10. Legacy of the Wizard (NES)
Legacy of the Wizard is probably the most obscure release on this list. The game was actually developed by Falcom, creators of the popular Ys and Legend of Heroes series of rpgs, and has got to be one of the most unique rpgs ever released.
The game is set up in a side-scroller type atmosphere and requires you to explore huge underground mazes. You'll have to collect useful items along the way in order to defeat the many enemies that you'll constantly come into contact with. This might be a rather strange title to include on an rpg list, but I just couldn't resist.
9. Dragon Warrior (NES)
The Dragon Quest series was already one of the most successful game series in Japan, so it was no real surprise when Enix decided to bring the game to other parts of the world. It's the game that introduced the world to the slimes and has become one of the best-selling game franchises in video game history.
Computers had long been the preferred means of playing role-playing games at the time, but Dragon Warrior gave the game consoles a chance to show that they too could be just as effective at playing rpgs as home computers were. The game has become an all-time classic that deserves another chance to shine on the Virtual Console.
8. Ys Book I & II (TG16)
When Ys Book I & II was first released on the TurboGrafx-16 CD format, it did things that no other rpg from the time period had done to that point. The game featured full voiced dialog, gorgeous anime sequences, and an epic quest that basically spanned two separate games. Over the years this game has become one of the most beloved classics available on any game console and a must-have for any rpg fan that might have somehow missed it along the way.
7. Final Fantasy III (SNES)
This one got bumped down on the list mainly due to the fact that it's been recently re-released on the Game Boy Advance system. Had it not been, this outstanding classic would have obviously been much higher up on the list since it's one of the best rpgs ever made. Final Fantasy III gives new meaning to the word "epic" and is still considered by many rpg fans to be the best of all the Final Fantasy releases to date. So even though the game has been re-released over the years, it still deserves a place on the Virtual Console. It's simply too good not to be.
6. Phantasy Star (Master System)
Phantasy Star took the turn-based rpg format and carefully wove a futuristic outer space theme around it to form one of the most unique rpgs to come out of the 8-bit era. The game uses a careful mixture of dungeon crawling as well as some well done exploration sequences in an overhead perspective to give the game a wide range of game play options. While it would have been easy to have included any of the Phantasy Star releases on the list, I went with this original due to the fact that it's probably the least well-known game in the series and also one of the most unique as well.
5. Super Mario RPG (SNES)
Many gamers were skeptical when they first heard that Square was developing an rpg title that centered around the Super Mario Bros. universe. Of course all those fears were quickly put to rest once gamers got their hands on the finished product. Square had somehow managed to create an unforgettable rpg experience using the Super Mario Bros. characters and it all worked together like a charm. Although there have been many spinoffs of the game, there's still nothing quite like this original masterpiece.
4. Terranigma (SNES)
Terranigma was released in Japan and in the UK, but never made it to US shores. That's a terrible shame considering that it's actually one of the best action-rpgs in existence. The game is the third and final release in the "Soul Blazer" series following the original Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia titles that were also released on the Super NES system. The game deals with the creation of the Heavens and the Earth and carefully molds one of the most unique and engrossing plots ever created for an rpg around this theme. If you love action-rpgs, this is one game that should be at the very top of your list.
3. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
It could be argued that Zelda is not an rpg, but I just had to include it in this list anyway. Ocarina of Time was a work of art, but there's something unique about Majora's Mask that makes it just as worthwhile. The game looks and plays much the same as Ocarina of Time, but this time around there's a time limit to deal with. This time limit turned some long-time Zelda fans off when this game was first released, but I think it gives the game a very refreshing feel and makes it yet another Zelda title that deserves a home on the Virtual Console.
2. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES)
Lufia 2 is probably one of the most underrated rpgs ever released. Not only does it feature a brilliantly written story line, it also makes use of a very simple, yet uniquely playable turn-based combat system. One thing that makes Lufia 2 such a unique title is its mind-bending dungeon puzzles. You can't just blow your way through these dungeons by merely doing battle with various monsters. You have to put on your thinking cap if you want to come out of this one alive. This is easily the best non-Square/Enix rpg to come out of the 16-bit era.
1. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
What else needs to be said? This is probably the greatest role-paying game ever created by human hands. It features an epic story line, an engaging turn-based combat engine, and characters that you'll remember long after you've finished playing the game.
Did I mention that it also features one of the most moving musical soundtracks ever created for a video game. If ever there were a game that deserved a release on the Virtual Console, it's this one.
I realize that I had to leave off a lot of quality role-playing games, but there was only room for ten games. It was tough to narrow this list down to ten titles, so much so that I probably spent twice as much time deciding which games to include on the list than I did actually writing the article. I hope everyone enjoyed it.