Jackal

Jackal Gameplay

Jackal was released in 1988 by Konami for the NES. It’s a port of the Top Gunner arcade game. It’s a run and gun shooting game. The goal of Jackal is to save hostage POWs that have been captured by the enemy army. You must battle your way through six levels of hostile tanks, soldiers, planes, boats, and cannons.

You drive a Jeep that fires bullets and you can throw hand grenades. Your Jeep can be upgraded which makes the gameplay much more interesting. Every time you pickup a hostage POW that’s flashing you will get a missile upgrade. The first missile upgrade will turn your hand grenades into a one shot missile. You can collect a total of four hostage POW powerups that will turn your Jeep into a multi missile launching machine! Once you fully upgrade the Jeep you will shoot a missile that when it explodes it will shoot in four directions killing anything in its path.

As you progress through the levels you will find a helicopter pick up for the hostage POWs. If you drop off enough hostages you will full max out your Jeep’s weapon upgrades.

Jackal is a great multi player game. Two player simultaneous coop mode is a lot of fun. You can really get on a roll once both players have their Jeeps fully upgraded.

Unlike other Konami games Jackal does not have the “Konami Code”. You have a limited amout of lives and continues. You can collect extra lives for getting high scores.

Game Genie codes for Jackal
SZPTSI Both players have infinite lives
PAPKXZ Both players start with 1 life
PAPKXX Both players start with 9 lives
GXZTSG Keep weapons after death
LEZTKG Full weapons after death

Jackal Title Screen
Jackal Title Screen
Jackal Gameplay
Jackal Gameplay
Jackal Cut Scene
Jackal Cut Scene
Jackal Dropping off POWs
Jackal Dropping off POWs
Jackal Cut Scene 2
Jackal Cut Scene 2
Jackal Level Screen
Jackal Level Screen
Jackal Gameplay 4
Jackal Gameplay 4

Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando Gameplay 2

Bionic Commando was released in 1988 by Capcom for the NES. It’s an action adventure game with platformer elements. It is similar to the Bionic Commando arcade game but it’s been changed quite a bit for the NES. You play as Radd Spencer and your mission is to save Super Joe. Radd gets some sweet guns but by far your best weapon is your bionic arm. You can’t jump in Bionic Commando and at first it seems like that really sucks but you find out the gameplay is more exciting and challenging using the bionic arm instead.

The bionic arm acts like a grappling hook that you can use to move Radd around the screen. You can shoot it and pull yourself up and across pits as long as you have something to swing off of. This really set apart Bionic Commando from the other games of the era where you usually jumped on screen from place to place.

Radd can collect health powerups from killed enemies. There are several different guns available to upgrade your standard pistol. They are the rifle, three way gun, wide gun, rocket launcher, and the bazooka. You can also find items like a bullet proof vest and different communicators.

Another interesting gameplay twist that Bionic Commando offers is being able to select your stage. You don’t have to go from level one to level two and so on. You select your level by controller a helicopter on a mini map screen. This was an original idea and kept the gameplay fresh.

Bionic Commando is not a terribly difficult game. Getting used to using the bionic arm controls is really all you need to learn. You can’t bring all your items into each stage with you so you must plan out exactly how you’re going to attack a stage. You are allowed one gun, one protective device, one special item and one communicator per level.

Much of the game had to be censored from the Japanese release. In the Japanese version they had Nazi logos that have been removed from the US version.

Bionic Commando Title Screen
Bionic Commando Title Screen
Bionic Commando Gameplay
Bionic Commando Gameplay

Bionic Commando Level Select
Bionic Commando Level Select

Bionic Commando Gameplay 2
Bionic Commando Gameplay 2

Bionic Commando Gamplay 3
Bionic Commando Gamplay 3

River City Ransom

River City Ransom Gameplay

River City Ransom was released in 1989 by Technos of Japan for the NES. It’s a beat em up style game that combines RPG elements. These two genres make a good mix and River City Ransom has some excellent gameplay as well.

You play as Alex and Ryan. The story goes that Ryan’s girlfriend has been kidnapped by an evil dude named Slick. As you are on your way trying to rescue Ryan’s girlfriend, you are confronted by 9 different gangs depending where you are in the city. They all want to kill you for being on their turf. It’s up to you to show them who’s boss.

The fighting gameplay is like Double Dragon where you can pickup weapons that are dropped from defeated enemies. You can perform kicks, punches, and jump kicks. River City Ransom has two player simultaneous co-op which really makes the game a lot more fun. Teaming up to take on the gangs with a friend is a great time.

Enemies will drop coins after you defeat them which you can use in the vast amount of shops in the city. You can buy all different kinds of items and food to make Alex and Ryan stronger. The graphics and music are well done and the gameplay is challenging but not too hard. One memorable thing about River City Ransom is that after you defeat an enemy they have a phrase that they say. Barf seems to be a very popular one! =)

The NES cartridge is not terribly rare but it does fetch a bit more than most carts of it’s era. It’s usually around $20.00.

River City Ransom Title Screen
River City Ransom Title Screen
River City Ransom Gameplay
River City Ransom Gameplay
River City Ransom Gameplay 2
River City Ransom Gameplay 2
River City Ransom Stores
River City Ransom Stores
River City Ransom Shop
River City Ransom Shop

Battletoads

Battletoads Gameplay

Battletoads

Battletoads was released by Tradewest in 1991 for the NES. It’s is a beat em up platformer game.

The story goes that an evil woman named “the Dark Queen” is trying to take control of the universe. She kidnapped one of your toad buddies (Pimple) so you need to save him. You can play as either of the other toads: Rash or Zitz. As the story unfolds you learn more about the Dark Queen’s evil plans and how you can stop her.

This game has very good graphics for it’s time. Since it was released in 1991 a lot of gamers had moved on to other systems like the Sega Genesis or Turbografx 16. The gameplay is fun and very challenging. It’s really the best playing in two player simultaneous mode with a friend. It’s much more fun to play the game through in co-op except the only bad thing is that your friend can hit you so you need to be careful not to kill each other.

To me, this game is fondly remembered as one of the hardest games to complete for the NES or any system for that matter. It also has some of the best ever in game pause music. If you don’t believe me try it out!

Battletoads Title Screen
Battletoads Title Screen
Battletoads Intro
Battletoads Intro
Battletoads Gameplay
Battletoads Gameplay
Battletoads Gamplay 2
Battletoads Gamplay 2
Battletoads Boss
Battletoads Boss
Battletoads Cut Scene
Battletoads Cut Scene

Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden Cut Scene

Ninja Gaiden was released in 1989 by Tecmo for the NES. The gameplay is that of a side scrolling platformer game. The gameplay is addicting and challenging and that’s why there have been so many more sequels to this game. This is the one that started it all.

You play as ninja Ryu Hayabusa who has come to America to kill those who have murdered his father. As the story progresses you find out you need to help save the world. There are 6 main acts which comprise of 20 stages of levels.

This game received high praise for the get quality cut scenes it used. For it’s time it was well done and really added something to the game. It helped to better tell the story and make the game player feel more involved.

One of the negatives about the gameplay is how Ryu bounces back when hit. This can make some of the levels difficult especially when it’s crowded with enemies or there are pits nearby. Many games of this day used this type of collision detection schemes so it’s a small complaint.

When it was released it was well received and it soon become a favorite of many NES gamers. All of the sequels for the NES were also well remembered as quality games. If you’ve never tried this game you’re missing out on one of the best NES games ever!

Ninja Gaiden Title Screen
Ninja Gaiden Title Screen
Ninja Gaiden Gameplay
Ninja Gaiden Gameplay
Ninja Gaiden Gameplay 2
Ninja Gaiden Gameplay 2
Ninja Gaiden Gameplay 3
Ninja Gaiden Gameplay 3
Ninja Gaiden Boss
Ninja Gaiden Boss

Ninja Gaiden Cut Scene
Ninja Gaiden Cut Scene

Ninja Gaiden Cut Scene 2
Ninja Gaiden Cut Scene 2

Ninja Gaiden Act 2
Ninja Gaiden Act 2

Metroid

Metroid Title Screen

Metroid was released in 1986 by Nintendo for the NES. It’s a game that combines many different genres: action, adventure, and shooter. Nintendo definitely pulled it off in the form of an epic game that would spawn countless incarnations.

One of the spectacular things was that the world was wide open for you to explore. Some of the rooms could only opened by using weapons or techniques you would obtain later in the game, this kept you exploring the world and pushing onward.

Metroid was one of the first games to have a female as the hero. Your character Samus, is on the planet Zebes trying to thwart space pirates that are using the Metriods for world domination. Samus must defeat the evil Motherbrain, and the two other bosses Ridley and Kraid.

One thing that I will always remember about this game is the outstanding music! It was so atmospheric and it set the mood, whether it was dark and brooding or light and airy. It’s been remixed over and over during the years since it came out and is one of the favorites of “Chip Tuners” around the world.

The graphics don’t disappoint either. For an early NES game the graphics are sharp and well detailed. The play control is also spot on, so you really can’t blame the game if you can’t make a jump or get out of the way fast enough. It was actually built on the same engine as another Nintendo classic “Kid Icarus” which is another fine game by the way.

You really can’t go wrong with Metroid and it should be part of you classic gaming collection. If you haven’t played it you owe it to yourself to experience one of the best NES games.

Metroid Title Screen
Metroid Title Screen
Metroid Gameplay
Metroid Gameplay
Metroid Gameplay 2
Metroid Gameplay 2
Metroid Password
Metroid Password

Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 Title Screen

Mega Man 2 released in 1988 by Capcom for the NES. It was the sequel to Mega Man which was a good game but Mega Man 2 placed the series on the map to stay.

The evil Dr. Wily has 8 new bosses for you to defeat: Air Man, Bubble Man, Quick Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Heat Man, Metal Man, and Wood Man. After you defeat each boss you get a unique weapon that you can use for the rest of the game.

Mega Man games have always been challenging and this one follows the same formula. The gameplay is the classic mix of action and platforming rolled into one. The music is still hailed to this day as some of the best video game music ever.

This game differs from the original NES game in that you can collect an energy tank (it has a letter E on it) that will refill your health when used. The only other new feature was tha you now have a password system so a player could continue their game progress at a later date.

This is the highest selling Mega Man game Capcom has ever released and it’s also known as the most popular game of the series.

The graphics look much like the first game but that’s a good thing. The controls are tight and responsive. The music is absolutely classic in fact it’s known as one of the best soundtracks of any game on the NES. The music to this day is constantly remixed due to it’s quality. Chip Tuners around the world love this music and it’s easy to understand why.

If you haven’t played this game you really need to! It’s very inexpensive and it should be a part of any retro gamer’s collection.

Mega Man 2 Title Screen
Mega Man 2 Title Screen

Mega Man 2 Stage Select
Mega Man 2 Stage Select

Mega Man 2 Flash Man
Mega Man 2 Flash Man
Mega Man 2 Gameplay
Mega Man 2 Gameplay