Gametrogs revered Eringobrad gives you the ultimate top 5 list of games that are better on the NES vs. their Arcade counterpart!

1) Contra

The Nes port of Contra is very similar and faithful to its arcade counterpart. A few less pixels and colors on display for sure in the port, but a couple things do stand out as improvements. One is the soundtrack. Contra is renowned for its amazing and memorable tunes, but in the original arcade version they all sound a bit tinny while the Nes version has more punch. It was an achievement at the time to even duplicate the soundtrack on 8bit hardware nevermind to surpass it! Secondly this may just be nostalgia talking but the Nes version features the fabled Konami Code. We all know the inputs so i won’t bother even saying them here. It being not only the first code that spawned countless others but also pretty much a staple of retrogaming pop culture adds that extra level of coolness that assures the Nes port of Contra will always be remembered.

2) Bionic Commando

This is a game I know has its following but i will be honest it’s not one i feel strongly about. Both the arcade and Nes port are unforgivingly difficult. The arcade version for just being the usual quarter muncher of walk a few steps and most likely be killed by a nearly unavoidable enemy’s path. The Nes version is difficult for only giving you a few lives to finish the entire game which with the average player’s skill level just being nowhere near a possibility. In spite of that i must give the port credit for adding some elements such as a map screen with branching paths and some experience point levelling that adds some depth and a sense of character progression. The grappling mechanic feels much more repsonsive as well here. Also once again the music sounds superior to the lackluster audio of the arcade original. I personally skip both of these in general but if i had to pick one, the clear winner is the Nes version.

3) Castlevania

What’s that? Castlevania was also an arcade game? Indeed it was! But under the title Haunted Castle and it released after the Nes game. So this time it’s a switcheroo. The original Castlevania is one of the most popular titles in the Nes library and has since become a franchise with even an animated series on Netflix. The same horror movie inspired scrolling action can be found in Haunted Castle with bigger sprites and smoother animations but something is off kilter. The difficulty. Most arcade games allowed you to respawn in the same spot in which you died and pump in quarters to resume playing. Haunted Castle differs in that you are given a few measley lives and sent back to the beginning upon each death. I cannot say much further about this title as even with the usage of save states i could not advance beyond the first level. It was seemingly designed to not allow anyone to play very far at all. It’s no wonder this is an often forgotten entry in Castlevanias long history.

4) Punch-out!!

Punch-out!! Was one of Nintendo’s early breakout hits in the arcade and featured huge sprites and dual screen cabinets as well as some early digitized voices. Later when the game was reworked into Mike Tyson’s Punch-out!! for the Nes it would feature the most well known and feared boxer of all time as its mascot and final challenger. Another aspect reworked was to allow the same large sized sprites to appear on screen with the limitations of the 8 bit hardware. To accomodate this the player’s character was shortened into the now beloved “Little Mac”. The visual style aside, which i would award points to for its innovation, is just one such improvement. The actual boxing feels more like a puzzle to solve and not so much about spamming punches and landing combos. Finally the nail in the coffin as it were is the aforementioned digitized voices. Every punch thrown in the arcade version announces itelf and it quickly becomes grating. How long can one tolerate hearing BODY BLOW, BODY BLOW, BODY BLOW…?
You get the picture. Plus the Nes had new opponents not seen in the arcade! I rest my case. Nes with the K.O.!

5) Rygar

This is a game I mentioned in my recent article “Where the #$%! Is the map??” Which can also be found here on The arcade version of Rygar strangely enough HAS a map on screen! Don’t get too excited though as the levels are simple left to right affairs with no deviations. Therefore the addition of the map is baffling. The open world zelda style gameplay of exploring, levelling up, and questing for special items is nowhere to be found and in its place is just a standard scrolling action game. No sweeping theme music, no real depth, just a purely run of the mill game. For me personally this is the biggest step up from arcade to home console. They’re practically different games! Punch-out!! May have made some improvements and innovations jumping to its home port but Rygar almost totally changed the game. So i finally get my answer of where is the map. In the arcade version of Rygar…..that isn’t half the game the Nes version was! Keep the map, I’ll stick to the good ol’ Nes.

Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below what you think!

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