Ranking: The Best of 1987

Video Ranking the Best of 1987 on YouTube

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome back to Georg Mack Plays the Classics. We’ve got another ranking video for you today. This one is going to focus on 1987. Specifically, the top 6 games on NES and the top 5 games on SMS. We saw the third party floodgates open this year on the NES, but Sega kept the monopoly on publishing games on their system.

NES 6. Metroid – B (3.1)

Many important Nintendo franchises began in 1987 and we’ll start with Metroid. The action/platforming genre heavily based on exploration was created here.

SMS 5. Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa – C+ (2.3)

One of the evil bosses trying to destroy Opa-Opa.

Unless I’m missing something, this is the first true sequel on our list (I don’t count the Donkey Kongs). Fantasy Zone II was more of the same without much improvement, so it didn’t do as well as the original.

NES 5. Kid Icarus – B (3.1)

Pit traversing a dark stage.

This is another important Nintendo franchise, but not one that got a ton of love over the years. It was a competent action/platformer, but could have been a lot better.

SMS 4. Great Soccer – C+ (2.4)

Trying the shootout mode.

Wait, what? A Great Sports title on the best of list? Yeah, this was the only good one. Very similar to Nintendo’s Soccer, but better.

NES 4. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! – A- (3.6)

Here is your winner… “Iron” Mike Tysoooooon!

Best sports game of the year. Mike Tyson may have made some mistakes and fallen from grace not long after this, but anyone who says they dislike this game is a liar.

SMS 3. Quartet – B- (2.6)

You need to collect a star on each level.

An action game from early in the year, Quartet was a pleasant surprise in a sea of mediocrity. It controlled well and was fun. I hope there’s more like it.

NES 3. The Legend of Zelda – A- (3.6)

It’s dangerous to go alone take this… upgrade!

Legend of Zelda at number three? I’m sure you’re seething with anger, but it’s a tie score, so cut me some slack. Obviously, the Legend of Zelda is one of the best games on the NES. It plays great, it looks good, it sounds good. Sign me up for all the sequels, though we’ll just get two in this series.

SMS 2. Kung Fu Kid – B- (2.6)

The unfortunate double KO.

I didn’t expect much when coming into Kung Fu Kid, but I came out with a smile on my face. The general style of game is similar to Kung Fu on NES, which was a top game in 1985. It didn’t add a lot onto the original formula, but enough to be a top Sega game of 1987.

NES 2. Mega Man – A- (3.6)

Using the Rolling Cutter to defeat Elec Man.

We’re going to get five more Mega Man games on the NES and they’re going to all be good. It starts here with the original, the music is great, the graphics are also quite good, but it doesn’t get much more fun in 1987!

SMS 1. Zillion – B (2.8)

You must destroy everything to get the codes to advance.

Easily the best game Sega released this year. It’s an anime tie in, but you don’t need to know anything about the source material to enjoy it. Trust me, I didn’t. Once I made my map by hand, I was able to more easily figure out where to go.

NES 1. Castlevania – A- (3.6)

Holy water is super helpful here to stop that skeleton.

I’m giving the top spot of the year to Castlevania. I’m sure Mega Man 2 or 3 will have a chance to top their respective years, but I don’t think that will be true of the other Castlevanias. This is a great game all around. Well before the Metroidvania styles, this is a straight up action game and is all the better for it.

There were a huge number of games released on the NES in 1987, 53 to be precise. I was able to play and grade 51 of them, not having a proper way to emulate the Power Pad. Four A- grades were given out and I feel they were definitely deserved. The NES averaged a 1.72 grade, which is up slightly from 1986.

The Sega Master System, on the other hand, only released 19 games in the US. None of them cracked above a B. However, the games managed to average a 1.71 grade, down slightly from last year, thanks to a bunch of average games. Maybe 1988 will be a better year for Sega.