that have lost significant content.
So, we’ve decided to count down all of that lost content with our list of 25 Amazing Things Deleted From SNES Games (That Would Have Changed Everything). We’ll be taking a look at iconic games from a wide spectrum of genres to uncover some of the most intriguing (and sometimes frustrating) deleted bits. Some games went through entire graphical changes, others were stripped of contextual content (such as drinking, religious imagery, or violence), while certain games even had their entire presence from existence removed entirely.
With all that said, let’s get started with our beloved dinosaur, Yoshi:
25 Yoshi's Island's Old Graphics
Yoshi’s Island is one of the best platformers ever made for any system. It plays wonderfully, even today, and its levels and enemy designs are mesmerizingly unique. Its best quality, however, is its stunning graphics and overall aesthetic. This crayon-esque look, coupled with the game’s impressive special effects make it stand-out amongst all of its peers.
Crazily enough, Nintendo once dictated that it should use pre-rendered Donkey Kong Country-styled graphics, considering that game’s success. Remnants of this misguided mandate can still be found with the pre-rendered character in the game’s intro.
24 Mortal Kombat's Content
This is a well-known story, but it bears repeating due to how impactful this decision was during the console wars of the 16-bit era. Nintendo was known for censoring religious, violent, or otherwise unsavory content from its games, and this decision crippled them when it came to Mortal Kombat.
MK was a phenomenon, and the home console ports were hungrily awaited by ravenous fans. Nintendo opted to remove all of the gore that made MK such a hit, while Sega did not. In the end, Sega’s port decimated Nintendo’s, but they learned their lesson with MKII.
23 Chrono Trigger's Lost Dungeon
Chrono Trigger is one of the finest JRPGs of all time. Whether it’s thanks to the awesome plot, incredible music, unique settings, time travel gimmick, or even Akira Toriyama’s character designs, it’s simply magic.
It turns out that there was even more magic to be found, and it was in the form of a cut dungeon that would have taken place in the prehistoric era. Remnants of this unfinished dungeon are found in the prototype, and the unused music track “Singing Mountain” was meant for it.
22 Less Inebriated People In RPGs
Nintendo’s censorship wasn’t just dedicated to the extreme violence of Mortal Kombat, but also to things like overuse… or drinking, in this particular case. It turns out that many of our favorite 16-bit Super Nintendo RPGs featured a lot of heavy beverage consumers for the main and side characters, and Nintendo stripped out all references to the act, sometimes rather clumsily.
While taking the references out wasn’t too big a deal, in the long run, it still would’ve been nice to see what the developer’s originally intended.
21 Important Mario Paint Features
Mario Paint is something of an oddity, but it’s beloved as such. Less of a game and more of a set of creation tools, Mario Paint used a mouse, and allowed players (or artists, in this case) to draw, create animations, or even compose music.
While these tools are powerful, there are even greater tools hidden just below the surface that are inexplicably hidden away. Able to be unlocked through an obscure code, players will then have access to the right mouse button and its functions, such as new rotation options and color sampling.
20 GoldenEye Was A Side-Scroller
We know this list is about amazing things being deleted from SNES games that would’ve changed everything, but what entire games that were deleted? This is one of those cases.
GoldenEye is a legendarily excellent FPS for the N64, but that wasn’t always the case.
Originally, this Bond game was intended to be a side-scrolling action-platformer using Donkey Kong Country-styled pre-rendered graphics. If the game released like that, what would the FPS genre on console be like today? This literally would have changed everything.
19 DKC Used To Have Even Better Graphics
Rare’s take on the DK universe was a smashing success, and Donkey Kong Country blew the minds of gamers with its at-the-time jaw-dropping, pre-rendered graphics. Even today the art-direction and scope of the game’s look are immensely impressive, but it used to even be more astounding. In order to fit the 3D graphics into the game, Rare had to make major cuts to animation and had to painstakingly paint the sprites pixel-by-pixel.
In the original version of the game, the colors were far more vibrant and the animation was exponentially more fluid.
Imagine if that version was released.
18 Super Castlevania IV's Content
Nintendo wasn’t a fan of “objectionable” content in any games that graced their 16-bit powerhouse, and many projects went through a sometimes excruciating censorship process that often left Western gamers out in the cold, while the Japanese market received the full version.
The awesome Super Castlevania IV fell victim to this mantra, and many of the rougher and religious details were removed. Most strikingly was the sewer/dungeon level, which was once surrounded by rivers and streams of blood, with the red liquid splattering the ground as well.
17 Super Mario World's Old Yoshi Design
Super Mario World is considered one of the greatest platformers of all time (if not the greatest) and rightfully so. Its massive scope and seemingly endless amount of superb secrets captured the imaginations of everyone who played it. And of course, we’d be remiss to not mention the lovable Yoshi, who was finally introduced after years of stagnating in the design phase.
Here’s the thing though: Yoshi used to look way weirder than he did in the final product, and if they kept the old design, our entire perception of the dinosaur would be warped almost beyond recognition today.
16 Mario Characters Having Beverages
Super Mario Kart more-or-less gave birth to not only the gargantuan and incredibly popular Mario Kart series but the entire genre of kart racers as a whole. The game still holds up today (though not as well as F-Zero), but it was a full-on phenomenon back when it released due to its multiplayer madness.
Interestingly, certain characters wanted to do some hefty celebrations in honor of their game, too, but Nintendo put an end to that real quick, at least in the west. Cut victory animations show Bowser and Peach guzzling champagne, which is both hilarious and kind of cool.
15 Sinister Dialogue In Star Fox
Star Fox brought groundbreaking 3D graphics to the SNES, along with wingmate dialogue that brought a lot of character to the game.
That said, a few ominous lines were left on the cutting room floor, though, and they’re chilling.
An unknown character calls out to Slippy repeatedly, then exclaims that they can’t tell what is real. Peppy asks to be picked up. Slippy expresses his inability to follow Fox. No one knows what these lines refer to, but in a game with as much surreal imagery as Star Fox, we’re kind of spooked.
14 The Chris Houlihan Room
This legend is well-known, but it’s still worth discussing. In short, Nintendo Power held a contest that would get the lucky winner’s name into an upcoming game. Someone by the name of Chris Houlihan won, and a room in his honor was inserted into A Link to the Past.
For whatever reason, though, Nintendo essentially barred access to the chamber.
It takes glitching the game to enter the room and read Chris’ message, but why was this cut out in the first place? It could’ve paved the way for continued contests in this style, and that would’ve been awesome.
13 Dracula X's Hefty Stuff
We’ve already mentioned how religious imagery and a healthy heaping of blood and gore were removed from Super Castlevania IV, but even the poor man’s version of Rondo of Blood couldn’t escape the fate of censorship.
All of the blood in Super Castlevania IV was reserved for scenery and the title screen, but Dracula X featured blood for when Richter took damage or when he dispatched certain enemies. While it wouldn’t have improved the game if they kept it in, it would have helped give it a more distinct presence.
12 Baby Crocomire
For anyone who has played Metroid: Other M and experienced its abysmally produced story, we know that Samus is obsessed with “the Baby,” and she’ll let you know throughout the entire game.
This is all rather ironic, since there is a cut enemy in Super Metroid that appears to be some kind of baby Crocomire, which means that Samus could have spent a significant portion of her time on Zebes wiping out the objects of her obsession.
In the end, what’s the difference between a baby Metroid and baby Crocomire? Not much… minus the life-saving thing.
11 All Of Star Fox 2
Star Fox was a huge hit for Nintendo and the SNES, so it only made sense that an even more impressive sequel would be put into development. Star Fox 2 was slated for release but, despite being virtually finished, Nintendo pulled the plug in favor of the upcoming N64 and Star Fox 64.
Once again, an entire game was cut from the SNES, and it had unknown repercussions.
If SF2 was another giant hit, would that have made Star Fox 64 incorporate its walker gameplay and non-linear mission structures? It’s crazy to even consider a world with a different SF64.
10 An Entire Army Of Chrono Trigger Enemies
We mentioned earlier that Chrono Trigger is not only one of the best RPGs of its era, but perhaps one of the best examples of the entire genre. While we would eventually get a pseudo-sequel in the form of Chrono Cross on the PlayStation, fans still crave more experiences within the world of the original Chrono experience.
While there was the aforementioned cut dungeon, there is also a wealth of deleted monsters and enemies.
It’d be fantastic if they could be reincorporated into the game to give even longtime players a new experience.
9 No Typical Bad Guys In Wolfenstein (But Lots Of Giant Rats)
Wolfenstein is a series about shooting WWII bad guys. It has always been a series about shooting them. Despite this fact, Nintendo disagreed. Like so many other games of this era, Nintendo’s strict content guidelines forced some truly bizarre censorship into the otherwise-impressive SNES port of Wolfenstein 3D.
Gone are the merciless Shepards… they’re instead replaced with giant rats.
Also eliminated are any references to or images related to the bad guys, including their leader’s mustache. We can sort of understand where Nintendo was coming from but, come on.
8 Super Mario World's Lost Levels
Super Mario World’s gigantic collection of levels and secrets is as highly lauded as the game itself, but would you believe it if we told that there used to be even more stages at one point? According to data found in the ROM, there are various early versions of existing levels, but others that are brand new and unfinished.
Some even have a weird “No Yoshi” sign that isn’t found anywhere else in the game.
Still, it’s interesting to see how the developers ironed things out in the final product.
7 The Entirety Of Project Dream
“Project Dream” was a long-in-development project in Rare that went through many, many changes before it was eventually canceled and became something else entirely.
The game used pre-rendered graphics like DKC, but it was isometric action RPG called Dream: Land of the Giants. The SNES version would be canned and development would transfer to the N64… only for just about everything to be scrapped and refitted into becoming the one and only Banjo-Kazooie, with other elements going to Tooie.
While Dream might have been awesome, what the world be like without Banjo-Kazooie?
6 Co-Op In Mega Man 7
Mega Man 7 is a good game in its own right, but it’s underwhelming when compared to the grandeur of its SNES cousin, Mega Man X. However, evidence in Mega Man 7’s ROM suggests that there was something that would have dramatically set it apart from the X Series, and that would be cooperative play.
Digging through the data there appears to be unused 1P and 2P cursors, which even go unused in the existing multiplayer.
Could this be a sign of some scrapped co-op feature? We can’t say for sure, but it is most curious.
5 A Certain Kind Of Context In ActRaiser
For those who have played ActRaiser, and its unique mix of town-building simulation and traditional side-scrolling action stages, it’s no secret that the main character is a deity. He’s even got a little cherub helping him build the world! But what Nintendo didn’t want to be obvious is that you are actually playing as the deity. Like, the actual, traditional conception of the big man upstairs.
And your enemy, Tanzra? He’s actually straight-up called Satan in the original version of the game.
While nothing major was lost with this censorship, there would have been some more titanic gravity to the plot.
4 Super Mario's Animal Issues
For years people wondered what exactly was going on with Mario and Yoshi in Super Mario World. Were they friends? Were they just man and steed? Or… was it much darker, with Mario as an animal hater? Alas, it was the latter.
According to original design sketches, Mario actually hits the back of Yoshi’s head to make his tongue come out.
That’s dark and morally awful, and the fact that Nintendo would consider keeping this in while removing so much “objectionable content” from other games is hysterically hypocritical.
3 40% Of Secret Of Mana
Secret of Mana is a fantastic action-RPG, and one that was popular enough to make it to the SNES Classic. But for those who have fought their way through the game, you might be surprised to know that something significant was cut out of the final product.
And by “something significant,” we mean a whopping 40% of the game.
According to the producer, the original, uncut storyline was significantly darker, and the reason so many characters receive so little development is because of the missing content.
2 Cranky Used To Be Nice
From Cranky Kong’s very first appearance in Donkey Kong Country, he was one of gaming’s most crotchety old men (who also happened to be laugh-out-loud hilarious). This has been his character ever since, but according to original design documents and leftover data, Cranky wasn't meant to be so grumpy.
He’s kind and caring in the unused dialogue, which is surprising to say the least.
In the end, we’re glad he got his attitude adjusted for the worse, as he’s so much more memorable when he’s mad.
1 Super Mario 64 Used To Be A SNES Game
Super Mario 64 was a game that defined a generation, created an entire genre, and showed the world what it was like to navigate a character in legitimately three dimensions. All of that makes the fact that Mario’s 3D debut was going to be on the SNES a lot weirder.
Apparently, the only reason the project went to the N64 was due to the lack of a control stick on the SNES.
Can you imagine the most groundbreaking video game of the modern era simply not existing in its current form? We can’t, and we don’t want to.