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Top 10 Amazing Games Emulation Kept Alive

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Jarett Burke
With the video game industry moving so fast over the years, there are many greats titles which have either been forgotten or rendered unplayable because of lack of hardware. With the advent of Emulators however, many of these old but gold games have gotten a second chance at life, introducing new players to classic titles they would have otherwise never played. For this list, we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Amazing Games Emulation Kept Alive! To have your ideas turned into a WatchMojo or MojoPlays video, head over to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and get to it!

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Top 10 Amazing Games Emulation Kept Alive

Dying to play “Metal Storm” for NES but can’t find an old, physical copy? Don’t worry, there’s emulation for that. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Amazing Games Emulation Kept Alive.

For this list, we’re looking at games we otherwise wouldn’t be able to play without emulators, such as old arcade and console games that haven’t been re-released over the years. With Nintendo in the news suing two prominent emulation sites, which influenced another major site to remove all its ROMs, we’re highlighting some amazing games that would otherwise be lost without emulation.

#10: “Little Samson” (1992)

This action-platformer from Taito has developed a reputation as being one of the most technically impressive games for the NES, having highly detailed graphics and impressive boss characters. It’s also looked back on as one of the best platformers for the NES. But, it’s also a game that is nearly impossible to find now-a-days and, if you’re lucky enough to find a copy, it will set you back at least one-thousand dollars. It’s never been re-released either, so our options for playing this underrated gem are pretty slim, making emulation a very attractive alternative.

#9: “Masters of Combat” (1993)

This fighting game has been all but forgotten online, with nary even an English Wikipedia entry for it, but that won’t stop us from remembering it fondly. The plot develops around a fighting tournament being held in a place called Megalo City sometime after a UFO crash-landed there. You play as one of four fighters as you kick and punch your way toward uncovering dark secrets about the extra-terrestrial crash and the city’s mayor. For an 8-bit fighter, it looks good, moves well and contains quite a few moves per character, which was a lot to ask for from a fighting game back then.

#8: “Night Slashers” (1993)

This beat ‘em up by now-defunct arcade giant Data East was incredibly similar to Capcom’s classic brawler “Final Fight” and allowed up to three players to join forces and fight their way through ghoulish creatures such as zombies, werewolves and vampires. In fact, the horror setting is what made this game stick out from other beat ‘em up clones of the day, as did it’s rather large move set per character. The Japanese version contained quite a bit of blood and gore, which was unfortunately censored in North America.

#7: “Herzog Zwei” (1989)

This real-time strategy game by Technosoft was a very early example of the genre and even predated another equally innovate strategy game in “Dune 2” for the Genesis. Since “Dune 2” is considered to be a heavy influence on modern titles like “Command and Conquer” and “Warcraft” it’s not a stretch to say that all these games probably wouldn’t exist without “Herzog Zwei.” The game was not a commercial success, however, as it was released very early in the Genesis’ lifecycle and was largely overlooked in favor of more arcade-style games. We get it, we love beat ‘em ups too!

#6: “Alien vs. Predator” (1994)

This arcade beat ‘em up from Capcom was incredibly well received by critics and gamers alike, considered to be a classic of the genre, yet it was oddly never ported to any home systems. Did they not want our money or something? Based on an earlier draft of an “Alien vs. Predator” comic, up to three players battled against Alien forces as either cyborg soldiers or the Predator to stop the Aliens from taking over Earth. The controls were basic, having only three buttons (jump, attack and shoot), but the action was fast-paced and intense, including melee weapons and grenade launchers. It’s still a mystery why this game never got a home port.

#5: “Sunset Riders” (1993)

This side scrolling, gun-slinging shooter from Konami was originally released in arcades in 1991 before finding its way to the Super Nintendo two years later. Set in the Wild West, the game follows four bounty hunters on a mission to round up as many outlaws as possible by defeating their gangs and saving the townsfolk. The SNES version was very well received with multiple critics highlighting the game’s sharp graphics, challenging difficulty and memorable soundtrack while commenting on how little it changed being ported from arcade. We, on the other hand, just love pretending to be cowboys!

#4: “Haunting” (1993)

This very early entry from Electronic Arts is a unique, fun game in their library and looks nothing like a modern EA game. Instead, “Haunting” is a comedy/horror adventure where players control the ghost of a young man named Polterguy (an obvious riff on the “Poltergeist” films) as he seeks revenge on a family he deems responsible for his death. The aim of the game is to scare this family out of each of their four homes by inhabiting objects in the environment. It was ported to the PlayStation Portable briefly, but it still hard to find outside emulators. We’d love to see EA revive this style of game if we can’t get another re-release.

#3: “Saturday Night Slam Masters” (1993)

Let’s get ready to rumble! This arcade wrestling game from Capcom is an example of another tremendous port to the SNES and one that leaves us wishing and hoping for a re-released or remaster some day in the future, because this game is the definition of “fun.” It plays like a wrestling game, but it all feels very much like a classic beat ‘em up in the “Final Fight” vein – it even includes Mike “Macho” Haggar from “Final Fight” as a selectable grappler. The team battle royal mode was a sure fan favorite, as were the highly detailed and animated cast of characters to choose from.

#2: “Cadillacs and Dinosaurs” (1992)

The name alone is enough to make us want to replay this classic beat ‘em up from Capcom. The game was based on the comic book series named “Xenozoic Tales” set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans find the world reclaimed by previously extinct dinosaurs. This brawler has a cool twist in that when dinosaurs appear in game they can attack either the player or the enemies, leaving room for much uncertainty in the process. A short-lived animated TV series of the same name was launched on CBS but it never found a foothold like the game did in arcades.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Gargoyles” (1995)

“Space Megaforce” (1992)

“Shatterhand” (1991)

#1: “The Simpsons” (1991)

It’s our belief that everyone old enough to remember this game has fond memories of popping endless amounts of quarters into it in an attempt to rescue Maggie from Mr. Burns. Another side-scrolling beat ‘em up, but this time from Konami, “The Simpsons” arcade game has been in such high demand since its initial release that it was briefly given an HD port to the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012 but has since been removed for mysterious reasons. Oddly enough, another fan-favorite arcade game in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was briefly available on Xbox Live but has since been removed as well. It’s a shame, as both games are absolute classics with massive audiences.

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