The NES Classic Edition is a great introduction to the hardware, but it’s missing some real gems in its 30-game lineup.
For those looking to take a glimpse into some of the finest games to grace Nintendo’s 8-bit console, the NES Classic is wonderful little machine. The 30 games packed into the diminutive micro console span a number of genres and showcase some of the most iconic titles of Nintendo’s formative years as a hardware manufacturer. Still, while the inclusion of hits like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out and Castlevania represent some of the most entertaining games in the history of the industry, don’t let that fool you into thinking the NES Classic Edition’s 30 games make up the definitive NES playlist.
Here are 10 games we feel are essential additions to the system’s library that are missing from the NES Classic’s lineup:
10. Crystalis (SNK, 1990)
Back before SNK changed the dynamic of the arcade industry with the Neo Geo, the Osaka-based studio was busy cranking out classics on the NES. And one of their finest releases was Crystalis. Originally released in Japan as God Slayer: Haruka Tenkū no Sonata in 1990, Crystalis is set against the backdrop of a world that’s rebuilt itself a century after succumbing to a nuclear apocalypse. The story follows some pretty familiar tropes as players take control of an amnesiac hero, gathering elemental powers to overthrow an evil despot. However, despite its uninspired narrative, Crystalis proved to be fiercely addicting thanks to a fast and engaging combat system, pumping soundtrack, and a wealth of creative items that aided our hapless hero in his quest to save humanity from the forces of Draygon.
To this day Crystalis still stands as one of the most criminally overlooked action-RPGs out there. And while the game was ported to the Game Boy Color back in 2000, the handheld version pales in comparison to the original NES release.
9. Gauntlet (Tengen, 1987)
Decades before Halo’s campaigns became synonymous with cooperative gaming, Gauntlet was teaching players the value of teamwork. A fixture of countless summer nights spent with friends, huddled around the glow of our CRT sets, Tengen’s insanely addictive dungeon-crawler was an instant classic full of iconic moments. Who can forget the terror they felt the first time Death chased them through a maze, sucking the last of their health away like the chunky frozen sludge at the bottom of a Slurpee, or the feeling of confusion that accompanied you the first time you walked smack into a wall in the labyrinth built with invisible walls?
While we’re at it, can we just take a moment to reflect on how amazing that opening music was? Seriously. Insert this into your eager ear nubs:
Just as the wizard so badly needs sustenance, the NES Classic really needed Gauntlet to round out its package. It’s a fast and frantic co-op experience that no NES owner should be without.