I've only played through Grandia once but the combat system made it one of the better RPG experiences I've encountered. The Japanese box art shows main character Justin and his lady friend Fenna, looking at what I'm assuming is a map so big it's draped over their heads. This is actually from the 1998 release.
Super Mario World (Japanese ver.)
I've always been a big fan of hand drawn Mario art work so it should come as no surprise that a lot of the earlier 2D Mario games have some of the most popping artwork in the main Mario series. Called Super Mario Bros. 4: Super Mario World in Japan, in the center you've got Mario with a Cape, riding on dino pal Yoshi. That's showing off two of the game's new features before turning on the game but the world behind them shows off another. Super Mario World was the first game in the series to have one huge world map that was completely connected.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (Japanese ver.)
Often refereed to as just Yoshi's Island and the most popular game in the Yoshi series, you spend most of the game game controlling Yoshi to reunite Baby Mario with his brother, Baby Luigi. You only take control of Mario a handful of times in this adventure. Pictured here are seven of the different Yoshi's that carry Baby Mario and the main green Yoshi on the right of the box art, looking like a boss. I have no clue why Baby Mario isn't screaming up a storm in that bubble because that's always what the little snot does when gets separated from a Yoshi.
Marvel vs. Capcom (Japanese ver.)
Before there was Super Smash Bros. the biggest crossover game in town was Marvel vs. Capcom. I never thought about teaming up Mega Man with Spider-Man until I played this game. The way these characters are looking back at each other, it looks like a serious throw down is about to commence.
Contra (American ver.)
In an era filled with tons of cartoonish characters on the cover (not a bad thing by any means), Contra was a clear contrast. Sure, there were more realistic looking NES covers, but many of them were so over the top that any seriousness they were trying to achieve was ultimately lost and they ended up being laughable. Contra sports a serious cover that actually works. It's serious business, just like the game itself.
Sonic CD (Japanese ver.)
For many, the climax of Sonic CD was the face off between Sonic and his robot doppelganger, Metal Sonic. The clash between these two was such a big deal that it became the selling point of the game's box art. The pop art on the sides, which was used for the early Genesis Sonic games in Japan provides a bit more lively coloring to go along the black background in the center.