The NES console is often praised for helping to save the video game industry after the Video Game Crash of 1983. Hundreds of games were released for this system and many have become classics almost without peer. There was also a modest amount of shovelware released for the NES, though not as much as you might expect. There were also a handful of games that, for whatever reason, simply never received the praise they deserved. The following are the top five underrated NES games ever released.
5. Goonies II – Konami is mostly at fault for this being an underrated game. If you are going to release a sequel to a game you should probably release the original game first. Technically, Konami did release the original game, but only in the arcade and on a system that practically no one in America owned. This meant that Konami released an oddly titled game that seemed to have almost nothing in common with the movie it was apparently a sequel to. Yet, if you looked past that, it was essentially the first ever metroidvania style game, long before the term ever got used. While the story made almost no sense, the game itself was fun, well balanced, and varied enough that it almost never felt repetitive. And, as an added bonus, the music was a near perfect reproduction of the Cyndi Lauper song Good Enough.
4. Battle of Olympus – After the success of Kid Icarus, it would seem that an ancient Greek themed game would do well. But Battle of Olympus was a one-shot game with very little good word of mouth. The story was a moderately faithful retelling of Greek mythology and game play was nearly identical to the action sequences of Legend of Zelda II. That may actually have been the downfall of the game. Fans of the Zelda series were very upset with that game and may not have liked the idea of a game with similar game play. The real shame of this is that Battle of Olympus was a much better game. The difficulty curve was much better, the controls were smoother, and the graphics were more refined.
3. Willow – If you can imagine the original Legend of Zelda combined with a traditional RPG, you have the game Willow. Based on a movie that was only moderately successful, the game didn’t have a strong fan base to begin with. Add in the fact that fans of the genre weren’t quite ready for action RPGs yet, and it simply didn’t do very well. Ironically, the game play of Willow would be almost precisely copied in hit games like Secret of Mana on SNES. In fact, the SNES had roughly a dozen games that followed this formula. Willow just came out a little too early. It was an excellent game and surprisingly managed to stay relatively true to the movie while also telling a good story for a game.
2. Crystalis – Crystalis actually received a lot of good press when it was received, even being featured in an issue of Nintendo Power magazine. But, despite the good press, it somehow never earned a sequel and memory of this game has almost entirely faded from the minds of gamers. At the time, it was the perfect blend of action adventure and role playing game and pretty much helped to make the genre acceptable with the hardcore fans. The game wasn’t even released on the Wii Virtual Console, which makes the likelihood of a sequel ever being released incredibly low.
1. Super Mario Bros. 2 – This game is unfairly criticized because it was actually a palette swap of a game from a completely different series and because Super Mario Bros. 3 was so good. Criticizing the roots of the game ignores the actual amazing quality of this game. It had great graphics and some of the best game play of any NES game. The different special abilities of the four characters was a fresh concept and adds surprising replay value to the game. It is one of the first games to ever include a female character and she was arguably the best character of the four. This makes it historically significant as well as a good game. If Super Mario Bros. 2 had any other title, it would be remembered as one of the best games of the NES, rightfully so.