The Nintendo Entertainment System was responsible for saving the video game industry from the brink of oblivion. Super Mario Bros in particular reinvigorated interest in home consoles and innovated the side-scrolling platformer genre as we know it. No other title has been emulated as much as Super Mario and continues to be to this day. Plenty of Space Invaders and Pacman clones existed in the arcade and on the Atari 2600 but Mario surpassed them in terms of copycats. Mario however is far from being the only NES game to be imitated.
Along with Mario there were several other early releases for the NES dubbed the black box titles that shared similar package design. A couple of these titles shared more than similar box art and were even blatant ripoffs of earlier arcade titles. One such game is Balloon Fight. Nintendo, usually known for their innovations, rather borrowed heavily from the classic arcade title Joust. Balloon Fight has some snappier music and colorful sprites but at its heart it is just a re-skin of Joust. The very same core mechanics.
Another clone is the selectively released Devil World which is instantly recognizable as a Pacman clone with a few added features. These two early NES games are decent enough but what about truly excellent clones. Clones with that little special something to bring to the table that gives them a uniqueness all their own.
The Krion Conquest
Another huge series of games that is much beloved and equally emulated is The Legend Of Zelda. Zelda has a satisfying formula of overworld exploration combined with dungeon crawling and item hunting in order to progress further and complete your quest. Of the many titles inspired by Zelda, one of the most noteworthy is Startropics and also its similar sequel. It may lack some of the open world elements but it still shares similar top-down dungeon crawling action, puzzles, and the polish you expect from a Nintendo developed title. A much more linear game compared to Zelda but retains its spirit with a flair all its own and a bit of humor too.
The Legend of Zelda
GameTrog Review By
Eringobrad is a perler artist and game enthusiast. If you enjoy retro games and art inspired by them find him on instagram and facebook.