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The Best of the Wii Virtual Console Games (Wii)

We count them all down, broken up by console. Check out our picks right here!
This article is over 12 years old and may contain outdated information

Though its days are numbered by the upcoming Wii U console, there’s no question that the Wii is still quite a value to many gamers out there.  It’s what got motion-supported gaming on the map to begin with, and still remains a delight for get-togethers when it comes to quick bouts of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Wii Sports.

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But for that matter, we shouldn’t sell the online eShop short.  Here, you can buy a number of original efforts for your Wii, as well as classic games that you may have missed the first time around.  There are hundreds of games available across a variety of platforms in this shop, from the NES to the long-lost Turbo Grafx 16 to the Neo-Geo.  In fact, Super Baseball 2020 just got added the other day, and for nine bucks, it’s as good as sports gaming gets.

Now, if you need a primer on what games you should pick up in the eShop, you’ve come to the right place.  We’ve got a few suggestions in regards to what you should purchase without hesitation.  Now, remember, these are for the Wii, and not the 3DS nor the Wii U.  So you’ll need THAT system to take advantage of these deals – not to mention a Classic Controller.  Here comes our list of recommendations, divided by console…

Nintendo Entertainment System- 500 points ($5) each

Super Mario Bros.- the classic that started it all.  Remains just as fun these days as it did back in ’85.  The Lost Levels expansion is worth checking out, too.  And TOUGH.

Kirby’s Adventure- a great introduction to the little puffball on the NES, complete with dozens of challenges and surprises.

Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream- even though Mike Tyson is missing, this boxing game is still a knockout.

Castlevania- Konami’s legacy started somewhere, and it was here in this epic 1985 action/adventure.  Also recommended: Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.

Super C- while we patiently await the original Contra, check out the sequel, with plenty of run n’ gun action for up to two players.

Super Mario Bros. 3- one of the greatest NES games ever made comes to Virtual Console with flying colors.  Well worth investing in.

Blades of Steel- as good as video game hockey gets – well, video game hockey from the 80’s anyway.

Mega Man 2- easily the best of the Mega Man bunch, part two comes jam-packed with tough boss battles and great weapons.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System- 800 points ($8) each

Super Castlevania IV- Konami’s noteworthy follow-up in the series, now with free whip movement and outstanding Mode 7 rotation effects.

Contra III: The Alien Wars- a mother of an action game with six stages jam-packed with Red Falcon-powered enemies.  Lock and load.

Super Mario World- an instant classic in the Mario lexicon, World is definitely not one to be missed.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past- a superb entry in the long-running Zelda series – now with killer chickens.

Donkey Kong Country- Rare’s unbelievably beautiful side-scrolling platform lives on, with hundreds of bonus rooms to explore.  Love Cranky Kong, too.

Street Fighter II: Turbo Hyper Fighting- Capcom’s brawler reached a pinnacle with this sequel, complete with playable bosses and plenty of two-player fun.

Super Metroid- Nintendo’s splendid sequel features bigger boss enemies, more items, and one mother of an ending.  You won’t see this coming.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars- Square Enix’s brilliant RPG combines the Mario universe with great turn-based action.

Secret of Mana- another instant Square Enix favorite, Secret of Mana contains excellent characters and hours worth of gameplay.  Fun with friends.

Super Star Wars- the saga lives on with this great first entry in LucasArts’ epic action-packed trilogy.  Also recommended: Super Empire Strikes Back and Super Return of the Jedi

Zombies Ate My Neighbors- Konami’s hilariously fun monster blaster is great alone or with a friend.  Just watch out for those Chucky dolls.

Nintendo 64- 1000 points ($10) each

Super Mario 64- a monumental 3D leap for Mario, with exciting new worlds to explore and dynamic gameplay that still stands out today.

Mario Kart 64- a thrilling multiplayer entry in the ongoing series, now with better tracks, more characters, and those nasty flying turtle shells.  Ouch.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time- one of the best Zelda games ever made, now brought back to life in wondrous digital form.

Star Fox 64- one of the best space epics out there, Star Fox is a blast either on your own (through the story campaign) or in multiplayer combat.

F-Zero X- a thrill-a-minute racing game that holds steady with 60 frames per second action and a multitude of tracks.  Check it out!

Paper Mario- a classic role-playing adventure with a unique paper-mache art style and dozens of power-ups to choose from.  Epic.

Sin and Punishment- Treasure’s classic shoot-em-up shouldn’t be missed – especially considering it never got a US release…

Super Smash Bros.- before Melee and Brawl came around, this was the way to fight with your friends.  Four player thrills galore.

Mario Tennis- a triumph from Camelot Software, Mario Tennis is one of the ultimate party games you can get for the Wii.  Also recommended: Mario Golf.

Sega Master System- 500 points (or $5) each

Sonic the Hedgehog- while the original Genesis version is king, the Master System version is pretty sweet in its own right.  And cheap.

Sega Genesis- 800 points (or $8) each

Ristar- a classic platformer featuring a star-ry hero with extendable arms, Ristar is both cute and challenging.  A must for fans of the genre.

Gunstar Heroes- a thrilling shoot-em-up from the masters at Treasure, Gunstar Heroes retains all its hardcore goodness to this very day.  A must own.

ToeJam & Earl- a hilariously fun alien adventure featuring two hip out-of-town visitors trying to find a way home.  Check out the gut-busting Jam Mode!  “WHOA!”

Streets of Rage 2- this great beat-em-up lets two players duke it out at once, trying to save the city from Mr. X’s minions.  Good luck with that.

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master- a superb entry in Joe Musashi’s ongoing ninja saga, part three is a worthwhile addition.  The horse and surfing stages are a nice change of pace, too.

Rolling Thunder 2- Namco’s sequel to the arcade classic surpasses it in every way, thanks to great power-ups and the option to play with two people.

Earthworm Jim- one of the most memorable platformers from the 16-bit days, Earthworm Jim is as silly as gaming gets.  And extraordinarily fun, too.  Also recommended: Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure.  (We’re serious.)

Strider- Capcom’s arcade classic comes to the Virtual Console, via Genesis form, perfectly intact.  Strider Hiryu never had it so good.

Turbo-Grafx/Turbo-Grafx CD- 800 points (or $8) each

Bonk’s Adventure- an adorable yet fun platformer where you literally use your caveman’s head to get out of trouble.

Air Zonk- a goofy yet captivating side-scrolling shooter, where you use a variety of power-ups – from a space cow to a dog suit – to battle evil forces.

Devil’s Crush- a demonic pinball game may not sound like an ideal choice for the Wii channel, but it’s actually quite fun – and not nearly that bloody at all.

Lords of Thunder- if you want shooting action, it gets no better than Lords of Thunder.  Crank the rock soundtrack, power up like a bandit, and let loose!

Y’s Book I & II- one of the best role-playing games ever printed to disc, Y’s Book I & II features hours of traditional RPG gameplay and a compelling score.

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood- a game that never got a chance on these shores, Rondo of Blood is one of the better Castlevania games out there.  The soundtrack rocks, too.

Neo Geo- 900 points (or $9) each

Magician Lord- one of the better original Neo-Geo games released, this hard-as-nails platformer will put you to the test.  Fortunately, the multiple magic skins help.

Samurai Shodown- if anything could beat Street Fighter II in its heyday, it was Shodown.  With its superb character roster and deep gameplay, it cuts like a knife.

The King of Fighters ’95- another great fighter from the Neo-Geo days, KOF 95 shouldn’t be missed.  Over 50 fighters, great techniques, and multiplayer action.  It’s a winner.

Virtual Console Arcade- 800 points (or $8) each

Zaxxon- Sega’s classic shoot-em-up, which uses an isometric angle, is still a breath of fresh air for fans of the genre these days.  Just watch out for those walls…

Black Tiger- Capcom’s interesting side-scrolling action game stands out from the pack with its medieval design and great boss battles.  Worth checking out.

Ghosts n’ Goblins- while this is also available on the NES channel, the arcade version is the way to go.  It’s ridiculously tough, but a definite hit for fans.  Also recommended: Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts in the SNES channel and Ghouls n’ Ghosts in the Genesis channel.

We hope you enjoyed our picks.  Did you see your favorites?


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Prima Games Staff
The staff at Prima Games.