Where I Read – Nintendo Power #12
Well, we have now come to the end of Nintendo Power’s second year, with significant changes to come in the magazines’s second year (with it basically becoming a monthly magazine – sort of). This issue (#12 for May-June of 1990) is, as it’s almost always been, of average length for a magazine about 100 pages long, and our cover story is Super C. Once again, we also get some of Nintendo Power’s great cover art. I just want to stress this again – Nintendo Power, when it brings it’s A-Game (as it’s doing right now) puts out better cover art than any contemporanious video game magazine.
Letters: We get a question about why a game costs $40-50 when it only takes 10% of that to manufacture the game (basically, it’s because of all the work that goes into the programming of the game, and the game testing needed to make sure the game works). We also get questions about getting the magazine in a French language edition for Quebec (the person writing the letter reads, speaks and writes french fluently, but his English isn’t nearly as good). Well, considering the small size of the market in Quebec, it’s not economical for Nintendo Power to produce a French edition for just that market and they a similar thing for Spanish. Something tells me that might change in the modern US. While the US isn’t actually a bi-lingual nation, there are enough people who learned Spanish before they learned any other languages to make it feasable.
Final Fantasy Guide: This isn’t the full guide that got bundled with the Final Fantasy game when it was released in the US, but it is a Final Fantasy Guide. Unfortunately, some of the bits about the meat of the game haven’t aged as well, due to the many ports of Final Fantasy for the Game Boy Advance, Playstation Portable, and Playstation 1. All of those adjusted the rules of the game so, for example, it doesn’t use the variation of Vancian magic used in the original game, instead using a communal spell-point pool with higher-level spells using more spell points. Also there are some refinements to the translation, but otherwise that’s about it. This article doesn’t so much have strategies or anything like that, but it does have a bit of a story overview, covering some of the steps the players will take in going through the game. There aren’t a lot of major maps or anything like that, nor spell descriptions, or monster stats. But what this does do is give you ideas on where to go in the game.
Super C Guide: Contra’s getting a sequel… which shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering the game has been on the Nintendo Power Top 30 for the entire run of the magazine thus far. The guide skips the first stage and instead goes to Stage 2 – the first Base. The sequel changes things up by turning the base segments into Commando/Ikari Warriors style top down stages. The guide covers stage 2 all the way to stage 7, the second to last stage.
DinoWarz Guide: This is a side-scrolling action game where you play as a giant dinosaur shaped robot, fighting off against other giant dinosaur shaped creatures. I wonder if this game might have originally had the Getter Robo licence, but the sprite for the main character was changed for the US release. This guide also covers stages 2 through 6.
The Nester Awards – 1989/1990: Well, we didn’t get any information on who was nominated, so I can’t give predictions on who is going to win what award – or even who was nominated, aside from the winner – which also means I can’t provide analysis at the same level as last time! Jerks.
- Best Graphics & Sound: Mega Man II
- Best Challenge: Ninja Gaiden (Can’t argue with that)
- Best Theme, Fun: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Best Play Control: Mega Man II
- Best Character: Link – from Zelda II (not surprised)
- Best Ending: Ninja Gaiden (can’t argue with this one either, considering how the narrative was conveyed – and that there was a narrative in the first place).
- Best Player vs. Player: Tecmo Bowl (can’t argue with this one either, I played the crap out of this with friends as a kid, even after the SNES came out).
- Overall: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – I have to disagree. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was excessively difficult, particularly during the dam segment, which seemed designed to sap you of all your turtles but 1, forcing you to play ultra conservatively on the last levels of the game. I’d give Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man II, or Zelda II the award over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Hopefully I’ll be able to find a ballot or nominee’s list for the 1990 Nester Awards so I can actually provide some better coverage (and predictions).
Howard and Nester: This time, Howard & Nester are going to Research & Development to make sure there aren’t any bugs in Super Mario Bros. 3, just in time to work on finding the warp whistles. Howard makes his way to the Warp Whistle just fine with the assistance of the Tanooki suit. Nester, on the other hand, isn’t much for the whole flying thing, and ends up geting knocked out by a decending cealing of spikes.
Code Name Viper Guide: It’s a Contra style action game where you play as super-spy “Viper”, going up against narcotraffickers in South America. In addition to killing bosses, you also need to rescue hostages (16 gets you a continue), and we also get power-up informaion. We get level maps of levels 1-3, as well as notes on levels 4-7. My bad, we do get maps of stages 4-7, though they don’t have boss strategies. So, that will take you, all the way to the last level, which you’re on your own for.
Burai Fighter Guide: Burai Fighter is a jet-pack Shump. For those who haven’t heard that term before – a Jet-Pack Shump is a Shoot-em-up (or Shump), where rather then being a pilot of a fighter plane (194X) or spaceship (Gradius, Ikaruga, Raiden), or a giant robot, you’re a man with a jetpack. Usually these games allow you to shoot in any direction at any time. However, your character’s hit box (or box that collision detction will register a hit in) is substancially larger than on a spaceship or fighter plane shump, upping the difficulty. We get maps and guides for Levels 1-4 and notes for 5-7.
Top 30: Well, we’ve got a bunch of new titles on the list this issue, some of which aren’t marked as such, and a few returning games as well.
- Super Mario Bros 3 (11,595 pts.) – Up 6 (3 issues)
- Tetris (5,570 pts.) – Up 10 (2 issues)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (4,995 pts.) – Down 2 (7 issues)
- The Legend of Zelda (4,916 pts.) – Up 2 (12 issues)
- Zelda II (3,928 pts.) – Down 1 (11 issues)
- Batman (3,792 pts.) – Up 21 (4 issues)
- Shadowgate (3,539 pts.) – New!
- Super Mario Bros 2 (3,470 pts.) – Down 5 (11 issues)
- Mega Man II (3,456 pts.) – Down 7 (8 issues)
- Ninja Gaiden (3,358 pts.) – Down 2 (6 issues)
- Dragon Warrior (2,787 pts.) – Down 6 (4 issues)
- Duck Tales (2,559 pts.) – Down 3 (2 issues)
- Double Dragon II (2,559 pts.) – Returning (2 issues)
- Robocop (2,494 pts.) – Up 11 (6 issues)
- Tecmo Bowl (2,339 pts.) – Down 5 (7 issues)
- Metroid (2,320 pts.) – No Change (11 issues)
- Battle of Olympus (2,232 pts.) – New!
- Mario Brothers (the original) (1,936 pts.) – New!
- Faxanadu (1,688 pts.) – Down 4 (4 issues)
- Double Dragon (1,584 pts.) – Returning (10 issues)
- Bionic Commando (1,504 pts.) – Down 10 (9 issues)
- Paperboy (1,463 pts.) – Up 2 (2 issues)
- Blaster Master (1,362 pts.) – Returning (8 issues)
- Championship Bowling (1,260 pts.) – New!
- Popeye (1,077 pts.) – New!
- Legacy of the Wizard (1,051 pts.) – Returning (3 issues)
- The Magic of Scheherazade (1,035 pts.) – New!
- Back to the Futre (945 pts.) – New!
- Rad Racer (928 pts.) – Returning (4 issues)
- The Guardian Legend (906 pts.) – Down 9 (5 issues)
Absent from the List: Goal! (1 issue), Nobunaga’s Ambition (3 issues), Baseball Stars (1 issue), Jordan-vs-Bird: One-On-One (1 issue), California Games (1 issue), Strider (3 issues), Bad Dudes (6 issues), Contra (11 issues), Marble Madness (2 issues), Blades of Steel (7 issues).
Short Game Descriptions: 5 little games this time, which we may see covered in future issues of Nintendo Power – Adventures of Lolo 2, Rocket Ranger, Wheel of Fortune: Family Edition, Tombs & Treasure, and Journey to Silius. Lolo II is a sequel to the tile-sliding puzzle game. Rocket Ranger is a pulp themed shooter with a behind-the-back perspective like in Space Harrier (which is rather ambitious for the NES). Wheel of Fortune: Family Edition is your standard Wheel of Fortune game with easier questions for the kids. Tombs & Treasure is, basically, a similar game to Shadowgate, but with more RPG elements, and Journey to Silius is a side-scrolling action game.
Game Boy Coverage: We’re starting off with coverage of the Batman game for the Game Boy and we get maps for all 3 parts of Stage 1. We also get some coverage of Gargoyle’s Quest, a spinoff of Ghouls & Ghosts. We’ve also got coverage of the puzzle games Daedalian Opus, and Quix. We also get short descriptions of the Game Boy ports of Bases Loaded, Fist of the North Star, NFL Football, and Shanghai. We also have a few short previews as well, including Wizards & Warriors Chapter X, and the port of Double Dragon.
Previews: We move on to more NES Previews. This issue we’ve got Ninja Gaiden II, StarTropics, Golgo 13 in The Mafiat Conspiracy and Crystalis. The preview of Ninja Gaiden II sets up the story and shows off some more great art based on the game, and the new villain, Ashtar. The StarTropics segement gives the overworld map and a map of the first dungeon in the game. The Mafiat Conspiracy appears to play the same way the first Golgo 13 game did. Crystalis is a post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG. I have to say that if the art in the preview is official art from the publisher (instead of the in-house artists), then it’s got an interesting mix of fantasy themes and sci-fi themes. We’ll see when it comes out (I may check it out if we get a bigger guide later) – supposedly the Game Boy Color version is the superior version – but, alas, I don’t have a Game Boy Color or a GBA (I may need to get a GBA SP – I’d been considering hunting down one of those and then getting a DSi).
Councelors’ Corner & Classifed Information: This issue we have advice on the recommended level order for 8 Eyes, as well as questions about Battle of Olympus, along with Shadowgate. Classified information has a way to get a bunch of 1ups in Super Mario Bros III using the Tanooki Suit. More importantly, it has a way to game the password system in Mega Man II to get just about anything you want in the game. this one is useful enough that I’m going to put the screen shot for this page up (with the art) just to make sure you can see it. Yeah, this will clutter up this entry, but at the moment I’d say it’s worth it. We also get a few cheats for the Castlevania Adventure, and
how to find Merlin’s Magic Shop in River City Ransom, which contains plenty of Things What Boost Your Stats Real Good (TM).
Video Shorts, NES Journal & Pak Watch: Of note this issue is Kung Fu Horror game Phantom Fighter, shump Terra Cresta, WCW Wrestling, and the turn-based wargame Conflict. For NES Journal, Nintendo Power went to Boing and checked out their flight simulators. Also, a Nintendo comic book is being published by Valiant Comics, which would later on in the 90s run significantly more 90s-licious titles (which get advertised in the pages of EGM). The Celebrity Profile this issue is Willie Ames, who could be described as a C or D-list celebrity (having not particularly gotten on anything more well known or with more of a following then the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon). Of note in the Pak Watch segment is Castlevania III, which drops the exploration style from Castlevania II, the shump Image Fight from Irem, Gauntlet II from Mindscape, and from FCI a bunch of Dungeons & Dragons licenced games, including Pool of Radiance and (shudder) Heroes of the Lance.
We get a heads up that, basically, the next issue will be a strategy guide. I’ll take a look at it and decide whether to review it or not, and how to go about reviewing it if I do decide to do so. I may end up doing the game itself as a bit of a quality control that week. We’ll see about it when we get there. Howard’s letter hypes the added issues as well. So, my quality control review will be for Code Name: Viper. We’ve got a Contra-clone coming out in close proxcimity to Contra’s sequel, so we’ll see if it’s an overlooked gem or some colored glass.