Top 25 Hudson Soft Video Games: Listing The Best Ever Made

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Hudson Soft is a name that may not mean a lot to gamers under 25.

But it means a lot to those who were old enough to experience the glory of many of its franchises.

If Adventure Island and Bomber makes a nostalgic tear stream down on your face, then you found the right corner of the Internet.

Even though the software house lost its innovative edge over time, there’s no denying that many of its titles are still incredibly relevant to this day.

If a demanding publisher like Nintendo lends someone else some of its properties, they must be bloody good at what they do. Let’s have a look at some of the best games Hudson Soft has ever put out.


25. Vs. Tennis (1985)

Vs. Tennis 1985 NES screenshot

Tennis with Mario as a referee by Hudson Soft?

Yes, the video game industry can be strange sometimes.

Back in the mid-80s, Nintendo wasn’t as protective of its properties as it is today, and allowed Hudson Soft to port its games to other non-Nintendo consoles.

The result is Vs. Tennis, also known as just Tennis.

It’s an extremely straightforward yet competent arcadey tennis game where everything is exactly as you would expect.

Were you looking for something innovative in a game that’s called Tennis?

Maybe temper your expectations just a bit. Although the list is only getting started!


24. Cratermaze (1989)

Cratermaze gameplay

Cratermaze is a game with an identity crisis. Play it in Japan, and it becomes something else! Scary.

Doraemon wasn’t as popular in the US compared to Japan back in the early 90s. So Hudson Soft completely changed the characters of the game to give birth to Cratermaze, a Bomberman-meets-Pac-Man arcade game that’s solid enough to keep you entertained for a short while.

It’s got a varied labyrinth design and an easy to pick up & play nature.

Nothing revolutionary, that’s for sure, but enjoyable nonetheless.


23. Ys III: Wanderer from Ys (1989)

Ys III: Wanderer from Ys gameplay screenshot

Ys III: Wanderer from Ys would have been Zelda II, if Link had red hair and was as reckless as Adol Christin.

Ys III marks a radical shift from the top-down, enemy-bumping formula of its predecessor, employing a 2D side-scrolling formula, and a more hands-on approach to combat.

The results aren’t perfect.

Mostly due to frustrating controls that often lead Adol to an early grave.

But the experience is so markedly different from that all other Ys games that it does deserve a playthrough or two regardless.

Or if you’re a fan of RPGs, at least give a listen to the amazing soundtrack!


22. Ys: Book I & II (1989)

Ys: Book I & II gameplay

Adol Christin’s in the house. Time to start bumpin’.

Being one of the very few role-playing games that graced the TurboGrafx-16 in the West, pretty much every owner of the console experienced Adol Christin’s adventure first hand.

While the Zelda-inspired top-down action RPG formula didn’t feel particularly innovative, and the bump combat system was quite clumsy, the crystal-clear gameplay and awesome OST made Ys: Book I & II a game worth playing.

No matter how much you love bumping things into oblivion.


21. Neutopia II (1991)

Neutopia II gameplay screenshot

Hello, I’m still around from the first game. What a great sequel!

Despite in-game NPCs claiming this, Neutopia II is more an expansion of the original, rather than a sequel.

Starring the son of the hero Jazeta, who’s gone missing, you’ll have to find out what happened to him by exploring a huge map in a top-down view.

You explore complex labyrinths, defeat a variety of enemies, and collect a lot of different items. Sounds familiar?

Neutopia II plays a lot like Zelda: A Link to the Past.

So if you like that game, chances are you’ll like this one as well.

Just don’t expect an adventure that will change the world.


20. Lode Runner (1983)

Lode Runner screenshot

What makes a man completely lose his wits? Love?

Please. It’s gold!

Wits aren’t the only thing Lode lost due to his love for gold, he also dropped the ability to jump.

What, a platform game without a jump button? Yes, ladies and gentlemen.

In Lode Runner, you have to navigate its complex 2D labyrinths by digging. And then use this ability to make sure enemies cannot get to you before you reach the exit.

It does sound weird, kinda like Dig Dug, but the concept worked so well that a few sequels have also been made. Talk about unexpectedly effective!


19. Nuts & Milk (1983)

Nuts & Milk gameplay

Nuts & Milk? Is this a game or an 80s breakfast cereal?

Before we can get to breakfust, you’ll have to complete 50 stages, avoid traps laid out by Nuts, and get to your girlfriend Yoghurt.

Milk and Yoghurt, a match made in heaven.

While the game is nothing more than a different take on the puzzle-platforming formula made popular by Donkey Kong, Nuts & Milk is a solid offering.

It think it’ll keep you entertained for an evening or two, maybe not long-term, but worth trying if you’re up for some retro titles.


18. Bonk’s Adventure (1989)

Bonk's Adventure screenshot

Every console needs its mascot, like every damsel in distress needs her hero.

The titular Bonk, small of body, but huge of head, embarks on an epic journey to save the dinosaur princess Za. Armed only with his huge head.

Which creates a few problems, having to jump and move around and stuff.

Despite the time it takes to get used to these mechanics, it won’t take long to start gliding around straight to the end of each world. This is where frustrating boss battles await our hero.

Weird, with a head as huge as Bonk’s, you’d expect him to crush any opposition with ease. But such is the life of a prehistoric hero.


17. Tengai Makyou: Ziria (1989)

Tengai Makyou: Ziria game screenshot

Are you fluent in Japanese? No?

No worries: that’s what translation guides are here for!

A dedicated community allows players to enjoy Tengai Makyou: Ziria, or Far East of Eden.

This is a traditional Japanese role-playing game that’s a joy to play through, mostly thanks to its humorous writing.

While the game doesn’t break the mold of traditional JRPGs because it runs on huge maps to explore and turn-based combat, Ziria deserves to be remembered for its story that parody misconceptions Westerners have about Japan.

Check out a more detailed review here and you can find translations online to try playing this in English.


16. Adventure Island (1987)

Adventure Island 1987 gameplay screenshot

Adventure Island is to Hudson Soft what Mario is to Nintendo.

An iconic classic.

Being a very old 2D platforming game, you may not be surprised to hear that Master Higgins’ quest to save his beloved “Tine” is hard as balls.

Throughout eight worlds you’ll have to defeat enemies using your trusty axe, or powerful fireballs, and avoid tripping on the island’s many rocks.

Even if you do trip, you may make it out unscathed, since the Fairy may grant you an invincibility blessing.

Yeah it’s got some weird gameplay but you pick it up fast.

In any case, no laughing at this one: you have you no idea how much it hurts falling face-first on the floor.


15. Ninja Gaiden (1992)

Ninja Gaiden screenshot

The very first Ninja simulator ever made never looked as good as it does in the Hudson Soft developed port.

Originally developed by Tecmo, Ninja Gaiden was later ported to the PC Engine by Hudson Soft, complete with better graphics and a reworked soundtrack.

The 2D sword-slashing, shuriken-throwing, city-exploring action game hasn’t been toned down at all.

So Ryu Hayabusa will not fail to impress with his sweet moves and acrobatic accomplishments, no matter the console!


14. Stop the Express (1983)

Stop the Express gameplay screenshot

Nothing stops this train. Nothing.

This is what the bad guys in Stop the Express were telling one another before you came along for the ride.

In this rather straightforward arcade game, you’ll be dropped on top of a running train.

And you’ll have to get to the front to stop it while avoiding scores of bad guys.

Good intentions are obviously not enough, so you’ll have to deal with enemies by catching and throwing birds at them, all while on top of the carriages.

And then kick them to oblivion while inside.

And once the train has stopped, the fun starts all over again.

Only this time, enemies are better prepared. Life is never simple, is it?


13. Military Madness (1989)

Military Madness gameplay screenshot

Fancy a game of chess? With tanks?

Military Madness is a rather straightforward turn-based tactical game.

Which would have been totally unremarkable in a world that has Advance Wars, except for one reason only: all units have their own unique movement rules, just like in chess.

This makes gaining the higher ground more important than similar games.

As you play you’ll notice this adds a lot of depth to the experience. If you want to become a god-tier strategist, Military Madness is the first step in your long and arduous journey.


12. Super Mario Bros. Special (1986)

Super Mario Bros. Special screenshot

Super Mario Bros. Special should have been called Super Mario Bros Especially Crazy.

This game is like the original NES, only on the surface. It features completely different stages, a couple of new power-ups including the iconic hammer from Donkey Kong, and different dashing/jumping physics that make the game way more challenging.

Even more than the dreaded Lost Levels.

One downside here: due to the PC-8801 limitations, smooth screen side-scrolling was not possible.

This results in a very frustrating experience that doesn’t feel too Mario-like. If you can get used to this, you’ll find a game to show off your platforming skills.

Long-time Mario fans should absolutely give this a try, assuming they haven’t already.


11. DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s DokiDoki Adventure (1996)

DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's DokiDoki Adventure screenshot

Another platforming game where the hero must save another damsel in distress? Yes, but this is one where you actually kidna want to save her.

DoReMi Fantasy is among the best 2D platform game released on the glorious SNES. But very few players will recognize its name, as the game only made it to Western shores thanks to the Wii Virtual Console.

Those who did not play the game missed out on a very solid platformer featuring silky-smooth animations, gorgeous looking backgrounds & pixel sprites, an amazing atmospheric soundtrack, and a lot of bubble shooting action.

This ain’t Bubble Bobble, but I’ll take it all the same!


10. Soldier Blade (1992)

Soldier Blade gameplay screenshot

Soldier Blade isn’t about any soldier, nor swords of any type.

It’s all about bullets.

Staying true to the shooter games of the early 90s, Soldier Blade is as solid as any game can get.

You definitely won’t be surprised by the hectic bullet hell experience, the waves upon waves of enemies, and the different power-ups.

But you will likely be a bit taken back by the strategic depth.

This partially comes from the ability to create a powerful smart bomb, if you can pick up enough weapons of the same color. And that bomb is brutal.

Together we stand, together we obliterate our enemies. Or something like that.


9. Hagane: The Final Conflict (1994)

Hagane: The Final Conflict screenshot

Ninjas? Yes.

Cybernetic Ninjas? Yes.

A war between cybernetic Ninja clans? Sign me up already.

Hagane: The Final Conflict didn’t receive the praise it deserved when it released in 1995, mostly due to players already looking ahead to the newer 32-bit consoles.

History is always better in hindsight right? Well even if you missed this relentless 2D side-scrolling action, Rom hacks exist. And I’m sure you can still find cartidges on eBay, too!

The game features a powerful cyborg ninja armed with different weapons, magic spells, and more enemies than you can shake your katana at.

Love SNES-era games? Then absolutely give this one a try.


8. Adventure Island II (1991)

Adventure Island II gameplay screenshot

Tina has been kidnapped again! What to do, what to do.

Master Higgins’s second adventure is way more remarkable than its first one.

This is in part due to its bite-sized level design, which makes the game instantly satisfying with a blazingly fast pace.

The game couldn’t have been any slower, in truth, as Master Higgins suffers from hunger like any living man. And wasting too much time without keeping the vitality gauge up will result in utter and complete failure.

Add four different dinosaur companions and some excellently-designed boss battles, and you get one of the best platforming games ever released!


7. Pokémon Trading Card Game (1998)

Pokémon Trading Card Game GBC battle screenshot

Don’t you hate buying hundreds of booster packs, and never getting the card you’re looking for?

This still happens in the digital recreation of the Pokemon Trading Card Game… but at least you don’t have to pay for them.

Featuring a role-playing game framework that’s quite similar to Pokémon Red and Blue, you pick a starting deck represented by the iconic Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander.

If you played this game as a kid you already know it’s amazing… what you’re probably more surprised by, is learning it was made by Hudson Soft.

Basically ou head into the wild world of this TCG and fight “club leaders”, basically gym leaders.

You’ll defeat card collectors and earn booster packs to create the ultimate deck.

Despite the AI playing the game in the most predictable ways, the game’s rules and the elemental affinities make sure you have to change your deck quite often.

This forcing you to try out different strategies and prevent the whole thing from becoming stale. It’s also a great way to learn about the Pokémon TCG without investing in the cards themselves.

Obviously it has none of the newer boosters, but suffice it to say this game is truly beloved by Pokémon fans the world over.


6. Tetris Party (2008)

Tetris Party 2008 gameplay

Bring your friends, it’s time to party!

Tetris Party takes the classic Tetris formula we all know and love, and brings it to new heights with new play modes that spice things up.

There’s modes like Field Climber, where you have to create a path for a tiny cute character that’s dropped into the screen.

And there’s Shadow Mode, where you must create pictures by dropping Tetriminoes.

You can expect to be kept busy and entertained for quite a while.

But what happens if you just want to enjoy some classic Tetris? Y

ou just pick Classic Mode.

And if you want to enjoy the game with others? You can play just about any mode in online and local multiplayer. No matter what you want, Tetris Party has it covered!

It’s also one of the newer titles on this list, so graphics are far from dated.


5. Super Adventure Island II (1994)

Super Adventure Island II screenshot

Higgins has grown up. He got married.

And he discovered role-playing games!

Super Adventure Island II marks a radical shift of the series’ straightforward 2D platforming experience.

It introduces role-playing elements that make for a much more involving game.

Wielding a lot of different weapons, donning different armor sets and unleashing spells of the highest calibers, Higgins must not only recover his memories and his beloved Tina, but also save the bride-to-be of the king of Waku-Waku Island.

Life is never easy for a hero, I tell you!


4. Faxanadu (1987)

Faxanadu gameplay screenshot

Faxanadu sounds something like an insult.

Surprisingly, it is not: it is a very solid game.

Taking more than a few tricks from the Zelda II bag, Faxanadu is a sidescrolling action RPG with a high-fantasy setting.

Easing you in and constantly providing little tutorials, Faxanadu is such an enjoyable experience that will not keep you glued to your screen… but it will make you want to head out into the wide wide world in search of dragons.

And gold, you know to power yourself up for the dangers ahead!


3. Mario Party (1998)

Mario Party end of stage reward - game screenshot

If you’ve come to love Mario Party over the years, you have to give a shoutout to Hudson Soft.

Developed as part of a partnership in 1998, Mario Party is the first game co-developed by Hudson Soft and Nintendo.

And what a way to launch that partnership!

This turn-based party game featuring different boards and a selection of 50+ exhilarating mini-games is still today a remarkable game.

Especially if you have 2-3 other players to enjoy the game with.

I mean, can you have a party where you’re the only one in the room?


2. Bloody Roar (1997)

Yugo and Mitsuko player battle - Bloody Roar Game

See that cute little bunny over there? Don’t ever, ever get close to her.

She packs a mean punch.

After releasing an incredibly bad 3D fighting game on the N64, no one expected Hudson Soft to make a competent game.

Bloody Roar is that game.

And it’s bloody good, sporting a great balanced cast of characters that can turn into big, vicious beasts.

You’ll also find lots to love with smooth 3D movements, and an amazing side-stepping mechanic that makes it possible to reverse a lot of tricky situations. Not to mention the amazing risk-reward system of the Rave Mode.

Double the attack power for half the defense. And ten times the blood!


1. Bomberman ’94 (1994)

Bomberman '94 gameplay screenshot

Dyna Blasters or Bomberman?

Bomberman, of course.

So many Bomberman games have been released over the years. It has become hard to keep track of all of them (well, we at least ranked the best ones!)

But really, if you want the best-of-the-best, you can just turn on your TurboGrax-16, or your Wii, or some emulator, and play Bomberman ’94.

Note: This was re-released under the name “Mega Bomberman” through Sega.

This title never fails to keep fans entertained with its basic-yet-explosive puzzle-meets-action mechanics.

And that becomes even more explosive in its competitive multiplayer mode. Do you know how many friendships Bomberman ’94 ended? God only knows, but I have a feeling it’s formed more friendships over the years.

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