The Absolute Best NES Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time

NES Real-Time Strategy Games

The Absolute Best NES Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time

If you’re an old-school gamer, there’s a good chance that you remember playing NES games with your siblings and friends on the weekends. These enjoyable video games had fun graphics, interesting stories, and fantastic gameplay that kept people returning for more. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) has always been regarded as one of the greatest released consoles. It birthed classic video games like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Donkey Kong and even introduced us to some of the best two-player video games of all time. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best real-time strategy (RTS) games that were released on the NES.

What is A Real-Time Strategy Game?

Real-time strategy games are computer and video games where every player has an army to attack. Characterized by how players progress simultaneously, these games have easy-to-grasp controls and a real-time approach that makes them the favorite games among war gamers.

These games involve pitching two or more players against each other. Apart from attacking the enemies, the players must micromanage resources, building construction, military and non-military units, and diplomacy. Compared to the grand strategy games that focus on diplomacy, RTS games focus more on military action. Additionally, the player’s actions occur in real-time and entail fast-paced gameplay.

While most people believe that real-time strategy games only include titles like Command Conquer this is not true. Instead, a real-time strategy game is where each player has to attack the enemy player in real-time. These games also require players to control more than one unit. This could be selecting soldiers and ordering them to attack the enemies. Basically, the tasks a player must perform to win an RTS game can be complex and very demanding.

Was the NES Known for Real-Time Strategy Games?

While the real-time strategy genre was never the main category of NES, some of its features and offers made it famous. The main reason why NES became a success was its massive library of great titles and Nintendo’s long-time franchises. The other prominent feature of the NES was its graphics, which were comparable to those of many computers at the time. This made it possible for developers like Rare to create games like Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct: Season 1 that had special effects such as fog and dynamic lighting.

The Best NES Real-Time Strategy Games

Here are the 6 best Nintendo Entertainment System RTS games of all time.

#6. North & South

NES Real-Time Strategy Games
North & South is set in the American Civil War with each side taking control of the opposing armies.


Publisher(s)Infogrames, Kemco (NES)
Available platformsNES, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, MSX
Developer (s)Infogrames
ModeSingle-player, two player
ReleasedSeptember 1989

North & South is set during the American Civil War, with the player taking control of either the Union or Confederate armies. Players must lead these armies to capture their opponent’s capital while managing a dwindling number of troops and resources. The battles are played in real-time, with each side taking turns moving their units on the battlefield and attacking.

Battles are typically settled in real-time action elements. However, there is an option on the main menu that allows the player to disable in-game objectives and battles, allowing the game to be played like a board game. When opposing armies meet in board-game mode, the fights are left to chance, with the outcome favoring the larger army. Both armies may withdraw from these conflicts. The outcome is also randomized if a side attempts to seize an enemy fort or rob a train. Although modern standards date some aspects of this game, it is still enjoyable for those who enjoy turn-based strategy games.

#5. Conflict

NES Real-Time Strategy Games
In Conflict, a game by Vic Tokai, your goal is to destroy the enemy’s flag tank.


PublisherVic Tokai
Available platformsNintendo Entertainment System
DeveloperVic Tokai
ModeSingle-player or multiplayer
ReleasedDecember 1, 1989

Conflict is a hex-based NES real-time strategy game where the player is required to lead their forces to occupy cities and destroy the opponent’s units. The goal of the game is to destroy the enemy’s flag tank by controlling the forces. Each player starts with two factories, one specializing in air combat units and one specializing in ground warfare units.

The more points you earn, the more powerful units you’ll be able to produce. Since the computer starts with more fame points, you can expect an overwhelming material advantage if left unaddressed. At the beginning of the game, your goal should be to destroy red Army units.

The hexagons can include plains, mountains, barren terrain, shoals, bridges, airports, towns, and factories. Besides affecting maneuverability, the terrain can impact the extent to which your forces can take elusive action. Plus, the units can be refueled, repaired, and rearmed at cities or airports, depending on whether it’s an air or ground unit.

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11/26/2023 02:50 am GMT

#4. Bokosuka Wars (Japan)

NES Real-Time Strategy Games
Bokosuka Wars is the best of a series of Japan-only real-time strategy games for the NES.


Publisher(s)ASCII Entertainment
Available platformsNEC PC-9801, NES, i-Mode, Virtual Console, Sharp X1, MSX, FM-7, NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801
Developer(s)Kōji Sumii (PC), ASCII (Famicom)
ReleasedDecember 14, 1985

Bokosuka Wars is the first in a series of Japan-only real-time strategy games for the NES, and it’s easily the best of the bunch. Bokosuka Wars is a game that pits you against the Japanese military and your own country in a war for control of the island of Taiwan. You must lead your troops to victory by strategically building your base, researching new technology, and training soldiers to fight on the front lines.

 The game features many different units, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. You’ll have to manage multiple buildings at once while also managing your finances and ensuring that you have enough food to feed your troops because they won’t be able to fight if they’re hungry. Combat occurs when one unit collides with another. The tile will then change to an icon of crossed swords, followed by a B. (for battle). The computer calculates the victory based on the difference between the offensive strengths of the units.

The game’s mechanics are pretty straightforward: build factories, recruit troops, train them until they’re ready to fight, then send them out into battle. It’s simple but engaging — and it makes for some of the most exciting gameplay of any NES RTS game you could ever play.

#3. Hanjuku Hero (Japan)

NES Real-Time Strategy Games
Hanjuku Hero is like a cross between Advance Wars and Final Fantasy.


Available platformsNES, WonderSwan Color, iOS, Android
ReleasedDecember 2, 1988

Hanjuku Hero was released in Japan in 1988 and was developed by Square. It is a real-time strategy game focusing on teamwork and cooperation with your comrades. You must build a base and train your army to defeat your enemies.

It’s a bit like a cross between Advance Wars and Final Fantasy Tactics, but with some fantastic RPG elements thrown in as well. You can choose from four different heroes, each with unique abilities and personalities. You also have one character who acts as your “main” character — this character can be upgraded over time, which makes him much stronger than his other counterparts.

This game’s graphics are amazing because they were made back when graphics were starting to be used on consoles. The music is also great because it helps set the mood for each game level. As you progress through the levels, you’ll face more powerful enemies and gain access to stronger units. Depending on how well you do in each level, there are also several different endings, so it’s worth playing through multiple times to see all of them.

Hanjuku Hero (Japanese Language Version) Import Super Famicom
  • Japanese import for Super Famicom
  • Japanese version of Super Nintendo
  • Japanese Text
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11/26/2023 07:05 am GMT

#2. Napoleon Senki (Japan)

NES Real-Time Strategy Games
Napoleon Senki follows the story of Napoleon’s campaign when he was at war in Europe and Russia.


Available platformsNES
ReleasedMarch 18, 1988

Napoleon Senki (or Napoleon’s Campaign) is a strategy game released in 1988. It follows the story of Napoleon, who must conquer Europe and conquer Russia with his army. The gameplay is incredibly simple — you’re given a hex grid, and you must move your units around it, attacking enemies and capturing cities.

The game is played out on an isometric grid map that includes mountains for height differences between terrain tiles. The game is known for its highly-detailed graphics, which are based on the world map at the beginning of each level. Each country has its unique buildings, and you can even see individual trees growing in some areas. The music also fits perfectly with the game’s tone; it’s relaxing and atmospheric, but it never gets annoying or distracting.

Napoleon Senki features a wide variety of units for players to command, including infantry, cavalry, and artillery units, along with tanks and other vehicles used for transporting troops around battlefields quickly. The game features action-based combat and strategy elements such as managing resources and building structures.

After release, Napoleon Senki received positive reviews from critics due to its unique blend of real-time strategy elements with RPG elements. It has been praised for its innovative controls, fun gameplay, and historical accuracy.

#1. Supremacy: Your Will Be Done

NES Real-Time Strategy Games
We consider Supremacy: Your Will Be Done to be the best NES real-time strategy game.


Publisher(s)Virgin Mastertronic, Virgin Games (NES)
Available platformsCommodore Plus/4, NES, DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64
Developer(s)Probe Software
ReleasedJanuary 24, 1993

One title always mentioned when discussing the best games on the NES is Supremacy: Your Will Be Done. Supremacy was released in 1990 and was ported to NES in 1993. The gameplay consists of an overhead view with a hexagonal grid, where each hexagon corresponds to one tile. Supremacy: Your Will Be Done is the absolute best NES real-time strategy game of all time.

It’s a game with you taking control of various units and fighting against enemy forces. You have to ensure that your base is protected, your resources are well-stocked, and you have enough troops to take on any enemy that comes your way. This game is challenging and exciting but very satisfying when you win.

The objective is to conquer the world with your army. If you manage to conquer all of the countries, you win. However, you lose if any country manages to destroy your home country. A unique aspect of this game is that there are different ways to win, so it keeps things interesting for people who enjoy a variety of strategies in their games. For instance, instead of conquering every other country in the game, you can eliminate every player on the map by sending them into bankruptcy. Another way to win is to run out of time while being ahead in points or completely wipe out an opponent’s population through war or disaster.

Final thoughts

The NES is home to many memorable real-time strategy games that are timeless. It had a small library of games to choose from, but only a few RTS titles truly stood out as great games. There is a lot of nostalgia for some of these titles, but you’ll find that many are still a lot of fun to play today. It just goes to show that you can’t go wrong with classic titles from the past. Over the years, many developers have crafted some brilliant RTS titles across all gaming platforms. We feel there is no better way to pay homage to some of these classics than to feature this list. We hope you discover a new favorite or even rekindle an old flame.

Summary of The 6 Best NES Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time

1Supremacy: Your Will Be Done
2Napoleon Senki (Japan)
3Hanjuku Hero (Japan)
4Bokosuka Wars (Japan)
6North & South

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Last update on 2023-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Real-Time Strategy Game?

A real-time strategy game (RTS) is a video game genre where the player has to manage and sometimes control units to achieve victory. Unlike turn-based games, there is no waiting for other players. In some games, it’s not possible to pause the game either.

The point of an RTS game is usually to build up one’s base and ensure that their forces are strong enough to defeat their opponents through combat. For this reason, many have called these games war simulators. Some notable examples include StarCraft and Age of Empires II: Age of Kings.

What is the number one NES game?

Super Mario Bros., first launched in Japan on September 13, 1985, has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time. There are two sequels among the top five best-selling NES games: Super Mario Bros. 2 ranks fourth at 7.46 million units, and Super Mario Bros. 3 ranks third at 18 million units. The remaining top five are Duck Hunt with 28 million units and The Legend of Zelda with 6.5 million units.

What was the last game released for NES?

The Lion King, a 1995 PAL-only title, served as the last officially supported NES game. F-22 was the last unlicensed NES game to be made and released during its lifespan in November 1997.

Is my NES worth money?

NES consoles sell for around $74. Used systems can range anywhere from $30 to $200, depending on the condition of the unit. A working system of the original NES console with noticeable cosmetic damage will sell at around $20, while complete-in-box models go for upwards of $200.

What happened to the NES?

The Super Famicom in 1990 and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991 succeeded the platform. However, support and production lasted until 1995. Collectors and emulators, including Nintendo’s Virtual Console platform, have revived interest in the NES.

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