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. 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. 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? Nonetheless, the two games were quite different from one another, sharing their main stars and nothing more. Greatest cross-promotion ever? Fond memories for this one really only go a year or so back. However, word of mouth combined with a Nintendo Power promotion that sent copies of the game around the country allowed it to blow up. Starting out in fairly straightforward space environments, things soon got weird in Gradius, with levels filled with Moais shooting donut rings. 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. 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. Shotgun, Mario. Oh, wait – wrong wrestling game. It was published by Tengen for home platforms; an arcade version of Vindicators was published by Atari. A heroic figure from ancient times thrust into a strange futuristic world, you must fight your way through six levels to defeat "The Devil" and save the day. 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. 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. I remember the one clue you had to solve by soaking an included piece of paper in water to reveal it the answer. 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. Today, the game known as Tengen Tetris is a rare title to have in your collection, but it's a worthwhile play. - M3Kat/ While The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. are unarguable pinnacles of videogame creation, if we were stranded on an island with a power source, an NES and a single game, it would unquestionably be Super Mario Bros. 3. Adding some well implemented adventuring elements into the mix was a great idea for the Chaos Engine, with the game giving you loads of incentive to search every nook and cranny of the stages in an effort to get hold of those elusive (and often much needed) upgrades. Now, for anyone new to the site we follow a set of guidelines for all our lists. is the most well-remembered boxing design from Nintendo's NES, Ring King was a capable competitor thanks to its more accurate simulation of the sport. The Game Pak is truly worth tracking down for its multiplayer selection, including a wacky cooperative mode. Complete a shape and the area is yours. 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. Don't worry, Fred! 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. 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. 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. To this day I still vividly remember the cutscenes that showed my sword becoming more powerful. While not entirely innovative, Final Fantasy did make some interesting iterations on the RPG formula. Weird, right? I couldn't stand the cartoon (I was a DuckTales sort of guy), but to my surprise the game was an addictive platforming masterpiece. It was a well known title that at it's core, was for the Amiga in which one or two players battled in a top down shooter genre against the evil creations of the titular Chaos Engine. I remember getting this game like it was yesterday. 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. We're glad it did, because it's still a blast to power up our blades today. is the original masterpiece boxing game that isn't really about boxing at all. That isn't illegal, right? 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. Bye-bye, Abobo. After a few minutes with Contra's militant anthems you'll want to put your controller down and headbang along. $12.00. The variety in power ups kept me endlessly entertained and I cherished every moment with the blaring microphone attack. Final Fantasy also offered new ways to navigate its sprawling overworld. Also, it was the closest thing to "Gleaming the Cube: The Game" as I could find. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Every Ice Hockey player discovered their own perfect combination of men, and then it was on to the ice. Watching elaborate slams and suplexes in the glorious 8-bit cinematics captured my imagination immediately. 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. This was just the beginning of the Tengen/Nintendo feud. And if you somehow run out of those, you can always steal one from your unsuspecting partner. Mine is Heavy Barrel, just looking for some other opinions and maybe some hidden gems. The car is called the G-6155. I always thought Ice Climber was just another way to repackage Mario Bros. "It's just the same game with a bunch of white," I thought. I was too ADD / illiterate as a kid to ever get that Zelda was the princess in the first game. 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. Game Scoop! 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. 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). Good stuff. As a major Wonder Boy fan, I naturally thought Adventure Island was some kind of rip-off. I had a password that started players at (or near) the final town, but with all the ultimate weapons and armor still unequipped. 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. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a smash phenomenon in the late 1980s. Carry on about how this game just isn't as good as the arcades (I do), but the truth is NES had some killer shooters, and this was one that I went back to over and over again. 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. Game Boy-shmameboy! 607: How Can Perfect Dark Stay Perfect? One of the major debates among NES aficionados is the sheer amount of ports that appear on the console, and how many of them are inherently sub-par to their arcade counterparts. Nintendo Entertainment System, or also well-known throughout the world as the NES – the most popular game system of 80-90s, which became the best-selling of all time gaming console – 60 million units have been sold for the entire period of the life of the device. Half RPG, half Ghosts & Goblins-inspired gameplay Gargoyle's Quest is another hard to beat, yet totally memorable experience. Main character Ryu Hayabusa wielded a katana with deadly precision, and he had a grouping of special weapons to use as well. After all, it is 2009, and there's been a lot of time for Tetris and Dr. Mario. 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. 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. Crap… I should really get this awesome gem of a game back to him. Playing this game constantly every time we manage to rent it from an NES store in our small town, Guerrilla War which can also be played in multiplayer ends up being a super fun action game that will make your time pass by. 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. You have to go back and read that title again, a couple of times, and imagine it being spoken by a scratchy, synthesized 8-bit voice clip. 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. Something about Adventures of Link scared me–maybe the dark backgrounds in the forest stages, or the increased detail in the enemy designs. I had no qualms with wasting the POW block if I didn't get my way. We had two conditions: they had to be released in the U.S. and they had to be fun. save hide report. With a friend you can tag-team your opponents. Kickle Cubicle's appeal seemed to be centered in its balanced approach. Go find a movie of it if you don't believe me – it's amazing. The music is as memorable as anything from Nintendo. This fantastic racing game was the first game I owned for my NES and it kept me hooked for weeks. The original Mega Man is perhaps best-known, however, for its staggering difficulty level. This is another one that really paved the way for others too. No longer bound by primitive side-scrolling constraints, the levels of SMB2 can be freely explored, with secret areas, warps and more to discover. 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. There is a ton of parallax scrolling, and inventive backgrounds. Though Nintendo didn't develop Faxanadu in-house, it's easy to see why the company decided to grab publishing rights for it in America – it was a unique side-scrolling action/platformer with RPG elements reminiscent of the company's own Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. 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. Zelda II's entire system suggested it was trying to be more of an RPG, and in many ways, it was a huge success. 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. Before Baseball Stars was released in the summer of 1989, the NES wasn't looked at for its ability to simulate real sports. I'd always have the 30 man code active in the beginning, but eventually stopped using it as I got better over the years. 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. 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. I said it then and I'll say it now. "Daggers and wingboots, mantras and monsters await you." I was lucky enough to rent Mega Man 4 over and over again before buying it later on. 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. (previous page) () Using awesome spy tools – hood mounted machine guns, oil slicks, smoke screens – you could take on each enemy in style. After releasing several games for the Atari 2600 and other computer-based consoles, famed Pitfall! 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. And some were fortunate enough to have friends who knew answers. 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. 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. Set in an ancient Greece-inspired future (mind blown yet? It was the gameplay that was at the heart of Castlevania's epic rise from unknown brand to Konami flagship. Or maybe it was just that I died so much. "Blades of Steel!" Another of Rare's excellent pre-second-party efforts on the NES, Snake Rattle 'n' Roll was an isometric action/adventure with a curious goal, and more curious controls. Honestly, that still amazes me, it was so much better than all of those it was nuts. - Matt Casamassina, IGN Nintendo Editor-in-Chief. 30 comments. Then you've got "Ninja," which summoned up the best emotions from Ninja Gaiden, the Ninja Turtles and Zen: Intergalactic Ninja. As the Vic Viper fight against the Bacterions and Moai heads in 7 stages of shoot 'em action. Out of all of the games on the list, Journey to Silius might have one of the most interesting histories. 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. One year later it was ported to NES and Commodore 64. 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. 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. 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. And that's saying nothing of its amazing action-platforming gameplay, which was oft-replicated and never exceeded. 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. It was even more awesome when you drive far enough to reach the boathouse and change into the speedboat. 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. 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. And who could forget Mr. X's maniacal laughter each time he defeated Thomas, keeping his kidnapped girlfriend for his own. but this Sunsoft sidescroller, which originally was supposed to be a licensed Terminator game, holds up well enough to make this list with absolutely no nostalgia from yours truly. It is possibly the most awesome car ever made aside from the "Metal Attacker" in Blaster Master. 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. Dumb, I know. Grant, Sypha and Alucard all made their first appearances in Dracula's Curse, but you might not ever necessarily meet them all. Gradius is all about pimping your ride. 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. Feeding the Blob flavored jellybeans from apple to vanilla caused the Blob to transform into everything from a car jack to an umbrella. 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. If you have 120 lives, killing yourself was fun. My best memories of Ring King are the epic fights I had on the higher difficulty levels. 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. Brutal MooD on Steam: Brutal MooD™ — is a fast-paced top-down bloody shooter that features classic elements of games from nineties. 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. 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. Next time you think all movie licensed games are garbage, dust off this old classic and surprise yourself all over again. 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). 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. Cruising the skies unhampered by the copious random battles of surface travel is truly exhilarating. 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. Pages in category "Top-down video games" The following 200 pages are in this category, out of approximately 236 total. It was essentially a late generation Mega Man-esque science-fiction platform/actioner at its best. Top-down action video game Alone in the Dark 3: 1995: DOS, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows: Infogrames Interplay: America: 2001: Microsoft Windows: Data Becker: A real-time Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux game. The permutations through Mega Man were many, giving the game great replay value. You'll soon realize how much better off you are without a rookie to keep track of. Yes, please! Sure, Castlevania is only six stages long, but you'll require a lot of luck and skill getting through even half of it. 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. 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. One of the few games I remembered beating without the Game Genie (but done on an NES Advantage for sake of the turbo function). 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. But back on the NES, there was no besting LucasArts' Maniac Mansion for deep, involved and genuinely funny pointing and clicking action. By the time Mega Man 6 hit the NES, the console was virtually dead. Plus, being able to build an "ultimate weapon" out of blades I already had was a great touch. 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. - Sam Claiborn, IGN Game Help Associate Editor. Gorillas, lizards, frogs and other feral friends can be temporarily tamed when Nemo feeds them candy (do not try this at home), at which points he saddles them up Yoshi-style, allowing him to reach new areas. Legendary Wings may have the distinct honor of being the weirdest result of Capcom's efforts to diversify shooters in the 1980s. This list may not reflect recent changes (). The game that pretty much kicked off and popularised the whole genre. The game's biggest strength has to be its compulsive multiplayer co-op features, which were loads of fun to play in a group and were pretty much unrivalled at the time. 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. 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. 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). We encourage you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY. 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. Gradius was hard but fully powering up the Vic Viper made things a lot easier. The Big N's amazing 1980s home console reinvigorated the videogame market with classic, genre-defining games including Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. 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. What a glorious game, from the overall design down to the visuals and music. A pretty solid movie, really. But the Balloon Adaptor and Wire Adaptor didn't elude me for long, as useless as they were. And woe is the gamer who forgot to hold down the Reset button when turning off his NES. 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. 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. 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. Your objective is to take them all down for the joy of the audience. Each can be one of six diverse character classes, which dictates their role on the frontlines. When I got the box in my hand, however, it was Castlevania III. As a bonus, your stunned partner can double as a bludgeoning tool. At some point in the latter half of the 1980s, Konami's instantly-recognizable silver-framed package art became a surefire visual indicator of a top-notch NES experience. It's not only the hardest in the franchise, but one of the hardest NES games period. Capcom considered the NES obsolete at this point and refused to publish the game in the United States. Another epically popular franchise to this day, Nintendo's Metroid came to the United States in 1987 and immediately floored gamers not only with its slick presentation, interesting protagonist and open world, but from the fact that it was non-linear in nature. 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. Fighting enemy parties that never consisted of more than one enemy, the original was about narrow-minded preparedness. I lived in Maine when Mega Man 5 came out, which was an SNES-dominated era in my life. Star Soldier. Taito's iconic dragon duo's first outing is also their best. The main game is an arcade-like collect-athon with a puzzle-solving aspect. Our own Mark Bozon has been working diligently to bring this title back to life, perhaps by way of the Virtual Console. 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. 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. 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. 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. One of the last handfuls of great games to be released for the NES in America, Gargoyle's Quest II had the misfortune of showing up around a year after the 16-bit SNES had gone on sale. 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. Over a decade before the name Tony Hawk first began to become synonymous with skateboarding videogames, Electronic Arts was innovating on the NES with the impressively diverse Skate or Die. 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. - Craig Harris, IGN Nintendo Executive Editor. The level of detail in the side-scrolling sections goes beyond most any other game of the 8-bit generation. 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. The others you list there are okay if you're a real shooter nut who likes the challenge. 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. 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. It would be great to see Nintendo revive the Faxanadu concept someday. Mega Man's unique approach is what initially made it so interesting to gamers. 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. Each level requires you to either kill all the enemies, or get all of your characters to the exit, as the game progresses you get access to a variety of characters each with differing strengths and weaknesses. Who ever thought I could be addicted to such a simple, repetitive game? Jackal's premise is that the resolution to all conflict lies in explosions – lots and lots of explosions. 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. It sold a million copies in Japan for a good reason. It's like Marble Madness turned into a platformer…and it worked! Thankfully, Zombie Nation arrived in the latter days of the NES to smash the zombie barrier.