Sunday, October 1, 2017

8 Bits of Metal - The NES / Famicom

The NES and Famicom may have been plastic gaming machines with games housed in plastic carts, but some of the games were pure metal. This list contains 8 of the most heavy metal moments from games on the classic 8-bit Nintendo system.

Without further adieu, let's take a look at a few classic 8-bit games that were full of METAL.

#1 - Kabuki Quantum Fighter (NES / FC)

In 1990, an unusual action-platformer found its way onto the NES.  In addition to its surreal cover artwork, this game features a core mechanic that still stands on its own to this day, in a very metal way.  On top of its jammin' soundtrack, the core mechanic of this game involves headbanging enemies to death with your long blood-red hair. 
Japanese Kabuki tradition is metal.

-MetalNES Ranking: 
 / 5

#2 - Captain Ed (FC)
Image result for Captain Ed famicom
This one is a bit more inconspicuous; the game's name has no evidence of it, and even much of the gameplay leads one to think this game is void of metal, but once you see it, there's no denying this game's MetalNES. Towards the end of a stage there is a boss fight, which comes out of nowhere, where the enemy is a huge, full-screen heavy metal guitarist with amplifiers for shoulders strumming at you with a fierce grin and blood shot eyes.


-MetalNES Ranking: 
This boss fight alone makes up for the rest of the game.
  / 5

#3 - Seikima-II (FC)

Coming in full-force, with heavy metal directly on the game's cover, was a Famicom exclusive called Seikima-II.  Published by the same folks that brought us Captain Ed, comes a game centered around a real Japanese heavy metal band, Seikima-II.

-MetalNES Ranking: The fact that this exists, a metal band with its own game, is certainly metal.
 / 5

#4 - Holy Diver (FC)

Speaking of metal bands. You've been down too long in the midnight sea if you're a metal-head and haven't heard of this worthy Castlevania relative. One thing that is understandable though, is if you've never reached the end of this game. But, by not beating the game you'd miss out on mentions of Slayer, King Crimson, Randy Rhodes, and Zakk Wylde in the game's credits:

-MetalNES Ranking: Title? Check.  Gameplay? Check. Sound? Just needs more 8-bit Dio.

/ 5

#5 - War in the Gulf (NES)

I've covered this previously (the first article on the site), but this game was built on metal. Many people may not have heard about this one, as it's an unlicensed title which didn't see a US release.  Anyway, upon firing the game up, an 8-bit rendition of Electric Eye by Judas Priest kicks the game into action. What's more, Randy Rhodes' guitar solo from "Crazy Train" makes up the entire music for a level.  The developers behind War in the Gulf obviously were fans of metal, going as far as to program their own 8-bit renditions of 80s metal classics. Oh, there's also some Scorpions in there too.

-MetalNES Ranking: Rendering 80s classic metal into an 8-bit NES shmup. Check.
 / 5

#6 - The Rise of Amondus (NES)

Some say that metal died in the 80s or 90s (with the NES and Famicom, coincidentally), but that's not true.  In fact, it lives on with Sly Dog Studio's awesome homebrew releases.  Many of his games have the metal spirit, but for this list we'll stick with just one: The Rise of Amondus

90s death metal album or NES game?

Death metal it may very well be, check out this tune from the game (around the 1:35 mark):
Blast beats on NES.

-MetalNES Ranking:
  / 5

#7 - Ghost Lion
Whether you like it or not, the 80s had its fair share of slightly cringe-worthy bands and artwork.  Ghost Lion on NES brings this side of 80s metal to the table, in full androgynous spandex-laden headband-wearing teased-hair-hanging glory:

...and holding a sword next to a white lion superimposed behind mountains, which by perspective would make the main figure a giant 80s glam metal monster!

There's not much more to say.
-MetalNES Ranking:
 / out of   Giant Glam Metal Monsters

#8 - Metal Storm (NES / FC)

 Face the Slayer! Rounding off 8 Bits of Metal we have Metal Storm, published by Irem. If the name alone wasn't metal enough, how about the advertisement:
Heavy metal action indeed. This game puts Irem at two games named after metal songs.  Surely someone had to have been into metal at the company.  In case you're missing this, put on Track 5 from Slayer's "Show No Mercy" album, and then blast your way through this awesome game.

-MetalNES Ranking: From Holy Diver to Metal Storm, Irem knows how to title a game. 
  / 5

There we have it, a small sample of the many heavy metal moments from Nintendo's classic 8-bit console. Hope you enjoyed "8 Bits of Metal" volume one, and thanks for checking it out!

Game on and jam on!