The 7 Most Underrated NES Games

by Staff & Contributors

Anyone who grew up with a Nintendo Entertainment System in their house knows about games like The Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Contra, Metroid, Super Tecmo Bowl, Super Mario Bros, and Ninja Gaiden.

While those are the classics- the games that we all grew up playing, today I’d like to recognize some of the lesser known titles. The games that despite not being as popular, have retained a lot of their playability- games that were challenging, original, and just plain fun. And before you’re done gaming, check out the best online roulette site as well.



Crystalis is an action-adventure game released in 1990 by SNK. In the same vein as The Legend of Zelda, it combines all of the questing and object locating of a good RPG without the repletion of battling countless enemies in order to level up. The plot is complex and interesting and makes this a game that I will go back to and play over and over again.


Wizards and Warriors

Wizards and Warriors was released in 1987 by Akklaim. It’s an action game in which you play as a knight fighting against a variety of monsters in order to eventually defeat the evil wizard, Malkil. The basic play of the game is collecting enough gems to enter certain doors and finding the correct color keys to enter others. Throughout you can gain a variety of special weapons and tools that will help you advance in the game. I always remembered the great soundtrack to this game.


Maniac Mansion

Maniac Mansion was developed by Lucasfilm Games and was originally released for the Commodore 64 and the Apple II, which is where I first remember playing it. It was released for the NES in 1990. The thing that I remember most about this game is that there were so many options. You could choose different characters to play as, which in turn, would impact both your ability to beat the game, and the ending you would see as a result. The other thing that struck me was that this was an adventure game that didn’t require you to type in commands like you had to in the old Sierra games (which I also loved).


G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe was developed by Taxan and released in 1991. Maybe I’m a little biased here (being a huge fan of G.I. Joe) but I still find this game really fun to play. Would I have liked some different Joes in this game? Sure. I mean, I’m not a huge Captain Grid Iron fan, but I did love Snake Eyes and Rock N Roll. You get to play as the version of Hawk with the jetpack which is pretty cool too. Either way, it’s an action game that is challenging, but not frustrating.


I never owned Rygar, which was released by Tecmo for the NES in 1987, but I played it at a friend’s house all of the time. It’s an action adventure game that alternated from a side view to an overhead view. You had to make it through a few different levels, collecting important items before confronting the final boss. You had some free will as far as which order to play the levels, however, you would need certain items in order to advance past certain points, so the options were somewhat limited. All in all, I remember having a lot of fun playing this game. It probably kept us from that unhealthy fresh air and exercise people were always telling us about.



Shadowgate, a point and click RPG, was released in 1989 by Kemco. It was a challenging game that involved a lot of trial and error. I do remember thinking that the deaths were a little more graphic and descriptive than what I was used to from Nintendo. The game spawned a number of other similar games such as Déjà vu and Uninvited (both of which are actually earlier games in their PC versions).


Super Dodgeball

Super Dodgeball was developed by Technos Japan and released for the NES in 1989. My buddy introduced me to it years later when we were taking a break from playing Goldeneye on N64. It’s a simple game, although not following the traditional dodge ball rules. I was especially fond of the fact that it looked like I was playing as a character from River City Ransom (also developed by Technos Japan).

There were actually a number of games that I considered including on this list that I deleted in the interest of keeping it brief. Please feel free to comment. I’m interested in hearing what favorites I omitted and which of my favorites people think suck.

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