NES C List Titles

As I continue to go through my collection, I am now highlighting the average games that I played either as a kid or for the first time as an adult. These are what I consider the “C list” titles in my collection. They all still have merit in my eyes and many others may consider them good games but they are middle of the pack games in my collection.

Abadox (game only) – Another side scrolling space shooter, but instead of operating a spaceship ala Gradius or Life Force, you are a man in a spacesuit blasting away at alien hordes. I found this game to be very difficult and while there is nothing particularly bad about Abadox, it does seem a bit derivative and maybe a little too hard for its own good. C+

Elevator Action (game) – The NES port of the popular arcade title, Elevator Action requires you to take on the role of a spy who must retrieve top secret documents and descend buildings in order to reach the exits at the bottom. Each subsequent building ramps up difficulty by throwing more enemy agents and more complicated elevator systems your way. A combination puzzle and action game, Elevator Action is a classic but was never a standout by the time it reached the NES. C

Gotcha (game, manual) – A paintball based light gun game from LJN, Gotcha is surprisingly decent. You use the control pad to move left and right across the playfield shooting at opponents while trying to capture the flag and return it to your base without getting hit or running out of ammo. Shoot ammo packs to replenish and move quickly and deliberately. My only issue is the hit detection, especially with opponents that reside on the upper half of the screen. I couldn’t hit these guys to save my life and often times after 3-4 consecutive misses, they would blast me and end my game. Innovative and would be higher on the grading scale otherwise. C

Legendary Wings (game only) – Another shoot ’em up where you control a person instead of a spaceship. Unlike Abadox, Legendary Wings is a vertical scroller similar to Xevious. You control a winged soldier attempting to save the world from a malfunctioning computer. The idea of computers taking over and destroying civilization has been a common theme since 2001: A Space Odyssey and multiple arcade & home video games also had concerns about the fate of our technologically advance future. Legendary Wings is a decent game but I never could really get into it. C-

Little Nemo Dream Master (game only) – Colorful side scrolling platformer where you control a little boy named Nemo as he traverses his own dreams and collect keys. What makes this game interesting is your ability to take on the shapes of different animals after you have fed them. Capcom was on a roll during the 8-bit era and this game only receives C-level status because of my lack of experience with it. Little Nemo has potential and it may eventually get a better grade from me but it never captured my attention the way other Capcom titles did when it was released. C+

Maniac Mansion (game, manual) – Puzzle based adventure game in the point and click PC tradition. Your task is to save your girlfriend from a mad scientist while dragging your friends along (and putting them in danger) because strength in numbers, right? I always thought the graphics should look better than they do for a 1990 NES release. I understand it was a 3 year old PC game by the time it finally was released for the NES and it looks like it. The trial and error while clicking on everything style of gameplay can be tedious but I can understand why this game is beloved by some. C

Marble Madness (game only) – Platformer where you guide a marble around an isometric playfield in an attempt to make it the goal at the bottom. Challenging and fun but slight. C+

Paperboy (game, manual) – The NES port of the arcade smash, Paperboy’s concept is simple. Deliver papers to homes on your route, don’t smash their windows and avoid a shit-ton of hazards on your way. Hazards such as tornados, out of control skateboarders, lawnmowers and grim reaper himself attempt to thwart your success. If you reach the end of the level you are presented with an obstacle course for bonus points and a crowd awaits you as you finish. Who knew being a paperboy was so hazardous yet rewarding? C

Rush n’ Attack (game, manual) – Traditional side scrolling run n’ gun action with a pun for a title (Russian Attack anyone?) I have no complaints about Rush n’ Attack’s gameplay as I preferred it to Ikari Warriors back in the day but there’s nothing particularly amazing about it either. C+

Spy Hunter (game, manual) – Another arcade favorite turned into a NES port, Spy Hunter is a top down action racing game where you blast at your enemies from your weaponized car. I always enjoyed driving up into the semi-trucks to upgrade my weapons and also found joy in forcing cars off the road. Being a dangerously aggressive (virtual) driver is always fun but by the time this game came out on the NES, it was already dated. C+

Trojan (game only) – Another side scrolling title from Capcom, Trojan was one of Capcom’s earliest 3rd party licensee games for the NES. Released with the tell-tale grid style on the box and cart (ala Mega Man, Section Z, etc.), Trojan was one of those games I was aware of but never knew anyone that owned. I had no experience with this game prior to adding to my collection recently so I had low expectations. The gameplay is basically how I expected, kill enemies with a sword, jump and avoid hazards and repeat. C-

Xevious (game, manual, box) – Shoot ’em up with a top down perspective, Xevious was popular in arcades and on PC’s prior to release for the NES. Xevious is notable for it’s vertical scrolling and ability to drop bombs onto targets. The target practice aspect provides the greatest challenge as you must dodge enemy fire from the front as well as from below while gauging the location of the target as you drop your bombs. I remember playing this game in arcades and on PC so by the time I got my NES, I was no longer interested in Xevious. I recently picked up a complete in box copy from a video game store in order to spark my nostalgia. C+


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