Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #12
Well, we’ve got another slight break in my unbroken streak of EGM. Alas, alack, the world is lost… er, no, not really. The reason we’re doing the break in the series of more recent issues is because I now have EGM #12 for July of 1990, which will fill some of that gap I’ve got between issues 6 and 16 (or at the very least, wrap up the first volume of the magazine. Just to give you a reminder of where we are, chronologically, the first ad of the magazine is from Tengen, with a 2 page spread, advertising releases (on the black, unlicenced cartridges) of NES versions of first party (and classic 3rd party) Sega games, like Shinobi, After Burner, Rolling Thunder, and Fantasy Zone. This amuses me to no end. Anyway, this issue is actually pretty short, only 82 pages long (shorter than some Nintendo Power issues).
Editorial: We’re starting off with further discussion by Steve Harris of the article they ran 4 issues ago (which would be issue 8, which I don’t have yet) comparing the Genesis and TurboGrafx-16, and explaining why they published the article. Now, I need to hunt down issue #8 so I can find out what all the fuss was about.
Letters: We’re starting off with a letter about the Phantasy Star series, and whether Phantasy Star 3 will resolve the cliffhanger set up in Phantasy Star 2 (which I haven’t beaten, yet.) We also get questions about the variant MMC processors that will be used in future NES games, and which ones are going to use what, and why the 16-bit version of Sunsoft’s Batman game isn’t going to come out in the US (or won’t come out for a couple years) – that would be because Nintendo of America is Evil.
Review Crew: Our crew for this issue is Steve Harris, Ed Semrad, Martin Alessi, and making his debut in the magazine – Sushi-X! Let’s give the ninja a big round of applause! Okay, that’s enough – the issue’s almost 19 years old, making that rather silly.
- Ninja Gaiden 2 (NES, Tecmo): Sushi gives the game an 8, finding the game enjoyable, though the re-use of some of the bosses from the first game a let-down. Everyone else gives the game 9s, apparently not having the same problems with boss re-use. Overall: 35/40.
- Rescue Rangers (NES, Capcom): Capcom’s got another Disney licenced platformer. Steve and Ed give the game 7s, with Steve considering the game considerably too easy (which I find odd, considering I and my friends couldn’t beat the first level of the game. Sushi gives the game an 8, considering it to be a good, solid game but not quite good enough for an 9. Ed, on the other hand, thought it was good enough for a 9. Overall: 31/40.
- Bigfoot (NES, Acclaim): It’s a side-scrolling monster truck game. Steve gives the game a 4, finding the game very easy to beat in one sitting (no information on how good the two-player is – if there is 2-player). Ed and Sushi give the game 5s, have similar complaints to Steve, though they also mention problems with poor graphics. Martin a 6, finding decent, but not outstanding. Overall: 20/40.
- Image Fight (NES, Irem): A shump from Irem. Steve and Sushi give the game 7s finding it a good shup with not so hot graphics. Ed and Martin didn’t have the same problems with the graphics, but otherwise like the game, and give 8s. Overall: 30/40.
- Narc (NES, Acclaim): I’ve already told you how I really feel about this game, and I’ll just say that I feel the scores they give are too high (in that they are higher than 1). Ed gives the game a 6, citing poor graphical fidelity and significant on-screen flicker. I will admit for the period the Narc arcade machine looked pretty good, and the characters were responsive, though there was no sense of inertia to their movements. Steve and Martin give the game 7s, with Steve lamenting the lack of blood, while still finding the game bold and exciting. Speaking of which, I have no idea how they got this game past Nintendo’s censors – even if they cut out the blood, and possibly even dropped the pimp level (which would also remove the rather racist overtones of the game), there’s still the matter of all those drugs. Unless they changed the drug imagry too. But, seriously, this game is a perfect example of everything that was wrong with the war on drugs, and though it’s entirely irrational to do so, I’d like to blame this game for the war’s continuation, the increased incarceration of Hispanic and African American youth for drug charges, and the current violence across the border in Mexico. Okay, not the violence across the border – that one’s so thin it’s transparent. Anyway, Sushi gives the game an 8, considering it as close as you can get to an arcade port on the NES, and great for fans of the series. Considering that I consider it a game for the kind of people who grow up and become cops because they to help people and uphold the law, but because want to shoot black people and hispanics, that’s not a point in its favor. Overall: 28/40 (which is 24 points too high).
- Bloody Wolf (TurboGrafx-16, NEC): It’s a Commando/Ikari Warriors/Smash TV type shooter. Gets decent review scores, 7s from Steve and Ed, 8s from Sushi & Martin, all generally positive. Ed mentions that the game is somewhat gory, but with a title like “Bloody Wolf”, you’ve got to expect that. Overall: 30/40.
- Double Dungeon (TurboGrafx-16, NEC): Wizardry-clone, which I suspect is the type of RPG that Steve and Martin really hate (not just RPGs in general) – which means that I hope to god that Steve doesn’t end up reviewing, say, Etrian Odyssey III (or whatever), in the new EGM. Anyway, Steve and Sushi give the game 5s (though, considering some of the later scores Sushi gives to the Might & Magic games, I’d say he warms up to the genre/sub genre), and Ed & Martin give the game 6s, with all of them describing it as a Maze game (which is true – you are mapping and navigating a maze), though some liking it more than others, but no one liking it enough to consider it better than average. Overall: 22/40.
- Curse (Genesis, INTV): Spaceship Shump – one that never actually got a retail release in the US. The game was developed and published by Micronet, and the US release was supposed to be done by INTV – but I can’t find anything out about INTV – all I get when I look for it is Intellivision. The game gets an 8 from Steve, who likes it but finds the actual firing graphics leaves a bit to be desired. Everyone else gives the game 7s, partially because of the graphical problems (with graphics generally being kind of choppy), I like how Martin says the game almost never reached these shores, when, ultimately, it never did reach these shores – at least on store shelves. Overall: 29/40.
- Target Earth (Genesis, Dreamworks): Mecha shump. Sushi gives the game a 5, finding that it has all the pieces necessary for a good game, except the thing is controller breakingly hard. Steve gives the game a 6 for a similar reason. Martin also gives it a 6, but doesn’t mention the difficulty, instead commenting on the poor background design (huh). Ed gives the game a 7 for, basically, the same reasons Sushi gave it a 5 and Steve gave it at 6. Overall: 24/40.
- Double Dragon (Game Boy, Tradewest): It’s Double Dragon. It’s in Greyscale. And this review is apparently before Sushi got fed up with the Game Boy because he, and everyone else, give the game 7s, finding it to be a very good port. Overall: 28/40.
- Slime World (Lynx, Atar): It’s sort of an action/exploration game. The game gets a 5 from Steve, who finds the gameplay rather poor and the sound even worse. Ed doesn’t have any complaints about the sound but has the same problems with the controls and give sit a 6. Martin gives it a 7, finding the gameplay very solid, but the music is rather poor. Just to round things off, Sushi finds the controls sluggish and the definition on the graphics poor, but he finds everything else compensates for it and gives it an 8. Overall: 26/40.
Gaming Gossip: *singing* Here comes Quartermann, here comes quartermann, coming down Quartermann Laaaaaaannnne! *singing*. What?! Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
- So, Nintendo is working on a new 16-bit system, code-named the SNES-SFX in the states, and the Super Famicom in Japan. Hit!
- Konami is unveiling a headset peripheral that lets you use voice commands in various games. Hit!, and it’s covered on AVGN. Though, Q-Mann, “Blow the Commie Pinkos Away”?! This is 1990 when you wrote this, not the ’50s, not the ’60s, not the ’70s, and not the ’80s. Bush is president now, we’re currently in the midst of Glasnost and Perestroika, and the Cold War is coming to an end. Besides, the bad guys in Contra are aliens, not Communists. You disappoint me.
- NEC’s putting out a portable system, code-named the Turbo Express. Hit!
- Commodore has a CD system in the works, as does Phillips. Hit! Phillips has the CD-I, and Commodore Amiga’s working on the Amiga CD32
Batting Average is once again 1.000. Ganbare Quartemann! Keep this up and you shall be remembered forever!
International Outlook: Of note this issue is the Genesis version of Strider, as well as Wolf Team’s shump Whip Rush.
Arcade Alley: The new game getting covered this issue is a little number by the name of Smash TV – not the first twin stick shooter, but one of the most popular aside from Robotron.
EGM Express: We have more details on the specs of the Super Famicom/SNES, which I covered on a later issue of the magazine, which I covered earlier. To be honest, I’m suprised that EGM’s learning anything about this at all. Nintendo these days does a better job covering up new projects than the CIA did under the Bush administration covering up Blacksites. We also get some information on NEC’s Turbo Express, and some brief mention of Nintendo’s Colorboy, which doesn’t actually come out until 1998.
Next Wave: Of note in the lists of upcoming US titles is Wizardry, Klax, Sword of Vermillion, E-Swat, and Final Fantasy Legend (aka SaGa).
Tips of the Trade: Not getting into detail here, and frankly there isn’t anything of note here.
Featured Coverage: We’re starting off with their coverage of Ninja Gaiden II, which I’ve played and beaten… through the use of an emulator and save states (the game is freaking hard!) – though I did get as far as I could before I started with the save states. Anyway, the new game is including (among the new array of power-ups) the the Shadow Clone, which will hopefullly allow for more hurting to be dished out more easily. We then get the coverage of Narc, which looks god freaking awful (way worse than the arcade machine). Low G Man comes next.
We move on to the TurboGrafx-16 and Double Dungeons, and Splatterhouse, before continuing to the Sega Genesis. Continuing with more screen shots of the game’s we’ve already reviewed this issue, we’re starting off with coverage of Curse, which, again, never came out in stores in the US, as well as Super Monaco GP, and the second half of their After Burner coverage (which is pretty short, only one page).
On to the portable systems, we’re starting off with Double Dragon and Cosmotank for the Game Boy, and Xenophobe (a game inspired by Alien) for the Atari Lynx.
We then get the high scores and we wrap up the issue with the ending cutscene for the first Ninja Gaiden game, which will wrap up this issue. Nice, short, and consice, so we can move on to the issues of Nintendo Power, and actually getting some game reviews this time.