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Classic Video Games That Are Better On The NES Than In The Arcade – Riggs’ Top Eight

nintendo, tecmo, konami, capcom, taito
Don't get me wrong, I love all the next gen consoles. I love my Wii, my PS3. I even bought a Nintendo 3DS that I hardly touch because I had to have one. Yep, I'm a gamer, but the games I love most are the ones that have been out for several years now. My favorite system of all time is the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES (the old Nintendo from the 80s). It's my personal time machine. As a retro gamer I can pop in a classic and become an awkward teenager once again. As I was playing some of my favorite NES games over the weekend I thought of how some of them are different and, to me, in many ways better than their arcade counterpart. Here are my top eight NES games that I prefer the NES version over the upright arcade version.


capcom
capcom

Strider

 
 

Although it's almost blasphemous to think that the clunky, glitchy NES version of Strider is preferred over the smooth, slick arcade version, I just like the idea of going from area to area better, picking up keys and disks to 'analyze' more than the linear "level 1, level 2" style of the arcade version. Both are completely different except for they're both called Strider and feature a character named Strider Hiryu who uses his Cypher, a crazy double-handle sword that, in real life, wouldn't win you too many sword fights. Sure, the NES version lacks in the graphics department (although they were killer for it's time), the collision detection was off and jumping was a challenge, given the option I'll take the NES version. This was also the first game to teach me what a 'triangle jump' was. Something that's been duplicated in too many games.

 
capcom
capcom

Bionic Commando

 
 

Another 'Inspired by a true video game' Capcom story. In the arcade version, you are Bionic Commando. You have a gun and, instead of being able to jump, you have a mechanical arm that can extend to grab items, pull yourself up ledges and a heap of other techniques. The same is true for the NES version, but the NES version features non-linear play, much like how Strider did. You choose your path, strategize around enemies who are tracking you down and build up your arsenal. The arcade version just had you go from one level to the next. *YAWN* The NES version also had levels that were top-down angled which mixed up the gameplay that's usually 2-D side scrolling.

 
nintendo
nintendo

Punch-Out!!

 
 

Both games are mostly different. A few of the same characters, a few altered or swapped out completely. The arcade version makes you build up to your 'uppercut bar' to use your knock-out blows. The NES version awards you uppercut 'stars' to use on your stunned opponents. The NES version holds a special place in my heart to being one of the few games I love that I've never beaten. Seriously, try as I might, I never could beat Mike Tyson (or Mr. Dream in the non-Mike Tyson version). While in the arcade you can see through your green wire-frame self, I liked the idea that I was some kid taking on men three times my size and that I had to jump to punch any of them in the face. I loved the characters, the gimmicks and that, once you had the strategy, you could take out any of them with relative ease. Maybe now that I'm older I'll give Mike Tyson another shot.

 
tecmo
tecmo

Ninja Gaiden

 
 

Honestly, I'm not sure why they changed this game when it was released for the NES under the same name. The arcade is kind of a 'beat'em up' style ala Double Dragon and the NES version is an arcade, linear, "level 1, level 2" style. Either way, I've played them both and totally love the NES version of Ninja Gaiden. The arcade version is cool and all, but not cool enough. This game was also the first NES game that I played to feature movie style 'cut scenes' between levels to make you feel like part of the story. That emotional draw is what makes me enjoy the NES version more than the arcade version.

 
nintendo
nintendo

Super Mario Brothers

 
 

"But aren't they the same?" Yes, for the most part, but the arcade version is a touch harder. When they released Super Mario Brothers on the NES as the original pack-in with the system, they filled some bottomless pits and swapped out some enemies to make it easier on the home version. Try playing the arcade version sometime if you happen to see a Nintendo VS. arcade unit somewhere. You'll notice a few things are different than you're used to.

 
tecmo
tecmo

Rygar

 
 

This game, with a Neo-Mythology storyline, featured some dude with what they called 'Diskarmor' as your primary weapon. Basically, a shield with a chain attached. As with many examples, The arcade version was level by level while the NES version was non-linear. Open world, go where you can but you need to get the door open on this side by talking to some guy way over on the other side of the world, all levels connecting to an over-world where you fight your way to where you need to go. That open worlded idea sucked me in for hours.

 
konami
konami

Contra

 
 

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start I can't do that in the arcade; I rest my case.

 
taito
taito

Bubble Bobble

 
 

I understand that the arcade version features better graphics, better music, more streamline gameplay, more moving items on the screen that makes the NES version flash and strobe some of the items sometimes, I get it. But I played the holy begeezus out of this game on the NES so, to me, the NES version is the only version and the arcade version is just an upgrade. Not a finer feeling than getting a thousand of those lightning bubbles to pop all at once and wipe out all the enemies on the screen. Grab a second player, for sure.

 

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