Where I Read – Nintendo Power #2

The cover for Nintendo Power - Issue #2

The cover for Nintendo Power - Issue #2

Now, onwards with our Nintendo Power recaps with Issue #2, covering Castlevania II, which was the first Castlevania game I ever played. This issue is about 105 pages long, which is actually a drop in the page count from last issue, which is different for most gaming magazines. Normally the second issue is longer than the first issue (but not always).

Bionic Commando Strategy Guide: So, we have a strategy guide for the original version of Bionic Commando, which has been since been remade for the X-Box 360 and PS3 as Bionic Commando: Rearmed which you can get through X-Box Live Arcade, and through the Playstation Network. I’ve already purchased that game, and it’s decent (though it’s hard). It’s one of the first action platformers I recall that was non-linear in it’s path to the conclusion (Capcom would later borrow the map system from Bionic Commando for their second G.I. Joe video game), and it didn’t let you jump – but instead it gave you an alternative in the form of your grappling arm, as opposed to, say, Robocop which did precisely jack. In the course of my discussion of this game, I’ll go over any differences I observe from the NES version of the game to the re-make.

Right off the bat, the strategy guide gives us one big difference between the two version – in the NES version, the safe areas are called “Neutral Areas” presumably Red Cross refugee camps or similar environments, while in Rearmed the safe areas are positions held by the good guys, with gives you a better explanation for why you can unlock additional weapons through the safe areas in Rearmed. Also, in the NES version the boss fights are pretty different. For example, the first boss in the NES version is a core that you shoot repeatedly. In the Rearmed it’s a robot you throw barrels at. The level layout is similar though. The helicopter/truck stages are very different though. The NES stages entail storming a bunker, as opposed to attacking a supply convoy or similar sort of things.

Life Force Strategy Guide: So, the semi-sequel to Gradius gets its own strategy guide. We get strategy guides for the first 6 bosses, as well as the high-points of the first couple levels. I’ll probably do this for my Quality Control column.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest Strategy Guide: As anyone whose watched a Hammer Dracula Film can tell you – Dracula a royal pain in the neck (pun intended) to kill for good. So, unsurprisingly, after the first Castlevania, Dracula came back.. Rather surprisingly for a magazine put out by Nintendo of America, the first page of the strategy guide features blood splatter – which is significant considering how Nintendo would censor the crap out of a lot of their later games. The game goes over the 5 weapons you can carry in the game, as well as game’s Day-Night cycle. We also get maps of a few of the game’s areas, including the towns of Jova and Veros, as well as some of the mansions you’ll need to go to get the pieces of Dracula you’ll need to release his curse. The strategy guide will get you far enough to retrieve Dracula’s Rib, Heart, and Eyeball, as well as strategies for the first boss fight of the game, against Death. You’ll have to find the nail and ring of Dracula on your own.

Expanded Super Mario II Strategy Guide: More strategies and maps of World 3 of Mario II. Either the game was that hard, or they needed to pad out this issue with some more strategies.

Renegade Strategy Guide: The NES’s 2nd big name brawler gets a strategy guide. We have a move list for the game, and the highlights the significant set-pieces for the first 3 levels.

R.C. Pro Am Strategy Guide: Racing game strategy guide. Interesting side note, this game happens to have been put out by Rare, who we will all know as the later developers of the Banjo-Kazooie games, as well as the Perfect Dark series. Oh, and Killer Instinct. Anyway, the strategy guide gives tips about stuff like oil slips, dripping bombs behind your car to keep your opponents at bay, missiles that can be fired at opponents ahead of you to knock them back (though I’m pretty sure they don’t home), and spelling the word replacement parts you can pick up by driving over them, oh, and spelling “Nintendo” to get an extra life. We also get maps of the first 7 levels (and information on the number of laps for each rate.

Classified Information: We have strategy guides for Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (aren’t the late 80’s great – because that title has just about everything about it that was wrong about the late ’80s – except maybe Ronald Regan, but that depends on what you think about Regan.) We also get tips for Renegade and Kid Icarus.

Howard and Nester: This issue, Nester is trying to make some quick bucks by posing as a video game wizard and showing off various “magic” video game tricks (which he took from the pages from Nintendo power. Howard, however, shows him up by “borrowing” Nester’s copy and reading off the advice about using the magic potion in areas with a lot of grass in front of the kids. Just goes to show Nester, plagiarism doesn’t pay.

Counselor’s Corner: We gets a couple of questions about Legend of Zelda, both the 1st and 2nd quest. We also get some tips for Super Mario Bros. (the first one), Metroid, and Kid Icarus.

Golgo 13 Strategy Guide: Everyone’s favorite personality-free super-assassin sniper of unknown ethnicity has gotten his own video game. With a mix of adventure segments, first person segments and shump segments. I’ve played this one before, it’s okay. It’s not too special though.

Blaster Master Mini-Strategy Guide: So, what do you do when your pet frog gets turned into a mutant monster by radioactive waste, and you chase him down a hole into another world and come across a giant tank. The strategy guide covers the basic stuff, controls, weapons, and a few screen shots from each level.

Video Shorts: Previews of various upcoming NES games. Of note this issue is Superman from Seika (the first in a long series of bad Superman games – which is unbroken to the current gen of games), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from Mindscape, 1943 from Capcom. We also have a list of “The Classics” that are getting re-released for the NES stuff like Pac-Man, Defender II, and Galaga.

Pac Watch: More game previews, this time of games that are still in development, and topping off the list is Zelda 2 (with our first mention of Shigeru Miyamoto), Tecmo Bowl, Wrestlemania, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Rare Profile: We get a profile of Chris and Tim Stamper, the founders of Rare Ltd. in the UK. Up until 2 years ago they were still with Rare (which is rather impressive, if you think about it, considering how often the founders of companies get forced out by their backers because they’re not good on the business or logistical end, or for other reasons).

Mailbox: More letters this issue. Being that this magazine is run by Nintendo, we get a letter with a game pitch which Nintendo deletes for legal reasons. We get another letter from from a set of Gamer Grandparents who are currently on their way through Metroid after beating the first and second quests on Zelda, though they did need to use the NES Advantage joystick for the turbo button. See Nintendo, you can appeal to what we now call the “hardcore gamer” and still get the casual gamer. Yeah, they haven’t mentioned any 3rd party games yet, but I hope it will happen eventually. We get a similar letter from another player who got his mother hooked on gaming after she complained about how monotonous her life was.

Player’s Poll: I’m going to just keep this short and do a top 10 this time for the main ranking and then the derivative rankings.

  1. The Legend of Zelda

  2. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

  3. Metroid

  4. Super Mario Bros.

  5. Kid Icarus

  6. Double Dragon

  7. Ice Hockey

  8. R.C. Pro-Am

  9. Rad Racer

  10. R.B.I. Baseball

And now for the subsidiary rankings by class:

  • Players’ Picks
  1. The Legend of Zelda
  2. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out
  3. Metroid
  4. Super Mario Bros.
  5. Kid Icarus
  6. Ice Hockey
  7. Rad Racer
  8. R.C. Pro Am
  9. Double Dragon
  10. Contra
  • Pros’ Picks
  1. Legend of Zelda
  2. Metroid
  3. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out
  4. Mega Man
  5. Castlevania
  6. Double Dragon
  7. Kid Icarus
  8. Contra
  9. Wizards and Warriors
  10. Super Mario Bros.
  • Dealer’s Pics
  1. R.B.I. Baseball
  2. Kid Icarus
  3. Legend of Zelda
  4. Metroid
  5. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out
  6. R.C. Pro-Am
  7. Double Dragon
  8. Goonies II
  9. Top Gun
  10. Ice Hockey

Well, Legend of Zelda, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and Metroid did pretty well, making the top 10 in everybody’s rankings. Players are still into Super Mario Bros, but the Pros and Dealers have since moved on. The Dealers aren’t into Contra at all (it isn’t on their Top 30 at all). R.C. Pro Am is doing alright too – while it isn’t in the Top 10 for Pros it is at 24 on their rankings. Zelda 2, by the way, has a release date in December.

Letter From Howard Phillips: Howard’s learned a lot about making a gaming magazine from the past two issues, which involved a lot of travel going from California, and back up to Seattle again, but he feels they worked out a lot of the kinks over the past couple of months, and the magazine can only improve from here.