Hidden Gems on the NES

With so many games released for the NES, even many years later there are games that most people have never heard about. I was told after the NES Buyer’s Guide that more unknown games should have been covered. The thing is that these may actually be some of the best games on the console. So let’s start off with 5 NES Hidden Gems to breath some new life into your NES library. These are in no particular order or ranking.


1. Xexyz

First on out list of Nes Hidden Geme is Xexyz. This game is somewhat of an odd duck, part action platformer and part side-scrolling shooter. Xexyz is not a game that is really talked about, and that is a shame because it is actually quite good. Generally the odd stages are platformer, and the even shooter. The shooter levels most of the time end with a boss fight. Xexyz can definitely be considered a hidden gem. The game is also buy Hudson Soft, the people who also did the Adventure Island series. More good news is a copy doesn’t cost too much.

nes gems

Check out Xexyz on Amazon, and on Ebay.

2. Rainbow Islands

I’ve played Rainbow Islands all the way through probably about 20 times over the years. Many people do not know it is the true sequel to Bubble Bobble and that makes it another one of great Nes hidden gems. Instead of being dinosaurs and shooting bubbles, you play as humans that shoot rainbows. Being as the characters are human, and there was another game released called Bubble Bobble Part 2 released (Incredibly expensive btw) this game doesn’t get much love and is relatively unknown. Rainbow Islands plays as a vertical platformer over 8 worlds with 4 rounds a piece. Going through these levels the enemies will drop different color diamonds, these diamonds will spell rainbow much like Extend in Bubble Bobble. This is required in every world to reveal the true ending. This one doesn’t cost too much, a great condition copy can found well below 60 dollars.

nes islands

Check out Rainbow Islands on Amazon, and on Ebay.


3. Zombie Nation


Zombie Nation is an incredibly odd game. Basically the story is that a meteor crashes and turns everyone in the United States into zombies. Some sort of floating zombie head is the only thing that can save the country. That is basically what I can make of the story, it is not really necessary to game play. Find out more here if your interested. Zombie Nation is a side scrolling shooter game, but the attraction is in the atmosphere. Zombie Nation unfortunately is not a affordable game unlike the first 2 on the list. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for this unknown game. Be careful of bootlegs and reproductions on this one, if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.

nes gems zombie statue

Check out Zombie Nation on Amazon, and Ebay.


4. Totally Rad

First and foremost, Totally Rad is pretty much a Mega Man clone. This isn’t a bad thing thing at all. I wouldn’t say the game is as good as the Mega Man games, but is definitely an above average game. What sets Totally Rad aside is you actually start out with all your abilities as opposed to acquiring them throughout the game. Partially why this is a Nes hidden gem, is the cover art.  Just looking at the cartridge you would never guess what the game was about. Totally Rad brings back to the realm of affordable overlooked games. A very clean copy shouldn’t cost any more than 20 dollars.

rad nes games

Check out Totally Rad on Amazon, and on Ebay.


5. Yo-Noid!

We are going to finish this list off with a Capcom game. If you don’t know what the Noid is, it was the mascot for Domino’s Pizza back in the early 90’s. How Domino’s worked out the deal for this game is beyond me. Regardless, Yo-Noid! is actually quite the good game. It must be said that the game is also quite difficult. Yo-Noid! is your standard NES fare, 1 hit and you are dead. The Noid has a yo-yo to attack with, and also can acquired special attacks via scrolls throughout the levels. The boss battles at the end of each level are done by a card based pizza eating contest, and add dome variety to the game. As overlooked as it is, Yo-Noid! is also an incredibly affordable game, 15 dollars is about the top of the market for a cart only copy of the game.

noid nes

Check out Yo-Noid! on Amazon, and Ebay.


In conclusion, these are just a few  of the underrated and overlooked games on the NES, and all are a great reason to buy a Nintendo Nes Console. There are many more, too many to be included in one article. It is always nice to hear about games outside of the usual Mario and Zelda, and everyone is always looking for something different. Expect more Hidden Gems articles in the future.


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