When people think of games that involve navigating through a level by jumping and exploring on the NES, a few games likely come to mind: Mario, Kid Icarus, Kirby, and a few others. However, with the incredible popularity of the genre at the time, there were some platformers that came out and flew under the radar. Even though the games are a little harder to come by today, they are still worth experiencing.
Without further delay, check out these lesser-known NES platformers that you really should go back and play.
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers
Chip and Dale is based on a cartoon from the late 80s, and unlike today, licensed games actually had the potential to be really good. In this case, we got a platformer that offered a great deal of fun gameplay, solid challenge, and beautiful visuals that rivaled any of the best-selling games at the time.
One thing that really made this game cool is the cooperative gameplay where two people could make their way through the game at the same time. While Mario Bros saw players taking turns, Chip and Dale let you have the levels together, which is something that was not as common as it is today. It’s just good, clean fun, and it’s a great game to go back to today.
Little Nemo: The Dream Master
This action platformer is created by Capcom, the company responsible for the Mega Man franchise. Right off the bat, you know it’s from a company who understands how to make a quality game in the genre. The levels are designed with care, and there is enough variety to keep things exciting.
The setting in Little Nemo is quite interesting, and it comes from source material that goes all the way back to the 30s. The story is endearing for an NES game. After all, there games are generally beloved for their simple and challenging gameplay, not their stories, but with the source material here, Capcom has created something pretty special. It’s just a downright fun game from a company who knew how to make games of this type.
This is yet another Capcom game that was actually brought over to the United States in a partnership with Dominos Pizza. The game featured the pizza company’s mascot at the time as the main character, and in spite of the weird marketing hooks, it’s actually a really fun game. Gamers were probably turned off by the fact that the game seemed like a commercial, and as such, not as many people gave it a chance as some of the other platformers at the time.
The Yo! in the name of the game is based on the weapon. Noid shoot his yo-yo out at the enemies to take them out, which is a lot of fun. To add a little variety, there are even levels that take place on a skateboard, which feels a lot different than the traditional walking around stages in the game. Check it out, and I promise you will love it.
Snake Rattle ‘n Roll
When I was younger, this was easily one of my favorite NES games, but it seems like no one else actually played it. The game sees you playing as a snake, trying to eat everything in your path with the goal of growing large enough to trigger the scale that opens the door to the next level. So think of it like snake on those Nokia phones but with a lot more depth.
The game features an isometric camera angle, which is a big change from most of the side-scrolling platformers we saw on the NES at the time. It also features a great two player mode that sees both players going at the same time. If you want a game that still delivers some quality jumping and exploring gameplay with a twist, go back and play Snake Rattle ‘n Roll. You won’t regret it.
What are some NES platformers you loved back in the day that didn’t get the praise they deserved? Have you played the games on this list? Hit the comments section below and let your voice be heard!
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