Table of Contents:
Best Platformer 

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 represented a culmination of all things Mario--that is to say, largely, all things great about the NES. The game came as the console was achieving its pinnacle of success. SMB3 was as polished and as enjoyable as we could imagine, and full of innovation, too. To this day, it is among the favorite games of many an NES fan. SMB3 blends strong graphics and music with very innovative gameplay, a lengthy quest, and a variety of techniques. It also marked the hallmark return to the original gameplay (stomping, mushrooms) that had made Super Mario Bros. an instant classic but was conspicuously absent from Super Mario Bros. 2.

Runners up:


Claustrophobic corridors and strange alien beasts crawling on ceilings and walls--Metroid's ambience and innovative, non-linear gameplay set it apart from the pack. The game brought us down on the alien world Zebes and its malevolent eeriness immediately filled the room. An evil force has infected the planet with its dark power. As Samus Aran, bounty hunter in a combat suit, you must blast your way through bleak corridors and pathways, destroying the evil bosses lurking within to liberate the planet and eventually terminate the Mother Brain herself. In the case of the editors at, we may have beaten the Mother Brain and left Zebes, but Zebes has not left our hearts. 

Mega Man II

Mega Man II brought the clever ideas of its predecessor to an enchanting fruition; the first game had the concept of non-linear level progression and weapons culled from fallen bosses, but Mega Man II added stunning graphics, more power-ups, and otherworldly music to the mix. Our hero must destroy the evil robots of Dr. Wily, a maniacal mad scientist bent on world domination. This game teaches us important lessons--first and foremost, that the antagonist can't die (so there's room for a sequel). With its variety of weaponry, special items, and tight gameplay, Mega Man II became an instant classic. 

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos

If there was one constant love for children of the '80s, it was ninjas. These black-clad, mysterious and violent characters represented the ultimate in cool. In 1990, Tecmo released its sequel to the groundbreaking Ninja Gaiden and brought us deeper into the tale of a Japanese ninja forced to scour the world for clues to his father's death and the dark sword that haunts his dreams. Tailed by his C.I.A. love interest Irene, the ultimately skillful Ryu Hayabusa slashed his way through cities, speeding trains and into mysterious castles and compounds. Aided by a variety of secret ninja magic and ghost-like helpers, this wall-jumping classic reaffirmed the ultimate cool of the secret assassin. 

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

Having already wormed its way into the hearts of many NES owners with both the first outing and the amazing RPG-tinged sequel, Konami's Castlevania series had gamers drooling in anticipation for whatever the company had to offer. Castlevania III traces the series back to its roots with the story of a new Belmont hero, Trevor. Three cohorts--Alucard, the rebellious son of Dracula, Grant DaNasty, a wandering pirate who can cling to walls and ceilings, and Sypha Belnades, a powerful wizard, join him on his quest. With each character having unique abilities, you had the chance to play through the game in all sorts of different variations. The title also made use of some late, great NES graphics technology to bring us the ultimate in vampire-slaying action. 

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Did You Know?
Super Mario Bros. 3 has sold over 16 million copies to date worldwide.

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