16-Bit Platformers: The best of the B-Tier

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
Jun 7, 2004
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#1
When we think back on the SNES and Genesis, we generally consider it the generation of the 2D platformer. But now, nearly 20 years later (and what a scary thought THAT is), there are only a handful of games in the genre that people universally hail as classics

Mario, Sonic, Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man X, Super Metroid... a few others.

This topic is about honoring the REST of the 2D pure platformers and 2D action platformers. Yes, they might not be hailed among the "best of all time," but they're still polished, they're still fun, and they're only beaten by the giants of the genre.

Topic rule: Do not get hung up on the "B Tier" designation. I don't want anyone getting butthurt when Earthworm Jim (or whatever) is mentioned when it's in their personal A-tier. Or anyone giving someone else a hard time for listing a game they feel is sub-par. I think everyone can appreciate the broad strokes of this topic without getting bogged down in details.

A couple random thoughts to kick things off:

The Lion King (Snes/Genesis)


This is actually the game that inspired this topic, believe it or not. The Lion King fits my description to a T. It's polished, it looks and plays good, it has great production values. There's really very little wrong with it. In fact, the game got great reviews when it was released.

It just lacked any kind of innovation or differentiation and has been diminished over the years. In fact the only real knock against the game is that it's too hard, of all things.

Vectorman


Great boss fights, great power-ups, and a nice, irreverent sense of humor. Mix in a lengthy adventure with lots of secrets, and a tough-but-fair difficulty, and you have a great title. The sequel less so, however.

Aladdin


For those that didn't know, the SNES and Genesis versions are completely different games, made by different companies. The Gen. release was much more action-heavy, while the SNES version was much more of a traditional platformer. They're both great though. (I put the odds of this topic devolving into a Aladdin SNES/Gen flame war at 1:3).


Other nominations:
Ristar
Alex Kidd
Rocket Knight Adventures
Bubsy
Jurassic Park
Plok, Chuck Rock, Cool Spot... so many more.

...feel free to write up any of the above, or add your own! I'm on a platform game kick at the moment, and want some new 2D levels to explore!
 
Nov 18, 2008
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#4


Twinbee Rainbow Bell Adventure: Super Famicom

Weird game, a platformer starring the Twinbees! Yet it's delivered with Konami style and polish, and actually has a very satisfying traversal mechanic thanks to the whole rocket thing. I didn't know about this game until like 1997, but it's worth tracking down.
 

Cindres

Vied for a tag related to cocks, so here it is.
Jan 27, 2009
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#6
Yeah i remember feeling bad for liking Aladdin and Lion King at the time. Thinking "Shit how can i be liking these daft movie games?"
 
Jul 12, 2009
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#7
Pulseman was a nice little platformer on the Sega Mega Drive from the folks who gave us Pokémon. Wonder Boy VI: Monster World IV was also a nice platform game on the Sega Mega Drive.
 
Dec 13, 2009
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#13
Quackshot, when I was a kid and got my Mega Drive which came with Sonic for Christmas 1992 there was only one other game on my mind, QUACKSHOT. Suffice to say I got it and loved it to bits.

Have no idea now if its a good or bad game, but as a 6 year old who loved the Duck Tales TV show and Donald Duck it was awesome.
 
Sep 13, 2007
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#14
Ristar and Rocket Knight Adventures definitely weren't "B-Tier" games. They were really only second to the likes of Mario and Sonic imo. I'd probably put Earthworm Jim in the same category as well.

As far as games I consider legitimate "B" titles, I'm personally fond of High Seas Havoc and McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure. A lot of the Disney related games being mentioned were surprisingly solid as well.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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#16
Has anyone ever heard of a game called Zool?!..

Might even fall into the C-tier category, but I f*ckin loved this game when I was 7-8 so it's probably a nostalgia thing. Def got it from a bargain bin at funcoland or something just because I begged my parents for something to play...:lol






Also I'd give a nod to the Disney's Aladdin games. Loved both of those (genesis/snes) Although very different, I assume the agreement is that the Genesis version was the vastly superior of the two. Either way I enjoy the snes version just as much! If not more..:D
 
Aug 9, 2005
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#19
Jive Turkey said:

Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse

Seriously awesome though a bit short. Disney and Capcom went so well together. I loved the Mountaineer's costume.
I fucking love that game. Those Disney licensed Capcom games in the NES-SNES era are definitely A-tier.
 
Sep 13, 2007
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#22
Lando Jones said:
Has anyone ever heard of a game called Zool?!..

Might even fall into the C-tier category, but I f*ckin loved this game when I was 7-8 so it's probably a nostalgia thing. Def got it from a bargain bin at funcoland or something just because I begged my parents for something to play...:lol

http://image.newandusedvideogames.com/gen-zool.jpg
I remember Zool. I rented it with my cousin and we had a lot of fun, but when I played it again years later it sadly didn't hold up very well. Unsurprisingly the same was true of a lot of the games we rented. I'm looking at you, B.O.B.
 

Stop It

Perfectly able to grasp the inherent value of the fishing game.
Jan 19, 2007
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Biggleswade, UK
WWW.neogaf.com
#23
Well, this thread is difficult, mainly because you'll never get a consensus on what a "B Tier" game is.

If a game is loved by someone, you wouldn't dare call it a "B" game to them, and as you can see already, you're getting disagreements on whether beloved games should be classified as such.

And just as you may think I am going to try to put some salve into this thread, oh no, I'm going to do the same! My Pick? Toejam & Earl 2.

Not only will this pick ensure a flame war will start over whether it was better than 1 (It was, get over it), but whether it should be called a B title at all. In my view, it was up there due to it's fantastic bouncy platforming, the charming art style and the plain old fun it was, but I'm sure you'll all disagree.

Oh, and Zool was awesome. Blatant Chupa Chups advertising FTW! Well, when I was 10 I thought it was cool.
 
Aug 1, 2007
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#24

Road Runner's Death Valley Rally

This was billed as being as fast as Sonic but on the SNES, although it's nowhere near as good a game. Quite fun. The space levels at the end are annoying, though.
 
Aug 9, 2005
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#27
Stop It said:
Well, this thread is difficult, mainly because you'll never get a consensus on what a "B Tier" game is.

If a game is loved by someone, you wouldn't dare call it a "B" game to them, and as you can see already, you're getting disagreements on whether beloved games should be classified as such.

And just as you may think I am going to try to put some salve into this thread, oh no, I'm going to do the same! My Pick? Toejam & Earl 2.

Not only will this pick ensure a flame war will start over whether it was better than 1 (It was, get over it), but whether it should be called a B title at all. In my view, it was up there due to it's fantastic bouncy platforming, the charming art style and the plain old fun it was, but I'm sure you'll all disagree.

Oh, and Zool was awesome. Blatant Chupa Chups advertising FTW! Well, when I was 10 I thought it was cool.
Classifying everything that isn't in a handful of the most famous franchises as B-tier is just asking for trouble. It was the golden age of platforming there are lots of great platformers from that period. I know OP said not to get hung up on the B-tier designation but games shouldn't be classified as B-tier just because there aren't sequels being made today.
 

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
Jun 7, 2004
15,451
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San Francisco
#31
GrotesqueBeauty said:
Ristar and Rocket Knight Adventures definitely weren't "B-Tier" games. They were really only second to the likes of Mario and Sonic imo. I'd probably put Earthworm Jim in the same category as well.

As far as games I consider legitimate "B" titles, I'm personally fond of High Seas Havoc and McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure. A lot of the Disney related games being mentioned were surprisingly solid as well.
#1 READ THE ONE AND ONLY RULE I POSTED IN THE OP.

#2 Games that are second to the top tier (ie mario and sonic) = B Tier.
 

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
Jun 7, 2004
15,451
8
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San Francisco
#32
I probably should have named this topic "16-Bit Platformers: The Rest of Them" or something. Since some people are clearly getting hung up on the specifics.

Just suggest some fun platformers, people.
 
Nov 17, 2006
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Koga, Ibaraki, Japan
#34
GDJustin said:
#1 READ THE ONE AND ONLY RULE I POSTED IN THE OP.

#2 Games that are second to the top tier (ie mario and sonic) = B Tier.
See, I don't think Sonic is A-tier. Really truly and honestly. It's not even SEGA's best platformer on the Genesis. You'd have been a lot better off coming up with another term than the intrinsically slighting "B Tier".
 

Jive Turkey

Unconfirmed Member
Mar 10, 2005
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#35
GDJustin said:
#1 READ THE ONE AND ONLY RULE I POSTED IN THE OP.

#2 Games that are second to the top tier (ie mario and sonic) = B Tier.
You are aware your efforts are futile right? If this thread goes past three pages this page it'll be filled with nothing but bickering over what qualities define a B-tier game.

Either that or just some good old-fashioned trollin'.
 
May 12, 2009
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#41
Zinga said:
Quackshot, when I was a kid and got my Mega Drive which came with Sonic for Christmas 1992 there was only one other game on my mind, QUACKSHOT. Suffice to say I got it and loved it to bits.

Have no idea now if its a good or bad game, but as a 6 year old who loved the Duck Tales TV show and Donald Duck it was awesome.
If I recall correctly, Quackshot got 80+ reviews back then and still holds up well today. In my opinion, it also has some of the cleanest, most colorful visuals to be found on the Genesis. I also always had the feeling that Sega ripped Duck Tales for NES with it quite a bit given all the travelling all over the globe you have to do.

My super-obscure submission: Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck.



Back when Core Design (R.I.P.) liked to churn out platformer after platformer, this game was their magnum opus in my book. While nice-looking, the first Chuck Rock -- a pretty blatant Bonk ripoff, I might add -- was frighteningly dull thanks to the wretched level design. Unlike its predecessor, CR2 is actually varied and fun to play -- guess they hired actual level designers this time. The game still kinda feels like a Bonk ripoff (for example, if Chuck Jr. loses a life you have to press Start to "wake him up" just like in the Bonk games) but that's OK in my book as it's that good.

The game's best played on the Genesis (there's also a Sega CD version I haven't played yet, though), the Amiga version may have better music but is also lacking a lot of graphical "omph" including some neat warping and rotation effects. It also looks best on a SD TV thanks to the graphics artist's hardon for dithering.
 
Sep 13, 2007
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#42
GDJustin said:
#1 READ THE ONE AND ONLY RULE I POSTED IN THE OP.

#2 Games that are second to the top tier (ie mario and sonic) = B Tier.
ALRIGHT MR. CAPSLOCK.

#1 You were the first person in the thread to state what you think are or are not B-Tier titles, so you broke your own rule. :p

#2 Zuh? What happened to #1? Once again, you named other (non-Sonic, non-Mario) games you considered A-tier in your own post. Don't make rules you can't abide by, much less in the course of a single post, then expect anyone else to.

At any rate, my intention wasn't to "get hung up on" what makes a "B-Tier" game vs. an "A-Tier" game, but the way the topic is presented begs for discussion. I don't see why that's a problem if people state their opinions respectfully.

GDJustin said:
I probably should have named this topic "16-Bit Platformers: The Rest of Them" or something. Since some people are clearly getting hung up on the specifics.

Just suggest some fun platformers, people.
That I can do. ;)

DoReMi Fantasy is another great one. I was really psyched they released it on VC, but it's pretty sad that they didn't bother to translate it.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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#44
The Disney platformers - Castle of Illusion, World of Illusion, Quackshot (clearly not Fantasia) - were majestic, as were the Lion King and Aladdin games. Decap-Attack was my favourite megadrive game.

I'd also throw the James Pond games into the ring, however.



1 was great, but I reserve maximum affection for Robocod:



I remember being taken to EA in 1990 to playtest an early version of the game. They put a poster up in my local games shop, I signed my name, and they took myself and a friend to play Robocod all day when they were testing stuff. We had to tell them what we liked and what we didn't, and we got a free game - a Need For Speed game on the megadrive, if memory serves - for our troubles. That experience, of being able to play something months before it came out, was enough to convince me that it was one of the best games ever made.

Oh, and other games, before I forget:


and


were both wonderful and funny and clever.



was amazing, if not very hard indeed. I also remember loved Super Turrican - though not as much as I loved the original back on my Spectrum...
 

Jive Turkey

Unconfirmed Member
Mar 10, 2005
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#45
Wow...The only thing to rival anthropomorphic animal mascots as main characters in the 16-bit era were cavemen. I had forgotten how many games starred cavemen back then.
 

Rewrite

Not as deep as he thinks
Mar 27, 2008
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Fontana, California baby!
#47
I am ashamed nobody has mentioned this GEM of a game:



The Final Marathon is still one of the fucking hardest levels I've ever played. Kid Chameleon itself is hard and has A LOT of levels and branches you can take. So good, though. I wish there was a remake of it or a new one.

 
Apr 3, 2007
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#49
About as big as sonic the hedgehog for me as a child. Those are my top 2 childhood games period.


Just an amazing memory, and still holds up today when I play it.


If only for Buzz lightyear and nostalgia.


Great game back then.
 
May 12, 2009
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#50
whatevermort said:
1 was great, but I reserve maximum affection for Robocod:

Try emulating the Amiga versions of JP1 and 2 sometime, the Amiga's larger palette and most programmers' fondness of using gradient overlays to add color to games without a performance hit turned them into psychedelic color dreams.

James Pond 1 (Amiga) Longplay
James Pond 2 (Amiga) Longplay

I, too, adored Robocod even though it was essentially a huge Castle of Illusion ripoff. I'll never understand why they ported it to like every console up to the Gamecube with slightly better graphics and a lot worse level design, though.