If you’ve played some of the arcade games by Konami and/or Capcom, you’ve probably noticed some of the differences between those and the later home versions of the same games on the NES. Granted some of the differences might be minor, but those changes still make all of the difference in the cosmos.
When looking for some examples of these differences, one can easily see it in Ninja Gaiden. The thing with Ninja Gaiden is that the arcade beat-’em-up and the NES action platformer were likely developed at roughly the same time. Another game mentioned by JiibayDan was Dragon Spirit. I don’t know enough about the game to know if it had a better home port.
I recently played and finished the NES version of Jackal. This Konami game was originally an arcade game which I never saw or played until I briefly tried it out via MAME. The differences in this title are mostly in the controls of the jeep the player uses. Popping off a grenade takes a fraction of a second longer than on the NES. Because of this it doesn’t always fly in the direction you intend it to. This is the sole reason why Jackal is best on the NES.
Another game which also has smaller changes is Gun Smoke (That’s right, I don’t type it as “Gun.Smoke.”). The differences here is mainly the difficulty. There’s four fewer stages, smaller amounts of enemies, and your quarters stay in your pocket. :D Shops were added to the game to make the money displayed at the top of the screen mean more than just as a score. The music is also better too!
Bionic Commando is up next and this is one NES game that is known and loved far and wide. If you’ve ever played the arcade game, then you truly are familiar with probably one of the greatest examples of best on the NES. The graphics are artistically better, there’s a fleshed out story, and the damn thing just controls great! There’s also more variety in this version than compared to its quarter-munching cousin.
Finally there’s two Konami games which are some of my personal favorites of all time. They are the pair of run-‘n-gun titles Contra and Super C! I’ve played a bit more of the arcade original than that of Super Contra, but both of them run off of the same hardware and therefore had pretty much the same issues. The vertical screen didn’t help with the view of oncoming enemies. When aiming in a different direction while shooting you needed to wait a few seconds for the bullets to feel like it. I also felt that the arcade versions color palette was drab.
Best on the NES fits Contra and Super C well. The problems with the arcade versions were dealt with perfection. More stages were added and lengthened, but the challenge is very much still there. The difference being that the precise controls make it possible to have the character do what you want. There’s no more of the nonsense waiting for the bullets to go in the direction you intend them to. All you have to worry about on the NES is where and how much of Red Falcon’s ass to kick!
If you have any other potentially fun arcade games which, once on the NES (or another system), finally paid off on that potential, please, by all means, regale me with your story below.