#100 – 81

 

100. BUCKY O’HARE

 
North American Release Date: January 1992
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
 
Notes:
Bucky O’Hare!  You remember that cartoon right?  Right?  Right?!?  No, no-one remembers this cartoon. 
 
In the theme song they refer to Bucky as “a funky, fresh rabbit.”  I don’t think you can simultaneously be both fresh and funky, but let’s be real here: all rabbits are funky…smelling that is! 
 
This game however, rules.  It’s one of the fastest, most inventive games I’ve seen on the NES.  The graphics, the music, and game-play are all top notch.  In each level you gain an additional character and you can switch between any of them at will, and each of these characters has a unique ability needed to get through the game. 
 
However, the levels are INSANELY difficult.  Like almost Ninja Gaiden / Battletoads hard.  Thankfully you have infinite continues and when you come back to life, it starts you exactly where you left off.  So while Bucky O’Hare is challenging, it at least gives you a chance to succeed unlike most NES games where game-over means you might as well hit the reset button…or the bottle.
 
Gamefaqs – #81 Review
Retro Sanctuary – #88 Review
Satoshi Matrix – #65 Review
 

99. KIWI KRAZE
 
North American Release Date: March 1991
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Taito
Publisher: Taito
 
Notes:
This game is pretty goddamn adorable.  There’s a part where your kiwi goes underwater and when he does he puts on a little snorkel mask.  Holy shit, I mean I’ve got a cold, frozen heart but even it melts from time to time!
 
Kiwi Kraze is a lot like Bubble Bobble but more expansive.  In every level you open a birdcage and release another kiwi.  Are there just a bunch of kiwis in captivity or is this your girlfriend who’s perpetually getting captured every single level?  Maybe it’s a combination of both and your character belongs to a polygamous cult that’s been shut down by the government and now you’ve got to rescue your many wives!  I’m probably reading way too much into this.
 
Kiwi Kraze is the only game I can think of that’s set in New Zealand, and probably that country’s 3rd most successful export after Lord of the Rings and Flight of the Conchords.  It’s tons of fun though and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to casually play a game where they say “Awwwwwww” constantly.
 
Sydlexia – #93 Review
Retro Sanctuary – #39 Review
 

98. SECTION Z
 
North American Release Date: July 1987
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
 
Notes:
Unlike most shooters, Section Z isn’t all about 1 hit kills and being absolutely perfect in avoiding enemies.  Instead, you have a certain amount of energy and you also have 3 lives.  When your energy goes down you may die and have to start a section over but when your energy completely runs out you start all the way back at the beginning of the game.  It’s a pretty cool idea, especially because the game is a maze with diverging paths so when you start the game over, it forces you to remember where you’ve been and to pick the correct or easier path in order to progress further in the game.
 
All and all Section Z is a pretty unique and original game, but the NES is chock full of shooters and Section Z doesn’t really measure up with games like Gun-Nac or Lifeforce.
 
IGN – #90 Review
Complex – #41 Review
 

97. LEGENDARY WINGS
 
North American Release Date: July 1988
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
 
Notes:
The more NES games you play, the more you realize how many were made by Capcom.  It’s crazy the range of games they made across pretty much every genre and somehow like 97% are really good.  Legendary Wings though?  Meh.
 
At first, this game is similar in style to Gun-Nac or 1942 in that it’s a top-down shooter.  Then once you enter a cave or palace, it switches to a side scrolling shooter like Section Z.  My beef with most shooters is that they program them to be insanely hard thus forcing the player to memorize levels, have super fast reflexes, and collect all the power ups.  Unfortunately when you die you lose any power ups, which in turn makes the harder parts of the games close to impossible. 
 
Thankfully one of my best friends Bryan spent most of his childhood mastering the legendary R-Type, so I just let him beat all the shooters and tell me which ones are best.  It’s what friends are for!
 
IGN – #70 Review
Retro Sanctuary – #99 Review
Complex – #62 Review
 

96. STINGER
 
North American Release Date: September 1987
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
 
Notes:
So many shooters for the NES. 
 
Stinger is brought to us by the other giant developer of NES games: Konami.  They produced a ton of notable shooters like Gyruss, Lifeforce, and Gradius as well as Contra, Castlevania, and a ton of others. 
 
Stinger is not quite as exciting as those games, but it does have the requisite awesome Konami music and colorful graphics.  Since most of the NES shooters take place in space or some grim dark hellhole, setting-wise Stinger is a nice bright change of pace.  Other than that, it’s a dime a dozen.
 
IGN – #65 Review
Complex – #73 Review
 

95. RBI BASEBALL
 
North American Release Date: 1987
Genre: Sports
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco / Tengen
 
Notes:
On the NES, there’s pretty much one good game per sport and Baseball Stars is the only baseball game you need.  There’s just not a lot to differentiate one baseball game from the next, and there’s TWENTY baseball titles for the NES.  I can’t imagine being a game designer and thinking “Where the last 19 baseball games failed, number 20 is going to change the way we play sports games.  Forever!!!”  I’m sure that thought and not “Let me get paid to support myself and my family” was running through their head.
 
However, this game is still better than the ubiquitous Bases Loaded or almost unplayable games like Roger Clemens Baseball or Major League Baseball.
 
Gamefaqs – #63 Review
Complex – #63 Review
 

94. ICE CLIMBER
 
North American Release Date: January 1985
Genre: Platformer / Arcade
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
 
Notes:
When the NES first came out, they released 30 games known as the “Black Box” titles called as such because they all share the same simple label and box design of a screenshot against a black background.  Many of these were arcade ports like Donkey Kong, Balloon Fight, and Popeye or the most basically named sports titles like Baseball, Soccer, Volleyball etc.  Some awesome black box games that stand out are Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, and the master of Engrish: Pro WrestlingIce Climber is one of these Black Box games, but definitely not one of the best. 
 
The arcade style of these early games seems like a placeholder between Atari games, where getting a high score is the objective, and the more complex games to come like Metroid and Legend of Zelda where reaching the end of the journey is the objective.  The graphics are better than Atari, but the mostly static nature of the gameplay seems ancient compared to later titles. 
 
With those gripes in mind let me mention my biggest criticism of this game which is that Ice Climber plays like a Donkey Kong variant but with some of the most awkward jumping controls EVER.  Every time you think you’re about to land on something – naw dawg, you’re falling straight through that platform. Over, and over, and over.  After 10 minutes of this frustration the controller gets thrown and I put Duck Tales in instead.
 
Sydlexia – #55 Review
IGN – #79 Review
Gamefaqs – #90 Review
Complex – #98 Review
 

93. SOLSTICE

 
North American Release Date: June 1990
Genre: Adventure / Platformer / Puzzle
Developer: Software Creations
Publisher: CSG Imagesoft
 
Notes:
Waaaaaay underrated and unique game.  Check out the My First Games section for my take on Solstice.
 
Gamefaqs – #100 Review
Retro Sanctuary – #17 Review
 

92. COBRA TRIANGLE
 
North American Release Date: July 1989
Genre: Racing / Action
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
 
Notes:
Fuck yeah Cobra Triangle!  It’s an isometric perspective racer made by Rare, and it shares a lot in common design-wise with their other title R.C. Pro Am.  The difference being that in Cobra Triangle you’re in a boat, and each level has a different objective whether it’s a race or shooting a dragon or saving people from UFOs.  Super fun and original.
 
IGN – #66 Review
Retro Sanctuary – #86 Review
Complex – #66 Review
 

91. BOMBERMAN II
 
North American Release Date: February 1993
Genre: Arcade / Puzzle
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft
 
Notes:
For me, this is a game that you can play any version of and you’ll have pretty much the same experience: blow up blocks, get items, try to trap the bad guys without trapping yourself. 
 
That being said, Bomberman II is a blast to play.  You can even use it with the NES Four Score which allows for up to 4 players.  For some reason though, the max on this game is 3 players.  Weird.
 
Get it?  “Blast to play?”  Wakka wakka!
 
Retro Sanctuary – #87 Review
Satoshi Matrix – #71 Review
Complex – #55 Review
 

90. TECMO BOWL
 
North American Release Date: February 1989
Genre: Sports
Developer: Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo
 
Notes:
I’m going to sound like a broken record at some point, but a game like this is kind of pointless to play because it’s sequel, Tecmo Super Bowl, improves on the original so much as to make it obsolete.  The Super version has better graphics, cutscenes, more options (touchbacks, timeouts, onside kicks etc), more plays to choose from, actual NFL teams, better computer AI (the computer will consistently go for it on 4th and 15 on their own 10 yard line), and most importantly a save feature that keeps track of stats and standings over several seasons.
 
All in all, it is still pretty fun to play and an upgrade over say 10 Yard Fight.  But if you asked 100 people which Mario Bros game they liked best most would say Super Mario Bros 3, but some would say Super Mario Bros 2 or the original.  If you expanded that scenario to football games, absolutely no-one would pick the original Tecmo Bowl.
 
Sydlexia – #92 Review
Gamefaqs – #42 Review
Complex – #71 Review
 

89. ADVENTURES OF LOLO 3
 
North American Release Date: November 1991
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: HAL Laboratory
 
Notes:
This is the 3rd and final Lolo game for the NES, and while the clever puzzle gameplay is nearly identical to the first or second game, Adventures of Lolo 3 adds cutscenes and an RPG style over-world map.  It doesn’t actually make the game more fun, but it’s a nice addition to a simple formula.
 
Sydlexia – #56 Review
IGN – #52 Review
 

88. SHADOW OF THE NINJA
 
North American Release Date: January 1991
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Natsume
Publisher: Natsume
 
Notes:
This game is pretty rad.  It’s definitely a clone of Ninja Gaiden in terms of look and game-play, but without the unforgiving difficulty.  You can actually play Shadow of a Ninja with 2-Players simultaneously which puts it on a very short list of 2-Player NES co-op games.
 
There’s this one enemy who doesn’t hurt you but just runs right at you, face to face, pushing you from one side of the screen to the next.  It’s kind of like he’s yelling “Come at me bro!” but he doesn’t really want to start any shit.  Truly the least intimidating villain in video game history.
 
Retro Sanctuary – #53 Review
Satoshi Matrix – #54 Review
 

87. DOUBLE DRAGON

 
North American Release Date: 1988
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Technos Japan
Publisher: Tradewest
 
Notes:
A lot of people, myself included when I first realized, don’t know that this is actually a 1-Player game.  You can fight each other 1 vs 1 but there’s not really any point.  The sequel, Double Dragon II: The Revenge, is much better solely for the reason that you can play cooperatively.  The first Double Dragon is still a classic, although an incredibly difficult and frustrating one.  
 
However, the story to me is the epitome of how a simple idea can convey so much.  In the opening scene (pictured above) a street thug walks up and punches your girlfriend in the stomach and then he and his buddies carry her off.  No words, nothing.  How stone-cold hardcore is that? 
 
After that, of course you know your objective is to wander the streets beating the hell out of every man and woman in sight until you find this guy.  What else would you do, call the cops?  Fuck no!  He punched your girlfriend in the stomach!  There’s no mercy for shit like that!
 
Gamefaqs – #49 Review
Satoshi Matrix – #58 Review
 

86. ICE HOCKEY
 
North American Release Date: March 1988
Genre: Sports
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
 
Notes:
Again, it’s hard to play this game and not compare it to the similar but waaaay superior NES hockey game: Blades of Steel
 
You can choose from three different body types that change the way each teammate performs.  This adds a bit of strategy but honestly, it’s not enough to really make this game stand out.  Next!
 
Sydlexia – #74 Review
IGN – #100 Review
Gamefaqs – #45 Review
Complex – #86 Review
 

85. PAPERBOY
 
North American Release Date: 1988
Genre: Arcade / Action
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Mindscape
 
Notes: 
I gotta say, Paperboy is pretty terrible.  I remember seeing commercials for it and thinking “Damn that looks awesome”.  But in actuality, it’s kind of a bland arcade style game with bad controls and shitty graphics.
 
As a bike advocate, I feel like this game tries to teach you one of the principles I completely believe to be true: biking on the sidewalk is not only illegal but dangerous.  All the worst obstacles in this game occur on the sidewalk and as long as you stay on the road you’ll be fine.  Just kidding, cars still hit you in the road and open manholes or grates still make you crash.  Just like in real life!
 
In a truly meta moment, you the paperboy appear on the cover of the paper you’re delivering with such headlines as “Paperboy delivers: earns honors, and big bucks” and “Mysterious vandalism baffles police.”  So, first of all, people respect you and lavish you with money for delivering the paper?  Did the mayor give this kid the key to the city or something?  No fucking way.  Second, are the police so stupid that they can’t connect a broken window with the newspaper that’s lying behind it?  That’s like finding a bullet in someone and wondering “Hmmmm, now how did this get here?”  Hate to break it to you officer but a gun put it there, a gun owned by the honorable and high paid paperboy your lawnmower attacked earlier today.  Sorry to blow your mind pig!
 
Sydlexia – #36 Review
Gamefaqs – #75 Review
 

84. KICKLE CUBICLE
 
North American Release Date: September 1990
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: IREM
Publisher: IREM
 
Notes:
Kickle Cubicle was made by IREM who only made this, Image Fight (a pretty awesome shooter that didn’t make this list), and the crème de la crème Metal Storm.  They’re most famous for making the king of all shooters R-Type, which sadly did not appear on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
 
This is a really cool puzzle game similar in game-play to Adventures of Lolo.  You travel from glacier to glacier freezing bad guys and turning them into ice bridges so you can reach your beloved ice-cream and what I think are cocaine baggies.  Once you do so the ice island you were just on explodes and a ring of vegetables appear.  You don’t consume these vegetables, but occasionally they talk to you and beg Kickle to help them.  I swear I wasn’t taking acid while playing this game.
 
However, I’m confused about the underlying moral of this game.  Since the ice-cream is an objective and the vegetable guys are your friends, is it advocating a diet of sweetness over nutrition?  Is Kickle’s destruction of the polar ice caps in search of cocaine a critique on global warming and the downside of consumerism?  Or is this a non-judgemental Scorcese piece about a yung sno-boy whose love of narcotics and candy makes him feel like a god-like destroyer of worlds?  I wish I had the answers.
 
IGN – #94 Review
Gamefaqs – #71 Review
Retro Sanctuary – #56 Review
Satoshi Matrix – #83 Review
 

83. GOONIES II
 
North American Release Date: November 1987
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
 
Notes:
My buddy Doug had this game growing up.  As a kid, I remember certain 1-player games that my friends had being off limits either because they didn’t want me to fuck up their progress or, like Goonies II for example, because the game was way too hard. 
 
Despite having great music and a cool design, Goonies II is pretty damn confusing and thus not a game I’d want to play very often.  After tedious backtracking, talking to weird old men, and checking every surface of every room you’ll wish you’d used Nintendo Power or the internet to help you play this game.  Instead, you’ve been sitting alone, punching walls in a video game for hours on end.
 
Sydlexia – #70 Review
Gamefaqs – #68 Review
Complex – #88 Review
 

82. CHIP N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS
 
North American Release Date: June 1990
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
 
Notes:
I was a big fan of this show and as such I used to rent this game a ton back in the day.  Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers is a pretty fun platformer which is very accessible although not particularly challenging.  It’s a rare 2 Player co-op platformer where you and a friend can work together as Chip and Dale, but most of the time you’ll just be trying to pick up the other player and throw them off a ledge.  Now that’s fucking teamwork!!!
 
The sequel, which I haven’t bought yet, goes for crazy prices on Ebay.
 
IGN – #71 Review
Gamefaqs – #61 Review
Retro Sanctuary – #68 Review
Complex – #96 Review
 

81: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III: THE MANHATTAN PROJECT
 
North American Release Date: February 1992
Genre: Beat ‘Em Up
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
 
Notes:
Obviously this list isn’t based on my own proclivities, or this game would easily crack the top 20.  Superior to the oft mentioned TMNT II: The Arcade in every way, TMNT III: The Manhattan Project is one of the best 2 player co-op games on the NES. 
 
My buddy Dean and I would stay up all night playing this game and would strategize on which turtle was more effective for which boss or how to fight enemies to get the most points and thus extra lives. 
 
See my Top 2 Player Games section for more on this bad boy.
 
Editor’s note: I also haven’t published that section yet.  I mean the Braves game was on, and I just got this new bottle of High West, and I should probably do laundry…I’ll get to it, just give me a sec.
 
Gamefaqs – #48 Review
Satoshi Matrix – #45 Review

One response to “#100 – 81

  1. Pingback: HOWDY! | Snow Way Bro's Top 100 NES Games List

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