The best NES games of all time

These are the classic NES games that helped redefine gaming

The success of NES Classic Edition and has shown that the love for Nintendo’s classic console is still alive and well. The official emulator pre-packed with 30 games (or more if you’re willing to wade into the legal gray territory and download some ROMs) is a neat device. A Nintendo Switch Online subscription also grants you access to a growing library of great NES games. Still, nothing beats the real thing. Whether you have one stashed away in a closet somewhere or you’ve just picked one up off eBay, there are a lot of great games on the console that are worth playing again, even after all these years. These are our favorites.

Action

Vice: Project Doom

Vice: Project Doom was a sleeper hit when it first debuted in ’91, but truly for no reason at all. The storyline was original and intriguing, focusing on a detective and his investigation of a secret alien corporation and a food substance moonlighting as a highly addictive drug on the black market.

It was a multi-genre game, showcasing platforming elements akin to Ninja Gaiden and driving segments reminiscent of Spy Hunter, with first-person shooting elements trickling through via a .44 Magnum and M-24 sticky grenades. Moreover, it’s embellished with all the standard facets players came to expect, such as a health gauge and a limited number of lives, while boasting 11 levels of futuristic weaponry and cinema-style cutscenes.

Contra

There’s no denying the ’80s was a decade of super-muscular action flicks (think Sylvester Stallone in Rambo, Arnold Schwarzenegger in anything). The action heroes used massive machine guns and biceps to blow stuff up, and like the aforementioned blockbusters, Konami’s beefy title basked in a sea of high testosterone and ammunition.

There wasn’t really any real strategy to Contra, other than holding down the “fire” button and running like hell, and its brutal difficulty pretty much made cooperative play a necessity for amateurs and professional gamers alike. Moreover, the game popularized the now-famous Konami code, one giving players 30 lives to squander in their mad dash for victory.

Jackal

Released in the United States three years after Rambo: First Blood Part II, Jackal was also about the rescue and retrieval of POWs. However, whereas Stallone relied on a barrage of explosive arrows and a mean six pack, Jackal relied on a Jeep outfitted with an upgradeable rocket launcher and a heavy-set machine gun.

As with most run-and-gun games, players lost lives when taking damage in the title, gained lives when they garnered points, and were faced with a myriad off boss battles once they dropped off their rescued comrades at their respective rescue locations for helicopter pickup. Yet, unlike Rambo, players were far more productive with a teammate who could lend a helping, trigger-happy hand than alone.

Rygar

rygar4

Often overshadowed by similar games such as Metroid and The Legend of Zelda, Rygar was an action/platformer game known for its unfortunate combination of high difficulty and lack of a save function. The player must seek out five magic items, all guarded by bosses, in order to ascend to the floating castle of the evil King Ligar for a final confrontation. Some areas can only be accessed with certain items, a la Metroid, encouraging exploration and backtracking.

Given that the “Metroidvania” genre has so long been dominated by the two titular franchises (Metroid and Castlevania) Rygar is a fun little curio, taking the standard elements of the genre and setting them in a Mesopotamian-inspired world. As mentioned, the game is known for its draconian difficulty, but thanks to modern conveniences like emulators, it is possible to alleviate some of its problems through save states.

Gaming

Here are all the awesome award-winning indie games from IGF

Indie games are now offering experiences capable of matching -- and often surpassing -- that of big-budget blockbuster titles. The Independent Games Festival recognized the best of them on March 20.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for March 2019

Looking to score Nintendo's latest console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on bundles that feature must-have games like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Zelda: Breath of…
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Get in the Dark Zone and blow away the competition with our The Division 2 guide

The Division 2 has three Dark Zones, specialized areas for PvE and PvP combat. Our Dark Zone guide teaches you the ropes, from the recon missions to the leveling system to the dangers and benefits of going Rogue.
Product Review

Acer Predator Triton 500 review

Nvidia’s new RTX 2080 Max-Q is the fastest GPU you’ll find in any laptop, but it usually comes at a steep price. Acer’s Predator Triton 500, starting at $2,500, makes it a little more affordable. But what must you sacrifice in the…
Gaming

The Division 2

The latest news, guides, tips and tricks, updates, patch notes, and more so you can learn how to level up your game in The Division 2. Related Categories: The Division 2 News | Guides | Features
Gaming

Get a new Nintendo Switch? You'll need to grab these accessories

The Switch is a capable console right out of the box, but it has its limitations. Thankfully, these Nintendo Switch accessories will allow you to make the most of Nintendo's latest console.
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Gaming

Get a head start mastering Apex Legend's newest character Octane with our guide

Apex Legends' newest legend Octane ran so fast in the Titanfall 2 gauntlet that he blew off his legs. Now dropping into Kings Canyon with prosthetics, Octane's ability set is still centered around speed. Here's how to play as Octane.
Gaming

The Division 2 offers nothing but a funhouse mirror of America

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 improves on the design shortcomings of the original game in several different ways, but its version of Washington D.C. is completely removed from reality.
Gaming

World of Warcraft's allied races will make you want to start a new character

The Hord and Alliance are seeking new allies in their struggle for control of Azeroth. Rather you pledge your allegiance to the Horde or Alliance, we've got a guide to help you unlock every allied race that's coming in Battle for Azeroth.
Computing

How the Google Stadia could lead to a new era of multi-GPU gaming

Google's Stadia could use more than one graphics card to deliver the high-performance visuals it's promised. If that leads to better developer support for multi-GPUs, could that mean gaming with two or more graphics cards could finally be…
1 of 10