Nintendo (NES)

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Where can I download video game emulators to play these games? What is NSF music? How can I cheat? ...
Q: Where can I download video game emulators to play these games?
I've got all the good ones in my emulators page.
Q: I'm having trouble with the video game emulators. I need help.
You can refer to my emulation help subsite, Video Game Emulation for Newbies. I have tutorials for (most) of the popular emulators.
Q: What is “NSF”? How do I play these NSF soundtracks you distribute here?
NSF music is the exact programming of the song ripped from the game. They're very small in size and the highest music quality possible. They require special software for playback. And if you'd like, you can convert them to WAV or MP3. You can learn more about them in my extracted music tutorial.
Q: How can I cheat?
GameGenie.com has a good collection of Game Genie cheats. You can also use any search engine of your choice to find more cheats. Search with keywords like “<name of game> cheats” to find 'em.
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Mini reviews by the FantasyAnime webmaster. Last revised 3-16-17.

A Boy and his Blob
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Although this game looks like a platformer, it's actually more like a puzzle. A blob like creature follows you around who can transform into various objects depending on the type of jelly bean that you feed it. You begin stages with a limited assortment of jelly beans, so be careful how you use them. The blob can turn into such things as a ladder, umbrella, blow torch, giant bubble (for underwater travel), trampoline, and more. The graphics are gorgeous; stages are beautifully detailed. The repetitive music might get on your nerves, especially if you spend a long time trying to figure out your way around obstacles. Speaking of which, some obstacles take some really clever thinking to overcome. You might resort to a walkthrough to prevent pulling out your hair. And with a walkthrough in hand, the game be beaten in around 20-25 minutes. Anyway, if you like adventure puzzles then I think you'd like Boy and his Blob. Here's a cute YouTube cartoon based on the game.

Adventure Island
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This is a fun series for the NES. It's a simple platformer set in the prehistoric era. Your little guy can throw hatchets and ride skateboards. To make things more challenging, you have to constantly be picking up food throughout stages or else you die. You travel through islands, clouds, caves, deserts, and arctic lands.

Adventure Island 2
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Part 2 is a massive improvement with better graphics and an assortment of dinosaur companions whom the jungle man can ride. Overall the game is fairly solid. I recommend it.

Adventure Island 3
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It's exactly like part 2 but with aliens. And slightly better graphics.

Adventure Island 4

Adventure Island 4 (Fan Translated)

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Part 4 was not officially released in the North America. However it was translated to English by fans for fans. Adventure Island 4 was a turning point for the game series. They took it to the next level by making it more like Metroid. Meaning you need to gain special items or abilities in order to overcome certain obstacles and proceed further into the game. This time you don't have that annoying “food timer”. Rather, when you collect 8 pieces of fruit you restore a heart in your health. This is an excellent game! I recommend it. Note that the version of the game for download here is the fan translated English version (not the Japanese version).

Adventures in the Magic Kingdom

Adventures in the Magic Kingdom

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This is the first and only console video game based on a theme park ever made! Welcome to the Magic Kingdom, where all your Disney dreams come true. Mickey needs your help collecting keys so he can open Cinderella castle and start the parade. The game consists of 5 stages that you can play in any order: Haunted Mansion, Pirate Cove, Race Track, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain. Each stage, of course, is based on a different attraction at the Magic Kingdom. Most of the stages are actually pretty hard! I couldn't beat the game without cheating. Nevertheless, this is overall a pretty cool game. And it can be nostalgic if you're a fan of the Magic Kingdom.

Balloon Fight
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Let's face it, Balloon fight is a carbon copy of Joust. However it actually improves upon Joust. There more levels, better layouts, and a unique flying mode. Your guy starts every stage with two balloons. Your objective is to fly around the stage to pop the balloons of your enemies. After they parachute to the ground, a second touch knocks them off the screen. The fun challenge is getting used to the physics of maneuvering with your balloon. Controlling your momentum is key. Balloon Fight's a fun game!

Batman
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Batman is such an awesome game! The graphics and animation are gorgeous. The art style makes use of dark shadows to give the illusion of better, more detailed graphics. The play control is smooth. The best part about this game is that you have a fun assortment of weapons. You always have these weapons (no need to pick them up). What you do pick up is ammo for your weapons, and the ammo can apply to any weapon. The only drawback to this game is that the difficulty is pretty high.

Batman (Easy Hack)

Batman (Easy Hack)

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Is Batman too hard for you? Here's the Easy Hack! It's a version of the game made to be much easier. Stages have been modified to be easier, bosses are easier, and power-ups give you more power.

Battletoads
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This game pushed the NES to its limit with graphics and animation! We've never seen a game as beautiful and awesome as this before. On that same token, they also presented us with difficulty we've never experienced before! While Battletoads is an absolutely amazing game, it's impossible to play without cheating. Nevertheless, Battletoads is a beloved favorite of many classic gamers.

Bionic Commando
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You don't jump around like in a typical platformer. In Bionic Commando you're a commando with a bionic arm. With this arm you can grapple onto any platform above you. By doing so you can reach higher floors or swing across pits. Your objective is to infiltrate enemy territories and defeat the minions of an enemy army. The game gives you some degree of freedom by allowing you choose which stage to go to next. Bionic Commando is such a great game! Back in the day my brothers played this game to death. It was too hard for me, but I really enjoyed watching my brothers play.

Blaster Master
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This is definitely one of the top 5 best games on the NES! You control a tank that can jump. You can exit the tank and walk around as a human. When you enter doors as a human the game shifts to overhead view stages. As the game progresses you can upgrade your tank with new weapons and abilities. The highlight of Blaster Master is the stage design. The game is just so well made and highly entertaining.

Bomberman
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The original Bomberman that started it all! Your objective is to blow up all the little monsters with your bombs. At first you start out with being limited to dropping one bomb at a time, and it explodes with a small blast radius. With power-ups you can drop more bombs and their explosions reach a farther distance. It's possible to fall victim to your own bomb blasts, so be careful to stay out of harm's way. Another tricky detail is that once you defeat all the little monsters, you need to look for the exit door (if you haven't already). There's a timer for each stage, too. Failure to blow up all enemies, or even accidentally hitting the exit door, releases a mass of enemies onto you.

Bomberman 2
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The sequel has far better graphics, animation, and music. The gameplay is more solid.

Bubble Bobble
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The famous Bubble Bobble for NES! Bubble Bobble for arcade was popular, but this NES port is what really exploded its popularity. It offered a unique and addictive style of gameplay. In order to defeat an enemy you need to blow out a bubble, trap it in the bubble, then hit it.

Bubble Bobble 2
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The sequel is a big improvement! The graphics are much better. There are new enemies; some are bigger than normal. There are special bubbles at your disposal such as the flood bubble that dashes water through the stage to defeat enemies in its path.

Castlevania
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This game doesn't need an introduction. The original Castlevania that started it all! Castlevania's appeal is the dark atmosphere, the cool weapons, and the catchy music.

Castlevania 2

Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest

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This is the controversial Castlevania that people either love, hate, or love to hate. Konami tried to think out of the box and try something different. I suppose I would word it as they tried to make Castlevania 2 more like an adventure rather than a strict platformer. You have to walk through towns and talk to everyone to solve mysteries and obtain critical items to proceed further into the game.

Castlevania 3

Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse

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With part 3 Konami went back to Castlevania's roots and made a stage based platformer like the original. This was released at the tail end of the NES's high popularity (the SNES came out a year later). As expected of a late game, the graphics here are top notch! The stages are gorgeous! The best feature of this game is the ability to choose from several playable characters. You can play as a thief who can crawl on walls, a powerful sorceress, or Alucard (the famous half human half vampire from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). These characters gave the game tons of replay value! Each one is interesting enough to entice you to try beating the game with them.

Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers

Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers

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This game was released during the height of the cartoon show's popularity. Enemies are drawn very well, as if they came from the show. It's full of cameo appearances of our favorite characters. It's an incredibly fun game! Two players can play simultaneously, making the game 10x more entertaining! This game is a favorite of many. It's one of the best games on the NES. And it was one of the few games that I could beat back in the day.

Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers 2

Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers 2

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Due to the immense popularity of the first game, Capcom gave us a sequel. However they released it during the tail end of the NES's popularity so for many this sequel fell under the radar. With Rescue Rangers 2 they kept the same exactly gameplay from part 1. Even 2 player mode is exactly the same. The exception here is that there's more dialogue and more of a story. Plus this time you can throw enemies after you stun them.

Cobra Triangle
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Cobra Triangle is such a solid game! You have battle races, task based stages, obstacle stages, bonus stages, and boss battles. The graphics are in gorgeous overhead 3/4 view. Your boat and enemies rotate in every direction like in RC Pro Am. Your boat is armed with weapons that can be upgraded upon picking up power-ups. It's a fast paced game so the screen shots don't do it justice, you need to watch the YouTube video to see how awesome it is.

Conquest of the Crystal Palace

Conquest of the Crystal Palace

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A well rounded platformer! Good graphics, good music, and good gameplay. With money dropped by enemies, you can purchase such things as weapon upgrades and healing items. If you press A, your dog will come out and kill every enemy on the screen.

Contra
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Contra isn't just one of the best NES games, it's also one of the best games ever made for its genre! The game is incredibly fun. With 2 players it's even better. It's not too easy and not too hard - it's perfect. There's a nice assortment of special weapons you pick up along the way. The stages provide a nice variety of eye candy, fun challenges, and awesome bosses. And with the famous Konami code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A) you're granted 99 lives, making the game a piece of cake. I highly recommend this game!
*Contra has a sequel that's even better: Super C

Contra Force
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This could be considered Contra 3. Contra Force offers better graphics and several characters to choose from. There's a story and cool cut scenes to illustrate it. The stages in this game focus more on being a traditional platformer (i.e. jumping on moving platforms), rather than being mostly action based like in its predecessors. People tend to prefer Super C over this one.

Darkwing Duck
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This game looks and plays a lot like Mega Man. I researched it, and I found that Capcom did made this game based on Mega Man 5's engine! Imagine that? Anyway, so you begin the game with the option of choosing which stage you want to tackle, each with a boss at the end (like in Mega Man). Darkwing Duck's weapon is a gas gun that shoots pellet-like bursts (like Mega Man's mega buster). Throughout stages you can pick up special weapons such as a lighting gas gun that shoots diagonally, a 'heavy gas' gun that sweeps across the floor, and an arrow gas gun that shoots powerful arrows. Just like Mega Man's special weapons, these special weapons run out so you need to pick up energy to restore them. As expected of a Capcom game, the graphics are awesome. Capcom reflected the cartoon show very well by pulling in iconic characters and the general art style. By 'borrowing' so much from Mega Man, Darkwing Duck is a pretty good game. It may not be up there with Duck Tales and Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers, but it's surely better than most NES games.

Double Dragon
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The best street fighting game series the NES has to offer! This series is what made street fighting genre popular. As an early beat 'em up, the game isn't very elaborate. Your impression of the screen shots is exactly what the game is like. However they do spice up the gameplay with a system of learning new attacks by increasing your heart meter. You can learn such attacks as throwing your enemy and the spinning elbow.

Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

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They killed Billy's girlfriend! Double Dragon 2 is all about REVENGE. The graphics have improved; the stages are more creative. This time your list of attacks include back kicks, spinning kicks, knee punches, and uppercuts. The drawback with the gameplay is that button A and B is longer punch and punch. Instead, depending on your position near an enemy you'll either punch or kick when you attack, which can be awkward.

Double Dragon 3: The Sacred Stones

Double Dragon 3: The Sacred Stones

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The traditional gameplay from part 1 has returned! Button A and B is punch and kick again. They got a bit more creative with the enemies you fight, because this time you're fighting against creatures such as mummies! New moves include jumping wall kicks, summersault grab, jump & grab, and even the ability to run. My favorite feature is that some bosses join you after you defeat them! You can switch between them during gameplay. They have their own selection of attacks, offering a lot more variety to the game. Double Dragon 3 is a great finale to the series on the NES.

Dr. Mario
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Everyone knows about Dr. Mario. Here is the famous initial release on the NES. Mario throws out pills and you need to match the colors over the appropriate germs to destroy them. Remaining pill pieces fall and can combine with pieces below to destroy multiple germs at once.

Dragon Spirit
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ONE OF MY FAVORITE NES GAMES!! This was part of the handful of games that defined the glory of the NES to me back in the day. As a fan of fantasy, to have a vertical shooter with dragons was right up my alley. The weapon system (or 'fire system') offers a fun variety of gameplay. As you obtain upgrades your dragon obtains new heads! The strength of your flame upgrades from red pellets to thick laser-like bursts. The graphics are gorgeous. The stages are very creative, with cool bosses that fit well to the stage's theme. The soundtrack is incredible. I was pleasantly surprised to find out Dragon Spirit also had a port on the TurboGrafx16. And that also on TurboGrafx16 there was a sequel called Dragon Sabre. (Both of which are covered in the TurboGrafx16 section.) Although the graphics are better, they don't beat the soundtrack of this NES version. I really, really love the soundtrack here.

Duck Tales
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Considering the popularity I experienced back in the day and the fandom I witness today, Duck Tales is probably one of the top 5 best NES games ever made. Especially when you consider the fact that it got a remake in 2013 for all systems. It was also released during the height of the cartoon's popularity. Flocks of kids rushed to the stores to get (or rent) their copy. The game itself is very well made. They translated the look and feel of the cartoon very well for the NES. Several of the stages are based on actual episodes from the cartoon. And of course, the game wouldn't be complete without cameo appearances of our favorite Duck Tales characters. I remember that I loved this game so much that I rented it multiple times. I also had the opportunity to play it several other occasions when my brother's friends brought over their copy. Duck Tales is a treasure in my NES nostalgia.

Duck Tales 2
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The sequel shared a similar fate with Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers 2 that it kind of fell under the radar. It's a shame because this sequel was just as good. The gameplay is identical to the first game. The only difference is that Scrooge can do more with his cane such as pull objects or activate levers. Also, money serves a real purpose now! Between stages you have access to a shop where you can buy special items: extra lives, extra health, continues, and more.

Excitebike
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The objective, of course, is to win races. You can't always accelerate because you need to keep your engine temperature under control (shown in a meter on the bottom of the screen). Control the angle of your bike is essential for moving over obstacle and having a safe landing after a jump. The game is addictive and a lot of fun! Also, a neat feature is the ability to make your own tracks and then drive on them!

Faxanadu
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This is a platformer with some RPG elements. You battle through fairly linear stages while occasionally coming across a shop where you can buy new equipment. What's cool is that when you equip new swords you actually see it! I don't think any other NES game does that. The graphics are pretty cool. Backgrounds have a lot of detail. There's a glitch in the game that if you return to the king with 0 gold, he gives you another 1500 gold pieces. One annoying thing is that you can only buy one item at a time at shops. The difficulty is well balanced. It's an excellent game. Some people even like it more than Zelda.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

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This is yet another beloved game from my childhood. I would watch my brother play this game for hours on end (it was too hard for me). They put a great deal of effort into this game! The developers did their homework. They pulled all the characters, enemies, and vehicles from the cartoon. There are cool nitro's between missions. There are side-scrolling stages and maze-like stages where you have to find all the proper spots to place bombs. You have the option to choose two other characters, which you can switch amongst anytime during gameplay. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses.

G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor

G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor

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The graphics and animation are definitely better with this sequel. It's cool that you can recruit more playable characters as you progress into the game. Your characters' weapons can be upgraded as well. However this game wasn't well received. It's harder, and it just doesn't have the same quality as the first game.

Gargoyle's Quest 2: The Demon Darkness

Gargoyle's Quest 2: The Demon Darkness

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The original on Game Boy is good, and the sequel for NES is better! The graphics are more detailed and the game is more in-depth. The gameplay is the same, though. You can fly for a limited time and cling onto walls. As the game progresses you gain various abilities such as being able to jump higher and fly longer. As for the story, the game is kind of like an RPG in the sense that you explore an overworld map, enter towns and talk to the ghoulish inhabitants.

Gauntlet
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The famous Dungeons & Dragons inspired arcade game: Gauntlet! You play as one of four characters: the warrior (strongest attack), the Valkyrie (strongest armor), the wizard (strongest magic), the elf (fastest). Your objective in each level is to reach the exit door. You collect keys to open doors. You encounter spawned enemies (ghosts) that swarm you until you destroy the source. There are 100 levels to go through!

Gauntlet 2
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The sequel presents more variety. There are puzzles, hidden keys, hidden passageways, secret levers, and more. Levels can be really complex. You have little portals that warp you to different parts of the floor, adding more challenge to puzzle solving. The graphics are better. There are secret portals to jump ahead in the game. They did a good job retaining the sound effects from the arcade game. There are even voices! There's no soundtrack. Overall, Gauntlet 2 is probably the best dungeon crawling medieval type game on the NES.

Gradius
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Gradius games are really fun. You collect power-ups like any other shooter, but you get to choose the weapons you want. The bottom of the screen shows you all the weapons and weapon upgrades you can power up to. As you upgrade your weapons you obtain up to four glowing orbs that follow you around, shooting with the same weapons and missiles as you are. If you want to play a version of Gradius with better graphics, check out the TurboGrafx16 version.

Gradius 2 (Jap)
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The sequel offers vastly better graphics and music. So much that it pushes the NES to its limit! The burning meteorites (seen in the screen shot) are specially impressive with their solar flares. If you want to play a version of Gradius 2 with better graphics and an awesome CD audio soundtrack, check out the TurboGrafx16-CD version. Gradius III on the SNES is also very awesome.

I'm Kid Dracula! (Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun)

I'm Kid Dracula! (Fan Translated)

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This game's full name is “Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun”. Kid Dracula is a cutesy parody version of Castlevania. Even some songs sound familiar. It's actually kind of like Mega Man. You shoot little fireballs - 3 bursts at a time like Mega Man. Holding down the attack button releases a powered up fireball. After each stage you unlock a special ability. These range from being able to unleash a flurry of attacking bats to actually changing into one of these creatures and being able to fly around for a short period of time. It's a fun game. My only complaint is that it's pretty easy. Kid Dracula was never officially released in NA. This version is in English thanks to fan translators, released in November 2007.

Isolated Warrior
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This game has pretty awesome graphics! Although the challenge can be brutal. You rely heavily on upgrades. Certain enemies drop helpful power ups that boost your speed, level up your bombs, and grant insane weapon upgrades. The soundtrack can get annoying.

Kick Master
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Respected as a top platformer for the NES! At least somewhere within the top 20. Its graphics are among some of the most colorful you're likely to find on the NES, fitting with the sort of dark fantasy theme running with the setting. The sprites themselves are also well-animated. There's some great sound design to boot, particularly notable for making heavy use of percussion on the NES's sound chip. The game itself plays out somewhat akin to Castlevania, where your goal is to wreck each stage's end boss and work your way up to Belzed's tower. The most important items are arguably those which raise experience points, an element which makes KickMaster into something of an action/RPG. Your character has three different kicks. As you gain more experience, your moveset expands by one more for each level gained. And you can cast attack magic spells! At the end of every stage, you're guaranteed to earn a new spell. Kick Master is a great game! I recommend it.

Kid Icarus
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Back in the day I rarely heard anything about Kid Icarus. To me it seems like a sleeper hit. People tend to compare Kid Icarus to Metroid since they look similar and were released around the same type. Kid Icarus is actually very different. The stages are linear. In some stages you take flight, similar to a horizontal shooter. Some areas pull random stunts, such as turn you into an eggplant and you need to figure out how to cure yourself. There are shops where you can pick up equipment and hearts. The plot of Kid Icarus revolves around protagonist Pit's quest for three sacred treasures, which he must equip to rescue the Grecian fantasy world Angel Land and its ruler, the goddess Palutena. The game's fault that causes people to lose interest is the high difficulty. Kid Icarus is hard! The last stage in particular is impossible to beat. You need to use the following code to start it with invincibility and maximum fire power: DUVANS MAMMOR KOMMER BORTOT. Overall, Kid Icarus a good game. It deserves the respect it has as a big Nintendo classic.

Life Force
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If not the best, this is the most respected shooter on the NES. The Gradius series was born from this game. Actually, I might go as far as to say this game may very well be the father of the scrolling spaceship shooters genre. What made Life Force special was how innovative it was. The stages were actually creative; other shooters at the time had very generic, uninteresting stage designs. It introduced an elaborate weapons system. Instead of just picking up a weapon, you pick up general power-ups instead that increase a selection on a meter. It's your choice what upgrade you want from the meter. And as the cherry on top to such a great game, it has a great soundtrack to boot! This is an excellent game. I recommend it!

Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Little Nemo: The Dream Master

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This is another game that I'd go as far as to say it's one of the top 5 best NES games ever made. This is based on the anime movie of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. The objective of each stage is to gather a certain amount of keys to unlock the door at the end. Scattered throughout stages are creatures that you can ride once you toss them 3 pieces of candy. Each creature grants Nemo more health and special abilities. For example, with the frog Nemo jump high and knock out enemies with its belly. With the lizard Nemo can walk up walls. With the bee Nemo has temporary flight and a needle attack. This is an incredibly fun game!

Maniac Mansion
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For the (obvious) graphical limitations of the NES, it wasn't known for point-and-click type games. However the few that it did have were actually pretty good! Maniac Mansion pulled it off well. It took awhile for the game to be released. They had to fight with Nintendo about the censorship. It was finally released in 1990, the same year the SNES was released. Due to the late release this game didn't receive the popularity it should've had. For what the NES was capable of, Maniac Mansion had fantastic graphics with beautifully detailed backgrounds. You choose 2 teenagers out of 7 to play the game with. Each one has their own abilities such as playing instruments or fixing electronics. What's cool is that depending on which characters you choose, you get a different experience with the game. That's an incredible feature for a game this old! There are even animated sequences every so often to give life to the game's story. Lastly, I want to point out that the NSF soundtrack is 10x larger than your average soundtrack! Every track is quite elaborate.

Marble Madness
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Back in the day, I remember this game being really hard for me. I think my brothers couldn't get very far in it either. The game was mostly just eye candy for us - the game has gorgeous isometric view graphics. Of course, now that I'm older it's a more entertaining game. The object of the game is simple: guide the marble to the goal of the stage. Prepare yourself for sharp turns, slimes, moving floors, enemy marbles, giant fists, blowers, and more!

Mega Man
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The game that started it all for the mega-hit Mega Man series! Join Mega Man as he battles against Wily's robots! Upon defeat of these boss robots, Mega Man gains their unique weapons. This initial release of Mega Man wasn't necessarily a hit. I'm pretty sure the reason why was because of the high difficulty. It was Mega Man 2 that turned everyone into Mega Man fanatics.

Mega Man 2
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Mega Man 2 is the mega-hit title that turned Mega Man into staple gaming series. It was a much better improvement from Mega Man 1. Wow, just everything about this game is awesome. The graphics are great, the music is awesome, the stages are fun, the enemy weapons are very fun to use, and the challenge is well balanced. In addition to the special weapons, this time you gain three special abilities that aid you in crossing pits and reaching unattainable heights. Plus there's an interesting strategy: each enemy robot is weak against a particular enemy weapon. For example, Bubble Man's weapon is lethal when used against Heat Man.

Mega Man 3
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Living up to the greatness of Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3 is an equally great hit. It carries the same winning formula from Mega Man 2. And “Rush” was introduced, a loyal transforming robot hound that assists Mega Man with crossing long pits and jumping to high platforms.

Mega Man 4
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Part 4 is a great sequel, and marks the height of Mega Man's glory on the NES. From here the NES Mega Man series began losing its shine and glimmer. It was released in January '92; the SNES was a bit over a year old by now. This was Mega Man's last chance to grab peoples' attention before the SNES roared into mega popularity.

Mega Man 5
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The only major difference between Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 5 is the challenge. Capcom decided to make Mega Man easier! Heck, when I captured these screen shots I did it with one hand. At this point only hardcore Mega Man fans were playing Mega Man 5. The release was in December '92 - the SNES was released 3 years ago so by now most gamers owned an SNES. Gamers didn't care for another NES Mega Man, especially one that didn't offer anything new and innovative. The graphics were awesome, but that wasn't enough to win over hearts that fell in love with 16-bit graphics.

Mega Man 6
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Same direction as part 5, just different robots. It was released in March '93, not very long after Mega Man 5. If Mega Man 5 didn't fall under the radar, then Mega Man 6 definitely did. Gamers were too busy with their SNES to care.

Metal Gear
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Part 1 of Konami's famous espionage action series! You go through jungles, bunkers, and fortresses. You sneak past guards and evade security systems. The game is really hard. It's hard in the sense of confronting difficult enemies. It's hard with its unforgiveness of making mistakes. Metal Gear is about making the right moves to overcome obstacles. So if you're using an emulator, by using save states the game instantly becomes very easy.

Metal Gear: Snake's Revenge

Metal Gear: Snake's Revenge

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Wow, this game is brutal. It's a lot of back and forth. If you die you lose all the important items you were carrying. The game doesn't stop you from entering deadly areas if you're missing an essential item to survive, such as requiring the oxygen tank so that you don't lose health while underwater. Snake's Revenge wasn't well received. I have it here only for the sake of completion.

Metroid
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The release of Metroid was critical for the gaming industry. Not only was it the start of a great game series, but its style of gameplay inspired many other games to come. You travel through a maze of rooms and corridors. You must obtain special items and power-ups in order to proceed further into the game. For example, to reach a higher platform you need to obtain the Jump Boots to jump higher. There are various weapons and power-ups you pick up. For example, one weapon is a freeze blaster that allows you to freeze enemies. You can turn into a ball to roll through tight passages. And later obtain “ball bombs” to be able to defend yourself while you're a ball and to blast away floors below you. The world of Metroid is littered with secret areas. It's good practice to blast random floors in search of them. The soundtrack is excellent and fits the atmosphere well. A drawback to the game is that it's missing a map feature, which can really burden gameplay. Fortunately we have the Internet - there are plenty available. Metroid is an excellent game!

Metroid: Rogue Dawn

Metroid: Rogue Dawn (Hack)

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A complete ROM hack of the original Metroid! It's an entirely new game! Rogue Dawn is an unofficial prequel to the original Metroid game released in 1986. Thirty years later we bring you the events that unfolded before Samus's famous “Zero” mission on planet Zebes. The original Metroid manual tells us about a deep-space research spaceship that was attacked. Pirates seized a capsule said to contain a newly discovered life form in a state of suspended animation. Rogue Dawn surrounds these events that led up to the theft of the capsule which ultimately placed the Metroids under the control of Ridley and the Mother Brain. The mission to acquire the capsule is placed in the hands of one of Ridley's best kept secrets. A rogue human agent trained and manipulated by Ridley from a young age. Taken as a child from a Federation colony obliterated by Ridley's faction she was initially just another test subject slated to undergo horrific experiments. Ridley decided to instead manipulate and mold her into a weapon, his first human servant and dark agent. Primed yet untested she is sent out on her "zero" mission to retrieve a newly discovered biological specimen in the possession of a Federation research crew orbiting planet SR388 and prove her worth. Her name is Dawn Aran.

Ninja Gaiden
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To the classic gamer, Ninja Gaiden is the ninja game that started it all for the ninja genre. It provided enthralling gameplay by giving you the ability to cling onto walls and pick up awesome special ninja weapons. Between stages are cool cut scenes. It could be said that Ninja Gaiden was a cinematic game (for what Nintendo was capable of).

Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos

Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos

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Here we have better graphics, bigger enemies, more weapons, better story, and more impressive cut scenes! Our ninja can also now climb up and down walls when he latches onto them. The coolest new feature is the shadow clone: a phantom follows your character and attacks when he does.

Ninja Gaiden 3: The Ancient Ship of Doom

Ninja Gaiden 3: The Ancient Ship of Doom

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Now we're talking! They picked it up a notch with this one. Not only does our ninja have the usual assortment of cool special weapons, but he can now upgrade his sword to slash stronger and hit a longer distance. The graphics are amazing! Ninja Gaiden 3 pushed the Nintendo to its limit.

Paperboy
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Based on the popular arcade game, Paperboy is about a paperboy trying to survive a week delivering newspapers in dangerous neighborhoods. Your goal is to toss newspapers to try to make it into peoples' mailboxes. But don't deliver newspapers to the red houses because those are non-customers. There are many obstacles to avoid: kids on go-karts, rogue lawn mowers, dogs, street workers, break dancers, tornados, the Grim Reaper, and more.

Paperboy 2
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The sequel has better graphics and more intricate neighborhoods. This time the street shifts to the opposite side when you reach the mid point. Houses are more creative; you'll come across haunted houses with ghosts and castles with firing canons.

Power Blade
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Power Blade is a fun platformer, with a guy who looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger from Total Recall. He has a nifty boomerang weapon that upgrades upon picking up items that enemies drop. Hidden in every stage is a power suit; with it you can shoot sexy waves of energy that swiftly kill enemies. The stage select makes Power Blade feel very Mega Man-ish. The game would be more entertaining if there were more than freakin five enemies. Nevertheless, Power Blade is a worthy classic that I have fond memories with.

Power Blade 2
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In part 2 they added a fun variety to gameplay with new power suits. There's the regular power suit from Power Blade 1 that can now cling on ceilings, a flight suit for flying, and a water suit for swimming. Adding to the storyline development are short cut scenes with very nice illustrations. Adding to the challenge are various stage dynamics such as rising lava, falling spike ceilings, water, elevators, and more. And there's actually more than five enemies throughout all the stages! Overall, it's a worthy sequel. I recommend it.

Punch-Out!!
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The famous boxing game! The gameplay is simple: you're either punching or dodging. You fight a colorful assortment of cartoony boxers. The most famous fighter is King Hippo. He was featured as a villain in the popular Nintendo cartoon, Captain N.

Qix
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I have fond memories of Qix because I had it on my old Atari. It's a simple puzzle game. Your objective is to draw lines in a square to fill up empty spaces while avoiding flying lines and sparks. It's better to watch the video because it's hard to explain it in text. Qix can be become addicting if you give it a chance.

Rampage
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Your objective is to destroy all the buildings. You do so by climbing on the sides and breaking the walls. The military aggressively tries to stop you with a bombardment of bullets and bombs. Rampage is a fun game. Although with its 132 stages it can get very repetitive.

RC Pro-Am
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This is probably the best and most addictive racing game on the NES. I remember back in the day when I first saw this game I was in awe at the graphics and animation. At first the play control is a awkward because what you're doing is constantly spinning a car around in the right direction. Once you get used to it, it can become a really fun and addicting game.

RC Pro-Am 2
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Not many people know RC Pro-Am got a sequel. It's rare to come by and doesn't come cheap. It has all the features we loved from the original. The graphics are better. There are large ramps and your car can jump. There are more tracks. The difficulty is higher. The store was beefed up and there are more upgrades you can buy for yourself. You can even buy continues! So what's better, the sequel or the original? Hmm... well the sequel is good, but I still prefer the original.

River City Ransom
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At first glance this game might seem like Double Dragon. The gameplay is similar, but River City Ransom offers more! It's kind of an action RPG. You need to defeat enemies to gain coins to buy food and level up. It can get addicting. This game has a charm to it; it has somewhat of a cult following. It's just fun to beat up high school gangs.

Shadow of the Ninja
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This game tries to be a two-player version of Ninja Gaiden. Unlike Ninja Gaiden you can equip different weapons such as sickles, which have farther reach but can't hit enemies up close. Shurikens and bombs can also be found in limited quantities. You can use ninja magic to damage all of the enemies on the screen, at the expensive of some health (hold down the "B" button to activate this). Despite the ridiculous difficulty of the later sections, Ninja Gaiden Shadow is a fairly decent game with some cool music. Apparently it was so good that Tecmo ported it to Game Boy, under *Shadow of the Ninja*.

Shadowgate
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This is an exciting point-and-click fantasy adventure with mystery, mythical creatures, dragons, and damsels in distress. It's a bit older and not as good as Maniac Mansion, but it's still a good game.

Silver Surfer
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SILVER SURFER IS AWESOME!!! To begin with, it's your typical shooter with just few weapon upgrades. It's made up of 8 exciting stages through space, battling against various foes from the Silver Surfer comics. But what makes this game so great to me? It's the graphic and the soundtrack. The graphics and animation are the best I've seen on the NES! All of the stages, particularly the final stages, are gorgeous! And the soundtrack is AWESOME and way ahead of its time. Seriously, this game has the best NES music I have ever heard. Whoever made the music must've been a big fan of techno, because it seems to be inspired by it. The game's only drawback is that it's very difficult. In fact, this game is famously difficult. The Angry Video Nerd made a hilarious review about it. That's the reason why you don't hear a lot of people praising this game. I recommend applying the cheat codes that I provided in “Cheats” up above.

Snake Rattle N Roll
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This is an incredibly fun game!! And it's yet another beloved childhood favorite of mine. This was one of those 'hidden gem' type games that weren't very popular, but you were lucky if you discovered it. You are a snake and it's your objective to eat balls to build up your tail. Once your tail is complete you can jump on the weight scale to open the door to the next stage. Beware! If you get hit you lose a piece of your tail. If you lose all your tail pieces then you die. Stages are in gorgeous isometric graphics. The enemies and obstacles are fun. There's enough action here to get your adrenaline pumping. This game was also released for the Genesis.

Spy Hunter
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This is such a strangely addicting game. It was popular when it first came out! My brothers especially love playing this game. Spy Hunter is basically an overhead car game. You have the ability to shoot at the cars in front of you and knock them off the road. Along the way you can drive into special trucks which give you special weapons. These weapons consist of oil slicks, smoke screens, and surface to air missiles. Later into the game you switch from your car to a boat. What's cool about Spy Hunter is that you begin with unlimited lives! There's a timer in the lower right; when it runs out you no longer have unlimited lives.

StarTropics
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Back in the day Nintendo really pushed StarTopics. While watching Saturday morning cartoons, I watched the StarTropics commercial well over 100 times. The game has two methods of gameplay: when you're exploring the map & towns you're in an RPG style format, and then action stages are in an overhead view similar to Blaster Master. The graphics in action stages are awesome. You fight some cool boss battles. Like most NES games, StarTropics is really hard. And some say it's a rip-off of Zelda. It's a great game, though. It's fun and unique. I recommend it.

StarTropics 2: Zoda's Revenge

StarTropics 2: Zoda's Revenge

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The sequel was only released in North America & Europe. It was also one of the last games released for the NES. This time the game revolves traveling through periods in time rather than being restricted to islands. You travel to such periods as prehistoric times, the Wild West, ancient Egypt, and London. The game focuses less on overworld puzzles and more on the action stages. This time around you get to equip a variety of weapons, themed to the time period you're in. The dungeon design is a bit more innovative. What's neat are the improvements in game mechanics. Your character can now move in 8 directions. The graphics are average, but they're rich and clean, as if this was a Game Boy Color game. The soundtrack is also a nice improvement. So is this sequel better than the original? I would say yes and no - both games are equally good. It's a shame StarTropics II was released so late in the NES's lifespan. It deserves more praise.

Street Fighter 2010

Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight

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Besides having a name that confuses people with Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2010 is a pretty awesome game. I love how this is game has a dark, apocalyptic look. The graphics are strange, but neat. Your hero can backflip, kick, climb up walls and other objects, and shoot his bionic weapon. Your main attack is a bionic punch that increases its range as you pick up power-ups. The game's difficulty is pretty high, too.

Summer Carnival '92: Recca

Summer Carnival '92: Recca (Jap)

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Recca is respected as the BEST shooter on the NES. And without question, it's the fastest shooter on the NES. This rare gem is hard to come by since few carts were produced. Recca is a very, very hard shooter. At every moment you're pounded by a mass of enemy bullets. Bosses take up nearly half the screen and often have limbs that extend to the other half - which means no hope for you! The soundtrack is awesome. With just 4 stages it's a short game. And the game's history is interesting; I recommend reading Hardcore Gaming's article about it. Recca's a great game. Just expect the high difficulty to have you crying for mommy.

Super C
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Riding on the popularity of the first Contra, here's the awesome sequel to it. It seems everyone has heard of the original Contra but not this one. Devote gamers actually say Super C was much better than the original. So the graphics here are much better. They added overhead view stages. Those overhead stages are gorgeous! Right when you begin the first one you pass by giant concrete walls in dramatic perspective and shadows.

Super Dodge Ball
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In a style similar to River City Ransom, this is a fun dodgeball tournament game. Gameplay is what you'd expect it to be - it's dodgeball. By pressing certain button combinations you can do special power up moves for extra damage.

Super Mario Bros
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The game that started it all! It was the pack-in game for the initial launch of the NES. I was lucky enough to own the NES at launch, so I experienced the glory of the original Super Mario Bros from the very beginning.

Super Mario Bros 2
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Nintendo cheated with Mario Bros' sequel. They grabbed a game that was popular in Japan and re-imagined it into a Mario game for its North American release. That Japanese game was Doki Doki Panic. You can learn more about this on Wikipedia. Anyway, this little detail doesn't matter to anyone because Super Mario Bros 2 is an incredibly fun game.

Super Mario Bros 3
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I'm sure others would agree with me when I say Super Mario Bros 3 is the most popular NES game. I swear, everyone I knew who had a NES had a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. For many, the existence of this game was first known through the motion picture known as The Wizard. Ah, The Wizard; it brings back many nostalgic memories. I wasn't aware until reading articles such as this that the movie was just a 90-minute Nintendo commercial. Fred Savage looks so Jewish in it. Anyway, Super Mario Bros 3 is a great game. All the abilities and items Mario can gain and the many secrets it had made Super Mario Bros 3 so entertaining and full of replay value. Everyone loves the famous cheat by finding the warp flute to skip worlds. The different worlds in this game offer a fun variety. There's even one world where everything is large! I don't have to recommend this game, because anyone who's into classic gaming has already played it :)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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The first TMNT game on NES got mixed reviews. Keep in mind that, at the time, the TMNT arcade game was wildly popular. It was disappointing for some that the NES release was something completely different. You travel around an overworld map and enter sewer holes. Upon entering a sewer hole you play through traditional 2D platformer stages. The game doesn't strongly reflect the cartoon show. With the exception of a handful of bosses, all the enemies were invented for the game. The difficulty gets pretty high at times. Sometimes there will be 10+ enemies on the screen swarming you. I wouldn't call this a bad game, I would just say it's not for everyone.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game

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FINALLY. They listened to the fanbase and ported over the awesome arcade to the NES. The arcade game (and this version) is action-packed and full of references/characters/enemies from the cartoon show. I think they did a fantastic job squeezing in the arcade game to the 8-bit NES. Naturally, by doing so they had to water down the game. You can only play as 2 players simultaneously instead of 4. However they did add a new stage; the snow stage. This is a high quality beat 'em up. It's so good that it's comparable to Double Dragon.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project

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Konami was intent on recreating the success of the previous TMNT game, so they used the exact same formula for Manhattan Project. The two games are nearly identical, just with different stages. The graphics are crisper and more detailed. The turtles can now toss enemies. And, at the cost of some health, you have a spinning attack that damages any enemies next to you. There's a cool surfboard stage. There are fun little cinematic sequences throughout the game. If you loved TMNT 2 The Arcade Game, then you'll love Manhattan Project!

Goonies
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Play as Mikey, the main character of The Goonies movie, as you venture through stage after stage to rescue your kidnapped friends. Each level requires that you find three keys and rescue one Goonie before you can go to the next stage. The game somewhat follows the movie by starting at the restaurant, ending at the pirate ship, and every level inbetween are underground caves. The objective for each level is to collect three keys and rescue one Goonie. Levels get a bit complex with skeleton doors that warp you to different parts of the level. Mikey protects himself with a kick attack. Eventually find bombs to open doors (which can easily kill you if you're not careful) or slingshots with limited ammo. Eventually you confront members of the Fratelli family. They inflict heavy damage and can only be temporarily stunned. This game was never officially released on the NES. Oddly, it was only released in the Nintendo Playchoice 10 Arcade system.

Goonies 2
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Goonies 2 was a huge improvement! Instead of being level based, you have a whole world to explore. Your objective is similar to the original. You need to rescue all the kidnapped Goonies, including a mermaid(?). This time Mikey attacks with a yo-yo. He still can also pick up slingshots and bombs. An interesting feature is that some doors take you through dungeon crawling style faux 3D rooms. Figuring out what to do next can be tricky. You might want to cheat a bit and use a walkthrough. Goonies 2 is a groundbreak game! For the time it was innovative.

The Guardian Legend
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This is one of those hidden gem type of games that never made it big. It was released here in the US, but it seemed like no one knew about it. It was until NES emulation became popular that people were discovering this game and appreciating its greatness. The game has two modes: an overhead view action/adventure mode and horizontal spaceship shooter mode. Your job is to infiltrate Naju, a planet-like object which aliens sent hurtling towards Earth. It's full of lethal aliens you need to defeat. The graphics and music are excellent. Guardian Legend is a high quality game!

The Legend of Zelda
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This was the start of one of the best video game series ever made. You adventure through the land of Hyrule. At the time no other game gave you such a sense of adventure. You felt like you were walking through a living, breathing world. Your job is to guide Link through various dungeons to defeat Ganon's foes, restore the triforce, and rescue the princess. Each dungeon is a maze. You need to solve puzzles, collect keys, and discover hidden paths to ultimately find the dungeon's boss.

Yoshi
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It's a simple puzzle game. You have Mario move around the piles of Mario Bros baddies to strategically catch the baddies that fall from the top of the screen. If two of the same enemies touch they disappear. Every so often broken Yoshi egg shells fall. If a top half meets a bottom half, the egg will consume all enemies between them and turn into a Yoshi.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

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Nintendo went a different direction with Zelda II, a direction which ultimately left the game with mixed reviews. The formula which made the first game so successful was tossed out the window. They rendered the overworld map to something you'd expect in an RPG. Walking into an enemy hurls you into an action stages. These action stages took place in a separate 2D side-scrolling sequence. The constant switching between the 2D action stages and the overworld map was awkward. Plus they made the game much harder. At least it was interesting that there are towns now, with townsfolk who play a role in your quest.