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20 Best MSX Games Of All Time

If you thought that Xbox was the first console developed by Microsoft, then think again. Microsoft introduced MSX in 1983. A console that had something for everyone, ranging from Japanese cult exclusives to stunning arcade ports. We will help you find the finest games you can play on this platform.

Introduced in 1983, MSX is a standardized computer architecture introduced by Microsoft. While it didn't kick in in America as expected, its popularity overseas was astounding. This attracted the development of various games on the platform.

The most popular MSX games were developed by emerging Japanese companies like Konami and Hudson Soft, and a number of significant franchises were established on the platform. There were enough influential games on the MSX that will blow your mind.

Let's take you back and look at some of the best MSX games ever.

1. Golvellius


  • Released: 1987

Golvellius is among the best MSX games ever. It takes you on a thrilling quest where you have to rescue the princess from the evil Golvellius. Played from an overhead view, Golvellius features an extensive world that you can explore as you uncover various secrets and hidden caves throughout the game.

You'll also find different items like medical herbs to restore health, shields, and boots. With linear dungeons to explore, you'll not need special skills to play this exciting game.

2. Guardic


  • Released: 1986

Guardic is a shooter game that allows you to take down single screens of enemies instead of lengthy scrolling levels. The background scrolls as you move from one wave of enemies to the next, but it's static during battle. Even though the game is less dynamic and creative, You'll enjoy its RPG-like gameplay. It gives players a wide range of enemies to defeat.

Even though reading your enemies' patterns can be difficult, Guardic gives you an exciting way to dispatch them off. You should ensure that weapon is fully reloaded before every battle. When you start fighting, you can draw from your power supply to improve your primary weapon and increase speeds.

You could also encounter friendly characters willing to provide you with unique abilities. This made Guardic a thrilling game with its unique take on a genre as old as video games themselves.

3. Gradius 2

Gradius 2

  • Released: 1987

Developed by Konami, Gradius is a side-scrolling shooter with more interesting powerups and features than the original game. Some of the additional powerups include incredible boomerang-inspired waves and others that allow you to slow down time and drill through certain obstacles. This made the game even more exciting.

Gradius is known for its innovative weapon bar powerup system that allowed players to fully take control of how their ship was upgraded after collecting powerups. The game features a range of exciting locations, including plant-based worlds, that will give you an extraordinary experience when playing the game.

4. Penguin Adventure

Penguin Adventure

  • Released: 1986

This is the sequel to Antarctic Adventure, which gives you a hybrid between a racing game and a platformer. With impressive pseudo-3D effects and smooth scrolling, Penguin Adventure is one of the best MSX games ever. It introduces significant improvements to the original game, including forests, caves, underwater, and even outer space, in addition to the regular ice-based stages.

You'll also have thrilling boss fights, mini-games, and level shortcuts as you cruise through the game. Penguin Adventure also introduced the ability to buy various items making its gameplay more engaging.

5. Knightmare


  • Released: 1986

Knightmare is another thrilling top-down scrolling shooter developed by Konami. It features a medieval game style where you play as Popolon the Knight on a quest to save his beloved one from the evil tyrant. You must be brave enough to battle witches as you keep your love alive to successfully save Aphrodite from Hudnos.

Knightmare's forward scrolling nature will keep you continuously guessing what could happen, making the game livelier and enjoyable. Collect items to increase your speed and help you protect yourself as you battle skeletons and bats.

6. Vampire Killer

Vampire Killer

  • Released: 1986

Vampire Killer is a platform adventure game that incorporates puzzles and more explorative elements. In this game, you'll play as Simon, who must make his way through 18 stages filled with gothic demons and satanic décor.

The game is more exciting because you'll have a boss to defeat every three levels. With hidden items, skeleton keys, and a thrilling playlist, Vampire Killer is a game on its own level.

7. Space Manbow

Space Manbow

  • Released: 1989

Space Manbow is one of the most incredible shoots- 'em-ups on MSX, where players pilot a ship based on a mambo fish. It is a great side-scrolling shooter with insanely busy levels. With powerups in the game, fire your weapons forwards, backward, up, or down as you blast past weird skulls and scary aliens while trying to avoid exploding in a torrent of flames.

Space Manbow features impressive and fantastic arcade visuals, and a great soundtrack to ensure that you enjoy the game. The game also scrolls smoothly vertically and horizontally, making it worth seeking out for any MSX collection.

8. King's Valley II: The Seal of El Giza

King's Valley II

  • Released: 1988

King's Valley II: The Seal of El Giza is a great puzzle platform game released exclusively for MSX computers. You'll have 60 pyramid-based stages to cruise through. You will also be required to locate unique crystals by solving puzzles and evading your enemies as you utilize the various tools in the game. With impressive level designs that bring a perfect balance between platforming and puzzle elements, King Valley II is extraordinary in its own way.

9. Romancia


  • Released: 1987

Romancia is a great game developed by Nihon Falcom for MSX computers. It features a mix between an action game, an RPG, and a time attack challenge. You'll be required to complete several tasks as you progress through the game.

Since it is an action-packed game, you'll have to maximize your survival skills to avoid dying in combat. With unfriendly controls and time limits, Romancia will keep you on the edge of your seat.

10. Eggerland Mystery

Eggerland Mystery

  • Released: 1985

Eggerland Mystery is an expanded take on the Sokoban style of sliding-block puzzles. In this game, you'll navigate through various puzzle rooms as you avoid your enemies and overcome multiple obstacles that stand in your way. With each room having specific solutions, you'll always have something exciting to do as you move the boxes around or eliminate enemies in a particular order.

This makes Eggerland Mystery give you something out of the standard puzzler games. What makes this game more exciting is the ability to make your own puzzles. Eggerland Mystery also features the ability for multiple people to enjoy the game together.

11. The Castle

The Castle

  • Released: 1986

The Castle is a puzzle game that features a little Robin Hood-type character that has to save a princess from an evil fiend. It is one of the most popular boy save girl games. You'll have 100 rooms to play through in the Princesses' castle to play through as you solve various puzzles and defeat stubborn enemies.

You'll collect keys for opening doors, bag bottles for extra lives, and other collectibles to help you through this fantastic game. Even though The Castle is a basic game, you'll still find it fascinating to play. The Castle is one of the best MSX games to ever come out for the system.

12. Metal Gear

Metal Gear

  • Released: 1987

You cannot mention MSX games without mentioning Metal Gear. Taking you on Solid Snake's epic journey into Outer Heaven, Metal Gear is a thrilling game that will amaze you with its brute force and tactical brilliance. You'll start your mission without any weapons. Therefore, you'll have to find the firepower to help you defeat the enemies lurking stealthily around each corner.

You'll have to use your tactical skills to take out your enemies before they notice you. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with overwhelming enemies ready to take you out. It's time to pick up keycards and rescue hostages as you enjoy this exciting original MSX game.

13. Thexder


  • Released: 1986

Thexder is a robot side-scrolling shooter game with incredible gameplay on the MSX. You'll play as a robot with the power to transform into a jet plane, among other features. The transformation effect in Thexder will blow your mind.

Let alone the ability to switch between the robot's forms. You can use auto-aim to easily hit your enemies as you progress up the game's levels. Even though Thexder features a simple concept, Thexder is definitely an impressive, addictive game of the 80s.

14. Aleste 2

Aleste 2

  • Released: 1989

Aleste 2 is a scrolling shooter game developed by Compile for the MSX2. As a sequel to Aleste, Aleste 2 is among the few games that allow you to play as a heroine. You'll play as the hero's daughter from the first Aleste game.

You'll have to defend the world against a barrage of firepower from a massive floating fortress. It's time to take your fighter jet and shoot everything that stands in your way. Aleste 2 is a great game that will allow you to get into action in no time.

15. Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family

Dragon Slayer IV

  • Released: 1987

Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family is another side-scrolling adventure game that takes an open-world design with vast dungeons. You'll navigate through the dungeons having complex mazes, legions of monsters, dead ends, and deceptive poison bottles.

What makes this game more exciting is the family itself. Players have the freedom to control five family members having their own unique abilities. You can play as the father, the sorceress mother, the amazing daughter, the son, or the adorable family pet.

16. Bomberman


  • Released: 1986

Bomberman is a maze-based video game where you play as a man trapped inside a maze. You'll have to place your time bombs wisely to defeat the balloon monsters successfully. In this action-packed game, you'll have to defeat all the monsters on the screen to proceed to the next stage.

Players use collectibles to enhance blasts and their bomb-placing speed as they destroy all the enemies on every level. This will make it easy to go through an exit as you progress. With enemies displaying erratic and unpredictable behavior, you'll find Bomberman an exciting game.

Other than battling your enemies, you'll also have to be careful to avoid blowing the exit. Doing that will force you to fight more monsters.

17. Mr. Ghost

Mr. Ghost

  • Released: 1989

Mr. Ghost is both a side and vertical scrolling game with great music, graphics, and level design. In this game, you'll play as a buck-toothed ghost who will be bullied by other ghosts and creatures. You'll have to go through seven levels full of frightening creatures to reach Enma.

The game features a great combat system mixing in some auto-scrolling levels, time stopper powerup, and decent cutscenes. Mr. Ghost has the power to release a little sperm-looking ghost at his enemies and perform a bum rush to destroy enemies sneaking up behind him.

18. Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished

Ys II Ancient Ys Vanished

  • Released: 1988

YS II is a thrilling MSX game that utilizes the action role-playing combat style of the first game. In this game, you'll have to run into the enemy to cause damage without having to attack them. You should carefully choose the angles and measure of contact with the enemy to avoid getting killed.

Therefore, there is no planning attacks or hitting the attack button. Instead, focus on running, time your angles, and cause the maximum damage possible. Level up, complete quests, gather money and upgrade your weapons in this great game.

19. Salamander


  • Released: 1986

Salamander is another hybrid scrolling shooter game developed by Konami. This game takes you to Latis, which is in the grip of a terrible danger. You'll have to pick up powerful weapons, team up with a mate and be ready to save your planet from downfall. Salamander swaps between being a side-scroller and a vertical-scroller as you progress through the levels.

Even though the game shared its name with a few arcade games, it offered something different. It has better graphics, introduced human pilots for each ship, and allowed ships to combine to create a more powerful ship. Technically, Salamander will definitely become your favorit eshoot-em-ups available on MSX.

20. The Black Onyx

The Black Onyx

  • Released: 1984

The Black Onyx is one of the oldest role-playing games that was initially designed for the PC-8801. However, The Black Onyx found a natural home in the MSX platform. You'll kill monsters, explore the dungeons with dark, realistic visuals, and create a party of up to five members in this exciting game.

In this game, you'll assemble a team of brave adventurers and venture into the tower fighting your way to find the Black Onyx. The Black Onyx is an artifact that grants eternal youth and happiness to those who find it.