Clash at Demonhead is probably my favorite NES game, and the more I think about it, the more the case can be made that it’s a great game, even now. It has all the elements of a great game: story, gameplay, music, upgrades, special weapons, magic(!), a twist ending, and more.
First off, the story. How many NES games just threw you into the gameplay with no introduction, no storyline, no motivation? Most games, I suspect, expected you to read the manual that came with the game. But, like many kids in the 80s, we rented games or bought them secondhand, and manuals were few and far between. The internet did not exist yet. In games like Megaman, The Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania, you just jump straight into the action, not knowing that you’re a robot, an elf or just a dude with a whip. You don’t know why you’re running around killing bad guys, why they are bad, or what the end goal is, except that you need to get from one level to the next.