It's Joust mixed with Joust and a dash of Joust on top. Well, okay, it's not a complete copy of Williams' classic arcade game; the hit detection is a bit more specific this time, requiring you to actually contact an opponent's balloons to break them rather than simply be a few pixels above them when you collide. There are also hazards like lightning, spinning bumpers and giant fish trying to eat you to impede your progress. There's even a new gameplay mode, "Balloon Trip", where the object is to make it as far as you can before you hit an electrified bumper or get eaten by a fish. It's one of the better early NES games and among the first to feature two player simultaneous play as well. So derivative it may be, but it's also quite a lot of fun.
83. Joy Mech Fight (Nintendo, 1993 in Japan)
Street Fighter II, while not the first fighting game ever made, is definitely the one that kicked the genre into high gear, and it seemed like everybody wanted to make their own version to cash in; from big companies to obscure eastern Asian pirate groups, everyone wanted a slice of that pie. Nintendo took their own crack at it on the NES - not exactly a practical system for it owing to strict memory and graphical limitations, but they found a way. By giving all the characters disconnected limbs, they could keep the gameplay fast and the animation smooth. It has a fairly long single-player campaign where you face off with progressively tougher waves of robots and make your way to the big boss at the end, but of course it also had a competitive two-player mode with eight playable robots with their own distinct special moves.
82. Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-Kun (Konami, 1990 in Japan)
Konami spoofs themselves again with a game where you play as a kid version of Dracula out to defeat a challenger to his throne; namely, the demon Galamoth. Rather than a dark gothic feel this game is bright, colorful and silly, with upbeat takes on Castlevania tracks and some creative twists on familiar enemies and locations from the series. Dracula himself retains several of his distinct abilities, having an upgradable fireball attack and the ability to transform into a bat to maneuver through levels, and gains several more as well, like the ability to walk on ceilings or freeze enemies in ice. Between each stage you also get a variety of minigames to earn extra lives and power-ups. Just a fun, light-hearted spoof of its parent franchise that pays homage to everything great about it.
81. Final Fantasy (Square, 1990)
80. Deja Vu: A Nightmare Comes True! (ICOM, 1990)Part of the so-called "ICOM Trilogy" for the NES, Deja Vu was a slightly more realistic take on the point-and-click adventure genre. As an amnesiac framed for murder, it falls to you to recover your memories, clear your name and uncover the real culprits behind the crime. As with the other two games in the series, some puzzle solutions are a bit obtuse and it's possible to get stuck in an unwinnable state if you're not careful, but the solid, atmospheric soundtrack and tense narrative make it an unforgettable experience regardless. Deja Vu also had a sequel was never released on the NES; however, it did eventually get a Game Boy Color port in late 1999.
79. Lemmings (DMA Design/Sunsoft, 1992)
77. Journey to Silius (Sunsoft, 1990)
Journey to Silius is another highly-regarded title by Sunsoft, and it isn't hard to see why just from a screenshot - the game looked absolutely phenomenal for 1990. Large, stylish sprites, detailed backgrounds, polished mechanics and high quality music showed up too, all of which helped cement Sunsoft as one of the NES's premiere developers. A slightly less savory element to their games, though, was the punishing difficulty, and Journey to Silius is definitely no different there. Enemies require some very well-honed tactics to get past, ammo for your special weapons is rare to come by, health even moreso, and dying at any point (even at the stage boss) forces you to redo the entire gauntlet from the beginning. Bosses are no slouches either, often requiring extremely precise pattern-dodging and firing to get through intact. It's an impressive and very polished game, but it certainly feels like punishment at times too.
76. Dr. Mario (Nintendo, 1988)
75. Faxanadu (Hudson Soft, 1989)
74. Life Force (Konami, 1988)