NES Reviews

Excitebike (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Excitebike (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

This bike still excites

Excitebike will no doubt be remembered fondly by older gamers. After all, it was one of the original launch titles for the NES way back in 1985. Some might be dubious and question if a game this old is worth purchasing for the Virtual Console, but worry not — this classic game has somehow managed to retain its appeal...

Ice Climber (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Ice Climber (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Ice Ice Baby

Ice Climber is another classic NES title for the Virtual Console — and thankfully, it's decent enough to be worth considering for download. Ice Climber is a fantastic little game, if somewhat basic. Graphically it's exactly what you'd expect an 8-bit game from 1985 to look like — simple. The premise of the game is pretty bizarre. A...

Kid Icarus (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Kid Icarus (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Is Pit a hit?

Kid Icarus is one of those games that makes you think 'they sure don't make them like they used to'. Graphically it's very basic - this is from 1986 after all - but the charm simply shines through regardless. This is a game from an era where developers had to really make an effort and use what simple technology they had available to...

Kirby's Adventure (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Kirby's Adventure (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Kirby's first adventure

Kirby’s Adventure was released in 1993 when many gamers had packed up their NES in favour of the shiny new Sega Mega Drive / Genesis or a SNES. Those who stayed faithful to the mighty grey toaster and picked up this game at the time would have been in for a real treat. It really pushed the boundaries of the NES hardware,...

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

The black sheep of the family?

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is often referred to as the black sheep of the Zelda family. Unlike the original Zelda games, the top-down perspective is replaced in favour of side-scrolling platform action, similar to that found in Castlevania. Perhaps more significantly than that, it is the only Zelda game to offer...

Xevious (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Xevious (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Golden oldie

Following its success with Pac-Man and Galaga in the arcades, it seemed that Namco was unstoppable. The release of Xevious only helped to cement this idea: it was first one of the earliest examples of a vertical scrolling shooter and innovative for its time. The action in Xevious takes place on two parallel plains; your spacecraft gets...

Gradius (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Gradius (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Konami's classic shooter series takes off

It's so hard to review a game like Gradius. This is a near-legendary title and has inspired a franchise that has sold millions, not to mention the spin-off series Parodius and countless other clones. But when reviewing classic retro titles, you have to judge if this game is still worth playing today...

Baseball (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Baseball (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Batter up!

Nintendo’s Baseball was actually a launch title for the NES way back in 1985. With unknown brands like Ice Climber and Gyromite it made perfect sense for Nintendo to have a representation of a popular sports game to attract sceptics to their new console. Predictably enough, it’s now horribly dated. The gameplay itself just focuses on...

Super Mario Bros. (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Super Mario Bros. (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

A timeless classic

This game needs no introduction, this was really where it all began with our favourite Italian plumber. Having been originally bundled free with the NES console in 1985 Super Mario Bros. Proved to be a killer app at the time helping to shift millions of consoles. There have since been many imitators but none have quite captured...

Tennis (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Tennis (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Anyone for Tennis?

Tennis was one of the launch titles for the NES way back in 1985, and it succeeded in winning new gamers to the system in much the same way as Wii Sports. That begs the question, of course, why bother with this if you already have Wii Sports Tennis, which you got as a freebie with your Wii? Well for a start you control the...

Urban Champion (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Urban Champion (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

More like Urban chump!

It's impossible to overlook the fact that many of the earlier NES releases were extremely simple in design and took very few chances when it came to gameplay design and visual substance. While many of the games were classic arcade titles from Nintendo, there were a handful of original releases that tried to up the ante. Urban...

Ice Hockey (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Ice Hockey (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Ice to see you again

The earlier titles in the NES sports series are probably not remembered by many for being great games, but Nintendo’s Ice Hockey — a latecomer to the series in 1988 — certainly bucks that trend. It is fondly remembered as a semi-faithful translation of the sport which was fiendishly addictive to play and hard to put down...

Donkey Kong Jr. (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Donkey Kong Jr. (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Donkey Kong has finally been captured by Mario!

Donkey Kong is one of Nintendo's quintessential characters; pre-dating even the illustrious Mario as a video game lead, the goofy simian was enthralling arcade-goers the world over during the early '80s. However, once the Italian plumber decided to star in his own game, Donkey Kong's appeal started to...

Donkey Kong (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Donkey Kong (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

It's on like Donkey Kong

As many will know, the mighty Miyamoto made his mark at Nintendo and indeed the world with this very game in the arcades. Donkey Kong was quite unique for its day; in arcades full of Space Invaders and Pac-Man clones, a platform game like was something new. Playing as Jumpman — who would later become known as Mario —...

Mario Bros. (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Mario Bros. (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Will it clean your pipes?

When Mario Bros. hit arcades in 1983, most Nintendo fans were expecting yet another Donkey Kong release and weren't quite prepared for the spin-off Nintendo served up. Now it was Mario and his brother Luigi who were at war with a constant flow of pests coming though their sewer pipes. The game was yet another hit with...

Pinball (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Pinball (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Pinball wizard

Back in the '80s, pinball simulations became quite popular on home game consoles of the time period. Pinball for the NES takes a very basic approach with its presentation, but still manages to include just enough variety to keep it interesting. Toss in a Mario mini-game to spice things up and what you have is a fun little pinball romp...

Soccer (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Soccer (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

This is most definitely not super soccer

Soccer is one of the earlier titles in the NES Sports series, it also ranks amongst the worst. Back in 1987 it might have cut the mustard, but in this day and age it is too dated to be worthy of splashing the virtual cash on. Rather than support a full team of eleven players you only get five players, and a...

Solomon's Key (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Solomon's Key (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

I've got the key, I've got the secret!

Solomon’s Key started life as a little known arcade game, but the NES version is probably more well known and remains a faithful rendition of the original. Playing as a little wizard by the name of Dana, you are tasked with escaping from a series of dungeons, using a handy magic wand that can create or...

Wario's Woods (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

Wario's Woods (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

If you go down to the woods today...

Toad, the hero of this story (or Mushroom-head to his mates) gets to show off his muscles in this Tetris-style falling block game by lifting and stacking bombs and monsters. Our friend Toad cleverly discovered that if he puts monsters of the same colour in a row along with a bomb of the same colour that they will...

The Legend of Zelda (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

The Legend of Zelda (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

The brave Link begins his hazardous journey in the fantastic world of Hyrule.

Where it all began - it's amazing how playable and fresh this games feels, even after all these years! Although the visuals and sound are hardly going to turn heads these days, the core Zelda gameplay is all present and correct. The Legend of Zelda is a famous series...