Video games, Where I Read

Where I Read – GamePro #36

Magazine GamePro - Alien3 V4 #7 (of 12) (1992_7) - Page 1We continue with our recaps of GamePro with issue 36 for July of 1992. This issue is of pretty average length at 112 pages long – with what is probably GamePro’s first extremely awesome piece of cover art, complete with jets of blood. I’m surprised that they got away with the blood on the cover, to be honest. It’s not a perfect likeness of H.R. Giger’s disturbing design, but it still captures the intensity of the design.

Editorial: After several issues of awesome editorial columns, we’re back to spending the editorial column doing the job the cover and the table of contents are supposed to be doing – hyping the contents of the issue. Disappointing.

Letters: Of note in the letters is one letter calling for 8-bit to die already. Long live 16-Bit! Long Live 32-bit! Long Live 64-bit! Long Live Quantum Computing! *gets hit by the readers* Ow!

Cutting Edge: This issue they’re covering CD games. We’re starting off with Commodore’s console system, the CDTV, which actually came out, though nobody remembers this because Commodore died 2 years after this issue hit newsstands (1994), and the OS was already obsilete. Anyway, Commodore killed this system the next year, in favor of Amiga’s CD32, which isn’t remembered much either, because, again, Commodore died the next year. Next up is the Phillips CD-I, with a list of various games coming out for the system, including one called Guest which would actually be The 7th Guest.

Hot At The Arcades: This issue the games being featured is Konami’s X-Men fighting game (which, unfortunately, doesn’t get a home console release), and Solvalou from Namco, their second 3d shooter – the prior one was Starblade, which is also playable on the loading screens if you have Tekken 5.

Putting the Spin On CDs: We’ve got another feature on CD games – and why, by the way, isn’t this part of the Cutting Edge article, considering though it’s treading over the same ground. The article covers the Sega/Mega CD, the TurboGrafx/PC Engine CD (Turbo Duo) & the WonderMega, which combines the separate Sega CD unit with the core console (which, unlike the seperate Sega CD & Genesis, only uses one power cable). Oh, and we get some coverage of the Nintendo CD, which never comes out anyway, and they don’t tell us anything anyway, because Nintendo keeps it’s secrets better than the Bush Administration, except, when secrets are leaked from Nintendo, they’re cool, instead of horrifying – though in both cases the person leaking usually disappers mysteriously afterwards (Note to Nintendo of America’s legal department – that’s a joke!)

NES Coverage: We’re starting off with a review of Gargoyle’s Quest II for the NES, which (kind of surprisingly), downplays the action platformer elements in favor of of bringing up the RPG elements (you’d think the game would let you expand on the action-platformer elements a little more in the home console version). The game gets a 3.5 for Control, 4s for Sound & Fun Factor, and a 4.5 for Graphics, with Intermediate challenge. We also have a port of Prince of Persia for the NES (the Prince got ported to just about every system under the sun). Apparently the NES version has the same fairly smooth animation of all the other versions of the game (which is good, because the strength of Prince of Persia, as the franchise itself goes, isn’t the combat, it’s moving around the enviroment, and looking great doing it). The game gets 3.5s for Sound & Control, 4s for Graphics & Fun Factor, and an Advanced challenge rating.

We also have a port by FCI of SSI’s AD&D RPG Hillsfar, which even in the course of the SSI Forgotten Realms games was a bit of an odd duck, trying to mix some arcade style action gameplay with more of the first-person Wizardry style dungeon crawling like in the prior Gold Box games, and not pulling off either too well. The game gets a 2 for Sound, 2.5 for Graphics & Control, and oddly a 3.5 for Fun Factor, with an Advanced challenge rating. I wonder if the only rating developers and publishers bitch about is the Fun Factor rating, because if the Sound, Graphics and Control is that painful, and the game is hard, that will really hurt the Fun Factor in my book. Lemmings is also coming to the NES as well (not too surprising, in theory it’s not too graphically intensive), and gets 4s for Graphics, Sound, and Fun Factor, and a 4.5 for Control, with adjustable difficulty.

Kemco also has a new RPG for the NES called Legend of the Ghost Lion, which I’ve never heard of before. From the review it’s a beginner RPG, and the scores seem to line up with that – 2 for Sound, 3s for Graphics & Fun Factor, and a 4 for Control and (no surprise) Beginner difficulty. There’s also Ferarri Grand Prix Challenge – and I’d just like to take a moment to mention that I’m slightly amused to see that for 5 years prior to 1992, Ferarri either didn’t have any cars that either completed the 24 Hours of Le Mans, either because they couldn’t finish the race, couldn’t qualify for the race, or none of the participating drivers drove Ferarris. Similarly, in 1992 there was no Ferarris being driven in the race. Anyway, the game gets 3s for Graphics, Sound & Fun Factor, and a 4 for Control, with Advanced difficulty.

Genesis Coverage: We’re starting off with a review of a new Simpsons game, in Bart Vs. The Space Mutants, which is something of a platformer with Adventure game elements (Use item X on Item Y to effect Item Z so you can progress), and a few references to, say, John Carpenter’s They Live! The game gets 3s for Graphics & Sound, a 3.5 for Gameplay, and a 4.5 for Fun Factor and an Advanced challenge rating. Next up is Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing from Sega (Holyfield beat James Douglas, who was the face of Sega’s last boxing game a year prior). The game gets a 3.5 for Sound, 4.5 for Graphics & Control and a 5 for Fun Factor, with a Advanced difficulty rating. Next up is the adventure exploration game Todd’s Adventure In Slime World from Renovation, which gets 4.5s for for Control & Fun Factor, a 4 for Graphics and 3.5 for Sound with Intermediate difficulty.

We’ve also got a review of the Genesis’ first-person action game (it’s not quite a shooter) Cyber Cop, which from the looks of things (as I mentioned when EGM covered it), it looks like it’s surprisingly precient – while Wolfenstein 3D was released on PCs 2 months before, that’s not enough time to develop a game like this and from the look of the game, it appears that the game definitely has an engine that was built from the ground up, and is based on the old PC game Corporation (no relation to Syndicate), which was released on the Amiga and Atari ST in 1990. To be honest, I’m surprised this game didn’t get more retro game coverage before now. Anyway, the game gets 3s for Sound & Control, 4s for Graphics & Fun Factor, with and Expert difficulty rating.

The Genesis also has a few more RPGs in Star Odyssey from Sage’s Creation – but aside from this review here, I can’t find anything about the game getting a US review. It looks like an interesting JRPG, and I might consider getting an Rom of this (if I can find an English language copy). Bignet’s also got the strategy game Warrior of Rome II which is a general strategy game, with some city management elements (but not as much as Sierra’s Caesar series). The game gets 3s for Graphics & Fun Factor, 4s for Sound & Control, with an Expert difficulty rating. Tengen also has a fantasy themed pinball game in Dragon’s Fury which has 6 boards and a password mode so you can pick up to whatever board you’re on. The game gets 4.5s for Graphics, Sound, Control, and a 4.0 for Fun Factor, with Adjustable difficulty. Finally, we get to our big preview of Alien 3 – as I mentioned, this is something of a combination of an open world game with a Metroid game – you operate out of a hub and go to the relevant areas of the level to complete specific missions before moving on to the next area. I have to say that I liked this game, and I’d say it’s probably one of the best movie licenced games of the 16-bit generation. But, then again, I liked the Expanded Cut of the movie (the one in the Alien Quadrilogy set) too. We also get some of the art from Dark Horse’s Alien3 comic book, and the art (by Arthur Suydam) looks nice.

On Location With Accolade – Bubsy Pt. 1: We get the first part of a series of previews of Bubsy from Accolade. On the one hand, it’s probably more publicity than Bubsy actually needs. On the other hand, considering the massive number of mascot platformers that came out through the 16-bit console generation, it’s reasonable to assume that most other mascot platformers went through the same process for their first games, with the process going a little differently for the sequels. Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned about the game is that the SNES version was out-sourced, with the Genesis version being developed in-house.

SNES Coverage: The SNES coverage starts of with Hook, which previously got front page coverage in the magazine (in terms of the preview) back in GamePro #30. The game gets 5s across the board with an Intermediate difficulty rating. We also have a review of the biplane sim Wings 2: Aces High from Namco – and I’d like to take a moment to say that I wouldn’t mind a World War I or II themed version of the Ace Combat games. Yeah, there’s Secret Weapons Over Normandy, but we can stand to have more games in that vein. The game gets 3.5s for Graphics, Sound & Fun Factor, and a 4 for Control with an Intermediate difficulty rating. HAL America also has a Tarot themed RPG in Arcana. The game gets a 3 for Fun Factor, a 3.5 for Control, a 4 for Graphics & a 4.5 for Sound with a beginner difficulty rating.

We also have a review of Might & Magic II, which is pretty similar to the Genesis version, and gets 4s for Graphics, Control & Fun Factor, and a 3.5 for Sound with an Advanced difficulty rating. Capcom has ported Magic Sword to home systems, which I played once on an emulator and found was pretty decent, gets 4.5s for Graphics, Control & Fun Factor, and a 4 for Sound, with adjustable difficulty. Continuing with the Simpsons games, we’ve got Krusty’s Fun House which tries to catch in on the Lemmings games with a parody of the series where instead of trying to safely escort the rats infesting Krusty’s fun house to their destination, you’re trying to kill them. The game gets 4s for Graphics & Control, a 3.5 for Fun Factor and a 3 for Sound, with intermediate difficulty. There’s also your obligatory Addams Family movie licenced game from Ocean, which gets 5s across the board (though I heard it wasn’t really that good) and Super Bowling from American Technos, which gets 4s for Graphics & Fun Factor, a 3.5 for Sound and a 3 for control.

TurboGrafx Coverage: The TurboGrafx CD is getting the shump Gates of Thunder, which looks gorgeous, and gets 5s across the board (it’s sequel did really well in EGM as well) and apparently has Adjustable difficulty.

Overseas Prospects: We’re starting off with the Ranma 1/2 fighting game, which, looking at the screens, has Kodachi Kuno as a playable character – development would probably have started around Season 3 or 4, so this would be after Ukyo, Mousse and Principal Kuno had been introduced. Though, now that I think about it – after the Rhythmic Gymnastic Wrestling match, Kodatchi kind of laid off of trying to take on Ranma Female through physical force, instead going through manipulation – while her brother continued using physical attacks and underhanded tactics to keep up the advantage. Anyway, there’s also a Macross licenced shump.

Neo Geo Coverage: We get a preview of Last Resort, which I really enjoyed playing in arcades (though it’s really hard, even for shumps) though it looks amazing, along with previews of Sengoku 2 and King of the Monsters 2.

Sports Coverage: We get a review of the Olympic sports game Gold Metal Challenge from Capcom for the NES, which gets a 3 for sound, and 4s for Graphics, Control & Fun Factor, and an Intermediate difficulty rating. Frankly, track & field sports games never caught on with me. They always felt like a button-mashing fest, maybe with some timing elements occasionally with some timing involved, and nothing this review or the reviews of the other two track and field games say changes my mind (and they even reinforce my thoughts). The other two games reviewed in this column are both track and field games – the Genesis and Game Gear ports of Olympic Gold from U.S. Gold. The Genesis version gets 4s for Graphics & Control & 3s for Sound & Fun Factor with an adjustable difficulty rating. I’m not sure what ratings the Game Gear version is supposed to get. The pictures and the numbers underneath them disagree – the game has a 4.5 rating picture for graphics, but with a 2.5 underneath it – so I’m not going to put scores for this one. We also get a preview of USA Basketball from EA.

Handheld Coverage: The Game Boy has the platformer Super Hunchback from Ocean, which doesn’t have a continue feature (remember when EGM was lowering games scores because they included continues), and gets 4s for Graphics, Sound & Fun Factor, with Control getting a 3.5 and the game having an intermediate difficulty rating. Taito has the action adventure game Adventures of Star Saver (that can’t be the original title), which also is somewhat platformy, and gets almost identical scores to Super Hunchback, except Sound is the one getting the 3.5. Spectrum Holobyte has WordTris, which is sort of like Tetris meets Boggle. The game gets 4s for Control & Sound, and 3.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor (you just found it too difficult to try and spot words while the letters are dropping), and has an Advanced difficulty rating (though the difficulty is adjustable). Virgin Interactive has the first person Jeep racing game Jeep Jamboree, which gets a 3 for sound and 4s for everything else and adjustable difficulty. Matchbox has the puzzle game Pyramids of Ra – a block matching game that gets scores identical to the scores that Jeep Jamboree got, except Pyramids of Ra has an adjustable difficulty setting.

We also get a preview of a bunch of upcoming Game Gear games, including Shinobi II. Moving right along to the Lynx, we have Lynx Casino, a Casino gambling game which, doesn’t have any competitive gambling games, just one-player ones (that way they don’t have to program AI behaviors for the other gamblers). The game gets 3.5s for Sound & Fun Factor, and 4s for Graphics & Control with an Intermediate difficulty rating. There’s also Hockey from Atari. Just hockey. The game gets a 4 for graphics, 3s for Sound & Fun factor, and a 2.5 for Control, with adjustable difficulty.

Short Shots: Of note this issue is Syd of Valis – a Super Deformed valis game (which makes for a bit of a pun, SD of Valis) for the Genesis, and Monopoly for the SNES.

SWATPro: Not much of note here, aside from a way to get unlimited lives in Super Mario World & a level select cheat for Golden Axe 2 (which apparently only requires one controller).

GameBuster: This issue the game getting final boss fight strategies (and images of the ending cutscene) is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project and (that’s right, we’re getting 2 games this issue) Contra III: The Alien Wars.

ProNews: Well, production has started on The King In Yellow the Super Mario Bros. movie and Double Dragon has been licenced for a feature film as well. May God have mercy on us all. Also, in Accolade’s reverse engineering case, Accolade’s already faring a little better – they (unlike Atari in Nintendo’s case against them) hasn’t been forced to recall all their games.

That wraps this week’s recap of GamePro. Expect your standard movie review tomorrow.