Retro-game enthusiasts would do well to remember some of the ultimate classics from the 8-bit era when considering an action platformer or sidescroller. The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, offers a large variety of excellent titles to choose from for those who are feeling nostalgic, or simply want to ratchet up the challenge level of their gaming.
Popular Platformers and Action Titles (Mega Man, Contra, Super Mario Bros.)
With New Super Mario Bros. Wii having been released recently, the Mario franchise has gained a large boost in popularity and cultural relevance. Hailed far and wide as a true spiritual successor to the original 8-bit classics, New Super Mario Bros. Wii indicates a growing passion for 2D platformers as a genre.
For the NES, Super Mario Bros. 3 is likely the best known and most popular – for good reason. Featuring a wide variety of power-ups ranging from the Super Leaf that provides Mario with the tanooki suit (known commonly as the "raccoon suit") to the downright strange frog and hammer brothers suits, Mario is given a new arsenal of accessories.
Gamers who like a little more challenge might appreciate the classic Mega Man series on the NES. Produced by Capcom, the games feature some of the most memorable 8-bit songs to have ever been released for the console, as well as a formula that has become synonymous with the franchise. Faced with a variety of themed stages and bosses, Mega Man must plow his way through dangerous and challenging levels while collecting weapons from defeated antagonists. Doctor Wily must be stopped!
Finally, those gamers who really appreciate a little gunplay might enjoy returning to the world of Contra for an extreme challenge. Famously associated with the Konami Code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A) that provides the player with 30 lives, and thus making the game beatable by most, Contra is a legendary title with a lot of credibility amongst old-school game enthusiasts.
Wild Card Entries, Fan Favourites, Cult Classic NES Games
A lot of games on the Nintendo Entertainment System are neglected despite being excellent titles – Shatterhand by Jaleco and G.I. Joe by Taxan being two such games.
Shatterhand features a cyborg cop whose hands have been amputated and replaced with cybernetic replacements, the strongest hands in the world. The game features several novel elements, such as the ability to summon one of nine unique robots to fight at your side via the collection of random runes.
Chasing down a group of political malcontents and their revolutionary leader, Shatterhand must literally crush this rebellion with his own two hands.
Lastly, G.I. Joe by Taxan deserves mention for being an excellent example of quality platforming. Allowing the player to choose three Joes from a roster including Duke, Snake Eyes, Rock n' Roll, Captain Gridiron, Blizzard, and Hawk – Taxan's G.I. Joe is a faithful reproduction of the beloved Saturday morning cartoon that finds a comfortable home in the realm of 8-bit action.
Other Articles Related to Video Games and Gaming Culture by Nicholas Morine