Adventures of Tom Sawyer
トム・ソーヤーの冒険
Winkysoft / 1989

hard as hell platformer with unforgiving sloppy controls. the music is outrageously annoying. i kind of like this game a lot.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Adventures of Dino Riki
新人類 THE NEW TYPE
Hudson Soft / 1987

fucking AWESOME vertical scrolling shmup by Hudson Soft. really catchy music, charming primitive graphics, WICKED weapons and powerups, great bosses. one of the best and HARDEST vertical shmups on the hardware.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Air Fortress
エアーフォートレス
HAL Laboratory / 1987

great shmup + side scroller combo game where you fly to different fortresses and destroy their reactors. once you do the fortress goes all dark and spooky and it's one of the coolest atmospheric experiences on the Famicom by far!

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Arumana no Kiseki
アルマナの奇跡
Konami / 1987

a solid adventurous-feeling action game by Konami with badass music. very much what every Indiana Jones game should have been! the grappling hook is a bit fussy but cool.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Banana Prince
バナナン王子の大冒険
KID / 1991

funky little platformer where you can push down+B and plant big vines you can make huge leaps off of! very fun stuff, melee combat is a touch frustrating though. this game has AWESOME MUSIC!

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Bashi Bazook: Morphoid Masher
ダン バイオ戦士DANインクリーザーとの闘い
Atlus / 1987

kind of a Metroid or Monster Party feel about this one. extremely clunky action-platforming with emphasis on adventure. it certainly feels like early Atlus. worth a look if you want something with personality before quality.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Batman: Return of the Joker
ダイナマイトバットマン
Sunsoft / 1991

I'm totally aware this isn't as obscure as many other things on the list, but this game doesn't get the love or respect it deserves. beautiful graphics and awesome music, rock-solid (if dirt cheap) gameplay, it's pure Famicom action.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Battle Formula
バトルフォーミュラ
Sunsoft / 1991

also known as Super Spy Hunter, this is a really badass vertical shmup with a twist - you're a car! and there are roads! plenty of twists and turns and i love that you can control your speed. this game rocks!

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Bio Miracle Bokuette Upa
バイオミラクル ぼくってウパ
Konami / 1988 - 1993

super cute platformer by Konami where you play as a baby and shake your rattle at enemies to inflate them and use them as projectiles or platforms! it sounds ludicrous and kind of is, but it's damn good!

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Bubble Bobble Part 2
バブルボブル2
Taito / 1993

a great update to Bubble Bobble. the music and graphics are really phenomenal. bub has a cute new ability where you can hold B to inflate and float up! one of the great late-published Taito games.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Challenger
チャレンジャー
Hudson Soft / 1985

REALTIME ACTION ADVENTURE! is the first thing this game says when you turn it on, and damn, it's on point. amazingly difficult and funny multi-genre game that will push anybody's skills to extremes. shame this wasn't localized.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Cocoron
ココロン
K2 / 1991

straight up one of the best games on the Famicom. kind of like "make your own mega man" where you mash parts together to make your character roster. it's awesome. serious balance issues aplenty but it's just fucking good!

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Crisis Force
クライシスフォース
Konami / 1991

holy hell! ridiculously balls-out vertical shooter from konami with intense graphic effects and stupid amounts of shit onscreen at once! the slowdown is laughably bad at points but what a damn game! love it!

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Don Doko Don 2
ドンドコドン2
Natsume / 1992

a total departure from the first game, which is a single-screen arcade outing. absolutely awesome action-platformer by Natsume with great bosses and great music care of Iku Mizutani. one of the console's greatest as far as I'm concerned.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Dragon Fighter
ドラゴンファイター
Natsume / 1990

absolutely badass game where you think it's a good side scroller with melee combat, but then this gauge starts flashing and push up while jumping AND YOU TURN INTO A DRAGON AND IT BECOMES A HORIZONTAL SHMUP. this game is difficult as hell as per Natsume but it's an absolute joy. brilliant. Natsume.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
KID / 1991

a great, GREAT action platformer / run n gun with wild graphics. you get to choose your roster before missions and change them on the fly and they all have pretty cool abilities and different stats. i love the first stage where guys jump from the foreground to the playfield! great effects.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Ganbare Goemon 2
がんばれゴエモン2
Konami / 1989

a part of me feels like this is what Famicom is all about. it's Zelda-ish but has stages, and it's a joy to interact with the NPCs even if they don't have anything interesting to say. solid gameplay and a fun primitive game world to explore. really fantastic.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Garoyle's Quest 2
レッドアリーマーII
Capcom / 1992

fucking hard! amazing combination of RPG "town" elements and side scrolling platforming action. i truly cannot emphasize how goddamned difficult this game really is. it's up there with Demon's Crest on the Super Famicom. even still, it's great.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Gimmick!
ギミック!
Sunsoft / 1992

speaking of hard games that happen to be brilliant, here's the best game on the Famicom, bar none. the difficulty curve is as steep as it gets, but the amount of detail in this game from its design to its music to its world is absolutely sublime. solid gold.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Guerilla War
ゲバラ
SNK / 1987

like ikari warriors but way, way better. ridiculously fast and then you get the tank AND JUST PLOW THROUGH EVERYTHING. stupid fun! not much beyond that.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Hebereke
へべれけ
Sunsoft / 1991

awesome Metroid-type game where you traverse the world and have friends join your party so you can explore other areas with their new abilities. a bit rough around the edges but extremely charming.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Hi no Tori Hououhen: Gaou no Bouken
火の鳥 鳳凰編 我王の冒険
Konami / 1987

i was ready to write this one off early but i'm glad i didn't! charming presentation and solid gameplay. interesting mechanic where you turn enemies into blocks that you can place as platforms later on. very cool!

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Holy Diver
ホーリーダイヴァー
Irem / 1989

the single hardest game i've ever played. how hard? think Castlevania but made by Irem. absolutely solid game with awesome powerups, but it's positively brutal. for the hardest of the hardcore only.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Kick Master
KID / 1992

great action game with fun melee combat. you just kick everything. straight up. cool magic powerups and cutscenes and fucking RADICAL MUSIC! if you're into castlevania you're probably going to want to check this one out.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch
キングコング2 怒りのメガトンパンチ
Konami / 1986

i could not have seen it coming a mile away, but this King Kong-based Zelda-alike is fucking AWESOME! you just PUNCH THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYTHING and it's cool! you heave rocks at shit too! this is a real hidden gem of a game that I cannot recommend enough.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Little Smason
聖鈴伝説 Lickle
Takeru / 1992

amazing action platformer that i think shares some staff with cocoron. like that game, you have a roster, and it has the roguelike element of "once they're dead, they're dead". just the right amount of challenge with this one, and a bizarre mix of cartoony and detailed graphics.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Mitsume ga Toorua
三つ目がとおる
Natsume / 1992

talk about killer: a Natsume game based ona a Tezuka property! as per Natsume, it's a solid action platformer with a couple unique elements, namely juggling coins for points, the powerup shops, and a really cool boomerang spear type weapon you can use as a platform.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Panic Restaurant
わんぱくコックンのグルメワールド
EIM / 1992

a great little action-platform game designed by the late Kenji Eno. simple gameplay with fun powerups, wacky bosses, and a solid feel overall. doesn't do too much to stand out aside from just being great and having a funny fish-grabbing minigame.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Quarth
クオ-ス
Konami / 1990

now THIS is cool! a puzzle shmup. complete the shapes with your own blocks by making squares or rectangles to clear them out and stack 'em wicked high for big points! i've never played anything like this one before and i love it.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Spartan X 2
スパルタンX2
Tamtex / 1991

Kung Fu is an NES / Famicom classic. not many people are aware that in Japan it recieved a sequel, and it's awesome! the formula hasn't changed too drastically, but the presentation upgrades alone make it that much more exciting. great stuff!

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti
スプラッターハウス わんぱくグラフィティ
Now Production / 1989

a super cute Splatterhouse spinoff game! very fast-paced action platformer with some good visual gags and charm by the boatload. simple fun.

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Sweet Home
スウィートホーム
Capcom / 1989

awesome horror RPG! thankfully a fan translation of this game exists. the party system is awesome and while it succumbs to a lot of "classic JRPG issues", it succeeds in being moody and packing a few intense moments. once a party member is dead, they're gone for the rest of the game, so it keeps you on your toes.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Shatterhand
特救指令ソルブレイン
Natsume / 1991

the Japanese version of Shatterhand, Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain, has a number of changes from the already awesome US release, including one of the levels being completely different. both versions are worth playing, and they're definitely perfect examples of Natsume at their best.

SUPER RECOMMENDED

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




Vice: Project Doom
ガンデック
Aicom / 1991

brilliant action-platformer with shmup and first person rail shooter segments. really banking on Ninja Gaiden with this one, right down to the dramatic cutscenes and overall game feel. I greatly prefer it over the Ninja Gaiden games, though. amazing graphics, too!

GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE




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