This Friday, Nintendo will be releasing their cute little mini console, the NES Classic Edition, packed with 30 of what Nintendo considered the finest selections of their first system. Since I have opinions on most of these games, I decided what the fuck and will tell the few of you who meander over to this site what I feel are the winners, losers and the okay, sures are over a few posts! And I’m going to do that via Excitebike sprite pictures I did years ago for some Smash Bros. thing and some paragraphs! Hope you’re ready!
WINNER! – Very good game or better!
Probable – I’m either not crazy about it or there’s something pretty egregious keeping it from top-tier.
Sorry – I don’t like it whatsoever.
- Balloon Fight
Satoru Iwata’s first major project for Nintendo was tweaking the code for the NES version of the Vs. Arcade original, and he managed to do quite a splendid job on this Joust-esque game. I like Balloon Fight a lot; it captures the simple spirit of early arcade hits impeccably, and has a graphical charm that I really quite like. Its two modes give it a little more meat than most early arcade-to-NES conversions, too.
- Bubble Bobble
Taito’s iconic arcade hit was converted almost perfectly to the NES, including the 2 player mode its designers desired players to experience it. Bub and Bob’s quest is still engaging, and its whimsical graphics and happy music only add to the joy. Plus there’s a ton of levels to try to storm through, so it’s a pretty hefty game all considered.
I swear I just talked about this. :p Outside of the bounds of the franchise it birthed, Castlevania is a splendid early action title that, like Contra, Ninja Gaiden and Mega Man 2, defined the genre on the platform. Its moody gothic atmosphere and rock-driven soundtrack made it stand out from the crowd, and Simon Belmont’s mechanics influence the entire game world surrounding him, making this a tour de force in design.
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
On the other hand, Simon’s Quest tries to go in innovative new directions but doesn’t quite stick the landing. Opaque objectives, malicious villagers and their uncertain hints, and a lot of padded backtracking can suck a lot of the pleasure out of the solid additions to the original formula, like the day/night cycle and the shop-driven progression of skills. Your mileage will vary, but at least it has some of the best tunes on the system!
- Donkey Kong
I really adore Donkey Kong, but Nintendo’s NES conversion made a lot of compromises that wilts its impact on the modern gaming stage, the biggest being the omission of one complete level (25% of the game!). Despite having a “complete” version of the game floating around, Nintendo went for authenticity with the NES Classic Edition and stuck the original port on its guts, and it’s all the worse for it. So the best I can honestly give this game is a so-so score.