The Virtual Console has been a much welcomed addition to the last few iterations of Nintendo hardware. While many games featured on the Virtual Console are classics that we have come to know and love, there always manages to be some hidden gems that resurface through the cracks and find a new audience. Since there is still so little we actually know about the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console, I figured now was as good a time as any to talk about five underrated games that deserve a second life on the Nintendo Switch.
#5 Bomberman Hero (N64)
Bomberman is a series with very few surprises. In its over thirty years as a franchise it has rarely strayed away from its original formula of top down corridor bombing action. However, when the 90’s trend of 3-D character platformers exploded thanks in part to Super Mario 64, Hudson Soft decided it was time to give Bomberman a makeover. While Bomberman 64 was the first step into reinventing the series, it was Bomberman Hero that took it the extra mile.
Bomberman Hero starts off with a story that directly rips off Star Wars. Not that the story in a Bomberman game is really all that important anyway, here it’s the gameplay that thrives. Running around throwing bombs at enemies while navigating cleverly designed levels feels all too good. Some of my favorite moments in Bomberman Hero are when you get to use new gear such as snow boards and jet packs that completely change how you play the game. One minute you are playing a platformer and the next you’re underwater controlling Bomber Marine in a bullet hell shooter.
Another point to note is the games incredible electronic drum infused soundtrack. It may be one of the most underrated game soundtracks on the N64, as the beats and tones instantly transport you back to the 90’s. This game was released on the Wii Virtual Console before, however it was never released on the Wii U Virtual Console. That seems rather odd since this game really is an overlooked classic and I hope it gets another chance on the Nintendo Switch.
#4 Pokemon Conquest (Nintendo DS)
Its hard to think of any Pokemon game as being underrated, but when it comes to Pokemon Conquest I’ve been hard pressed to find many people who have played it or even know what it is. Pokemon Conquest is a turn based tactical rpg very much in the style of Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem. You play as a warrior guiding your team of Pokemon in grid based battles with other warriors throughout Feudal Japan. Winning battles can help you recruit new warriors as well as befriending new Pokemon to use in future fights.
The Shogun element and characters of Pokemon Conquest are actually from a popular Japanese tactical rpg series called Nobunaga’s Ambition. The series has been going strong since the early 80’s, however no knowledge of previous games in the series is required to play Pokemon Conquest, as it is a completely original story that stands on its own. The game was met with high praise critically, but it never received a sequel as it managed to fall into obscurity. Which is really a shame because it may just be the strongest of all the spin off games in the Pokemon franchise.
The reason this game deserves to be on Nintendo Switch is that it is a perfect portable game. When it originally came out on the Nintendo DS in 2012, I took it on a trip to New York City and it easily consumed the flight there and back. It is a game that is fun to play in quick bursts if you have a short commute. However, there is plenty of content to keep someone continuing to come back even after the main story line concludes.
#3 Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters (GameCube)
There was a time when games based on licensed properties actually had a chance of being decent. Some of the better examples of the early 2000’s were Spider-man 2 and The Simpsons Hit and Run. However, one game that dominated my GameCube was Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters.
Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters is a fighting game, but not in the traditional way. Players are dropped into arenas based on familiar cities and encouraged to not only duke it out, but cause as much destruction as possible. Sometimes the latter can be just as satisfying as the fighting itself. While you step on military support and knock over buildings with your tail, its hard to not have a smile on your face.
Maybe the best thing about Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters is its dumbed down fighting mechanics. While there are moves to be pulled off, most of them can be achieved with just one or two buttons. Making this a perfect game to play with a friend who has no experience with the game. While in Street Fighter it can be hard to learn the moves and execute combos for new players, here you could easily hand a friend a joy-con and be equally matched for some fun destruction. However, this game coming to Virtual Console would rely on the rumors being true that GameCube games are on their way to the Switch, I can’t help but think that this would be a great addition to the list.
#2 Pocky and Rocky (SNES)
Natsume is no stranger to releasing underrated games. Besides the Harvest Moon series few of their games have managed to stay relevant, however that does not mean that they are not great games. Many have lived on to become cult classics. Wild Guns is one that managed to gain quite the cult following and also did very well for itself on virtual console. However, I think it’s time some love was given to the severely underrated Pocky and Rocky.
Pocky and Rocky is a “cute ’em up” or a top down shooter game with cute chibi graphics. You take control of a girl named Pocky or her raccoon companion Rocky as you travel through levels filled with corrupted goblins. It is the goal of the two to find the source of what is causing the goblins to become corrupted and bring the forest peace once again.
Don’t let the adorable art style fool you, this game is absolutely brutal. The difficulty while extremely challenging offers plenty of replay value and the satisfaction of clearing a level after several failed attempts is incredibly rewarding. Co-op is where this game thrives and is a major reason why I think it is the perfect candidate for the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console. I could easily see myself handing my friend a joy-con and propping up the switch for a fun romp in this colorful shooter.
#1 Kid Dracula (Gameboy)
Some games will not only get overlooked, but over the years can become lost and forgotten. Kid Dracula is a game that has almost become a victim of history. A sequel to the Famicom only release in Japan, Kid Dracula is a spin off game of the Castlevania series, with a chibi art style and comedic story of a young vampire whose minions have turned against him.
Kid Dracula is in many ways a parody of not only Castlevania, but games like Kirby, Super Mario, and most of all Mega Man. Borrowing many of the mechanics and level designs from these games it almost feels like a greatest hits album of all your favorite Game Boy and NES titles. However great music, cut scenes, and characters really elevate this game to a new level.
This game deserves to be on the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console not only because it needs to be played by more people, but it is a game worthy of preserving. At this moment the only way you can play this game is by tracking down an original copy for the Game Boy which is not only extremely rare, but really expensive as well. This is a shame because this game deserves to be appreciated by a new audience other than high end collectors.
So there you have it. My list of the five most underrated games that should come to the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console. But I want to know your list as well. Be sure to comment below and share what games you think deserve to be on the list.