Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #49
Editorial: Summer CES is coming, and with it our first glimpses at everyone’s christmas lineups (though Tokyo Game Show and E3 have taken this niche more recently, with game content kind of disappearing from CES, after CES went to one show a year, instead of two).
Letters: We get a letter talking about how great the last CES was, and how awesome EGM’s booth was (flattery will get you everywhere). Also, we get a question about Street Fighter II: Championship Edition for the Genesis becoming the Special Championship Edition instead (short version, they’re getting the extra content from the SNES version, like Cammy, Thunder Hawk, and Dee-Jay. We also have a guy complaining about Sega’s upcoming game rating system – they’re not censoring the games you dolt, they’re just putting ratings on them, like there are on movies. Oh, and get used to ratings on games, because Sega’s rating system, with a few alterations, is the rating system we have today. Tough rocks, pal. Also, it’s likely that the Turbo Duo version of Street Fighter II won’t be coming out in the states, which is unfortunate. If it had gotten Street Fighter II (and possibly Mortal Kombat), it might have helped help keep the system going longer (particularly if it was a good port of the game)
- Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES, Konami): This horror movie action game spoof gets 9s across the board, with the game getting lauded for it’s sound, graphics, and character design (saying that playing “spot the horror movie reference” makes things even more fun). Overall: 36/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Platinum Award.
- Alien 3 (SNES, LJN): A bit of a Metroidvania game based on the Aliens franchise, with a bit of a GTA hub structure. I’ve played this, and I’d say it’s probably one of the best games LJN ever put out. That’s not saying much, but it still bears mentioning. The game gets 8s across the board, with some complaints of the game getting repetitive (and I also found myself getting lost a bunch as well). Overall: 32/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (SNES, Tradewest): It’s a Battletoads game, with everything that it entails. It also gets 8s across the board apparently there’s some control and animation problems (particularly with the characters sliding forward on some attacks, which can lead to getting yourself killed). Overall: 32/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- NFL Football (SNES, Konami): Football game. The game gets 6s from Steve and Martin and a 5 from Sushi due to the game’s control and interface problems (particularly related to some of the camera rotation effects.) Ed’s review is more favorable, with a 7, due to some graphical hiccups. Overall: 24/40.
- Troddlers (SNES, Seika): It’s a Lemmings clone, but it’s also one that’s compatible with the SNES mouse (which doesn’t give you quite full mouse and keyboard support, but apparently it makes things easier). Steve, Martin, and Sushi give the game 7s, based on the poor controls – unless you have the mouse, at which point the game controls much more smoothly. Ed gives the game an 8 for the same reasons everyone else gave it 7s. Overall: 29/40.
- B.O.B. (Genesis, Electronic Arts): Action shooter/platformer, a port of the Genesis version (though the ad copy is for the SNES version). The game gets 6s from Steve, Ed, and Sushi, due to lack of enemies in the levels (apparently not just a variety of enemies, which in turn makes the levels somewhat dull and boring. Martin gives the game a 7 due to the game getting somewhat repetative, but he doesn’t voice any more complaints than that. Overall: 25/40.
- PTO: Pacific Theater of Operations (Koei, Genesis): Koei’s got a turn-based strategy game based on the Pacific Theater of World War II. I’m going to presume this came out of Koei USA, as they were working on some of their own strategy game franchises as well. The game gets 6s from Steve, Martin, and Sushi. This type of game isn’t Sushi or Martin’s cup of tea, while Steve doesn’t find that this is the best platform for this game, instead with it needing something better (not surprising, this type of game works best on PCs – however, the PC is practically dead as a gaming platform in Japan at the moment) – I suspect the mid-to-late-90s FPS boom was partially responcible, but I can’t give a definite on that. Ed gives the game a 7, based on how much meat there is to the game, though gamers new to this genre might find it intimidating. Overall: 25/40.
- Pirates! Gold (Genesis, Micropose): Sid Meier’s Pirates game has come to consoles for the first time. Ed gives this one a 6 for an odd reason (in the context of his review of PTO) – he considers the game too complicated for younger players (if you thought this game was complicated, this is nothing in comparison with PTO (okay, that’s not entirely true, the ship battles are fought in real time, requiring you to keep track of a few things at once to be a competant captain). Steve, Martin, and Sushi, on the other hand, give the game 7s, due to excellent graphics, despite the choppy control for the sword duels, though the game’s got a password mode instead of a save option. Oh, and yes, you read that right – the Ninja likes the Pirate game. It wasn’t always like it is now, in these dark, intolerant times, when Ninjas and Pirates are seperated by bounds of bigotry and hatred. Overall: 27/40.
- Toys (Genesis, Absolute): Licenced action game based on the flop Robin Williams movie, where you try to stop the production of eeeevilll war toys. The game gets 4s from Sushi & Martin, finding the game rather dull and boring, with little in gameplay variety or enemy variety, and the camera angle is awkward as well. Steve gives the game a 5 and Ed gives it a 6 for the same reasons. Overall: 19/40.
- Robo Aleste (Sega CD, Tengen): Sort of steampunk Mecha Shump. Steve, Martin, and Sushi give the game 7s for great graphics and weapons but frustrating difficulty and generic bosses. Ed gives the game an 8, also lauding the graphics & weapons, but without the difficulty or boss complaints. Overall: 29/40.
- Bubble Bobble 2 (NES, Taito): The platforming puzzle game gets a sequel, which gets 7s across the board for its solid gameplay and graphics, though it’s control is a little awkward. Overall: 28/40.
- Mighty Final Fight (NES, Capcom): Capcom has put out a Super Deformed version of Final Fight for the NES. Kawaii! Ed gives the game a 6, finding the gameplay good, but yet again it’s missing 2-player and there’s some graphical breakup, which is unfortunate. I could imagine some really cute animations with the 2d fighters in 2-player mode. Considering how well Castle Crashers did, maybe Capcom should do a remake of this with HD graphics, while preserving the Super Deformed look, and making it more humorous, cute, and generally tongue in cheek. Anyway, Martin and Sushi give it 7s, saying they love it, though Martin can’t put his finger on why (you can’t resist the cuteness). Steve gives it an 8, also loving the game in spite of the graphical breakup. Overall: 28/40.
- Nigel Mansell World Championship Racing (Game Boy, GameTek): It’s a racing game for the Game Boy, which is not a good sign. Steve and Sushi give the game 5s – and Sushi doesn’t bitch about the horrible graphics on the Game Boy this time (thank God Nintendo got him a Wide Boy) though Steve does comment that the scrolling is choppy in this game, and Sushi did have some problems retaining his focus on the screen in this game. Martin gives the game a 6 due to a limtied view of the road, and blurring on screen, though it does have a lot of customziation options and a broad track selection. Ed, on the other hand, thinks the graphics are decent (aside from a little blurring) and the control is near perfict and gives it a 7. Overall: 23/40.
- Speedy Gonzales (Game Boy, Sunsoft): Licenced platformer. The game gets 7s across the board for great control and graphics (for the Game Boy). Overall: 28/40.
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Game Boy, Nintendo): Do I need to tell you what this game is? Steve, Ed, and Sushi give the game 8s for basically being as close to Link To The Past as you can get on the Game Boy, and Martin gives the game a 9 for the same reason. Overall: 33/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- WWF Steel Cage Challenge (Game Gear, Flying Edge): It’s a WWF game. Steve and Sushi give the game 5s – Steve because he wasn’t much of a wrestling game fan to begin with, and the graphics on this one doesn’t help things any (Sushi pretty much says the same thing – except he likes wrestling games). Martin gives the game a 6, finding the graphics and gameplay good, though the game gets old kind of quick. Ed gives the game a 7, finding the graphics choppy and animations slow, but otherwise likes the game. Overall: 23/40.
Gaming Gossip: For issue 12, Q-Mann was batting 1.000. As we move back to more recent issues, we’ll see how he does this time.
- Bandai is working on a portible SNES! Hit! Bandai showed it off at the 1993 Winter CES, and the model they had on display was rather large, though it was a prototype. The unit operated off a sort of notebook computer/laptop design. Though, as you’d expect with these kind of things, Nintendo ended up killing it. We still haven’t got any hand held versions of the SNES yet, though we did get a hand-held NES, which is currently for sale at ThinkGeek.
- Hudson is working on a new 32-bit console, kicking things up a step up from the Turbo Duo (god, they’ve been going through a lot of SKUs). Hit! The system, which is currently codenamed IronMan/Tetsujin, will be later relased as the PC-FX – which never comes out in the US and is NEC/Hudson’s last console they put out.
- Konami is going to bundle a light gun of their own with Lethal Enforcers. Hit! It’s also one the first light guns in the US that to be shaped like real guns.
- We’re getting live action film adaptations of Double Dragon and Street Fighter II. Unfortunately, that’s a Hit!
Well, once again, Q-Mann gets 1.000. Good for you.
EGM Express: The 3D0 is getting some additional titles in it’s lineup, including ports of Road Rash & Battle Chess. Atari has also announced the Atari Jaguar, which will support cartridges and CDs through a seperate attachment (which had a fairly high failure rate). Sega’s also working on a Virtual Reality system, complete with clunky goggles.
Leading Edge: Our cover story is Sonic the Hedgehog Arcade, which later comes to home consoles as Sonic 3D which is ugly and clunky as hell (it’s on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection if you want to play it – if you don’t have it I reccomend getting it anyway, there are some pretty good games on it – and it’s overall cheaper to get that than to buy them all through PSN, XBLA, the Virtual Console).
The Game Doctor: We’ve got questions on what a sleeper hit is, what the Sega Channel will shape out to be (it’s still being nailed down at the moment, so the Doc can’t give a straight answer), and how a game on a 16-bit system can have more bits on the cartridge than the processor, allegedly, can support (data compression).
International Outlook: The first game we’ve got in the article is a doozy – Phantasy Star IV, and it looks great. Sonic II is coming to the Game Gear as well, allowing you to finally play as Tails on the go. We also get a nice sidebar about video game music CDs (with Street Fighter II and Dragon Quest soundtracks getting featured). Other titles of note are Columns III (which has 5-player multi-player), the Jetpack shump Trouble Shooter II, Vampire Killer: Dracula X for the Sega CD (which, IIRC, is Rondo of Blood, which was released in the US with a re-translated version of Symphony of the Night as Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP.
Tricks of the Trade: Again, not much of note here. There is a nice invulnerability cheat for Shadow of the Beast for the Turbo Duo though.
Behind The Screen: We’ve got a featured article about the making of Sonic CD. Nice! The game apparently has a more in-depth storyline than Sonic 1 & 2, and will also involve time-travel to prevent something horrible from happening (something that is later borrowed for Sonic The Hedgehog on the PS3 and 360).
Sunsoft’s Upcoming Lineup: We get a rundown of Sunsoft’s upcoming lineup, including a preview of Aero The Acrobat for the SNES and Genesis. We don’t get level maps, but we do get little blurbs on the themes of various levels. There’s also a SNES port of World Heroes and a couple of Beauty & The Beast licenced games for the Genesis, and two Warner Brothers cartoon themed games in Duck Dodgers: The Martian Missions, and Rabbit Rampage which is probably the only Looney Toons game (aside from the more recent Duck Amuck game for the DS) to draw extremely heavily from existing Looney Toons cartoons.
General Previews: We’re starting off with the SNES, and a preview of what’s coming in Street Fighter II Turbo, with bios of all the characters. My mistake, Thunder Hawk, Dee-Jay, Cammy and the other characters aren’t in this version. That must be Super Street Fighter II Turbo, the next revision. Next we bounce back to the NES and Mega Man 6, which now allows you to charge up the Mega Buster to do even more damage (which also causes some problems with it making using the other bosses weapons unnecessary). We also get a sidebar with 1 screenshot each of Mega Man 4 for the Game Boy and Mega Man X for the SNES. We get another featured article on the upcoming Aladdin licenced games for the SNES and Genesis (which had some pretty fluid animation, if I recall). Moving back to the SNES, we’ve got preview coverage of Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and information on the enviroments of stages 1 through 12 (which basically covers all of the Hoth portion of the movie). We also get some profiles of the fighters for Clay Fighter for the SNES, which doesn’t really tell us very much.
We also, finally, get some somewhat in-depth coverage of Super Mario All Stars including some level maps of the Lost Levels – though they do not warn you about the Death Mushroom, which will lead to some unpleasant surprises. We also get some level maps of Battletoads vs. Double Dragon. Also, slowly, the SNES is getting other SNK fighting games, with Art of Fighting getting a port. I wonder how the zoom will work for the SNES. Next up is the Cool Spot platformer, featuring 7-up’s one time mascot (I actually liked that mascot, by the way). Then there’s Claymates, a clay-themed platformer this time. Well, this is the heyday of the California Rasins, Claymation, and Will Vinton (here in Portland), so all the clay themed games isn’t too surprising. Speaking of popular franchises, Bomberman has come to the SNES with Super Bomberman, yay – though it also means that the TurboDuo’s only really remaining exclusive mascot character is no longer exclusive anymore. Tradewest’s got another mascot platformer of their own (as if the Battletoads weren’t enough of a mascot), in Plok.
We also get our first preview of Eternal Champions, for the Genesis, one of the first games to try to take advantage of the Activator Motion Control system (the peripheral which most gamers of my generation have traumatic flashbacks too whenever we see the Project Natal demo). The Genesis is also getting a lower screen resolution port of Virtua Racing, which is preferably going to show up on the CD instead of a cartridge (because this would look horrible on a cartridge.) Tengen’s also got a sequel to their hit fighter Pit Fighter, which was the first fighting game to feature digitized characters instead of your standard sprites, appropriately titled Pit Fighter II. Virgin’s also got a platformer based on another older Disney movie in The Jungle Book, and there’s a sequel to Chuck Rock coming out, titled (creatively) Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck. Just to show how creative it is, the game feature’s Chuck’s son, who is unnamed, but is a Caveman youth with a rather large head, though he uses a club instead of a headbutt, thus making him a mixture of Bonk and Bam-Bam, instead of just a Bam-Bam or Bonk ripoff. We also get a preview of Sonic Spinball (a Sonic Pinball game), and the racing game Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Moving on to the Sega CD, we’ve got a preview/review/thingie on Sonic CD, with stills of the animated cutscenes, images of the bosses (which aren’t all just Doctor Robotnick/Eggman in various vehicles), and some of the levels. We also have a preview of Rebel Assault (I liked Rebel Assault II more), and shump Slipheed (which Square Enix later got the rights for – and they later put out a 360 game in the series titled Project Slipheed). The Turbo Duo’s also got a Macross shump, titled Macross for it’s Japanese release, and Robotech 2038 for it’s US release (thank you, Harmony Gold) and in the US version it’s a sequel to the original series (I can’t find anything out about the Japanese version). We’ve also got a preview of Link’s Awakening, including a map of the first dungeon. Continuing to the hand held systems, the Game Gear is getting a Jurassic Park game, once that’s using the side-scrolling style from the Genesis version of the game, rather than the top-down styles from the NES & Game Boy versions.
EGM Lifestyles: Almost done with the issue. AT&T has announced their EO 440 Personal communicator, which is basically a prototype of the modern tablet PCs and PDAs. Also, with the rise of CDs is the need of places to store them, leading to the first CD towers. Nowadays, such things are not only no longer a big deal, but thinking your CD Tower is a big deal in it’s own right is kind of weird. We’re also getting a new speed racer series, and Panasonic has a telephone watch (which probably doesn’t work very well, though now, with Bluetooth such a watch might become more feasible. That said, you can get some rather impressive watches these days. We also get a one page (and uninformative article) about special effects in movies like Cliffhanger, Jurassic Park, and Last Action Hero. And that wraps up the issue. Tommorow we’ll have the last issue of Nintendo Power’s second year, before they do their second format adjustment.