Pure nostalgia! The NES console was an excellent platform that hosted dozens of quality games. Action and platform games are the ones that had the best representation on this console, and you will see that with this top. With this article, we have encouraged ourselves to make a list of what we consider to be the best 25 games for the NES. Know now!
1. Super Mario Bros. 3
After a sublime Super Mario Bros., the third installment reached an unbeatable level of quality for the NES. Both from critics and players themselves, the unanimous opinion was that Super Mario Bros. 3 was the best the console had to offer.
We put ourselves in the shoes of Mario and Luigi to rescue the seven kings and Princess Peach. We jumped, swam, flew, and even slid through numerous well-varied levels. With each new world we visited, we were presented with new challenges to overcome and included more gameplay mechanics. It never got boring!
2. Mega Man 2 (Rockman 2)
Mega Man 2 is the best-selling game in the saga and it's no surprise to see it among the franchise favorites. The first game, despite not selling very well, was already a standout product in action and platform games. The sequel went one step further and became a brilliant game that every lover of the genre should play.
Mega Man turned to face Dr. Wily who, this time, created robots to face the blue hero. It was possible to choose any order to beat the stages and defeat the final bosses. However, killing one gave us his weapon, and with it, we could exploit the vulnerability of another final boss. This nuance forced us to think carefully about the route to choose!
Each phase was beautiful and with challenges well differentiated from each other. Although the whole game came down to moving forward and beating everyone who stood before us, the difficulty and the many secrets invited us to play it over and over again. There was no way to let go of command!
3. The Legend of Zelda
The first game in The Legend of Zelda saga, and the start of a great adventure! This game was an innovative experience for the time, in which we explored as we pleased and gradually discovered the underground dungeons.
It was the first time we saw Zelda being captured by Ganon, the Prince of Darkness who wants to conquer everything. The way to stop her feet was not easy at all! The game asked us to recover the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, and then face the villain par excellence. We chose the order to overcome the dungeons, although several portions required specific items.
A curious detail of The Legend of Zelda, although not exclusive to it, was an option that was enabled after beating the game. It invited us to play it again, only with stronger enemies, changed locations, and totally new dungeons. A challenge made only for the brave!
We continue the list with another awesome game! Like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid was an action-adventure game that embraced non-linearity. It was also the birth of a new franchise and it wowed perfectionists. To this day, Metroid remains one of the go-to games for speedrunners.
We put ourselves in the shoes of the bounty hunter Samus Aran, with whom we had to infiltrate the base of some space pirates. What mattered most was exploring and understanding how the map worked. The game challenged us to decide which way to go and get both upgrades and new weapons to move forward.
While not one of the most difficult games for the NES, beating Metroid was quite a challenge, especially if you wanted to end up with everything unlocked. Or better yet: without dying!
5. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
The NES console enjoyed three Castlevania, all of the great titles that deserve to be at the Top. Among them, we especially highlight Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Dracula is up to his old tricks again and, to stop him, we played with Trevor. We were not alone, but we had the help of three important characters: Sypha, Grant, and Alucard.
Unlike the second part, the third returned to an approach focused mainly on platforms. We had to fight, of course, but Castlevania III put an emphasis on exploration and decision-making. Depending on the route we took and the partner we chose, we got one ending or another.
Because of that, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was a perfect game to play over and over again, trying out new routes and beating levels with one partner or another.
6. Against (Probotector)
Contra was and is one of the most iconic shooting games of all time. This title knew how to keep the experience fresh with different types of phases: one in horizontal displacement, another in vertical, and the last one in-depth. Our mission was to shoot any enemy that moved, and avoid being touched!
For cooperative play, Contra was one of the best games to come out on the NES. It was difficult to overcome the phases without dying and, in fact, it rewarded us with better weapons if we knew how to stay alive. Being a fairly short game, the most important aspect of Contra was beating personal bests over and over again. More than one showed chest with the scores!
Fame precedes Battletoads. It is one of the most difficult games not only on the NES but in the history of video games. But of course, it's not on this list just because of the difficulty! The game had a good variety of stages, combining various elements from other platforms and action games.
One minute we could be fighting multiple enemies, and the next minute we were avoiding obstacles while driving a vehicle! Battletoads was a title that required us to be on constant alert, as defeat was always imminent and frustration grew with each retry.
Rarely can we find players who have completed the game from start to finish? And you? Did you get over it?
8. Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior)
Dragon Quest, also known as Dragon Warrior in the early iterations, was without a doubt one of the best JRPGs for the NES. The combats were in turns and had the peculiarity that they always took place one against one. We weren't carrying a group of heroes!
It set a good precedent for the same saga and others like Final Fantasy. We played a singular hero with the mission of defeating Dragonlord, rescuing a princess, and retrieving the Spheres of Light. To do this, we ventured at our own pace, discovering secret places and fighting against increasingly stronger enemies.
As a first contact for the franchise and the JRPG genre, the truth is that it was a more than recommended game. Another excellent game for the NES was Dragon Quest IV.
9. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Although it was a simple game in terms of playable mechanics, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! It was a great game for lovers of boxing and the fighting genre. Knowing how and when to hit was the basis of the game, and each opponent had his tactics. Knowing your opponents, how they move, and understanding when to attack or defend was vital. The key was in the technique!
Are you surprised that DuckTales is high on the list? Not us, because it is a very good action platform game! Still based on a children's TV series, DuckTales became one of the best games for the NES in its own right.
We put ourselves in the shoes of Scrooge McDuck, who, cane in hand, travels through five very different environments. We were going to the moon! Each scenario kept a very precious treasure for the protagonist and, of course, each one was protected by a final boss. In addition, the game took advantage of the appearance of other characters to help us or hinder us, which helped to arouse the player's interest.
In short, DuckTales was enjoyable and fun as a few others.
11. Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (Shadow Warriors II)
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos was another challenging platformer that challenged thousands of players on the NES. Without being desperately difficult, the game required all our ability to advance without being defeated. This sequel knew how to improve what was offered by the first part, with better phases, final bosses, and a good assortment of skills to face them. Sharpen your sword!
The release of Tetris on the NES was the first time we could see this game on a console. And it was an immediate success! With a very simple approach, the truth is that it turned out to be a very addictive game. We just had to place pieces in the correct slots, plan ahead, and last as long as possible. To this day there are still tournaments with this game!
13. Vice: Project Doom
Imagine being a detective investigating an organization secretly led by... aliens. Well, Vice: Project Doom placed us in that context! It was another fun game with a good mix of platforming, shooting, and even driving levels. Armed with a laser whip, a pistol, and grenades, you had a great time taking on the evil aliens.
14. Bubble Bobble
As for cooperative video games for the NES, Bubble Bobble was another excellent alternative. It was possible to play it alone, but there was nothing better than going through the 100 levels of the game together with a friend or family member. Turned into very nice dragons, we had to trap enemies in bubbles before defeating them. The whole game is built around that idea, and many times rivalries arose over the scores achieved!
15. Final Fantasy
Regarding famous JRPGs on the NES, on the one hand, there was Dragon Quest but, on the other, Final Fantasy emerged. The game invited us to adventure with the four Warriors of Light, whose classes we could choose. We had a whole map to explore and it was nice to spend hours upgrading our characters. The story wasn't the highlight of the game, but it served its purpose well!
A curious detail is that, before an imminent bankruptcy, Final Fantasy was planned as Square's last game. Who would have thought that it would be the beginning of one of the best-known sagas!
16. Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Double Dragon is a very famous series of beat'em ups, and for good reason. The second part allowed us to play together simultaneously to hit enemies with style. It was vital to know how to move through the phases, when to attack and when to get out of the way. The difficulty increased quite a bit as one progressed to the final stage, and there were many times that we said "come on one more try"!
17. Metal Gear
We are so used to Metal Gear Solid that several times we forget the origins of the saga. On the NES, quite a few gamers were able to enjoy Hideo Kojima's ingenuity with stealth action gameplay. Metal Gear made us feel like true members of the special forces, infiltrating the enemy base and moving with intelligence. It was very important not to be detected!
It was also a game that introduced us to Snake and Big Boss. Knowing at present all the trajectory and history that both have, the truth is that this game is interesting to replay, even today.
Speed up and don't crash! Excitebike was an excellent racing game in which we guided a motocross driver. The main objective of the game was to beat times to get on the podium. To achieve this, one had to know the circuits well and know when to accelerate or jump. Temperature management was a fundamental aspect of Excitebike because, otherwise, the vehicle would stop.
Excitebike was a racing game that required a lot of skill and several retries until one understood the circuits well enough to make impeccable laps. He knew how to keep us hooked to the screen!
19. River City Ransom (Street Gangs)
Apart from Double Dragon, there was also another great game in the beat'em up genre. This is River City Ransom, a game in which we controlled Alex and Ryan, two high school students. To rescue Ryan's girlfriend, both had to face different street gangs, each with its leader.
This beat'em up offered open exploration and focused on improving Alex and Ryan's stats. It was possible to get new weapons from time to time, and the truth is that you had to use everything at your disposal to rescue the bride. A most entertaining game!
20. Kirby's Adventure
Kirby's Adventure was the second game in the franchise and the only one to land on the NES. This platform title was made up of seven worlds, for a total of 41 levels. In each phase, we could jump, float and absorb both objects and enemies, which allowed us to obtain new abilities. Although it is not the most outstanding installment of the franchise, Kirby's Adventure is a great classic and a must for any platform fan.
21. Blaster Master
Blaster Master put us in the shoes of a man who was inside a tank called Sophia the 3rd, to fight radioactive mutants. Do you find it interesting enough?
This game had a good level design, with an approach similar to Metroid. It didn't stand out much by comparison, but Blaster Master was still a great platform shooter. In it, we had to explore at will to overcome eight phases, until we could face and defeat Plutonium Boss. It seemed like a simple funny game, but it was really hard!
Gradius was one of the games that added to the popularity of ship shooters. Without being a bullet hell-like other games in the genre, it was a challenge to finish Gradius without having to retry. For all lovers of action without brakes, this game was the perfect proposal to feel the adrenaline flow through our bodies. When we got upgrades for the ship, there was no stopping us!
23. Kid Icarus
We continue with another action and platform game, and with another unforgettable classic! Kid Icarus gave us the mission to rescue the goddess Palutena and, for this, we had to recover three sacred treasures. Armed with a bow and arrows, we traveled through levels set in the underworld, earth, or sky.
Simpler than others of the same style, the game was beautiful and fun. It had a few issues and bugs that prevented Kid Icarus from rising higher on the list, but it's still an enjoyable gaming experience.
24. Duck Hunt
Duck Hunt, is the quintessential duck hunter and one of the best-selling games on the NES. It was a game that required the NES Zapper accessory to work. Armed with a gun, the ducks flew across the screen and we had three attempts to catch each one. If you didn't, the dog laughed at you!
The game had three modes and both speed and accuracy were vital to getting a higher score. Duck Hunt was not a complicated game at all in his proposal, but the formula worked wonderfully. You could always beat the record!
25. R.C. Pro-Am
We end the list with another well-designed and fun racing game. In RC Pro-Am we drove cars through dozens of circuits with an isometric view. The game required us to finish in the top three, or we couldn't advance. To achieve victory, it was not only enough to drive well, but also to use offensive upgrades and items against opponents.
The strong point of the game was the challenge of completing all the races without losing a single time. Only in this way were we able to accumulate a large number of points, which we then proudly shared with our friends. Too bad it didn't have multiplayer!