Well, we’re starting off this issue of EGM, number 48 (we have continuity again!) for July of 1993, off with one of the magazine’s first gatefold covers, featuring the sequel to Desert Strike – Jungle Strike, as well as the upcoming Jurassic Park games, with the cover opening up to reveal basically a 2-page spread of Jungle Strike art. By the way, after the rather small last issue of GamePro, this issue of EGM is absolutely gargantuan, weighing in at 183 pages.
Editorial: This issue Steve basically has a discussoion of what he seeas as the state of the industry, commenting that bigger and better thigns are to come, and giving his thanks to the people who have helped the magazine get this far. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Steve was moving on or something, from the tone of the editorial column – but I know better.
Letters: We start off with some discussion of the first Ranma 1/2 game and Street Combat with questions about whether any actual Ranma 1/2 games will come out in the US. The staff expresses skepticism, unless the rights can bee worked out. Fortunately, they are worked out, Viz gets the licence, and the Ranma 1/2 games come out in the US. Now, while the Ranma series has been done with for quite some time, I wouldn’t mind if we got a HD Ranma 1/2 game for the PSP, DS, or hell, even X-Box Live Arcade or the Playstation Network, with all the recurring cast members from the show who fought (and there were a lot of them). It would also give some of the cast members from the show who didn’t get appearances in fighting games (from what I remember Tatewaki Kuno – “The Blue Thunder* of Furikahn High” and Kodachi Kuno – “The Black Rose” have not appeared in any of the Ranma 1/2 games). We also get letters about typos in screen shots of Street Fighter II for the Genesis (The cart isn’t finished yet, so cut them some slack), and the rumors of impending death of the Atari Lynx (the rumors, by the way, are not exaggerated, Atari starts phasing out the Lynx in 1994 and stopped developing for it in 1996).
We also get letters responding to a previous column by Phil Mushnick of the New York Post decrying violence in video games. I don’t know when this column was published, and nobody’s printing the date the issue was published. If anyone knows when this column was published and if it’s available online, please let me know with the link. We get a similar letter in support of Mushnick’s column from a parent. While games have gotten more violent since this period, I don’t know if any of Muchnick’s complaints were addressed (particularly if he had any complaints about notifying parents about violent content. We also get coverage of the Barcode battler, which is, basically, Pokemon except it only has the 2-player duel mode, rather than any single player content, with characters created by scanning barcodes of consumer products. Hmm… I wonder what kind of character might come out of my copy of Exalted.
Review Crew: Same roster as usual – Steve, Ed, Martin, and Sushi-X.
- Pokey & Rocky (SNES, Natsume): This is a sort of action game where you play as either a Tanuki named Rocky (Manuke in the Japanese version), or a Shrine maiden named Pocky (Sayo-chan in the Japanese version), where you try to find out why the local Goblins have been driven crazy, using various items (o-fuda and a purification rod for Pocky, and leaves and his tail for Rocky). Ed & Sushi give the game 8s as they like the co-op aspect and the capability to defend yourself from projectiles. Steve and Martin give the game 9s for the same reasons. Overall: 34/40 and the game gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Super Black Bass (SNES, Hot-B): It’s a fishing game. Martin gives it a 6, finding it an enjoyable fishing game, though Fishing games aren’t for everyone. Everyone else gives it 7s, finding it, again, a good fishing game – if you like fishing games. Overall: 27/40.
- Tuff E Nuff (SNES, Jaleco): Well, now it must be the 90s, because we’ve now got fighting games with titles that can best be described as imbicilic. Unfortuntely, the game isn’t too bad, so I can’t make a bitter and unwitty segue to the actual review scores. Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, finding the graphics and control decent, though sound isn’t so hot. Steve and Martin give the game 8s, not having problems with the sound (though Martin is a little disappointed by the rather small roster of fighters). Overall: 30/40.
- WWF Royal Rumble (SNES, LJN): Well, another year, another wrestling game with the WWF licence on it. 7s across the board, particularly lauding the ability to have 6 wrestlers in the ring at one time with little to no slowdown, and Steve finding Tag Team matches a “novel idea”. Um… this isn’t the first wrestling game to have tag team wrestling, but I’ll let that slide. Overall: 28/40.
- Davis Cup (Genesis, Tengen): We’ve got tennis game for the Genesis. Steve finds it to be a decent tennis game, though the AI is a little too good, and the controls are a little difficult to handle. Everyone else gives it 7s, and they don’t mention the control and AI problems. Overall: 27/40.
- Jungle Strike (Genesis, Electronic Arts): Desert Strike did well, so it’s getting a sequel. The game gets 8s across the board, and is lauded for the larger levels, more mission types, and a selection of different vehicles. Though Sushi says that he “loved” Desert Strike – though I recall that he reviewed the game down because he felt the game came out “too soon” after Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Overall: 32/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Ninja Warriors (Sega CD, Taito): Action brawler. It gets a 4 from Martin, 5 from Steve, and a 6 from Sushi for basically the same reasons, poor graphics, poor gameplay, worse sound, though it’s got decent music. Ed gives the game an 8 – finding the game easy, but not so easy that it would discourage players? I was never discouraged from playing a game by it being too easy – I was discouraged from playing a game by it being too hard. Overall: 23/40.
- Ecco CD (Sega CD, Sega): It’s Ecco the Dolphin with CD quality sound. Sushi gives it 6, finding it no better than the cartridge version, save the sound, bringing up the “why does this game need to be on CD” fallacy. Steve and Martin give the game 8 for basically the same reasons, and Ed gives it a 9 basically saying that the improved music and sound quality makes the game better. Overall: 31/40.
- Exiles: Wicked Phenominon (Duo, Working Designs): An adventure game, a sequel to the original Exile. Ed gives it an 8, finding an excellent game, and commenting on the lack of poor voice acting. Everyone else gives it 7s, lauding it is a good solid RPG, with even Sushi saying that the Turbo Duo has a glut of these in comparison to other, more successful systems (something that will be rectified by the Playstation and Playstation 2). Overall: 29/40.
- Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective II (Duo, TTI): 3 more cases to solve with the (debatably) world’s greatest detective (some could argue that Nero Wolfe, Poirot, or Gil Grissom might be better). This game get 6s across the board, in part due to the lack of replay value (once you’ve solved the cases there’s no reason to want to solve them again – though that arguement could be used against most adventure games, graphical or otherwise). Overall: 24/40.
- Bases Loaded 4 (NES, Jaleco): Jaleco’s long running baseball franchise continues. Steve and Martin give the game 5s, finding the sound, graphics, and control poor, and considering the number of baseball games with licenced rosters, there’s no reason to have this one. Ed gives it a 6 for basically the same reasons, except he doesn’t mention the non-licenced stats. Sushi gives it a 7, but from the text of his review, he likes the game even less than everyone else does. This is a bit of a difference from him giving very harsh scores to games in genres he doesn’t like because of the nature of the genre. Overall: 23/40.
- World Heroes 2 (Neo-Geo, Alpha): The off-the-wall fighting game gets a sequel, one that gets 8s across the board – which is good, because it’s probably going to cost you $300 in 1992 dollars to get it. Overall: 32/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (Game Boy, Absolute): It’s a sort of spaceship simulation game using the Enterprise D and her crew. Steve & Martin give the game a 6 and 5 (respectively) for the same reason – the game’s heart is in the right place, and the concepts are good, but the Game Boy is the wrong platform for it entirely. Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, with Ed complaining about screen blur at warp, and Sushi not mentioning it because he’s given up on playing on the actual Game Boy, and has switched to the Wide Boy for all his Game Boy playing. Overall: 25/40.
- Battletoads: Ragnarock’s World (Game Boy, Tradewest): Another Battletoads brawler, though you can only play as one toad (which, technically, would make it a “Battletoad” game). Sushi finds it identical to the home console games in the series in all the right – and wrong, ways, aside from the problems with the display, and gives it a 7. Everyone else gives it 8s, finding it to be a decent game. Overall: 31/40.
- Streets of Rage II (Game Gear, Sega): They’ve ported Streets of Rage to the hand-held system. The game gets 8s across the board, considering it to be a solid port of the Genesis version. Overall: 32/40.
- Surf Ninjas (Game Gear, Sega): Yeah, it’s a fighting game that’s, basically, an advertisement for the movie – which is also an advertisement for the game. It’s like The Wizard only worse! I am legitmately surprised that this game hasn’t been reviewed by the AVGN yet, and I’d like to put an challenge out there for the AVGN to review this. Anyway, Sushi gives the game a 6, commenting that something about it reminded him of a bad B Movie. Oh if only you knew… Ed and Martin give the game 7s, finding it not as good as Streets of Rage 2, but still decent. Steve gives it an 8, finding the title misleading (you’ll find out what it means soon enough), but considering it a good fighting game, and hoping it goes 16-bit (it won’t – because of the movie tie-in). Overall: 28/40.
Gaming Gossip: Another issue, another string of rumors.
- Capcom is going to release Street Fighter II Turbo before Street Fighter II Championship Edition for the Genesis – and planned this from the beginning, even though they announced the Genesis game first. Hit! though given with reservations. I can confirm the release dates, I cannot confirm if the release dates were set internally at Capcom before they were announced. If they deliberatly announced the Genesis release date before the earlier SNES release date, then that was a dick move.
- Capcom is also working on a live-action Street Fighter movie for release in 1994 – well, the Live-Action movie did come out in 1994, as did the first animated film, so Hit!
- There are upcoming plans for us live action versions of Godzilla & Akira. I’m giving this a Hit!, due to the Godzilla film with Matthew Broderick, and that there have been plans for a live action Akira, though it’s been in Development Hell for years.
- The 16-bit Mega Man games are going to be under a new title – Mega Man X, which are set even further in the future. Hit!.
Not bad for Q-Mann this issue – getting a batting average of 1.000. Not bad at all.
EGM Express: The 3DO has been unveiled. We get a run-down of it’s specifications, and some notes on some of the upcoming games for the system, including 32-bit versions of Madden, Road Rash, and PGA Tour Golf. We get some additional coverage of the Genesis 2 and Sega CD 2 as well, and of STD Entertainment’s new controller which can be programmed with moves, and has some moves built in (including the Dragon Punch motion).
Leading Edge: We’re starting off with Capcom’s new arcade action game – Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, which makes about as much sense as Tyrannosaurs in F-16s (it’s actually based off a series of graphic novels called Xenozoic Tales, which lasted for about 9 years and was published by Kitchen Sink Press, the same company that published The Crow). There’s also, of note a submarine themed shump titled In The Hunt. I also want to take a moment to mention an interesting little ad they’ve got for the Jurassic Park game that basically looks like it’s taken out of one of Doring Kindserly’s Eyewitness Books.
International Outlook: We’re starting off with a pretty notable title – Shining Force II from Sega. We’ve also got a Macross shump, and a Ys IV: Dawn of Ys. There’s also the Ranma 1/2 RPG (which I’ve been looking for a translated rom of. I’d found the Sailor Moon RPG for the SNES, but not the Ranma 1/2 one).
Tips & Tricks: Not much of note here, as usual. They have a way to change Brawl Brothers to the Japanese version (Rushing Beat).
Next Wave: Our upcoming titles of note are Super Mario All-Stars (which is still listed as Super Mario Collection), Street Fighter II Turbo for the SNES, Castlevania: Bloodlines for the Genesis, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters for the SNES, NES & Genesis, Sonic CD for the Mega CD (with what appears to be art of what would be come Amy Rose), and the real-time strategy game Dune II for the Sega CD (ported by Virgin). We’ve also got Sim Ant, Clay Fighter, and Robocop vs. Terminator for the SNES.
Previews: We’re starting off with our coverage of Jungle Strike for the Genesis, which actually has a bit more enviroments to it than the Jungle, which is a nice change. We’ve got a map of the first level, and descriptions of some of the later levels. Next up is Jurassic Park for the NES, with a map of the first over-world (the Game Boy version, by the way, is pretty similar from the NES version, but with no color, worse graphics, and a smaller field of vision).
Moving on to our main coverage, and the SNES, we’ve got our preview of Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, which is a sequel to the first Battletoads game (possibly the first direct sequel). There’s also WWF Royal Rumble, which gives us the complete roster for the game. Konami’s got NFL Football for the SNES, which has a fairly complete line-up of teams. Jaleco’s got the shooter Operation Logic Bomb, which looks interesting due to it’s interesting gameplay. Next up is Zombies Ate My Neighbors, which is fun (I’ve played it) but I got lost playing it on occasion). There’s Cacoma Night in Buzyland, which is interesting – it’s a kind of puzzle game, where you try to restore the world by squaring off segments with chalk. The SNES is also getting an licenced Alien 3 game.
Moving on to the Genesis, it’s getting it’s own Jurassic Park game, one that’s an actual action-platformer as opposed a top-down action game like the NES version. There’s also an Young Indiana Jones game coming out, titled Instrements of Chaos – I must admit I haven’t watched the show before. The Genesis also has the mascot platformer Socket, and a port of Sid Meier’s Pirates! Gold (which is the gold version of the game), I’ve played this game, and it’s pretty fun. There’s also the olympic sports game Summer Challenge. We’ve also got an action mascot platformer with a pirate theme called High Seas Havoc. The Sega CD is also getting a licenced game based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula – the AVGN reviewed this in his Dracula Episode, and in short it sucks. It sucks hard. We also have a preview of Ecco the Dolphin CD.
Moving on to the Turbo Duo, we’ve got the preview of the action game Camp California a mascot platformer with a “no nukes” bent. The NES has Bubble Bobble 2 coming up. The Neo-Geo has World Heroes 2 (which was reviewed earlier). The Game Boy is geting a F1 racing game in Nigel Mansell’s World Championship Racing, and we get some very small maps for most of the levels, and it’s also getting a Speedy Gonzales platformer. Moving on to the Game Gear we’ve got a preview of Streets of Rage II and Surf Ninjas with maps of the first few levels.
EGM Express: X-Men’s doing great, Hasbro is putting out Street Fighter figures, using a similar design to the G.I. Joe figures. We’re also getting a series of Star Wars short novels for young readers – which suck ass (this would be the Triclops series), yet strangely has not totally been excised from continuity. Jaws is getting added to the Universal Studios tour (and will be totally unconvincing). Oh, and Rollerblading is popular now! We also get some more coverage of the Jurassic Park film. Oh, and before we get to really wrapping up the issue, just to show how bad 3rd party comics were getting at the time, we have an ad for Image and Valiant comics big crossover event, Deathmate, which kind of blew up in both companies faces (Short run-down on Wikipedia). And that’s it for this issue. Next ups is another recap of Nintendo Power.