Top 10 Games By Konami [Best Recommendations]

After the release of Metal Gear Solid 5 The Phantom Pain and the departure of Hideo Kojima, Konami has decided to go in the direction of domestic mobile games and pachinko. Despite their recent and controversial decisions, one cannot forget all the games they have made for arcades and home consoles alike these past three decades. Though some may no longer be in production, they will never be forgotten. For today’s top 10 in gaming, we are sharing what we think is the best Konami has to offer.

10. Frogger

  • Platform: Arcade, Atari 2600
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: Oct 1981

Kicking off this list is a true gaming classic, Frogger. For you young readers, you may think this game is primitive but for its time and to our older readers, Frogger was rather innovative. It was one of the very first games to handle multiple visuals at once. As the title suggests, you play as a group of frogs and you have to cross through traffic and other obstacles from the bottom of the screen to the top. The stages are split into two halves. One-half, you have to navigate through traffic and this means avoiding all kinds of vehicles from regular cars, motorcycles, and street sweepers. The next half is crossing a stream that is filled with logs, alligators, and turtles. And you got one minute to get each frog across!!!

Due to all these features upon its release, the game became (in)famous as having the most ways to die (getting run over, eaten, drowning, etc). The game has inspired knockoffs and sequels, but the original still has a place in the heart of old timers and to the gaming industry as a whole. Despite its age, its challenging obstacles that require quick thinking still hold up to first timers and veterans alike, which is why it still has a place not only on this list but also to gaming as a whole.


9. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyushutsu Emaki)

  • Platform: Super Nintendo
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: Jul 19, 1991 (JP), Feb 1992 (NA)

Though the Goemon franchise has been in production since the 1980s, the rest of the world would have its first taste through its Super Nintendo debut. Though some Japanese games would be subjected to Westernization such as some games from our Beat ‘Em Up list, Mystical Ninja retains its Japanese identity in terms of its anime-influenced art style, setting, and soundtrack. The game is as straightforward as other platformers of its time but has some RPG influenced elements such as the quests and explorations, gaining currency and using it to buy items and weapons, and interacting with NPCs. Last, we cannot deny Mystical Ninja’s universal mini-games such as ice hockey, dice, and even the first level of the original Gardius, another great Konami arcade classic. So if you want something that is six games in one, this is it!


8. The Simpsons

  • Platform: Arcade, Commodore 64, MS-DOS
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: 1991

Nobody can deny the idea of making The Simpsons as a Beat ‘Em Up game may seem ridiculous, but it is very in tune with the comedic nature of the series. In this game, Maggie accidentally gets her hands (or her mouth) on a diamond, and Mr. Burns and Smithers have kidnapped her. It is now up to the Simpsons family to rampage through Springfield to get Maggie back.

If the player chooses Homer, he just punches and kicks. As Marge, she uses a vacuum cleaner as a weapon. Lisa relies on a jump rope and Bart uses his skateboard. The game plays like your standard Beat ‘Em Up and is straight to the point, but is filled with challenges. The game takes some creative liberties with who you fight such as a kabuki performer, a man in a bear costume, a giant bowling ball in a dream sequence, a random drunk at Moe’s, and finally, you face Mr. Burns who pilots a multi-layered human sized mech. You can either enjoy this by yourself, but good luck because you may need three people to help you get through this game.


7. Dance Dance Revolution

  • Platform: Arcade, PlayStation
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: 1998

If there is one series we have to thank for the rise in music games, it has to be Dance Dance Revolution. It is probably one of the best arcade experiences between the late-90s and the early-2000s, where players can step on stage in front of a crowd and try to dance. Though the NES generation had Track and Field (also by Konami) with its running pad, DDR takes this concept to a new level of fun and creativity. With its various modes of difficulties (Basic, Trick/Another, and Maniac/SSR), players could master the step routines, make a freestyle that goes to those steps, and burn some calories. As a concept, it is simple to pick up, but difficult to master. With time, you can learn to react to the steps with proper timing and energy conservation. The great thing about DDR is that there is a double mode where if you feel one side of the stage is not enough, you can play on both sides of the stage!

Most of the songs were mostly Euro and Japanese dance tracks. For some mixes, it introduces some K-pop songs. In later mixes, it would give players to dance to English remixes of famous anime songs such as the theme songs to Cat’s Eye, Lupin III, and Rurouni Kenshin. Though most of the songs featured in most DDRs may not be familiar to American players at the time of its release, dedicated players became to grow fond of them. Communities in the west coast arcade scene were booming and tournaments were huge. Some Japanese exclusive releases would also be famous for exposing players to the explicit lyrics of the German singing duo, E-Rotic with tracks like Do It All Night. The steps are very in-tune with the beats of the song and just give a positive energy. Even if you can’t dance, DDR is certainly worth a shot for a distinct kind of challenge in terms of coordination and rhythm.


6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

  • Platform: Arcade, Super Nintendo
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: 1991

For the past 30 years, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have managed to stay around thanks to its numerous animated and live-action incarnations. But if there is anything that the series has contributed to video games, it would have to be the Beat ‘Em Up classic, Turtles in Time. As the title suggests, it is about how the Ninja Turtles must travel through time and stop the Shredder and the Foot Clan, and take back the Statue of Liberty. Not only will the Turtles have to fight Shredder, they must also take on Leatherhead, Baxter Stockman, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang.

Though it may not be up to 4 players, its Super Nintendo release is probably superior to the arcade version in terms of level, enemy, and gameplay diversity and design. For starters, players can throw Foot Soldiers towards the screen and they will scale up in size as if they were going to pop out! The Super Nintendo has more levels and boss battles where the Shredder fights in a mecha-like cockpit, and the turtles have to throw Foot Soldiers towards the Shredder whose back is featured in a third person close up. In the pirate level, instead of Rocksteady and Bebop in the arcade version, the turtles fight Tokka and Razar from the second movie.

Last, the Super Nintendo version also makes up of its forward scaling by having a futuristic level where the Turtles rides on hover board like machines. So if you want a game that perfectly represents Ninja Turtles, Turtles in Time is it.


5. Contra

  • Platform: Arcade, NES
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: Feb 20, 1987

If any game defines Konami in the NES era, it would have to be Contra, a game that was influenced by the Predator and Alien movies. The game is a side-scrolling shooter where the player must go through numerous obstacles and can gain all kinds of weapons. On occasion, there are levels where the levels are more vertical in movement, which was pretty innovative at the time of its release. Contra has a pretty intense and addicting soundtrack that gets your adrenaline pumping and into the action. The level and boss designs are rather captivating and feel in tune with its influences.

The game allows multi-directional shooting, shooting while running, shooting while flipping and so on. It's hyper-paced gameplay that allows you to shoot in all angles at all times made the game so easy to get into. Despite its easy controls, its countless challenges made the game rather frustrating. In fact, this was one of the games that paved way for Konami’s then famous cheat code you would input into the title screen, which would give the player 30 lives.


4. Suikoden II (Genso Suikoden II)

  • Platform: PlayStation
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: Dec. 17, 1998 (JP) Aug. 31, 1999 (NA)

Konami may not be famous as a JRPG company but if they had an RPG series that works for them, it has to be Suikoden. Suikoden for its time compared to the likes of Final Fantasy VII and Dragon Quest VI was much more old school, but took it to extreme distinctions. For starters, you can recruit to a hundred characters and use 40 of them in combat. While a standard party is up to three characters, Suikoden 2 uses up to six!

In addition to the standard JRPG battle engine, it includes a duel and massive battle feature. For the duels, it exclusively features the main character (who the player is free to name) against an enemy. The selective options are attack, wild attack, and defend for both. Think of it as a game of rock-paper-scissors. But depending on the enemy’s taunt, the player can understand what attack the opponent will use. The massive battles take influence from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga’s Ambition where proper strategy takes priority.


3. Silent Hill 2

  • Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
  • Release Date: Sept 24, 2001 (NA), Sept 27, 2001 (JP)

With Konami’s take on the survival horror genre, they have Silent Hill. In the second game, the player controls James Sunderland, a widower man who comes to the titled town after reading a letter from his dead wife saying he can find her there. However, he got more than he bargained for after seeing all the creepy sights this town has to offer and it is up to the player to help James come out alive.

While Capcom’s Resident Evil is a little more action-oriented, Silent Hill 2 is more about exploration and solving mysteries. Forget about its creepy setting being the scariest thing Silent Hill 2 has to offer. While Resident Evil is in your face with its horror, Silent Hill creeps into your mind. The game focuses more on strategy and problem solving, as opposed to confrontation. The game does a great job of utilizing its dark environment with its map feature. If the player is not exposed to any form of light, they cannot access it. The maps thankfully include useful information such as items, doors, and blocked passages.

Last, the game (as does the rest of the series) presents multiple endings. Some are straight to the point, and some are rather strange. Either way, if you got the stomach and heart to play six times, check this out.


2. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Akumajou Dracula X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku)

  • Platform: PlayStation, Saturn, Xbox 360
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: Mar 20, 1997 (JP), Oct 2, 1997 (NA)

A good majority would say that Final Fantasy VII is the best game of 1997, and there are others that dispute that Castlevania: Symphony of the Night deserves that distinction. This game takes place four years after Rondo of Blood, and the ending to Rondo of Blood serves as an intro to Symphony of the Night. After that, the player assumes the role of Dracula’s son, Alucard, who was previously featured in the third game.

Symphony of the Night does feel similar to its predecessors at the time but takes the series to a new concept by being less linear with one big stage to explore, meaning you can return to certain levels at any time. Plus, its plot twists allows for a unique sense of replay value, and feels a lot like an RPG of the times with hit and magic points, leveling up, and customizations. With Alucard as a returning character from Castlevania III, some of his abilities from his previous adventure also come back such as turning into a bat. However, he can also turn into a wolf and mist. Plus, he has the ability to use magic, which requires button inputs to pull off.

Last, this would be the second Castlevania games to feature voice acting and includes one heck of an intense soundtrack that mixes rock and horror.


1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

  • Platform: PlayStation 2, Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
  • Release Date: Nov 17, 2004 (US) Dec 16, 2004 (JP)

Taking place in 1964, players assume the role of Big Boss, the villain from the MSX games who is presented as the hero. This game serves as his origin story and the ending is the catalyst on what drives him to become the villain. With previous Metal Gear games, you play mostly within bases where you hide in lockers and under tables. Snake Eater takes Metal Gear Solid’s stealth gimmick to a level that feels most natural, in the jungle.

With Metal Gear Solid 3’s realistic camouflage feature, the player must pick an appropriate uniform and face paint that can suit either crawling through tall grass or hiding by a tree trunk. There are instances where Snake can get injured such as breaking a leg or getting a bullet lodged in him, and if not treated, it can affect his health and performance.

Last, there is also a stamina meter and if it lowers, it would become hard to aim a gun and move. This can be fixed by finding the right food, and as the game’s subtitle suggests, it goes as far as eating snakes (however, some food can be hazardous to your health). In fact, Snake Eater is a real life US Army term in reference to Green Berets (in which Big Boss is a member of), who do eat snakes as part of their training.

And we cannot look past the fact that this installment has some of the most unique boss battles, and this refers to when Big Boss has to fight The End, a deadly sniper, in a battle of attrition. If you don’t hide properly, you’re open season. But if you know how to use your cameo, your tools, and your environment to your advantage, you will emerge victorious. There are other distinct ways to win, but if you haven’t played, play now to find out! So if you want to experience the perfect mix of James Bond and Rambo, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is what you’re looking for.


Final Thoughts

Beyond what we have listed, Konami has made some really awesome games over the years so we are positive that you feel that we may have missed some titles you think deserve mentioning. Of course, this list would not be complete without some honorable mentions.

For those honorable mentions, they go out to Beatmania II DX, Policenauts, X-Men, Zone of the Enders, and Snatcher. If you think these five games or any others should be in the top 10, let us know. Until then, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, to you, too.

Justin

Writer

Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty