Alan Smithee

A Weird Kid’s Top 10 — NES Platformers

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The FIRST game that I ever played on my old NES was Super Mario Brothers. It was not a perfect game really, but for my little 8 year old mind, it was heaven. The action was intense, the speed was just right, and when you got the fire-flower, you thought you could take on the world.

Since those days, we have had many a challenger in the gaming world that has tried to take the crown of best platformer ever. There were games that came before and after Super Mario Bros. that I have played and owned; many of them were on the NES. It is that one aspect that made me narrow down the list from all systems to just one. With that, I think you guys will be pleasantly surprised to share with me today: A Weird Kid’s Top 10 — NES Platformers. See you at the end.

Mickey Mousecapade

This was the first Disney licensed game that Capcom made for the NES and it is a hell of a game. It’s easy to see why the company retained the rights to all of the other fabulous games that came out down the line. What’s funny is that the original code and sprites were made by Hudson Soft.

The game is centered around Mickey and Minnie attempting to rescue *SPOILER* Alice from Alice in Wonderland. The gameplay is your standard platformer, each stage involves you jumping and avoiding minor enemies until you reach the stage’s boss, each level has a villain from the Disney universe.

All in all, there’s not much to speak of in this game. It was your standard great quality plaformer that was able to keep you entertained for a while and certainly one of the pinnacle of the NES’s library of platformers.

Batman

Holy crap, you couldn’t not love the Batman movie that Tim Burton made back in 1989, its impossible. Sunsoft was responsible for bringing this game to the NES shortly after the movie’s release. Now that I think about it this was probably one of the first games I played that was based on a movie (except Tron of course).

Sunsoft always had me captivated with the quality of the sprites and animation in each of their games. Hell, even Fester’s Quest was pretty alright by NES standards right? Let’s not forget that they also made Blaster Master, one of the best action games ever.

While it’s true that the levels, weapons, and enemies weren’t in the movie. How boring would it be to play a game that matched the movie entirely? I mean, all you have to do is look at the other Sunsoft movie games like Gremlins 2 to see that they make the games much better than the movies every time.

Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Based on the now ancient (to me) comic works of Windsor McKay who published the strip in various publications from 1905 – 1927, Little Nemo: The Dream Master takes us on an adventure through Slumberland where Nemo and his friends (animal inhabitants of each stage that he lures to sleep with candy) must find keys hidden through the level in order to progress to the next level.

Jesus H. Crom people, for such a cute game, you would never expect it to hand you your ass so quickly! The scary bit about this game is that the first level and parts of the second one seem somewhat simple and easy to beat. It’s only when you get to level 3+ that this game ramps up the difficulty factor so exponentially that it would appear as a vertical line on a chart.

Difficulty beside, the game had some great sprite work and amazing music that tied the whole game together. The only thing that really pissed me off is that he has this ultimate weapon on his back throughout the whole game, yet you only use it on the very last stage…other than that, this was another fine example of Capcom’s ability with platforming games.

DuckTales

Shit, well I guess this makes yet another game that Capcom made using a Disney license, and perhaps one of the finest cartoon games that came out on the console. What made this game drastically different than most other games of it’s ilk is the fact that you didn’t have to go through levels in a certain order, you could start at any level from the beginning.

I still manage to break this game out every couple of months when I need a quick shot of retro goodness. I even have the BGM from the game on my iPod at the moment (especially the moon level). This was one of my favorite cartridges as a kid and I’m glad that I was able to pick up a copy of the game a few years back.

Like many games on the NES, there are parts of this particular game that are hard for the sake of being hard. I don’t mind too much except on some of the boss battles, THOSE can be real pains in the ass sometimes.

Kirby’s Adventure

The sexy little pink puffball’s first home console game was on NES believe it or not, children. The biggest draw for this game is the fact that the guys at HAL had finally managed to squeeze every last bit of power from the now antiquated NES.

Like all Kirby games, it’s the titular character vs King Dedede. Kirby’s utilizes his ability to jump, fly, suck, blow and absorb the abilities of certain enemies, all in an effort to restore the power of the star rod to the inhabitants of Dream Land.

I have to say that the first time I played this game, I was really impressed with the graphics and soundtrack. I think this is one of the last games to ever be released on the NES, right around the same time that Star Tropics 2 came out…I could be wrong. All I know is that if you’re looking for how good the hardware was for the NES, this is your game. Just compare SMB1 with this and be wowed that they both came out on the same system.

Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers

Ok I’m sorry, this is the absolute last Capcom/Disney game on the list tonight, also my favorite one of the 3. Not only did I really really really like watching this show as a kid, I must have played through the NES version of the game a good 20-30 times in my life.

The gameplay was solid as hell for a platformer. You control either Chip or Dale (sorry, no Gadget in this one) as you fight against the minions of Fat Cat and other various cartoon villains. What I loved most about this game was the fact that it was a 2-player co-op game throughout the whole game. There’s nothing quite like the great feeling you used to get when playing a game with a buddy back in the day.

Mega Man 3

I know that I’m not alone saying that Mega Man 2 was the best Mega Man game ever made. It really was that good. Unfortunately, I’m not part of that group anymore, I have gone over to Coonskin’s camp, and have been lobbying for Mega Man 3 to be recognized as superior to Mega Man 2.

Instead of me trying to defend this preposterous claim, let’s just admit that the old Mega Man games were brilliant piece of platforming genius. Every single stage’s design was meticulously planned out so that you had to somewhat learn a pattern before conquering each stage.

Do I even need to go into depth about how awesome the Shadowman stage was? Especially when you hit the part of the stage when the lights go out and you have to muddle your way through the darkness. How about the fact that you finally got your faithful sidekick Rush in this one hmmmmm?

Super Mario Bros. 3

I can remember the first time I saw this game. No, it wasn’t in an issue of Nintendo Power, it wasn’t on The Wizard, it was at my friend Thom’s. I sat there on that Saturday patiently waiting for his parents to let us have our turn. We never got to play, the damn parents played it the whole time.

I couldn’t believe how much substance that they had managed to put into one tiny (at the time) cartridge. It amazed me that each world had its own layout, its own theme, and its own secrets.

Had I never bought the SMB3 strategy guide from the store, I would have never known about the white ships, the tricks to get 99 lives, and how to warp. This was perhaps one of the finest examples of platforming that has ever been released. My only gripe were the levels that force you to go at its pace, oh and the water levels; I fucking hate the water levels.

Battletoads

I don’t think I can convey in words how much respect I have for this game. The first time I played Battletoads I knew that I was in for a serious treat. After experiencing the innovative way you had to fight the first level’s boss and going through the decending cavern to the speeder bike level, I just knew that this would be a game that I would be attempting to master until I reached adulthood.

Sure there are a bunch of beat-em-up elements in this game, but there are those who dare to question the validity of it being a platformer. Any game that requires you to make a jump or die is my perfect opinion of a platformer.

The variety of elements this game brings to the table make it better than most I have EVER played…I’m not joking about that either, I still think that Battletoads is a perfect game. Hard as fuck, but still a perfect game.

Metroid

I know that there are many of you who might be mad or upset that Metroid gets my number one above Battletoads and even the much-loved Mario 3, and are probably wondering how and why…

From the moment you appear on the planet Zebes, you are platforming. Yes there are weapons and there is a ton of backtracking through the levels you’ve already been through, but with each new powerup the whole planet becomes new. Once you get the maru-maru you can roll under cracks; when you get the bombs, once unreachable areas are now yours to explore.

Unlike some platformers, you can get through most of the game without ever having to fire a shot at enemies. Sure with Kraid, Ridley, the Metroids, and Mother Brain all require you to shoot, but for a good portion of the game you never even really have to do anything but run and jump.

Finally, Hip Tanaka made probably one of the best soundtracks to ever come out of the NES with Metroid, god I love this game.

Sunday Funday

Play it on Virtual NES and tell me how bad you think it is…It’s a bible game that is supposed to teach your children Christian values while playing a game. It fails miserably at doing both, it doesn’t teach anything except intolerance and violence (something I think Jesus was against) AND dares to call itself a game. There is no need for this kind of product to be made except to pander to adults who think that since it has “values” it automatically equals good.

Avoid this game at all costs unless you’re looking for a good laugh. It’s THAT bad.

Well, this concludes yet another Weird Kid’s Top 10 list. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. I know for certain that there are many of you out there that will disagree with some of my choices for this list, but keep in mind that this is in no way a definitive listing nor is it meant to be taken seriously. Its all for fun, just enjoy reading and take something away with you or leave a comment if you so wish.

If you have a particular Top 10 that you’d like to see, and I’d be happy to oblige. Thank you again for reading. See you next article!

 

Honorable Mentions

Kid Icarus
Whomp ‘Em
Kid Niki: Radical Ninja
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Toki
Low G Man
Goonies II
Ghosts & Goblins
Totally Rad
Metal Storm
Adventure Island 3
Powerblade
G.I. Joe
Shadow of the Ninja
Shatterhand
Blaster Master
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Street Fighter 2010
Karnov
Kabuki Quantum Fighter
Bionic Commando

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