What are the Best Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console Games?: 3D Classics

What are the Best Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console Games?: 3D Classics

A comprehensive breakdown of classic games on 3DS, both good, great, and awful. Now complete for all systems: Game Boy, Game Boy Color, NES, Game Gear, Super NES, and 3D Classics! [Updated: May 13]

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3D Classics

While not technically Virtual Console games, the 3D Classics series is close enough in spirit that it deserves to be counted in this roundup. Unlike Virtual Console, 3D Classics encompass a number of different platforms — SEGA Genesis, arcade, NES, and even Master System — and more importantly, they've been reprogrammed to show off the system's 3D visual capabilities.

Page 1: Intro & NES
Page 2: Game Boy
Page 3: Game Boy Color
Page 4: Game Gear
Page 5: 3D Classics
Page 6: Super NES

The Essentials

Excitebike
Nintendo/Arika, 2011
This side-view motocross racer doesn't really benefit from the 3D visual upgrade, but it's a fun, addictive experience no matter how you play it... although the truly definitive version is on Wii U, if you own both systems.

Fantasy Zone II W
SEGA/M2, 2015
Back in the day, Fantasy Zone II only came out for Master System; in converting the game to 3D, developer M2 reworked it to play on the first game's arcade hardware. So technically, this is an all-new game. The important thing, though, is that it's loads of fun.

Gunstar Heroes
Treasure/M2, 2015
A glorious highlight of the SEGA Genesis, Gunstar Heroes pushed that hardware to its absolute limits. This 3D reworking keeps all the original content intact while adding an impressive visual effect to the action — a masterpiece.

Kid Icarus
Nintendo/Arika, 2012
The original Kid Icarus on NES was kind of a hard sell, but developer Arika did more than simply add 3D visuals and backgrounds to this conversion — they made a subtle tweak to the jumping physics that makes the game far more playable. The definitive version of the game.

Kirby's Adventure
HAL/Arika, 2011
One of the high points of the NES library is every bit as wonderful on 3DS, with or without the added visual effects.

Out Run
SEGA/M2, 2015
This classic racing game helped introduce "super scaler" graphics to the world, and the loving overhaul it received on 3DS allows its high-speed visuals to truly pop. But really, it's worth it for the music alone.

Sonic the Hedgehog
SEGA/M2, 2013
SEGA never really managed to improve on the first two Sonic games, and this enhanced portable conversion remains just as playable now as it was 25 years ago. Actually, maybe more so, thanks to the anachronistic inclusion of the spin-dash....

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
SEGA/M2, 2015
Likewise Sonic 2, which retains its two-player action here and still manages, somehow, to render split-screen action with 3D effects. The usual passel of tweaks are present here, including an easy mode.

Space Harrier
SEGA/M2, 2013
It's shallow, sure, but this version converts the faux-3D of the arcade shooter into actual 3D and in doing so breathes new life into the game.

Streets of Rage 2
SEGA/M2, 2015
SEGA fans will forever rage in debate over which Streets of Rage was better, the first or second. For our money, the second is the more playable and entertaining of the two, with cooler levels and better controls.

Super Hang-On
SEGA/M2, 2013 Super Hang-On is everything great about the 3D Classics series in a single package: It takes a decent racing game and lavishes it with loving details, including a gyroscopic mode to simulate the deluxe arcade cabinet's tilt-based controls. Just a wonderful conversion all around.

Worth Playing

After Burner II
SEGA/M2, 2015
While it really pops in 3D, the second After Burner lacks the substance and depth to be worth more than a brief diversion for a few minutes.

Ecco the Dolphin
Novotrade/M2, 2013
All due respect to the hippies, but Ecco the Dolphin is a neat idea (control a dolphin saving the world!) bogged down by some really hateful level design and complicated controls. Neat, and worth a look, but weirdly brutal considering its New Age leanings.

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
SEGA/M2, Year
This wild ninja-themed action game is definitely the most unconventional entry in the Shinobi series, but play this only as you cross your fingers and hope for a 3D version of Revenge of Shinobi.

Streets of Rage
SEGA/M2, 2013
A classic brawler with a brilliant soundtrack, Streets of Rage is absolutely worth a play (especially in this refined 3D conversion)... but if you can only afford one, go with the sequel.

TwinBee
Konami/Arika, 2011
Konami had a few different shoot-em-up series back in the day, and while it was amusing, TwinBee never quite hit the same height as Gradius or Parodius.

Xevious
Namco/Arika, 2011 Namco's classic top-down vertical shoot-em-up broke a lot of new ground, but it feels a bit dated these days. This 3D overhaul is nice, though, lending excellent depth to the combat.

Save Your Cash

Altered Beast
SEGA/M2, 2013
A boring arcade brawler became a boring Genesis pack-in which then became a boring 3D Classics release. Avoid.

Thunder Blade
SEGA/M2, 2015
Of all of SEGA's "super scaler" games, Thunder Blade had the least to offer. Whizzy 3D effects can't save this dud.

Urban Champion
Nintendo/Arika, 2011 Let us never speak of Nintendo's dull, clumsy attempt at a brawler again. Why this was selected for a 3D overhaul instead of, say, Balloon Fight we'll never know.

Page 1: Intro & NES
Page 2: Game Boy
Page 3: Game Boy Color
Page 4: Game Gear
Page 5: 3D Classics
Page 6: Super NES

Jump to: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6

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