Nintendo Switch Online … The new subscription service on Nintendo Switch have enabled us to revisit some defining games in Nintendo’s history. While the older Nintendo exclusive games might not be too encouraging to try in favor of the new 3D installments, there are still many hidden gems that cannot be missed on Nintendo Switch Online, and are worth playing for their own sake.
Top “NES Games” on Nintendo Switch Online
Blaster Master is the definitive alternative for any Megaman fans looking for something closer to the original retro series. The player controls Jason Frudnick, who can operate on foot, or inside a tank named SOPHIA. The gameplay is really unique, and combines 2D platforming with a Top-Down perspective, and allows you to visit various planets, acquire many powers and defeat various mutant enemies.
The beautiful thing about this game is that it is just the start of a bigger adventure. The game has been rebooted as a complete trilogy, with added voice acting not too long ago, and every entry is very fun and accessible to play despite the retro outlook. If the reader is also looking for something akin to the modern Megaman X experience, they can opt for trying the Azure Gunvolt series by the same developer, which captures the charm of these iconic games, and builds upon them in many ways.
One of the most important Shoot em up games, and The first true Gradius game to introduce the concept of the ‘weapon bar‘. During the game, many enemy craft leave behind icons or ‘pick ups’ when destroyed. Collecting one of these will shift the selection cursor along the weapon bar at the bottom of the screen. The player can then select the weapon highlighted if they want it. The cursor then resets. This innovation allowed for deeper tactics on the part of the player and for greater freedom of weapon choice rather than relying on the pre-determined power ups common in other games in the genre.
If the player enjoys the execution of this game, they can move forward through the series and play Gradius II and III through the arcade archives on the Nintendo eshop. Gradius III in particular was an important milestone for the series, as introduced the Weapon Edit method of selecting weapons, which allowed players to create their own weapon array by choosing power-ups from a limited pool of available weapon types.
Journey to Silius
A side-scrolling run and gun video game that was originally based on the 1984 film The Terminator, but the licensing rights to the film were lost during development. The graphics and storyline were altered to accommodate this change, but it still retains it’s sci-fi essence.
While the game itself never received wide acclaim in Western markets, the music has been widely praised and has been subject of numerous remixes, such as the video game music website OverLooked ReMiX’s “JURN3Y 2 51L1U5” project.
S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team
Another game I would recommend for the music. The music by Kiyohiro Sada is universally praised alongside the high quality of the gameplay. S.C.A.T. can also be played by up to two players simultaneously. During the 1-Player Mode, the player can choose between a male soldier named Arnold, or a female one named Sigourney, while in 2 Players mode, Player 1 controls Arnold while Player 2 controls Sigourney. There are no skill differences between the two characters.
As Arnold or Sigourney, the player flies through the air shooting at enemies with their gun while the screen scrolls automatically horizontally or vertically until the end of each stage (similarly to the Capcom arcade game Forgotten Worlds). The player is surrounded by two satellite modules that will shoot at enemies while the player fires his weapons, in addition to being able to gain power ups through the five stages of the game.
Shadow of the Ninja
The game revolves around a pair of ninja sent to assassinate a dictator in a futuristic version of New York City. A port was planned for the Game Boy, but was released in a rebranded form as Ninja Gaiden Shadow. Shadow of the Ninja is a side-scrolling platform game that can be played by up to two players simultaneously, with one player controlling Hayate (a ninja in purple) and the other as Kaede (a kunoichi in orange). In either mode, the player can decide which character they want to control before the game begins. There are no actual performance differences between either character.
Shadow of the Ninja was praised for many aspects that defined it as an above average action adventure game. The Co-Op mode covered for some of its non unique visual identity, and it’s a good playable reminiscence of how the old Ninja Gaiden series turned out to be. Many new indie games aim to capture the style and form laid out by these action classics, such as Bushiden, Cyber Shadow and The Messenger.
Vice: Project Doom
Vice: Project Doom is a side-scrolling platformer with noticeable similarities to the Ninja Gaiden series for the NES, with the addition of gun shooting and driving segments as well. The player assumes the role of a secret agent who must uncover a conspiracy involving a new kind of alien substance.
The game consists of 11 stages. The very first level, as well as Stage 10, are driving stages, while Stage 4-2 and 11-1 are shooting stages; the rest are standard side-scrolling/parallax-scrolling stages. Each begins with a movie-style sequence which provides the game’s narrative, and there is an unlimited number of lives available, unlike Shadow of the Ninja.
This review might sell you on the whole package.
Solomon’s Key was designed by Michitaka Tsuruta, who took inspiration from Lode Runner and added the ability to both destroy and create tiles. The initial game design leaned towards being more of an action title until Tsuruta’s boss at Tecmo, Kazutoshi Ueda, suggested it incorporate puzzle elements. Tsuruta took inspiration from Greek mythology as well as the film Jason and the Argonauts for the visual aesthetic of the game.
The title of the game itself came from the sales manager, Harano, after one of the developers explained that the star-like symbol throughout the levels was the seal of Solomon and that there was a book called the Key of Solomon. “I like it,” Harano stated, at which point it got its title. There are 64 levels in total, of which 15 are secret and one is the final level. The main 48 levels are divided into groups of 4 with one group for each of the 12 Zodiac constellation (in order, Aries, Taurus. Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces).
The final level is called Solomon’s room. Each constellation has a secret bonus room which can only be accessed by finding a seal for the constellation in the last room of the group. The other three levels are Page of Time, Page of Space and the Princess Room, which occur only if the player has acquired the hidden Seals of Solomon.
An amazing choice if you are looking for a story based game. Crystalis takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, in 2097, one hundred years after “1997, October 1, The END DAY,” when a global thermonuclear war began that reverted civilization to a primitive, medieval existence populated with fierce mutated creatures. Science and advanced technology have been abandoned, with the survivors deciding to study the ways of magic.
The survivors of the destruction built a floating “Tower” to prevent any future cataclysms, as its occupants would have the power to govern the world due to the Tower’s weapons systems. A man known as Draygon, however, revived the forbidden ways of science and combined them with magic. With these skills, he controls the world’s last remaining military power and seeks to conquer what is left of the planet by attempting to enter the Tower.
The original NES version of Cystalis was praised for its advanced graphics and high quality soundtracks, in addition to the elaborate plot. The gameboy version was an inferior copy and had altered plot, so fans have the chance to play the best version of this game here on Nintendo Switch Online.
Kid Icarus is basically a cult classic that mixed many gameplay elements from different genres to create a Greek inspired epic. The levels are two dimensional. You have an unlimited supply of arrows and the power ups work to increase the power and range of these arrows. The unique thing is that the type of power ups and blessings received depend on many several factors, such as your health points and score.
The game world is divided into three stages: the underworld, the earth world and the sky world, and the themes of each world play a lot into the stage design. The only problem with the game at the time was the bugs and even on earlier virtual console systems it didn’t run very well, but now with the new version on Nintendo Switch Online, it runs perfectly.
The game had a unique feature; along with the action sequences and point-and-click game elements, there was a “popularity meter” that would go up or down as the super hero Nightshade performed good deeds well or poorly. Higher popularity meant greater recognition by everyday citizens of Metro City and allowed Nightshade access to more areas. The game also included fighting segments that required quick button responses.
Instead of a save feature or extra lives, the villain Sutekh would throw Nightshade into a deathtrap. The first four traps each had a solution and Nightshade would escape back onto the streets of Metro City (minus some popularity points). The final one does not, and the player would have to start over from the beginning of the game. It had so many unique elements and was supposed to be a part of a series, but sadly it never got around to actually becoming one.