Ever since Wii's debut back in 2006, there have been many retro hidden gems made available to download. In this list, I explore ten of the best underrated NES games that you can now play on Wii U, 3DS, or the trusty old Wii.
Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa
You've played as a plumber, a hedgehog, and even a dot-gobbling circle, but this Japanese-exclusive Famicom title puts you in the booties of a little baby. You shake his rattle to inflate enemies and use them as platforms so he's a lot more capable than you'd expect.
Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge
There's no denying how classic River City Ransom is. However, did you know that a track and field mini-game compilation was based on it? Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge is composed of five events that'll have you and your bros fighting dirty to claim victory over rival high school teams. For more on this little known spin-off, check out my full review:Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge Review
When it comes to vertical shoot 'em ups, a few games frequently pop up such as 1942 and Xevious. If you're familiar with the genre but you've never played Zanac then you may be surprised when you boot it up by how challenging and lightning fast it is. On top of this, the relentless enemy patterns will train your thumbs to those of a gaming ninja.
Any gamer with even a remote interest in retro games has played Excitebike at least once in their life. Therefore, when this enhanced version (which was previously only available in Japan as a Famicom Disk System game) hit Wii U's Virtual Console, many fans finally got to play it for the first time. It's quite the complete package with the ability to race against a friend and create tracks with a more intuitive editor. If you'd like to learn more about this relatively unknown remake, read my review:Vs. Excitebike Review
One of my favourite classic arcade games is Mappy. The combination of dealing with enemy cats, reclaiming stolen loot, and bouncing on trampolines makes for one addictive quarter-eating experience. Somewhat recently, I found Mappy-Land at a local game store and I had to buy it because I didn't even know that it was a game. After playing it, I was delighted by how well the gameplay transitioned to a side-scrolling adventure with themed stages. If you love Mappy as much as I do then you should definitely pick this one up.Also featured in: NES Hidden Gems (Part 2)
Shadow of the Ninja
For those who like playing as a ninja, you'd think that Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden, and Strider would be enough. However, Shadow of the Ninja is quite a solid 2D action game that allows you to play cooperatively with a pal as you parkour and slash your way to victory.
S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team
A game called S.C.A.T. may not be enticing at first yet where else can you play as either Arnold or Sigourney? Blasting away aliens in this automatically scrolling shoot 'em up is nothing short of awesome when you factor in the unique gameplay, fantastic soundtrack, and epic boss battles. If your interest is piqued then head over to my full review for more:S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team Review
Summer Carnival '92: Recca
Here we have yet another game that was only available in Japan back in the day. As one of the toughest and fastest shoot 'em ups from the 8-bit era, this is a must-buy for fans of the genre. One disappointing aspect of it is that it's only available for 3DS as of writing this which I find annoying because I really want to play it on the big screen. Here's hoping it shows up on Wii U one of these days.
In 1984, an RPG came out in Japan named Dragon Slayer. Although it has yet to be released in the western world, its sequel (known as Xanadu: Dragon Slayer II) spawned a spin-off called Faxanadu that NES owners could finally enjoy. When I was a kid, I played this side-scrolling action RPG until my thumbs formed blisters. The unique visual style, captivating plot, addictive gameplay, and catchy music made me keep coming back for more which reinforces my opinion that this is one of the most underrated games of all time.Also featured in: NES Hidden Gems (Part 1)
Ufouria: The Saga
Even though it was released in Europe back in 1992, North Americans didn't get to play Ufouria: The Saga until it came out on Wii's Virtual Console eighteen years later. With the exception of Blaster Master and a few others, the NES didn't have that many Metroidvania-style games, so seeing how fun it is exploring the world of Ufouria made me very happy. Being able to switch between four uniquely able friends on the fly makes discovering newly accessible areas all the more enjoyable. One thing that sets Ufouria apart from similar games is its unapologetic use of hilarious animated characters and environments. This truly is an amazing long-lost NES treasure.