While I’ve owned many gaming systems since I was a kid, I’ve got a soft spot for my first grey, 8-bit console, who I lovingly called “Nintendo.” In that time, I had all the classics and the best known games (as well all did), and I was a
master at Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros. Metroid. God, I miss those simple days.
Did you know, though, that in the lifetime of the NES, there were a total of 714 games made for the console?
Sure, some of them were derivative and crap, but there are some gems in there, that would blow your mind today.Here’s some of the
forgotten and underrated ones that deserve a revisit.
Wario’s Woods (1994) This game is an anomaly for a couple of
reasons. It was the first Nintendo console game to star Wario, and while it’s similar to Dr. Mario in regards to game play, it’s also a lot more fun, with monsters and bombs.It’s also the last NES game officially released in North America, so it’s also the most polished one of the best looking on the system. Shamefully, it was left off of the NES Classic system.
Déjà Vu (1990) When it comes to point and click, NES isn’t the first
system you’d think of, but this was a solid adventure game. Capturing the 1940’s film noir vibe, you’re trying to figure out the mystery of PI/retired boxer Ace Harding, in the seedy underbelly of Chicago.
Captain America and the Avengers (1991) Generally, when it comes to Marvel games and the NES, there are no good options. But of the games that were released, this is by far, the best. The developers were able to nail down the feel of Cap’s shield, which you can throw as a weapon, or
deflect bullets. Unlike the arcade version, or the port that was released on SNES and Sega Genesis, you can only play as Cap or Hawekeye in this film, as Vision and Iron Man are unavailable.That said, it’s still a fun side-scroller of a game.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) In the 90’s, pretty much every movie and TV show got a video game
adaptation, and most of them sucked. Once in a while, a developer caught lighting in a bottle and made a damn good game. This is one of those hidden gems.You play as Gizmo, from a top-down perspective as you travel through a building to eliminate the gremlins with weapons. You even get to give the little fur ball a crossbow. Nice!
Krusty’s Fun House (1992) Within the lifespan of the NES, Acclaim released a total of 4
Simpsons games. This is the only one not to star Bart Simpson, and is by far, the best. You play as Krusty, who’s funhouse has been infested with mice.The gameplay is a lot like Lemmings, where you’re moving around blocks and objects to make the nice fall to their death. Other characters from the show make appearances as bosses at the end of each level.
Ring King (1987) While you might consider
Punch-Out! to be the best NES boxing game, there’s a case to be made for Ring King. Rather than placing the camera behind the boxer, this one plays out in the third person. Sure, all the players are palette swaps, but there’s a lot of fun to be had.This game’s also infamous for a purely non-gaming reason. Apparently, there’s a scene where the trainer comes into the ring, gets on his knees and it seems like he’s ‘servicing’ your fighter between rounds.
Batman (1990) Remember the good old days, when every Batman movie got a video game adaptation? I still have my
Batman Forever cartridge for Game Boy at my parents house. I should dust that off. This game, based on the 1989 Tim Burton film, actually does a great job at following the plot of the movie, and bringing in some Ninja Gaiden style mechanics. It’s also got a great soundtrack and entertaining cutscenes.If you remember this game, then you’ll recall it’s also fucking hard to complete. Even the first level is impossible, let alone making it all the way to the Joker.
Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight (1990) Despite the title, this isn’t entirely related to the legendary fighting game franchise. Originally, Capcom had a side scrolling shooter they wanted to market to the US, but didn’t think people would be into it. They changed the main character from Kevin Striker to Ken, the martial arts master, and tied it into the game
Street Fighter.A few months later, the actual Street Fighter II came out as a true sequel. Still, this game has some solid bones to it, a great soundtrack, and you can easily ignore all the unnecessary ties to Street Fighter.
Willow (1989) Based on the epic George Lucas film, I loved this movie as a kid, but over the years, it’s fallen into obscurity. Much like the film, the game’s fallen to the wayside as well, but it shouldn’t have. It’s actually good.Taking inspiration from
The Legend of Zelda, it’s actually just as entertaining, and helped Capcom develop the mechanics they’d use years later when they started making Zelda games.
Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics 2 (1994) The first game was a top-down adventure that had promise, but really bad controls. For the sequel, they created a smoother system, beefed up the graphics and wrote a kick-ass story.Sadly, it was all for naught. As one of the last games for the NES, most players had already moved on to the SNES, and this game was shipped to die.
The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout (1990) For Bug’s 50th birthday, he’s got to fight his way past his friends, to get to his party. Makes sense. In any case, this is a Super Mario-style, side scroller that let’s you kick the crap out of some Looney Toons.Sure, it’s an odd game, but it’s chock-full of nostalgia and some zaniness. Who doesn’t need that in their life?
Adventure Island (1988) When it comes to side-scrollers, a lot of developers ripped off
Super Mario Bros. Mega Man, with bad results. This one, is actually one of the few platforms that actually worked, and was original. IT took a lot of skill to master Higgins and his stone ax, fireballs and skateboard.This was one of the few 8-bit games from the era that was tough, not because of poor programming, but because the game was meant to be that way.
Magic of Scheherazade (1989) This was a game ahead of the times. While it looks like a
Zelda clone, it actually had the ability to travel through 5 different time periods as a plot device well before the Zelda games. It also had an innovative combat system that relied on real-time and turn-based combat. Also, the unique story and Middle Eastern theme helped it to stand out from the pack.
River City Ransom (1989) Originally, this game bombed in North America, as there already was a series of beat ’em-up games. Slowly, it gained a better reputation as one of the good ones, with an open world structure and unique ways to beef your stats with food items and reading magazines.This is one of the few franchises on the list that still continue to date, with a recent game called
River City: Rival Showdown hitting the 3DS last year.
Tiny Toon Adventures (1991) Anyone else love this cartoon? It was fucking amazing! This game is just as good. You have your choice between Buster Bunny, Furball, Plucky Duck and Dizzy Devil. While the game is pretty short, it’s pretty fun and challenging.
Gun-Nac (1991) At first glance, this is a pretty simple, by the numbers vertical shooter. Except it involves giant rabbits, space octopi, toys and a cat boss that tosses coins at you. It’s a bonkers game that’s a lot of fun to play.Plus the soundtrack is sick, the mechanics are good and you can upgrade your weapons along the way.
Clash at Demonhead (1990) This was a Metroid/Castlevania-style game before those even existed. Your main character could collect different abilities such as teleportation, shrinking, and a boomerang gun, and there were multiple routes to finish the game. You could also go back and play stages again, but do them differently.It’s also the name of the best band in
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Little Samson (1992) This game was created to be a competitor for the
Mega Man franchise, and in terms of gameplay, it succeeded. This was an amazing game to play, with 4 characters you can switch out at any time, and had fantastic graphics.Unfortunately, while the quality was superb, the sales weren’t there. Released in ’92, gamers had already moved on to SNES by that point and weren’t going to go back to the 8-bit gaming life. Remarkably though, copies of this game, in good condition, are going for at least $,1000 to motivated buyers.
Little Nemo: The Dream Master (1990) Some of the best games on the console, were the little known ones, with inspirations from the oddest of places. This game was based on an animated Japanese film, about a kid’s adventures in his dreams. The result is a fantastical platforming game where Nemo collects keys, rides frogs and moves through his dreamland.
Crystalis (1990) For an NES game in the 90’s, the story for this one is pretty dark. It’s been 100 years since a nuclear war destroyed everything, and an evil empire has taken everything over. Now it’s up to you to save the world.While the top-down RPG gameplay wasn’t new at the time, the story and quests made this game engaging and a must play if you can get your hands on it.
The good old days…Via Den of Geek