15 Most Underrated NES Games of all time!
Are you sick of playing the same old NES classic games over and over?
It's time to try something new and get out of your comfort zone. The NES had so many great games available for the console, why not look for some of the more undiscovered ones available.
We'll be looking at the best underrated NES games that deserve more love and attention. So, join us on a nostalgic trip as we discover hidden gems that have been overshadowed by their more popular equivalents.
This article is your guide to the undervalued classics of the NES period, whether you're a retro gaming fanatic trying to extend your collection or an inquisitive gamer eager to explore the foundations of video game history.
From action-adventure epics to lesser-known platformers, we've explored the NES library for the best-kept secrets.
Prepare to embark on amazing expeditions, combat intriguing creatures, and discover long-forgotten mysteries of retro gaming.
Table of Contents
15. Rockin Cats
The plot of Rockin Cats centres around Muggsy, a cool cat who embarks on a mission to save his girlfriend from the hands of the wicked Big Boss.
The levels are organised in the style of a cartoon show, with each level representing an episode.
Assisting Muggsy in completing each level in order to save his girlfriend and defeat the Big Boss.
Even though there are only 5 stages in the game, 4 of which you can choose the ordder. Don't let that put you off though, they're extremely long and super challenging to the eye test.
You won't have an easy time making your way through Rockin Cats that's for sure!
14. Whomp ‘Em
The goal of Whomp 'Em is to battle opponents and bosses while collecting power-ups and progressing through the levels. Soaring Eagle has a primary weapon, such as a spear or a tomahawk, and secondary weapons, such as arrows and bombs, that he can collect.
The game includes many power-ups, such as invincibility, health regeneration, and temporary weapon upgrades.
The controls are snappy and intuitive, resulting in a smooth and pleasurable gameplay experience. We did find that the difficulty did ramp up, making for a rather unpleasant expereince at times.
Still, you absolutely can't go wrong with Whomp 'Em, making it a great choice for an underrated game on the NES.
13. The Krion Conquest
The number of Mega Man ripoffs was extremely high when the original 6 games were released on the NES. We had some really bad NES games like Star Wars and then we got really good ones like The Krion Conquest.
Everything here just screams Mega Man. From the power ups you're able to select and use. To the platforming sections that are incredibly difficult.
The Krion Conquest is a legendary NES game that has stood the test of time.
Its distinct blend of shooter and platformer mechanics, paired with a rich and intriguing plot, make it a must-play title.
12. Bucky O'Hare
Konami was really in their prime in the 90s. We missed all of the great games that they brought to the table, keeping the gaming industry filled with amazing games like The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and X-Men.
Little did you know that they made an action platformer by the 90s cartoon franchise Bucky O'Hare.
It'll remind you of Contra mixed with Ninja Gaiden is our best way of describing it. As you go through the levels, you'll be able to switch characters on the fly. This gives you an advantage throughout certain sections of the game.
Bucky O'Hare is a classic NES game that you shouldn't miss out on.
11. River City Ransom
If you're a fan of beat em up games and are looking for something with more meat on the bones, you've found it in River City Randsom.
The premise is simple, run around looking for teenagers to beat up and steal their money to power up your character.
This takes the formula for a game like Double Dragon and amplifies it to the extreme. We wished more people knew about this underrated classic game and were able to play it with ease.
River City Ransom is a game that shouldn't go unnoticed if you're a fan of beat em ups mixed with light RPG mechanics.
10. Vice: Project Doom
Vice: Project Doom has a lot going for it. It was a really ambitious game for the timeframe, mixing top down driving scenes and action packed platformer sections.
The game boasts a compelling storyline, stunning graphics, and sound design that hooks players right away. The controls are well-suited to the gameplay, making it simple to learn and play.
We loved the blend of top down action packed sequences similar to Spy Hunter and the 2d action platforming sections that resembled Ninja Gaiden. Being a fantastic option for those just looking for a new NES game that they may have not experienced before.
One minor criticism is that the game can be a little difficult, which may not be to everyone's liking.
Still, you can't go wrong with one of the best NES platformers available for the console.
9. Darkwing Duck
Darkwing Duck is a side-scrolling platformer in the traditional style. You'll be controlling main duck Darkwing Duck as he goes through numerous levels, battling monsters and collecting power-ups along the way.
You'll be reminded of Mega Man 5 in this one as it uses the same engine that Capcom used for the classic blue bomber game. We loved being able to burn through each of the levels that we were able to select along the way.
The gameplay is fast-paced and difficult, with numerous obstacles to overcome, such as bosses at the end of each level. The controls are snappy and precise, making it simple to leap, fire, and navigate the levels.
Darkwing Duck is a hidden gem on the NES that you won't want to miss out on.
8. Metal Storm
The gameplay of Metal Storm takes place in a futuristic scenario, taking on the role of a mobile suit pilot entrusted with repelling an enemy invasion.
The game is divided into six stages, each with its own set of obstacles and monsters.
The gameplay has a novelty in that players can switch gravity at any time. We thought this was such a cool concept, being able to flip a switch and make walking on the ceiling possible.
We totally wish more games used this feature in the future as it adds a great level of gameplay depth.
7. The Guardian Legend
The Guardian Legend is a well-crafted game that provides an entertaining and demanding gaming experience.
It has engrossing gameplay, amazing graphics, and a terrific soundtrack that complements the game's locations well.
We loved being able to just explore the various levels, collecting powerups along the way in order to make our character stronger.
If you enjoy the top down RPG aspects of a game like Crystalis and enjoy shoot em ups like Gradius, you'll fall in love with The Guardian Legend.
6. Kick Master
We totally thought Kick Master should have got more love way back when it was released.
The unique blend of platforming and RPG components was amazing to experience.
Thonolan's powerful kicks will take on the enemies you encounter throughout each of the stages.
You'll collect experience and level up as you continue, allowing you to discover new powers and spells to help you on your mission.
Kick Master is a really unique gaming experience that sticks out from the crowd based on its combination of action and RPG concepts.
5. Journey to Silius
Bringing you what once was a full fledged Terminator licenced game that was pulled right before it's release. Journey to Silius offers some of the best video game music in it's amazing soundtrack.
We were seriously jamming out to this amazing chip tune soundtrack the entire way through. You'll be amazed at how fun it is to blast away at the enemies while blasting the sountrack in the background.
Pick up numerous gun powerups in true Terminator fashion and blast away through each of the stages.
It did feel a bit floaty at times when you jump, but once you get used to it you'll have one epic underrated NES game on your hands.
If you're tired of Final Fantasy games and want something more of an action RPG on the NES, you've come to the right spot.
Crystalis is SNKs attempt at cashing in on the RPG craze of the early 90s, when literally every developer was doing so.
Luckily, this one is extremely good. The controls are tight, the gameplay is fantastic and the graphics shine bright on the NES.
Crystalis has a fantastic soundtrack that complements the game's action and plot wonderfully.
The sound effects are very well-done and contribute to the overall immersive experience of the game.
Shatterhand NES visuals are among the best of their era. Just look at this cover and tell us it doesn't scream, pick us up and play us.
The sceneries are detailed and vivid, and the character sprites move well.
We loved seeing the amazing amount of numerous explosions and effects, which contribute to the overall excitement.
The thought of being able to punch an enemy and see them explode was so rewarding and exhilarating to experience.
The boss battles are epic and have their own sets of unique patterns and weaknesses to boot. This is truly one of the hardest NES games ever.
2. Little Samson
Little Samson is a side-scrolling platformer in which you play as one of four different characters, each with their own set of powers.
You will need to swap between these four characters to employ their distinct skills as you go through the game. The gameplay is fluid and responsive, and the controls are simple to master, making it suitable for gamers of all skill levels.
You may not know this about Little Samson, but it's one of the most expensive NES games ever. This underrated classic is surely one you'll have to open up your wallet for.
1. Power Blade
Is that Arnold on the cover of this one? If you saw this in the rental store, you'd totally think this was a generic action platformer on the NES. You'd have guessed that and would have easily have been wrong.
Power Blade lets you choose the level order you wish to play in, throwing your main weapon the boomerang at enemies. Powering up your boomerang will let you throw further and reach different areas you otherwise wouldn't
We also liked the grenade power up that acts as a screen clear all attack, extremely useful for those hard boss fights.
These are just a few instances of underappreciated NES games that should be given more credit.
The universe of NES games is a treasure mine of undiscovered treasures. While iconic titles such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda have earned their place in the spotlight, there is a rich collection of underappreciated NES games that sometimes go overlooked.
These games may not have earned the same amount of acclaim or fame as others, but they provide unique gameplay experiences, compelling tales, and nostalgic appeal.
Whether you're a fan of old gaming or looking for something new to try, these games provide a unique and engaging experience that has stood the test of time.
So, dust out your NES and try out these hidden gems!
These are all of the underrated games we've covering in today's article:
- Power Blade
- Little Samson
- Journey to Silius
- Kick Master
- The Guardian Legend
- Metal Storm
- Darkwing Duck
- Vice: Project Doom