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IGN ranks the top 100 NES Games. It doesn't take a master of Mad Gab to discern the phonetically equivalent true title Konami was going for with this one, especially after you realize that the.
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These powerhouse efforts were complemented by a robust library of third-party titles.
For all of these reasons and more.
We celebrate 100 of our favorites in the pages that follow with our list of the best games for Nintendo's killer system.
How did we pick the games?
We had two conditions: they had to be released in the U.
Whether or not the game was a blast to play is how we decided the order of our beloved NES carts - so don't be surprised if you see an important or influential title below something we loved to play over and over and over again Nintendo had a fairly diverse lineup of sports titles introduced for the NES early on in the system's life cycle, including 8-bit interpretations of soccer, tennis, volleyball and even downhill slalom skiing.
None of those games ended up having the lasting appeal and addictiveness of one of its other contemporaries, though — the first-party Nintendo sports sim known simply as Ice Hockey.
This game of skating and slap shots was perfectly balanced, simple fun with just the right touch of planning and to keep things interesting match after match.
You could choose from three different player body types, and outfit your team with any combination of them; fast but weak Skinny Guys, brawny but slow Fat Guys, or well-balanced, middle-ground Normal Guys.
Every Ice Hockey player discovered their own perfect combination of men, and then it was on to the ice.
The only game that ended up rivaling this excellent design was Konami's Blades of Steel, but the two were different enough to own and enjoy both which is why you'll find Blades on this countdown.
Our Fondest Memories I think I've got the same fond memory for this one as everyone else does: skinny dude, medium dude, and fat dude.
Do you need anything else?
It's no Blades of Steel hell EA's NHL09 isn't Blades of Steelbut growing up in Minnesota and playing on a hockey team ensured that this one was in the NES as much as Super Mario 3.
You've got to remember the historical time period that the NES was released — it was an age when the Cold War was still a very prominent problem in many American's minds, and game companies certainly didn't shy away from the free advertising that the fear-inspiring nightly news and morning papers were instilling in the purchasing public.
Instead, it was a lot easier to take your time and advance through each level slowly, as waves of soldiers spawned from all direction to charge you and kill you dead.
Your standard melee attack was a stabbing knife, with distance-attacking firearms available later on, but no matter what your armament, you had to be precise with your placement or cheap death was inevitable.
Our Fondest Memories This is the original co-op Splinter Cell minus the stealth part.
Two guys with a knife and a suicide complex decide to invade Russia.
The day this one was conquered was when I finally found Game Genie codes, booted up two players and made sure either my brother or I stayed alive to keep the progress on our assault.
Naturally, it was only a matter of time before a videogame followed the television show and toys.
Developed by Konami and published by its subsidiary Ultra a ghost publisher created only so that Konami could publish more games per year than Nintendo allowedTMNT proved to be a fun, challenging game with crisp graphics and compelling gameplay.
The great thing about TMNT was its ability to let gamers use all four Ninja Turtles at will, even though it was only a one-player action game.
It also had multiple fields-of-view, from top-down navigation to side-scrolling sequences, the perspectives were mixed up considerably at a time when games were usually from one outlook only.
Unfortunately, this game didn't satisfy everyone.
Many gamers wanted a port of Konami's arcade beat-'em-up of the same name instead, but had to wait until 1991, when a port of the arcade classic came to the NES under the TMNT 2 moniker.
Our Fondest Memories Once again I say "screw you Angry Nintendo Nerd" with this one.
Some people just aren't wired for old school gaming, apparently.
In fact, all the negative feelings around this one almost kept it off the list, but when it comes down to it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the greats, and a dang good title.
It has its quirks, and the water level is insane, but it crams a lot into an NES cart.
For as much as I played this one as a kid, it had to make the list.
And that's exactly the plot here — Astyanax is a 16-year-old Greenview High student who just so happens to be named after the figure from Greek mythology and also just happens to be swept away to a distant 100 euro slot land called Remlia where he's asked to, of course, save a kidnapped princess.
It's a familiar premise, but with a pretty unique protagonist — and his weapon is what makes the gameplay a winner.
Astyanax is armed with a massive golden axe which has a unique mechanic attached to it — it's linked to a power meter at the bottom of the screen which depletes and refills after every attack.
So, if you just hack away with short, quick slashes each one will be pretty wimpy.
But if you wait for the axe's power to fully recharge between swings, the individual swipes will pack more impact.
The concept added some strategy to the mix, and makes this one fondly remembered to this day along with that unforgettable name.
Our Fondest Memories Another home port that differs from the arcade, this one has a cheat code that makes Astyanax invincible except from pits.
I love games with invincibility codes — and considering the number of cheap enemies you fought, it was a good idea to leave it on.
And for the most part, franchises that did flood the NES were of a high quality.
Cue Dragon Warrior III, the third game in the long-running RPG series from Enix, a game that came only a couple of years after the original landed stateside.
A hit among the new RPG crowd that was developing around Nintendo's 8-bit console, Dragon Warrior III continued with conventions set by, of all games, Dragon Warrior II.
In the original Dragon Warrior, the hero was on his own.
Fighting enemy parties that never consisted of more than one enemy, the original was about narrow-minded preparedness.
Dragon Warrior III continued to open up both the gamer's party and the enemy parties to more than one per side, creating for the first time in the series a real feeling of strategy.
RPG parties with role characters, like healers and fighters, were brought to the forefront of Dragon Warrior III, and just about every J-RPG made ever since.
Our Fondest Memories As a big fan of Final Fantasy's class system I was one happy little kid when I fired up Dragon Warrior III to discover that it had added a similar job system of its own.
The game also seemed to take forever to play — which made me wonder at the time if it was one of the biggest games ever made.
It wasn't, of course, but it felt that way.
The fourth game in the franchise had little to offer fans that was different, other than a new cast of interesting Robot Masters, a new character Eddie and a new ability for Mega Man to exploit charging your arm cannon.
But when something isn't broken, you shouldn't attempt to fix it, and Capcom released what was in essence the same experience from the three earlier titles in the series.
What was most interesting about Mega Man 4 was its ability to tell a deeper story than what was told in the past three iterations in the series.
Capcom seemed to remove Mega Man's classic foil, Dr.
Wily, in lieu of a new creator of evil robots, Dr.
But when it's revealed that Wily is indeed behind Cossack's deeds, Mega Man is forced to trek through not one end castle, but two, a trend that is kept up in Mega Man 5 and 6 as well.
Our Fondest Memories When I lived in New Hampshire, there was a videostore that rented NES games well into the PSX era.
I was lucky enough to rent Mega Man 4 over and over again before buying it later on.
Being the first Mega Man game with tangible secrets within, Mega Man 4 got a lot of playtime when I was a youngster.
But the Balloon Adaptor and Wire Adaptor didn't elude me for long, as useless as they were.
The very last project created by Irem for the NES, Kickle Cubicle appeared to be a straight rip-off of the aforementioned Adventures of Lolo, but had gameplay features of its own that made it a unique offering, and one worth anyone's time interested in the genre.
Kickle Cubicle's appeal seemed to be centered in its balanced approach.
Unlike the Adventures of Lolo series, which was unforgiving in its difficulty, Kickle Cubicle's difficulty spikes were much more reasonable.
Gamers new to this unique genre could easily access the game, but gamers who were veterans of the genre could find enjoyment top computer games ever the game as well, collecting items in order to reach each subsequent stage.
It's a shame the character known as Kickle has died with history, as well.
We would have like to see more from our little balloon-riding friend.
Our Fondest Memories Out of all of the great games on our list, Kickle Cubicle is one of the few titles I never got to experience until I was an adult.
Constantly being outsmarted by the likes of The Adventures of Lolo, Kickle Cubicle proved to be an entertaining, action-packed alternative that was a little friendlier to all of us puzzle-stupid gamers.
While it clearly adopted its non-linear level select structure from Mega Man, the similarities end there.
In Little Samson you play as one of four different characters: a mouse, a robot, a dragon and a boring ol' human boy.
Each character has its own powers and limitations, for instance the mouse makes up for its measly health meter with its ability to cling to ceilings and walls.
Little Samson is one of the most technically impressive NES titles, featuring eye candy like rotating character sprites and colossal bosses in what was ultimately a futile effort to try and entice 16-bit-smitten gamers back to their NES.
The atypical confluence of high quality and low sales of Little Samson ultimately resulted in it being one of the most sought after cartridges for collectors today.
Our Fondest Memories The late, great Little Samson saw extremely weak sales in the US and so it usually comes up short in the Fond Memories department.
As someone who has gone through the effort of tracking down this neglected gem of a Game Pak, I can affirm that Little Samson can hold his own with the Belmonts, Mega Men and Master Higgins' of the era.
Oh Little Samson, we hardly knew ye!
The game, presented in a manner similar to Epyx's popular California Games, came to the Commodore 64 and the NES.
Skate or Die brought gamers several different skateboarding events including downhill races, freestyle ramp competitions and a joust match fought in a drained swimming pool.
Then, Skate or Die 2 came along and trumped its predecessor in many ways, offering a full storyline adventure in addition to the standalone skating events as well as adding in the "Double Trouble" half pipe, a massive structure that spanned two full game screens and let you pull off highly stylish for the time vert skating tricks.
Skateboarding continues to be a sport explored in new and unique ways in video gaming today, with EA recently revisiting the concept with Skate and Tony Hawk's series adding the new Ride peripheral, but Skate or Die got it all going.
Honestly, that still amazes me, it was so much better than all of those it was nuts.
Also, it was the closest thing to "Gleaming the Cube: The Game" as I could find.
One of the counter-examples to this argument is Mario Bros.
Why would you buy Mario Bros.
Nonetheless, the two games were quite different from one another, sharing their main stars and nothing more.
Old-school arcade gamers have found and will continue to find a lot to love in any iteration of Mario Bros.
This isn't the Super Mario Bros.
Our Fondest Memories Oddly, I remember the original Mario Bros.
The versus play is simple and even repetitive, but it holds up today.
I had no qualms with wasting the POW block if I didn't get my way.
This was his debut — hiding inside a jetpack-equipped flying spacesuit and advancing against the forces of auto-scrolling space invaders out in the darkest reaches of the galaxy.
Section Z was a forced-scrolling shooter made by Capcom, one of that company's few entries into a genre more closely associated with Konami in the 8-bit era.
But Section Z separated itself from the likes of Gradius and Life Force with a non-linear path to forward progress ¬— after each side-scrolling section you successfully survived, you'd be presented with two different teleporters.
You made your choice, and advanced to a different next level depending on your selection.
It was unique, novel and also pretty confusing.
But mastery of navigation in Section Z was a true badge of honor to hold in the NES age and Captain Commando survived the adventure intact, after all, if he went on to beat up Wolverine and Ryu in the late '90s and early '00s.
Our Fondest Memories I probably played the first level of Section Z more than any other NES game I owned.
It wasn't because I was awful at it though I do remember it to be challengingbut because there was almost something exciting about getting to make a choice of where I went next.
The ability to choose your own path had my permanent attention.
Essentially the '80s answer to The Lord of The Rings films, it was a fantasy film written by Star Wars' own George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard — it starred Warwick Davis as a hobbit-esque Nelwyn and none other than Val Kilmer as his brash human companion Madmartigan.
A pretty solid movie, really.
Willow on the NES, then, was notable for having the likeness to both actors, as well as many of the supporting cast from the film — it was a movie tie-in adventure developed by Capcom, and was in many ways that company's take on Nintendo's Legend of Zelda formula.
Willow begins simply, buts grows in strength and power as he explores dungeons, gains new items and learns powerful magic spells.
It was a solid companion for the early Zelda games, and perhaps a factor in why Capcom was later approached to develop some portable entries in the Zelda series for Nintendo.
Our Fondest Memories I said it then and I'll say it now.
The NES Willow game is better than George Lucas' movie.
In fact, I liked Willow so much that I'd put it up there on my top list of NES RPG favorites with games like Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy and Crystalis.
Don't let the title or the source material fool you — this game will grab you right from the start and won't let go just like it did me more than 20 years ago.
Thankfully, Zombie Nation arrived in the latter days of the NES to smash the zombie barrier.
The protagonist of this peculiar game is the disembodied noggin of a samurai, who packs some serious cranial power.
It goes down something like this: an extra-terrestrial force named Darc Seed has zombie-fied the world, oh and there's some kind of stolen sword involved or something.
You take direct control of the samurai's giant head in a sort of side-scrolling shooter that's too deliberately loony not to check out.
Zombie Nation pushes the NES graphical capabilities more than any other shooter on the system, with lots of moving enemies, building destruction and a steady stream of pixilated chaos.
Brazenly over-the-top, Zombie Nation is one of the few NES titles that doesn't take itself seriously.
Our Fondest Memories When I first encountered Zombie Nation it was love at first sight: the disembodied head of a samurai destroying buildings with what appears to be vomit?
Perhaps the NES's only intentional B-game, Zombie Nation is actually pretty fun, and always good for a laugh.
You play as The Guardian, a female cyborg warrior tasked with preventing Earth's impending destruction via a collision with a rogue alien world, Naju.
The Guardian must thwart the planet's demise by setting off Naju's self-destruct sequence before it reaches Earth.
Gameplay is balanced between controlling The Guardian in humanoid form during overhead exploration and shooting sequences and faster-paced forced-scrolling shooter sequences where she transforms into a fighter jet and blasts, and among other things, gigantic robotic alien crustacean creatures.
The Guardian Legend's developers went on to craft several more classic shooters on platforms beyond the NES, and modern game makers like the creators of Sigma Star Saga at WayForward Technologies continue to laud the game for its innovations in genre-blending.
Our Fondest Memories Miryia's ability to transform into a spaceship and back put Samus Aran to shame.
Aside from scoring so many points to break the game, my brother and I enjoy the appearance of Blue Lander — a spaceborne precursor to Kirby and Starfy with his own special jingle.
Mickey Mousecapade was the first of these, and although it was published by Capcom in the US, it was developed by Hudson and has a different, more primitive feel than the great Disney platformers that succeeded it.
Although you control Mickey, Minnie accompanies you throughout the Mousecapade, which plays out as sort of a puzzle-solving platformer.
Navigating your way through the colorful set pieces proves a bit more harrowing than the colorful, kiddie graphics let on, making it the perfect title to impress girls with… if you're nine, that is.
Our Fondest Memories I didn't care that it was ugly and it wasthe platforming goodness of Mickey Mousecapade was surprisingly addictive.
Though I thought the Genesis release of Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse was ultimately a better game, I found myself going back to play this one more because of how easy it was to get into and how satisfying it was to play.
But it belongs on our NES list as well, for the port of Lode Runner was pixel-perfect and provided something that only Excitebike had done prior: a level editor.
Using a sort of glorified stamp tool, you could concoct you own mixture of bricks, ladders, ropes and baddies, then set it to life.
It was rudimentary, yes, but it extended Lode Runner's life indefinitely.
The main game is an arcade-like collect-athon with a puzzle-solving aspect.
Armed only with a brick-zapping raygun, your only defense in Lode Runner is the ability to bury your opponents alive, thus freeing them of an enticing pile of gold.
Our Fondest Memories The beloved NES game is every bit as addictive today as it was 20-plus years ago, which is a testament to the quality of its design.
Although it featured a very simple premise — to collect gold while avoiding enemies — Lode Runner advanced the action-puzzler by adding level deformation to the gameplay mechanics and therefore dynamic solutions to environmental challenges posed.
I spent hours tackling puzzles using different methods — to trap enemies or to drop them through flooring.
And my older brothers, both casual players, could never get past the first stage.
Capcom listened to clamoring gamers' wants and introduced Mega Man's brother Protoman as a character of consequence.
Just like Mega Man 4 pulled a bait-and-switch with Dr.
Cossack, Protoman served the same function in Mega Man 5.
Wily's actual involvement in the nefarious deeds coursing through the game's loose story, a Faux Protoman leads Mega Man on for most of the game until — surprise!
Wily is behind the madness yet again.
Mega Man 5 continues the tradition of tight action-platforming which made the series incredibly prolific by the time of its release.
As usual, the game introduced eight new Robot Masters to defeat in any order the gamer desired, inheriting defeated boss' weapons to use on other less-fortunate foes.
When the eight stage select-bound stages were defeated, players entered a more linear part of the game, where both Protoman's and Dr.
Wily's multi-stage castles had to be completed for the gamer to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Our Fondest Memories I lived in Maine when Mega Man 5 came out, which was an SNES-dominated era in my life.
I only bought this game several years later, but in the meantime, I got a Mega Man 5 sticker in a box of Apple Jacks, and stuck it to a shelf in my room.
When I visit my mom today, that sticker is still there, reminding me of a time when I couldn't play every game I wanted to.
Brawling brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee were once again playable in both single-player mode, but for the first time on the 8-bit Nintendo you and a friend could team up to punch, kick and hair-pull your foes to death simultaneously through an all-new set of side-scrolling beat-'em-up stages.
The game also offered the sibling heroes an upgrade to their fighting repertoires, with several impressive new skills like the unforgettable Cyclone Spin Kick, and some iconic new set pieces in which to do battle, like a stage that took place aboard a helicopter in-flight thousands of feet above the ocean.
There really is nothing quite like punching a guy in the gut, jump-kicking him in the face and watching him fall backwards out of a chopper's open side-door, then imagining his terror as he plummets to a watery death in the waves below.
Our Fondest Memories What stuck out most for source about Double Dragon II was how varied the game was.
It was much harder than the first game, which I liked, and even though I played through it a couple of times, it didn't leave me with a "been there, done that" feeling that so many other games did.
Oh, and they advertised this sucker like crazy in comic books at the time no, really.
You played as a sunglasses-wearing muscleman equipped with a cybernetic boomerang, blasting his way through alien-invested futuristic environments on his way to restore the compromised integrity of the Master Computer, and your hero looked an awful lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This is also one of those games that might not have been given a lot of attention if it weren't for the influence of the magazine, Nintendo Power, which featured it on the cover of its April 1991 issue.
You'll find a few other games that got thrust into the limelight the same way on this countdown, like VICE: Project Doom.
We're glad it did, because it's still a blast to power up our blades today.
Our Fondest Memories Haha, the box art to this game was awful just a guy that looks like Iceman from Top Gun with enormous sunglasses.
It was sort of like Mega Man meets Strider, which I thought was spectacular for the time.
Created by Sunsoft, which was at the top of its game in the late 1980s with classic release after classic release, Journey to Silius was originally supposed to be a licensed Terminator game.
Evidence of this is all over the place, from the enemies to some of the music.
But when Sunsoft had the license stripped at the last minute, it made due with what it had, and with limited editing, Journey to Silius was released.
Thankfully, Sunsoft didn't throw this game into the dumpster after losing the Terminator license, because Journey to Silius is one of those seldom-played but everyone-should-play-it NES gems.
Its fast-paced 2D action style made it a game preferred by those with quick reflexes, and its arsenal of weaponry, which can be chosen from a Mega Man-like menu, gave the gameplay variety, with certain weapons working best against certain enemies and bosses.
Journey to Silius wasn't experienced by many gamers in its time, but it has more than earned its place on our Top 100 for its smooth gameplay alone.
Our Fondest Memories Fond memories for this one really only go a year or so back.
I never got into Journey to Silius as a kid my brother may have rented it once?
The care gameplay is right on, the visuals aren't bad at all, and it stinks of Mega Man inspired robot blasting.
Demon Sword's ninja is surprisingly agile, with the ability to hop to tree tops in matter of seconds.
While not nearly as deep or polished as Ninja Gaiden, as you progress you can amass new skills, weapons and powers befitting of a ninja.
Although prominently featuring traditional Japanese settings and mythology, Demon Sword seems to have suffered from a poor North American localization, as evidenced by the goofy box art featuring a naked blonde guy glaring at his sword.
But all the bare-chested barbarians in the world couldn't hide the fact that, in the game, our hero is sporting a flamboyant red kimono.
Yeah, it looks like a dress, but it really frees up his arm for easy decapitations.
Our Fondest Memories I was one of those poor saps that actually enjoyed a similar and ultimately less impressive game, Legend of Kage, so I took to this game immediately.
To this day I still vividly remember the cutscenes that showed my sword becoming more powerful.
But one has to travel back to the fall of 1985 to find the origin of these two arctic explorers, who first appeared in one of the launch titles on the NES, Ice Climber.
The Ice Climbers, as the two starring characters are popularly known, are relentless lovers of the alpine trek, and they'll stop at nothing to climb mountain after mountain just to reach its apex, where untold valuable items can be found.
As the name of the game suggests, the idea of Ice Climber is to climb, climb, climb.
Popo and Nana are equipped with mallets to fend off enemies on any given mountain they're climbing, but it's usually hazards of a different variety that stymie the advance of even the most ardent of Ice Climber players.
Fast moving platforms, icy terrain and blocks that couldn't be broken by your mallet ruled the day, and Ice Climber got excruciatingly hard in the latter stages.
Ice Climber's biggest claim to fame for its time, however, was the ability for two players to play the game simultaneously.
Our Fondest Memories I always thought Ice Climber was just another way to repackage Mario Bros.
But in reality, the games were different enough, and Ice Climber so much better to me when I finally played it, that I felt silly for ever thinking that.
This game allowed two players to face off against one another in the squared circle, move freely around the ring, throw a variety of punches and even get into grapples, all things you wouldn't find in Little Mac's game.
Some of Ring King's lasting popularity is for reasons a bit more dubious, though, in that it's one of the most laughed-at games on the 8-bit Nintendo because of some unintentionally suggestive visuals.
The grappling animation between the two fighters makes it look like they're just hugging each other, and the boxers' interaction with their cornermen between rounds is even more, well, provocative.
The inability of the NES to more accurately render detailed animations continues to be one of the system's greatest charms, though, so it's no real negative against the game, just a chuckle-worthy aside that might leave you just a bit embarrassed today.
Our Fondest Memories My best memories of Ring King are the epic fights I had on the higher difficulty levels.
I'm a lifelong boxing fan, so being able to "sim" matches this early was something of a breakthrough for me.
These days, though, I can't help but chuckle at the highly suggestive between-round power-ups.
Go find a movie of it if you don't believe me — it's amazing.
A game no one bought, but everyone had.
Duck Hunt is the game that immortalized forever Nintendo's light gun called the Zapper, and was certainly the game that used the underused peripheral more than any other.
But it was this release combined with Super Mario Bros.
Sure, Duck Hunt's gameplay was as simple as pointing-and-shooting, and one could easily cheat by standing an inch from the television.
Unfortunately, virtually all televisions today render the game unplayable, so a new generation of gamer has yet to be exposed to the wonder of duck hunting and skeet shooting.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit of all about Duck Hunt, however, was the stand-alone product's incredibly small size.
The entire game fit on an infinitesimally small cartridge sized at 192 kilobits.
Our Fondest Memories Even as a young'un, I felt some injustice every time a guest brought the Zapper up against the television's bubble screen.
You can't do that!
Though the dog, mocking me with laughter, encouraged delinquency.
I'll show you, dog.
It's effectively a full Battletoads follow up with our boys Billy and Jimmy Lee along for the ride.
The Double Dragon characters are capable of kicking butt to be sure, but the unique brawling, racing and, yes, spelunking action that Rash, Pimple, and Zits introduced in their first outing is the main attraction in this crossover.
Although it is fun to pummel some of Double Dragon's most notorious thugs, Battletoads fan will probably be the most satisfied with this cartoonish, goofy beat 'em up.
And since everybody seems to be teaming up, you may as well take on the combined forces of the Dark Queen and Shadow Warriors with a pal — the game's difficulty seems to indicate that it's built for two.
Our Fondest Memories The original Battletoads was definitely awesome, but I seemed to favor the design that paired up those TMNT-ripoff characters with the classic brawler characters.
This game was much tighter in control and actually gave a better sense of accomplishment to the player.
While the first game was an arcade platformer directly inspired by the movie, The Goonies II did its own thing.
Hampered somewhat by obtuse point-and-click adventure elements reminiscent of Shadowgate that threw many people off, The Goonies II still offered a sprawling mansion and its subterranean environs to explore via traditional platforming.
With the 8-bit rendition of the Cyndi Lauper theme from the movie blaring, lead Goony Mikey sets out to rescue the remaining kids, and, for some reason, a Mermaid, from the Fratelli family.
It's all a bit confusing, but with little perseverance and a lot of hitting walls with your hammer you'll discover a unique hybrid adventure game worthy of the Goonies license.
We're still eagerly awaiting a Goonies III.
Goonies never say die!
Our Fondest Memories In the late 1980s Goonies mania was in full swing, which helps explain the countless after school sessions I spent with this perplexing Konami cash-in.
It wasn't until a decade or two later that I finally understood that a poor localization was responsible for the game's extreme weirdness.
Who knew The Goonies were big in Japan?
What at first appeared to be an awkward platformer quickly revealed itself to be a true test of gaming mettle.
The nameless Boy and his pet Blob would overcome obstacles, defeat enemies and progress through the game by way of using special Jellybeans that would allow the Blob to become different objects and perform different feats.
Feeding the Blob flavored jellybeans from apple to vanilla caused the Blob to transform into everything from a car jack to an umbrella.
The Boy was virtually helpless without his Blob and his stash of flavored Jellybeans, making this title an interesting mix of action-adventure and puzzle gameplay.
Our Fondest Memories Because I was the kind of nerd that kept track of developer names, when I saw that the creator of Pitfall was behind Boy and His Blob, I was sold.
Feeding jellybeans to Blobert to transform it into different items and it was fun just to experiment with, such as making a blow torch with a cinnamon bean and a rocket with a root beer bean.
Nevertheless, it was still pretty cool when the NES finally made it possible to hunt spies in the comfort of your own home.
As expected, Spy Hunter still stood out as one of the NES's greatest driving games even though it had aged a bit.
While maintaining breakneck speed, your suave, Bond-inspired spymobile is beset on all sides by reckless limousines, bullet-proof coups and even a helicopter dead set on chipping your pristine paint job.
Using awesome spy tools — hood mounted machine guns, oil slicks, smoke screens — you could take on each enemy in style.
And here's the kicker — the pit stop comes to you!
Navigate up the ramp of a moving semi and you'll instantly up your arsenal.
And did we mention your car can transform into a boat?
Yeah, it can do that too.
Our Fondest Memories The car is called the G-6155.
It is possibly the most awesome car ever made aside from the "Metal Attacker" in Blaster Master.
It was even more awesome when you drive far enough to reach the boathouse and change into the speedboat.
This game was macho, manly destructive fun with its simultaneous two-player action, but also ended up playing an important historic role in the industry — it put SNK on the map.
The company got its start with Ikari as its first major hit, and the success of this game fueled the studio to go on and ultimately create classic fighting franchises such as Fatal Fury and King of Fighters on the Neo-Geo, as well as the timeless Metal Slug series.
The heroes of Ikari Warriors, Ralf and Clark, even went on to cameo in several of those later games, you can play as them in several King of Fighters sequels, as well as the most recent Metal Slug installments.
Not too bad for a couple of sweaty, shirtless Rambo clones.
Our Fondest Memories This was a defining day for my brother and I, though I'm sure neither of us knew it then.
When Ikari Visit web page came out I went berserk for it, and having no income of my own I had to beg my brother Matt 12 years older than me to go out and rent it, which he denied time and time again.
We'd head to Mr.
Movies in Minnesota, I'd see the box art, freak out, and he'd pick up something else.
Finally we rented it, played co-op, and dominated the game, even leaving the NES on overnight during the dreaded "Everyone looks like player 1 and 2" level.
I was totally paranoid that I'd come back from school or day care or whatever and the game would be turned off.
Fast forward another 15 years or so and I spend my nights playing Call of Duty 4 while he frequents games like BlazBlue.
I guess some things never change, eh Ikari Warriors?
And, like DuckTales, this led to a high quality NES platformer from Capcom.
Unlike DuckTales, however, Rescue Rangers is basically linear.
With little emphasis on the scaled-up world of the titular chipmunks, many of the things lying around the inflated settings could be picked up and used as projectiles on exploration.
Rescue Rangers also ratcheted the difficulty down quite a bit, making it a good experience to share with a less-skilled partner.
Despite their popularity, cooperative games were rarity on the NES and hey, when was the last time you got to spend some quality time with your little sister?
Our Fondest Memories Above all else, what surprised me most about Rescue Rangers is that it was so fun to play.
I couldn't stand the cartoon I was a DuckTales sort of guybut to my surprise the game was an addictive platforming masterpiece.
Discovering each new level was a joy.
Set in an ancient Greece-inspired future mind blown yet?
If you can get past the partially naked winged dudes, Legendary Wings offers some other treats as well.
For instance, a giant mouth spouts out vortexes that suck you into a side-scrolling stage with a creepy worm mini-boss.
If you fully power up your weapons you turn into a flaming, butt-kicking phoenix.
Although originally an arcade game, the Not 100 lions free slot play sorry port of Legendary Wings is especially welcome on the NES due to its cooperative mode, which allows you to experience the weirdness with a pal.
Our Fondest Memories Carry link about how this game just isn't as good as the arcades I dobut the truth is NES had some killer shooters, and this was one that I went back to over and over again.
It had two player support — so even when my feeble, under-developed child hands couldn't hack it my bro could step up and dominate — and the addition of not only top view but also side scrolling portions sent my infant-like visit web page into convulsions.
What a glorious game, from the overall design down to the visuals and music.
When I wasn't burning my eyes in playing 3D Rad Racer on my brother's water bed I was wasting my life away with this shooter.
Now you can see why I'm so messed up… - Mark Bozon, IGN Nintendo Editor "A winner is you!
The NES had a handful of memorable wrestling sims, including Nintendo's own Pro Wrestling and WWF WrestleMania, the first wrestling game to ever license the use of real world performers, but from a gameplay standpoint, none of them ever trumped Tecmo World Wrestling.
This grappler was unmatched in its diversity of moves and over-the-top personality, and remains today a favorite of thousands of fans across the world.
Tecmo World Wrestling's main gameplay screen split the action, with the core wrestling taking place on the top half on the screen while the television's lower portion was dominated by the text bubbles of an overly enthusiastic ringside announcer calling all the play-by-play.
You worked your opponent into submission, going for the pin, and victory gave you the chance to take on tougher challengers, but not before training your chosen warrior to be stronger with interstitial mini-games.
It's still a blast to this day and Tecmo should bring it back.
Our Fondest Memories How could I forget the cutscenes?
Watching elaborate slams and suplexes in the glorious 8-bit cinematics captured my imagination immediately.
I also loved the take-offs of popular wrestlers that Tecmo had going on here.
Try to spot the Hulk Hogan and Big Van Vader rips!
Little Nemo, an American comic strip, had received the anime treatment in Japan at the time and thus the game was created, but the license was no doubt long forgotten by American audiences when Nemo came stateside.
In the game, our pajama clad mascot navigates the often psychedelic Slumberland with the help of wild animals.
Gorillas, lizards, frogs and other feral friends can be temporarily tamed when Nemo feeds them candy do not try this at homeat which points he saddles them up Yoshi-style, allowing him to reach new areas.
But Slumberland is an unexpectedly dangerous place, and the game's advanced difficulty level no doubt took some unsuspecting youngsters by surprise.
Our Fondest Memories Little Nemo's cover art of a tyke in his pajamas most likely resulted in it finding its way into the hands of many a NES gamer's little sister, which is where probably where I first chanced upon it I had a strict "no girly games" policy when I was 10.
This kiddie Capcom platformer gave Mega Man a run for his money, though, and while I'm still not sure who this Nemo dude is, I had a great time pelting animals with candy all the same.
Although the NES had trouble tackling some of its arcade contemporaries, games like 1981's Qix were a perfect match for its capabilities.
While Qix was never lauded for its graphical flair, the NES got not only the look but the mechanics of this strange geometric puzzler down perfectly.
In Qix, the titular entity bounds randomly about the playing field while the player attempts to gain ground by drawing boundaries with a stylus of sorts.
Complete a shape and the area is yours.
If the Qix interrupts your line mid-stroke, you are destroyed.
There is an art to snagging territory, and players eventually must learn how to manipulate the irrepressible Qix itself.
Qix for NES is the definitive home version due to its spot-on emulation and availability, although it was also resurrected on various PC platforms and Nintendo even published a GameBoy version featuring characters from the Mario pantheon.
Our Fondest Memories Interestingly enough, my memories of Qix on NES were limited until many years later when I was playing the PS2 game Bully.
In it, there's a Qix-inspired mini-game, and in that instant, I remembered how much fun I had with the NES port during my childhood.
Crazy how that happens, no?
Pro-Am, and cast players as the captains of a high-speed, heavily-armored attack ship cutting through tropical waters to take on sharks, rival watercrafts and giant sea serpents.
The Cobra Triangle gunship was a versatile vessel, and the power-ups it could obtain were what made this one a blast to play.
You could upgrade its engine, increase the rate of fire of its bullets, increase the number of its bullets, give it the power to fire secondary missiles and even wrap it in a force field.
It's like someone took the Gradius series' Vic Viper and transformed it from a spaceship into a jet ski.
Our Fondest Memories There's nothing wrong with combining RC Pro-AM with boats, guns, and dragons.
I played this game for the first time on a vacation to Wisconsin that was back when most kids had three NES games total, and liked itand dug the game so much I had to own it.
In fact, I'm not sure I ever bought it, so if anyone ever sees Andy Folkers can you tell him I still have his copy of one of the best NES games of all time?
Crap… I should really get this awesome gem of a game back to him.
A uniquely saccharine shooter, Stinger pits two quite capable, but very pastel space cruisers against some deceptively cute enemy forces.
An irate watermelon spits seed at you at the end of one level, while a very angry water faucet lurks at the conclusion of another.
Things just get weirder from there, with household appliances eventually standing between you and whatever your adorable goal may be.
You can collect power-ups by "juggling" bells on heart-shaped beams of pure love, thus altering their colors and endowing you with different abilities.
The entire game can be played with a wingman, but make sure whoever it is can appreciate a heaping dollop of cuteness, served Japanese-style with extra "cute" on the side.
Our Fondest Memories Vague memories of a strange, somewhat girly shooter plagued me as I restocked my NES collection a few years back.
I happily rediscovered Stinger despite its unfortunate title and packaging A space ship with boxing gloves?
As I played it for the first time in two decades, I recalled many afternoons spent with the cutesy Twinbee fighters.
Now if I could only figure out what that tank game with huge bosses was… - Sam Claiborn, IGN Game Help Associate Editor Sure it was the sequel to an awesome medieval platformer, but we're pretty sure it was Machine 100 dollar slot money bags bare-breasted likeness smoldering on IronSword's cover art that made this game a smash hit with kids and moms alike.
The sequel features the same great stuff as the first: catchy, mead-swilling tunes; stylized fantasy graphics; and the peculiar use of "ye olde Engrish.
The game places a greater emphasis on exploration than the first, and can get a bit confusing, but if you hop around enough you can find your way through the game fairly easily.
Though this is the penultimate entry in the trilogy, Wizards and Warriors III - Kuros: Visions of Power, followed as a largely forgotten and Fabio-less dud.
Our Fondest Memories Although I initially displayed the poster of IronSword's cover art that shipped with the game on my wall, Fabio's polished pectorals quickly became a discomforting presence in my bedroom.
Nevertheless, I spent many hours with this awesome sequel — in the game, the cover model was substituted with a protagonist tastefully clad to the nines in iron plating.
Early adopters who made the next-gen leap without looking back missed an incredible game design.
Gargoyle's Quest II was the sequel to the Game Boy original Gargoyle's Quest, a game that was itself a spin-off of Capcom's Ghosts 'n Goblins starring that series' infamous flying red demon as its />This NES follow-up refined and focused what started on the portable platform, offering a polished action experience married with overhead map and town exploration ripped right out of the best RPGs of the age.
You could jump, cling to walls, spew fireballs and hover with your demon wings in action stages and then chat it up with the denizens of the Demon Realm, earn upgrades and items and more.
A great, overlooked game that deserves more recognition today than it got back in 1992.
Our Fondest Memories What an unsung classic this, and the Game Boy version, is.
This is another one that really paved the way for others too.
Demon's Crest, perhaps one of the biggest under-selling games of all time compared to its quality, wouldn't have been possible without cutting its teeth on the NES and classic Game Boy.
Amazingly enough, this game still holds up too.
A dumbed-down port of a superior arcade title by Irem, Kung Fu holds accolades simply for being one of the first third-party games released on the NES.
Aside from its special place in history, however, Kung Fu is also a rewarding example of early "beat-'em-up" videogames in all of its 2D glory.
Made up of only five stages and a few types of enemies, a skilled gamer can get through Kung Fu in its entirety in less than ten minutes.
What makes the game so special, then?
Apart from its fun gameplay and difficult boss battles, Kung Fu had inherent replay value simply because the game started over once you beat it with a higher difficulty level.
This made it a prime game for high score hunting, with certain parts of the experience that were of the make and break variety.
Could you get past the bee-throwing enemy on stage four without losing a life?
It was integral if you wanted a high score.
And who could forget Mr.
X's maniacal laughter each time he defeated Thomas, keeping his kidnapped girlfriend for his own.
Our Fondest Memories Who ever thought I could be addicted to such a simple, repetitive game?
We could only afford a new game every few months growing up, and when we were stuck with a game like Kung Fu, you might think we were disappointed.
Kung Fu proved how good even the most simple games can be, and it's still a title I go back and play often to this day.
But back on the NES, there was no besting LucasArts' Maniac Mansion for deep, involved and genuinely funny pointing and clicking action.
Though a bit cumbersome to control with just an NES D-Pad agree, 100 best online casinos in the world apologise menu bar of potential actions to take, this tale of seven diverse high school kids exploring a kooky manor populated with wacky, blue-skinned mad scientists and alien tentacles was nevertheless addictive, thanks in large part to the great variety of ways to win.
You could take several different paths through the house, discover tons of interactions between characters and objects, and replay the game again and again with a completely different trio of the seven potential playable characters each with unique skill-sets and abilities.
Strongbad may be cool today, but LucasArts' SCUMM adventure ported to the NES set the bar over 20 years ago.
Our Fondest Memories Let's be honest — if you are going to play Maniac Mansion, you really should try the uncensored Commodore 64 version.
Nintendo was pretty heavy handed about content on the NES, so some of the ribald stuff in MM was yanked.
But even without it, Maniac Mansion was still an excellent adventure game with a good sense of humor.
If you are wondering, that formula is one part Aliens, two parts First Blood, and perhaps a dash of Predator to keep things exotic.
A port of a graphically superior arcade version, Konami gave Super C lots of love to help it make a successful transition, including the addition of several unique levels.
The pseudo-3D levels that broke up the side-scrolling action in Contra are replaced with vertical-scrolling levels, but the graphical style, gameplay and even the guns all remain identical to the original.
Super C, like Contra, is a nearly perfect cooperative experience, and is best enjoyed with a buddy to high five as the iconic level finish tune plays.
Our Fondest Memories All I remember is the Konami Code only worked once on this game and it gave players 10 lives instead of 30 per continue and — worse of all — it only worked once.
With Contra III on the Super NES, this game didn't get the attention it deserved.
Unlike its source, the NES version is an exploration-focused game with both side-scrolling platforming levels connected by a top down overworld-like area.
Having more in common with Metroid or The Legend of Zelda than NES era brawlers, Rygar must find equipment upgrades — a grappling hook, pulley, crossbow etc.
Strangely, though epic in scale, Rygar doesn't feature a way to save or even a password system, so make sure your NES is hooked up to a good power source before embarking on your quest.
Our Fondest Memories One of the few games I remembered beating without the Game Genie but done on an NES Advantage for sake of the turbo function.
Kratos' Blades of Athena are simply an upgrade of Rygar's one and only Diskarmor!
The top-loading NES replaced the classic system, the Super Nintendo was over two years old, and the 16-bit battle was waging all around it in full force.
Capcom considered the NES obsolete at this point and refused to publish the game in the United States.
That's where Nintendo stepped in and published the game itself for a spring 1994 release.
Mega Man 6 is considered by many to be the last worthwhile NES release in the catalog, and though that's not saying much when looking at the title's contemporaries, Mega Man 6 is still as good as it gets in many respects.
The new Rush Adaptors combined Mega Man with his robotic dog into one unit for the first time, and yes, Dr.
Wily is again behind the robotic destruction coursing through the game, this time masquerading as the ill-disguised Mr.
And while all Robot Masters since Mega Man 2 have been designed by the Japanese, Mega Man 6 totes a few created by North Americans.
Our Fondest Memories For such a late release, Mega Man 6 ended up being worth the temporarily ignoring of my SNES I had to go through when I played it.
When the game dropped, I was on a weird banana oatmeal kick, and I would make a batch every few hours as I played the game over and over again.
I still equate the smell of bananas to Mega Man 6 to this day.
Admittedly, the exhilaration of burning past the beach-going VW beetles in your red Ferrari 328 the F1 was significantly less radical is indeed worthy of such high self praise.
Rad Racer doesn't disguise its arcade origins; in fact, it unabashedly rips off SEGA's arcade contemporary, Out Run.
Nonetheless, the game remains an iconic entry in the NES catalog due to its simple race-or-die gameplay.
And if racing in two dimensions isn't your cup of tea, grab your Power Glove, pop on a pair of 3D glasses, and experience Rad Racer in red and blue stereoscopic bliss.
Note: the Power Glove will not enhance gameplay, but you'll look pretty darn rad, we promise.
Our Fondest Memories I can remember looking at the Rad Racer flap at Toys R Us remember the old system of flaps and slips?
That was enough for me.
Thankfully, Rad Racer turned out to be a great racing game that was my second-favorite racer of the generation, right after OutRun on the Master System.
In it, our metal-clad protagonist, Kuros, sets out on a quest to save not one, but several distressed damsels and we're not talking about some ugly dude in mushroom regalia.
Along the way you'll explore — via many, many knightly leaps — lofty treetops, labyrinthine caverns and an unexpectedly tall castle tower.
In a cool adventure gaming twist, you'll need to meet a certain booty diamonds, not damsels quota before being able to exit each area, but don't expect a sign reading "Here Be Treasure.
Along the way you'll score various weapon upgrades, although Kuros's trademark duds never change.
This makes it all the more mysterious that he appears as a strapping naked dude on the cover, but hey, those were different times.
Happily, this fine action platformer broke with the stereotypical dungeon crawlers, allowing you to hop around, bashing enemies with your Wand of Whatever without a single roll of multisided dice, virtual or otherwise.
The NES had its fair share of unique puzzle games, and Adventures of Lolo 3 might take the cake as the genre's quintessential title on the console.
While two Lolo games preceded the 1991 release of the series' third iteration in the States, the game known by fans as Lolo 3 is most fans' favorite.
What's more, it was a fledgling HAL Laboratory that created the series, a company more popularly-known today for the Lolo-like character Kirby.
In premise, the Lolo games were as simple as can be.
A stagnant, square-shaped screen presented the player's blobbish character with a puzzle.
To proceed to the next level, a treasure chest must be opened, but that chest is only unlocked when all heart icons on the screen are acquired.
And that's where Lolo's difficult gameplay comes in, because it's getting those icons that are the true feat.
You have to deal with enemies galore and traps aplenty; the game even gave the player the option to kill his or her character off by pressing the Select button if they found themselves trapped or unable to proceed, a true testament to Lolo 3's deep and difficult gameplay built on a deceivingly-childlike facade.
Our Fondest Memories All of the Adventures of Lolo games were great, but the third chapter has the best puzzles of the whole series — and almost the most difficult.
As much as I enjoyed, I honestly don't believe I ever beat it.
I should fix that.
To capitalize on the puzzle trend, Nintendo threw its first-party hat into the ring and released Dr.
Mario on the console just in time for the 1990 holiday season.
An interesting take on the Tetris formula, Dr.
Mario presented gamers with a new puzzle-based quandary — how will you use the multi-colored pills thrown into play by a white coat-wearing Mario to eliminate the viruses plaguing your screen?
The answer was simple — line up the appropriate colors of pills matching the viruses, and voila, they disappear.
As was the case with Tetris, Dr.
Mario got fast and furious the further into the game you got.
Before you knew it, your screen was full of viruses with scant a place for your pills to go.
Thankfully, unlike Nintendo's release of Tetris, Dr.
Mario reveled in its two-player glory, and Nintendo's new hit proved not only to be a favorite among puzzle fans, but a game consumed by multi-player purists as well.
Our Fondest Memories I was so bored with Tetris.
It wasn't even that compelling.
But when one of my favorite childhood icons, Mario, appeared in his own variety of puzzle game, I was hooked.
The Tetris cartridge was circulated amongst us and our various neighbors forever after collected dust.
Mario had a two player mode.
Shadowgate, originally made for Mac systems, was a point-and-click adventure game seen from a first-person perspective, wherein you ventured deep into a complicated dungeon filled with traps, monsters, riddles and hidden treasures around every corner.
A key eye for subtle detail was needed for success, as your exploration could often come to a sudden and gruesome end if you missed even a single key weapon or item early in the labyrinth.
You were fighting the clock, too, and if you ever ran out of torches then it was Game Over for you.
Shadowgate's unique spin on the point-and-click concept spawned several spiritual successors like Deja Vu and The Uninvited on the NES, as well as its own direct sequel years later on the Nintendo 64.
But the original is still the best, which is probably why it was singled out for a Game Boy Color release ten years after its Nintendo console debut in 1999.
Our Fondest Memories As a kid, Shadowgate was straight spooky.
Haunting music and the constant fear of running out of torches usually kept me from playing more than a half hour at a time, but I kept going back to it.
And never got anywhere.
Friggin' troll, I've got only a copper coin!
You've got "Kid," first of all, which went ahead and put this adventure on the upper echelon alongside Kid Icarus, Casino Kid and Kid Klown in Night Mayor World.
Then you've got "Ninja," which summoned up the best emotions from Ninja Gaiden, the Ninja Turtles and Zen: Intergalactic Ninja.
Last, you throw Radical into the mix.
Just to be extra cool, and to remind you you're still in the '80s.
And Kid Niki was indeed a radical adventure, starring a young ninja-in-training whose own princess-rescuing adventure was set apart by two defining features — his spiked-out, punk-rock hairstyle and his vicious spinning sword.
Not content to just slash his foes to death, Niki had to slice and dice them with a whirlwind blade just to be that much more radical.
Totally bodacious to the max!
Our Fondest Memories Ah, Kid Niki, with your crazy hair and your even wackier spinning sword.
You'd think a sword that spins would hurt you, but it doesn't.
While Niki is a game that hasn't aged as well as titles like Super Mario Bros.
Simple, straightforward side-scrolling action, lots of baddies to send flying off the screen with a quick swipe of your blade, and stylish graphics for its time.
I doubt anybody would rank the title in their top 10s, but for a 20-plus-year-old action romp, it was — as the title suggests — pretty rad.
Tengen, an ambitious Atari-associated game developer, began releasing official NES games in 1988.
Meanwhile, the company worked rapidly behind the scenes to override Nintendo's infamous lockout device that kept unofficial cartridges from being played on its console.
When Tengen released its first unofficial games using its new technology, Nintendo quickly sued.
Ignoring Nintendo's claim cool games 100 rom the Tetris name in the US a year later, Tengen released its own version of the world's most famous puzzle game on an unlocked, unofficial cartridge.
Tengen's tetris was pulled from shelves almost immediately when it was revealed that Nintendo's hold on the Tetris name stateside was legitimate.
Unfortunately, almost everyone agrees that Tengen's version of the game was far superior to Nintendo's, even including a two-player mode which Nintendo's version sorely lacked.
Today, the game known as Cool games 100 rom Tetris is a rare title to have in your collection, but it's a worthwhile play.
After all, Tetris is one of the classic games not only on the NES, but of all-time.
Our Fondest Memories Although Nintendo's licensed, "official" version of Tetris was ubiquitous, happening upon this strange, black cartridge in the cobwebby recesses of a used game joint proved an eye-opening experience for this young NES collector-to-be.
The Game Pak is truly worth tracking down for its multiplayer selection, including a wacky cooperative mode.
VICE: Project Doom is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated third-party game designs to ever hit the NES, even after claiming a cover of Nintendo Power in 1991.
That's a shame, because its blend of three different types of gameplay set it apart from the crowd and made it a classic.
You had driving levels, featuring an overhead viewpoint straight out of Spy Hunter.
You had sniper shooter levels, like those you might remember from The Adventures of Bayou Billy.
And you had side-scrolling stages, the core of the game, in which your character ran, jumped and attacked the invading alien hordes with a laser-whip.
Take that, Zero Suit Samus in Super Smash Bros.
Brawl — developer Aicom had you beat to the punch nearly two decades ago.
Our own Mark Bozon has been working diligently to bring this title back to life, perhaps by way of the Virtual Console.
But even if we never see it again, it's earned its spot on this countdown.
Our Fondest Memories VPD may in fact be in my top 10 NES games of all time personally, and I didn't discover it until back in 2002 when a few of the WayForward guys all got into retro gaming together.
Someone brought a copy in, I played it, and instantly fell in love with it, playing over and over until I got my speed run down to around 14 mins on a real cart.
This game mixes amazing platforming with some quirky gun and driving missions; almost like Bayu Billy, if that game didn't suck and instead played like Ninja Gaiden.
I'm still working on getting this game to Virtual Console, though Sammy now SEGA has no idea they even own it.
I might just pretend I have the rights.
That isn't illegal, right?
From simulated parallax — that means multiple backgrounds moving at varying speeds — to precise, multi-celled animation, this mech platformer pushes the NES to the very limits of its hardware capabilities.
More importantly, this clever title takes platforming's greatest crutch — gravity — and turns it on its head.
You play an M-308 Gunner mech, which features awesome Magnetic?
After a few minutes with Metal Storm you'll pity Mario for being such a ground bound chump.
Eventually, you must learn to apply your gravity-defying skills to puzzles, while at the very same time applying your blasters to the faces of many, many enemy robots.
Our Fondest Memories Metal Storm's awesome tech inspired me to seek out games with superior graphics, ultimately leading me to the used game store to trade in my NES and all my games, including Metal Storm, for a Genesis.
But those few weeks I spent with Metal Storm remain precious.
With classic titles ranging from Batman to Journey to Silius which was originally supposed to be a licensed Terminator gameSunsoft had the skills necessary to take even the most unusual licenses and make them into compelling adventures.
Cue Fester's Quest, a 1989 offering from Sunsoft that put gamers in the role of Uncle Fester, a character from the 1960s sitcom The Addams Family.
Fester's Quest was an amazing game that was both deep in its delivery and excruciatingly difficult in its execution.
Fester's Quest also takes its cues from a hodgepodge of genres, which will appeal to many kinds of gamers.
Its top-down view makes it a bit of an action-shooter, while its emphasis on collecting items and upgrading weapons lends it more to the RPG and adventure crowd.
Either way, there's a lot to see and like about Fester's Quest.
But if you venture into this territory, be ready for unforgiving difficulty, one of the game's hallmarks.
Our Fondest Memories Growing up, my neighbors seemed to have all of the great games, when we could only afford one here and there.
Fester's Quest was a title my brother and I would borrow from them over and over again.
It was so complicated for me as a six or seven year old that I had to let my brother take the reins, and when I finally got around to playing it when I was older, I realized what all of the fuss was about.
In Klax, a conveyor belt feeds tiles that can be stacked in columns.
When colors are matched — you guessed it — they disappear.
But Klax is more than just the sum of its '90s neon parts.
A small contingent of NES gamers actually prefer Klax to its main competitors — the simple, but accessible, Dr.
Mario and even to the great Tetris, which does seem a little stuffy when stacked against the Day-Glo extravaganza that is Klax.
It's flashy, it's clever, and it's one of the few puzzle games worth revisiting on the NES.
After all, it is 2009, and there's been a lot of time for Tetris and Dr.
Our Fondest Memories Match three games were starting to gain in popularity when Klax came out.
The arcade version hooked me first, but the NES edition kept my addiction going.
I think Tetris is the better game, but Klax is very creative and the NES version was surprisingly well developed and accurate to the original.
Officially titled The Dark Sword of Chaos, the gameplay remained true to the original, with one notable addition: While Ryu always could and in many cases had to grapple to walls free 100 online games get around, Ryu could now scale up and down walls easily.
Initially, this appeared to make the game much easier, but in fact, Ninja Gaiden II's difficulty could easily be considered on par with the original, if not for different reasons.
Thankfully, Tecmo decided not to tinker with Ninja Gaiden II too much, and what resulted was yet another smash hit for its fictional ninja protagonist.
This game had everything that made the first what it was: from the slick graphics and amazing music, to the awesome cutscenes and silky-smooth gameplay.
But rest assured that like the original, Ninja Gaiden II's difficulty level is nothing to scoff at.
This game eats 8-bit novices for breakfast to this day.
Our Fondest Memories I thought I knew Ninja Gaiden until I saw my friend spawning red clones that mimicked his actions.
And as I recall, Ninja Gaiden II taught me to slide button presses for instant jump slashes, a skill that helped when I graduated to fighting games.
No other NES game ever earned that honor, but it's easy to see why Crystalis did — this post-apocalyptic tale of thermonuclear aftermath skillfully blended fantasy and science-fiction into one dynamic story.
The hero begins the game by awakening from cryogenic sleep, and then goes on to collect a set of four elemental swords to save the world.
Each blade offered a different ability, like the Sword of Wind that shot small tornadoes and the Sword of Water that could create bridges of ice.
Once all four had been collected, the legendary titular sword "Crystalis" could be created.
Use that sword and you'll understand why this one has certainly earned its classic status.
Our Fondest Memories I was blown away by how complete an experience Crystalis was.
It looked extremely impressive for its time and I loved the soundtrack.
Plus, being able to build an "ultimate weapon" out of blades I already had was a great touch.
It's one of the earliest games that convinced me that RPGs were my favorite.
The Ninja Turtles do love their pizza.
TMNT II: The Arcade Game for the NES was an incredibly impressive 8-bit conversion of one of the most popular coin-op cabinets ever created — the original side-scrolling Turtles brawler from the early '90s arcade scene.
The visuals weren't as vibrant and the animations weren't as fluid, but the gameplay was spot-on.
It was so much fun to play that we didn't know many people who cared that it didn't look quite as good as its source material.
Konami even tossed in two new, NES-exclusive extra levels, making it even more "in-demand" when it hit store shelves.
And if that five dollar coupon on the manual wasn't enough, Pizza Hut ads even made it into the game itself — one of the earliest examples of that kind of advertising in gaming history.
Seriously, those Turtles love eating pizza.
Our Fondest Memories I first played this in arcades with relatives manning all four joysticks—calling dibs on pizza for health was futile as everyone else was older and bigger than me.
On the NES, the game is responsible for teaching me the Konami code, though it wasn't until years later that I even knew the significance of UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT.
And so the Battletoads — Rash, Pimple, and Zits — were born kids love acne, right?
But while the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were starring in lame TV and movie spin-offs on the NES, Rare actually spent time crafting Battletoads into a surprisingly arcade-like beat-'em-up.
When you aren't pounding all manner of non-amphibious fauna, you are racing speeding vehicles, repelling down pits and performing various other stunts uncharacteristic of your every day brawler.
The detailed, cartoon-like graphics go a long way towards easing the pain of the game's extreme difficulty, as does the inclusion of cooperative play — at least you have someone to blame when you run out of continues on the second level.
Our Fondest Memories Ask anyone who played this game extensively and they'll tell you, it was one of the hardest games of all time.
For me, just making it to level 2 was a major accomplishment that I reveled in — let alone, the brutality that I had to overcome in future levels especially that darned Ice Cavern.
Dragon Warrior IV, released in the US in 1992, tried to buck this trend with a unique approach to unraveling the game's overarching narrative.
Instead of focusing on just one character or one group of characters, Dragon Warrior IV tells its fragmented story in chapters, which the gamer takes on one at a time.
When all's said and done, the chapters' events and characters culminate in an amazing endgame.
Even though Dragon Warrior IV approached the act of storytelling in a unique way, most of Dragon Warrior's gameplay conventions remained unchanged.
It's a good thing, too, since this was the last Dragon Warrior game to appear in the United States for nearly a decade.
American gamers weren't privy to subsequent releases until Dragon Warrior VII hit the PlayStation in 2001.
Our Fondest Memories Even though I was completely taken with the new 16-bit game systems by the time this came out, Dragon Warrior IV was still one of my most anticipated games at the time.
Enix had added a ton of new features to the game, and the build up to going out and getting it was up there with getting Final Fantasy II for my SNES.
The levels are similarly themed but diverse; from pulsing, organic biomasses to blistering fire fields to gleaming space stations, Life Force keeps things interesting for the duration of the admittedly short flight.
Life Force's moderate difficulty sets it apart from its peers in a genre generally geared towards the masochistic.
The key to not being obliterated is, of course, power-ups.
Once you beef up your defenses, you're free to start amassing a sprawling arsenal, making aiming your shots somewhat irrelevant.
Or you can just skip the work and enter the Konami Code to get fully powered up in a matter of seconds.
Finally, you can also blast through Life Force with a buddy — just don't expect the game's strained, overworked engine to keep up!
Our Fondest Memories The Konami code let me finish this co-op version of Gradius.
If you were a space nerd who loved Stewart Cowley's Spaceships 2000 to 2100 AD, you too, would write up fictional technical specifications for the Vic Viper and the RoadBritish spacecraft.
Those that picked up Jackal merely due to its similarity in appearance to games like Contra and Castlevania were not disappointed.
Jackal's premise is that the resolution to all conflict lies in explosions — lots and lots of explosions.
Occasionally you need to take a break from the one-Jeep-army annihilation to collect POWs from camps, but for your patience you are rewarded with even greater destructive power.
Before long your middling grenades are replaced by sleek missiles capable of taking out even the largest of enemy tanks.
And believe us, the tanks get larger.
The key to Jackal's success, like so many other games on this list, is cooperative gameplay.
Enlist a second set of wheels and you'll be nuking twice the whatever-the-hell-you-want-to in no time.
Our Fondest Memories Choreographing delicate rescue operations with my cousin was a blast, sending one Jeep to collect P.
It was the first game I ever played with an NES Advantage.
Unnecessary, sure, but so necessary.
You took on the role of a nameless hero setting off to save a village of Elves who are slowly being poisoned by the magic of the malevolent Evil One.
He's hidden himself inside the enormous, Tower of Babylon-esque World Tree — a massive, multi-leveled living structure that holds the entire game's worth of town, fortresses and enemy lairs within its roots, trunk and branches.
It would be great to see Nintendo revive the Faxanadu concept someday.
But, for now, it stands as a hidden gem that only the hardcore faithful got to experience 20 years ago.
Our Fondest Memories I had a password that started players at or near the final town, but with all the ultimate weapons and armor still unequipped.
This was so I could put on different weapons and gloat because once you don the final tier of weapons and armor, you can't remove them.
This original and its sequel, Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II, are still fondly remembered by faithful Nintendo fans to this day for their unique and light-hearted twist on genre conventions.
Your character's primary weapon is a common yo-yo, and his secondary items are equally ordinary — baseballs, baseball bats and spiked cleats are all notable entries into your arsenal.
The hero, Mike Jones, is just an average kid from Seattle who's looking for a lost archaeologist in the tropical archipelago of Caribbean-esque islands.
Stiff control, demanding jumping and misdirecting puzzles all gave StarTropics' many dungeon sequences a considerable challenge factor.
Overworld puzzle-solving was equally as important — there was even a riddle that you couldn't solve unless you opened up the physical game box and read a piece of paper packaged with the game.
An early attempt by Nintendo at copy protection?
But totally memorable, no matter what the motivation.
Our Fondest Memories Even before the used market took off, Nintendo made some moves to make sure that purchasers of a fresh version got a better experience than someone who borrowed a pre-played one.
I remember the one clue you had to solve by soaking an included piece of paper in water to reveal it the answer.
Good luck finding a copy now that doesn't have a warped parchment… - Craig Harris, IGN Nintendo Executive Editor The Vic Viper's first attack run may have been in the arcades, but the NES brought the popular space shooter home in a near-perfect port.
Gradius is all about pimping your ride.
The sluggish junker you start out with is soon augmented with shields and weapons of your choosing.
Gradius' unique power-up system makes for some tough decisions: do you beef up your defenses in order to tough out that inevitable meteor shower?
Or do you crank your ships thrusters to their max, relying on a quick trigger finger to clear a path?
Starting out in fairly straightforward space environments, things soon got weird in Gradius, with levels filled with Moais shooting donut rings.
These mysterious monoliths eventually became a series standard.
Although you can't Gradius with a pal, you can outfit your ship with "options" — mindless, floating turrets that flank your ship.
You'll soon realize how much better off you are without a rookie to keep track of.
Our Fondest Memories I used to apply the Konami code to every game from Konami just to see what would happen.
Gradius was hard but fully powering up the Vic Viper made things a lot easier.
Atari 2600 titles like ET set the stage for what is still known today as a group of games best avoided.
But not all licensed titles are bad.
Some of them are good.
Sunsoft's Batman, released Stateside in 1989, bucked convention, both old and new, and provided gamers with what proved to be an awesome action-oriented experience full of deep gameplay and immense difficulty.
But while action games on the NES are a dime a dozen, it's this very fact that made Batman stand out amongst the competition.
Batman didn't try to do anything unique, but rather took a cue from a few already-established NES staples to make Batman a fun, worthwhile experience.
Borrowing ideas from Mega Man and Ninja Gaiden, Batman was able see more toggle through a vast arsenal of weaponry and grapple to walls to assist in the platforming mayhem.
Next time you think all movie licensed games are garbage, dust off this old classic and surprise yourself all over again.
Our Fondest Memories Batman taught me the meaning of "envy;" I went to a neighbor's house and played it all day, mastering the diabolical wall jump platforming challenges, and I wanted the game for myself.
I came back the next day to challenge Joker, but I don't think we ever beat him.
Seen from a three-quarters viewpoint that placed every environment on an angle relative to the player, you were tasked to take command of a snake that, initially, had no body.
If you nibble enough of the Nibbleys, your snake's body would grow, his tail extending longer and longer behind his comical head and forked tongue.
Then, with enough mass amassed, you could jump onto the level-ending weight scale to trigger the opening of the stage-clearing door — make it through there, and you're on to the next world.
The ridiculousness of the premise was only matched by the difficulty of the game's control scheme, and the superb 8-bit soundtrack that accompanied all the hungry, hungry action.
Our Fondest Memories My greatest memory of this game is trying to convince a dozen IGN editors why this game was so awesome nearly 20 years ago.
This is a Rare sleeper and one of the most creative games those guys made.
It's like Marble Madness turned into a platformer…and it worked!
The Micro Machines concept of incredibly little cars racing each other was adapted into this NES racing design, a game that featured overhead, birds-eye view action behind the miniature wheel and environments all designed to emphasize the diminutive scale of it all.
Kind of like Pixar's Toy Story, this was a world seen from a toy's perspective — races took place on top of massive billiards tables or in backyard with gigantic, looming flowers and blades of grass.
Interestingly, Micro Machines was also one of the rare, unlicensed-by-Nintendo releases for the NES — but the lack of the Seal of Quality or standard cartridge design didn't keep it from being a great game.
Our Fondest Memories I remember seeing this game being pushed on the Home Shopping Network months before it was available in stores.
I guess since it was an unlicensed Nintendo game, Codemasters had a hard time getting retailers interested in stocking it.
But man, the game delivered.
I still believe that the NES original is the greatest top-down racer ever developed.
Dozens and dozens of games have spawned from this very title, the first of six Mega Man games released on the NES, and for good reason.
Mega Man is one of the best examples of great graphics, amazing music and near-perfect gameplay rolled into one cartridge.
Mega Man's unique approach is what initially made it so interesting to gamers.
During a time in gaming where linearity reigned supreme, it allowed gamers to choose from one of six stages to start, but at the end of each Mega Man would fight a Robot Master that would sacrifice his weapon upon defeat for use in another level.
Gamers could then figure out which boss was weak to that weapon and attempt to use it against him.
The permutations through Mega Man were many, giving the game great replay value.
The original Mega Man is perhaps best-known, however, for its staggering difficulty level.
It's not only the hardest in the franchise, but one of the hardest NES games period.
Our Fondest Memories As a kid, I'd go to my grandparents' house for a big Italian dinner every Sunday.
Their next door neighbors' kids ended up being me and my siblings' friends as time passed, and they had a basement dedicated to NES gaming.
My initial exposure to what would become a gaming obsession in my life happened down there, when I played Mega Man for the first time.
Years before Yoshi first crammed a fat plumber on his back, Adventure Island II offered some of the coolest dinosaur wrangling in the business.
The game's protagonist, Master Higgins, a yachting playboy with a knack for taming giant lizards, sets out on his adventure with little more than a ball cap and a grass skirt.
Throughout the game's island world, which include tropical jungles, tepid swamps and cool caverns, our man Higgins happens upon various implements of stone-age destruction, like axes and, uh.
Some of the islands' giant eggs pack ferocious — but adorable — dinos who will let you hitch a ride until they take damage.
Treat them well and you'll be riding through the eight islands in style.
Our Fondest Memories As a major Wonder Boy fan, I naturally thought Adventure Island was some kind of rip-off.
But after the Wonder Boy series went in the direction of RPG-lite, I was happy to have Master Higgins keeping the flame alive on his trusty skateboard.
Only later did I learn the convoluted history of who made what, so Hudson, I owe you an apology for my playground rants about your integrity.
Why is Baseball Stars so important?
The answer is multifaceted — it's the ability to play a season and track statistics.
And it's the insanely crisp gameplay.
It's also the teams and roster customization including the ability to create players, mess with their stats, and pay them a salary.
In other words, it's just about everything.
Baseball Stars is unequivocally the best baseball game, and overall sports simulation, the NES ever saw.
Before Baseball Stars was released in the summer of 1989, the NES wasn't looked at for its ability to simulate real sports.
But after Baseball Stars hit the shelves and subsequently flew off of themexpectations on what a sports game could do changed forever.
One could get lost in the sea of statistics the game tracked for you, the endless roster customization, the hiring, firing and outright creation of players, and amazing gameplay.
You could jump and dive for the ball, climb the wall to snag a possible home run…and most of all, you could customize a half-dozen teams all the way down to the individual names.
Kirby's Adventure was an epic, beautifully colorful swansong for the NES that focused on that new power for its vacuum-suction hero, as Kirby sucked up his foes, swallowed them, and then found that he could wield their signature weapons and powers himself.
From the blade-throwing Cutter to the hard-pounding Stone, the prickly-bodied Needle to the electrifying Spark nearly all of Kirby's classic transformations owe their origin to this late 1992 NES release.
Because it came out on the NES after the SNES had already arrived, you may have missed out even if you were around and gaming on Nintendo systems 17 years ago, but Kirby's Adventure is one that can't be missed.
Go back and grab it, either on cartridge or through the Wii's Virtual Console, and experience for yourself the defining console debut for one of the Big N's biggest mascots.
Our Fondest Memories While friends moved on to Super NES, I made do with Kirby.
The variety in power ups kept me endlessly entertained and I cherished every moment with the blaring microphone attack.
From Link and Samus Aran to Mega Man and Bowser, Nintendo's 8-bit machine was the debut platform for countless classic heroes and villains that are still active in the industry today.
Maybe most surprising of all, though, is that the NES was also the first place Americans ever met Solid Snake.
The NES's original adventure with Konami's cigarette-smoking, tough-as-nails commando, and the stealth action now most associated with PlayStation platforms was just as intense in the '80s as it is today.
Snake parachuted into the jungle fortress of Outer Heaven with nothing but his courage and a pack of smokes, and skillfully avoided detection while sneaking through the enemy encampment to find and destroy the titular weapon of mass destruction — or, if sneaking didn't work, he beat the snot out of the soldiers in his way.
Metal Gear created the stealth genre, paving the way for Metal Gear Solid to later revolutionize and refine it.
It's an undeniable classic.
Our Fondest Memories Completely unlike anything else at the time.
I remember dying repeatedly, and an early example of blatant Engrish: "I feel asleep!!
The gameplay mechanics of the original Castlevania remained intact, but there was a whole lot more that had been added that transferred it from the realm of action-platformer to the realm of action-RPG.
Gamers' apprehension quickly dissipated, though, when what resulted was an amazing game full of an inordinate amount of depth.
Simon's Quest took you away from the all-too-familiar atmosphere of Dracula's castle and instead set you loose in an Eastern European locale full of mysterious villages, haunted mansions and, ultimately, the remnants of the castle Simon Belmont destroyed in the original.
Simon earned experience points for killing enemies and collecting money to buy new goods.
An item-based menu allowed you to equip gems, whips and special weapons.
When continue reading old-style gameplay was combined with these myriad new additions, Castlevania II was so deep you could drown in it.
And that doesn't even begin to mention the game's three unique endings, a rarity in its day.
Our Fondest Memories First off, screw you Nintendo Nerd.
This game kicks a wave of unrelenting ass, so while people bitch and moan like the cartridge killed their parents I'll happily relive this dare-to-be-different classic with all its quirks.
As far as legacy, we never would have had games like Symphony of the Night if the trail wasn't blazed back on 8-bit with Simon's Quest.
If you're stuck, quit crying and grab a guide, since you apparently can't hack it.
Welcome to the 80's.
Konami's classic NES hockey sim started out with exactly that, which was incredibly impressive for the time.
Blades is notable for much more than being an early advancer of recorded voice-work in gaming, though, as its take on professional hockey was brutally realistic in that it realistically presented the most brutal unofficial aspect of the game — fistfights.
If you rammed into a player often enough in a round of Blades, he'd lose it, throw down his gloves and start pummeling the snot out of you right on the spot.
When that happened, the gameplay actually switched away from the hockey design and into a one-on-one versus fighter while the two mad men slugged it out.
Plus, the guy who lost the fight was the click to see more sent to the penalty box, whether he started the brawl or not.
You can't beat that.
Our Fondest Memories I grew up in a hockey town, so I didn't know a single person who owned a NES system that didn't have a copy of this awesome sports game.
My favorite design was the fighting system: the loser of the fight heads to the penalty box.
Now why couldn't real NHL be like that?
The ever-flatulent Bub and Bob enter the Cave of Monsters in a blaze of bubble-blowing glory, trapping all manner of beasts in their sticky, spherical emissions.
There are over a hundred single-screen levels to conquer in Bubble Bobble, clear all the enemies before you timer is up and you are safe to move on.
While the first dozen or so screens will seem like a walk in the park, as you make your way deeper into the cave you'll encounter some puzzling situations.
Using your own bubbles to bounce your way up to out of reach platforms takes some serious platforming skills.
Bubble Bobble actually encourages you to bring a friend along on your journey — only with the cooperation of two talented players can you access the game's extra stages and alternate ending.
Our Fondest Memories My earliest forays into the Cave of Monsters were rarely solo.
Unlike other popular cooperative games like Contra, crowding the screen with blue and green bubbles was just as enjoyable with an experienced player as it was with a total novice — I believe we called them "posers" back in those pre-n00b times.
Yes, Fred — who's just hopped into the backyard and touched a radioactive reactor that mutates him into an enormous amphibious monster.
He then leaps down a nearby hole in the ground and disappears into a vast subterranean labyrinth without a trace.
And, because our hero loves Fred so much that he doesn't care if he's a giant, disgusting mutant toad, he takes command of the equally-massive armored tank S.
As the boy treks into the underground maze, Blaster Master presents its deviously challenging mixture of side-scrolling platforming, shooting, and overhead dungeon exploration with action taking place in and outside of the cockpit.
This one's a classic in both gameplay and theme.
We're on our way.
Our Fondest Memories I felt such a sense of relief every time I returned to the vehicle from an on-foot segment, like running indoors to escape the Boogeyman in the woods.
The tank felt like a portable fort, like home with a cannon mounted on the roof.
The music is as memorable as anything from Nintendo.
Konami's Castlevania was followed up by Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, a game that strayed entirely from its origins.
And then there was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the follow-up to the smash hit The Legend of Zelda.
Released in 1988, Zelda II proved to be an entirely different experience from the first and that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
Instead of a game that relied on epic, blind exploration and top-down dungeon-crawling action, Zelda II introduced a completely new idea for the series, and one that hasn't been revisited since.
Link mainly navigated around an RPG-like world map, with action occurring sporadically in side-scrolling sequences.
These sequences were parlayed into the game's labyrinthine dungeons as well.
Zelda II's entire system suggested it was trying to be more of an RPG, and in many ways, it was a huge success.
Debate ensues to this day surrounding Zelda II's place in The Legend of Zelda franchise as a whole, but most everyone agrees that Zelda II is a stellar standalone title.
Our Fondest Memories Who's Link?
I haven't been playing as Zelda all this time?
Something about Adventures of Link scared me—maybe the dark backgrounds in the forest stages, or the increased detail in the enemy designs.
Or maybe it was just that I died so much.
The game is brutal.
After all, with the exception of Pit's inclusion in Super Smash Bros.
Brawl, the last Kid Icarus game was released on Game Boy nearly two decades ago.
Fusing action with platforming, and even some RPG elements, Kid Icarus is one of those key first party NES games that often finds itself ignored.
In Kid Icarus, gamers take the role of Pit.
Pit is a fledgling winged angel who is tasked with working his way out of the Underworld and to the Sky, where the evil Medusa has taken control.
All the while, Pit must work his way through four unique worlds, each with multiple unique stages and an end fortress where Pit must navigate through a labyrinthine set of screens to reach the boss.
Kid Icarus' extreme difficulty has turned off many a gamer in the past twenty years, but there's a lot to love as soon as you turn on the game.
Just be careful writing down those passwords!
One uppercase letter mistaken for a lowercase one, and your experience is over.
Our Fondest Memories "Games are too easy now.
More of them should go play Kid Icarus, one of the hardest games of the 8-bit generation.
I bet 75-percent of them stop whining about regenerative health after getting their arrows taken away by an Eggplant Wizard for the eightieth time.
The original Castlevania was a typical action-platformer on its facade, but once explored, the game proved to be much, much more.
In an era of 8-bit graphics and Click to see more music, Konami crafted a game that immersed you in the horror of Dracula's castle, while all you were looking at and hearing was an artful combination of the typical sights and sounds of the day.
It wasn't only the aesthetics that made the original Castlevania a great game, one that spawned one of the most popular and well-known series in gaming history.
It was the gameplay that was at the heart of Castlevania's epic rise from unknown brand to Konami flagship.
Simon Belmont, the whip-wielding Vampire Hunter, controlled uniquely.
But after getting used to Castelvania's inherent control quirks, what was found was a smooth action game rife with suiting atmosphere and difficult gameplay.
Sure, Castlevania is only six stages long, but you'll require a lot of luck and skill getting through even half of it.
Our Fondest Memories Platformers were my favorite genre during the 8-bit generation thanks to Mario and Alex Kidd, so why wouldn't I fall for Castlevania?
Dracula is the bad guy?
And I get to hit him with a whip?
Castlevania was not only a brilliant vid, but the music too is timeless — I can still hum it on cue.
The North American sequel to everyone's favorite game does not disappoint.
SMB2 added the ability to pick up and toss enemies and objects, a move that became part of Mario's permanent repertoire.
Other elements of Super Mario Bros.
No longer bound by primitive side-scrolling constraints, the levels of SMB2 can be freely explored, with secret areas, warps and more to discover.
And this time Mario doesn't steal the spotlight.
Toad, the Princess, and Luigi all offer unique qualities that make them viable protagonists.
If you can stomach the Princess in all her pinkness, her levitation ability will get you over the game's widest gaps.
Alternately, you can put Toad's speed to use in plucking coins for the game of chance at each level's end.
SMB2 offers greater diversity in graphics and gameplay than the original, making it a great bridge game between the other NES Mario titles.
Our Fondest Memories I played Super Mario Bros.
Setting those aside, though, SMB2 is a wonderful platformer that is wrongfully considered the black sheep of the canon.
So what if it wasn't originally a Mario game?
Have you played the Lost Levels?
This game is infinitely more inventive than that.
Main character Ryu Hayabusa wielded a katana with deadly precision, and he had a grouping of special weapons to use as well.
In fact, Tecmo took a page from the book of another successful action-platformer of the day, Konami's Castlevania, and mimicked its special weapon system almost to a tee.
What resulted was a crisp experience in NES gameplay that still stands up today.
The current-day Ninja Gaidens have a reputation for being overly-difficult, but it was this NES original that initially set the trend.
In addition to exceptionally hard feats of platforming, Ninja Gaiden's fast and furious action was made all the more difficult by its vast army of wily enemies.
And talk about difficult — if you were unlucky enough to lose all of your lives in the game's final stages which gamers did over and over and over againyou'd have quite the trek in front of you to get games for htc hero 100 pattern unlock to where you were to try all over again.
Our Fondest Memories The classic Tecmo-created action game remains etched in my mind for a couple reasons.
It featured actual cut-scenes in an era when such things were considered extraordinary.
Everyone remembers the simple, but effective cinematic in which series hero Ryu Hayabusa stands atop a mountaintop and stares off into the distant landscape.
Primitive by today's standards, sure, but I remember being blown away when I first set eyes on it.
And then, of course, the difficulty — starts off easy enough, but advance through half a dozen areas and you find yourself in a fight for your very life.
Funny that both of these defining characteristics have carried over through the years into modern day Gaiden sequels.
Mega Man 2 built upon it.
And Mega Man 3 took the mantle and ran with it.
Continuing the tradition started in Mega Man 2 of having eight Robot Masters to start out with instead of six, gamers could choose one of eight starting stages, inherit defeated boss robots' weapons, and move on to the next stage to exploit possible weaknesses with the player's ever-growing arsenal.
Its action-platforming style was well-known by Mega Man 3's release, and with the addition of two important new characters, Rush and Protoman, and a new skill, sliding, Mega Man 3 is many fans' favorite in the franchise.
And even then, Mega Man 3's new additions weren't all it had to offer.
It was a darker game, with less glitzy Robot Masters.
It was also the longest Mega Man title in the classic series, reintroducing all of the Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 in addition to an extended trek through Dr.
Mega Man 3 is the epitome of what the NES offered, and though less-fondly remembered than Mega Man 2, is another must-own for the console.
Our Fondest Memories The game I consider the best of all-time is a flawless experience.
And Christmas of 1990 was when I finally got my hands on the game I would be obsessed with until this day.
After ripping open all of my other presents, all I cared about was Mega Man 3.
And that's saying something I was surrounded by a dozen new G.
River City offered a city to explore filled with rival gangs more than happy to smash things over your head if you happen into their territory.
Between territories are neutral zones, filled with shops that carry life-giving junk food and high-priced moves that become absolutely necessary as you progress.
It's these adventure game elements that make River City Ransom the thinking man's beat-em-up.
Of course, you don't have to hit the mean streets of River City alone.
With a friend you can tag-team your opponents.
As a bonus, your stunned partner can double as a bludgeoning tool.
Our Fondest Memories For a time, I remembered an entire 33-character password for a maxxed out character in this game.
It was like memorizing pi but the password was completely useless beyond this game.
Excitebike was one of the 18 launch titles for the NES here in America, and distanced itself from the pack by offering truly addictive motocross gameplay.
You sped through a scrolling track, weaving up and down into and out of four parallel lanes filled with obstacles, traps and humongous hills.
You'd leap off the peaks in your path and go flying through the air, and have to adjust the angle of your descent in order to maintain your momentum and keep from crashing — and you'd also have to keep an eye on your engine's temperature gauge all the while, as overheating would cause lengthy cool-down delays that would likely keep you from claiming first place.
Excitebike was also the first game to offer a user-created content feature, through its track editor — for a game that hit on October 18, 1985, that was way ahead of its time.
Our Fondest Memories I can't tell you how many hours I left my NES on simply because I wanted to show off my created course to a bunch of my friends.
For whatever reason, Nintendo didn't include a battery in the cartridge for the customizable track option, so if you turned off the system…poof!
All that work, gone.
What were they thinking?
Released in 1988, it pioneered something very important for the racing genre.
Pro-Am was one of the first games to ever give your car the ability to attack and damage your opponents' vehicles with bombs, missiles and oil slicks to ensure that the competition wasn't going to make it to the finish line first — or even arrive there in one piece.
That's right — if you've ever cursed the skies after falling prey to the infamous Blue Shell, you can trace the source of your rage all the way back to Rare's R.
Pro-Am — without it, racing games might have just been all about steering and accelerating.
Our Fondest Memories This fantastic racing game was the first game I owned for my NES and it kept me hooked for weeks.
That is, until my copy started getting corrupted.
It was devastating playing through dozens of races only to have the game slowly start blanking out its colors until I was left with a locked-up, unplayable graphic mess on my screen.
Contra deftly captures the spirit of the testosterone-fueled '80s summer blockbusters, with obvious nods to the Alien and Rambo series.
Alternating both horizontal and vertical scrolling levels with cool 3D-imitating third-person view stages, Contra was designed with short attention spans in mind.
Although the game offers a fairly decent challenge, the experience of kicking serious alien ass can be had by less talented players, thanks to the legendary Konami Code, which, in its most famous implementation, gives you 30 lives to burn through as you please.
And if you somehow run out of those, you can always steal one from your unsuspecting partner.
Any discussion of Contra wouldn't be complete without a nod to its iconic 8-bit soundtrack.
After a few minutes with Contra's militant anthems you'll want to put your controller down and headbang along.
Our Fondest Memories I'd always have the 30 man code active in the beginning, but eventually stopped using it as I got better over the years.
Still, dying needlessly was satisfying.
If you have 120 lives, killing yourself was fun.
While not entirely innovative, Final Fantasy did make some interesting iterations on the RPG formula.
Before even embarking on your quest you must choose your team of four characters.
Each can be one of six diverse character classes, which dictates their role on the frontlines.
A balanced team, for instance, may include two Fighters, a Black Mage to deal damage and a White Mage to heal.
To make things interesting, at one point in your quest, your original classes undergo a change, making it advantageous to lug around a useless Thief just so you'll end up with a badass Ninja.
Final Fantasy also offered new ways to navigate its sprawling overworld.
While a clipper ship and canoe allow you to access new areas of the map, it's the airship that's worth holding out for.
Cruising the skies unhampered by the copious random battles of surface travel is truly exhilarating.
Our Fondest Memories I never was satisfied with the party I formed; so half way through the game, I'd start a new game with a completely different party.
Eventually I did finish it — five years after the game was released.
With Mega Man veterans like Keiji Inafune and Yoshihiro Sakaguchi getting the most out of the technology, Duck Tales proved to be an amazing game in its own right.
Sure, it borrowed from Mega Man apart from the engine — selecting stage orders, for instance — but standing on its own, Duck Tales is one of the must-have games in any NES aficionado's library.
The gameplay is of the classic action-platforming variety.
Gamers take the role of Scrooge McDuck, who goes through various stages to collect wealth, defeating enemies with his pogo stick attack.
When one stage is cleared, Scrooge can pick from any of the remaining stages to undertake his next quest.
When the game culminates on the sixth and final stage, Scrooge is a force to be reckoned with.
Our Fondest Memories DuckTales was probably my favorite show on television when the game hit, yet I could hardly sit through an entire after-school episode before powering on my NES to play it.
Most memorable of all is Tales' peerless soundtrack, particularly the tunes for Transylvania, African Mines, and the Moon.
It should come as no surprise that the man behind the rock is Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, a composer that worked on the Mega Man series, also distinguished for its 8-bit anthems.
But Bionic Commando's Rad Spencer gets by just fine with the help of his bionic appendage.
At first, Bionic Commando's emphasis on swinging seems counterintuitive and limiting, but at some point the smooth grappling action just clicks, you find yourself zipping around the stages in a blur of red and green pixels.
Taking cues from open-ended adventure games like Metroid, you'll need to find certain weapons and equipment to progress in Bionic Commando, and that sometimes means returning to area you've previously visited to take care of unfinished business.
A thinly-veiled plot about the resurrection of Adolf Hitler and an epic soundtrack go a long way towards making Bionic Commando a totally unique experience on the NES.
Our Fondest Memories Every self-respecting gamer has fond memories of Bionic Commando, and most of the time those memories are of the first 12 minutes of the game or so.
Over the years though Bionic Commando is a game I keep going back to, and it wasn't until I really realized the RPG-lite experience in there trucks lead to 1Ups, kills equal strength and RPG-like leveling that I was able to really dominate the game.
Wow… 15+ years later and I can still find fun in this game?
Add it to the list!
Known as Dragon Quest in Japan, Dragon Warrior was one of the NES's early smash hits that didn't come from Nintendo itself, even though it was released nearly three years after it saw the light of day on its native Japanese Famicom.
RPGs were still an extremely niche genre at the time and Dragon Warrior was no guaranteed hit.
However, word of mouth combined with a Nintendo Power promotion that sent copies of the game around the country allowed it to blow up.
Dragon Warrior is an old-school grinding RPG that necessitated acute attention to leveling up, equipment management and smart planning.
No sooner would an unprepared adventurer leave a town and cross a bridge into a new area than he would find himself smashed by an enemy much stronger than he.
Because of that, there was no rushing around; Dragon Warrior was for patient gamers only.
And woe is the gamer who forgot to hold down the Reset button when turning off his NES.
The catastrophic data loss that resulted ruined many a gamers' month.
Our Fondest Memories Watching my neighbors play the series endlessly as a child, my first independent go-around with Dragon Warrior was when I was in the 8th grade in 1997.
I bought my own cart off of eBay and experienced the wonders of this influential grinding J-RPG without the help of my peers.
And yes, it was awesome.
The game simply used the convenient foundation of the sport to construct a deceptively deep, endlessly addictive gameplay design that's all about pattern recognition, fast reaction times and comically over-the-top cartoon personalities.
The cast was so memorable and the experience so well defined that many elements were kept completely intact for the recent Wii re-imagining of the game — there's no improving on the perfection of King Hippo, Great Tiger or Glass Joe.
Tyson's name recognition was never needed, though.
Our Fondest Memories Having Punch-out at home sealed the deal on selling me on an NES, since I loved the arcade game.
I found it hilarious that Nintendo had to shrink down Little Mac to a third the size of his replicate the arcade version's over-the-shoulder effect on the NES hardware, but even with the compromise, the game was better on the NES!
Developed on the same engine as Kid Icarus, and released around the same time, Metroid toned down the action-platforming found in Icarus and focused on exploration.
And explore you did.
Metroid proved to be one of 100 gratis spins biggest and most daunting games early in the Cool games 100 rom lifecycle.
Metroid was unique for so many reasons, among them the ability to explore at your own pace.
All of the terrain was interconnected into one big map, an idea later expanded upon and matured by the SNES's Super Metroid.
In fact, ideas in Metroid have been replicated time and time again, and its collection-based themes and upgrade-encouraged RPG motif can be found in a vast range of games since, from the PlayStation's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night to the more recent Xbox Live title, Shadow Complex.
Our Fondest Memories I once spent three hours rolled into morphball while dropping meticulously timed bombs so that I might progress upward through a small crevice in the original Metroid.
I had hoped there might be some special secret, which there wasn't.
I obsessed over Metroid for months, explored every nook and cranny of the game world, bested Mother Brain in battle dozens of times and still couldn't get enough.
I guess it's no wonder that Super Metroid and Metroid Prime remain my two favorite games of all time.
I'm a lifelong Samus Aran groupie.
Extending the gameplay to many times the length and difficulty of the original, Castlevania III allowed gamers to take the role of Trevor Belmont, Simon Belmont's ancestor, as well as the roles of three other playable characters that Trevor may meet during his quest.
May meet, because Castlevania III allowed gamers multiple paths as they progressed through the game.
Grant, Sypha and Alucard all made their first appearances in Dracula's Curse, but you might not ever necessarily meet them all.
The paths you choose to take during the game will bring you to stages and events you might otherwise miss entirely.
In this way, Castlevania III was like the original game on a considerable amount of steroids, with plenty of replay value to boot.
Our Fondest Memories I remember getting this game like it was yesterday.
My mom and one of my sisters were out all day, and when they came home, my mom had an NES box in her hand.
Viewing it from afar, I was disappointed, thinking she bought Track and Field.
When I got the box in my hand, however, it was Castlevania III.
And what lines free games online play now found in Mega Man 2 was something seen in few games since — a title that was virtually flawless.
Opening up the initial level of Robot Masters from six, as seen in the first game, to eight as seen in each subsequent Classic Series title, Mega Man 2 was also the only Classic Mega Man game to have a difficulty setting.
Mega Man 2 is often glossed over as being too easy even on the "Hard" difficulty setting, but that doesn't take away from everything the game offered.
It's bright, colorful aesthetic, awesome enemy designs, amazing music and incredible replay value are all storied parts of the game's history.
And that's saying nothing of its amazing action-platforming gameplay, which was oft-replicated and never exceeded.
If you have to play one Mega Man game to familiarize yourself with the series, make it Mega Man 2.
Our Fondest Memories Around the corner from my house growing up was a rare sight these days — a mom and pop video store.
My brother and I used to go there on weekends to rent games, and we rented Mega Man 2 so many times that the owners of the store eventually offered to sell it to us.
For many, the NES was the machine that played Mario.
The quintessential platformer, it's hard to imagine a video game industry today without Super Mario Bros.
The sights and sounds of the mustachioed plumber busting through the brick and pipe-filled Mushroom kingdom are probably more recognizable than the American flag to several generations of US gamers.
Although the game itself takes a good amount of skill to master, Super Mario Bros has a mysterious quality that makes it appealing to even the most inexperienced players.
The game has been enjoyed by more players over the years than any other game on the NES, and its greatness can be experienced by anyone who picks up a control pad today.
Our Fondest Memories I was playing the amazing Super Mario Bros.
So when I saw the commercials for the system air with footage from Super Mario Bros, I couldn't believe that it looked identical.
Little did I know that Nintendo put the NES hardware in the arcade cabinet.
Worked like a charm, I got arcade perfection at home!
And back in 1987, the franchise started off with a bang with one of the most ambitious replica-gold-plated cartridges to ever grace the NES.
What's funny about The Legend of Zelda's title was that the gamer played as a character named Link, who was in turn trying to save the famed princess named Zelda.
But that didn't matter.
Zelda was one of the biggest console games of the time, and that got gamers excited.
Confusion aside, the game left players confounded with its intricate, wide-open design.
Zelda was an action-adventure game with RPG elements, and in an age without the Internet, people were on their own about how to get through the game in one piece.
Some people made maps.
Others called Nintendo's own hotline for help or consulted a magazine.
And some were fortunate enough to have friends who knew answers.
But for the most part, early Zelda gamers had nothing but their own ingenuity to rely on.
And rely on it they did, making The Legend of Zelda one of the NES' most famous games, part of a franchise that thrives to this day.
Our Fondest Memories The NES classic is surrounded by so many standout features and moments that it's hard to decide on just one, from the collectable gold cart to its battery-powered save function.
But I will always look upon Zelda fondly for sucking me into a gaming universe that sprawled in every direction in a seemingly non-linear fashion.
I could whip through Super Mario Bros.
The most anticipated game on the NES, SMB3 had nothing short of a feature length film The Wizard plugging it before it hit store shelves.
Despite the unparalleled hype, no one was disappointed.
Mario receives some amazing gear in his third game, including the Raccoon Suit that allows him to soar high above the game's carefully crafted levels.
Each world in SMB3 features a unique style, and Mario's quest takes him through desert, grasslands, above the clouds and below the sea — there's so much to explore that we still make discoveries every time we dust off the cartridge today.
Our Fondest Memories I will always have a special place in my heart for the original Super Mario Bros.
Soaring around as Mario in raccoon form simply cannot be beat.
And besides, the game was officially backed by Fred Savage, the ultimate gaming Wizard.

Top 100 Games on PrimaryGames - Free Games Online Cool games 100 rom

Top 100 NES Games - Cool games 100 rom

For those of you who played this remarkable handheld in the past, I bet you would be interested to get to know the best GBA games of all time. Some of you will probably remember (or even still own) some of the games mentioned on this list.
Cool Spot Rom/Emulator file, which is available for free download on You can use emulator to play the Gameboy games on your Windows PC, Mac, Android and iPhone.
Welcome to Retro-Sanctuary's Top 100 Best SNES games. Now, for anyone new to the site we follow a set of guidelines for all our lists. We aim to represent the best of all genre's, we try to limit the number of sequels included to allow more underrated games to shine, and also tend to avoid games that have been ported from earlier systems that don't use the hardware to its full potential.


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