The 16-bit era – and the SNES in particular – is my favourite in gaming history. I have enormous fondness not just for the heavy hitters and iconic titles in the SNES library, but also those that weren’t exactly triple-A titles.

Sure, they could often be derivative or even janky – but they often had an awful lot of charm.

That’s how I always felt about Jaleco’s oeuvre; ambitious, sometimes janky – but always worth a look.

The ten games on the Evercade’s Jaleco Collection 1 cartridge vary wildly in quality, but I’m glad I have the opportunity to own and play all of them.

Let’s check out the games that don’t quite hit the mark first, shall we?

For me, 8-bit title Bases Loaded is a game that holds near enough zero appeal, though admittedly the game itself does carry significant nostalgia – as I’d see it advertised in comic books back in the day. I always wanted to give it a go – and now I have, well – it’s fine, I guess? This is definitely a me problem, as baseball – heck, even sports titles in general – rarely interest me. So your mileage may massively vary on this particular NES title!

City Connection is a real oddity – a sort of Mappy-esque side scrolling game in which your objective is to paint all of the city’s blocks while being chased by the police. It’s a genuinely oddball premise that actually plays quite well, but can get very frustrating very quickly – and does require some very precise jumping if you want to get anywhere. Not bad, but the difficulty level was, for me, somewhat off-putting.

Lastly, for the ‘games that don’t quite do it for me’ pile, we have Super Goal! 2. Again, I have very little interest in sports games, though soccer/football titles can sometimes grab my attention. In the case of Super Goal! 2, however, I found there to be far too much going on in terms of its control scheme and just ended up baffled half the time. It’s technically impressive for a SNES game and makes great use of the hardware from a technical standpoint, but the learning curve was too steep for me to become truly invested in it.

Which means that we have seven out of ten included games that are well worth checking out, right?

So this is one of the strongest collections in terms of hit rate; though the inclusion of both Rival Turf! and Brawl Brothers might feel a little redundant – given that they’re both scrolling beat ’em ups, with nicely chunky sprites, in an urban setting – there’s interesting aspects to each. Even better when you take advantage of the multiplayer options made possible by the Evercade VS!

8-bit hack and slash arcade conversion Astyanax has light RPG elements and some genuinely interesting, unique mechanics. It’s nicely designed and plays really well.

None-more-90s NES platformer Totally Rad is brilliantly colourful and really playable; it’s an absolute delight to play. It’s also really bonkers in terms of its plot, with you taking on the role of a wannabe magician whose girlfriend is kidnapped. Weird set up aside, this is an 8-bit title that really shines.

Frantic side-scrolling shoot ’em up Earth Defense Force is, if you pardon the pun, an absolute blast. It’s tough but fair – and a great example of a genre that’s beloved to this day.

Which leaves us with two games to cover – and these both feel like they’re the stars of the show.

The Ignition Factor is a top down action game in which you’re cast as a fire fighter, looking to rescue civilians and put out fires in various burning buildings. The usage of different equipment – including various extinguisher types to deal with different sources of fire – adds a strategic element to proceedings, given that you’re limited in what you can carry. Though it doesn’t ease you in particularly gently, this is a fantastic game and near enough worth the price of admission on its own.

Yet this cartridge also features Operation Logic Bomb, an underrated, lesser known top down action shooter game with light puzzle elements that is hugely addictive and compelling.

The Jaleco Collection 1 is hands down one of my favourite Evercade collections – even now, as the selection of cartridges on offer has significantly grown since its release. There’s some genuinely superb games here – and even the less ‘good’ titles are worth checking out, even if just for curiosity value.

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll probably get an awful lot more out of Bases Loaded and Super Goal! 2 than I did, too – which would also take the total of worthwhile games up a few notches.

You can purchase the Jaleco Collection 1 cartridge from Amazon here.

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