Well, we continue on with the Nintendo Power recaps/reviews with the first proper issue (one that isn’t a strategy guide) of Nintendo Power’s 3rd year. Our cover story is Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers from Capcom, which is another of the Disney licenced platformers that I haven’t played. The art is a bit of step down for Nintendo Power, but that isn’t saying much – it’s like saying “that movie wasn’t so great – for a Hitchcock movie”. It’s still better than the Ninja Gaiden cover. Anyway, the issue is, as is par for the course for Nintendo Power, about 105 pages long.
Letters: We start off with a thank you for how wonderful the Nintendo World Championships worked out. Alas, but with the exception of the World Series of Gaming (and similar tournaments) we’ll never see their like again. We also get the invention of an automatic cord winder for the NES invented by a 9-year-old-kid for the Invent America project. Oh, and once again, we get a testimonial about how borderline bulletproof the NES was – a family in the US Virgin Islands got clobbered by Hurricane Hugo, and their house was wrecked. However, the TV still worked (once they got a generator set up) – and so did the NES! God the NES was a tough system. Except with regard to the pins – and that bit was entirely Nintendo of America’s fault, by going with the VCR style design rather than the top loading design of the Famicom.
Final Fantasy Guide – Part II: Well, the Final Fantasy guide continues, and we’ll probably get a special strategy guide later on. Anyway, this guide has a recap of important plot points, as well as a full map of the world. Yes, there’s one in game, but this one is better, as it is nice and very large, with just about all the important locations labeled. We also have maps of the Gurgu Volcano, with advice on beating Kary, along with a map of the Ice Cave, and a map of the Sea Shrine and advice on beating the Kraken, which basically takes you through the second 3rd of the game.
Howard & Nester: This issue Howard & Nester are going on a nice, peaceful, relaxing, mountain hike in South America. Then they run into the guys from Super C (to the main characters from the Contra games ever get names?) They are currently having a devil of a time getting past some falling rocks. After Nester very nearly does his Wile E. Coyote impression, Howard properly explains how to get past the rocks. And now hit hits me, since I’ve had the concept introduced to me – Howard & Nester are a Boke And Tsukkomi Routine. Howard, with his generally formal attire (suit & bow tie) and his being the straight man, is the tsukkomi (although Howard never strikes Nester to “correct” him – the enviroment does the correction instead), and Nester is the Boke.
Summer CES Coverage: I know this sounds somewhat silly, but I can’t wait until the halcyon days where CES is just once a year, with TGS, Nintendo’s Space World (for as long as it lasts), and E3 to pick up the slack. Anyway, of note in the game that are covered is Mega Man III, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, Doctor Mario, Mega Man-alike Power Misssion, Shadowgate clone Deja Vu, plus a bunch of Simpsons games.
Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers Guide: We start off with some general control tricks and useful advice (like how many of what items do you need to collect to get a 1up). From here we move on to the level maps, from the first level, followed by stages A-G in the first world. The levels certainly look interesting, and I do remember loving the heck out of this show as a kid. I may pick this game for my next review. From the looks of the game, I’d say it takes a similar less-linear style to Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s not non-linear – it’s less-linear – you’re going from point A to Point G – and you’re limited in the number of ways you can get from those two points, but you do have some choice.
Snake’s Revenge Guide: Metal Gear has gotten a sequel, hand crafted lovingly by Hideo Kojima to further provide excitement and tactical espionage action to we gamers who desire more! A sequel… which won’t come out in the US legally until Metal Gear Solid III: Subsistance comes out for the PS2. In the mean time we’re stuck with this cheap, more action oriented knockoff from Konami USA’s Ultra branch. We also get some of the overworld map and the interior maps. I am getting a trend here that a lot of the bosses must be beaten by throwing Grenades perfectly, which is rather unfortunate.
Classified Information: We start up with cheats on Knight Rider, Double Dragon II, and few similar games.
Golgo 13: The Mafiat Conspiracy Guide: Golgo 13 returns, and he’s here seduce women and kill enemy spies while displaying slightly less personality than my sock. No, really. Download just about any episode of Golgo 13 (note, while the site I’m linking to is safe for work, the episodes themselves are not. Though, if your workplace will let you run bittorrent I’d love to know where you work). Anyway, this story has Duke Togo being hired by the CIA to rescue Dr. Barrows from the evil terrorist organization “Mafiat” (which the Mafia might want to sue for Trademark infringement) and stop them from capturing satellites from various countries as their plan to start World War III! Replace “Mafiat” with SPECTRE, satellite capture system with spaceship capture system and add in a base hidden in a volcano in Japan, and you have You Only Live Twice. Anyway, we get a map of the first base and notes on Acts 1-3.
Solstice: The Quest For the Staff of Demons Guide: Alright, this is something of an Isometric action platform RPG thing. I’ve never liked the Isometric camera angle much. We get a map of the first area (or something) and notes on various items in the game.
Crystalis Guide: SNK has probably put out their first action-RPG, for the NES. I may give this game a try. We get some partial maps of the game, and we get enough information to basically get you through the first half of the game. After this we get a pretty decent poster for Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.
Game Boy Coverage: We start out with a mini-guide for Double Dragon for the Game Boy, including maps of the first 3 levels (which aren’t very long). We also get a map of the first stage for Wizards & Warriors X, and brief notes on Final Fantasy Legend (aka SaGa), Wheel of Fortune, Lock & Chase, along with Penguin Wars, The Amazing Spider-Man, Dexterity, Pipe Dream and Paperboy.
In-Depth Previews: On to slightly more-in-depth coverage of games that haven’t come out yet. First up is Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, featuring a manly, shirtless Belmont (Trevor in this installment) in the picture. We get a rundown of all 4 playable characters in the game, along with a run-down of the password system. We also get a preview of the port of LucasArts adventure game Maniac Mansion for the NES, and the Mission: Impossible game (based on the TV series), which I’ve played and found to be really, really, hard.
Top 30: On to the first Top 30 of Nintendo Power’s 3rd Year. We’ve got some new stuff, and we’ve got some returning games as well, including some old friends (as much as a video game can be a friend).
- Super Mario Bros. 3 (18,710 pts) – No Change (4 issues)
- Batman (5,735 pts.) – Up 5 (5 issues)
- Super Mario Bros. 2 (5,532 pts.) – Up 5 (12 issues)
- Mega Man II (5,145 pts.) – Up 5 (9 issues)
- Zelda II (4,315 pts.) – No Change (12 issues)
- Tetris (4,166 pts.) – Down 6 (3 issues)
- Legend of Zelda (4,034 pts.) – Down 3 (13 issues)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3,867 pts.) – Down 5 (8 issues)
- Tecmo Bowl (3,397 pts.) – Up 6 (8 issues)
- Shadowgate (3,279 pts.) – Down 3 (2 issues)
- Ninja Gaiden (2,967 pts.) – Down 1 (7 issues)
- Double Dragon (2,863 pts.) – Up 8 (11 issues)
- Disney’s Duck Tales (2,519 pts.) – Down 1 (3 issues)
- Dragon Warrior (2,510 pts.) – Down 3 (5 issues)
- The Magic of Scheherazade (2,226 pts.) – Up 12 (2 issues)
- Willow (2,052 pts.) – New, despite being out for some time
- Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! (1,796 pts.) – Returning (11 issues)
- Metroid (1,576 pts.) – Down 2 (12 issues)
- The Guardian Legend (1,044 pts.) – Up 10 (6 issues)
- Super C (1,033 pts.) – New!
- Mega Man (982 pts.) – Returning (12 issues)
- The Adventures of Lolo (971 pts.) – Returning (3 issues)
- Blaster Master (954 pts.) – Down 1 (9 issues)
- Ultima (888 pts.) – Returning (4 issues)
- Wrath of the Black Manta (856 pts.) – New!
- Bad Dudes (808 pts.) – Returning (7 issues)
- Metal Gear II (806 pts.) – New!
- Baseball Stars (788 pts.) – Returning (2 issues)
- Fester’s Quest (705 pts.) – New!
Missing from the List: Robocop (6 issues), Mario Bros – Original (1 issue), Battle of Olympus (1 issue), Faxanadu (4 issues), Paperboy (2 issues), Championship Bowling (1 issue), Popeye (1 issue), Back to the Future (1 issue), Rad Racer (4 issues).
Councelor’s Corner: We get questions answereed about Shadowgate (getting past a few puzzles), Super C (getting past some annoying enemies), Code Name: Viper (how to hide in the doors from enemies – which I actually did in my video), and a couple boss-fight questions for Batman (for bosses I didn’t make it to).
New Games Reviews: We’ve now got a few short little previews of various games that are coming up for the NES. We start off with the flight sim/isometric shooter hybrid Captain Skyhawk – it looks okay, except it falls into the semi-trap of games with a flight-simulator element of wanting to include a segment where you have to land your plane, which is really difficult to do on the NES control pad. SNK has Little League Baseball, which doesn’t really captivate me as much as other baseball games, just looking at it. Arcadia Systems has a version of Othello with the Cool Spot licence, titled Spot. Namco has a fantasy shump with Dragon Spirit, where you pilot a Dragon. There’s also Dungeon Magic: Sword of the Elements, a fantasy RPG like Wizardry which I tried to play, but I got way too easy in, particularly on the Overworld map.
After our NES Achivement Column, we get let know that the next strategy guide will be for Ninja Gaiden II – which I’ve actually beaten prior to starting these columns.
Video Shorts: Of note in the games listed here is Rad Racer II from Square, Michael Andretti’s World GP from American Sammy, a port of Wizardry from Nexsoft (though the later US ports come from ASCII), Boulder Dash from JVC (which I played on the Atari 800 when I was younger), & Battle Chess from Data East.
NES Journal: We start off with a company profile of Lucasarts, developers and creators of Pipe Dream, Maniac Mansion and eventually many other games (some of which, like the Monkey Island games are finally getting a re-release for windows, through Steam). We also get brief profile/interviews with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, Bill Elliot, Michael Andretti & Al Unser Jr., all of whom have gotten or will be getting their names attached to various video games in the future. We also have some pictures of the Nintendo PowerFest, freaturing the final round of the Nintendo World Championships. The stage looks very impressive. Nintendo spent a lot of money on this, and it certainly beats the pants off what I’ve seen of the World Series of gaming.
Pak Watch: More rumor related stuff this time. Of note here is Little Nemo: The Dream Master, which I played and found pretty hard, Capcom’s Romance Of The Three Kingdoms themed RPG Destiny of the Emperor, which has you putting down the Yellow Turban Uprising. There’s also Dick Tracy from Bandai, based on the movie, which is insanely freaking hard. We wrap up the issue a letter from Howard thanking us for sticking with them for 2 continuous years of publication. You’re welcome Howard, and we’ll be with you for several more.
My game of the issue – I’ll be going with Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers for my review choice, and probably all the other Disney licenced games they feature in the future. That review should be up tomorrow.