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Classic NES games

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I never had an NES growing up, since my parents were against video games for some stupid reason, so I've missed out on playing a lot of classic games. I'm on a bit of a retro kick right now and feel like playing the classics. Anyone have any recommendations of must-play games?

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I'm going to avoid the common cliches of Mario, Castlevania and Metroid, and suggest you play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (Only play the first one if you're a masochist). It's a very cool Double Dragon-style beat 'em up, and I've had tons of fun playing this with friends. I remember it having some decent music and pretty nice graphics as well for the time, though my perception of it might have been blurred a bit by nostalgia.

Some other, less-cliched suggestions:

- Silver Surfer, if only for the music

- Battletoads, again, if you're a masochist

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I've finished all the Mario games, both of the Zelda games, and all three Final Fantasy games. I've tried Battletoads, and have finished Ninja Turtles 2 (admittedly by using the konami code to get level select and 10 lives; I was the only one of my friends with fingers fast enough to enter the code when I was growing up, so I'd often play it at someone else's house).

Never tried any of the NES Megaman or Castlevania games or Metroid. I'll probably start with those. More suggestions welcome :)

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Megaman 2

The Guardian Legend


Final Fantasy


Ninja Gaiden


Clash at Demonhead

Super Mario Bros. 3 (I know this one seems obvious, but it's up there with my most played NES games ever.)

Destiny of an Emperor

Vice: Project Doom


Edit: Oh, and try out The Adventures of Bayou Billy if you're really looking for a challenge.

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...the music was all bouncy and "beep-boop-booop-boooop" and stuff.

Now you are my new best friend.

Megaman 2 is my favorite for sure. Hey, remember that time I was playing it at Magfest 6 and I was too drunk to beat the dragon in Wily's first stage so D-Lux beat it for me?

All the popular good ones have been named, so I'll say


Shadowgate (this game still scares the hell out of me, I have had so many dreams about it)

Punch Out!

Goonies 2

Base Wars


Yoshi's Cookie

Batman: Return of the Joker

North & South

Ninja Gaiden

River City Ransom

I also really like the open music for Rambo. The gameplay is lacking finesse, though.

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Batman (Action Platformer)

Batman: Return of the Joker (Action)

Blaster Master (Action)

Burai Fighter (Shmup)

Casltevania (Action Platformer)

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (Action Platformer/RPG)

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (Action Platformer)

Contra (Run 'N Gun)

Dragon Warrior (RPG)

Dragon Warrior II (RPG)

Dragon Warrior III (RPG)

Dragon Warrior IV (RPG)

Dr. Mario (Puzzle)

Galaga (shmup)

Gargoyle's Quest II (Action RPG)

Guardian Legend (Shmup)

Gun Nac (Shmup)

Heavy Barrel (Run 'N Gun)

LifeForce (Shmup)

Metal Gear (Action Stealth)

Metal Storm (Action)

Metroid (Action Platformer)

MegaMan 1-6 (Platformer)

Ninja Gaiden (Action Platformer)

Ninja Gaiden II (Action Platformer)

Ninja Gaiden III (Action Platformer)

Silk Worm (Shmup)

Super C (Run 'N Gun)

Tetris (Tengen version) (Puzzle)

TMNT II: The Arcade Game (Action)

TMNT III: The Manhattan Project (Action)

Zanac (Shmup)

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Alright, I'm going to name some odd ones:



Deja Vu did not impress me so much. But those two are fun. A little annoying with a controller because you're always "clicking" on options, but whatever... I still like them.

Of course my classics would be Mario 1-3, Zelda 1-2, Metroid, Castlevania, and Final Fantasy.

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I'm almost surprised that this hasn't been mentioned yet, but Shatterhand is a wonderful game. Maybe it's got a special nostalgic value to me, but I fired it up again a couple of days ago and still think it's as awesome as I did back when I was 9. And the music, ooh. I want to remix some of the tracks.

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Ok, a lot's already been said... but hey, if 5 people name the same game, it's gotta be good, right?


River City Ransom is a must if you have a friend. This game is awesome.

Metroid and Zelda are typical suggestions, but I say forget the first Zelda since its SNES sequel is infinity times awesomer. Instead, play Zelda 2: Adventure of Link.

Rescue: The Embassy Mission(s) is incredibly awesome, as long as you can manage to abseil down the building without dying too much. Music is tops, also. One of the few NES games I'd really like to own, that I don't own.

Joy Mech Fight is a great 2D fighter that puts many SNES StreetFighter clones to shame. It's a Japan only release, but I do believe translation patches are out there.

Can't think of too much else at the moment, but I was trying to name some games that either aren't well known, or are overlooked for others in the series.

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Ha, beat to the punch. Of course it's foremost on my mind, since I'm playing through it right now.

Hmm... let's see. If you're playing through these games via emulation or the Virtual Console, rather than an actual NES, then I'm a big Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels fan. But that's only if you've played the original SMB enough that the final world in that game seems easy to you. The Lost Levels will make you tear your hair out unless you're pretty skilled at platforming games.

(Haha, or I could recommend Cat Mario...)

Alright. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 or 3 (NOT THE ORIGINAL SWEET JESUS IT IS TERRIBLE) will do you nicely, particularly if you have a friend to play co-op with you. One day I'd like to see the Virtual Console support arcade games, because I want to play TMNT The Arcade Game in its original 4-player glory in my living room one day. But that's not NES so whatever!

Dragon Warrior took up a lot of my time as a kid, but that was before I knew what a good RPG was like, so I can't really recommend it nowadays. Lots of grinding, and not much of a story. I think the original Final Fantasy isn't a bad choice, although next to modern RPGs you may still find it wanting.

OH! Play EARTHBOUND ZERO (aka Mother 1). There is the official unreleased translation out there in the internets if you look hard enough. Until the endgame, where the enemy difficulty admittedly gets rather unbalanced, it's a pretty polished RPG for the time, and has a lot of the fun and quirkiness that makes Earthbound (for SNES) so endearing to us all.

Hope that all helps.

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