Welcome to our Top Five Virtual Console feature, where we’ll be listing the top five games available for download on each system on the Wii’s Virtual Console. First up: The Nintendo Entertainment System.
#5. Punch Out!!
Punch Out!! actually first began in the arcades, released in cabinet form in 1984 in Japan and North America. The arcade sequel, Super Punch Out!!, released in 1985, and added the ability to duck enemy attacks, along with the original left and right dodging mechanic.
When it came to the NES, it reverted back to Punch Out!!, featuring all the action of both arcade versions plus some added content, like a plot. The game’s original final boss, Super Macho Man, was then replaced by Mike Tyson, dubbing the game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!
Players control Little Mac in the NES version, a rookie fighter climbing through the ranks of various boxing circuits. Each rival fighter has special patterns that players must learn, exploiting their openings to gain “star punches,” powerful attacks that take a big chunk of life away from opponents.
After some unfortunate press however, Mike Tyson’s name was removed from the title. No longer the end boss of the game, the final fight was now against “Mr. Dream,” and the title once again transformed into Punch Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream.
Metroid was one of the earlier Nintendo games to involve Gunpei Yokoi, the creator of the Gameboy, and was also the first big Nintendo title to star a female lead, Samus Aran. This fact was only revealed to players who beat the game with 100% completion.
Samus starts out with very few powers, and players must find upgrades for her suit to make her more powerful. Samus could eventually fire missiles, lay bombs, shoot an ice beam and even turn into a tiny ball, allowing her to travel through tight spaces.
Gameplay consisted of classic 2D side scrolling action, but also added Kid Icarus style vertical platforming. Players could also expand their life bar by acquiring energy packs, and do the same for their missile ammo by scoring missile expansions.
As the title suggests, the main enemy of the game is a metroid, these floating head-sucking sacks of evil that are best destroyed by freezing them with the ice beam and then shattering them with a missile. At the end of the game, Samus fights the “Mother Brain,” a great big nasty metroid in a tank.
#3.Super Mario Brothers 3
After those inside Japan were treated to the super hard Super Mario Bros 2, Nintendo decided Western gamers couldn’t handle the difficulty, and gave them instead a ported version of the Famicon game Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, replacing the game characters with Mario, Luigi, Princess and Toad.
This gimped sequel played nothing like the original Super Mario Bros, and it wasn’t until the release of SMB 3 that western gamers got the chance to return to the classic SMB gameplay. Players were no longer throwing turnips and shy guys, and back to stomping goombas and tossing fireballs. The game also featured a new item, the feather, which allowed players to fly and smack baddies with their tail.
SMB 3 was also full of secrets, some of which were revealed in the movie / NES commercial The Wizard. Players could sneak behind walls, fly to hidden areas, and even use whistles to warp to new areas. There were also Toad houses which included mini games to score power-ups.
#2. River City Ransom
If you like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage, you’ll love River City Ransom. Players could team up with each other in co-op, and fight with anything from trash cans to chains, to the body of their team mate. That’s right you can throw your team mate.
The most unique aspect of River City Ransom however was the RPG elements, allowing players to upgrade their stats by eating food, taking vitamins and ah… drinking love potions. Players can upgrade their punches, kicks, and jumps, among other stats.
If you want a cheap game with lots of action that you can tag-team with a buddy, River City Ransom is the way to go. With all the upgrading options, this game can last you for more than one play through.
#1. The Legend of Zelda
The NES was home to many classic Miyamoto masterpieces, but none are as epic as the original Zelda. This game was so bad-ass that it had to have a battery installed in the cart just to keep track of players progress. If you ever witnessed the horror of an erased save, blame that ancient battery inside the cart.
While some games seem to lose their magic over time, The Legend of Zelda remains just as fun as ever. There is still something special about remembering just which bush to burn to reveal a secret treasure, or remembering how the hell you navigate the final dungeon.
The Legend of Zelda was ground-breaking in that it didn’t coddle gamers through the experience, instead dropping them into a huge overworld with no weapon, no instructions and very little life. The only guide players got was from their friends and an old man in a cave who tries to give them his sword, and even that sounds a little gross.
But hey, no one said it wasn’t dangerous out there.
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