On the EFG Show (our weekly family gaming talk show on Facebook), Stephen and Jeff are ranking every NES and SNES game available on the Nintendo Switch Online service. They will play a new game each week, talk about it during the show, and determine its place in the overall ranking live!. Join us at 9:00 EST on Engaged Family Gaming’s Facebook page every week to see where your favorite game will end up!
1. Kirby Super Star
Kirby Super Star may have some of the best pixel art that is available on the SNES. It is one of the most beautiful games that we have played up until this point and it is easy to go back to and play in the modern gaming landscape. I loved the remake of the original Kirby’s Dreamland which can be found on the Spring Breeze part of the game. This game has plenty of options for a fan of Kirby to enjoy. It was a bit easy, but most Kirby games are and this did not decrease my enjoyment.
2. Ninja Gaiden
In Ninja Gaiden, you are playing as Ryu Hayabusa through 6 stages and 20 levels as he seeks revenge for the death of his father. At the end of each of stage you will also fight a boss which has a life bar. This game is hard and very unforgiving! You are constantly dodging enemies on the ground and in the air and have to look out for projectiles as well. Ryu can jump and cling to walls to jump to a higher level. When an enemy hits you, there is knockback, which can be frustrating. Ninja Gaiden falls into the realm of NES Hard games, but is beatable if you take the time to practice.
3. Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country starts out with Donkey Kong’s banana hoard being stolen by the Kremlings and their leader King K. Rool. Both Stephen and Jeff agree that Donkey Kong is important for the series, but it has had better iterations later on during the game series. The jumping mechanics were clunky and switching between Donkey and Diddy with the Switch was a pain because of the placement of the minus button. Overall, the graphics were great for their time, but does not seem to age as well as something like Super Mario World on the same system.
4. Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
Joe and Mac 2 starts out when a caveman Gork steals the crown that belongs to chief of Kali Village. The game is a typical platformer where you are play as Joe (1 player) or Joe and Mac (2 player) as you travel across the continent dodging dinosaurs and other cavemen. Each level also has a boss enemy that is a different type of dinosaur. Both Jeff and Stephen agree that it is a competent platformer, but nothing too special about it.
5. Super Earth Defense Force
Super Earth Defense Force is a horizontally scrolling shooter that is based on an arcade game of the same name (without the super). Unlike most shooters of its time, you get three hits before your ship is destroyed. Also, before each level you get to choose a weapon to take into the battle with you. The more enemies you destroy, the more experience you get and your weapon will become a more powerful version. The plot from the game centers around the Azyma Empire creating a headquarter on the dark side of the moon and threatening the safety of Earth. Thus, the Earth Defense force must rid the universe of these villains.
6. Wild Guns
You choose either Clint or Annie to go on a shooting spree against cowboys and robots. Traverse through six different levels with bosses after every pair of levels. Wild Guns plays a lot like an arcade shooter. The controls can be a bit confusing because you cannot control where your gun is shooting and move at the same time. Like any arcade shooter, the point is to try and get as high of a score as possible.
7. City Connection
City Connection is based off of an arcade game by Jaleco that came out in 1985. In the game you control Clarice in a Honda City Hatchback as she travels the world to look for a boyfriend. Your job is to drive over sections of the road from the 12 stages and change the color of the road. While you are driving, you need to avoid the police cars and cats that show up in the road. There are 12 stages, but I could not get past stage 1! This game is difficult! You can make your car jump over gaps in the road, but I could not determine if you could jump from a lower part of the stage to a higher part.
Metroid is an action-adventure game where you play as the bounty hunter, Samus Aran, as she infiltrates a space pirate base looking for Mother Brain. Both Stephen and Jeff agree that the original Metroid game did not age well. It was the game that spawned the genre of metroidvania, but being the first also means it is lacking some quality of life improvements. There is no map, and some very obtuse ways to traverse. For example, lava normally hurts you, but during some parts of the exploration, it is safe to walk through. Also, when you receive a new power up, the game does not explain the power up you received or how you are supposed to use them.
9. Puyo Puyo 2
Puyo Puyo 2 is the second game in the long running franchise. The object of the game, like any other Puyo Puyo game is to connect four of the same color in any shape. When you connect four of the same color, those shapes disappear. This game is a fun puzzle game from the 90s, but did nothing special with the formula which is why it ended up where it is on the list.
10. Winback: Covert Operations
Winback: Covert Operations was a game published by Koei for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. Playing it in today’s time, you can definitely tell it has aged. While the stealth mechanics were revolutionary at the time, they were kind of clunky and hard to maneuver. As I would try and look around a wall, my character would back up into the wall and it would become a fight with the game on trying to look around the wall and not stealth up against the wall. Stephen also said that it was hard for him to play and caused headaches. Also, it is hard to play this game with a pro controller and may have been more intuitive using a Nintendo 64 controller. Playing with a pro controller, I had difficulty realizing that I could not use both joysticks, so aiming could be difficult.
11. Eliminator Boat Duel
In Eliminator Boat Duel, you are controlling the red boat as you race against the green boat. It’s that simple. When you first start the game up you can choose from three different difficulty levels. Each difficulty level pits you against a different racer. Easy mode puts you against Seasick Sidney, normal against Aquarius Rex, and hard against Surfer Bob. Between each set of races you win money that you can use to upgrade your boat. There are supposedly other racers past the original three, but I could not get that far! It’s pretty tough. If you lose three times it is game over so you have to learn quickly! Eliminator boat Duel had the honor of being the first game that Stephen and Jeff played so it will forever be the first number 1 game on the list even though it will likely fall down in the rankings.
12. Pro Wrestling
In Pro Wrestling you choose one of six different professional wrestlers (Fighter Hayabusa, Giant Panther, Kin Corn Karn, King Slender, Starman, and The Amazon). Pro Wrestling was part of the black box group of games as part of the sports series. It does not age well! The moves were hard to pull off and winning a match seemed to be more luck than skill. Both Stephen and Jeff remember playing this game when they were younger and both agreed that it did not age well.
Excite was one of the original black box NES games released in 1985 in North America. Just starting up the sound screen was nostalgic, but that is where I left all of the nostalgia behind. The game is just no fun to play in today’s age, in my opinion. When you fall off your bike, it takes forever for your character to stand up and pick up the bike and bring it back on the track. One thing going for Excitebike is that it has a track creation tool, which was very intuitive for the time. Unfortunately in the NES release, you could not save your tracks, therefore when you shut off the system, all of the tracks you created were gone.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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