19. Shadowgate (ICOM Simulations Inc)– Shadowgate is one of the trio of point-and-click adventure games from the MacVenture series that made it to the NES, it’s also the best. In Shadowgate you play the role of a heroic king looking to solve the mysteries of Castle Shadowgate so that you may stop a warlock from summoning a world-consuming demon. In Shadowgate you solve a wide variety of mind-bending puzzles to advance, however, make one mistake and you’re almost certain to die a very violent death, described to you in detailed writing with an image of a reaper welcoming you to the afterlife. Shadowgate’s smartly designed puzzles and creepy atmosphere leave it in a class of its own.
18. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (Konami)- The third entry in the Castlevania series abandoned the pseudo-adventure design Simon’s Quest introduced in favor of some of the classic vampire whippin’, stage progressin’ gameplay that the original Castlevania featured. There are a few twists however, such as the inclusion of 4 playable characters all with different skills and the ability to choose multiple paths to reach Dracula’s castle. Castlevania III is also the first title to feature Dracula’s ingrate son Alucard, who happens to be a major wuss in his debut game.
17. Metal Gear (Konami)- Snake’s first sneaking mission in Zanzibar land set the stage for a saga that captivates gamers to this day. While the original Metal Gear wasn’t quite as full of melodrama as it is today, Metal Gear offered some great storytelling and gameplay unlike anything else available at the time.
16. Mega Man 2 (Capcom)- While Mega Man was an incredible game in its own right, Mega Man 2 is without a doubt the game in which Mega Man came into his own. Still regarded by many to be the best game in the series, Mega Man 2 features some of the most memorable bosses in the series, as well as some of the most challenging stages ever designed. To this day I still suffer from PTSD when someone carelessly mentions Quick Man.
15. Tecmo Super Bowl (Tecmo) You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the simple pleasure of running laps around the competition with Bo Jackson in Tecmo Super Bowl. An arcade game in spirit, Tecmo Super Bowl still managed to innovate by being one of the first console sports games to offer an editable playbook, substitutions, and injuries.