In the early days of Red Parsley I was excitedly rustling up these lists left right and centre with the intention of making revised lists after a few years once I had played more games of the appropriate type. Sensible enough, I thought, as the lists provoke discussion and also motivate me to find and play more games I've not found time for before. This particular list, however, is one I've long been a little wary of. The NES is known as a platforming powerhouse (amongst other things) after all.
This is mainly thanks to a certain moustached plumber, of course, but, as I've found while 'researching' this list, he doesn't really have a huge amount of competition. I expected to be inundated with dozens of quality examples; I thought it would be really tough to narrow the list down to five; but it hasn't actually been very tough at all. It's true that I tend to disregard certain titles - Metroid and the Castlevania games, for example, which I class more as 'arcade adventures' than platformers, and stuff like Contra are more run 'n' gunners, as are the Mega Man games, some might say, but I'm afraid I found them far too annoying to include anyway.
I played numerous other examples, too, and wasn't overly enamoured by many of them, quite honestly, but I did eventually find five examples I liked and settled on the list below. Maybe there are still some hidden gems out there, though, lying in dark, dusty corners known only to the handful of fans that have stumbled upon them, so I'm still sticking to that disclaimer for the time being!
Games-Related Top Fives Disclaimer: I've traditionally stuck to the games I know and love so far, and these game-related top fives reflect that. One of the purposes of this blog is diversify my gaming experiences, to play games I haven't played before, so I will do new game-related top fives in a few years to see how different they are!
5. Kid Icarus (1986)
Exploring' post here at RP. Revisiting it for this post confirms my opinion of it too - it's good but very tough! It consists of three worlds known as Underworld, Surface World, and Sky World, each of which is divided into three side-viewed stages, some of which scroll vertically and others horizontally. It's definitely not among the flashiest games on the system but the graphics are quite appealing, the music is great (if a tad repetitive), and the action is very addictive. It's renowned as a highly frustrating game and it is rather unforgiving but it's also one of those games where the second you die you're immediately convinced you can do better next time, and it's often the case too. I'm not sure it's the kind of game I'll ever be able to breeze through in an hour but it is the kind that I'll keep trying.
4. Duck Tales (1989)
play it until a lot more recently. My first impressions of it weren't too great though, to be honest. It seemed very difficult and the mechanic for killing the many enemies was a bit clunky for my tastes. Eventually I realised, however, that you can simply bounce around almost indefinitely on Scrooge McDuck's cane, much like a pogo stick, and this made the going much easier as well as faster. It's still a toughie though, with unforgiving collision-detection and no restart points making the going more than a little frustrating. It's definitely a game that rewards practise, though, and the compulsion to explore the stages is strong thanks to great design and lots of varied areas and secrets dotted around them. Top that off with great graphics and nice music and you've got a challenging but addictive, enjoyable, and even quite original platform romp.
3. Mighty Bomb Jack (1987)
full review here)
2. Kirby's Adventure (1993)
Exploring' feature in years past. I had long been keen to play a game starring the bloated pink pillow too, and this one looked superb straight away. Kirby himself is certainly an endearing fellow after all, and the chunky, colourful world which he inhabits looks really nice too. It features lots of stages and bosses spread over seven worlds which Kirby must conquer all of to secure the 'Star Rod' which was stolen by King Dedede and broken into many pieces. As usual, though, this is just an excuse for a happy, leapy platform adventure, and it really is a rather spiffy one! Its most interesting aspect is thanks to Kirby himself who is able to 'inhale' his enemies. He is then able to spit them out, damaging any others they hit, or swallow them (oo-er), inheriting their abilities in some cases. It's a nice idea and Kirby is a great character. His first game may have been released a little late to really take the gaming world by storm but it's certainly good enough.
1. Super Mario Bros 3 (1988)
Special Note: Yes, it's true that the first and second SMB games are more than worthy of featuring here too, but I figured it was only fair to limit Mario to just the one slot...