NES Reviews

Sky Kid (Wii U eShop / NES)

Sky Kid (Wii U eShop / NES)

Bombs away

Originally an arcade game, the 1986 Namco NES title Sky Kid draws hard battle lines from the start, though exactly who the warring parties are is unclear. This quirky game is iconic of Namco's early days and even earned a song and a cameo in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. The action here is a combination of unforgiving and short,...

Kung-Fu Heroes (Wii U eShop / NES)

Kung-Fu Heroes (Wii U eShop / NES)

Everybody was kung fu fighting

Kung-Fu Heroes is a charming looking title for the NES released in the US in 1988 - the comical martial arts game was originally launched as an arcade title in 1984, and was then ported to the NES in 1986 by Culture Brain (formerly known as Nihon Game). The NES adaptation is the second entry in the Super Chinese series...

Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll (Wii U eShop / NES)

Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll (Wii U eShop / NES)

There’s not much fight in this one

Culture Brain's Hiryū no Ken fighting series dates back to the 1985 arcade release, Shanghai Kid. The 1987 NES title, Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll – exclusive to Japan and the US (1989) – took the original concept and expanded on it, as well as paving the way for future entries in the franchise. This...

Mappy-Land (Wii U eShop / NES)

Mappy-Land (Wii U eShop / NES)

Cats vs. Mouse

Mappy, a plucky mouse detective, is one of many arcade game mascots lost to time, having only starred in a few games over the years. While the character has guest-starred in various Namco games over the years (and makes a clever cameo in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS), the biggest role Mappy's had is in a web series from the...

Blaster Master (Wii U eShop / NES)

Blaster Master (Wii U eShop / NES)

Master your blast!

The latest eShop release of Sunsoft's 1988 NES classic, Blaster Master, marks the title's third Virtual Console appearance. With the game previously sighted on the Wii and more recently the 3DS, now it's the Wii U's turn to host this side-scrolling and top-down platform shooter that has since spawned an entire series. The western...

Dig Dug (Wii U eShop / NES)

Dig Dug (Wii U eShop / NES)

A competent but unneeded version of a fun 80's classic

Originally hitting arcades in 1982, this NES conversion of Dig Dug followed a few years later (albeit only in Japan until arriving on the Wii's Virtual Console service in 2008). It's a classic Namco title that sees you digging your way around a single screen defeating (and sometimes fleeing)...

Duck Hunt (Wii U eShop / NES)

Duck Hunt (Wii U eShop / NES)

Old dog, same tricks

Despite Nintendo's refusal to acknowledge the Duck Hunt character in Super Smash Bros. until long after the 3DS version was released, we all knew that the duo – or trio – were in the game. What we didn't know at that time was that Duck Hunt was due to release on the Wii U's Virtual Console, and now it has. The question is...

Shadow of the Ninja (3DS eShop / NES)

Shadow of the Ninja (3DS eShop / NES)

Gaming pleasure and pain, oh look it's ninjas again

There's a great moment early on in Shadow of the Ninja where an armoured trooper stands atop a ledge occasionally shooting at you. You can't simply wait for the firing to stop before attacking as the gun doubles as a shield against your slashing blade. As you contemplate jumping between bullets to...

Lode Runner (Wii U eShop / NES)

Lode Runner (Wii U eShop / NES)

Not quite endless runner

Broderbund's Lode Runner is a challenging puzzler that, unfortunately, hasn't aged particularly gracefully. Originally released in 1983 on computers like the Apple II and the Commodore 64, Lode Runner feels dated, even for an NES game. It's easy to see the reason Lode Runner was released on so many different platforms over...

S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team (3DS eShop / NES)

S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team (3DS eShop / NES)

Invading aliens, a fight for survival and all that jazz

It is the year 2029 and aliens are attacking the earth. Have they observed mankind’s violent nature and opted for a pre-emptive strike to protect themselves? Or do they just dislike the way the people of S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team have taken to painting their buildings a shade...

Mighty Final Fight (Wii U eShop / NES)

Mighty Final Fight (Wii U eShop / NES)

Looks can be deceiving

At first glance, it would be easy to mistake Capcom's Mighty Final Fight as a cheap cash-in of a superior arcade beat 'em up, with its chibi-styled characters and its seemingly limited 8-bit presentation. But while Mighty Final Fight may appear simpler than other entries in the series — game history buffs would be interested...

Shadow of the Ninja (Wii U eShop / NES)

Shadow of the Ninja (Wii U eShop / NES)

Go ninja, go ninja GO!

Ninjas really were a hot ticket back in the '90s. The Turtles were making TV and toy executives money hand over fist, and children became so caught up in the craze they had the sheer gall to drag their parents into the cinema to watch dreck like Surf Ninjas. Yep, it was a great time to be a kid. The trend bled into gaming and...

Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness (3DS eShop / NES)

Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness (3DS eShop / NES)

Little monsters

It might not be too off kilter to think that, in some alternate universe, things could have shaken out differently in Capcom’s stable and Firebrand the Red Arremer/Gargoyle would have become a bigger star. The company could have been associated more with crimson than true blue, and fans today could be crying out over the absence of...

Devil World (Wii U eShop / NES)

Devil World (Wii U eShop / NES)

Heaven a good time

As far as obscure releases within the NES library go, Devil World is certainly one of the most interesting. Originally released in Japan in 1984 and in Europe in 1987, this is a title that to this day has never been available to purchase in North America — not even through the wonders of Nintendo’s Virtual Console service...

Mighty Final Fight (3DS eShop / NES)

Mighty Final Fight (3DS eShop / NES)

Haggard by time or as mighty as ever?

Originally released for the NES in 1993, Mighty Final Fight is a home console spin-off of the original arcade classic, Final Fight. Interestingly, it came out a year after the technically superior home console port that appeared on the SNES and, furthermore, is quite a departure from the other games in the...

Donkey Kong: Original Edition (3DS eShop / NES)

Donkey Kong: Original Edition (3DS eShop / NES)

Whole once again

The legendary arcade title Donkey Kong is slightly infamous for receiving a rather botched NES conversion. Lacking several screens, animations and even an entire stage, it wasn't exactly one of Nintendo's finer porting jobs, especially when other home versions by different companies did manage to include all of the original content...