So, our Nintendo Power recaps continue and, since yesterday’s recap of EGM was filling a gap in the issues I’ve reviewed, I’d say I’m catching up. The fact that Nintendo Power is, at this point in it’s life, bi-monthly helps make it easier for it to catch up. This issue of Nintendo Power, for example (#11), is the second-to-last issue of it’s second year, and brings us into 1990. I’m still 2-3 years behind everyone else, but if it stays as bi-monthly for a few more years of the magazine’s life, I’ll be able to catch up more quickly. Anyway, this issue is about 102 pages long, and features Super Mario Bros 3 on the cover. No, the game isn’t going to be my Quality Control pick. It’s Super Mario Bros 3, of course it’s going to be good. Nor will Silent Service be my pick – I played the crap out of it when I was a kid and I loved it. So, maybe something else will be my pick.
(Opens the magazine) I just had to open my big mouth. Nintendo Power is now, essentially, going monthly. They magazine proper is now going monthly, but now they’re doing special strategy guide issues in the down months. Being that the magazine already is heavy on the strategy guides, which thus basically serve as marketing by showing how cool the games are… things just got busy. Unless I can’t find copies of the strategy guide issues, then it’s business as usual. (Looks online) Yep, I can find the strategy guides. Well then, I’ll be recapping those. Depending on how the strategy guides work out, I may have to adjust my criteria for the Quality Control columns then. We’ll see.
Letters: We have a great story from a letter about this one family who kept the NES in the basement, and when their basement flooded (because a pipe burst), the NES still worked afterwards. So, it will survive getting run over. It will survive being in a flooded basement. If you actually use the thing though, the pins get bent.
Super Mario Bros 3 Strategy Guide: We start off with maps of World 1 & 2, as well as descriptions of what all the power-ups do. We also get a lame reference to the Morton Downey Jr. Show, which I’m surprised they made in this magazine – considering Downey Jr. made Glenn Beck look like Mother Theresa, even before he beat himself up and drew swastikas on his face. We also get images of the overworld maps for Worlds 3-7.
Silent Service Guide: Well, we’re getting a strategy guide for Sid Meier’s submarine sim (note, Sid – I know you’ve been putting a lot into Civ, but your Pirates revival did well, how about a Silent Service revival? Anyway, I didn’t know about the releasing debris trick, but that’s a trick I don’t think I knew about on the Atari version, much less the NES version.
Winter CES Feature: Winter CES has come and gone, and now we get to talk about all the neat stuff that was showed off. We get lots of titles getting showed off, but they don’t really feature any, just dropping lots of names, unfortunately.
Pinbot Guide: The NES is getting a new pinball game, adapted from Williams smash hit pinball table. They’ve made some adjustments to the game so it’s not identical to the Pinbot table (adding a few modes of play and variants to the table). But, otherwise, it’s pretty much Pinbot.
720 Guide: So, previously, we’ve covered Skate or Die for skateboarding fans. Well, now we’ve got a second exclusively skateboarding game, in 720. Now, this one, like Skate or Die has a series of events you can play, but in the course of these events you can earn money to upgrade your gear.
A Boy & His Blob Guide: It’s by game by Dave Perry, it’s a puzzle-platformer, and it’s currently getting re-made for Wii-Ware. We get maps of the first few levels, and we get some information on what some of the beans do (just about all of them except Orange).
Howard & Nester: This issue Howard and Nester are actually working togeather! They’re playing a two-player volleyball game (I didn’t catch the name), and they’re getting their but kicked by the computer. Howard reccomends that Nester not play so close to the net, but it doesn’t work out so well.
Wrath of the Black Manta Guide: Well, it’s a Ninja Gaiden-style action platformer. Originally the game was actually supposed to (in its US release) the Aquaman villain Black Manta, with the last boss being Aquaman, until they decided to make him a realistic, yet generic, ninja. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The bosses look pretty physically large though. I may give this game a try.
Astyanax Guide: This is a fantasy action-platformer game. It looks interesting, though I don’t like the lack of reach on the sword in the images. We get a selection of levels (not all one after another)
Top 30: It’s that time again, to see how the rankings worked out.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (7,754 pts.) – No change (6 issues)
- Mega Man II (6,520 pts.) – Up 4 (7 issues)
- Super Mario Bros 2. (5,390 pts.) – No Change (10 issues)
- Zelda II (5,196 pts.) – Down 2 (10 issues)
- Dragon Warrior (4,441 pts.) – No Change (3 issues)
- Legend of Zelda (4,210 pts.) – Up 1 (11 issues)
- Super Mario Bros. 3 (3,754 pts.) – Up 6 (2 issues)
- Ninja Gaiden (3,619 pts.) – Down 4 (5 issues)
- Duck Tales (3,477 pts.) – New!
- Tecmo Bowl (3,460 pts.) – Up 1 (6 issues)
- Bionic Commando (2,947 pts.) – Down 3 (8 issues)
- Tetris (2,662 pts.) – New (though not marked as such)
- Marble Madness (2,562 pts.) – Up 1 (2 issues)
- Mega Man (2,427 pts.) – Up 4 (11 issues)
- Faxanadu (2,334 pts.) – Down 6 (3 issues)
- Metroid (1,820 pts.) – Up 4 (11 issues)
- Strider (1,761 pts.) – Down 2 (3 issues)
- Blades of Steel (1,759 pts.) – Up 8 (6 issues)
- Contra (1,734 pts.) – Up 8 (11 issues)
- Bad Dudes (1,666 pts.) – Down 4 (6 issues)
- The Guardian legend (1,610 pts.) – Up 9 (4 issues)
- California Games (1,562 pts.) – New!
- Paperboy (1,545 pts.) – New!
- Goal! (1,482 pts.) – New!
- Robocop (1,459 pts.) – Down 8 (5 issues)
- Nobunaga’s Ambition (1,449 pts.) – Down 14 (3 issues)
- Batman (1,361 pts.) – Down 8 (3 issues)
- Baseball Stars (1,332 pts.) – New!
- Jordan vs. Bird: One-on-One (1,280 pts.) – New!
- Wheel of Fortune (1,111 pts.) – New!
Absent from the list: Blaster Master (7 issues), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1 issue), Castlevania II (6 issues), Ghostbusters (1 issue), Double Dragon (9 issues), Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (10 issues) (this is before the rape charges, by the way, but after he lost the undisputed championship to Buster Douglas), NFL Football (1 issue).
Previews: We get a preview of Final Fantasy, which features the art by Yoshitaka Amano, including a great picture of the Light Warriors facing Garland. By this time Amano had already done some work doing cover art for the Japanese editions of Michael Moorcock’s Elric series. Amazon.com has some of his artbooks..
Next up is Code Name: Viper, which puts you up against an eeeevil drug cartel, in the form of an action-platformer/shooter, along with a preview of Super C (which I haven’t actually played). This issue we’ve also got a nice Super C poster, with a map of the overworld from Dragon Warrior on the other side. We also get a Dragon Warrior Choose Your Own Adventure Game. They describe it as a text adventure, and they expect you to keep track of your HP and MP like in the RPG though. Someone should probably get them a copy of some Fighting Fantasy game books before they try to do something similar for Final Fantasy I.
Game Boy Coverage: We get some coverage of Nemesis for the Game Boy, with several level maps, Malibu Beach Volleyball, World Bowling, Heniankyo Alien, and Boomer’s Adventures in Asmik World, which we’ve seen get the crap advertised out of it in other game magazines, plus a few other things as well. By the way, the amount of coverage they’re giving all these games is significantly less than they’re giving previews of NES games – and the Game Boy has been out for several months. They’re really treating it like a second class citizen in their house magazine. We’ll see if they give it more coverage in their second year.
Yet More Previews: Tecmo’s got their own wrestling game coming out, without a licence, titled, wait for it, Tecmo World Wrestling, mecha shump AbadoX (a Natsume shump licenced by, of all people, Milton Bradley), Bases Loaded II (which I played the crap out of as a kid), Baseball Simulator 1.000 from Culture Brain (another baseball game, but one that goes a little more over the top), Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing, Battle of Olympus from Broderbund, Xenyz an aquatic shump, Rescue: The Embassy Mission, which I also played the crap out of, until I got Rainbow Six.
Councelor’s Corner, Classified Information, Video Shorts: We get questions about Shadowgate, Dragon Warrior, River City Ransom, Legacy of the Wizard, There’s also a 63-lives code for Bad Dudes (which requires two controllers). For Video Shorts, of note we get 8 Eyes, Magic of Scheherazade (an RPG), Commando style shump Heavy Barrel, Marvel’s X-Men, Top Gun II.
NES Journal & Hot Paks: We’ve got more dates for the Nintendo World Championships, and a celebrity profile with Sara Gilbert from the sitcom Rosanne, which I found incredibly annoying as a kid, and still can’t stand now. The games getting mentioned under Hot Paks are Ninja Gaiden II, Crystalis, Rescue Rangers, Golgo 13: The Mafiat Conspiracy.
That basically wraps up the issue – Howard doesn’t have anything of note in his letter this issue. So, for my Pick of the Issue, I’ll be playing Wrath of the Black Manta. Ninja Gaiden has come out, its sequel is on the way, and Ninja Scroll will be coming out in 3 years. We are coming into the height of the Ninja. It’s first renaissance, if you will, and we’ve got a game cashing in on that – all the more to evaluate.