NES Hidden Gems (Part 3) thumbnail

NES Hidden Gems (Part 3)

Discover some 8-bit gold

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Retrospectives on 💎

No matter how many games come out nowadays, I still enjoy playing NES so here are 5 more hidden gems from my collection.

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Photo of all 5 featured NES hidden gems
There's nothing quite like good old-fashioned cartridges!

City Connection

Admittedly, City Connection can be a frustrating game and it isn't really all that good but there's something about it that I keep coming back to after all these years. You basically drive a car around 2D scrolling and looping stages and the goal is to cover all the roads. The thing is, many of these roads are suspended in mid-air and there are police officers chasing you around as well as weird invincible cats that make your vehicle explode. However, you can jump and throw oil cans at cop cars in order to stun them then you can bump them off the stage. It's a rather silly game yet it's quite challenging so whenever I play it, I can't stop until I have a good run. v1d30chumz 18-232-56-9

Arcade Archives: City Connection Review
City Connection screenshot
I wish actual cars could jump by the tap of a button...

Adventures of Dino Riki

Here's another divisive game as Adventures of Dino Riki has received many mixed reviews over the years. I personally enjoy it because you don't see many prehistoric vertical shoot 'em ups where you play as a goofy little caveman. Plus, the power-ups are just awesome. You start by merely throwing rocks and as you upgrade your weapon, you'll throw axes and boomerangs and even spray an array of fireballs everywhere. The core shooting gameplay is solid and challenging yet the difficulty gets turned up to 11 when you factor in the platforming that you'll have to do whenever you come across water. Trying to leap between lily pads or simply hop over a puddle can be incredibly frustrating but after playing for a while, you'll get a knack for it and it can be a very fun game in the end.

Adventures of Dino Riki screenshot
No prehistoric creature is a match for Dino Riki's fireballs!


Folks generally now know Othello as Reversi but back in the day, many NES gamers were introduced to the late 19th century board game via this 8-bit cartridge. I remember being captivated by its simplicity as all you do is place your colour of disc on an 8-by-8 grid near any of your opponent's colour then all of your competitor's discs between your disc and any of your other discs in a straight or diagonal line get turned over to your colour. The goal of each game is to have the most amount of discs and the match doesn't end until you either fill the board or no one can make any more moves. A good strategy is to try and claim the corners and as many side squares as you can but the CPU player is exceptionally tough to beat so you'll have to carefully strategize and plan ahead if you want to win.

Othello Review
Othello screenshot
It may look boring but I could play this for hours


Also known as Bomber King, Robowarrior is in fact a Bomberman spin-off. In it, you can shoot and plant bombs yet your stock of them is limited. The main aspect that distinguishes its gameplay from Bomberman is that your movement is a lot more fluid as you're not locked to a grid. This also means that running away from your own bomb blasts is trickier yet still quite simple to do. Anyway, working through the enemy-filled stages while finding key items that'll help you progress in the campaign can be a lot of fun if you're up for a challenge. Also, Blaster Master Boy (AKA Blaster Master Jr.) for Game Boy is a sequel to Robowarrior so be sure to check that out, too.

Robowarrior screenshot
I don't remember Bomberman being this tough!

Sky Shark

Flying Shark was a very cool arcade vertical shmup from 1987 by Toaplan and Taito but for whatever reason, it was never featured in any Taito arcade compilation so the closest thing we ever got to the arcade game at home was a few console adaptations including this NES release which is known as Sky Shark. Anyway, many NES shoot 'em ups haven't stood the test of time yet Sky Shark remains a fun and challenging arcade shooter that's quite rewarding to master. Strategically deploying bombs while aiming for the highest score possible and collecting power-ups to make your plane shoot a huge barrage of bullets is super-satisfying stuff. By the way, if you want to play a sequel then check out Fire Shark on Sega Genesis. I have a copy of that, too, and it's one awesome sequel!

Sky Shark screenshot
Sky Shark is a fairly standard shmup yet quite an enjoyable one for NES

Thanks for checking out this batch of NES hidden gems. Have you played any of these? Are there any underrated NES games that you'd recommend? Feel free to discuss below and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!

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Gameplay video playlist for NES Hidden Gems (Part 3)
NES Games Trivia

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