Written by Ryan Johnson Friday, 18 March 2011 05:00
In the vein of the original article Top 5 Games Worth Finding an Arcade For, click in to find a list of NES games that you just won't find anywhere but on the dusty old cartridge.
I absolutely LOVE the Virtual Console system on the Wii. I have been able to download a huge chunk of my old Nintendo library and enjoy them all over again without dragging the old gray box back out of the closet. When the Wii was first announced, it was rumored that every game ever made for the 8-bit grandfather would eventually make it to the Wii. Sadly, that is not the case. Unfortunately, the Virtual Console is stagnating, dropping one or two titles a month. Below you will find my "Greatest Hits that Haven't Returned" list, that I have re-amassed thanks to the awesomeness that is Goozex and their Classic game trading. I got most of these games back in my collection for a mere 100 points on the site.
Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers was a major time consumer for me. One of the first true "co-op" games in existence for me, it also had some strangely accidental counter-op moments. Given the ability to pick up your teammate, when a particular power up you needed was wrongfully thieved, you might have found yourself chucking your buddy off of the nearest cliff. Seriously, though, my friends and I played through this game more times than I would care to count! It had the right balance of challenge and fun. The only beef I had with it was: it was just not as fun to play solo. Just taking one of the chipmunks to bring down Fat Cat didn't have quite the charm of same-room co-op.
There was a time when movie licenses didn't instantaneously mean your game stunk. While a lot of people didn't like Ghostbusters 2 for the NES, I was enamored by it (primarily due to my love of the movies in general). I got to make my way through the storyline, drive Ecto-1 and even pilot Lady Liberty through the harbor! I never really understood why there wasn't officially an end-boss though; defeating Vigo was a cut scene!
Super Off-Road was the game I bought a multi-tap for. It was sooo simple, but some games thrived on simplicity. Get four guys together, run your trucks through the mud, upgrade with your winnings, and keep going! That was the name of the game. I also remember being astounded by the seductive ladies handing out the trophies....this was a Nintendo game, for crying out loud! Oh, how far we've fallen from THOSE days... but seriously, we had many overnight game nights where, in that era, THIS was our Goldeneye.
The multi-tap purchase led to me try other games with that four-player logo on the box, and I wasn't disappointed in Super Spike V'Ball. Yet again, simple party game status. Bump, Set, Spike, Return. I remember the AI in later levels of the cooperative levels to be insanely difficult, but this game is remembered so fondly by me simply due to the satisfaction I received in finally taking them down.
The Rocketeer is another movie game that I enjoyed primarily due to my thrill of the original medium. For an 8-bit game, the music on The Rocketeer was very well done and I remember the Nintendo version receiving higher marks than it's 16-bit counterpart, as the game was released on both generations of systems. Simple cut scenes that were animated helped drive the story along, even without voice overs. Some bosses and enemies required logic rather than brute force.
I think this one is my true hidden gem. While browsing the 8-bit catalog, my mind was reset back to the glory days of the Nintendo as I saw the box art for Dick Tracy. I hadn't remembered this game in years. It plays very similar to The Rocketeer (minus the jet pack of course), but also has driving elements and morality. Tracy would get in trouble if he shot at an enemy that did not have a firearm. Also, you could beat your way through the final battle with a boss at just about any time, but if you didn't have the evidence prepared, you had to let them free. With all I hear about L.A. Noire coming out soon, I can't help but return to my gaming roots and enjoy this gem.
So why aren't these games out on Virtual Console? One of two reasons: Licensing or Lack of Interest. Most of my favorite games from that era were licensed, and who knows who holds what rights to which game/movie/comic/company these days. It's akin to why we can't have a direct port of Goldeneye 64 anytime soon. As much as I want Dick Tracy on the VC, I doubt Nintendo's just chomping at the bit to get the comic rights. Not to mention getting Warren Beatty and all the other actors to sign their likenesses on, etc....it just seems too much of a hassle for them, no matter how much it may or may not sell. Plus, with so many sports games released for that system, I genuinely wonder if anyone other than me remembers SuperSpike.
Be on the lookout, as I plan on continuing this series. Next up will be Game Boy to commemorate the launch of the 3DS. They also speak of a Virtual Console library coming out there: will my faves make the list? How about you? Did I miss any of your favorites that haven't hit VC for the 8-bit Nintendo? Sound off in the comments! I am enjoying downloadable classics on today's modern systems, but the industry is losing some classics in the trash heap. No matter how extensive the catalog gets online, a few gaming experiences still require blowing out the cartridge, wiggling it just right as you hit power and reminiscing with that classic controller in your hand.
(PS: Click each pic above to go to the Goozex Request page for that particular game! Enjoy!)