Video games, Where I Read

Where I Read – GamePro #32

The Cover of GamePro #32

The Cover of GamePro #32

Well, while our EGM Recaps are getting broken up, our GamePro streak is, fortunately, continuing unbroken and unabated with issue 32, covering March of 1992. Our cover story is, not surprisingly for this period in game history, Street Fighter II. Unsurprisingly for this magazine, their cover art of Ryu, Guile, and Chun Li, which is done in-house, is god-freaking-awful. I’m looking forward to when Nintendo Power covers this period, as their in-house art has been, thus far, excellent, and I’m looking forward to their coverage of Street Fighter II (if there is any – I hope there is). This issue’s actually pretty short for gaming mags of the early 90s, only 98 pages long.

Letters to the Editor: We start off with a letter asking if there are plans to put out something similar to the Game Genie for the Genesis. Why yes, there is, it’s called the Pro Action Replay which, unlike the Game Genie, is still around. The Game Genie, on the other hand, didn’t survive the 16-bit generation, and was replaced by the GameShark – both of which are now obsolete, with now replacements, meaning that if you can’t beat a controller-breakingly hard game – tough rocks. We also have questions about what you can spend the $5 rebate you’re getting (as part of the weak-sauce damages that Nintendo has to pay out) on – you can only spend it on games. Which makes it even more pathetic. I’d bet that the $5 damages would probably cover not the licencing fees that Nintendo gets from the publishers, but rather the cut the publishers would be making on the game sales. We also get a letter asking when any winter sports games will be coming out for the Genesis or TG-16, mentioning specifically snowboarding. I don’t think we get a Snowboarding game at all until the 21st century.

Cutting Edge: This issue they’re focusing on Virtual Reality, the technology of the future! The far, far future, as it’s almost 16 years since this issue came out and this technology is still trying hard to reach a point where it doesn’t suck, either by having any good games for it or not giving you motion sickness or eye-ache.

NES Coverage: We’re starting off with their review of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The game is apparently very difficult, but has excellent graphics. They say we can see the Taun-Taun’s chests move as they breath, but I suspect that’s an exaggeration. The game gets a 4 for sound and 5s for Graphics, Gameplay, Fun Factor, and Challenge. The NES is also getting another adventure game in Nightshade from Konami, featuring a dark vigilante by the name of… wait for it… Nightshade. Apparently the game is fun, though the sound is awful. I suspect this game might work better on a disk system. The problem is, when the disk systems come around, basically what everyone wants in their disks games is FMV, rather than taking what would be a solid cart game, with superior sound. Anyway, this game gets a 2 for Sound, 3s for Gameplay and Challenge, and 4s for Graphics and Fun Factor.

The NES is also getting another fishing game in The Blue Marlin from Hot-B, which gets a 2 for its sound and a 3 for graphics. Now, they call it a “love it or hate it game”, though they give it a 4 for Gameplay & Fun Factor, and a 5 for Challenge. Take that as you will. The NES is also getting a Terminator 2 licenced game that unfortunately isn’t based on the arcade game (though I’m not sure how well port of T2 arcade would work with the Zapper.) AVGN covered this one already (among other Terminator 2 games) and not only is it not very good, it’s also artificially hard. However, you couldn’t tell from the GamePro Review scores – 3 for Gameplay, 4 for Graphics, Sound, & Fun Factor, and a 5 for Challenge. Ocean’s also got a mediocre Addams Family Action Platformer. How mediochre is it? It gets a 1 for sound, a 2 for Graphics, Fun Factor & Challenge, and a 3 for Gameplay.

Next is a mascot based action platformer titled Toki, which gets 3s for Sound & Challenge, and 4s for Graphics, Gameplay, & Fun Factor. There’s also a Contra-wannabe from Camerica titled The Ultimate Stuntman. From the sound of things, because Camerica carts are unlicenced, they can include the kind of custom sound and graphics chips that Japanese games used, thus it has improved graphics over some other NES games – allegedly. Thus, the game gets 3 for Fun Factor, 4 for Graphics, Sound & Gameplay, and a 5 for Difficulty. Next up is a special feature on some of the new 3rd party controllers for the various systems. The NES ones are mostly made by Beeshu (whose status I still cannot determine), though there are a few from other companies, including a one-handed controller (presumably for amputees). Beeshu’s also got one for the Genesis, but far more of them are by other companies. Actually, now that I think about it, there isn’t any manufacturer dominating the 3rd party controller market for the Genesis and SNES, going by the controllers that are listed in this article.

Genesis Coverage: We’re starting off with the mecha fighting game Heavy Nova – which is, now that I think about it, one of the Genesis’ first one-on-one fighting games in general (they’ve had brawlers, but not this kind of fighting game). The game gets a 3 for Sound, 4s for Graphics, Gameplay, and Fun Factor and a 5 for Challenge. Accolade has a Winter Sports game out in the form of Winter Challenge, and uses the system’s capacity polygonal graphics to handle bobsledding in addition to more traditional sports for this type of game, like skiing. The reviewer also, apparently, confuses responsiveness in control and sensitivity in the controls. Anyway, the game gets a 3 for sound. 4s for Gameplay and Challenge, and 5s for Graphics & Fun Factor. Next is Desert Strike, which Sushi-X felt was released too soon to the first war in Iraq. Their reviewer apparently got entirely the wrong impression from the helicopter assault from Apocalypse Now, finding it incredibly cool and awesome (which does not, necessarily, mean the same thing). The game gets a 5 for Gameplay and 4s for everything else. Tengen has ported Paperboy over to the Genesis as well which gets 4s across the board. Accolade has also ported Double Dragon to the Genesis, and added simeltanious co-op as well. This version of the game gets a 3 for sound, 4s for Fun Factor and Challenge, and 5s for Graphics & Gameplay.

Capcom Upcoming Lineup Preview: We get a list of upcoming games for Capcom’s systems. Of note is Street Fighter II, the NES port of Gargoyle’s Quest and the Game Boy port of Bionic Commando, followed by a strategy guide for the arcade version of Street Fighter II, with a complete move list.

SNES Coverage: We begin our coverage of Nintendo’s 16-bit system with some strategies for Final Fantasy IV/II. I have some complaints with this strategy guide, by the way – it’s not spoiler free, particularly in terms of plot developments (such as Yang’s “death”) which is bad. Moving on to the reviews, we’re starting off with Contra III: The Alien Wars – which gets a 4 for Fun Factor and 5s for everything else (presumably because it’s so hard that you want to throw your controller, decreasing the fun factor. Acclaim also has their first 16-bit wrestling game in Super Wrestlemania (published under their LJN label). The game gets 3s in Sound, Fun Factor and Challenge, and 4s for Graphics & Control. We’ve also got a port coming out of Hudson’s Adventure Island for the SNES, appropriately titled Super Adventure Island. It gets a 3 for Gameplay, 4 for Sound and Fun Factor, and 5 for Graphics & Challenge.

PC-Engine/TurboGrafx Coverage: We’re starting up off with coverage of an Japanese game for the PC-Engine CD-ROM by the name of Lady Phantom, a mecha strategy RPG which unfortunately didn’t get released in the US.

Game Boy & Other Portables Coverage: We’ve got a review of the Tiny Toon Adventures platformer for the Game Boy. According to the review, rather than just playing as Buster, or Babs and Buster, all of the protagonists of the show are playable and you can switch between them – which is nice (and something which I don’t think games for consoles based on the show allowed for). They also find it moderately difficult. The game gets a 3 for challenge, but 5s for everything else. Konami has a Gradius game for the Game Boy, their second game in the franchise for the system (the first was titled Nemesis). Apparently the difficulty of the game is aggrivated by the small screen on the Game Boy, as well all the of the major sprites getting shrunk as well. The game gets a 3 for Sound, 4 for Graphics, Gameplay and Sound, and a 5 for Fun Factor. Unfortunately, the copy of magazine I’ve got has been damaged and is missing a review of a Donald Duck game. Finally, we’ve got a review for Xybots, a sort of semi-3D Gauntlet clone for the Atari Lynx., which gets 4s for Graphics, Sound and Challenge, and 5s for Gameplay & Fun Factor.

SwatPro & GameBreakers: As per usual, I’m not going in-depth here, particularly. They do have an invulnerability cheat for Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (RIP) – but it’s one that requires the Space Harrier II cartridge (so you can’t do this in an emulator) – you put Space Harrier II in the system, turn it on, reach the title screen, and then take the cartridge out and put in the Moonraker cartridge (with the system still on), and then restart the system. I’m a little iffy with doing this, as it sounds like it could either damage your Moonraker cart, your Space Harrier II cart, your Genesis or any combination of the above. The Game for the GameBreaker’s column this issue (strategies for beating the final boss and the ending cutscene) is Battletoads, which is probably one of the games for this column which very few people reached the end of – at least people with lives (and who didn’t want to spend hours memorizing that damn speeder bike level).

Short ProShots & ProNews: Alright, we’ve got our short several paragraph game previews. Of note this issue is Super NES Play Action Football (which I played a lot of as a kid, though not as much as NES Play Action Football – I never owned a SNES and still don’t own one – something I need to rectify), Earnest Evans, a port of Missile Command for the Game Boy (which, I must admit, has lost some of it’s political weight by this time. In the news, NEC and Hudson have partnered up for game development for the TG-16, forming a company called Turbo Technologies Inc., which will basically be a first party developer for TurboGrafx consoles. There’s also the previously mentioned region coding for Sega-CD and Mega-CD games. Accolade is counter-suing Sega as part of their dispute over Accolade’s unlicenced Sega Genesis games. Square also has 2 upcoming titles they’re working on for the SNES – Final Fantasy III (which, judging by the timeline, I suspect is actually either Final Fantasy Mystic Quest or Final Fantasy V – which ultimately doesn’t come out in the US, and a “romantic saga roleplaying game” which doesn’t play the same way twice – which would mean that it’s Romancing SaGa, which is something else entirely.

And that wraps up this issue. Tommorow I’ll have another movie review for you.