The last ten Nintendo games are so good that they each deserve their own page of praise. This will also build suspense (did your favorite game make it?!).
You know your main character is a bad ass when he's buff and smoking a cigarette on the title screen (just like daddy! Minus all the drinking...). Famous for its almost [or maybe totally] necessary Konami code (you all know it) which gave you thirty lives and a fighting chance in this strikingly strenuous, but satisfying, sidescrolling shooter (ssss!). The platforming was great, the weapons upgrades were better (gotta love the spread shot), and the amount of people trying to kill you at one time really made this an intense game. Even the third person view segments were fun. Another game best played with a friend (if you had one).