Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #47
Alas, we have another gap in our EGM reviews for this week, as we move on to EGM #47 for June of 1993. But, fear not, this issue has one heck of a cover story – Mortal Kombat. The cover art itself could be a little better though, but we’ll leave that aside. This issue’s a big one too – almost 197 pages long.
Editorial: The editorial this issue is about probably one of the biggest stories of the console wars, at least with regards to third party publishers – Capcom has signed on with Sega, specifically to publish Street Fighter II: Championship Edition (the current build in arcades) for the Genesis before putting it out for the SNES. However, just to convolute things further, Capcom also announced they’d be putting out the next version of Street Fighter 2, titled Super Street Fighter II: Turbo on the SNES exclusively – which could potentially undermine the Genesis version of the game. Well, we’ll see how this turns out, ultimately. Oh, and there’s still the matter of the difference between the home versions of Mortal Kombat, the red, wet version…
Letters: Well, what with all the publicity about Street Fighter 2 CE coming to the Genesis, and some magazines claiming exclusivity on the scoop despite other magazines covering it as well – well, as the Internet isn’t wide spread yet, it’s easier for some magazines to get away with pulling shenanigans. As more people get internet connections, it becomes more difficult for gaming magazines to pull overt baloney, because it’s easier for people to post about it on sites like RPG.net, NeoGaf, or other message boards. Speaking of the internet, our next question has to due with import games, the Japanese versions thereof, and who will be doing the import version. Or, rather, the question is “Can you please put the US licensee of these games in the International Outlook section, so I know who to write to for updates?” – for which the answer is, simply, “No, because we don’t know who the licensee is yet,” and people think gamers in the modern age have no patience for news updates. Oh, and we also get some pot-shots at Die-Hard GameFan in the letter’s response as well.
We’re also, finally (not that it’s a good thing) getting region lock-out problems with the Sega Genesis, with the US release of Flashback being locked out from Japanese model Genesis consoles – probably one of the first cases of actual software (or, in this case, firmware) region locking on a major console system, aside from disk systems. We also get a letter about the Sega CD 2 (asking what it is), another bitching about the lack of fancy effects on Sega CD games, and asking about systems with modem based online multi-player. Their letter of the issue is taking a pot shot at another competitor’s magazine, but it’s significantly less obvious who it is, so I’m not going to guess. I know about the EGM/Die-Hard Game Fan beef, but I wasn’t sure about any other gaming magazines that EGM had a “rivalry” with, in the sense of the John Stewart/MSNBC beef (Mad Money & Morning Joe), or, well, East Cost/West Coast. Steve Harris, if you read this, if you could clue me in on the magazine you’re referencing, please let me (and my readers) know. Thank you!
Anyway, apparently EGM readers, or at least a reader are also having problem(s) with their Neo-Geo(s). I feel like Click & Clack – “We get letter from many listener.” Anyway, the system has problems with the sound stuttering on the console, and it’s an issue with the hardware. What happened is that they lowered the quality of some of the chips the system uses to try to cut down on the price, and that’s what’s causing the stutter. They’ll fix it though for $10 + Shipping. Basically, it’s sort of like the Red Ring on the X-Box 360 – except your system isn’t bricked. Nonetheless, if you’re buying a system that costs over $1,000 dollars (both in 1993 dollars and adjusted dollars), which means you’re getting a system that costs more than some UGMs, you want something that just works. This doesn’t “just work” – and at least Microsoft had the good sense to offer repairs for free. Also, apparently because of the extra pins on the SNES cartridges that use the SuperFX chip, like Starfox, they’re not working with the Game Genie – Galoob is aware of this, and no, they won’t be releasing a new model to address this. Oh, and Virgin is putting out a Robocop vs. Terminator game, based on the Dark Horse comic. Considering how Alien vs. Predator got 2 movies, I’m surprised this hasn’t gotten adapted. Yeah, it’d suck, and suck hard, but I’m sill surprised that it hasn’t been adapted yet.
International Preview – European Computer Trade Show (ECTS): We’re getting a short bit in advance of the main feature, focusing on games coming out of Europe. That’s new and a nice change. Of note is James Bond: The Duel, a Game Gear version of Desert Strike, Strider 2 and a martial arts game featuring Steven Segal – do you get unlimited health?
Review Crew: The lineup is what it’s always been for quite some time – Steve Harris, Ed Semrad, Martin Alessi & Sushi-X
- Starfox (SNES, Nintendo): The game gets an 8 from Ed, finding the graphics plain, but otherwise finding the game fun and challenge. Everyone else gives it 9s, basically not having Ed’s problem with plain graphics. Overall: 35/40, and the game gets the Editor’s Choice Gold award.
- Super High Impact (SNES, Acclaim): This is Acclaim’s fast and loose football game. None of the crew is particularly impressed with the game. Sushi gives the game a 4, finding that the game requires a lot of button mashing, with the play controls being rather poor. Steve and Martin also have problems with the game’s difficulty, the playbook selection, and the gameplay/execution of play (which I presume refers to the controls) but they give it 5s instead. Ed, on the other hand, kind of liked it, finding it simple, but better than a more complicated game that requires the player to study the manual before selecting a play, and he gives it a 6. Ed might not want to look at the most recent installments of Madden. Overall: 20/40.
- Taz-Mania (SNES, Sunsoft): Another licenced game based off the Looney Toons spin-off series, a sort of racing game/Chase HQ Variant. The game gets 7s across the board, with decent, though repetitive gameplay, though some of the enemies only stun you or knock down your life bar, and some of them are instant-kill enemies. Overall: 28/40.
- Mario is Missing (SNES, Mindscape): Nintendo is trusting a 3rd its main two characters, Mario and Luigi, for a game on a first party platform, as opposed to something on, say, the CD-I. Sushi finds the game dull and boring and gives the game a 3. Steve & Martin give the game 6s, finding it good for younger players but not so interesting for older players. Ed finds the game enjoyable for the whole family, giving it an 8. Overall: 23/40.
- Blaster Master II (Genesis, Sunsoft): Blaster Master, which I rated previously, is getting a sequel, and it’s only coming out for the Genesis. Hopefully this game will have a password or save option. Sushi & Martin give the game 6s, finding the control solid, though the jumping is floaty and the sound isn’t so hot. Ed and Steve, on the other hand, give the game 8s, considering the game significantly superior to the original in just about every respect. Overall: 28/40.
- RBI Baseball ’93 (Genesis, Tengen): Latest installment of the RBI Baseball series. Sushi & Martin give the game 7s, with Sushi, strangely having very low expectations based on the failure of other franchises. That’s kind of like expecting Madden to do badly based on the failure of other NFL football franchises. Otherwise, they both like it, particularly the create-a-team option, though Sushi doesn’t like the character design. Ed and Steve give the game 8s, not finding the same art hangups. Overall: 30/40.
- Cyborg Justice (Genesis, Sega): You build a cyborg character, and you beat a bunch of other cyborg characters. Martin gives it a 5, finding it bland and uninteresting. Steve finds it a little less uninteresting, but still bland and gives it a 6. Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, finding the game very challenging, and providing a lot of replay value. Did they play different games? Overall: 25/40.
- The Humans (Genesis, GameTek): Lemmings-style Puzzle Game. Sushi gives the game a 6, liking the concept, liking the puzzles, and hating the pacing, finding it too fast. Everyone else gives it 7s, but the two who do mention the pace – Ed and Martin, find it too slow. Oohkay. Overall: 27/40.
- Batman Returns (Sega CD, Sega): Alright, we’re getting into some of the major CD game releases now for the Genesis. The reviews of this one are pretty negative, with the general consensus that the game is very similar to the cartridge version with new music and driving sequences, plus graphically impressive cut-scenes – therefore it sticks, with a 4 from Sushi-X, and 5s from Steve and Martin. Ed, at least, gives it a 7, finding it still enjoyable. I have to say, to be honest, I wouldn’t have reviewed this down for the reasons they did. Even the AVGN didn’t have any problems with it. Overall: 21/40.
- Final Fight CD (Sega CD, Sega): Port of the beat-em-up, which returns Guy and similtanious co-op to the game. Steve and Ed give the game 6s, finding it a solid game, but also finding the necessity of having the game be on a CD questionable. You don’t need to have any game be on a disk. Hell, technically, if there was a limitation on the size of the cartridge preventing the game from working on a CD, you could have waited until the 32X came out for it. The need is not the point. The questions is how well does the game play. Is it good or not. Rating a game up or down based on the “need” to be on a particular medium is ludicrous. As if to prove my point, Martin and Sushi give the game 8s, finding it an excellent conversion of the arcade version of the game, with Sushi even calling the port a must-have to fans of fighting games. Overall: 28/40.
- Bonk 3 (Turbo Duo, Hudson/T.T.I.): The 3rd core game in the Bonk series has come out. Sushi gives it a 7, finding it an decent game, though one that’s at it’s best in multiplayer. Everyone else gives it 8s, considering it a fun, and exciting platformer. Overall: 31/40.
- Dungeon Master (Turbo Duo CD, T.T.I.): Port of the Wizardry clone. Being that this is a Wizardry-style RPG, and not Martin’s kind of game, he grades it appropriately – a 5. I’ve already ranted on this, I’m not ranting on it again. Everyone else gives it 7s – finding it, well, a solid Wizardry-style RPG. Overall: 26/40 (though if Martin had also given it a 7, it would be 28/40.
- Kirby’s Adventure (NES, Nintendo): Well, we’ve got our second Kirby game. The game gets a 9 from Martin, saying it’s one of the best game’s he’s played of all time, superior to the Game Boy version (which I can’t argue with), and he hopes the franchise gets an installment on the SNES (fear not, Martin). Everyone else gives it 8s, also finding it an excellent game, but not quite good enough to get more 9s than 8s. Overall: 33/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold award.
- Battletoads & Double Dragon (NES, Tradewest): It’s the year of the crossover. Alien vs. Predator, Robocop vs. Terminator, and Battletoads & Double Dragon. Steve gives it an 6, finding the graphics poor (even for the NES) and the controls clunky, though the co-op is sound. Sushi gives it a 7, finding the gameplay enjoyable, though he hates the cheap deaths (which, technically, are par for the course for a Battletoads game). Ed and Martin give the game 8s, saying that they loved the game. Overall: 29/40.
- Raging Fighter (Game Boy, Konami): Fighting game from Konami. Ed loves this one and draws some favorable comparisons with Street Fighter 2, though he finds some of the special attacks hard to pull off and that the one-player mode gets old quick, and he gives it an 8. Everyone else gives it 6s, considering it a good execution of a fighting game on a hand-held, but not as good as Street Fighter 2 on home consoles. Surprisingly, Sushi doesn’t complain about how horrible the Game Boy’s graphics are. Overall: 26/40.
- Land of Illusion (Game Gear, Sega): How fitting that we’re getting a game for a Sega platform based of an album by Genesis. Wait… just a moment, I’m getting a note from my producer… my apologies, apparently this is a Disney licenced platformer featuring Mickey Mouse. Sushi gives the game a 7, finding it a good fit for a portable platform like the Game Gear is a portable gaming system the way the Osborne was a portable computer – you could take it different places, but you sure as hell couldn’t get your gaming done on the airplane or write the Great American Novel on the airplane with it. Steve and Martin give the game 8s, for decent sound and graphics and good gameplay. Ed gives the game an 9, saying it’s on par with a home console platformer. Overall: 32/40.
Gaming Gossip: Well, it’s Quartermann’s turn at bat once again. Last issue he got a .333. I’m not going to say there’s nowhere he can go but up, but there is room for improvement. Shall we begin? Good.
- Sega and Time Warner have teamed up to form (like the Wonder Twins) – The Sega Channel. Hit! By the way, when I was a kid I had a friend who had The Sega Channel. It was okay, but you couldn’t save your game, which means while it worked alright for a Sonic The Hedgehog or Mortal Kombat game, for, say, Pirates! Gold (the Genesis port of Sid Meier’s game Pirates! – he didn’t have the clout to put his name in the title yet) it didn’t work out so well. This is basically what came out of the negotiations that 3D0 had with Time Warner that fell through – Time Warner went to Sega instead, and cashed in on the existing install base for the Sega Genesis rather than hoping the 3D0 would get an install base that would make the service financially viable.
- Camerica, makers of the Game Genie has filed for bankruptcy – so much for the Game Gear Game Genie… Miss! The Game Genie was actually designed and built by Codemasters, who we all know now for their acclaimed racing games, including the Colin McRae series. The Game Genie would later be distributed directly through Galoob, which remained a going concern until Hasbro bought them out in 1998.
- The Atari Jaguar is going to miss CES, due to a change in the chipset from two 32-bit processors working in tandem to a 64-bit processor. Hit!.
- StarFox is getting it’s name changed in Europe to avoide a trademark dispute. Hit! The game in question is Star Fox for the Atari 2600, which was trademarked in Europe but not in the US. Apparently the game was a critical bomb when it came out in 1983.
- Following what I presume is another cheap shot at DieHard Game Fan (really guys, all you’re doing is getting kids to go out and see what this magazine is that you’re attacking, and if it’s as bad as you say – at least with the RPG.net forums and FATAL, we said outright what the game that was the subject of our ire was, and why we hated it, so you didn’t have to go searching to find out what it was, you just knew) – rumor has it that Konami has a set of monster themed games coming up – a Castlevania game for the Genesis, and a port of the Lucasarts game Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Hit!
- Nintendo has a Mario compilation cart set to come out with all the NES Mario games – including the original Japanese version of Super Mario II. Hit! That would be Super Mario All-Stars.
So, that’s 5 out of 6, for a batting average of .833. Not bad. Q-Mann also takes a moment before the end of the column to hype the new magazine coming from Sendai Publications – Hero Illustrated, which will cover the comic book industry. It would be interesting to see how it compared with Wizard.
EGM Express: So, as mentioned under the letters column and the Editorial column, not long after Capcom announced it was putting out Street Fighter II: CE for the Genesis, it also announced it would be putting out Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES. Also, Hornby of England is putting out a set-top unit that would allow the SNES to play NES games – only it doesn’t actually come out because before it’s set for launch, the top-loading NES comes out in the US and Europe at a lower price point than Hornby’s peripheral. We also get some coverage of the Sega CD 2 & Genesis II, as well as the Sega Channel and Sega’s upcoming Multi-tap.
Leading Edge: This issue they’re focusing on Capcom’s new arcade wrestling game, Saturday Night Slam Masters.
The Game Doctor: Short column this issue. We get a question about interferance from the Game Boy on instriments on airplanes, and one on the diference between the old TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM drive and the Turbo Duo’s CD-ROM drive (basically enhanced disk speed and a larger buffer).
International Outlook: The foreign titles of note this issue include R-Type III, Gunstar Heroes (which is currently available from X-Box Live Arcade & Playstation Network), a Ranma 1/2 game for the Sega CD (which I’d never heard of until now), the shump Eliminate Down, and the Sega CD RPG After Armageddon, which I can’t find anything about.
Tips of the Trade: Again, I’m not going to be providing a lot of coverage for this column. Oh, and we get an ad during the column for Street Combat from Irem, which is a re-skinned version of the first Ranma 1/2 fighting game. Why re-skinned? Well, because the show hadn’t come out in the US yet.
Next Wave: Moving on to upcoming titles in the US, we’re starting off with another notable one – SNK’s fighting game World Heroes II along with the last installment of the Annet Evans series, Annet Egain, which is actually making it to the US on a disk (for the Sega CD) for once! Konami’s got Zombies Ate My Neighbors, which was mentioned earlier, and SNK’s got a wrestling game for the Neo-Geo in Fire Suplex, which is released in the US as 3 Count Bout. Going back to the Sega CD (is there any method to this organization), we have a release of Rebel Assault for the Sega CD as well as the light gun game Lethal Enforcers. The SNES is getting Super Bomberman, Koei’s got Romance of the Three Kingdom’s III (the last of their strategy game series that they’re still publishing regularly).
Behind The Screens: We’ve got a preview column on the making of Phantasy Star IV which is very nicely written, and, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind if more of their previews werne’t written like this. Unfortunately, I haven’t played Phantasy Star IV yet. I’ve actually wanted to beat the previous games in the series, particularly Phantasy Star 1 first – and I need to get a second controller for my PS3 to get that. We also get a rather through preview of Mortal Kombat, again – several pages long, mostly all text, with a decent move list for most of the characters. We also get a timeline of the history of the Street Fighter franchise, which is almost 7 years old. We get a quick run down of the original Street Fighter (released in the US as Fighting Street), and then some coverage of the port of Street Fighter II: CE for the Duo CD. We also get a couple early on scores for the Turbo CD version of the game, with staff writer Danyon Carpenter giving it a 9, and Ed Semrad also giving it a 9. Perhaps will Danyon Carpenter find his way into the Review Crew in the future?
Previews: On to the standard previews, and we’re starting off with a SNES title – Super Empire Strikes Back. Now, according to the preview, it’s 75% complete, though the build the EGM editors played only had 2 levels, both of them on Hoth. Jaleco also has the fighting game Tuff E Nuff (ugh) which is the first fighting game (apparently) to have an instant replay option for the final hit of the match – something that would be standard in later 3D fighting games like Soul Calibur, Tekken, Dead or Alive, and Virtua Fighter. We also get a preview of Final Fight II for the SNES. Next up is a preview of Rock & Roll Racing, a cart racing game from a company of little note, who had done only one other major title (The Lost Vikings) – and will never account to anything – Blizzard. Wait… my producer is whispering in my ear… yeah, so they made Warcraft, and Starcraft… and Diablo… and… How much money from World of Warcraft – any way we could get any of that? Oh, right, Activision-Blizzard is more evil than late 80’s Nintendo of America. I forgot.
We also get a preview of Yoshi’s Cookie, and Commando and Ikari Warriors style action game Total Carnage. Seta’s also got the second installment of its F1 racing game series F1 ROC. ASCII has yet another of a long series of mascot transformers by the name of Arty Lightfoot. Activision has a shump of their own for the SNES by the name of Biometal (I don’t know of too many shumps for the SNES that were made in the US – most of the major shumps came out of Japan). TradeWest also has the rather Mutant League Football/Bill Lamphere’s Combat Basketball/Blood Bowl style baseball game, Super Baseball 2020, which is basically a baseball game with combat robots. There’s also the fishing. Renovation/Wolfteam also has a Zelda style adventure game called Journey Home: Quest For the Throne.
Continuing to the Genesis, it’s getting another 3rd party mascot platformer of it’s own, in Rocket Knight Adventures from Konami, specifically from the team who did Contra: Hard Corps & Contra III: The Alien Wars. Accolade’s also cashing in on the success of Wing Commander, and X-Wing with WarpSpeed. EA’s also finally got a college football game coming out in Bill Walsh College Football. Tengen’s got a conventional combat flight sim of their own in MIG-29, and a tennis game in Davis Cup, and shump Robo Aleste, which was developed by Compile. We also have some preview coverage of Final Fight CD. Taito got the The Ninja Warriors for the Sega CD. We’ve got a few movies getting games as well for the Sega CD, particularly Batman Returns & The Terminator.
Next up the Turbo Duo, and we’re starting off with Dungeon Master II: Theron’s Quest, which has animated cutscenes even (which is something I don’t think any of the US versions of the PC game ever had), though the Turbo Duo version of the game is a much simpler version than the PC version. Next up is Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective II, complete with animated cutscenes, which unfortunately don’t star an actor as well known for playing Holmes as, say, Jeremey Brett.
Well, onwards and… downwards, in terms of the number of bits in the system to the Nintendo, and Kirby’s Adventure, as well as the fourth installment of the Bases Loaded series, creatively titled Bases Loaded 4. Oh, and just aside, apparently Malibu comics is doing a Street Fighter 2 comic, and from the art in the ad – it looks horrid (thank god for the more recent comic from Udon). There’s also an 8-bit version of Super Turrican which I wouldn’t think would translate well from 16-bit to 8-bit.
On to the hand-held systems! The Game Boy is going into the final frontier with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Oddly, this game came out after DS9 started, but the game has Chief O’Brian in it (and he left for DS9 on the first episode of that show). Next up is Raging Fighter, a, well fighting game – but one that is set within a tower – as you win each fight you progress up a floor, which almost reminds me of part of the concept of a movie. Okay, on the Game Gear, we’ve got Mickey Mouse In Land of Illusion, and no, I’m not going to do the Genesis joke again. We’ve also got WWF Steel Cage Challenge, which I suspect has an obsolete roster, what with Ric Flair being on the roster… yep. Flair returned to WCW in Feburary of 1993.
EGM Lifestyles: We’re done with the game coverage this issue, now we’re on to the general lifestyles and movie coverage stuff. Well, Ahnuld is taking a shot at the obesity epidemic almost 7 years before everyone started making a really big deal about it, with a series of fitness books for kids. That reminds me, I need to start jogging more (I’ve already started working on improving my diet, but I need to get aerobic exercise to continue with the process. The Reign of the Supermen is continuing, with Steel & Superboy making their debuts, plus Cyborg (Hank Henshaw, who would later take part in the Sinestro Corps War), and the Eradicator (who somehow survived the crossover, only to go AWOL after Infinite Crisis/The OMAC Project). We also get some coverage of Cliffhanger.
Before we wrape up the issue, we get a last minute Next Wave update, which includes Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES, and Indiana Jones & The Fate Of Atlantis for the Sega CD, and that will wrap up the issue.