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Top 10 Underrated NES Classics

 

As with any console there are plenty of games that slipped through the cracks on the NES.  Considering the state of the industry at the time and the lack of publications extensively covering the system at first it should come as no surprise that some truly great games have gone unappreciated.  There were so many games to choose from I could make 3 or 4 of these lists (there’s an idea).  These are in no particular order and just some of the games I feel deserve more love.

 

 

Bucky O'Hare (U) [!] 201208281726140 1. Bucky O’ Hare

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=5494

Though the Bucky O’Hare cartoon was short lived gamers reaped the benefit as it survived long enough to produce a cool arcade game and this excellent, excellent platformer. To a degree you can view this as Konami’s take on Mega Man as you have free reign to rescue the members of your crew in whatever order you choose. The quest isn’t done once they’ve assembled as the game still has plenty of fun yet challenging levels to test your skills against. Konami once again work their magic with the NES hardware to produce one of its best looking games with an awesome soundtrack to boot. Unfortunately the game was released at the tail end of 1992 when the 16-bit war really heated up and so was overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake as everyone else and seek out one of the NES’s finest.

 

little-samson-201301020642256 2. Little Samson

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=7002

There were a slew of really great NES titles released in 1992 that flew under the radar and Little Samson might be the best one. This might be Taito’s finest game for the NES as it combines the best elements of many classics such as the character switching from TMNT and the tight platforming of Mario to create one phenomenal adventure. All four heroes will see their share of uses throughout the course of this lengthy quest and their mechanics will ensure that you can tackle the many levels in numerous ways. It also doesn’t hurt that this is probably one of the top 10 best looking games for the system. It sucks that it’s a bit rare so if you see it at a decent price snatch it up fast.

 

image062 3. Monster in my Pocket

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No not Pokemon. The confusion is warranted as I’m sure Pokemon would have been called Pocket Monsters if this did not exist. As a series of popular figurines and a card game Monster in my Pocket was ripe territory for a video game with Konami doing the honors. The concept of little characters in a big world has been done to death at this point but MIMP still manages to be entertaining through its nuanced platforming challenges and veritable rogue’s gallery of creatures. To some extent this is what Castlevania would be if Simon Belmont didn’t control like a senior citizen. Wow that came out worse than I thought. Regardless MIMP was not a popular game and can be found dirt cheap, which is a bargain in my book considering its quality.

 

 

image056 4. Jackie Chan’s Action Kung-Fu

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=5455

Yes that is Jackie Chan throwing a hadoken at a frog.  I foolishly avoided Jackie Chan’s Action Kung-Fu based purely on its goofy commercial and super deformed style. That turned out to be my loss as it is one of the better action games for the platform, easily keeping company with Ninja Gaiden and Shatterhand. The large variety of martial arts moves at your disposal keep the game fresh as you punch and kick your way up the mountain to save your sister. The only real criticism I can lobby at the game is its short length but it doesn’t matter as you’ll more than likely play through it again and again since it’s so much fun. The stylized look not only gives the game a distinct look but also allows for larger sprites and better animation. For my money this was Hudson Soft’s best NES game.

 

image140 5. Vice Project Doom

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=3292

Talk about obscure, there are still plenty of gamers who have never heard of Vice Project Doom. Released to little fanfare Vice Project Doom is basically what Ninja Gaiden would be if it traded ninjas and mysticism for good old fashioned spy espionage. Even that description is selling it short. The game covers quite a range of genres such as the driving of Spy Hunter, platforming and the first person action of Operation Wolf all while the story unfolds with cut scenes in between levels. But its primary focus is still its side scrolling action at which it excels. Why the game is still so underrated is a mystery but don’t pass it up as it is excellent.

 

image067 6. Panic Restaurant

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=9737

A chef fighting waves of angry food come to life might sound ridiculous but it’s no more absurd than an overweight plumber stomping on goombas and eating mushrooms. Panic Restaurant takes its silly premise and runs with it, using its combination of responsive and balanced weaponry to create an enjoyable romp that’s over a little too soon. Chef Cookie will pick up various dining instruments to use as weapons such as a fork, spoon, and even dinner plates. The difficulty is perfectly balanced with a suitable curve that ensures that you won’t simply breeze through it. Sadly this is one of the rarest NES games and usually goes for hundreds of dollars.   But! If you somehow find a sucker selling it cheap go for it!

 

 

image013 7. Kickle Cubicle

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=7845

I love a good puzzle game every now and then and Kickle Cubicle is excellent. Residing in the same category as the Adventures of Lolo Kickle Cubicle tasks you with collecting all of the red dream bags in a single screen puzzle room. Unlike that game however there is a timer to add that extra bit of tension. Rather than pushing blocks and eggs like Lolo instead you’ll create and manipulate ice for numerous effects. The level design is downright genius at times and with a little bit of creativity there is often more than one way to solve a particular puzzle. There are even boss battles for that extra touch to make an already good game great.

 

image165 8. Magic of Scheherezade

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=1421

My favorite RPG for the NES and in my opinion one of the system’s best the Magic of Scheherezade combines the action of Zelda with a turn based battle system in a strange combination that works. As the unnamed hero you are on a quest to defeat the evil wizard Sabaron and find your one true love. The adventure will remind you of Chrono Trigger as there is time travel involved and combination spells during random battles however Scheherezade came first. The Arabic setting is still unique within the genre and the bevy of features and mechanics all add up to one of the most memorable 8-bit adventures I embarked on.

 

gargoyles-quest-2-201304141345350 9. Gargoyle’s Quest 2

http://www.retrogameage.com/?p=7827

We all love to hate the red bastard Arremer in the Ghouls n Ghosts series yet his solo adventures are so god damn good. Starting with his original Gameboy adventure Firebrand takes center stage as he fights to save the Demon World from disaster. His NES outing is criminally overlooked do once again to its release in 1992. As a combination action game with RPG trimmings the game excels in both fields has plenty of optional content to extend what is already a decently lengthy adventure. Structurally it bears some similarities with Metroid as more areas of the demon world are accessible once you’ve gained certain abilities. Capcom rarely disappointed in the 8-bit era and Gargoyle’s Quest 2 is another feather in their cap.

 

Shadowgate 201403301946344 10. Shadowgate

Kemco ported a number of point and click adventures to the NES and while I’m particularly fond of Déjà Vu I recognize Shadowgate as the better game. The game is dripping with atmosphere, from its ethereal and foreboding soundtrack to its tale of a lone hero sent to save the world from an evil warlock. The puzzles are downright clever at times but what really made the game stand out were its at times graphics death scenes. This was released when Nintendo of America were at their worst in terms of censorship so the fact that so much of Shadowgate’s content remained intact is a miracle. Shadowgate’s success would also lead to Déjà vu and the Uninvited, with all three being surprisingly playable despite the limited interface.

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Phantasy Star week

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It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these.  Sega’s Phantasy Star is one of the best series of RPGs that has somehow flown under the radar.  A large part of that is definitely due to Sega’s uphill battle within the console market but even on the Genesis most gamers still did not care.  There’s no doubt in my mind that the series would be more popular if they were on the NES and SNES but I also don’t think they would be anywhere near the same awesome games that they are because of it.  Many only know about PS due to its online installments and are completely oblivious to the four games that started it all.  Despite their low profile Phantasy Star has always been forward thinking and ahead of the curve and for Sega fans they were a perfect substitute for Final Fantasy.  Join me as I explore the highs and low point of the first four main entries and detail why you should rush out and buy these games now if you are so inclined.

 

Phantasy Star

 

Phantasy Star 2

 

Phantasy Star III – Generations of Doom

 

Phantasy Star IV – End of the Millenium

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Top Ten Genesis Shooters

Shooters were a dime a dozen during the 8 & 16-bit era in the US, to the point we were drowning in them.  From R-Type to Gradius there were many interesting takes on the genre across many platforms and the arcade with most placing a focus on fast action and quick reflexes.  As such the Genesis was the perfect home for these games due to its fast processor and saw many a classic release in the genre’s heyday.  There are probably close to 50 shooters altogether in the system’s library and that’s not including the Sega CD.  These are the greatest in my humble opinion.

 

Battle Mania 2 - TS Vintage (JUE) [h1]065 1. Battle Mania Daiginjō

Trouble Shooter was an odd localization choice from Vik Tokai but also one that turned out to be one of their best titles. Controlling two characters at once and managing their positioning and direction of fire offered an interesting take on the standard “options” of the genre. It only came up short in length and challenge, two areas that Battle Mania has cleared up beautifully, creating the classic it could have been. Battle Mania offers more of everything, bigger and more destructive weapons, significantly improved graphics, and more of the same humor and charm that made the first game so endearing. The level design is some of the best among shooters for the platform and with that comes a bump in difficulty. Despite the increase in difficulty the game never feels cheap and is always fair, enticing you to keep going. With a longer quest you get your money’s worth, especially since this is one of the most expensive Genesis imports due to a low print run.

 

Lightning_Force_(U)_[c][!]067 2. Lightening Force (Review)

Lightening Force set the bar high and is quite possibly the greatest shooter for the platform, no small feat considering the heavy competition.  But this is no ordinary game.  Lightening Force refines the series mechanics and pushes the system harder than most and breaks it but the game never suffers too heavily in the process.  All this and the game was released in 1992! There wasn’t much that needed to change in terms of mechanics and so Technosoft merely polished what was already a solid set of mechanics. The weapons have been upgraded and the CRAW is fun to play around with but the game will still kick your ass repeatedly but you won’t care because you’re having so much fun. With damn near Neo Geo quality graphics, an excellent soundtrack, and pitch perfect gameplay it is the definitive Genesis shooter and one that every fan of the genre should track down.

 

admin-ajax.php 3. Gaiares (Review)

Gaiares is probably remembered more for its silly advertising campaign than for its stellar gameplay. Don’t let the guy with the mullet fool you though, this is one of the absolute best shooters ever released for the console.  That’s hefty praise but the game itself lives up to the hype and then some. It has everything that would place it in classic status, excellent graphics, innovative gameplay, and tight controls but the challenge is higher than the average gamer is used to.  The option to steal weapons from enemies was innovative for its time and the game offers plenty of opportunities to use this mechanic with a wide assortment of armaments to test out. If you’re the type that can stomach a game that puts up a fight Gaiares is everything you can possibly want.  But if you’re a weak sauce gamer who needs his hand held look elsewhere.

 

Eliminate_Down_(J)120 4. Eliminate Down

Eliminate Down is the only title developed by Aprinet and had they stuck around I have no doubt that they would have been spoken of in the same tone as Cave and Compile when it comes to shooters. The game’s weapon system provides you with all three at the start and allows you to level them up at the same time. It’s a wise choice since each stage will provide ample opportunity to put them through their paces. The level design is the strongest aspect of the game as it scrolls in every direction and tosses you from one insane scenario to the next. Next would be its graphics. While bearing some resemblance to Wings of Wor and R-Type visually ED is a step above those two with some of the best art on the system. Sadly to sample this greatness will cost you but I dare say it’s worth it if you are a fan of the genre.

 

Advanced Busterhawk Gleylancer (Japan) [En by MIJET v20061023]024 5. Gleylancer (Review)

On the surface Gleylancer closely resembles many other Genesis shooters but after just a few minutes it distinguishes itself with its unique and customizable gameplay. The many formations you have to govern the behavior of your Gunners and the control you can exercise when it comes to positioning places it above Gradius. And it has a plot! While it isn’t the greatest it is told through anime style cutscenes that serve as nice bonuses for completing the levels. Playing around with the different formations is incredibly fun and provides some impetus for replaying the game more than once. While it lacks the hardware defying graphics of its peers it beats the pants off most of them in gameplay.

 

Thunder_Force_3_(JU)_[!]043 6. Thunder Force 3 (Review)

What a difference a year makes. As much as I wanted to like Thunder Force 2 it was heavily flawed. Thunder Force 3 tosses out the aggravating vertical levels and puts a laser focus on its stronger side scrolling stages and does it with aplomb. It does just enough to feel different from R-Type and Gradius while still incorporating the best elements from those games to create one cohesive whole. The ten levels cover nearly all the video game staples but you’ll rarely see them look this good. There’s a great deal of variety in each of the game’s worlds since the game is so long that is appreciated and will keep you from becoming bored in combination with the awesome graphics. In stark contrast to many of the games on this list I found it a bit easy as the weapons are a bit overpowered but that isn’t a complaint on my part as I’ll gladly take overwhelming force over hitting like a wet noodle any day. Thunder Force 3 would become the standard other Genesis shooters would be measured against until its sublime sequel.

 

m-u-s-h-a-u-001 7. M.U.S.H.A (Review)

The Aleste series of shooters has a long lineage spanning multiple consoles and computer formats but this Genesis installment is possibly one of its strongest. Developed by the masters at Compile you already have an idea of what to expect in terms of gameplay but even in spite of that M.U.S.H.A will surprise you with its highly detailed world and extensive back story. The most unique aspect of the game is its world; although set in the distant future the aesthetic is decidedly retro.  You’ll see many massive warships designed after ancient Japanese temples and the like as you fly over the many cities of the world. While its only seven levels long M.U.S.H.A is one of the most intense shooters ever released for the Genesis; so intense in fact that the system is forced to tap out resulting in slowdown and occasional flicker.

 

steel-empire-the-ue-083 8. Steel Empire (Review)

God I love Steel Empire. If there’s one criticism you can lobby at the shooter genre it’s that most recycle the same tired space theme. Steel Empire is set in an alternate version of the 1930s where steam powered dirigibles are commonplace. Right then and there it deserves your attention. You have a choice between a high powered zeppelin or fast but weak airplane as you plow through its seven levels of steam punk influenced adventure. The setting alone warrants attention but the engaging gameplay and beyond beautiful graphics are what will keep you coming back for more. It’s a bit tough in in its later stages but never to the point you will feel its cheating. Plus you’ll be having so much fun gawking at the visual design that it won’t matter.

 

wings_of_wor_u__142 9. Wings of Wor (Review)

Take the side scrolling levels in Legendary Wings and give it a lethal shot of steroids and you might have an inkling of just how amazing Wings of Wor is. Your angelic avatar is packed with more firepower than 2-3 lesser shooters combined and yet the game still manages to kick your ass. The demons you’ll face are an odd fusion of man and machine that look both bizarre and awesome at the same time. The graphics are incredible, with huge screen filling bosses you’ll have to see to believe, all accompanied by a nice orchestral score. This could very easily have passed for an arcade game but is a lucky Sega Genesis exclusive that has flown under the radar for some god forsaken reason. If you’re a shooter fan do not pass this up.

 

ROBO-ALESTE083 10. Robo Aleste (Review)

Robo Aleste is probably the best overall shooter for the Sega CD and one of its best games to boot. As a follow-up to M.U.S.H.A it doesn’t take place in the same world but follows the same general theme of ancient Japan meets futuristic technology. Unlike that game RA has a longer quest and more involved story. Speaking of which, this is one of the longer shooters on the market, topping out at 10-12 levels long.  Each stage is of varying length with some lasting a scant few minutes and come across as more of an interlude.  Others drag on a bit too long but you certainly won’t feel cheated as there is a lot of content to mine. Either way you more than get your money’s worth as the gameplay is so damn refined that you’ll relish the game’s length just to play around with its mechanics. While there isn’t much here that required the CD add-on it’s a welcome addition to its library.

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Top 10 Underrated SNES Classics

Every successful platform will have tons of awesome titles to choose from with many going on to enjoy massive success.  However not every game gets to enjoy its time in the limelight.  These are the unsung heroes, the games that are just as good if not better than the classics everyone defaults to and help fill out a console library.  And before anyone asks these are not in any specific order, its just the way I wrote them.

 

1. Skyblazer (Review)

Years before Sony would become a major force in the console market they were a third party publisher to Nintendo and Sega.  And they were terrible.  Holy shit, you think Akklaim’s licensed titles were bad, Sony took it to another level with crap like the Last Action Hero, Cliffhanger, and 3 Ninjas Kick Back.  However!  Occasionally they published a gem, of which Skyblazer counts.  As the title character you possess a wide array of magic spells that will help you as chase the evil god Ashura and rescue the princess Ariana.  Skyblazer has the kind of nuanced platforming that made the 16-bit era so great on top of excellent graphics and music.  Unfortunately it received little marketing and was summarily forgotten.  However those that have played it love it, of which I count myself a member.

 

2. Cybernator (Review)

The Assault Suit series has a long history in Japan but its American presence is non-existent.  In 1992 Konami took a chance and localized Cybernator to the US and while it didn’t set the sales charts on fire the few who played it were extremely lucky.  The game perfectly encapsulates what it would be like to pilot a hulking mech as you guide your suit through the game’s many varied missions.  The level design is excellent with your mission objectives changing rapidly throughout.  While the game is a bit hard (you have to adapt to its pace or else) it is more than worth sticking with for the amazing art direction and sadly truncated plot.

 

3. Sparkster

Rocket Knight Adventures was great and so Konami produced two sequels for the SNES and Genesis.  Both are different games however the SNES title is the one that sticks closest to the tenets laid down by the original.  There’s only been one new addition to Sparkster’s arsenal, a short range rolling attack but that’s all that was needed.  The true star of the game is the level design and this is Konami at the best.  Sparkster’s rocket pack is just as fun to use this time around and the new set of levels are quite spacious to allow you to jet around.  There are just as many multi jointed bosses to face and the graphics are spectacular as you would expect.  Honestly I’m clueless as to why this isn’t more popular but I’m here to sing its praises.

 

4. Wild Guns (Review)

Wild Guns harkens back to an earlier time in arcade history when third person action games such as Nam 1975 and Cabal were somewhat common.  With its Wild West meets hard sci fi theme had heavy shooting action if the game were made today it would be a cover based action game like Gears of War.  You get no such amenities here, forcing you to use your lasso to stun enemies and stay active.   There wasn’t anything else like Wild Guns when it was released and hasn’t been since making its unique mechanics that much more special.  With arcade quality graphics and a decently long adventure Wild Guns was a reminder that Natsume used to be a force to be reckoned with in terms of action games.

 

5. Hook (Review)

Next to Skyblazer Hook is the then Sony Imagesoft’s second best published game.  No surprise considering both are from the same developer, UkiyoteiIt’s simply amazing how deftly they were able to take the flawed movie and turn it into video game gold.  The game makes ample use of Peter’s limited ability to fly through its wide open levels full of secrets and plenty of nuanced platforming action.  Similar in feel to Castlevania 4 it also has the graphics and soundtrack to match that SNES classic.  Since this is the platform it was originally created for the SNES edition is the overall best, easily outpacing its Sega ports in all areas but sound; the Sega CD soundtrack is amazing.

 

6. Super Turrican 2

As the last official Turrican game to see release Super Turrican 2 deviates from the rest of the series heavily.  Rather than large open levels full of exploration it is more of a straightforward action game. While slightly disappointing to longtime fans of the series it is truly exceptional at what it does.  Factor 5 were known for pushing whatever hardware they worked on pretty heavily and this is no exception as you are taken from one action movie set piece to the next.  It maintains this pace right up until its closing moments and never stops being amazing, with some of the best graphics the SNES had ever seen.  It’s hard to find now but oh so worth it.

 

7. Lufia 2

Lufia 2 was a last minute localization by Natsume at a time when new SNES games were rare and US gamers reaped the rewards of their efforts.  Lufia 2 fully fleshes out the prologue of the original game and reveals the history behind the conflict between mankind and the Sinistrals.  While the story and how it plays out is nice what truly makes the game special is its gameplay.  The game strikes the perfect balance between turn based combat and puzzle solving by making enemies visible inside its numerous dungeons and castles.  This way you can focus on the at times head scratching puzzles and even use them in your solutions.  There were many legendary RPGS brought to America in those years and Lufia 2 is easily one of the greatest.

 

8. Run Saber (Review)

Strider was never ported to the SNES oddly enough however Nintendo fans received the next thing in Run Saber.  As a genetically enhanced soldier you’ll notice the similarities to Strider run a little too deep but that works in the game’s favor.  Your nimble protagonist has access to a wide range of offensive attacks in an adventure that is over far too soon.  But you’ll enjoy every moment as you fight a continual stream of creative bosses all alongside very pretty backdrops.  If the game were a level or two longer it would have been a classic.

 

9. Indiana Jones Greatest Adventures (Review)

Lucas Arts and JVC had already digitized the three Star Wars films on the SNES by 1994 and so turned their attention toward giving Indiana Jones the same treatment.  Rather than three separate games however you get all of them in one mega package, a huge bonus proposition.  Each film is a full length adventure that fully covers their respective stories through gorgeous cutscenes and through gameplay.  Though developed by Factor 5 rather than Sculptured Software there are definite similarities in terms of feel.  Indy controls like Han Solo except armed with a whip instead of a blaster.  Nearly all of the film’s greatest moments have been captured in one form or another, be it boss battles or Mode 7 vehicle stages.  A bit difficult but still an awesome package.

 

10. Space Megaforce 

Who would have thought one of the SNES’s earliest shooters would rank as one of its best?  Space Megaforce is part of the long running Aleste series of shooters and is one of its greatest.  The weapons system is one of the deepest in the genre, with 8 weapons that can be leveled up a whopping six times, with each different from the last!  Taking it a step further each weapon has an alternate firing mode that you can use as the situation dictates creating even more possibilities.  With 10 varied levels plus 2 bonus stages you’ll have plenty of time to experiment to see which are your favorites as the game is pretty tough too.  With excellent graphics and an involving quest shooter fans would do well to track this down.

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Top 10 Hardest NES Games

Everyone loves a good challenge every now and then but some games take it a little too far.  Be it brutal level design, busted controls, or just a flat out broken game, these are some of the worst offenders for everyone’s favorite 8-bit buddy.  A hard game doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad as some of these titles are some of the most beloved NES classics but that still doesn’t mean they weren’t afraid to kick our asses with a smile on their face.

 

 

  battletoads-u-201207081020383 1. Battletoads (Review)

I’m sure many wrote off Battletoads as a TMNT rip off.  But for those open minded enough to give it a shot they discovered a game that is graphically superior to 90% of the system’s library and more varied than three or four of its platformers combined.  Or they would if they could get past the third level.  The Turbo Tunnel is one of the most legendary choking points in any game in history and has broken thousands on their quest to see everything the game has to offer.  And it’s not even the most difficult level in the game!  And don’t even bother with 2-player coop.  Not only can you accidentally beat each other to death but there are glitches at numerous points in the game that make it impossible for 2 players to progress.

It’s no exaggeration when I say I dedicated most of summer 1994 to this bastard and Blaster Master, memorizing every level bit by bit until I finally achieved victory in time for high school.  I’d like to say I felt a strong sense of accomplishment but it was more shame at devoting so much time to a game that was good but severely unbalanced.

 

 

  2. Silver Surfer

You’ll be seeing that screen a lot trust me.  This one is actually pretty hilarious.  The Silver Surfer is one of the most overpowered comic book characters in any universe yet here in his starring role he’s been reduced to a little bitch.  This is a guy who can chill out in the Sun if he so chooses yet even grazing a simple wall will send him crashing.  Be prepared to see the face palming death screen every few seconds.  This could have been a decent game if they had made any effort to create some semblance of gameplay balance, but alas it is a failed experiment.

 

 

3. Golgo13: Top Secret Episode

As one of the longest running manga in history Golgo 13 just oozes cool.  The manga is notable for its sex and violence, two elements that surprisingly made it over to his NES debut intact.  But the positives in the game end there.  The first cardinal sin the game makes is reversing the controls; A shoots, B jumps.  No, just no.  You don’t fucking mess with an established convention.  The second is the vague directions given as to where to go.  Eventually you’ll stumble into the next story event but that’s after suffering countless random encounters.  But the worst offender are the first person mazes.  Not since Phantasy Star have I encountered mazes this devious.  I’m proud of my gaming skill but I had to tap out around Act 8 and still have yet to see the end of the game to this day.

 

4. Ninja Gaiden (Review)

Ah yes, Ninja Gaiden.  If you were to watch me play Ninja Gaiden now it would seem like poetry in motion.  What you’re not seeing are the well over a hundred hours I put in learning every enemy location and what items are in every candle.  This is one tough bastard, right up there with the Castlevania games.  But it’s so good!  If Ninja Gaiden weren’t such a good game no one would have put up with the blatant bullshit of the final level, in which everything but the kitchen sink comes out to take a piece of your hide.  If you can somehow make it past that hallway (you know the one) you then have to deal with being thrown back to 6-1 if any of the final bosses kill you.  At this point any sane individual would give the game the bird but the ending is worth every hour of frustration put into getting there.  So good in fact that I immediately played through it twice just to see it again.  That kids, was the world before youtube.

 

  5. Double Dragon III: the Sacred Stones (Review)

Make no mistake, Double Dragon III in all of its incarnations, be it the money grabbing arcade unit or its equally bad Genesis port, is a terrible game.  And this NES exclusive might be even worse!  Coming hot off the heels of the excellent Double Dragon II this was a tremendous let down.  You have one life and while the extra characters fulfill that purpose it does little to alleviate the insane difficulty.  If you thought the out of place platforming segments in the seminal second installment were bad they return with a vengeance in the game’s final level and are just as bad.  Add to that busted controls and no continues or passwords and you have a game that deserves to rot on the shelf.  For Christ sake they even misspelled the character’s names wrong in the intro, that shows how little they even cared.

 

6. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (Review)

The Castlevania games are notoriously difficult and its third installment takes it to another level.  Castlevania moves at its own pace and you either adapt to it or move on.  With multiple paths through the game chances are you could probably skip that one level that has been kicking your ass for the last hour.  But the alternative is probably even worse.  Partnering with Alucard meant you could skip some of the more egregiously difficult areas but it also meant you were stuck using Trevor to deal with bosses as Alucard was weak.  Only the best gamers could finish this beast but I’m sure they enjoyed every moment of it.

 

7. Ghosts n Goblins (Review)

This one hurts personally.  Ghosts n Goblins is an excellent game.  Ghosts N Goblins for the NES is not.  Programmed by the hack masters at Micronics the game runs at such a terrible frame rate that it seems as if the levels were glued together using duct tape.  There are numerous glitches with enemies disappearing and reappearing left and right; the enemy placement was already suspect as is now you have to worry about them glitching out in unexpected ways.  But of course the red arremers are unaffected.  It makes an already difficult game even more ridiculous and if you somehow manage to reach the final level it becomes even more ridiculous, to the point of insanity.  I beat the game legitimately without cheating once and I will never, ever attempt such a feat again.