25 Best TurboGrafx 16 Games
The TurboGrafx 16 was a peculiar system but it had enough good games to warrant a 25 Best TurboGrafx Games list. It had a processor which was actually somewhat weaker than most 16-bit systems, in that it was really only 8-bits. On the other hand, it was one of the first systems with an official CD add-on which allowed it to store games up to a whopping 650 MB large! On one hand, this meant a lot of horrible FMV games. On the other hand, this means absolutely rockin platformers and shmups. These are the 25 Best TurboGrafx 16 Games of all time.
Snatcher was an awesome first person mystery game set in a sci-fi cyberpunk universe. It’s up to you to investigate the “snatchers,” androids that are killing people and taking their place in society. It’s kind of like Blade Runner meets Pod People. It was also one of Hideo Kojima’s first works before he made it big with the Metal Gear series. Fitting that one of the 25 Best TurboGrafx 16 Games was made by one of the best game developers out there.
Strider is Capcom’s favorite Ninja, and even though people know him better for his SNES, Genesis, and Marvel vs. Capcom appearances, he also had one of the best games for the TurboGrafx 16. The TurboGrafx port may have been the most faithful to the original arcade game, with outstanding graphics and sound.
We all know what Street Fighter II is. It’s the granddaddy of all fighting games. Street Fighter II was even better on the TurboGrafx, nearly perfectly emulating the arcade. Of course, at that point we had all moved on to Super Turbo anyway, so this port was widely overlooked.
The TurboGrafx had a ton of great shoot-em-ups, and Seirei Senshi Spriggan was one of the best. It was almost like a reverse bullet hell game, allowing you to upgrade your character quickly enough to fill the entire screen with bullets and blasts. It also had a ludicrous anime story that any fan of giant robots would love.
Gomola Speed was kind of a cross between an action game and a puzzle game. It’s based around the classic game of snake, as you pick up power ups and make your body longer and longer. However, you also get to drop bombs and fight through space! So this is just blatantly better than the snake you used to play on your TI-86 in algebra class.
Super Star Soldier is another great shmup that the Turbografx has to offer. While the game starts as your normal run of the mill shooter, the weapon upgrades eventually get crazy. You can shoot lightning, homing missiles, flame throwers, energy rings, and huge spreads of bullets in all directions at your enemies. Oh, and those enemies just so happen to be lava snakes, ice monsters, stealth bombers, and giant robot scorpions. Pure shoot-em-up excellence!
Yet more shmups? Yes, please! Gates of Thunder has been widely acclaimed as one of the best shmups of all time. Not only are the weapons in this game interesting and imaginative, but the stages themselves offer far more variety than the simple, “avoid the walls while killing enemies” stages that shmups usually offer. It’s also one of the prettiest games on the platform.
Ninja spirit is an awesome action platformer whose main mechanic is the ability to clone yourself multiple times. Your many ninja clones follow you around the screen and do exactly what you do with the exact weapon you have equipped. Combine this with the far reaching sickle and chain weapon, and you will quickly be able to cut through all manner of enemies, from ancient Japanese demons to foolish enemy ninjas who don’t know they are outmatched.
Say you were a Zelda fan but your parents got you a TurboGrafx 16 instead of a SNES. In that case, Neutopia was the game for you, a game that wanted to be Zelda so hard it hurt. However, unlike other Zelda clones, Neutopia actually did the formula justice, with an interesting world, tight mechanics, and a decent story. It’s a great addition to anyones role-playing library and one of the best TurboGrafx 16 games out there.
Blazing Lazers was actually called Gunhed in Japan, and was based off a Japanese live action movie. It was the prequel to Super Star Soldier, and it has all of its wonderful weapon upgrading bullet hell mechanics.
Rarely do you find a game so honest about its gameplay as Dungeon Explorer 2. It does what it says on the tin. There are dungeons, you explore them, and that’s about it. It’s basically the TurboGrafx’s version of gantlet style adventure games, although the graphics and music were way better than any of its competitors due to the TurboGrafx’s CD drive. That's why it's on our list of the 25 Best TurboGrafx 16 Games.
In Japan, Dragon’s Curse is called Adventure Island. Sound familiar? It should, because Dragon’s Curse is made by the same team that did the Adventure Island series, and it plays very similarly. However, instead of playing an islander that rides a skateboard, you take control of a knight who can turn into a bird, lizard, mouse, frog, and tiger. It was one of those platformers that had just enough puzzle elements to keep you coming back after you had beaten it multiple times.
Our list is kind of functioning as our 10 Best Shmups list at this point. Lords of Thunder was another great sidescrolling shmup in the same series as Gates of Thunder with all of the same great gameplay. The big mechanical hook here is the ability to change your armor before each stage, thus changing the weapon you take into battle.
Another shmup? Geez, this is getting a little ludicrous at this point. Air Zonk was different from a lot of other shmups in that it was basically built to be a humorous experience. The game challenges you to collect power ups and upgrade your weapons in a world that looks like an early nineties cartoon gone crazy. It also has an interesting “friend” mechanic that allows you collect allies that follow you and attack enemies independently.
Bomberman 93 is considered one of the best competitive Bomberman games in existence. Tons of new multiplayer maps were introduced, complete with gimmicks such as new power ups, conveyor belts, teleport pods, no bomb blocks, and more. This hit the sweet spot between classic Bomberman simplicity and the crazy wonky powers that Bomberman has today.
Legendary Axe’s big mechanic was a power meter that charged every time you didn’t swing your axe. The mechanic sounds frustrating and has been used poorly in many SNES and NES games, but somehow The Legendary Axe made it work on the TurboGrafx 16.
This is one of the first remakes/compilations out there. It brings back the awesomeness that was Ys 1 and 2 with updated graphics and gameplay. This was an awesome prelude to the release of Ys 3 and Ys 4 which would come out later in the TurboGrafx’s lifetime.
Does it surprise you that a shmup broke the top 10 in our 25 Best TurboGrafx 16 Games list? Does it surprise you that this shmup is one of the best of all time? If you don’t know what R-Type is then you are missing out on a piece of shmup history. Variable weapons, a controllable satellite, and not one but two games in the collection earn this the eighth slot on our list.
You are a caveman who fights dinosaurs by headbutting them with your gigantic head. If you need us to explain anything else about this highly acclaimed 2D platformer, you very obviously have forgotten the meaning of fun.
Want more games that are similar but legally distinct from Zelda? Check out Neutopia’s sequel, which is longer, more difficult, and more interesting than its predecessor. Granted, it still felt like it tore a page out of Zelda’s book and copied it word for word, but Neutopia 2 is still an amazing adventure game in its own right.
Military Madness should look very familiar to fans of the Advance Wars series of games. Why is that? Because it’s essentially the same thing -- a military strategy game that puts squads of units up against each other. The only real difference is Military Madness’s sci-fi theme.
Devil’s Crush is a pinball simulator. Yes, one of the best TurboGrafx 16 games of all time is a pinball simulator. However, this isn’t your run of the mill pinball rig. This pinball machine has demons, blood, satanic rituals, and a whole bunch or extreme stuff that was just waiting to get banned by concerned parents in the '90s.
You’ve played Splatterhouse before. It’s that insanely gory action game that basically stars a psychopath in a murder mask. Perhaps the best version of the game can be found here, on the TurboGrafx 16, with all the blood and gore intact. Once again, a sadly overlooked gem when compared to its ports on less powerful consoles.
Caveman! Headbutt! Action Game! Dog pirate on a shark ship firing homing misses. Seriously, if you haven’t played the Bonk series of platformers you have missed out on some of the best designed titles that have graced the face of gaming history.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood may be the best traditional Castlevania game in existence. Ever wonder who Richter Belmont was, the guy who started Castlevania Symphony of the Night? Well this game tells his story, leading right up to the final battle, which is exactly the first battle in SotN. Put this together with anime cutscenes and absolutely wonderful music and you get the best Castlevania game nobody played. It’s a perfect choice for our number one slot in the 25 Best TurboGrafx 16 Games.