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Top 10 Greatest Side Scrollers

I'm bored so here's a stupid list!


Okay, I should go more in depth. I'm exhausted with being critical of things. I personally enjoy reading and making top 10 lists. Why? Well because they revolve around people talking about things they love, something most people don't do enough in this negative internet age. So without further adieu, here are my top ten favorite side scrollers.

10. Kirby's Adventure (NES)

I enjoyed this game as a child, and always held it close to my heart as a classic, but I didn't realize just how much I loved Kirby's Adventure until I recently replayed it. Released in 1993, Kirby's Adventure is one of the most graphically impressive NES games. The level of detail is exquisite and one could easily confuse it for an SNES or Genesis game. One of the big appeals of the Kirby series is their undeniable charm, and this game is no different. It is through this charm that the Kirby games manage to be extremely engaging and fun despite their lack of challenge. This game is a blast to play as well. The levels, dreamy soundtrack, the awesome power ups, the fun mini games. There is a lot to love here. Enough for it to grab number 10 on the countdown.

9. Gimmick! (NES)

And here to confirm that this list isn't just a nostalgia trip, my number 9 choice is Gimmick!, a game I only became aware of and played in 2010. Gimmick! Or Mr. Gimmick as it is known outside of Japan, was a 1992 NES game that unfortunately never made it here to the U.S. It's an absolutely fantastic game in every way. Like Kirby's Adventure the game features cute character designs, a lullaby style soundtrack and a fantastic level of detail in the graphics.

The game has a unique mechanic. Yumetarō attacks by shooting stars out of his head that bounces similar to Mario's fireballs. The difference is how it bounces is effected by angle. In addition, Yumetarō can jump on his stars, temporarily hitch a ride with them and use them as platforms. Mastering this skill is necessary for beating the game. This game also has multiple endings. In every one of the game's six levels lies a special treasure. If you collect them and beat the game without using a continue you'll unlock the last level and final boss. And let me tell you, the jumps required to get most of these treasures are nut bustingly hard. The game makes you work to earn that happy ending. The bosses are all awesome as well. They actually seem quite intelligent and rather than operating on a pattern, many require you to juke them into creating an opening where you can attack. The battles are very intense and awesome. Also, the true final boss is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen, but in an awesome way. If you are interested in a good playthrough, here is where you want to go.

8. Bucky' O Hare (NES)

Bucky 'O Hare A.K.A. "Konami's answer to Megaman" is a good game to be sure, but I think the number one reason why this game is on this list is because of its absolutely rockin' soundtrack. Seriously. These tunes absolutely kick ass. If you are unaware, Bucky 'O Hare was based on a hilariously cheesy 1991-92 animated series of the same name involving space freedom fighter who battles the toad empire, a race that blindly follows an artificial intelligence named C.O.N.Q.U.E.S.T. that controls information and media. It's interesting in that you will never see another kids show as condemning of mass media and consumerism replacing education as this one. It constantly takes pot shots at so many TV shows it's ridiculous.

The game itself is very Megaman like in style. You start out with a choice of levels, beating them frees a member of Bucky's crew, each of them acting as both a new weapon and a special power. The levels are all fantastic and unique, my favorite being The Center of the Magma Tanker. The game operates on a lot of instant death traps, but the game is forgiving in its check points and has unlimited continues. Overall, it's an awesome game with great challenges and bosses. It also has the honor of being one of the best licensed games of all time.

7. Ristar (Genesis)

Ristar deserves another game. The guy rocks and this game is one of the best things Sega has ever released. Ristar was originally proposed as one of Sega's possible new mascots to replace Alex Kid. Originally he was a rabbit that grabbed things with his ears. Eventually he got redesigned and the concept was eventually followed through with and finished in 1995. Ristar himself is a poor jumper, the key to the game is mastering using his stretchy arms to interact with the environment and objects. The game moves at a slower paced compared to its sibling series, Sonic. Ristar himself is very acrobatic which makes him and his game an interesting and fantastically executed contrast to Sonic himself.

The game is very similar to Sonic in structure. There are two level acts followed by a third boss act. The graphics are some of the best on the genesis as well. From forests of Planet Flora, to the sunken castles of Planet Undertow, the game is absolutely beautiful to look at and a blast to play.
Sonic Unleashed disappoints me. It's not because "WEREHOG GIMMICK" either. The Werehog is Ristar 3D, which deserved its own game with much better designed levels and the repetitive combat thrown out rather than just being shoe horned into a Sonic game.

Also, the Mole boss is one of the best bosses ever.

6. Rocket Knight Adventures (Genesis)

The second Sega Genesis game to make my list, Rocket Knight Adventure follows the same philosophy as Gimmick!, Ristar and Bucky 'O Hare. Comparatively short, but god damn does it have it where it counts and wanting more isn't always a bad thing. Rocket Knight Adventures' protagonist, Sparkster, is one of the few mascots with attitude fondly looked back upon today. Sparkster's sword features an awesome risk reward style of combat and his jetpack is an awesome gimmick. Short, but extraordinary in every other way, Rocket Knight Adventures makes my list at number 6.

5. Super Metroid (Super Nintendo)

This was one of the games I never had the chance to play until recent years, and still managed to completely blow me away. I don't really know what to say about this game that hasn't already been said. I love the exploration. I love the power up. It just feels so rewarding and fun. The power ups are so fantastic, each feel like they add something new and unique to the game that helps give gameplay an extraordinary amount of depth rarely ever seen.

4. Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 is my favorite 2D Mario Game. It's one of the most groundbreaking games of all time and improved upon the original in absolutely every way. There are only three ways Super Mario Bros. 3could be improved: Yoshi, stereo sound and a more diverse soundtrack.

3. Metal Storm

I hadn't heard of this game until I stumbled upon the Happy Video Game Nerd's review of it so I have to thank him for introducing me to one of the best side scrollers of all time. The game is based off of gravity, or to be specific, the ability to reverse gravity on command. A simple mechanic but god damn the game's genius levels really utilize it. The game is also one of the most graphically impressive on the NES. With its genius levels, amazing graphics, perfect controls, and awesome bosses comes with the highest recommendation. It's one of the most criminally underrated and underplayed games of all time.

2. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong-Quest (Super Nintendo)

I'm going to be honest and probably offend a lot of people here. Even as a kid I've always felt the original Donkey Kong Country was a 7/10 game with 11/10 graphics. The level design is a tad bland to be honest. Donkey Kong Country 2 improved on absolutely every aspect of the game. It improves on the aspect of having two characters that you switch between; it improves on the animal friends, specifically making Squawks awesome. It improves on the music, providing not just appropriate music, but absolutely awesome catchy tunes as opposed to the more subdued ambient music of the original. The levels are extraordinary. The bosses are all improved. Every individual aspect of the game is about as high quality as it comes. Dixie is an improvement as a player character over the title character himself as well.

The enemy variety is varied and perfectly tuned, each of them representing a specific obstacle and all of them just being awesome. I remember reading through the strategy guide as a kid thinking "If there was a game where you could play as the pirate themed Kremlins it would kick so much ass."

One thing I have I have to mention is the swamp levels. These are one of the very few swamp levels in video games that are actually aesthetically pleasing and not a pain in the ass.
I guess I'm rambling. It's hard to contain my love for this game.

1. Sonic 3&Knuckles (Genesis)

Sonic 3&Knuckles is my favorite Sonic the Hedgehog game. It's my favorite side scrolling game and it is one of my favorite games of all time. While Donkey Kong Country 2 was a vast improvement over its predecessor, Sonic 3&Knuckles takes the formula of the original Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 and perfects it. It's such an improvement over the previous entries that I have a difficult time going back and playing them.

It's contains one of my favorite video game soundtracks of all time (And Michael Jackson did not compose it and I will argue with anyone who says otherwise). Every zone's music fits and is memorable.

The game strikes a perfect balance between speed gimmicks, slower platforming and obstacles requiring speed. Everyone says Sonic was "Extremely Fast" but they weren't. There was variety to them.

The Graphics and Art style rock. Artistically, few games execute the "Fire, Water, Ice, Sky, Jungle, and Forest Ect. Ect." tropes as well as this game. Ice Cap Zone in particular is my favorite ice level ever..

The addition of the Fire, Bubble and Lightning Shields adds a lot of flavor to the game. When playing as Sonic. Its fun experimenting with them to see which one allows for faster runs.

This is one of the only sonic games where the alternate characters are neither redundant nor annoying.

I love having some form of miniboss or boss at the end of every level. They feel like periods at the end of sentences that every other Sonic game lacked.

The existence of a save feature.

The game's levels rock. The buildup in tension from the very first level all the way to the Death Egg and finally Doomsday Zone is masterful. Doomsday Zone itself is one of the best climaxes in video game history.

I can go on and on. There are some criticisms I can make, however. Marble Zone and Carnival Night Zone over stay their welcome. I wish Sonic's third boss in Launch Base Zone act 2 showed up. However, these flaws pale in comparison to the overwhelming greatness of the game.

Those are my top 10 Favorite side scrollers. I hope you enjoyed the list.

Honorable Mentions:
Castlevenia: Symphony of the Night
Yoshi's Island
Megaman 2
Ninja Gaiden
Comix Zone
Sonic CD
#Community    #Retro   
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About Mortrialusone of us since 6:02 AM on 02.26.2010

Greetings and Salutations! My name is Mortrialus, you can call me Mort! If you're actually interested in me, go read my introduction blog. I play bass guitar, I like video games, music, as well as anime and manga.

Currently playing: Monster Hunter Tri, Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, Grand Chase.

Things I like:


Jet Set Radio Future(XBox)
Sonic Adventure(Dreamcast)
Sonic 3 & Knuckles(Sega Genesis)
Legacy of Kain(PS1, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, PC)
Metal Storm(NES)
Super Mario Galaxy(Wii)
Rocket Knight Adventures(Sega Genesis)
Comix Zone(Sega Genesis)
No More Hereos(Wii)

Anime and Manga:

Welcome to the N.H.K.
BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad
Fooly Cooly
Fullmetal Alchemist
Ergo Proxy


Mr. Bungle
Tub Ring
Dog Fashion Disco
The Clash
World Under Blood
Victor Wooten