What are the most underrated 8 and 16bit games?

Tell me about the hidden gems of the 8 and 16bit era (screenshots welcomed)

It would also be helpful to post the best way to play these games in 2017 (has it been released on Steam, PSN or the VC etc)

Whenever I think about 8 or 16bit games I tend to only think about the titles everyone knows about, the Mario, Sonic and Zeldas, so it would be cool to take a deeper dive in some retro classics

I always loved the game Hook for Super Nintendo, but my sibling and I also loved the movie as kids. I’d rent that game a ton and beat it so many times.

Cool Spot is another, same with Street Hockey 95, Captain America and the Avengers.

I’m always surprised when people haven’t heard of river city ransom. I thought it was popular? It should be because it rules

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Heard of it, but never played it.

Vegas Stakes and the Gooftroop game were also fantastic.

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The Guardian Legend - NES game that mixes shoot 'em up and Zeldalike adventure game. Love the mix and would love to see an indie dev to try something similar.
Was super hard from what I remember.
I think only way to play this is on original NES but game is superexpensive nowdays.

Phantasy Star 4 - Sega Mega Drive/Genesis rpg. Was a contender to Final Fantasy SNES game but with more sci-fi elements. My first RPG. Loved it back then, still love it today. Is in my top 10 favourite games.
Can be played on PS3, PSP, Vita through Sega 16-bit collections.
I think the game is out on Steam and on x360. Not as sure on Nintendo platforms.

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I always thought Landstalker for the Genny deserved more love. Sure, it was a Zelda-like, but it was great in its own right


I’ve only ever played it in emulation, but Tales of Phantasia is secretly probably the third best jrpg of its era (possibly higher).

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Is Beyond Oasis on the Genesis underrated? I loved it as a kid and don’t hear people talk about it much. It just released on mobile as one of those F2P Sega classic games. I’ve always been curious about the sequel that came out on Saturn.

The NES version of Might & Magic has a lot going for it.

EDIT: Oh, and the Super Famicom version of the first 3 Wizardry games - better graphics than the original games, and a whole bunch of quality of life improvements, including the ability to show an map of the level instead of just the coordinates when you cast the location spell.

I played Terranigma this year, which was a SNES action RPG that came out in 1996, but which was only released in Japan and Europe back then. Themetically the game is so much more interesting than most of its peers, because it actually tries to say something that goes beyond the usual “there’s some big bad thing out there that you have to kill” stuff.

I would also say a lot of the stuff that got released for the Amiga in the late 80s and early 90s. Maybe not mechanically (a lot of those games were incredibly hard), but in terms of visual design.

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Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers and RC ProAm 2 were among my favorite NES games.

Lufia 2 is my favorite SNES release I never see mentioned in discussions about the console. I found the mechanics so much more satisfying than other RPGs on the system even if the story wasn’t anything special. I would love to see another RPG with the kind of dungeon puzzles this game had.

Any other game I love enough to retrod at this point is certainly not underrated.

One of the best, unknown games is…

You’re a giant flying head, blowing up buildings and murdering the army. Like Rampage, but stranger.

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I recently replayed Illusion of Time (or, Illusion of Gaia, in America) - a SNES game about fighting monsters that used to be people in the ruins of their fallen civilisations, about heroic darkness in the face of an evil light, about taking a long journey with friends.
The big dungeon places are real world landmarks (the Nazca Lines, the Great Wall, Angkor Wat, etc.). It has a nice tone, the world feels kind of sad. It has a nice combat/story balance for me.

Some screenshots

I genuinely really love it so much.


How difficult are games like Terranigma and Illusion of Gaia?

A couple 2 player co-op games for NES I really enjoyed that almost never get talked about are Jackal and Shadow of the Ninja.

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The Lawnmower Man for SNES. Get the God Mode code (cause it’s impossible to go through without it), and enjoy. The soundtrack is excellent, and it’s a fun Contra-type of shooter/platformer.

nobody talks about Air Fortress

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I remember Illusion of Time as very difficult but also turns out I mostly played it as a child and I’m better at pressing buttons now. It has a couple of points with sharp difficulty increases (the way Mu is laid out makes getting stat increases harder* and Angkor Wat’s enemies have some really awkward attack patterns) but it’s not too bad, in my opinion.

*boring explanation

You increase your stats (Attack, Defence, HP) by killing all the enemies in an area. Mu is flooded, you can lower the water level twice, and all the enemies in the two layers of flooded…ness count as part of that area, so you end up most of the way through the ‘zone’ before you can kill all the enemies in an area and increase any stats, where normally you’d be gradually getting tougher/stronger (and getting a HP increase heals you up to full health, which helps) the whole time.

I wrote an article about a game I love called Down Load (and a bit about its sequel). I’ll link it here if people want to read about the game in more detail or see a lot of screenshots.

It’s a challenging side scrolling shooter, and it just has a fantastic look and sound to it. It’s a great bridge between 80s and 90s anime cyberpunk despite it being a sidescrolling shooter with a few cutscenes and I find it really impressive for that.

Unfortunately it often gets forgotten about even among PC Engine fans, and is generally only known online for its infamous game over screens:

Anyway the game and its sequel completely own IMO.

The sequel isn’t quite as raw or dangerous feeling but it’s still really good, with a crazy plot about the bad guys trying to save Hitler’s brain like in the film They Saved Hitler’s Brain. But it has an A+++ soundtrack you can listen to here (skip to about 1m54s and go from there):

They ripped off the SPINAL TAP song Rock 'n Roll Creation but in general this is a really CD quality metal soundtrack for gaming with a lot of positive sounding chiptunes scattered in between, I love it. :slight_smile:

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Personally I think there are quite a few Amiga games which are underrated due to the limited reach of the system or being known by their terrible ports to other hardware.

If I had to pick one fantastic underrated 16-bit game though - Parasol Stars.

Basically the third - and in my opinion the best - game in the Bubble Bobble series, but in comparison to Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands hardly anyone has heard of it. It didn’t have an arcade release and the only release in the US was on the TurboGrafx - IIRC some of the ports were cancelled as the code and all backups were destroyed following a drunken argument.

I don’t believe it has ever been re-released so the only options will be with a TurboGrafx/Amiga emulator or the original hardware.

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