Alright, we continue with our EGM recaps with issue 37, for August of 1992. And our cover game for this issue is a biggie – Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Plus the list of previews for a boatload of other games. The issue clocks in a slightly more reasonable 149 pages – though fear not, this will later skyrocket to an old-school Computer Shopper level tome in the future. Our first ad of the issue is for the NES port of King’s Quest 5. I’ve played the NES’s more seminal adventure game (Shadowgate), and I have to say that adventure games don’t work too well on the NES, particularly ones like King’s Quest where you can die over, and over, and over again. This issue also features the debut of it’s Game Doctor column.
Insert Coin – Editorial: Our editorial column for this issue is discussing the system war. Oh, and they actually call it that, a System War. On the one hand, Sega’s price point for the Genesis is currently a little lower than the SNES’s price point, after a long series of price slashes by both sides, which is probably annoying the crap out of retailers – or to be specific, the clerks in the stores who have to re-mark the price over, and over, and over again. As of the printing of this issue the SNES runs $99.95 ($151.91 adjusted) It doesn’t help that both sides are over-estimating their sales figures, and since we don’t have the NPDs yet to give an actual verifiable figure, any estimates coming out of anyone has to be taken with a grain of salt. I don’t recall if Babbage’s had started putting out sales figures at this time.
Interface – Letters to the Editor: We get a small collection of Street Fighter 2 letters here. We get a question about the rumor about a Street Fighter 2 bundle with the SNES, another letter bitching about the Genesis not getting Street Fighter 2 (be patient), another one about character vs character (but not as bosses) in the SNES version, and an upcoming 32-bit Street Fighter game. In short, there is no upcoming bundles of Street Fighter 2 and the SNES, Capcom USA does not have any plans to put out a Genesis version of Street Fighter 2 (because Nintendo is still holding the president of Capcom USA’s kids hostage to hold their loyalty), the previously mentioned version of Street Fighter 3 was a mislabeled version of the game, and Character Vs. Character will work in Street Fighter 2 for the SNES in the US, though you will have to use a code to use it first.
We get a letter from England (specifically, Kenilworth, which is in Warwickshire, which is by Coventry) – basically telling readers in the US to cut their bitching ’cause they get games way before they come out in the UK and they have to pay out the nose for them in the UK, and it’s worse elsewhere in Europe, a state of affairs that continues to this day. We also got a bunch of letters talking about how great CES was (as CES is now open to the public, and this past CES, EGM held a meet-and-greet). Also, Jademan Comics, in Hong Kong is running an unofficial Street Fighter 2 comic (basically a Doujin), and not only did they fall for the Sheng Long trick hook, line, and sinker. I wonder if they’ll include the character in the comic? The cover art for the comic looks great by the way, and if I could find a scantlated (scan translated) version of the comic, I’d definitely give it a read.
Review Crew: Our Review Crew lineup is still the same, Steve Harris, Ed Semrad, Martin Alessi, and Sushi-X.
Axelay (SNES, Konami): Top Scrolling Shump, which the staff has been looking forwards too for some time. Sushi-X finds it to be the most innovative shooter since Gaiares, though he thinks it’s got some choppy scaling issues and gives it an 8. Everyone else has nothing but good things to say about the game and give it 9s. Overall: 35/40 and the game receives a Gold Award.
Dino City (SNES, Irem): Action-platformer. Steve starts out very snarky – “Although this game enjoys some of the best SNES wallpaper yet, the theme is less than exhilarating while the pace remains stuck in molasses,” and basically saying it successfully executes some of the concepts that made Mario good but it’s still not as good as it could have been and he gives it a 6. Martin and Sushi give the game 7s, saying that the game manages to pull off the rare trick of being enjoyable for kids and adults. Ed basically agrees with Martin and Sushi, but he gives the game an 8. Overall: 28/40.
Out Of This World (SNES, Interplay): Adventure game. Steve and Sushi find that the game’s look is one that has never been done on consoles before, and the animation is very smooth for SNES game with this quality graphics, and they both give it 8s. Ed and Martin agree, except they give it 9s instead. Overall: 34/40.
Magic Johnson’s Super Slam Dunk (SNES, Virgin): Basketball game. Nobody is particularly impressed with this one. Steve and Martin give the game 4s for poor control and finesse. Sushi and Ed find it very average and give it 5s. Overall: 18/40.
Race Drivin’ (SNES, THQ): Racing game. 4s from Steve, Martin and Sushi, due to poor control and choppy graphics. Ed just finds it average and gives the game a 5. Overall: 17/40.
On The Ball (SNES, Taito): Puzzle game along the lines of the Chaos Emerald bonus stages from the first Sonic game. Steve, Martin, and Sushi give the game 8s, finding it an absolutely addicting game, with excellent use of Mode 7 graphics. Ed also loves it and gives it a 9 for the same reasons. Overall: 32/40 and this also gets a Gold Award (though it’s score is lower than Out Of This World‘s).
Super Soccer Champ (SNES, Taito): Soccer game. Martin finds it to be a solid but still average soccer game and gives it a 5. Steve, Ed and Sushi give it 6s, finding it a decent soccer sim, but not good enough to get a 7. Overall: 23/40.
Taz-Mania (Genesis, Sega): Action-platformer. Sushi gives the game a 7, finding it a solid platformer, while finding the sound lacking. Steve and Martin give the game an 8, finding it a good platformer, with more depth to it than similar games (presumably other licensed platformers). Ed finds the game to be excellent overall and gives the game a 9. Overall: 32/40.
King Salmon (Genesis, Sage’s Creation): Fishing game. Steve and Martin think it’s a good, solid fishing game, and give it 7s. Ed and Sushi agree but they liked it a little more and gave it 8s. Overall: 30/40.
New Adventure Island (TurboGrafx-16, Hudson Soft): Platformer, and one of the first real 3rd party ports from an Nintendo platform that I’ve noticed. Steve, Martin, and Sushi give the game 7s, with the game being an great successor to the 8-bit Adventure Island games. Ed didn’t like it as much as the SNES Adventure Island games, and likes it a little more than the other 3 members of the Crew, and gives it an 8. Overall: 29/40.
Andros Dunos (Neo-Geo, SNK): Side-scrolling shump – we get a lot of these on the Neo-Geo. Sushi is disappointed by the flicker and slow-down in the game, particularly considering that the game itself ran (at time of publication) was $200 ($303.98) so he gives it a 5. Steve and Martin give the game 6s, finding it nothing revolutionary, and nothing much better than some of the other shooters on the SNES around the same time. Ed really likes the sound quality though and likes the picture quality (his TV must have Component or S-Video, and he’s got it hooked up to a good sound-system), and gives it an 7. Overall: 24/40.
Centipede (Game Boy, Accolade): It’s Centipede. Steve says that it’s a good, faithful port of the arcade game – which hasn’t aged well at all – 3. Ed and Martin give it 5s, Ed finding problems with the controls and the difficulty. Martin, on the other hand, finds the control and difficulty is okay, but thinks the graphics needs work. Sushi finds it fun, but also still has some problems with the Game Boy graphics, and would have preferred that Millipede had gotten ported instead, and gives it a 7. Overall: 20/40.
Zen: Intergalactic Ninja (Game Boy, Konami): Action-platformer. Steve gives it a 4, finding it doesn’t have the kick of the TMNT games (pun intended), the graphics are poor and the action is slow. Everyone gives it 6s, finding it decent but not very special. Overall: 22/40.
Steel Talons (Lynx, Atari): Helicopter flight-sim. Martin finds the flying effects decent, but the graphics are poor, the missions repetitive, and the gameplay choppy and gives it a 5. Steve gives the game a 6, finding that the game’s decent, but pales in comparison to the arcade game it’s a port of. Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, finding it an good port of the coin-op game to a hand-held platform. Overall: 25/40.
Quartermann: Q-Mann steps up to the plate again for one more game. Last issue his batting average was .600. Let’s see how he does this time.
- The NES is dying! Nintendo is introducing a new SKU for the SNES with the system and 1 controller with no games. Well, the new SKU was basically de-facto announced in an ad earlier in the issue, so I’ll allow that, though the NES does claw along for another 3 years before finally getting put out of it’s misery by Nintendo of America (the Famicom, on the other hand, proceeded to hang on by it’s fingernails for another 11 years, before finally being canned by Nintendo in 2003. Hit!
- The upcoming console being worked on by Matsuhisa, EA, and Warner is going to cost in the vicinity of $800. It actually cost $700 at it’s release date ($1,063!), but that’s close enough. Hit!
- The 7th Guest will be a pack-in for the Nintendo’s upcoming CD System. Well, it did come out for Phillips CD-I system, and Phillips was the company that was meant to develop the Nintendo CD System, and rather than giving an automatic Miss due to the SNES-CD being vaporware, I’ll ask the Judges. Well, Judges – Hit!
Batting Average: 3-for-3, for 1.000. Not bad.
EGM Express: They’re covering several stories in this article this time. We’ve already gone into the price cut war for the SNES and Genesis. Also, Street Fighter 2 sold out in Japan in 1 hour.
The Game Doctor: EGM now has a video game advice column! Some of the questions we get this issue are a little interest, as these are questions that most gamers now about now, in terms of how they work, but console gamers might not have known about (PC gamers on the other hand might have known). Questions like, “What is lag/slowdown?” And we get actual, plain English explanations of how lag works and why it happens, we also get questions about the Mega CD system, as well as hooking up your Genesis to your TV or monitor using a RGB connector and whether your Game Genie will damage your console. The question of the issue gets the Game Doctor Gee-Gaw Surprise Package – which is a collection of swag that the Game Doctor has picked up from various trade shows which, considering that a lot of this stuff probably got lost or dumped in the garbage, if it was in good condition might be worth something in the future.
International Outlook: EGM’s editors are back from the 1992 Tokyo Toy Show (the video game section of which has split off to become the Tokyo Game Show). We’ve got a few shumps of note, like Thunder Force IV, Gley Lancer. We’ve got a fighting game – Ranma ½ for the SNES (at this time the show was in it’s final season before moving on to a bunch of OVAs). The PC-Engine is getting Bomberman ’93 (which is awesome). The Sega CD is getting Afterburner III, and there is a planned Ninja Gaiden game for the peripheral (that never actually came out). Oh, yeah, and the SNES is getting Fatal Fury and Ranma ½ as well – we’re getting some serious (and not-so-serious, in the case of Ranma) fighting games on the SNES now.
Tips & Tricks: Again, nothing much to say in this one – we get the Street Fighter II SNES cheat that enables Character vs. Character play in Versus.
Leading Edge: So, we’ve got upcoming arcade games. We’ve got previews of SNK’s new Giant Monster brawler, appropriately titled King Of The Monsters 2. Capcom’s got a new 19XX style shump titled Varth: Operation Thunderstorm.
Next Wave: Moving out of the arcades we’ve got titles coming out for the home consoles. First on the list is Phantasy Star IV, the last non-online game in the series. I really need to get around to unlocking Phantasy Star 1 in Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection and working my way through the series (particularly since, the Phantasy Star series, at least the first 4, have some actual continuity to them) – I just need to buy another PS3 controller first so I can go through the first level of Sonic in 2-player mode.
Anyway, Vic Tokai has a mecha themed shump coming out for the SNES called Imperium. The Genesis is getting Terminator II the Arcade Game (with graphics not as good as the arcade version) for the Genesis, that includes support for Sega’s light gun peripheral, the Menacer, and the Genesis is also getting Streets of Rage II. Tengen’s also got a new version of RBI Baseball for the Genesis.
In Depth Previews: We’re starting off with a big preview – Sonic The Hedgehog 2, which now includes the option for simultaneous 2-player, with the new character of Tails. We also get brief little previews of Sonic CD and Sonic for the Game Gear as well. The Genesis is also getting a new action-brawler in Ex-Mutants.
On the SNES we get another preview of Street Fighter II, with full pictures of the levels for the game. Toho’s got a new shump upcoming called Space Megaforce. Super Star Wars is also coming out, as is a 16-bit port of Battletoads, appropriately re-titled Super Battletoads, and a rather wacky super-hero brawler Sonic Blast Man, and a port of King Of Monsters coming out just in time for the Arcade release of the sequel.
Joe & Mac is coming out for the NES, as is Wrestlemania: Steel Cage Challenge, which is the first WWF Wrestlemania game to feature alternate match types aside from Tag team matches (the titular Steel Cage). Also of semi-note is a preview for Mick & Mack as the Global Gladiators, which I call notable because it’s the first of the actual previews in the magazine to be somewhat negative in a snarky fashion with the line “If you’re one of those people who can’t get enough McDonald’s ads, this game will satisfy.” The game is an action-platformer with an environmental theme, and some rather surprisingly large levels.
Moving back to the Genesis, we’ve got a 16-bit port of Smash TV, but with only 3 studios, so if you’ve got an X-Box 360, there’s a port of Smash TV on X-Box Live Arcade that I’d recommend instead. There’s also Jennifer Capriati Tennis from Renovation/Wolf Team, which I’m mentioning because the game has a Create A Character option, and I can’t think of that many games at the time in general that had that. The Genesis is also getting a port of Strider II, (though the game got a better port for the PS1, which you might want to get instead if you can find a copy).
The TurboGrafx-16 is getting the puzzle game Splash Lake, and Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu, a comedic martial-arts game. The Neo-Geo is getting King of The Monsters 2, which is still in-arcades, but since the Neo-Geo home system uses almost the same hardware as the arcades (which is why the system and games are so very, very, expensive), releasing the game in arcades and on the home system at the same time is feasible… for certain values of feasible.
The Game Gear is getting Wimbleton Tennis, and I have to say from the screen shots I’m not too impressed by the game’s appearance – due to the size of the system’s screen the sprites are awfully small. It’s also getting action platformer Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, and I think it’s the first Spider-Man game to feature J. Jonah Jamison (and the only one until the movie games came out), and the only Marvel game to feature Doctor Strange until Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. The Game Boy on the other side of the wars is getting Lunar Chase, which looks a helluva lot like Battlezone, which is fine, as Battlezone is fun, but I don’t know how well it will work out on the Game Boy system. It’s also getting a port of Double Dragon III, which I’m also skeptical about, because it’s a brawler with similar controls to Final Fight (complete with being able to move on a semi-3D plane) on the Game Boy, and it’s small screen. It looks like it’s executing the whole visual theme okay though. There’s also Ultima: Runes of Virtue, for the Game Boy, which according to Wikipedia is Richard Garriott’s favorite console Ultima game. Capcom has also ported Bionic Commando to the Game Boy. I’m not seeing any grappling arm though. The Atari Lynx is getting Kung Food (with a pun that bad in the title, you know it has to be crap), and Shadow of the Beast.
In Depth Strategy Guide: This issue we’re getting a strategy guide for the first few issues of Taz-Mania. Abaahhgagghahahthppth. (That’s Tazmanian Devil for “I really don’t have anything more to say for this guide than that”*)
*Hey, I liked Taz-Mania when I was a kid.
And with that note, that wraps up the issue.