Like the early Final Fantasy titles, the game took place from the top-down perspective and had players control a party of heroes on an arduous journey, although this is where the similarities ended.
Secret of Mana was as much inspired by The Legend of Zelda as its was by its role-playing brethren, containing fast-paced, real-time combat and a dynamic overworld to explore.
The game followed a nameless youth who discovered a sacred sword. The young protagonist embarks on a quest to re-energize the weapon and thwart the plans of an empire with world domination on its mind.
Secret of Mana may have omitted the turn-based combat of Final Fantasy, but it offered just as much depth where story was concerned, taking place in a world backed by in-depth lore and populated by colourful characters.
To call it a Zelda-Final Fantasy hybrid would be quite accurate, but the game also had big ideas that it could call its own.
Secret of Mana's take on multiplayer was inventive, allowing a second and third user (with the help of the SNES Super Multitap accessory) to drop in and out during a play session and take control of the sword-wielding hero's allies.
For those who found actual friends hard to come by, the game provided customisable AI settings for the computer-controlled characters, a feature that has since been adopted elsewhere.
While the game flew in the face of its genre's traditions in some respects, it embraced them in others, with main characters that were every inch role-playing archetypes.
The main hero was a cookie-cutter warrior, adept in melee combat and primed to handle various different weapons, while his female companion served as the party's healer, and the Sprite was the equivalent of Final Fantasy's black mages.
Its "Ring Command" menu for pausing proceedings mid-battle and carrying out a range of actions without the need to switch screens was also innovative.
This system has proved influential, going on to appear in subsequent role-playing games such 2003's The Temple of Elemental Evil.
Secret of Mana had all of the essential ingredients of an epic adventure - a captivating plot, a rich and colourful world to explore, and the ultra-satisfying sense that your characters are growing all-powerful as the game progresses.
Its appeal has never dulled over time, a point which was proven when the game made its debut on Virtual Console in 2008. The game's Ring Command and levelling-up systems still feel fresh today, and it continues to provide one of the most satisfying multiplayer experiences the genre has to offer.
Square Enix even brought the game to iPhone in 2010, but the absence of multiplayer and touchscreen-related woes saw this port fall short of definitive.
The Secret of Mana is rightly considered one of the greatest games ever crammed into a SNES cartridge, and remains one of the most influential role-playing titles of all time.
May offers some of the most diverse releases of the year, from the return of Mario Kart to the long-awaited arrival of Watch Dogs, physical games like Sportsfriends and a portable version of Borderlands 2.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Release date: May 2 (Europe), April 29 (North America) Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Wii U, 3DS
Developed by previous Spider-Man game studio Beenox, the superhero action title will retain the open-world gameplay that was used by the previous entries.
The game follows an alternative storyline alongside the events of the newly released movie. New foes and old friends will be faced as Peter Parker searches for his uncle's killer.
Released on January 1 1970 | By Scott Nichols, Gaming Contributor
Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include a soul-crushing dungeon, telepathic thieves and a wealthy ball of fur sporting an over-sized moustache.
Wayward Souls is a spiritual follow-up to Rocketcat's mobile hack-and-slash adventure Mage Gauntlet.
Players can pick from between six character classes, only three of which are available from the start, with the usual suspects like warrior, mage and rogue rounded out with hybrid classes like the spellsword and cultist after you meet the unlock conditions.
Rocketcat Games continues to be one of the most adept developers when it comes to bringing traditional game controls to touch screens, using a system of taps and swipes for basic attacks and casting spells that is refreshingly responsive and accurate.
The randomly generated dungeons offer a stiff challenge, with scarce healing items and death forcing you to lose any items you have found and start back at the dungeon's first floor.
While you lose all of your items upon death, you keep any gold you might have collected, which can be spent on upgrading the character classes before embarking back into the dungeon to try again.
It is a system that is meant to be played and replayed with your characters getting a little stronger and more capable after each attempt.
The randomly generated dungeons are a double-edged sword in that case, where the unique layout and enemy patterns each time make the dungeon feel new again, but it also means that there is no opportunity to memorise those patterns to further improve your odds for succeeding the next time.
Wayward Souls is an intense challenge, but that only makes the feeling of reward all the greater when you finally succeed, and unlock the next multi-floor deathtrap to explore.
One title that didn't quite make the cut is Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, a platformer that isn't quite up there with the best the handheld had to offer, but should be remembered for introducing a memorable character to the Nintendo universe.
We're talking about the comically rotund villain Wario, who served as the antagonist in the 1992 sequel before going on to become an anti-hero of sorts in his own series and a mainstay in Nintendo's crossover titles.
Super Mario Land 2 had the difficult task of following the much-loved original, a game which brought the winning formula of 1985 NES smash Super Mario Bros to the palm of your hand.
The game promised much. At first glance, it was a significant improvement on the original Super Mario Land, bearing more than a passing resemblance to SNES offering Super Mario World, minus the vibrant colour pallet, of course.
It wasn't the most intricate of storylines, but it was a slight departure for the Mario series in the sense that there was no princess to save and Bowser was nowhere in sight.
Gameplay didn't deviate from the principles established by previous 2D Mario titles. It was a vintage 2D platformer, complete with mushrooms, fire flowers and Goombas to stomp.
Super Mario Land 2 did away with the vehicular levels found in its predecessor, but introduced a new power-up to the series in the shape of the bunny ears, which allowed Mario to float across short distances.
Although they were useful at times, we were always disappointed that Mario couldn't actually take flight, having been spoilt by the cape and Super Leaf of the console instalments.
The game's six zones, which included themes such as space, Halloween and water, were dotted about an overworld map reminiscent of Super Mario World, with the castle located in the centre.
While Super Mario Land 2 played as well as most entries in the iconic series, it was a short-lived experience. This writer received the game for Christmas back in 1992 and had collected all six golden coins before Boxing Day.
The final level inside the castle posed a stiffer challenge and the climactic battle with Wario was memorable, the villain using Mario's power-ups against him in a gruelling battle that lasted several rounds.
Although most avid Mario fans completed the game relatively quickly, Super Mario Land 2 played host to dozens of secrets, from hidden power-ups to extra stages, and the replay value was high.
It may have fallen marginally short of attaining classic status, but Super Mario Land 2 was a worthy entry in the series and is of historic significance as the game that introduced the world to the enduringly-popular Wario.
Like any 2D Mario platformer, the game retains much playability to this day and is a highly recommended Virtual Console download for the 3DS owners out there.
Do you have any fond memories of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins? Post a comment below!
Released on January 1 1970 | By Scott Nichols, Gaming Contributor
Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include an addictive card game from World of Warcraft, a stealth assassination board game and some extreme fishing that isn't quite ridiculous.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Reviewed on: iPad 4 Platforms: iPad Price: Free
Hearthstone makes its way to iPad, bringing Blizzard's addictive World of Warcraft card game to touch screens in top form.
While it could be easy to write Hearthstone off as an imitation of similar games like Magic: The Gathering, it distinguishes itself through having a faster pace than most card games, requiring new types of strategies.