The Virtual Console lets you download hundreds of classic video games to your Nintendo Wii, but everyone focuses mostly on the big Nintendo games. Yes, Super Mario Bros. 3,
Sin and Punishment(N64) - You probably never played Sin and Punishment on the N64, simply because it never came to America. This previously Japan-only title is a great rail shooter, sort of like Star Fox 64on foot. If that isn't enough for you, consider this: Treasure, the game's developer, also developed Gunstar Heroes.
- ActRaiser (SNES) - Plenty of games let you "play god," but ActRaiser is one of the few that lets you actually play as (a) god. Alternating between side-scrolling, sword-swinging action and city-building simulation, you have to guide your followers to prosperity. It's a funky, off-beat game from the same folks that gave you Final Fantasy.
- Shinobi III (GEN) - Ryu Hayabusa isn't the only great video game ninja out there. Shinobi's Joe Musashi could easily prove a worthy foe of the still-popular shinobi. Fast action, impressive ninja magic, and wildly varied levels make Shinobi III a worthy neighbor to your copies of
Ninja Gaidenand Ninja Gaiden II. Wave Race 64(N64) - Against Mario Kart 64and F-Zero X, poor Wave Race 64 never stood a chance. It's a shame, because Wave Race 64 was a surprisingly great racer by its own right. Crazy tricks give this game its own unique flare, letting it stand against Mario Kart 64's item-based race combat and F-Zero X's incredible speed.
- Star Tropics (NES) -
The Legend of Zeldameets Hawaii in this surprisingly great action-adventure. Mike Jones is a yo-yo swinging baseball star who comes to his uncle's tropical island laboratory to find that he's been kidnapped. From there, he has to thwack monsters with his yo-yo, talk to dolphins, and jump on many, many tile switches to save his uncle. Its difficulty can be unforgiving and its traps are sometimes downright cruel, but it's still one of the best adventures on the NES. Comix Zone(GEN) - This funky, comic-book-themed brawler might make you rip your hair out in frustration at its difficulty, but it still offers some of the best, most imaginative graphics on the Sega Genesis. You literally punch through comic book panels, making your way through page after page of alien monsters, solving puzzles and dying many times on the way. As a bonus, prepare for some of the most epically '90s artistic direction and dialogue found in a video game.
- Wonder Boy in Monster World (GEN) - Its title might seem both generic and on-the-nose, but Wonder Boy in Monster World is still a great game. This side-scrolling adventure combines the puzzles and action of games like Zelda II and Castlevania II with a colorful, cartoony aesthetic that makes it strangely lovable. Just don't think too much about the game's introduction: "Monster World was a peaceful region. Then the peace was shattered by an army of invading monsters." Maybe naming the place Candy World would have been a better plan.
Solomon's Key(NES) - Tecmo's action-puzzle game is one of the most rewarding, challenging, and utterly frustrating games made for the NES. Secret levels, secret items, and secret endings make this early NES game worth playing again and again. If you can make it to the Princess Room, then you've proven yourself a king among men.
- Breath of Fire II (SNES) - Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger weren't the only great RPGs to hit the Super Nintendo. While its old-school gameplay and difficulty might be hard to get used to for gamers raised on Final Fantasy 7 and later RPGs, its great story, huge cast of characters, and unique combat tricks make it a great download for any fan of the JRPG genre.
- Super Turrican (SNES) - This game is a little bit
Contraand a little bit rock and roll. Lots of guns and lots of things to shoot with said guns make this platform shooter frantic and fun. If you like Super Turrican's wild run-and-gun action, keep an eye out for sequels Mega Turrican and Super Turrican 2 to hit the Virtual Console in the future. All three games were developed by Factor 5, which went on to produce the Rogue Squadron series.