14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (Konami)– While the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for the SNES left a sour taste in my mouth due to the unforgiving dam stage, I was overjoyed when I discovered while out picking out a birthday present with my father that the excellent arcade game (my favorite at the time) was ported to the NES. After taking the game home it devoured weeks of my life. New stages, extra bosses, and some excellent music made it easy to forget that this home version was plagued with more flicker than a firefly on methamphetamine.
13. Ninja Gaiden (Tecmo)– Just as loved for its innovative storytelling as it is loathed for it’s insane difficulty (I’m talking to you, stage 6-2!), Ninja Gaiden is a timeless classic. Tight controls, awesome enemy design, and some of the most impressive visuals on the NES make Ninja Gaiden a must-own title. While you may never finish the unforgiving challenge Ninja Gaiden offers, gamers with a masochistic side will love every minute of the abuse.
12. Blaster Master (Sunsoft)- I’ll never forget how excited I was the first time I hopped behind the controls of SOPHIA and took the battle to the mutants to rescue my pet frog. SOPHIA zoomed and bounced with a weight all her own, giving the tank itself as much of a personality as the pilot himself. Blaster Master’s open world full of exploration reminded me a great deal of Metroid, and the excellent action, both side scrolling and overhead, kept the action fresh.
11. Gremlins II: The New Batch (Sunsoft)- While it’s easy to dismiss Gremlins II as another licensed flop like so many other movie adaptations of the 8-bit era, don’t be so quick to count Gizmo out. Gremlins II is a very enjoyable overhead action-platformer. Gizmo scurries around the CLAMP Enterprises offices gathering weapons, battling gremlins, bats, spiders, evil tomatoes and all other manner of unpleasant infestations. Graphically the game pops off the screen, and the music is simply awesome.
10. Bionic Commando (Capcom)- It’s impossible to make a list of memorable NES games and not mention Rad Spencer’s battle to rescue Super Joe from the Naz…erm, I mean Badds. While Rad Spencer takes the saying “white men can’t jump” to heart, he sure as hell can swing with the best of them. Bionic Commando’s unique swing-centric platforming and run n’ gun action cement its place among the NES’s best action games.