Hidden Arcade Gems

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Hidden Arcade GemsHidden Arcade Gems
  

rastanRASTAN
A fantasy-themed side-scrolling action game originally released for the arcades in 1987 by Taito and later ported to various platforms. The player controls a barbarian warrior who has embarked on a quest to slay a dragon. While on his way to the dragon’s lair, Rastan must fight hordes of enemy monsters based on mythical creatures such as chimeras and harpies. The game was followed by two sequels, Rastan Saga II and Warrior Blade Rastan Saga Episode III.

cadillacsCADILLACS AND DINOSAURS
A side-scrolling beat ‘em up based on the comic book series. The game was produced as a tie-in to the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs animated series which was aired during the same year. Players select one of four characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses, as well unique attacks. The game’s titular dinosaurs make appearances as neutral characters that may attack both player characters and enemies.

tempestTEMPEST
A 1981 arcade game by Atari Inc., originally designed and programmed by Dave Theurer. The game is a tube shooter, a type of shoot ‘em up where the environment is fixed and viewed from a three-dimensional perspective. It was fairly popular and had several ports and sequels. The game is also notable for being one of the first video games with a selectable level of difficulty (determined by the initial starting level).

captainCAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE AVENGERS
Released in 1991, the Avengers in a side-scrolling brawling and shooting adventure to defeat the evil Red Skull. Choose to play as one of four members of the Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and the Vision. Each character has the ability to fight hand-to-hand combat or use a ranged special attack to defeat their enemies. Other Avengers, including the Wasp, Quicksilver and Wonder Man temporarily appear to assist players in combat.

tigerBLACK TIGER
Released in 1987, you play as a barbarian hero who jumps and fights his way through a variety of colourful, enemy-packed levels. The sprawling, eight-way scrolling, two-dimensional levels are packed with hidden bonuses to encourage and reward exploration. Currency allows the player to upgrade their weapons and armor, keys for treasure chests, and anti-poisoning potions. Black Tiger was re-released on the Wii’s Virtual Console on January 24, 2011.

robocopROBOCOP
Released in 1988 by Nihon Bussan, you are set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan in the near future. You play as RoboCop who advances through various stages taken from the 1987 movie. The bonus screen is a target shooting range that uses a first-person perspective. The intermission features digitized voices from the actors. Two sequels followed with computer and video games conversions done for each film.

willowWILLOW
Based off the Spielberg Movie, Willow consists of six stages, some where Willow plays his part, others where Madmartigan plays his and one of the stages where either character is selectable. Collect gold for purchasing items including weapons, healing potions, and defensive jewellery. Depending on whether the player is playing as Willow or Madmartigan determines if either the magic weapon or the blade weapon can be purchased.

contraSUPER CONTRA
A Run and Gun-style action game produced by Konami, originally released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1988. It is the sequel to the original Contra and the second game in the Contra series released for the arcades. Like in the original game, the game centers on soldiers Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, who are once again assigned to protect the Earth from an army of alien invaders. The game features standard side-scrolling stages, as new overhead stages.

sunsetSUNSET RIDERS
A side-scrolling run-and-gun style shoot-’em-up released by Konami as a coin-operated video game in 1991. The game is set during the American Old West, where the player takes control of a bounty hunter who is seeking the rewards offered for various criminals. There are a total of eight levels. If the boss is defeated by two or more players, the reward is awarded to the player who deals most damage on the enemy.

Hidden NES Gems

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Hidden Gems
  

garygoylesGARGOYLE’S QUEST II
Released by Capcom in October 1992, Gargoyle’s Quest II is the second game in the series (part of the larger Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise), and is actually the prequel to the first game. Similar to a role-playing game, you become more powerful as you progresses, from increased flight time and improved jumping ability to more health Critical reception has been generally positive. Honest Gamers staff reviewer Julian Titus spoke favorably of Gargoyle’s Quest II, calling the game “…a criminally overlooked second entry in a criminally overlooked trilogy”.

forceLIFEFORCE
A scrolling shooter arcade game by Konami. Released in 1987 on the NES as a spin-off to Gradius, Life Force introduced a simplified power-up system, two-player cooperative gameplay and both horizontally and vertically scrolling stages. The first two levels of Life Force were profiled in the second issue of Nintendo Power, issued in 1988. Several issues later the entire game was re-profiled. The North America version was later re-released for the Wii’s Virtual Console on February 16, 2009 at a cost of 500 Wii Points.

metalMETAL STORM
Although the NES does’t support parallax scrolling, programmers continuously redrew the tiles making up the game’s backgrounds in order to animate them scrolling at a different rate than the foreground, giving an illusion of depth, notably in the game’s third and fifth stages where there’s a “second” background layer that appears to scroll behind the first.Despite generally being well received by critics and reviewers, Metal Storm has remained a somewhat obscure release, as it was published by a lesser-known 3rd party company.

crystalisCRYSTALIS
A 1990 action RPG action-adventure game that never became a runaway hit, but is now considered a cult classic. The game’s initial success prompted a release for the Game Boy Color by Nintendo Software Technology in 2000, which is generally considered more of a remake than a simple port. The original NES version of Crystalis was praised for its advanced graphics and high quality soundtrack and also for its elaborate plot. In 2005, Nintendo Power ranked Crystalis at #115 in a list of the 200 best games ever to appear on a NES.

karnovKARNOV
Released in 1987, Karnov, Data East’s mascot makes his platform debut. The game puts the bulging-muscled, fire-breathing, ex-circus strongman east-Russian hero on a quest through nine different levels to search for treasures. However, between him and the treasures were several horrendous monsters, including sword-wielding monks and dinosaurs. Although no direct sequel to Karnov was released, Data East has used the title character as an enemy in many other games, across a number of platforms.

cobraCOBRA TRIANGLE
A single-player game developed by Rare for the Nintendo Entertainment System following the success of their previous game, R.C. Pro-Am. Similar to R.C. Pro-Am, this game is an action racing game in the isometric perspective, though instead of cars the game features motorboats The overall objective of Cobra Triangle is to complete all the missions in a given amount of time while avoiding obstacles such as sharks, jumps, waterfalls, enemy land guns, and enemy boats. GamesRadar ranked it the 16th best NES game ever made.

journeyJOURNEY TO SILIUS
A 1990 side-scrolling run and gun video game developed by Tokai Engineering and published by Sunsoft and Mattel for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was originally based on the 1984 film The Terminator, but the licensing rights to the film were lost during development. As a result, the graphics and storyline were altered to accommodate this change, but remnants of the earlier version still remain in the game. For example, the final boss has a striking resemblance to the titular terminator in the film.

wizardsWIZARDS AND WARRIORS
A platforming game developed by Rare in 1990, the game player controls Kuros, as he sets out in the Kingdom of Elrond to defeat the evil wizard Malkil, who holds the princess captive in Castle IronSpire, located deep within Elrond’s forests. During the game, players make their way through forests, tunnels, and caves, battling hordes of enemies and collecting treasure, magical items, and additional weaponry to get past the obstacles and hazards that lie in their path. It was Rare’s second game released for the NES, after Slalom.