The NES is home to some timeless classics that still get spoken of now within the video game world, such as Mario Bros, Contra, The Adventures of Link, and Kirby’s Adventures, among others.
But what about the lesser-known games for the 8-bit console? Are there any games that went under the radar? Well, there are plenty. And here I’ll bring you 5 of them. Read on for 5 of the best hidden gems for the NES.
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5. Whomp ‘Em
Year of release: 1990
Whomp ‘Em is an action platform game that has many similarities to a more popular Japanese game, Mega Man.
Whomp ‘Em is a very well made game that, although not groundbreaking in design or story, is one of the best NES hidden gems around.
With a catchy sound design and some good platform action, Whomp’ Em has players move around the screen in side scrolling fashion using mainly melee weapons to eliminate enemies.
Whomp ‘Em does borrow a lot from other games, but it seems to work. The controls are responsive, the gameplay is neat, and the aesthetics are charming. This is one to add to your collection if you haven’t done so already.
4. Bucky O’Hare
Year of release: 1992
Luke Whomp ‘Em, Bucky O’Hare feels like another Mega Man clone, but I’m here for it again. Partially because I loved the animated series that the game is based on, but mainly because the game is actually really fun to play.
It is a well put together game that allows the player to be multiple characters, the controls are as smooth as, and the visuals are vibrant.
What’s more, though, is that the game is a real challenge, and that adds to the rewarding feeling when you complete it. Bucky O’Hare is not one that you’ll just pick up and figure out immediately, it’ll require a bit of time and practice to really get good.
No doubt about it, Bucky O’Hare is up there with the best NES hidden gems.
Developer: Nintendo R&D3
Year of release: 1990
Despite being a Nintendo game, StarTropics largely went under the radar for the NES, but it really is a great game with a lot of character.
StarTropics plays as a top-down action-adventure game, and follows the story of Mike Jones as he quests to find his archaeologist uncle Dr Steven Jones.
As with most top-down NES games, you move in four directions and can attack enemies using melee and a variety of other weapons. It has great music, cool enemy monsters, and a cool world. If you had to compare it to another NES game, it would have to be The Legend of Zelda, and despite not being quite as good, StarTropics stands out as one of the best obscure games for the NES and one that collectors and gaming enthusiasts alike will enjoy.
2. Sweet Home
Year of release: 1989
If you like horror games, then you’re going to love Sweet Home. For me, it is among the scariest NES horror games that you can find. It is based on a Japanese horror film of the same name and follows five people as they explore an abandoned painter’s mansion looking for valuable art.
As you enter the mansion, you are threatened by a ghost called Namiya who warns of the dangers you will face if you continue into the mansion. Foolishly, the team of filmmakers ignore the warning and continue on, encountering untold horrors along the way.
The battles and exploration are similar to other turn-based RPGs of the time, and you can find different items throughout the mansion to help you in your journey. Each character has a different speciality, and it can be fun to work your way around the haunted house using each one in a different way.
Sweet Home is definitely one of the best NES hidden gems around today
Developer: Game Arts
Year of release: 1989
Faria: A World of Mystery and Danger, is one of those games that you can’t help wonder why it wasn’t more successful than it was. With a rich lore, quirky characters, fun gameplay, and endearing visuals, Faria follows a young female warrior as she ventures through the Kingdom of Faria looking to take down an evil wizard.
The game plays similarly to The Legend of Zelda, and is a sword-wielding action RPG that pits players against various monsters while exploring towns, dungeons, and the overworld. There are a good number of NPC characters, who all seem to have strong personalities and add to the vibrancy of the Kingdom of Faria.
All in all, Faria is an underappreciated obscure game for the NES, and this is usually the first title I recommend to people looking for the best NES hidden gems.
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For another take on the best NES hidden gems, check out the great YouTube video below by Cinemassacre.