#10: Shatterhand (NES)
Yet another side-scrolling platformer NES game with a throwaway plot, but it's still fun to play. You're a guy who uses his fists to punch the enemies, hence the title. You can also get pickups that provide you with a little floating robot buddy to help you out with a weapon like a flamethrower or grenades or a laser yo-yo (at least it looked like a laser yo-yo to me...). Nothing really stands out about this game, but the action is solid, the graphics are nice, and the music is classic.
#9: Xexyz (NES)
This was kind of a weird game, but it was fun. Half the levels are standard platforming side-scrolling shooter goodness, and the other half are spaceship shoot-em-up levels a la Darius Twin or Gradius or R-Type. In the side-scrolling levels you must visit different houses to find keys in order to advance to the next area. Wandering around these levels looking for keys, talking to random people, rescuing fairies who are sitting around in hot tubs (yup), and buying weapons almost (just almost) recall a modern sandbox game like GTA. There's nothing particularly outstanding about this game, but it is pretty to look at and is quite fun to play.
This Atlus game is kind of like a feline version of Bionic Commando. Except that you can jump. Anyway, you're this cool cat who has to rescue your cat girlfriend. Your main weapon is a gun that shoots out a retractable fist. This fist can grab onto ledges and poles and other things, then you can spin around and launch yourself into a pile of enemies. Fun action, fun levels, and goofy enemies make this game worth a few hours of your life. Yet another good game that flew under everyone's radar.
A fairly standard side-scrolling game with a run-of-the-mill story, except for one thing. The bosses. It is completely worth your while to experience this game just so you can go up against a giant bouncing tempura shrimp boss (and his buddy the giant bouncing onion ring), the punk rocker, the giant cow, and, of course, the dancing zombies.
Goofy humor and an old-school anime look help to make this game interesting, but what was most innovative about this side-scroller platformer when it came out was that you passed between levels by choosing paths on a map. After finishing a level, you would look at the map and choose which level to go on to next, or you could go back the way you came. The standard enemies are a bit blah and there isn't a lot of weapon variety, but the level select map instantly made this game more complex than most any other NES action game. To progress with the plot you had to know which levels to visit to meet informants or obtain items, and if you didn't know where to go you had to do a lot of back-tracking and exploring. Definitely a game that might require a walkthrough or at least a pen and paper to keep track of what is found where.
Another Ninja Gaiden-esque game, this is a somewhat short and sweet action game that will be enjoyed by any fans of side-scroller action games. Your character is a buff dude named Nova whose weapons are boomerangs. Yeah, boomerangs. You're up against an evil robot army that seems to be lead by a giant disembodied head of Vladimir Lenin. Like a few other games on this list, you can choose which levels to complete from a menu in between levels. Believe me, this seemed really innovative back in the day, and went a long way to making each playthrough of a game feel a bit more unique. If you feel like using boomerangs to kill evil robots, this is your kind of game. Honestly, though, Power Blade is a good game for anyone who enjoys classic side-scrolling action games.
This game is pretty insane and totally normal all at once. You are a mech blasting your way through what may seem like a pretty typical side-scroller platformer/shoot-em-up. But by pressing up and the A button, you can reverse gravity and flip upside down and land up on the ceiling and blast baddies from up there. This is quite innovative and makes for some of the crazier action on the NES. Sure you can take on Ares in God of War, but try doing it on the ceiling.
Kabuki. Yeah, kabuki. That old-school Japanese form of opera where dudes dress up with white faces and giant wigs. Kabuki Quantum Fighter stars a...well, kabuki guy stuck inside a computer. And get this. Your main attack is to whip your giant red wig forward into the enemy. Wow. Actually this game is a very well-done side-scrolling platformer, with good action, good graphics, and fun special weapons. Yet another side-scrolling platformer that is definitely worth a look
Combine Spy Hunter, Ninja Gaiden, and Operation Wolf into one game, and you would have Vice: Project Doom. A well-put-together action game with a weird, twisty plot shown though nicely done cinema cut-scenes. Great graphics, great music, and great action (by 1991 standards) really keep you in this game. A couple of levels are overhead driving/shooting levels a la Spy Hunter, a couple levels are first-person shooting gallery levels, and the remainder are side-scrolling platforming action levels. Any fans of the original NES Ninja Gaiden or Castlevania games will have a lot of fun with this title.
One of the harder NES action games ever, but so nice to look at, and very fun to play once you get the hang of it. Spectacular graphics and character design keep you coming back to the punishing action of this Capcom title. You are some cyborg guy whose method of fighting is to shoot blasts of energy out of his feet and hands. The controls of this game are really quite complex and responsive and unlike any other NES action game, and remind a modern gamer of a complex action system like that of Devil May Cry. Good luck getting past the first enemy you face, though. No, Zangief, Chun Li, or E. Honda are not in this game.
Well, there you have it, ten old games that still stand up to the test of time. There are many other great "obscure" NES games, and any NES fan can no doubt come up with several more that I didn't mention. These are ten that I still enjoy playing, and I highly suggest you go out and check them out.
List by sfcalimari (08/18/2006)
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