Bionic Commando (NES)
The Arcade version of Bionic Commando was a mostly forgettable experience, aside from the novelty of the grappling gun and the frustration brought by its restrictions (complete inability to jump or shoot anywhere vertically and diagonally). The NES version, on the other hand, isn't a port of the Arcade version, but a very different game. You could call it Bionic Commando 2 or Bionic Commando: Home Console version.
The very basic nature of the game remains the same; traverse mostly vertically-scrolling stages with your grappling gun, while shooting enemies that get in your way and blow up the reactor at the end of each level (OK, the last one wasn't present in the Arcade version). The restrictions from the Arcade version mentioned above still apply, but it seems that the game was made with them in mind, rather than feeling like an afterthought, leaving you frustrated and wishing you had a jump button or the ability to shoot that enemy above you. Whereas the challenge in the Arcade version came from fighting the many respawning enemies, here the enemies are fewer and don't always respawn. While that makes the game easier and less frustrating in one sense, the NES version compensates for this by making the game significantly more challenging to navigate. Particularly in the later stages, where failing to properly grapple on a specific platform can lead to bottomless pits or spikes.
Other changes include the addition of a health bar, a world hub (like Super Mario Bros 3), a nice selection of items/weapons and even some communication rooms that you can use to gain info (some of them are also necessary to open the doors that will allow you to proceed to rest of the level, while others might hint at the location of some items). Initially, just like the Arcade version, you can die in one only hit, but when you kill enemies, they drop bullets and when you collect enough of them, you completely heal yourself and gain 1 more maximum HP (up to a total of 9 HP).
As for the world hub, you have a certain freedom in playing some of the stages in a different order, but you will be stopped from proceeding to specific ones till you collect a macguffin from a previous one. Aside the enemy stages, there are also neutral zones, which you are discouraged from shooting, lest you want the place crawling with enemies. Here, you will find items that will help you in your mission like extra lives, additional info and even communicators that are necessary in order to use communicator rooms in later stages. Also, while wandering the map with your helicopter, you might end up crossing path with an enemy truck. When this happens, you will be taken to a top-down screen and your mission will be to escape by reaching the top part of the screen, while being hampered by enemies. Succeed at this, actually easy, task and you will get a continue.
Finally, before you begin each stage, you will be asked to choose the items that you will carry for that stage and you can't change them unless you quit the mission. You can change your weapon, communicator, equip some armor that will block a specific number of enemy bullets, use a healing potion (called recovery pills) or a flash bomb that will be useful for a very specific stage.
Now, as for things that I didn't like? Ehh, there weren't really much. Aside frustration-inducing levels, it's a bit annoying that you will have to wait for the somewhat slow text to show up in communicator rooms as skipping it doesn't count as having read it, which means that important doors will not open and you won't be able to proceed to the rest of the stage. The biggest problem with the game, though, is the lack of a password/save/suspend feature. You are expected to complete the game in one take, which is annoying, as while it isn't particularly long, it is still significantly longer than the Arcade version. As a result, if you aren't up to the task of wasting 1-2 straight hours playing the game (that also assumes you have become good at the game), you must resort to leaving your console open or making a save state in an emulator. Finally, limited continues are pretty pointless as it's laughably easy to gain tons of them, as I mentioned above.
But I really enjoyed the NES version of Bionic Commando and, hopefully, the Rearmed remake won't be too bad. Another one for the wishlist