We’ve got a ranking for you today. This one is going to focus on 1986. Specifically, the top 5 games on NES and the top 5 games on SMS. Nintendo didn’t release their second batch of games until Summer of 1986, which was followed by the launch of the Sega Master System in September.
NES 5. Karate Champ – C (2.0)
There was a pretty bad run of games in 1986 and that puts Karate Champ in the top 5. It had pretty bad sound and the gameplay left something to be desired.
SMS 5. Teddy Boy – C+ (2.4)
Here we had an interesting action platformer with a twist that the screen wrapped on itself in all directions. Enough to earn an above average score.
NES 4. Urban Champion – C (2.1)
Even though it was a simple game with few controls, it worked really well and lent some good times to the NES.
SMS 4. The Ninja – B- (2.5)
An action/shoot ‘em up that has you traversing through the levels. This was above average just about everywhere and was a nice addition to the year.
NES 3. Gradius – C+ (2.3)
The beginning of a long line of games, Gradius is the prototype for side scrolling shot ‘em ups. Definitely one of the best of 1986.
SMS 3. Fantasy Zone – B- (2.6)
A very fun, colorful side scrolling shoot ‘em up. There were some odd choices in gameplay, like limited time power ups to buy, but otherwise good.
NES 2. Ghosts ‘n Goblins – B- (2.5)
Ghosts ‘n Goblins is known for its punishing but overall fair difficulty. I probably would have liked it more if it wasn’t for the apartment of Big Mans.
SMS 2. Black Belt – B- (2.6)
A localization of Fist of the North Star, Black Belt is a very fun and satisfying game. Worth a playthrough, I have it at number two because I graded it’s fun factor higher than Fantasy Zone.
NES 1. Gumshoe – B- (2.5)
I had more fun with Gumshoe than Ghosts ‘n Goblins, so it gets the top spot. It’s a completely unique mix of light gun and platformer.
SMS 1. Alex Kidd in Miracle World – B (2.8)
Sega’s first attempt at a mascot platformer was very good. Good graphics, good music, good gameplay, Alex Kidd had it all.
1986 was a good year. Out of 19 games on the NES, I gave an average grade of 1.6. A downgrade from 1985, but it did have some bad games. The Master System, on the otherhand, earned a 1.8 average from 20 games. So I’m giving the year to Sega. How will 1987 fare? Stay tuned!