500px-NES logo.svg-1-
"Now you're playing with power."


Often called the machine that resurrected a dead industry, the NES was the uncontested winner of its generation. Even though its main competitor, Sega's Master System, had better specs, the NES had a much wider game library, thanks to colossal third party support. Of course, if you lived in Europe, feel free to remember things a bit differently: it didn't get as much traction there, trailing not only the Master System, but a variety of home computers.

If you're a real collector, get an NES 101 (the top-loading model), as it plays PAL games, and has a port that makes it compatible with the Famicom Disk System! Note that it does NOT play Famicom games due to the pin difference, you'll have to get a converter (those were particularly common in Brazil, where clones of both standards were sold). Or just, you know, emulate the shit out of this motherfucker.

For better organization, Japan-only titles are kept in a separate list, see below; and the Famicom Disk System has its own page.

The NES List

Box Art Title Genre Description Screenshot
1943 The Battle of Midway NES cover 1943: The Battle of Midway Shooter An excellent Capcom shmup that's fairly easy on beginners to the genre, but still proves to be a worthy challenge after a few stages. Unlike the arcade game, you upgrade your weapons and energy permanently over time. WWII themed, of course, except for the lasers. 1943 - The Battle of Midway (U) 003
A Boy and His Blob Trouble on Blobolonia NES cover A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia Platformer / puzzle One of the oft-forgot classics of the NES, A Boy and His Blob is a cute, imaginative tale about a boy who meets an alien blob. The boy is a very normal boy, but the Blob has the ability to change into many different objects with the simple act of feeding him a jelly bean. Each flavor of jelly bean turns the Blob into a different object, which solves many obstacles and puzzles in very fun and interesting ways. The game can be a bit hard, but it leaves a really good feeling when you finish. Definitely recommended. The sequel on Gameboy arguably improves gameplay, and the reimagining on Wii is one of the current gen's best platformers. Boy and His Blob, A - Trouble on Blobolonia (U) 003
Abadox NES cover Abadox Shooter Fuck yeah, Abadox! Natsume was really good at making NES action games, and Abadox is a great example.You're Second Lieutenant Nazal, a badass in a mech that has to defeat the entire planet of Abadox, a world that was infected by an alien species called Parasitis and became a living entity of evil. WAIT WAIT WAIT, before you say anything, yes the concept is ripped straight from Life Force, but you know what? Abadox did it better! Seriously! Good old shmuppin' action with awesome 8-bit graphics and sound, plus both horizontal scrolling levels as well as vertical levels that scroll DOWN, plus tighter controls and a more consistent theme. Abadox (U) 002
Asterix NES cover Astérix Platformer A rather unknown PAL exclusive. One of those typical but good, short, rather easy and fun platformers like you would find many on the system. Not an extraordinary game but good for some short and simple fun. Don't forget to set your emulator to PAL! Asterix (E) 003
Adventure Island NES cover Adventure Island Platformer Control Master Higgins and kill some beasties. This is a classic platformer series, and pretty much every entry is good and follows/improves this sort of formula: Find weapons, eat to live, and even shred through stages on a skateboard. This one in particular is a quite tough though, since control takes some getting used to and later stages are absolutely BRUTAL. Be sure to find Hachisuke (the Hudson mascot bee) to let you continue after a game over! Hudson's Adventure Island (U) 002
Adventure Island 2 NES cover Adventure Island II Platformer Even more Adventure Island goodness. Introduces dinosaur buddies to utilize, each of which have different skills. Stages are less lengthy, but greater in number, which makes it easier to continue after dying. Hachisuke is no longer needed to be found, either. As a big step up from the first, there's no excuse not to have it. Hudson's Adventure Island II (U) 001
Adventure Island 3 NES cover Adventure Island III Platformer This one lacks the arcade-ish quality of the first two, but it becomes better for it. The best one of the three NES platformers. Levels are more fleshed out and bosses a bit tougher. Hudson's Adventure Island III (U) 001
Adventure of Lolo NES cover Adventure of Lolo Puzzle A classic puzzle game. Push blocks around and get to the exit. Of course, it's not nearly as simple as that, which is why the series became well-loved. Prepare to be stumped and trapped in later levels. Adventures of Lolo (U) -!- 002
Adventure of Lolo 2 NES cover Adventure of Lolo 2 Puzzle Pretty much the same thing as its prequel, but with new levels. Adventures of Lolo 2 (U) 003
Adventure of Lolo 3 NES cover Adventure of Lolo 3 Puzzle Pretty much the same thing as its prequels, but with newer levels. Adventures of Lolo 3 (U) 002
Adventures of Rad Gravity NES cover Adventures of Rad Gravity, The Platformer Play as mighty-chinned Bruce Campbell Rad Gravity in a humorous adventure-platformer across different planets. You can find a variety of weapons and items and also upgrade Rad's gear and lifebar to deal/take less damage respectively. There's puzzles to solve, decent platforming segments, and a number of secret areas with hidden loot as well. Some planets require newer power-ups and several visits to find everything. Some NPC creatures can help you along the way.
The game provides a steady challenge, even with passwords to continue and your computer giving hints. It controls decently, though being hit causes "castlevania" knockback, leading to some segments being a bit tougher than they should be. The only negatives are some repetitive music, level design being so-so early on, and how, in some cases, "completing" a planet seems to prevent you from returning to it, potentially leading to lost goodies.
Barker Bills Trick Shooting NES cover Barker Bill's Trick Shooting Light Gun Got a Zapper? Want something a little more substantial than Duck Hunt or Hogan's Alley? This rather unknown Nintendo-developed light gun game has 3 distinct shooting games and 3 mini-games. Good graphics, bunnygirl, plus a cameo appearance of the Duck Hunt dog whom you can shoot!**(You lose a life, but the dog had it coming.) BarkerBillsTrickShooting2
Battle Kid Fortress of Peril NES cover Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril Platformer An NES game that was released in 2009!? Go figure. It's homebrewed, but it has a legit cartridge. This game is a take on the game, "I Wanna Be The Guy!" It even has the same sprite. The only difference is that it is more Metroidvania like and you get power-ups. Not quite as hard as IWBTG, but still rather difficult. Battlekid5802
Battle Kid 2 cover Battle Kid 2: Mountain of Torment Platformer The sequel to the homebrew released 3 years later. It happens to be bigger, better, and even more teeth grinding hard than the original. pic
Battletoads NES cover Battletoads Beat 'em up A great beat 'em up from a little studio called 'Rare'. It's one of the later NES titles, so not only does it look great, it's a pretty awesome game in its own right. Don't play 2-player unless you're both damn good, because friendly fire is most definitely on, and there's a glitch in a late-game stage that makes it hard to get past in 2-player. Curiously, the Famicom version fixes it and a few other difficult segments to be not as hard (so try that one out). Some versions on other consoles make segments easier as well, especially Turbo Tunnel. That said, for this version in particular:This game is truly the GOD OF MOTHER FUCKING HARD GAMES. Beating this game without cheats (which still makes it hard) makes you one godly gamer. Battletoads (U) 001
Battletoads And Double Dragon NES cover Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team Beat 'em up Two awesome forces combine to go past mere awesomeness. The three 'Toads are finally reunited and get help from the brothers Bimmy Billy and Jimmy Lee. Besides the inclusion of DD heroes and enemies, this is basically Battletoads 2. The sequel improves its visuals, controls, and co-op play without sacrificing any of the series' legendary difficulty. This game was later ported to the SNES, Mega Drive, and Game Boy. Battletoads & Double Dragon - The Ultimate Team (U) 002
Batman NES cover Batman: The Video Game Platformer A very challenging Sunsoft platformer based around the 1989 Batman movie. Excellent graphics and art direction especially for 1989. Includes a walljump that you WILL need to master. Feels Ninja Gaiden-ish, but make no mistake, it is one of the better games in that 'genre'. Batman (U) 001
Batman Return of the Joker NES cover Batman: Return of the Joker Platformer Batman sheds his ninja skills from the first game in favor of FIREPOWER. The game is notably more frustrating due to many beginners' traps and seemingly-unavoidable hits. Minor gripes aside, this is one of the most visually and audibly impressive titles on the NES, and never stops being dark or full of action. This game was ported to the Sega Mega Drive and SNES (although canceled before release), but those versions are inferior due to being unrefined and playing worse than the NES somehow. Batman - Return of the Joker (U) 002
Bionic Commando NES cover Bionic Commando Platformer Fantastic platformer in which you are unable to jump and must instead rely on your TOTALLY AWESOME BIONIC ARM to navigate levels. It's like an entire game of using a really primitive Worms grappling hook. Basic level up system, multiple weapons, kill Nazis, etc. Has an infamous cutscene where Adolf Hitler's head fucking explodes. Bionic Commando Rearmed is an epic remake for most modern consoles and PC, and channels the original in fantastic new HD graphics, great 3D models, and balls-to-the-wall attitude. However, playing the original is always suggested before taking on the remake, just to see the evolution. Bionic Commando (U) -!- 001
Blaster Master NES cover Blaster Master Platformer Another Sunsoft game, Blaster Master has you drive a tank in search of your pet frog, fuck yeah. Very open-ended and difficult, combines driving stages with exploring on foot AND platforming and overhead action. Had a remix on GBC and a spiritual successor on WiiWare, both of which kick ass. The other BM entries? Uh... not so much. Blaster Master (U) 009
Blades of Steel NES cover Blades of Steel Sports A Konami Ice-hockey game that isn't so much about the hockey as it is about FIGHTING and PUNCHING PEOPLE TO THE FACE. Endless fun. Blades of Steel (U) 002
Bubble Bobble NES cover Bubble Bobble Platformer / puzzle You're a dragon, you shoot bubbles out of your mouth which trap enemies. Stomp on bubbled enemies to turn them into food or items. This makes no fucking sense. Also, good multiplayer puzzlan. Preferred over Halo by 6/10 gamers. Spawned a variety of sequels and spinoffs Bubble Bobble (U) 001
Bucky Ohare NES cover Bucky O'Hare Platformer Based on the comic and cartoon series. A Mega Man-esque game by Konami, this game is surprisingly solid. You can switch between characters and utilize their abilities. The arcade game is a beat 'em up, but also made by Konami. Give both a shot, whether you know of the source material or not (The comic is better though). Boh
Bugs Bunnys Birthday Blowout NES cover Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout Platformer Bugs has a sweet birthday shindig to get to, but carrot-shaped bricks, walking hammers, and his asshole friends are in his way. Deep shit, man. This rather lame sounding Kemco title is surprisingly solid, with a solid 22 levels with bosses and some pretty decent platforming, and mallet-swinging action. Not to be confused with the Crazy Castle games. Bugs Bunnys Birthday Blowout NES ScreenShot4
Cabal NES cover Cabal Shooter A great co-op game to play with your buddy straight from the arcade! Game has lost some of it's visual marvels during this trip from the arcade machine, but hey, gameplay is all the same. It's a combination of rail shooter and character model. You shoot you enemies and dodge bullets from the 3rd person perspective. After you've killed all enemies you proceed on the next screen until the end. Very innovative gameplay for it's time. Inspired many similar games, such as Nam-1975 and Wild Guns. Cabal-nes
Castlevania NES cover Castlevania Platformer The first in a line of many, many games has you, Simon Belmont, take on Dracula to fulfill your legacy. Whippan gaems. It is extremely difficult. The Japanese version has an easier difficulty that was removed from the American release. This game is cash; it is required playing if you own an NES/emulator. 136-castlevania
Castlevania 2 NES cover Castlevania II: Simon's Quest Action-adventure Often considered the "black sheep" of the series, Castlevania's sequel relates more to Zelda II's style of gameplay. Unexplained requirements to proceed through key areas and (intentionally) lying townsfolk often deter a player from progress. The game still carries the addictive action, music, and scenery of the Castlevania name and is worth a playthrough - even if it means opening a player's guide occasionally. A redacted version that fixes most of the dialog problems can be found here. Castlevania II - Simon's Quest (U) 002
Castlevania 3 NES cover Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse Platformer An overall improvement on the first game. Multiple paths and characters, as well as some seriously experimental music. It is also extremely difficult. The Japanese version had a special sound chip that enabled higher-quality audio, and was overall easier than the American version. If the thought of dealing with moon runes on a few screens scares you, there's even a fan translation of it that brings the best aspects of the Japanese game into English. 138-castlevania-3
Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers NES cover Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Platformer Fuck yeah, Chip 'n Dale, good little platformer. Great for co-op. Based on the series (obviously), and features its antagonists as bosses and enemies. The second game isn't as good and the co-op is weaker than this one. Disregard that, I suck cocks. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (U) -!- 001
Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 NES cover Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 Platformer More of the above but with greater artwork, greater boss battles, darker atmosphere and whatnot. Not as great for co-op as the first. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 (U) 002
Clash at Demonhead NES cover Clash at Demonhead Platformer Vic Tokai, makers of this game, weren't really known for putting out "great" games (because most were hard to the point of ridiculousness). In fact, their gaming division was eventually shutdown. However, a few of these games remain real classics with great gameplay, and Clash at Demonhead is one of them. As a solid action platformer with great gameplay, plenty of powers to get, and some anime influence, it's one of the system's overlooked classics. Clash at Demonhead (U) 001
Cobra Triangle NES cover Cobra Triangle Racing / shooter Another great game by Rare. You control a speed boat which can fly, shoot, fire missiles and wreck havoc all around. Your goal in this game vary from level to level. There are racing missions, collect bonus stages, protect people levels, etc. So you won't find yourself bored by this game. Cobra Triangle NES ScreenShot2
Contra NES cover Contra [NTSC]
Probotector [PAL]
Platformer The ultimate in run 'n gun gaming, Contra is hard. Good hard. Use your twitch reflexes and spread gun to prevent that asshole Red Falcon from taking over the world. Great for co-op. Released as Probotector in PAL territories, where characters are hilariously replaced as robots. This became a canon(!) in-joke for years to come. 152-contra
Cowboy Kid NES cover Cowboy Kid Platformer Plays like the early Ganbare Goemon games, but in the Ol' West, pardner. A second player can help simultaneously as your Native American brother-in-arms. Choose stages in any order after being deputized, but you find your gun/boomerang in stage 2 (infinite ammo) and 3rd weapon in stage 5. There's gambling and mini-games in towns to pile on cash, along with hotels and general stores to get life-refill and power-ups (buy vests and meat ASAP!), a few platforming and horse-riding segments and some bird's eye mini-"dungeons". Bosses can be a little challenging, but still fun to fight.
3 lives off the bat, but you have instant respawn and infinite continues. 5 stars collected nets an extra total heart. Negatives include hitboxes being a bit weird (but easy to figure out), being a bit repetitive early on, and lacking Goemon's zany humor but past that, it's a surprisingly good homage/rip-off of Goemon's early years.
Cowboy kid screen
Crash n the Boys Street Challenge NES cover Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge Sports Track and Field: Hardass Edition. Involves marathon running and swimming, fight contests, building hopping, and hammer toss golf. Hope you've got fast fingers. Play with another person, because the CPU is a cheating asshole. Has a DS spiritual sequel: River City Super Sports Challenge. Crash 'n the Boys - Street Challenge Gameplay
Crystalis NES cover Crystalis Action-RPG This is basically SNK's attempt at a Zelda clone, and somehow, they did fucking better (SNK not making a fighter or run 'n gun?). A really fun game that plays like Zelda, but faster and your hero levels up like in an RPG. The game should last you a while; it's definitely one of the better games on the console. There's a GBC port, but it sucks dick. Crystalis (U) 002
Darkwing Duck NES cover Darkwing Duck Platformer Another classic Disney title made by Capcom. While not as famous as Duck Tales or Chip'n'Dales, it's still a fucking great game. It's also more challenging than those. It kinda plays like Mega Man except with slightly more platforming involved and it's a bit more linear in boss fights. Darkwing Duck (U) 002
Defender of the Crown NES cover Defender of the Crown Strategy Most of the game is based on a classic strategy game gameplay but you also have some knight tournament and other such events which are rather unique. Defender of the Crown (U) 003
Deja Vu NES cover Déjà Vu Adventure A point and click adventure game. Revolves around clearing your alibi after being set up for a murder you didn't do. Kick ass film noir style, although not without humor as you can be eaten by crocs living in sewers (!) among other humorous game-overs. Has a sequel available on other systems, and that one's packed with this one on GBC. Deja Vu (U) 002
Destiny of an Emperor NES cover Destiny of an Emperor RPG Based on a graphic novel of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Mixes Dragon Quest and Dynasty Warriors. Journey across the vast land of China, go through towns, caves, and tunnels, and fight enemy warlords in open areas, forts, and castles. You can also recruit over 100 generals to your side, through show of force and/or bribery. There's quite a bit to see, do, and even miss out on, so use this handy website. Has a japan-only sequel below, however it does have a full translation patch. Both are badass and worth playing. Doae02
Double Dragon NES cover Double Dragon Beat 'em up Classic beat 'em up game, street punks have taken your girlfriend and it's up to you, Billy Lee, to teach them a lesson. If you like spin-kicking chicks with chains, sparring with giant bald men, and arrows telling you when and where to "Go!", this game is for you. Double Dragon (U) 001
Double Dragon 2 NES cover Double Dragon II: The Revenge Beat 'em up Superior to the first game because of the epic Co-Op play. Snatch up a buddy and rid the streets of crime, martial arts style. Has an odd button choice where you can hit in-front of or behind you, but you'll get used to it soon enough. Double Dragon 2 - The Revenge (U) 001
Dr Mario NES cover Dr. Mario Puzzle Mario Cures Cancer. Create combinations of colored pills to make viruses explode, similar to Puyo Puyo, but more Chill (and Fever). The 2-player game develops into an exciting race for the last virus. (DISCLAIMER: Mario is not a real doctor. Do not let him touch you in a way or in a place that makes you feel uncomfortable.) Dr. Mario (JU) 001
Dragon Warrior 4 NES cover Dragon Warrior IV RPG You control different characters in different chapters, and they all band together in the last (which is longer than all the others combined). Has a great DS remake, but some people also like this version, some even find it superior. You may feel differently, but give it a try. For an NES game, it is pretty damn impressive (to say the least) and there's a handful of differences to warrant playing both versions. For extra nostalgia, consider using the official guide, found as a .pdf HERE.
The other NES DWs aren't listed here, as the remix variants on GBC and SFC provide a fairer and generally improved experience.
Dw4nes 007
Duck Hunt NES cover Duck Hunt Gun game If you had the Zapper, you likely had this too. Also on a 2-in-1 cart with Super Mario Bros. Player 2 controls the ducks. pic
Duck Tales NES cover Duck Tales Platformer A cartoon game that felt Capcom's love. They had a knack for producing good licensed titles, and this is one of them. You are Scrooge McDuck on a 2D platforming quest for more money. If it looks and feels like Mega Man to you, that's no coincidence, they were done by the same team. Recently had a remixed port to modern systems. Visuals were re-drawn, voices were added (by the original cast!), and some new story aspects also pop up. Duck Tales (U) 001
Duck Tales 2 NES cover Duck Tales 2 Platformer Everybody knows Duck Tales, but few have played the sequel. Developed by a different team, and while sharing the same engine and basic gameplay, it is considered by most people to be worse than its prequel. That said, the songs aren't as catchy, but are moody, fit the themes of the stages, and set a great atmosphere. Graphics are more detailed than in the first one. The level design is more intricate and holds many more secrets, the placement of enemy is better thought, and the hit detection, which was a bit clunky in the original, was fixed. Whichever title of the two you think is best, chances are that if you like one of them, you'll also enjoy the other. Duck Tales 2 (U) 002
Excitebike NES cover Excitebike Racing A true classic. Simple but awesome motorbike racing, really needs no introduction. You can even make your own tracks. Unfortunately there's no battery to save them.
The FDS version (and the American Wii version) has this save function intact. It was left in the NES version when NoA had plans to bring the disk system over, but ultimately ditched the project.
Excitebike Gameplay
Final Fantasy NES cover Final Fantasy RPG The classic JRPG by Square. Make a party of 4 characters from 6 different jobs. Mix and match these six choices, even choosing more than one of the same job. If that wasn't enough, at a certain story point, ALL of your 4 allies promote to better classes. This has a rather epic storyline that to this day, still requires a long window of time to beat. FF1 got remade and ported to a number of systems, said remakes added, fixed, and altered several things to be more in line with later FF games. The GBA and PSP versions are the easiest. The GBA version may not look or sound as pretty as the PSP version, but the action flows faster and also comes with Final Fantasy II's remake. Final Fantasy (U) -!- 001
Fire n Ice NES cover Fire'n Ice Puzzle / platform A great puzzle platformer based around... fire and ice. It plays a lot like Solomon's Key, which makes sense, given that it's the same hero, only younger. Difficulty is very progressive so you have time to learn step by step. Fire 'n Ice (U) 002
Formula 1 Sensation NES cover Formula 1 Sensation Racing Probably definitive F1 racing game for the NES. You can play single race or go for Grand Prix. Comparing to other NES games you have a lot tuning options that decide about your performance. There are official Formula 1 tracks that can always be practiced. During the race weather can change and parts of your car can break. Your opponents are real F1 drivers who licensed their names. The game was only released in Europe and Japan. F1s02
GI Joe NES cover G.I. Joe Platformer An action game based on the G.I Joe universe. You have several characters to choose from, each with different abilities. You can switch between three in each stage, power them up, find hidden vehicles to mow enemies down (just like in Low G Man or Metal Slug), and counter terrorists with terrorism by planting bombs in their bases. There are two additional quests where checkpoints are moved around and then outright hidden. G.I. Joe (U) 003
GI Joe The Atlantis Factor NES cover G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor Platformer Another action/platformer based on the G.I. Joe universe. This one is usually considered to be worse than the first one (there are no vehicles), but still a pretty good game nonetheless (there are more characters and you can choose your path). G.I. Joe - The Atlantis Factor (U) 002
Gargoyles Quest II NES cover Gargoyle's Quest II Platformer / RPG A sequel to a Gameboy game on the NES. Gargoyle's Quest II is a fantastic Platformer/RPG hybrid by Capcom starring Red Arremer/Firebrand, everyone's favorite red asshole from Ghosts 'N Goblins. The platforming gameplay is extremely solid, the RPG elements are well placed, the action is great, and this is easily one of the NES' best looking games. The biggest fault is that's it way too damn short! The first game is highly recommended, but it doesn't matter if you play them in order because the stories aren't connected. The third game in this trilogy is also unrelated story-wise, and is one of the SNES' best platformers (that game being Demon's Crest). Gargoyle's Quest II - The Demon Darkness (U) 001
Ghosts n Goblins NES cover Ghosts 'n Goblins Platformer One of the hardest games ever made. You are Arthur, a noble knight trying to save Princess Prin-Prin from Satan. You are very slow, all the enemies are very fast, there's a timer, and 2 hits and you die. You must complete the game twice to get the true ending. Thankfully, there's a cheat code to level select. As you can guess, it's pretty much RAGEQUIT: The Game. Oh, and there's sequels, which can be even harder at times. Ghosts'n Goblins (U) -!- 002
Golgo 13 Top Secret Episode NES cover Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode Action-adventure DUKE TOGO, MOTHERFUCKERS! One of the more mature games for the NES. Sex, drug use, and graphic violence, it's all there (although uncensored it was rather toned down from the Japan version). You fight Nazis (or rather you would if you played Japan's version). Kind of bland at times, and kind of weird at others (killing people earns health?!) and the music sucks, but it's still somehow pretty good. Note: The anime/manga is damn good too. Golgo 13-sex1
Golgo 13 The Mafat Conspiracy NES cover Golgo 13: The Mafat Conspiracy Action-adventure This game is the sequel to "Golgo 13 - Top Secret Episode" It has great graphics, cool cutscenes, good story and a lot of variety. It's much, much better than the first game. It has a really long-ass intro though. Tmc02
Goonies 2 NES cover Goonies II, The Platformer / adventure Classic side-scrolling action based on the hit 80s movie The Goonies. Switch between side-scrolling and point-and-click mechanics to explore the Fratelli hideout to find your friends and items. Think Metroidvania but with yo-yos and spring shoes. Much to everyone's surprise, you also save a mermaid. The Goonies II Gameplay
Gradius NES cover Gradius Shooter Gradius, one of the most classic and recognizable SHMUPs ever made. Shoot the core! Arguably tougher than other versions. Gradius (U) 002
Guardian Legend NES cover Guardian Legend, The Shooter / Action-RPG You play as Alyssa, a cyborg-warrior-jet-person who explores a massive space station. Along the way, you find power-ups and weapons to get stronger as you encounter various traps and mutated monsters.
BUT NOT SO FAST! This is more than an adventure game! You also must travel into deep space through extensive shoot 'em up sections and take on huge and powerful monstrosities in jet mode! The power ups and weapons you find in both modes carry over between the two as well! Thus, in addition to other great elements, this lovely melting of the two modes is why this game is so highly regarded by fans of both genres. Definitely give it a try!
Guardian legend screen
Heavy Barrel NES cover Heavy Barrel Shooter An arcade port of a top-down shooter similar to Commando, but a bit slower and more calculated, concentrated, and refined. Reminiscent of Contra and Metal Slug in weapons, though particularly the latter's usage of grenades for heavy damage in a small area and limited ammo of special weapons. Power-ups and weapons are kept in locked boxes and keys can be gained from foes. The titular Heavy Barrel is a colossal laser blaster that can be fired at will for 30 seconds. While different, it remains a good game for fans of the genre, and great for co-op. Due to limited chances, there's emphasis on dodging along with careful and ammo-saving shooting to stock up for the bosses. Heavy Barrel (U) 001
Jackal NES cover Jackal Shooter A top-down shooter with a military settings. You control jeeps, you can shoot and throw grenades. Great for co-op. Jackal (U) 006
Jackie Chans Action Kung Fu NES cover Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu Platformer YOU PLAY AS MOTHERFUCKING JACKIE CHAN. Great music, great controls, great everything. Did I mention you play as Jackie Chan? Can YOU name ten great things that aren't Jackie Chan? I didn't think so. Go play this shit right now. Also ported to Turbografx-16. Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu Gameplay
Journey to Silius NES cover Journey to Silius Platformer This game pretty much plays like a mix between Mega Man and Contra. Excellent sound (being the first Sunsoft game to have their legendary bass synth) and visuals, this was originally a Terminator game, but the license was canceled. The game presents a decent amount of challenge, and is certainly one of of the better games of it's ilk. 176-journey-to-silius
Kabuki Quantum Fighter NES cover Kabuki Quantum Fighter Platformer A fun action-platformer in which you fight with your hair. You also enter a computer. Some good platforming also involved. This game sounds pretty weird, but it's kick-ass. Like Ninja Gaiden in robot-world where you have a mop of hair instead of a sword. Kabuki - Quantum Fighter (U) 002
Kid Icarus NES cover Kid Icarus Platformer This plays similar to Metroid. In fact, it was made by the same guy, Gunpei Yokoi. You play as Pit, an angel-in-training, who must defeat Medusa to save the Angel Land mentioned in the title. It's like a blending of elements found in Metroid, Super Mario Bros, and Zelda. You can upgrade Pit's gear, find secret shops and passages, and there's fortresses and bosses to conquer. It's been noted for its difficulty, but after the first stage and an upgrade or two, it isn't as bad as some make it out to be. This is definitely worth a try, along with its Game Boy sequel, which improves a number of elements from this game, and has more challenges to face.
Has a Famicom version with some differences, and the 3D Classic version on 3DS is based on it.
Kick Master NES cover Kick Master Platformer / action Cool game by KID and Taito. This game plays similar to Castlevania. You are a martial artist who has to rescue a princess and avenge the death of his brother. You don't have any weapons to fight the armies of monsters, you just kick 'em; you also learn new kicks along the way. The game also uses basic RPG elements, such as earning EXP from monsters, as well as the use of magic. Kick Master (U) 001
Kickle Cubicle NES cover Kickle Cubicle Puzzle / action This game is Irem's answer to Lolo. The puzzler stars an Eskimo named Kickle who is out to save the citizens of four childhood-themed lands from the Wizard King's winter chill. Kickle fights frost with frost, using his breath to crystallize foes and to solidify the watery gaps that surround the uncomfortably-bagged hostages. Controls are fluent and the difficulty ramps steadily - it is friendly to newcomers and develops into a ball-busting challenger towards even the most seasoned puzzle gamers. Kickle Cubicle (U) 002
Kirbys Adventure NES cover Kirby's Adventure Platformer A game that gets the most out of the NES hardware, the pink blob's first console adventure is insanely charming. This is where Kirby's "copy" ability comes into play. Eating certain enemies gives him new abilities. You can only have one ability at a time, but you can get abilities from enemies scattered all over the place. Info on these and the Kirby series in general can be found here!
Also had a GBA remake in the form of Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land.
Kirby's Adventure (U) (PRG1) -!- 001
Kiwi Kraze NES cover Kiwi Kraze Platformer Also known as "The New Zealand Story." Some asshole walrus stole your Kiwi friends. Navigate through several scrolling-maze like levels while avoiding enemy fire and spikes. Take control of the cute Kiwi and use arrows, bombs, fireballs, and LASERS. Definitely give this a try, it's really overlooked. KiwiKraze2
Legend of Zelda NES cover Legend of Zelda, The Action-RPG It's dangerous to go alone, take this. Collect all eight pieces of the shattered triforce, defeat GANNON Ganon, and save princess Zelda in a huge, open-ended world filled to the brim with dangerous dungeons. Bitches don't know 'bout my Magic Shield (and blue ring). Lots of gadgets, weapons, and upgrades to find. Has an entire (and much harder) Second Quest to explore. Classic, must-play, etc.
The Famicom version has some aesthetic differences, but not much else too major. Rereleased in glorious Nippon on SNES via the BSX. A hack exists that allows you to play the BS version of Zelda in its entirety on SNES.
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Life Force NES cover Life Force (NTSC) / Salamander (NTSC-J) Shooter You're thinking, "wait, didn't you already tell us Abadox was a better Life Force than... Life Force?" Well, yes, and no. They're both worth playing, and while Abadox has much better stage design and gameplay, Life Force also has some of it's own quirks, including multiplayer, so there's no reason just to skip out on one over the other. Grab a buddy and blast your way through space with this awesomely fun game. Konami NES quality stuff. 165-life-force
Little Nemo The Dream Master NES cover Little Nemo: The Dream Master Platformer See Duck Tales for the magic Capcom could do with licenses. While the cartoon movie is all but forgotten, this little gem of a game has a childlike atmosphere but the difficulty of a lunar landing. Feed candy to animals and WEAR THEIR SKIN to get new powers. Little Nemo - The Dream Master (U) 001
Little Samson NES cover Little Samson Platformer An excellent platformer, completely forgotten because it went out really late for the NES in 1992. But still a beautiful one with different characters to control with different abilities, each of whom team up in the last chapter. Be warned: if you must have a hard copy, Little Samson is expensive, regularly reaching prices over $100, and while being a good game, is not worth that much. Little Samson (U) 002
Lode Runner NES cover Lode Runner Platformer / puzzle The object of this game is to find all the treasure and escape while avoiding the goons out to get you. For an early title, this one's really classic, and became a short-lived phenomenon in Japan. This game even has a map/level editor so you can try and challenge your friends to your own maps. Great, great stuff. There's a version on the TG-16 that has multiplayer as well. Lode Runner (U) 002
Magic of Scheherazade NES cover Magic of Scheherazade, The Adventure / RPG Good adventure/RPG game from Culture Brain. Along with real-time overworld battles and adventuring, there are also traditional turn-based battles like in an RPG. Loved for its interesting themes such as time-travel, weather manipulation, and so on, but also its great soundtrack.
The Famicom version is rather different (and some would argue inferior) even having an entirely different soundtrack. Check the differences here.
Magic of Scheherazade, The Gameplay
Maniac Mansion NES cover Maniac Mansion Adventure A LucasArts classic. Hilarious and somewhat spooky adventure game with a stellar reputation for all the right reasons. After playing through the game, you'll definitely feel rewarded, it's that good. Also available on the PC with far less censorship. Though this one is still worth playing, ya tunahead. Has a semi-sequel in Day of the Tentacle. Maniac Mansion (U) 001
Mega Man NES cover Mega Man Platformer Yeah, you fucking heard me, MEGA MAN! Not quite as good as 2 or 3, less polished, but still great. It's so hard it will make you cry. For those not in the know, Mega Man starts off with a simple arm cannon with unlimited ammo, but after beating a "robot master", one of the bosses you select, he obtains that boss's weapon, which he always has from then on. Bosses are also weak against certain weapons from other bosses. Unfortunately, these gained weapons DO run on ammo, but you can find weapon refill items in different places and enemies also drop them. This first Mega Man does NOT have a password function, so you must beat it in one go.
The PSP remake, "Megaman Powered Up" can make things harder or easier, depending on your difficulty settings, but it does have saving, in addition to lots of other bonus goodies.
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Mega Man 2 NES cover Mega Man 2 Platformer The refinement of the first game, Mega Man 2 has it all. Great soundtrack, spot-on controls and, above all, just great fun. This entry is like the previous one in formula, except that it has passwords as well. In addition, this game introduced "E-tanks" which let you refill your energy from the weapon select menu, and Item-[#] "weapons", which are platforms that you can ride on top of with additional effects that depend on the number (such as jetting forward, floating up, and scaling walls).
With the exception of a few rocky sections, this is one of the easier and more beloved games in the series. It is recommended that players new to the series start here. Hint: the Metal Blade is amazing.
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Mega Man 3 NES cover Mega Man 3 Platformer The darker sequel to part 2 - and just what the series needed. Introduces Proto Man, a rival character with plot relevance and Rush, a transforming robot dog who replaces the Item-[#]s of MM2, while having similar functions to them. MM3 allows more E-tanks, but it is also one of the longest Mega Man classic games, as it has more stages and bosses. This also added the slide action, which lets Mega Man quickly move forward a brief distance at a lower height, which not only helps with traveling faster, but is handy for dodging attacks as well. Mega Man 3 (U) -!- 001
Mega Man 4 NES cover Mega Man 4 Platformer 4-6 are all fantastic games that you should play if you like the series. Capcom arguably perfected the formula with 4, and only made minor adjustments from then on. These games are consistent in terms of difficulty, level design, and quality. 4 gave Mega Man the ability to charge his Mega Buster and the balloon and wire tools (which you must find first). The new weapons are fantastic and well-balanced. New antagonist, the Russian roboticist, Dr. Cossack has his own castle, just like Wily, and there's also a 2nd (I WONDER WHOSE), a feature which would become the series standard until the end of the NES games.
This also introduced that useless fuck-can Eddie (a.k.a. Flip-Top) who you will learn to hate very easily.
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Mega Man 5 NES cover Mega Man 5 Platformer In Mega Man 5, the charged Mega Buster is quite powerful and your main asset through the game. Unfortunately, the weapons aren't as awesome as in Mega Man 4. This time, Proto Man appears to be the main antagonist, kidnapping Dr. Light in the game's opening. This game also has letters placed in tricky locations in the game's stages to unlock a robotic bird named Beat, who is quite helpful and powerful. Mega Man 5 (U) 002
Mega Man 6 NES cover Mega Man 6 Platformer Ignore the haters, this game is great. By this time, Capcom had gotten quite good at making Mega Man games, and the swan song of NES Mega Man games is fantastic. Sweet grafix, and one of the best soundtracks in the series. In this one, you fight robots from all over the world, and some of them are oddly archaic stereotypes. This game has a unique mechanic where you can use a Rush adaptor to get a jetpack or rocket fist. The best thing is, they have unlimited ammo, so you can use them as much as you want. The stages fork often as well, and are full of secrets. Some of the stages have two different boss chambers, and only by going the more difficult path each time can you collect the letters you need to assemble Beat. Mega Man 6 (U) 002
Metal Storm NES cover Metal Storm Platformer Control a mech and fight through levels. You can change the direction of the gravitational pull to walk on ceilings and shit and the levels and bosses make good use of this feature. Pretty fun game overall and the controls are very tight. Be warned though, this game can have frustratingly punishing levels of difficulty! (And then there's 2nd Quest Mode, which would make Ryu Hayabusa piss his pajamas.) Metal Storm (U) 001
Metroid NES cover Metroid Action-adventure

Space pirates and life-sucking metroids are out to ruin your shit while you explore the planet Zebes in your trusty powersuit. Said power suit can be upgraded with multiple enhancements scattered throughout the game.
The Famicom Disk system version uses saves instead of passwords (so no NARPAS SWORD for you cheaters) and some other neat stuff besides musical aesthetics. ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER FUCKER

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Micro Machines NES cover Micro Machines Racing One of the best racing games for the NES. You control toy vehicles and race tracks that are set around various household areas. For exmaple motorboat tracks take place in a bathtub and choppers in a garden. In tank races you can shoot your opponents or smash them with you heavy armored cars in basement tracks. Like other Codemasters NES games it can be unfairly hard but overall it's fun. Also you will probably play as Spider because everyone always choose Spider, that's the rule. Mm02
Mighty Final Fight NES cover Mighty Final Fight Beat 'em up A cartoon-looking Final Fight game exclusive to the system. It is rather easy and short but it is a lot of fun. You are given the choice between three characters who all have their own style and moves. The art direction is very beautiful, the music style and soundchip used are reminiscent of Mega Man 5 and 6 (except better). Shamefully, it does not have a co-op mode. Mighty Final Fight (U) 002
Mike Tysons Punch-Out NES cover Mike Tyson's Punch-Out Sports You are Little Mac, pint-sized Rocky wannabe boxing your way to the top. Fight champs from around the world, ending with Mike Tyson himself to claim the World Title. Easily the best sports game on the system, in existence ever, and even people aren't fond of older games can still have a blast with this title. There is an alternate version simply titled Punch-Out. It is exactly the same except Mike Tyson is replaced with a Mr. Dream sprite swap (His contract with Nintendo expired, and they decided not to renew it as he had lost the belt, despite what people claim.) This is acceptable if you simply can't find Mike Tyson's version, but who doesn't wanna take on Iron Mike?
Also had a killer Wii remix, which stays faithful in spirit but has a number of interesting changes and challenges. Also, voices!
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Mission Impossible NES cover Mission: Impossible Action-adventure This game plays a lot like Metal Gear, except more action based. Contrary to the NES port of Metal Gear, Mission Impossible is actually great. Be warned though, this game is extremely difficult, maybe even... impossible?! Mission Impossible (U) 002
Monster Party NES cover Monster Party Platformer Your name is Mark. You're on your way home from a little-league baseball game when you are convinced to save a planet of monster people by a creepy gargoyle alien named Bert. It's kind of a typical platformer (on acid). you can attack with your bat (which is awkward and has a very short range but can deflect things), or fuse(?) with Bert by taking pills (!?), which then enables you to fly and shoot lasers for a limited period of time. This game is weird as fuck. This is a decent platformer with some glitches here and there (a few are game wreckers). Easy to come by and cheap, it'll cost you maybe 3 bux plus shipping. Surprisingly, it was never released in Japan. Monster Party (U) 001
Mr Gimmick NES cover Mr. Gimmick (PAL) / Gimmick! (NTSC-J) Platformer Mr. Gimmick is one of the most rare, expensive, overlooked and underrated game on the NES. Outside of Japan, it was only released in Scandinavia. You play as some kind of green Kirby-ish looking character (Gimmick came out first) using stars as weapons. Gameplay, music, level design and atmosphere are all excellent. The game is also rather challenging especially if you want the real ending. The AI of the enemies will blow your mind (for a NES game, it also features one of the best bass sound on the NES (partly due to it's unique chip), along side Journey To Silius and Gremlins 2 (all three games are some of Sunsoft's finest - go figure!). It is highly recommended to play the FAMICOM version over the PAL NES one for additional sounds which add a LOT to the music. The only other difference is that you have more lives (30) in the PAL version. Mr. Gimmick (E) -!- 002
Ninja Gaiden NES cover Ninja Gaiden [NTSC] Platformer Different from the original "arcade hit" beat 'em up, this is actually a platformer! A very difficult and fun classic where you play as a ninja slicing fools up. Features amazing cutscenes for the NES. It was later ported to the Turbografx, some argue that the port is superior. Most disagree due to the inferior music and slight differences. Not to be confused with the Master System and Game Gear games, which are both different, but also quite solid in their own right. The early series is also known as Shadow Warriors in PAL territories and Ninja Ryuukenden in Japan, but nowadays, everyone knows the Ninja Gaiden name! (And it's guyden, not gayden!) Ninja Gaiden (U) 001
Ninja Gaiden 2 NES cover Ninja Gaiden II [NTSC] Platformer Similar to the first, but better, partly due to the fact you can climb up any wall. However, there's some new challenges thanks to weather elements in stages. Ninja Gaiden 2 - The Dark Sword of Chaos (U) 001
Ninja Gaiden 3 NES cover Ninja Gaiden III [NTSC-U] Platformer Similar to its prequels. The NTSC-U and PAL versions were made MUCH harder, which is why you might want to play the FAMICOM version. Hell, here's a quote from "Most significantly, the amount of damage Ryu received from being hit by enemies was doubled in the North American version. Also, the Japanese version boasted a password save feature, unlimited continues, and would restart players within areas after losing lives, rather than returning them to the beginning of areas as in the North American version." Ninja Gaiden 3 - The Ancient Ship of Doom (U) 002
Nightshade The Claws of HEUGH NES cover Nightshade: The Claws of HEUGH Adventure / fighting A rather unique adventure game with a lot of humour. Also involves some fighting. A rather difficult game, mostly due to the fact there's no saves (you had to outsmart Sukteh's deathtraps to continue... but he gets fed up after five and just ices you), so use save states. Did you know this game was intended to have sequels, but never did? Instead of making a direct sequel, the basis of this game was used to develop Shadowrun. Now you know! Nightshade (U) 002
North and South NES cover North & South Strategy Off-shoot of a Belgian comic centered around the American Civil War. Simplified turn-based strategy that works surprisingly very well with the controller. Major under-looked gem. Now considered to be one of the most underrated games on the system, and is likely highly influential. North & South (2)
Over Horizon NES cover Over Horizon Shooter Only released in Europe and in Japan, Over Horizon is a good sidecrolling shooter reminiscent of Life Force. Don't forget to set your emulator to PAL! Over Horizon (E) -!- 002
Paperboy NES cover Paperboy Job vandalism simulator You are a lowly paperboy, tasked with delivering newspapers to your customers in a timely and safe manner. Turns out the job isn't as easy as it seems, since kids in big wheels, dogs, bees, the grim reaper, and other hazards want to make your life a living hell. Like it or not, you have a job to do and you have to do it well if you want to make it to the end of the week. Are you a bad enough dude to deliver papers? Paperboy Gameplay
Parodius NES cover Parodius (Eur) Cute 'em Up A very cutesy and colorful port of Parodius Da! Like just about all the console ports each had their own special stage. Due to being on the famicom it's a bit more family friendly too. There's also some slight differences between the NES and FC versions such as the ending. Parodius NES screenshot
Power Blade NES cover Power Blade Platformer Power Blade is one of the best action platformers on the NES right up there in the leagues of Ninja Gaiden, Shatterhand, and Mega Man. Originally a somewhat crap Japanese game known as Power Blazer, the translation 'team' (Captain F'N Nintendo) went and made it better by making the cutesy anime protagonist into an action hero badass, as well as expanding the levels in size as well as with branching paths, overall better graphics, and seriously tightening up the controls. In Power Blade you can choose which level you wish to play in whatever order (like Mega Man), and then you beat your way through the level with a robotic-boomerang thing. A must have NES title. Power Blade (U) -!- 001
Power Blade 2 NES cover Power Blade 2 Platformer A sequel to the first game. This game is mostly linear, and easier at times with all the specialized suit areas, but still fair in difficulty throughout. Power Blade 2 (U) 002
Punisher NES cover Punisher, The Rail shooter One of the few rail shooters on nes and actually it appears to be good. This game is so dark and moody that you would shit your pants. Nice visuals and none linear level progression (Mega Man-style) only add to it's value. Somehow made by the same guys that made Nightshade and Shadowrun. Puisher game
RC Pro Am NES cover R.C. Pro-Am Racing Balls-to-the-wall awesome R.C. racing game. Collect upgrades on the tracks to improve your little racer and attack the other cars with rockets and oil spills. Also, it was made by a little company called Rare. Beware of THAT FUCKING YELLOW CAR! Voted hardest game of all time by the G4 channel in its early days. If you want more multi-player, the sequel supported FOUR drivers. R.C. Pro-Am Gameplay
Rampage NES cover Rampage Platformer Go around punching buildings, tanks, helicopters, and whatnot as either a giant lizard or gorilla. The Werewolf is gone and you only get to attack America. Rampage (U) 002
River City Ransom NES cover River City Ransom [NTSC] Beat 'em up Double Dragon meets an RPG. It hasn't aged particularly well, not enjoyable at all. Just look at that flat orange background, that's pretty much the whole game. DISREGARD THAT I SUCK COCKS. This game fucking rules. It's one of the best beat 'em ups on the NES. You increase your stats by eating food, learn skills by reading books, and you can use nearly anything you find as a weapon, even your enemies, or stick with your bare knuckles. You can even save some food as life-saving snacks and equip certain items. You can even team up with a second player. This game had a few spin-offs and sequels. Some of which drop or change up the RPG formula, but are just as action packed and enjoyable. The characters also show up in a number of sports game spinoffs, often under different names until recent years. River City Ransom (U) 001
Rygar NES cover Rygar Action-adventure This game is interesting because it's like a mix of Zelda and Metroid. It's very fun and challenging to collect all the items you need to defeat certain enemies and solve certain puzzles in a platforming environment in a fantasy world. The only problem is there's no fucking saves or passwords which is just god-damn ridiculous, so kids back in the day would leave their NES on for days or even weeks to play this game, simply pausing and shutting their TVs off when they needed to go to school or sleep. Recommended in ROM format for savestates. The PS2 remake inspired God of War. Rygar (U) 002
SCAT Special Cybernetic Attack Team NES cover S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team Shooter A very good side-scroller shoot'em up which plays like Abadox and was made by the same developers. Great for co-op. Just be careful how you research it. SCAT - Special Cybernetic Attack Team (U) 002
Section Z NES cover Section Z Shooter An oft-forgotten Capcom shmup. Section Z has you playing as a guy in a space/mech suit, going into a planet and destroying fucking everything. Again, the Life Force/Abadox premise, but in this one the planet isn't alive (besides, this was a year before Life Force came out). The gameplay itself is smooth shmuppin, and everything is of Capcom NES quality. Be on the look out, this game is cheap and easy to find, and EXTREMELY worth it. Also available as part of the Capcom Classics Collection (PS2). Section Z (U) 001
Shadow of the Ninja NES cover Shadow of the Ninja (NTSC) Platformer Natsume was really good at making NES action games, and Shadow of the Ninja is certainly no exception. As it stands, this one's a bit of a cult classic. Shadow of the Ninja does feel like a bit of a Ninja Gaiden clone, but it does play a bit differently as well as including multiplayer, so there's nothing wrong here. Amusingly, Tecmo bought the rights to this and made a spinoff on the Gameboy as Ninja Gaiden Shadow! It lacked the multiplayer, however, which is for many the defining feature. Pick this up if you ever get the chance, it's a worthy addition next to your Ninja Gaiden games. Also known as Blue Shadow in PAL territories and Kage in Japan. Shadow of the Ninja (U) 001
Shadowgate NES cover Shadowgate Adventure A classic point 'n' click game originally on Mac with tons of fucking tough puzzles, plenty of exploring, some great humor, great tunes, and fantastic atmosphere. You will DIE A LOT. Spawned two sequels (on TG16 and N64, respectively). There's also a Gameboy Color port, which changes a bit of text, but has everything more or less intact. The Japanese version text is first-person(?!) and RIDICULOUS AS FUCK. Shadowgate (U) 001
Shatterhand NES cover Shatterhand Platformer / beat 'em up Natsume was really good at making NES action games, and Shatterhand is the prime example. 2D action game that involves lots of punching. Punching enemies, punching gates down, punching bullets, and so on. You can also pick up Alpha and Beta icons that give you a robot helper with a weapon depending on a 3-icon combination. Great music and graphics. (Hint: Collect the same combination twice with your robot still functional to wreck shit like God Hand, NES edition.)
The Famicom version of this game, called Tokkyū Shirei Soruburein, was based on a TV show, and is different in a few ways. It is a lot easier. The character and robot sprites are different. A stage and boss is exclusive to each version. The intro is different. But because it is easier, it is also a lot less fun Therefore, it's recommended to play the Japanese equivalent after having completed Shatterhand.
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Sky Kid NES cover Sky Kid Shooter Simple, but good shmup from Namco, but with a TWEEST! YOU FLY LEFT. Play as a badass bird in a biplane while you shoot down other planes and pick up bombs. Has some great music (just listen to the stage theme, shit's so cash) and features a co-op mode, which was very rare for the time. Oh yeah, if you get shot down, just mash that A button to stay alive and flying. The B button lets you avoid enemy fire by doing a loop in the air. Available on the Wii Virtual Console if you can't find a cart or don't want to emulate. Sky Kid Gameplay
Smurfs NES cover Smurfs, The Platformer A rather unknown PAL exclusive. One of those typical but good, short, rather easy and fun platformers like you would find many on the system. Not an extraordinary game but good for some short and simple fun. Don't forget to set your emulator to PAL if you don't have a top loading NES! Smurfs, The (E) -!- 002
Snake Rattle n Roll NES cover Snake Rattle 'n' Roll Platformer A classic, fun and original platformer. Control snake heads in an isometric world where each level is a slice of the world map (you can see to the other levels near the edges of the play area). Eat your enemies to grow a longer tail for your snakes to allow the weight scale open the level exit. Pick power ups and find secret areas and level shortcuts. Provides a steady challenge for a long time. Get a co-op partner and start slithering. Snake Rattle'n Roll (U) 002
Snakes Revenge NES cover Snake's Revenge Stealth / action The non-canonical version of Metal Gear, but still fun regardless. Unlike the other Metal Gear, this one is not a piece of crap. Has the same fun stealth action as the MSX version with some new side-scrolling action (might be rage-inducing). Just because the plot of this isn't tied in with the actual Metal Gear timeline doesn't mean it deserved the hate it got. After all, this game inspired Kojima to make the true sequel to the series. Snake's Revenge (2)
Snow Brothers NES cover Snow Brothers Puzzle / platformer Join Nick and Tom on their 50 floor quest for their girlfriends and red potions. shoot Ice at your enemies and turn them into cool bowling balls. Despite being an arcade port, the game is relatively easy specially with the unlimited continues, the real challenge lies in getting a "Strike" in every level. It's quite similar to Bubble Bobble, and arguably better. Snow Bros Gameplay
Solar Jetman Hunt for the Golden Warpship NES cover Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship Shooter / adventure Basically Metroid meets Asteroids with gravity. You control a ship (which has a surprisingly satisfying sense of momentum for a game on the NES) whose objective is to explore 12 different planets (and one hidden one), collecting ship parts, fuel, and various upgrades along the way. It's kind of like Master Blaster in that you control both a ship and its pilot, but unlike Blaster Master, they both control almost identically and your ship has to blow up before you control the pilot. It's a bit slow-paced starting out, but it's surprisingly addictive and difficult. Solarjetman-game
Solomons Key NES cover Solomon's Key Puzzle / platformer VERY HARD puzzle platformer with plenty of arcade qualities. Always cited for being extremely fun but brutally tough, especially if you manage to get past stage three. Most people can't. If you really like the gameplay in this, try Fire'n Ice (it's also easier). Solomon's Key (U) -!- 002
Solstice The Quest for the Staff of Demnos NES cover Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos Puzzle / platformer A classic, but difficult, isometric puzzle platformer with a great atmosphere. Had an SNES sequel called Equinox, where you play as the hero's son, and a spinoff called Altered Space where you play as an astronaut. All 3 are made by the same company, and have involvement from the legendary Follin brothers! Solstice (U) 002
Spelunker NES cover Spelunker Platformer An interesting platformer that only consists of one REALLY big level. Gather all the treasure you can and head to the exit! Starts off pretty easy, but gets increasingly more and more hard, eventually becoming tough for a NES game, which is saying a lot, since 8-bit generation is the definition of hard games. You'll either love or fucking hate this game, no exceptions. Fun Fact: This had huge success in Japan and basically started their speed-run craze as Metroid did for us (some of them can beat this game in half a minute, but it's gonna take YOU hours). Inspired Spelunky. It also has a spiritual successor on the PS3, which is FUCKING AWESOME. 224-spelunker
Sqoon NES cover Sqoon Shooter One of the better 'undiscovered' games on the NES, Sqoon is a solid horizontal shmup with interesting ideas that other games of it's ilk don't offer, including hostage rescue and fuel refilling. It's also notable for being about a pink submarine in submerged earth, instantly making it more interesting than every other shmup which was a plane or a space-plane. If you have the option, go for the Famicom version because the cartridge has an LED on it that lights up when you play, which is really cool. Made by Irem (the R-Type guys) Sqoon (U) 002
StarTropics NES cover StarTropics Action-adventure This game is an under-appreciated gem on all accounts. Made by the same Nintendo team who did Punch-Out, the game StarTropics was a love letter from Nintendo to the West. Not released in Japan, StarTropics is a funny, engaging, Zelda-style adventure played out through interesting puzzles and tropical locales. Combat is tile-based, but smooth and gameplay is like Zelda but with jumping. Possibly the best game on the system. It's sequel is called Zoda's Revenge: Startropics II. Startropics (U) 003
StarTropics 2 Zodas Revenge NES cover StarTropics II: Zoda's Revenge Action-adventure It has the same problem that Zelda 2 did: it ain't as good as the first. Startropics II was developed by an American team (under Nintendo's banner) who brought some interesting ideas to the table (including psychic powers and time travel). The control has been altered for more of an action-style and fighting has been improved; but, it's overall weaker due to less inspired graphics, enemies, puzzles, and music (VERY base-breaking on the last aspect though, as many love it). Some find certain aspects to be an improvement, though others agree that the first was generally better for the puzzles, atmosphere, and creative mix of sci-fi and tropic nature elements. Play it and deciding for yourself! Startropics 2 - Zoda's Revenge (U) 001
Super C NES cover Super C / Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces Platformer The sequel to Contra. The indoor stages are now top-down stages, but otherwise a similar game. Expect to die a lot. Great for co-op, just like the first! Super C (U) -!- 001
Super Dodge Ball NES cover Super Dodge Ball Sports After kicking ass in River City Ransom, the characters changed their names and took up dodgeball. Has planning, strategizing and over-the-top "super throws" to mix things up. And yeah, they're supposed to be flickering. At least, sequels fixed this, along with generally being better. Still, a solid start for a fun series. Try playing Beanball with a pal when not taking on the normal game. Super Dodge Ball NES ScreenShot2
Super Mario Bros NES cover Super Mario Bros. Platformer Does it really need an introduction? Also available in a rather common "2-in-1" cart with Duck Hunt. Super Mario Bros. Duck Hunt (U) 001
Super Mario Bros 2 NES cover Super Mario Bros. 2 Platformer The creation of SMB2 is a strange tale. It started as a prototype for a new Mario game, but it was rejected in favor of a sequel more similar to the original. Then Nintendo was hired by Fuji TV to help promote the mascots of some technology expo; they reused that prototype and made Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. Meanwhile, the Japanese Mario 2 turned out mediocre, little more than a stupid hard level pack for the first game; so the original team went back to Doki Doki Panic and reworked it into a Mario game again, and this is what western audiences got. In the end, the game felt quite different from the original, but no one cared much because it was very solid and fun. Many of its new elements, such as player characteristics and abilities, enemies, keys, and throwing of enemies later made their way into the rest of the series. Super Mario Bros. 2 (U) (PRG0) -!- 001
Super Mario Bros 3 NES cover Super Mario Bros. 3 Platformer The biggest and best platformer on the NES, and often regarded as the best game ever, full-stop. Super Mario Bros. 3 (U) (PRG1) -!- 002
Tecmo Super Bowl NES cover Tecmo Super Bowl Sports Don't dismiss this game just because it's a sports title, it's fun as hell and if you have a friend to play with, it's even better. Real NFL teams with real NFL players (in 1991), each rated "realistically." Play as San Francisco to rape with passing or Oakland/Detroit to run all over the place. This game is a classic. Tecmo Super Bowl Gameplay
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 The Arcade Game NES cover Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game Beat 'em up Konami finally got the Turtles right in this NES port of the arcade beat 'em up. This also features some stage alterations and additions as well, all of which make it worth playing even if you've played the original. Great for co-op, just don't be a pizza-stealing jerk! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (U) 002
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 The Manhattan Project NES cover Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project Beat 'em up Using the same engine as TMNT2, this one however is an exclusive to the console. Each Turtle has a unique special attack and you can now throw your enemies around. If you like TMNT2, you should like this one as well and vice-versa. Great for co-op, unless you're still a pizza-stealing jerk. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III - The Manhattan Project (U) 002
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters NES cover Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters Fighting One of the best fighting games for the NES. Heavily inspired by Street Fighter II. You can choose one of seven characters. The graphics are nice, the movement is fluid. Story mode could be better (only Turtles can be chosen in this mode) but overall it's solid game. There were also versions for SNES and Sega Genesis but each of them is a different game based on the same idea and franchise. Tmnttf02
Tetris Tengen NES cover Tetris Puzzle It's fucking Tetris. There are two versions of Tetris on the NES: the rarer Tengen version (ported from the arcade) has better gameplay, a two-player mode, and a good original soundtrack, but more people still go for the Nintendo version due to nostalgia for the recognizable music and to fap to seeing the Nintendo characters on the win screen. Tengen Tetris NES screenshot
Tiny Toon Adventures NES cover Tiny Toon Adventures Platformer Tiny Toon Adventures is a short but fun, well executed platformer like you would find many on the NES, and it is also one of the better ones. It does take some inspiration from Mario in the way running and jumping works, but goes farther by adding a slide-boost jump system which is not mandatory, but extremely fun once you've mastered it. Great for 30-60 minutes of classic NES platforming action once in a while. Tiny Toon Adventures (U) 006
Tombs and Treasure NES cover Tombs & Treasure Adventure / RPG A very neat Adventure RPG, set in the Mayan times. Plays like any Adventure game, but action is all RPG. Solve puzzles and interact with objects to discover the secret mysteries of the Mayans. Be warned! It can be pretty damn brutal at times. Tombs and Treasure (2)
Ufouria The Saga NES cover Ufouria: The Saga (Eur) Platformer Another overlooked game that was only released in Japan and in Europe. The art and sound direction is reminiscent of Mr. Gimmick (same developer). Rather non-linear platformer, and refered to by some as a "Metroid-lite". though that's hardly a bad thing. There are four different characters you can get after you beat them as bosses, each with their own abilities. Available on Virtual Console in US and Europe, so be a pal and support Sunsoft! Known as Hebereke in Japan, and the characters all underwent some design changes in Ufouria! Ufouria (E) 002
Ultima 3 Exodus NES cover Ultima III: Exodus RPG Ultima is an RPG, like Wizardry, that gives you alot of customization. Unlike Wizardry, it is a bit more open-ended letting you explore all over and fight anyone in tactical-styled battles (even old grannies!). Kind of tough, and not as easy to get into compared to some RPGs on NES, but when you do, you'll find the only thing that's aged are the graphics and the use of "ye olde English". Ultima screenshot
Ultima 4 Quest of the Avatar NES cover Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar RPG Gets some slack for removing some aspects of IV compared to other versions, but also improved and added some things as well. One such addition is in letting you equip both melee and long-range weapons simultaneously (though you can only choose one to strike with per turn). Spells are also easier to use, though still require recipes and reagents. The map is remixed a bit, making the placement of some areas and items often different. The negatives are the 4-person limit (vs 8), music being somewhat lacking, and random battles opposed to the norm. Past that, the game is more or less the same and arguably as good as other versions in the long run. Use this handy site for an easier run. Ultima - Quest of the Avatar2
Uninvited NES cover Uninvited Adventure Another point and click adventure, in the same vein as Déjà Vu and Shadowgate (same developer). Also has spells and curious horror-themed items, some of which are useful, and others... Well, we'll let you find that out. Here's a hint though: Talk with the parasol holding woman in the hallway. DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. Uninvited (U) 002
Vice Project Doom NES cover Vice: Project Doom Shooter / platformer Often cited as a Ninja Gaiden "clone", Vice: Project Doom in every way improves upon the formula and also throws in vertical shooter, racing, and first person shooter segments (that amazingly don't suck). It even packs in some nice cutscenes. If you're a fan of the Shatterhand and Ninja Gaiden formula, it's impossible to not instantly love this. Vice - Project Doom (U) 001
Warios Woods NES cover Wario's Woods Puzzle Wario has done something bad in what are presumably his woods, and it's up to Toad to sort him out by matching 3 of the same enemy (blocks) in a row and survive his opponent until he stops Wario. Gameplay is the typical match-3-while-trying-to-live-longer-than-your-opponent kind, but there are are tons of different enemies which makes sorting them out challenging, and the game is pretty fun. Found in Animal Crossing as an NES game, so check it out if you've got a copy of it. This is last official NES game in North America. Also on the SNES, but the differences between both make them both worth playing. Wario's Woods (U) -!- 001
Wizardry NES cover Wizardry 1, 2, 3 RPG Welcome to the motherfucking world of Wizardry, a game that popularized a genre of hardcore first person RPGs. Absolutely brutal with traps, unfair deaths (teleporting into walls?!), and swarms of enemies. However, it is well done in character building and customization and if you beat it, you are one rad badass. Only true hardcores need apply, and even then, prepare to die. ALOT. Most versions you find are translated, but patches aren't hard to find if you don't get one that's pre-patched. There's always the PC originals...
Fun Fact: In Japan, it has its own loyal fanbase and some exclusive games over there. Check some other pages here for examples, specifically DS and PSP (Class of Heroes is actually a Wizardry-owned spinoff!).
Wizardry screenshot
Wizards and Warriors NES cover Wizards & Warriors Platformer A trilogy of games involving a knight in various adventures. In the first you save damsels by fighting bosses. You collect weapons, items, gems, and keys to help you on that quest. There was also a side-game on gameboy. Wizards & Warriors (2)
Wizards and Warriors 2 Ironsword NES cover Wizards and Warriors II: Ironsword Platformer More or less the same as the first, except for shopping and gambling. You have to stop some wizard that controls all four elements. Ironsword - Wizards & Warriors II (U)2
Wizards and Warriors 3 Kuros Visons of Power NES cover Wizards and Warriors III - Kuros: Visons of Power Platformer Kuros: Visions of Power allows different classes plus the game has no contines making this game MUCH HARDER. Wizards & Warriors 3 NES ScreenShot3
Zanac NES cover Zanac Shooter A shmup from the makers of the famed Aleste series, Compile. Utilizes an AI that gives you enemy varieties and patterns based on what weapon you have, rather than relying on the same wave pattern each time you play. The visuals can be annoyingly repetitive but is still worth playing. Zanac Gameplay
Zelda 2 NES cover Zelda II: The Adventure of Link Action-RPG The "black sheep" of the Zelda series. It's actually a pretty good game on its own. Sidescrolling gameplay, but it was only the second game, so was made before the top-down style was firmly established in the series. The only lame thing is the monster encounter system, otherwise, actual combat is pretty good. Unlike the first, it started off a trend of having people to talk to and side-quests for them. That said, this is HARD AS BALLS, and not always in a satisfying way. You will cry, and you will die often. PROTIP: Pause the game during an action section and press Up+A on the second controller to bring up the save menu. Even though it's not quite the best of its kind, it inspired numerous companies to make their own takes, with various degrees of success among them.
The Famicom version has some of the most drastic FC/NES differences for better AND worse.
Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (U) 001

The Famicom


Basically Famicom is Japanese version of your NES. It got two worth mentioning add-ons that were forerunners for future gaming trends.

First one was Famicom Modem. Even if it's quite primitive for today standards it allowed gamers to go online which was pretty revolutionary at the time. It was never used for online gameplay but provided content such as game reviews and previews, cheat codes, news, weather forecasts or even banking transactions and stock trading. Famicom Network idea was later expanded in SNES Satellaview.

Second add-on is rather short lived Famicom Disk System. The biggest issue at the time was with saving your game progress. First generation of cartridges were ROM only and lacked battery-backed memory which was too expensive at the time. Famicom Data Recorder introduced by Nintendo allowed to save content of few games on cassette tapes but it's manufacturing cost was too high. That's how FDS was born. Games that were released for it had a save feature also FDS had additional RAM memory and could generate better sound. Games came in two ways. You could buy pre-written disk or get some blank disks and go to one of those Disk Writer vending machines and choose games by yourself. You could use the same disk and rewrite it again. A lot of games that were released for FDS were cheaper re-releases of cart titles. Many of games that were released first for FDS were later ported to cartridge format when battery-backup memory get less expensive. Outside the Japan they usually came with implemented password system. Game prices were the reason why FDS retained some popularity even after Nintendo abandoned this technology in a favour of more reliable cartridges. FDS even had it's official mascot, Disk-kun (Mr. Disk or Disk Boy in English).

These are the games that didn't quite make it out West, but are still worth checking out. Whether you own a clone system, an actual Famicom, a converter for your NES, or maybe just looking for ROMs, here's the list for you.

The Famicom List

Box Art Title English title Genre Description
Akumajo Special Boku Dracula-kun Famicom cover Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun Castlevania Special: I'm Kid Dracula! Platformer Did you ever want to play Alucard, from Castlevania, as a cartoony kid? Well now you can! An extremely fun platformer goofing off on the Castlevania franchise, you play as "Dracula-kun" aka Alucard in a classic platforming romp. The gameplay is like a smoother 'vania, with a Megaman 4-like charge shot. Has a translation patch for the ROM, but it won't make much sense anyways. Curiously, the final boss cameo'd in Symphony of the Night as a boss! A version of this was also localized for Gameboy as Kid Dracula. Akumajou Special - Boku Dracula Kun (J) 003
Battle City Famicom cover Battle City Battle City Arcade Possibly the best co-op game on Famicom. You are a tank. And you should destroy enemy tanks which respawn like bitches over and over again. And if they destroy you base (Yeah, that eagle at the bottom of the screen IS your base) you are a deadman. There a lot of levels and you can do your own levels too! Lots of endless fun with your friend. Had something of a western cult fanbase in the day because versions of this would sometimes pop up in those 50-in-1 NES pirate carts. Also known as Tank 1990 in Poland, on the motherfucking Pegasus console. Images (1)
Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa Famicom cover Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa Bio Miracle — I'm Upa! Platformer This is a great platformer game by Konami where you play as a baby. So much fun it hurts sometimes. A bit similar to Klonoa, but ballooned foes float automatically, letting you hop on them for a brief ride (instead of just double-jumping) and ballooned foes can be bounced diagonally (needed to kill bosses). Be warned that ballooned foes also bounce off of hard-objects, while piercing soft-objects and foes, so don't get hit by ricochet. A bit challenging, but remarkably whimsical. Released on the Wii's virtual console for 600 points, if you'd rather go that route. Disk system version has better music? Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (J) 001
Captain Tsubasa 2 Super Striker Famicom cover Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker RPG / sports You might have heard of this game from the anime series or the blandly translated prequel). This game mixes soccer with an RPG. You run around the field as you would in a normal soccer game, but when you want to pass or shoot you have to call a menu with commands (such as shoot, pass, dribble, super shots, etc). You also have MP (Guts), something you have to watch carefully seeing as every action consumes MP (even running) The game starts pretty easy but gets incredibly difficult incredibly fast. You start with only one player who has super shots, but eventually more super players join your team (that's when the game gets really fun). You don't really have to know moonspeak to play this game, after playing for 10 minutes you'll have it figured out OR you could download the translation from here: Captain Tsubasa Vol 2 - Super Striker (J) 002
Chaos World Famicom cover Chaos World Chaos World RPG Chaos World is one of the better and most underrated RPG on the system made by Natsume. Some cool features are how you choose how your main character grows in terms of class and abilities and another is that you can send off allies from guilds to do jobs, and they'll return with gold and gear as rewards. A translation patch for the ROM can be found here and it also includes the fucked up original patch for hilarity's sake. The new one is legit, but the original has notable errors, mostly in the menu, along with a weird one that has an NPC spout machine code, then attack you as an army of powerful soldiers for no reason. Chaos World (J) 002
Chojin Sentai Jetman Famicom cover Chōjin Sentai Jetman Birdman Squadron Jetman Platformer Yet another short, easy, but fun action platformer for the system. Some characters have a sword, some others a gun. This game seems to share the same or an earlier engine of Shatterhand. Even though this is solid it's not quite as good as Shatterhand. The TV show it's based on ain't half bad either. Choujin Sentai - Jetman (J) 002
Cocoron Famicom cover Cocoron Cocoron Platformer A very unique platformer with customizable characters, great graphics, great music, and overall a great game to own. You can give your character different body parts and weapons, which affects their stamina, power, speed, and jumping ability, among other factors. Neat worlds, weird bosses, and a nonsensical narrative. There's a translation patch for the ROM as well. Cocoron 002
Cosmic Epsilon Famicom cover Cosmic Epsilon Cosmic Epsilon Shooter A cool rail shooter in the same vein as Space Harrier, with some graphics that challenge what one expects to be possible on the Famicom. Cosmic Epsilon 002
Crisis Force Famicom cover Crisis Force Crisis Force Shmup Simply said, one of the best shmups on the system. The graphics and sound are wonderful, but the real kicker is the gameplay. You can change the shape of your ship at any moment (3 shapes different) to shoot different types of missiles. It's also great for 2-player co-op, as you can experiment with different support formations and the ships can fuse for a short while and kick extra ass. Crisis Force (J) 002
Devil World Famicom cover Devil World Devil World Arcade Miyamoto's take on Pac-Man, basically. You're a dragon who has to kill the Devil by collecting bibles in hell and destroying skull boxes. Awesome. It doesn't really differ too much from Pac-Man other than the screen moving whenever the dickhead of a Devil points his fingers. It's definitely a challenge since the screen movement can smash you against the walls and the enemies like to be sneaky and stalk you into a corner. Not only that but the game gets faster and faster with each stage. Thankfully though, by getting a cross or bible, you can shoot out "HOLY FIRE" to make enemies retreat. Was released in Europe, but that version suffers from the old PAL issues. Devil World (J) 002
Dig Dug Famicom cover Dig Dug Dig Dug Arcade Sadly, the most faithful port of the original Dig Dug never even made it out west! Definitely worth picking up by any means, it shouldn't even cost a lot. Dig Dug (J)
Downtown Special Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki da yo Zenin Shugo Famicom cover Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki da yo Zen'in Shūgō! Downtown Special: It's Kunio-kun's Period Drama, Gather Everyone! Beat 'em up The true "sequel" to River City Ransom, this time the action takes place in a very scenic feudal japan with Kunio/Alex's ancestor, Kunimasa. You still take on rival gangs, but the exploration is more non-linear. Getting stronger depends on a few new factors in addition to the old, but easy to re-figure out. As you can see to the right, you always have a buddy helping you, even in single player. Very "sugoi", so to say. There is a translated ROM available Downtown-special-kunio-kun-no-jidaigeki-dayo-zen-in-shuugou.2
Dragon Ball Z Kyoshu Saiyan Famicom cover Dragon Ball Z: Kyôshū! Saiyan Dragon Ball Z: Assault of the Saiyans! RPG It's a pretty interesting rpg with a weird card-based battle system. The low point is that battles are REALLY FUCKING SLOW, wich becomes really tedious since the bosses are ridicously strong and you are forced to grind a lot, but this problem can be easily solved when playing on an emulator. The game follows the story of the manga/anime, starting the moment you fight Radditz and it ends with the battle against Vegeta. There is a translated ROM available DbzI02
Dragon Ball Z 2 Gekishin Freeza Famicom cover Dragon Ball Z II: Gekishin Freeza! Dragon Ball Z II: Freeza the Planet Destroyer! RPG Same as the first game, this time the story picks up right after the battle against Vegeta. You have to travel to planet Namek and collect the dragon balls to revive all thew people who died. (Are they still on Namek?!) There is a translated ROM available DbzII02
Dragon Ball Z 3 Ressen Jinzoningen Famicom cover Dragon Ball Z III: Ressen Jinzōningen Dragon Ball Z III: Hot Battle! Artificial Humans! RPG Now it's the time to fight Cooler, the androids and motherfucking Cell. There is a translated ROM available DbzIII02
Dragon Ball Z Gaiden Saiyajin Zetsumetsu Keikaku Famicom cover Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Saiyajin Zetsumetsu Keikaku Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans! RPG This time the card battle system has been changed a bit and the battles seem to flow faster. Also the story has nothing to do with the anime/manga. There is a translated ROM available Dbzg02
Final Fantasy 2 Famicom cover Final Fantasy II Final Fantasy II RPG Haters gonna hate, but its still worth a play. Quite different from most Final Fantasy games. Has a pretty enjoyable story and mythos like most FFs, -BUT- It has many curious elements such as the "password", where you learn secret info to progress, and "stat progression" systems, where you get stronger based on your actions in battle. There are some ROM patches that fix the stat system and make it more balanced. This growth style was first perfected in Square's later SaGa series on Game Boy, also known as the Final Fantasy Legend series. So if you like this, be sure to check that out. There is a translated ROM available. Also on GBA with FF1 and PSP. Both have a cool extra story, "Dawn of Souls", which contains spoilers, but is very damn cool (and hard!). Final fantasy ii passwords
Final Fantasy 3 Famicom cover Final Fantasy III Final Fantasy III RPG This game needs not be introduced. One of the best RPGs on the system, and the first to bring the Job System full swing vs FF1, where you just chose a party to stick with until the end credits. Different in some subtle, but notable ways from its remake on DS. As a result, you may like one over the other, but both are quite solid. There is a translated ROM available. Final Fantasy III (J) -T-Eng5.4 AkilLa- 001
Fire Emblem Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Tsurugi Famicom cover Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light Tactics RPG The very first. MANY things are different from later entries. No weapon triangle, limited jobs, and some jobs can't promote! But, it's still a GOOD game with a lot of content. Oddly, due to the lack of some elements, it can be exploited to become rather easy. An English translation patch is available for the ROM. Has an SFC remake with a second story, both of which have DS remakes which bring the gameplay to that of modern entries and are the best ways to experience the stories, now fleshed out for a much richer experience. Fun Fact: Sakurai of Kirby and Smash Bros. fame is a huge fan of the series. Fe1 screen
Fire Emblem Gaiden Famicom cover Fire Emblem Gaiden Fire Emblem Side-Story Tactics RPG The "black sheep" of the FE series. It plays quite differently than all other entries, even the first. A number of elements were added that were used in later entries though. It feels like a traditional RPG, but with a tactics control-system. Despite that, it still has the series spirit, remains an entertaining and surprisingly long and in-depth game, and is one of the few Japanese-only FEs with a full fan-translation. This is NOT the game to get into the series with (most prefer FE7 on the GBA), but it is still worth playing whether or not you've beaten any of the others. Fire Emblem Gaiden (J) -T Eng97b2 J2e- 001
Fuzzical Fighter Famicom cover Fuzzical Fighter Fuzzical Fighter Shooter / RPG A shmup with many RPG elements. There is experience, etc but also a small overworld in top down view where you control your character and where you get to go to an INN, a shop, etc. All of this happening in a medieval fantasy setting. There is a translated ROM available. Fuzzical Fighter (J) -T-Eng1.0b- 004
Getsu Fuma Den Famicom cover Getsu Fūma Den Legend of Getsu Fūma Action-adventure A good action/adventure game. The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game was based on the engine of this game, except this game is made much more sensibly. It plays kind of like a cross between Castlevania and Gargoyle's Quest. There is a translated ROM available. Getsufuu Maden (J) 002
Gradius II FC A Gradius II Gradius II Shmup 8-bit conversion of Konami's 1988 arcade sequel. While arcade purists may overlook this version in favor of more accurate ports available on other platforms, this Famicom rendition has enough of a unique flavor to stand on its own. Very similar to the Famicom Salamander, graphically and mechanically, but was made on a more advanced mapper chip that allows for both, vertical and horizontal scrolling, at the same time. Absolutely no Japanese literacy is required to play. pic?
Heracles no Eiko 2 Titan no Metsubo Famicom cover Heracles no Eikō II: Titan no Metsubō Glory of Heracles II: Titans' Downfall RPG Sequel to Tōjin Makyō-den Heracles no Eikō (aka. Glory of Heracles), Easier and more conventional than the first. This is the first GoH game to be translated which set patterns for its later sequels. You're a mortal Greek soldier who must find the hero, Heracles, so he can prevent the Titans from resurrecting. On your journey, a centaur and sentient statue join your cause and you also meet mythological figures as NPCs and enemies. Plays like a Greek cross between Dragon Quest 2.5, but without the annoying OPEN DOOR and CLIMB STAIRS. Pretty hard early on, but there's a few neat elements to this that make it worth finishing. There is a translation patch available. Herakles no Eikou 2 - Titan no Metsubou (J) -T-Eng SpoonyBard- 001
Holy Diver Famicom cover Holy Diver Holy Diver Platformer A total Castlevania rip-off/clone that is inspired and sponsored by 80's heavy metal act Dio, based on his hit song 'Holy Diver'. What a fucking priceless game. While hilarious in concept, the game is actually really good, and is definitely a must-own. The only problem is, finding it proves to be extremely hard. Even if you're just looking for the rom you'll find yourself googling for quite a while. So imagine how hard it is to come by the cart. Made by irem, the guys behind R-Type. Holy Diver (J) 001
Joy Mech Fight Famicom cover Joy Mech Fight Joy Mech Fight Fighting This game is weird. Imagine Vectorman-like characters fighting on the Famicom. Yup, a fighting game with robots on Famicom. I guess that says everything. A lot of fun, just strange. Made by Nintendo themselves. Joy Mech Fight (J) -T Eng100% AlanMidas- 007
Kaijuu Monogatari Shell Monsters Story RPG 4 Heroes fight the Demon Fat Badger and get their asses handed to them, they are then scattered to the 4 corners of the world. Reunite them and defeat the Demon. Difficult as it is quite grindy, uses keys to unlock certain doors and characters have limited inventory space. Has 2 sequels on the SNES. Fully Translated by KingMike
Konami Wai Wai World Famicom cover Konami Wai Wai World Konami Wai Wai World Platformer A Konami platformer that features some of their early game characters including: Konami Man and Konami Lady, King Kong, Mikey Walsh (Goonies), Goemon, Simon Belmont, Twinbee, Moai, Vic Viper, Pentarou and Fuma. You can swap out between characters once you find them. The last level is oddly inspired by Twinbee, despite pretty much everything else being a platformer. "Wai Wai" is a bit hard to translate, but more or less means "crazy"/"fracas"/"noisy ruckus"/etc. Waiwai02
Konami Wai Wai World 2 Famicom cover Konami Wai Wai World 2 Konami Wai Wai World 2 Platformer Sequel to the above. Fewer characters, arguably better music and graphics, with much improved gameplay. Playable characters include: Simon, Bill Rizer, Upa, Goemon, Fuma, Vic Viper, Twinbee, and Rickle the new robot exclusive to this game. Waiwai202
Kyattou Ninden Teyande Famicom cover Kyattou Ninden Teyandē Samurai Pizza Cats Platformer A platformer based on the anime. Another sort of typical good, short, rather easy, and simply fun platformer on the console (unless you use the Hard Mode cheat). You have to switch different characters who all have their own abitilies. Special weapons can be powered up two additional tiers, each weapon being different among the characters. Only one of the three mains from the show can be used at a time, but the 4 supporters are always used. Meowzma/Gotton by the way, tunnels through soil by holding the d-pad against it. All 4 sub-cats are useful for both reaching the stage goal, but also finding extra goodies in side-areas, such as 1-ups and life/energy refills.
Has an English translation patch.
Lagrange Point Famicom cover Lagrange Point Lagrange Point RPG Konami's sci-fi adventure puts you in the shoes of Jean, an upstart pilot that investigates the reason behind a space-station assault. The fighting system is comparable to Dragon Quest's first-person view. This game utilizes the unique VRC7 co-processor which grants the Famicom soundboard 6 FM-synth channels - making the audio comparable to the Sega Mega Drive! The translation is currently underway by Aeon Genesis, with progress at 60% as of March '10. While the project continues, feel free to play around with the game to enjoy its intoxicating soundtrack and chop through some battles. Lagrange Point (J) 002
Layla Famicom cover Layla Layla Platformer It's a sci-fi platformer in a bizarre world. You're Layla, a sort of space soldier and you have to rescue your partner, Iris, from an evil scientist (about half-way in the game). Similar to Psychic Force on other platforms, but instead of powers, you find several weapons like Machine guns, grenades, flamethrowers, etc. but they have limited ammo, so it's best to stick to your upgradable pistol (infinite ammo) for stages and save the big guns for bosses. Note that jumping higher requires running fast, but press down before jumping to jump even higher, even without running.
Be warned that music is a bit tinny and there's no invincibility frames on Layla, which makes killing foes for life-boosting food a must. Also note that after getting Iris, you use twice as much ammo, since she also fights. Also, don't stay in one screen too long, or a space-tornado (?) will come in and obliterate your lazy ass.
Layla Famicom screenshot
Magical Kids Doropie Famicom cover Magical Kids Doropie Magical Doropie Platformer Feels like... holy shit you're playing Mega Man. Vic Tokai, makers of Clash at Demonhead and Decap Attack made this for anyone who wanted to play classic Mega Man with a witch-girl (who can actually shoot upward!). This game was released stateside as The Krion Conquest, but stay fucking far away from it. The US game's difficulty is punishing due to weird gimps, the story is nonexistent, and there are other unnecessary changes to be found. This version is going to be hard to find physically, but the ROM has been dumped AND translated, so no worries there. Magical Doropie (J) 001
Moai Kun Famicom cover Moai Kun Moai Boy/Moai Jr. Puzzle A puzzle-platformer by Konami. This game is pretty much the Adventure of Lolo sidescrolling version. You have to go around pick up your friends while solving little puzzles with the help of your headbutt and bombs. You can headbutt enemies too but be careful not to trap yourself by destroying the wrong blocks! Moai Kun (J) 003
Moon Crystal Famicom cover Moon Crystal Moon Crystal Platformer A pleasant and colorful Prince of Persia-like with an actual plot (told through Ninja Gaiden-esque cutscenes) and fluid sprite work. The action is deliberately slow-paced and never unfair, but some bosses can be hair-tearingly cheap. (Hint: the best strategy is usually to get there with full hearts and wail on them.) Nonetheless, it's short enough to be worth seeing to the end. Very cinematic! It has been fan translated. Moon Crystal (J) 002
Mother Famicom cover Mother EarthBound Zero RPG If you can read moonspeak, you really owe it to yourself to play the game that started Earthbound/Mother. It's different from its two sequels, but it's still quite amazing. (If you're only looking for a rom, there is a dump of the English prototype that was never released. It's usually labeled Earthbound Zero; if you want an authentic experience,this website sells reproduction copies). Earthbound Zero differs from the original, but is pretty much better. It was even used as the basis for the remix in Mother 1+2 for GBA. Mother (J) 001
Radia Senki Reimeihen Famicom cover Radia Senki: Reimeihen Chronicle of the Radia War Action RPG Surprisingly good narrative from Tecmo (!), with a real-time RPG gameplay that's like a mix of Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger. Your party grows to 5 members, but only the MC is player-controlled and the rest are AI. You can give 'em commands and tactics via menus, and they can also be told to cast spells once they learn them with scrolls. If you position them well, you can gang-up on an enemy and beat the shit out of it. The MC never learns magic, but his sword-arm is strong and he's the only one who can use items and items which have magic-like effects. The aesthetics of this game are just lovely. There is a translated ROM available. 0.png
Summer Carnival 92 Recca Famicom cover Summer Carnival '92: RECCA Summer Carnival '92: RECCA Shoot 'em up If you thought you knew ANYTHING about shmups before playing this masterpiece, then you're clearly mistaken. Recca is not only one of the best Famicom shmups, but probably makes the list of top five shmups ever. This game is hard, and fast, and has little to no slowdown or clipping. It's a fucking technical achievement for a Famicom game, and an achievement in game-design. The game is easily the best space shooter on the NES/Famicom, however, it's extremely hard to come by in cart form, and is thus, expensive. Rom is easy to find. Perhaps the first bullet hell shooter. A must play! Summer Carnival '92 - Recca (J) 008
Spartan X 2 Famicom cover Spartan X 2 Spartan X 2 Beat 'em up A simple but fun beat'em up. The game is basically a straight line, you can only go forward or backward (you can jump, but you can't go up or down). Most enemies only take one hit to die but there are WAVES of them. Difficulty is very progressive. Some good tunes. By the way, you're playing as Jackie Chan. One of his characters, anyway. Spartan X 2 (J) 004
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti Famicom cover Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti Splatterhouse: Naughty Graffiti Beat 'em up A chibi style Splatterhouse game exclusive to the Famicom. I shit you not. This spin-off is just as fun as the other games while being three times more fucking hilarious (because it's still violent/gory despite the cute look). It is however a lot less difficult than the other games in the series and was the first Splatterhouse game to make it to home consoles. It's technically a spin-off, but the in-game story presents itself as a prequel. Still not canon, though. This game is a must-own.
Splatter House - Wanpaku Graffiti (J) 002
Sweet Home Famicom cover Sweet Home Sweet Home RPG Sweet Home for the Famicom is easily one of the best RPGs for the system. Actually a game tie-in for a low-budget horror film, Sweet Home is one of those rare examples where the game is better than the movie. Follows many typical RPG formula standards, but has many of it's own interesting elements as well (each member of your party only has ONE ITEM, and you can't take everybody at once, so you'll have to decide which items you'll need at one point). Horror themed obviously, the atmosphere in this game is stellar. This game was the inspiration for Resident Evil. There is a translated ROM available. Sweet Home (J) -T Eng1.00 Gaijin Suicidal- 002
Takahashi Meijin no Boken Jima 4 Famicom cover Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima IV Adventure Island IV Platformer This is not only the last NES/Famicom Adventure Island game, but in fact, was the last official game released for the Famicom. This one is different from the last 3, as it adds adventure elements of the later Metroid-esque Monster World series. Despite that, this is just as good as the third one, but can get pretty tough at times. Has an English translation patch for the ROM. Takahashi Meijin no Boukenjima 4 (J) 001
Tenchi wo Kurau 2 Shokatsu Komei Den Famicom cover Tenchi wo Kurau II - Shokatsu Kōmei Den The Devouring of Heaven and Earth II: The Story of Kong Ming RPG A.K.A Destiny of an Emperor II. A remix of the first Destiny of an Emperor to be more faithful to the source material. The core game is mostly the same, but many gameplay elements have been improved upon. You can't recruit random generals, but you do get several anyways. Most of them are mostly good, letting you pick and choose your party without limit. Like before, there's quite a bit you may miss, so use this handy website for help. Japan-only, but has a full translation patch. There are 2 entries for the 3rd DoaE, but each plays differently than the first 2, and neither have translations. Tenchi destiny 2 screen
Tojin Makyo-den Heracles no Eiko Famicom cover Tōjin Makyō-den Heracles no Eikō Legend of the Fighting Demon's Lair - Glory of Heracles RPG The first Glory of Heracles game ever and the most unconventional. You play as fledgling warrior, Heracles, on his first quest (to save Aphrodite from Hades and become a glorious Greek hero). Quite unlike most RPGs. Plays like a mix of Zelda 1 and Dragon Quest 1, requiring both exploration and experimenting. You WILL die many times and you WILL likely get lost often. You NEED the manual (translation patch is in the same page) and you NEED to talk to NPCs if you hope to get anywhere in this game. Thankfully, both are very helpful. It's very satisfying once you realize the solutions, which is the main draw to this. Heracles 1 screenie
Wagan Land Famicom cover Wagyan Land Wagan Land Platformer / Puzzle Very unusual and highly overlooked game. You play as mechanical dinosaur that must defeat Dr. Devil who kidnaped his friends. Gameplay is something rather unique. You can't kill enemies (not until the end of a game) but only stun them with a sound waves. Boss battles are in a form of mini games in which you must solve some puzzles. Battle with Dr. Devil is a real pain because it's so hard. Namco had thought about this issue and added special cheat code that allows you to watch ending. There is translation for this game so use it because you won't be able to beat word chaining puzzles without knowing moon runes. Wl02
Yume Penguin Monogatari Famicom cover Yume Penguin Monogatari Penguin Dream Story Platformer The third game in the Penguin Adventure series. It's a sidescroller unlike the last two games, and it has a unique gimmick: lose as much weight as possible for your girlfriend. You will have to dodge all foods (even the ones that look healthy) except for slim shakes to shape up and get faster. Has a really rad soundtrack and nice visuals. Ypm02

ROM Hacks

In this section, we recommend ROM Hacks that we consider worth checking out.

Links to the patches -and NOT to patched ROMs- should be provided in the description whenever possible.

How to play

You will need ROMs of the original games. Sometimes you need a specific version of the said ROM but it's usually told in the readme file. For example you may need to use "awesomegame (U).nes" while it may not work with "awesomegame (U) [!] [b1].nes".

You will also need a ROM patcher such as Lunar IPS, which you can download here

Of course, you will need the patches that turn the original ROMs into the hacked ones. Links should be provided in the descriptions. Most of them should be avalaible at and/or at

Finally, run the patched ROMs in your emulator of choice (or put them on your expensive Powerpak to play them on a real console, but that's only if you're a rich bastard). If nothing happens, or if something odd happens, then you probably applied the patch on a wrong version of the ROM of the game.

The ROM Hack List

Original Game Name of the Hack Description Title Screen Screenshot
Adventure Island III The Lost Isles All the levels were changed, except for 4-4.
Hudson's Adventure Island III - The Lost Isles (U) 001 Hudson's Adventure Island III - The Lost Isles (U) 003
Adventure Of Lolo Challenging Lolo You've beat Lolo 1,2 and 3 and you're still asking for more ?
.... REALLY ?! Well, your wish has been fullfilled. 50 new levels. It gets really hard.
Adventures of Lolo - Challenging Lolo (U) -!- 001 Adventures of Lolo - Challenging Lolo (U) -!- 002
Adventure Of Lolo 2 Challenging Lolo 2 If you've beat the 3 original games and the first hack, and are still begging for more, try this one. 54 new levels. Like the first one, it's HARD.
Adventures of Lolo 2 - Challenging Lolo 2 (U) 001 Adventures of Lolo 2 - Challenging Lolo 2 (U) 003
Castlevania Blood Moon A hack which changes all the levels, and also gives some good looking art (especially for the monsters).
It gets rather difficult past some point.
Castlevania - Blood moon (U) (PRG1) 001 Castlevania - Blood moon (U) (PRG1) 004
Castlevania Remix The best thing about this hack is its art direction. Most it is was made using a grey/black tone that fits really well. The layout of most levels have also been changed.
Some of the musics were changed, sometimes it's good but it's sometimes it's a bit ridiculous. Worth checking for the art alone.
Castlevania - Remix (U) (PRG1) 006 Castlevania - Remix (U) (PRG1) 003
Final Fantasy Final Fantasy ++ Final Fantasy ++ is a “re-imagining” of the very first Final Fantasy game. Pretty much EVERYTHING has been redone, EVERYTHING! Graphics, monsters, equipment, spells, maps, towns, class system and there are even some new dungeons. .
Final Fantasy Final Fantasy ++ World of Chaos This is an expansion pack for final fantasy ++.
It includes adaptations of various dungeons from FFs 3, 4, 5, & 6, SaGa 2, Dragon Quest 5 along with a couple of new ones. It is is quite harder to beat than FF++ !!!
Mega Man IV Gadget Master The layout of all the stages were changed to give a whole new MMIV. A lot palette colors were changed, but there are no new graphics except at the end, no new bosses and no new weapons.
This is exactly why I love this hack: as a consequence it feels new and classic at the same time and it focuses on level design instead of on useless fancy tricks. It was made by Schwa who also made Chaos Control for SMB3.
Mega Man 4 - Gadget Master(U) 001 Mega Man 4 - Gadget Master(U) 005
Rockman 4 Minus Infinity If you want to play ONE Mega Man hack, play this one.
The most technically impressive Mega Man hack. New weapons, new items, new bosses and enemies behaviour, and even an automatic save system.
All the levels and musics were changed. Great level design, challenging while remaining fair. The only problem I had with it was the final bosses (I recommend to save ALL your E-tanks for them) One of the best Mega Man hacks, a must play, you'll be surprised how good it is.
Rockman4 mi MMC5 001 Rockman4 mi MMC5 002
Mega Man IV Maverick Revenge Changes some levels but not all of them (because it freezes against a boss in the Wily stages and the game "ends" there) Some art was changed, replaced by art from other NES Mega Man games. Not as good as Gadget Master but still worth at least a play through.
Mega Man 4 - Maverick Revenge (U) 001 Mega Man 4 - Maverick Revenge (U) 003
Rockman 2 Rockman No Constancy A Rockman hack with the typical somewhat bumped up difficulty. However, MANY elements of the game were changed. New graphics, altered bosses +weapons, and all new levels.Most of all, THE SOUNDTRACK OH GOD. It's 8bit audio bliss featuring many songs from other games and series.
Rnrtitle Constancy
Rockman V Endless Like the Endless mode in Mega Man 9, except in Mega Man 5.
It mixes already existing rooms with new ones. Some new rooms are unfair (especially those with the lasers) but most of them have a very good design. Requires a ROM of Rockman V and will not work with a NTSC-U or PAL version.
460titlescreen 460screenshot2
Rush'n Attack G All the levels were changed. Rather difficult.
Rush'n Attack - G (U) 002 Rush'n Attack - G (U) 001
Super Mario Bros. Extra Mario Bros. Mario meets Super Metroid. It's as good as it sounds. The look adds pseudo SNES-sprites and the soundtrack is cool too. Just remember that it runs on SMB1 physics, so jumping and bouncing work kind of weird here. Extra mario bros Extra mario bros screen
Super Mario Bros 2 Legend Of The Blob Bros 2 This hack offers completely new levels, a new story and a lotof new graphics.
It succeeds in offering new cool stuffs (the new sprites for characters and monsters are some of the bests I've seen in Hacks of NES games) while having a smart level design taking into consideration all the things that make the gameplay of SMB2 unique. It's more difficult than the original game at least in the sense that the number of coins is more limited.
Super Mario Bros. 2 - Blob Bros 2 (U) (PRG0) -!- 012 Super Mario Bros. 2 - Blob Bros 2 (U) (PRG0) -!- 003
Super Mario Bros 3 Chaos Control This one is my favourite SMB3 hack. Like many others it replaces all the levels by new ones, but this one succeeds in retaining a classic feel, a classic level design, while being just challenging enough and while never being unfair. As a consequence, it sure is more difficult than the original game, but it's never too fancy and it's just how it should be: it feels like rediscovering SMB3 again and the replay value is high. It was made by Schwa who also made Gadget Master for Mega Man IV.
Super Mario Bros. 3 - Chaos Control (U) (PRG1) -!- 003 Super Mario Bros. 3 - Chaos Control (U) (PRG1) -!- 001
Super Mario Bros 3 Mario Adventure Considered to be one of the bests hack of SMB3. All the levels were changed. You can even choose in which world you want to go. A lot of new features, such as a random weather.
Super Mario Bros. 3 - Mario Adventure (U) (PRG1) -!- 001 Super Mario Bros. 3 - Mario Adventure (U) (PRG1) -!- 003
Wolverine Wolverine: Easy Version While not a bad game (and that's saying a lot for an LJN game), Wolverine is just too damn hard to be much fun. This hack fixes just one little detail that happens to be its biggest problem: the lack of recovery time.
Wolverine NES title screen Wolverine NES screenshot
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