I’ve gotten ahold of one of the issues of EGM within the 21-issue gap – Electronic Gaming Monthly issue #6. This issue is about 90 pages long, including the covers. Our cover art this time is in-game art from the Batman game for the NES – and it looks pretty good, considering how much it’s been blown up. I’m going be mentioning more ads this time around, though I’ll try to limite them to either ads for specific games that I haven’t seen before, or notable ads that I may have seen before, but are notable because, say, the game got a bad review.
Judging from the list of articles on the cover, coverage of the Mega-Drive Genesis is expanding to include more game reviews. As yet, as mentioned on issue #25 – the SNES is not yet out.
Our first ad of the issue is for WCW wrestling for the NES, featuring the wrestlers of the NWA – that’s right, Billionare Ted hasn’t bought out Jim Crockett Promotions and split it off from the National Wrestling Alliance yet. Aside from the historical curiosity though, the game does have notable thing behind it – it’s the first wrestling game that let you win matches by submission, and the first wrestling game to have finishing moves.
We also get an ad for Fester’s Quest – no “Critics are raving” quotes – either they’re covering their ass, or they’re not reading the reviews.
Insert Coin: EIC Steve Harris is now a father – congratulations! Steve takes advanage of this opportunity to discuss the future of gaming, and of systems yet to come. He’s a little precient about Nintendo getting dethroned as top console manufacturer (though, all things considered, it was rather temporary – two console generations).
Ad for the Three Stoges game – all things considered, nowadays it might be able to get new life behind it as a mini-game collection for the Wii, possibly including functionality for the Balance Board.
Interface: Firstly, we get a question about compatability between PC Engine games and Turbografx-16 games, as well as Mega Drive games and Genesis games. In short, PC Engine and Turbografx-16 games are not compatible, but if you break a piece of the Mega Drive cartridges, they’ll plug in directly. Genesis games will fit into the Mega Drive without any problems, but will switch over to the Japanese version of the game. I think this is the something of the beginning of the import modding scene, though we have yet to discuss the introduction of mod chips for various systems (I think that technology won’t be around for several years yet).
Ad for Mega Man 2 and Strider – Strider‘s cover art is better than Mega Man‘s, but not by much.
Review Crew: No clean and clear divisions between consoles this time, so I’ll just have to sort this by game. Our Review Crew for this issue is Steve Harris, Ed Semrad, Martin Alessi, and Jim Stockhauser.
- Rolling Thunder (NES): Spy-themed side-scrolling action game. Steve and Jim like it, both lauding the graphics and gameplay, as well as the game’s super-spy theme and they give it an 8. Ed doesn’t think the graphics are as good as Steve and Jim say, but he finds the game hard but not too hard, particularly with the passcode system – 7. Martin doesn’t find the game special in any regard, but does consider it to be an okay translation – 6. Overall – 29/40.
- Silkworm (NES): Side scrolling shump where you either play as a helicopter or a jeep. Steve and Martin give it a 7, citing that they kept in the multi-player (where one player plays as the helicopter and the other as the jeep), and the game is generally challenging but repetitive (but aren’t most Shumps, really). Jim gives it a 6, commenting that the game is repetitive, but Shump fans will like it. Ed, on the other hand, gives it a 5, commenting that just another shooter, and not a very good one either, with the two-player similtanious mode saving it from the crap pile. Overall – 25/40.
Ad for Last Duel, L.E.D. Storm, and Side Arms from Capcom, they’re all shooters and the ad doesn’t tell us what system they’re for. They don’t have the Nintendo seal of quality. According to my research it’s a PC version of the game, which is somewhat interesting in that EGM has no PC coverage.
- Sharazade (NES): Arabian Nights themed RPG. Ed and Martin don’t consider it to be the best RPG of all time, but they consider it worth your money if you’re into that sort of thing and both give it an 6. Jim and Steve comment that the game’s story and general gameplay is pretty good and innovative, but the graphics are extremely cheesy, but it’s not outright bad, and give it a 5. Overall – 22/40.
- Duck Tails (NES): Platformer based on the Disney cartoon. Ed gives it a 9 saying that Capcom made an excellent game for young kids (though, from what I recall, game critics even today laud the game as being just good). Martin sees through the kiddy exterior to see the solid game within and gives it an 8. Steve describes being able to select any level as a sign of this being a kiddy game (though he never referred to the Mega Man series in that regard), but he does consider the game too good to ignore and also gives it an 8. Jim considers it a game with solid mechanics, dumbed down for kids but most players will probably beat it in a day and gives it a 7. Just as an aside, having played some of these platformers, most of the “advanced mechanics” were cheap spawning enemies, disappearing platforms, having to memorize the locations of both, and generally being cheap as fuck. Now that I’ve got that rant out of my system…
- Godzilla (NES): Godzilla fights his rogues gallery with a mixture of turn-based strategy and side-scrolling combat. Martin likes the general graphics and the strategy aspect of the game, but isn’t too fond of the animation quality, and feels that more could have been done – 6. Steve and Ed both give the game a 5, commenting that the game is too sluggish, and the fighting of the characters doesn’t particularly fit the characters as they work in the movies. Jim gives the game a 4, citing repetative graphics and gameplay, as well as poor animation and controls. Overall – 20/40.
Another ad for a PC game, this time for the PC version of 1943, I’ve already reviewed the Arcade version of 1942. I should probably give this one a try.
- Captain Comic (NES): Unlicensed action-platformer. Overall score of 4 across the board. Overall, the game is described as having poor graphics, being way too short, enemies too few, and just generally stumbles coming out of the gate. Overall – 16/40.
- Dead Angle (SMS): Basically a light-gun shooter without the light-gun. 6 from Steve, Martin and Jim, citing good graphics, targeting, and execution of the camera angle, but otherwise repetive gameplay. 5 from Ed for basically the same reasons. Overall – 23/40.
- Scramble Spirits (SMS): Top-down first party shooter. Martin gives it a 5, commenting that it’s fairly monotonous, with a little bit of spice every now and then to flavor things up (but not by much). Ed and Jim both give it a 4, with Ed arguing that the game is far too easy and Jim saying that the game’s sluggish and generally tedious. Steve gives it a 3 – calling it a mediocre port that is far too easy. Overall – 16/40.
Ad for 8 Eyes from Taxan. The game’s got an interseting look to it – I should try and hunt down a copy somewhere – either that or I should just nag Nintendo into putting it out on the Virtual Console and then buying a Wii and getting it off there – depending on (considering how expensive the cart would be) how expensive the game is. (Does the Research), not that expensive at all.
- Dragon Spirit (TurboGrafx-16): Fantasy Shump. Steve, Martin and Jim give it a 7. All three consider it a near arcade port, and Steve says that the fantasy theme is handled very well in the game, and is not just tacked on. Ed says the same thing, basically, though he gives it a 6, commenting that the graphics “aren’t state of the art.” Overall – 27/40.
- Galaga ’88 (TurboGrafx-16): Top-down Shump, basically an updated version of the original Galaga. Steve gives it an 8 and is very enthusiastic about it, describing it as being an arcade-perfect port. Martin and Jim comment that it’s slightly easier, but still very good and both give it a 7. Ed doesn’t feel even with all the new polish, the core gameplay hasn’t aged well for a 12 year-old game and gives it a 5. Overall – 27/40.
- Rambo 3 (Genesis): Steve and Martin give it a 7, calling it a good, solid, shoot-em-up commando game, particularly the graphics and the first-person segments. Ed and Jim give it a 6 – commenting that the game is solid, but the small memory size of the cart doesn’t allow the game to really achive it’s full potential.
Ad for River City Ransom – very good game.
- Forgotten Worlds (Gen): Port of the Capcom arcade shooter, translated over by Sega (with, IIRC, Sega’s name on it so as to deflect the vengeful retribution of Nintendo, at least temporarily.) The game gets 8s across the board, highlighting the two-player action – with Ed in particular saying “A true two-player game should be impossible to beat in one-player mode…” Ed – I have to strongly disagree with you there, particularly with personal experience with not being able to get friends to come over due to illness going around when I was a kid (especially the Chicken Pox). Overall – 32/40.
- Motorcycle Maniacs (Game Boy): Motorcycle racing game. Ed and Martin give it an 8, describing the game as being faster and more fun than than Excitebike. Steve and Jim give it a 7, saying basically the same thing, though Jim finds it rather simple. Overall – 30/40.
- Revenge of Gator (Game Boy): Pinball game. Steve, Ed and Jim give it a 6, all saying that the game is a decent pinball game, but it gets very repetitive on lower boards, but it’s too difficult to keep going on the higher boards once you get there, so you end up back at the lower boards too often. Martin doesn’t seem to have had that problem and gave it a 7. Overall – 25/40.
Ad for Thundercade and Amagon for the NES from American Sammy. They both look like absolute crap.
Gaming Gossip: Quartermann steps up to the plate once again.
- Sunsoft has NES ports of Wizball, as well as a Gremlins 2 game and a Batman game for the Gameboy done in a Castlevania style lined up. All of those games came out except for Wizball – 2-out-of-3 makes for a Hit!
- Sega apparently tried to get a couple US hardware developers to go in with them on the US release, including Atari (certainly would make for a way for Atari to stick it to Nintendo) before finally deciding to go it alone (sort of). Hit!
- Due to the delays of the Atari Lynx, other console manufacturers have started working on their own color handhelds, notably Nintendo and Sega, with Sega working on a way to play Genesis cartridges on the go. Hit! – Sega beats Nintendo to it first, with the Game Gear and then brings the first color portable 16-bit system to market with the battery-hogging Sega Nomad. Nintendo hits the market later but does better with the Game Boy Color, and then the Game Boy Advance (on the 16-bit front).
- Bandai is putting out Frankenstein and Gilligan’s Island video games – Hit!
- R-Type II is going to be released on the Genesis – Miss!, it was released on the Super Famicom/SNES as Super R-Type
- Capcom is putting out 1941 (the 3rd game in the series), Super Commando (a 3-player game), and Super Street Fighter. Hit! 1941 keeps its title, Super Commando becomes Mercs, and Super Street Fighter becomes, in its first incarnation, Street Fighter II.
- Sales of the NES and NES games are slowing down. Tengen is also perhaps being ahead of their time by putting out Greatest Hits editions of their NES games. Hit! Though, NES really didn’t start to lose steam until after the SNES came out.
- Konami is planning on releasing a Castlevania game for the Game Boy (subtitled “The Adventure”), Batman 2 and Super Contra on possibly the NES, and Gradius 3 in the arcades. Hit! Super Contra was re-titled to Super C, Batman 2 would be referring to the Batman Returns game, and Castlevania and Gradius 3 have no title changes with their release.
Overall, Q-Mann’s batting average for this issue is a .857 – not bad.
We get an ad for Black Bass, a fishing game, possibly the first of the “genre”, though I can’t find anything to confirm this.
Feature – Future Play: A new “State of the Systems” Feature article, covering the new 16-bit systems. We get previews of the SuperGrafx/P.C. Engine 2 (which is just like the TurboGrafx-16 but with a better graphics chip). We now get images of screens of the Super Famicom/SNES – which Nintendo of America is still saying that we’re not getting – ever. Obviously we get it, but it still makes me wonder how much of this is a passive agressive way for Nintendo of America to warn companies developing games for the NES that you better not jump to the Genesis or else. We finally get to see Ed Semrad playing a prot0-type of the Konix Multi-System – which thus far is only running standard computer games and is apparently not coming out in the US – and is becoming more and more vapor-ware. We get a little coverage of the Atari Lynx – and EGM raises the spectre of the color Gameboy and the Portable which plays Genesis games – both of which don’t come for several years.
After ads for Acclaims wireless controller and WWF Wrestlemania, we get to see the upcoming games. For the Nintendo we have Ninja Gaiden 2, Dragon Spirit (an 8-bit version), FCI’s port of Pool of Radiance, a new Mappy game, Castlevania 3, and Super C. Sega Master System is getting Ultima 4 (does more research, finds out I was wrong when I called this a miss for Q-Mann – sorry!) and Golden Axe. TurboGrafx-16 has no specific games being highlighted (maybe Moto-Roader, which is pictured). Genesis has shump Truxton and flight-sim Air Diver highlighted. The Game Boy is getting Gradius. In the arcades we’re getting R-Type 2 and Gradius 3, both of which are pictured and look gorgeous. I reviewed R-Type 2 as part of R-Types at Bureau42 here. R-Type 2 was also released as part of R-Type Dimentions on X-Box Live Arcade.
We get an ad for the Atari 7800 – and I have to say their games have good cover art, if nothing else.
We now go to the Mini-Mag/Insert “Mega-Play”. We get a lot of screen shots of Ultima 4, and screen shots of upcoming Genesis games, with Phantasy Star 4 getting the most. We also get some brief coverage of the NES modem. We get a preview of Golden Axe for the Genesis. We also get maps and boss strategies for levels 3 through 5 of Ghouls and Ghosts for the Genesis.
We then get an ad for Kung-Fu Heroes, which has anime-style art! I think this is the first time (aside from the Fist Of The North Star games) where a game had an anime-style look to it and the art carried over to promotional materials for the US release. If I am wrong on this, please feel free to let me know. We also get an ad for Flying Dragon, a double-dragon style fighting game with some street-fighter style boss-fights.
We get additional preview/reviews of Forgotten Worlds, Rambo 3 and Mystic Defender.
Next to the Tips and Tricks column, which, interspersed with the column are ads for various Bandai games (nothing notable), Hudson’s personal stereo controller, which has a built-in headphone jack and rapid-fire, and we get a 4-page ad for the Power Glove – featuring, at the bottom “Look for the Power Glove in the Universal film The Wizard” – I’m going to need to see that and review it.
Moving on to Preview/Reviews of NES games, we’ve got Sunsoft’s Batman game. For the TurboGrafx-16 we get China Warrior & Galaga ’90. We get a short preview article on the Atari Lynx. For the Game Boy we get a preview of Motocross Maniacs.
Finally, we get our high-score charts, and an Tecmo ad featuring Tecmo Baseball, Tecmo World Wrestling, and Tecmo Bowl.
That’s it for this issue. Next issue I’ll be skipping up to EGM #27 (I’m missing #26).