With its insane difficulty level, Ninja Gaiden was one of the first games to warrant throwing your controller against the wall. Thankfully, your katana, shuriken, and magical "ninpo" abilities were as fun to use as they were hard to master.
The original Mega Man was hardly the hit that most remember. In fact, the iconic franchise didn’t take off until its sequel improved upon the boss-fight, power-up formula of the first. The pellet-shooting, blue-hued cyborg looked better and played smoother the second time around, blasting the franchise into gaming history.
The world is veiled in darkness... That's also what would happen if the genre-cementing Final Fantasy (originally released in Japan in 1987), a franchise that's still going strong today, were erased from history.
Dubbed "Metroidvania" at the time, Castlevania took the intricate world design of Metroid and shifted it from sci-fi firmly into fantasy-horror. With a gothic look, a host of classic creatures and an arsenal of medieval weapons, Castlevania introduced the world to the Belmont clan, the vampire world’s answer to pulp adventurers like Indiana Jones.