41. Section Z

Released: 1987
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Fun Fact: North American players had to beat Section Z in one playthrough if they wanted to finish the game, but the Japanese version was released in a Disk Card format which allowed saves.

Section Z was an arcade side-scrolling shooter developed by Capcom and ported to the NES two years later. The home version had one of the funkiest if not repetitive soundtracks of all the games on this list. The player controlled Captain Commando and his flying armor suit as he invaded the alien battle platform known as Fortress Balangool.

The player could touch down and walk on the ground but it was advantageous to remain in flight and maintain full freedom of movement. The A and B buttons shot left and right respectively, and enemies would come at the player from both sides. Section Z got very hectic, very quickly. Destroyed enemies dropped health and speed boosts, weapon upgrades and shield capsules.

The best and most frustrating part of Section Z was that at the end of each level, the player had to decide to take a transport beam up or down. If the player made the wrong choice, they might have to repeat certain corridors of the alien base several times until they got it right and eventually worked their way to the “L Brain” at the heart of the fortress, which they destroyed to win the game.