Where I Read – GamePro #39
We’re continuing with the GamePro Recaps with issue 39 for October of 1992. The cover story for this issue is Street Fighter II – again. The cover art is god-freaking-awful – again. Now, the copy I’ve got is 149 pages long, but it’s missing a couple pages. Apparently there was a poster in the issue, that was removed before I got it. So, I have no idea how good the poster looks, how bad the poster looks, and what was on the back of the poster. Considering the cover art quality though, the person who removed the poster just may have done me a favor.
Editorial: This week’s Editorial is all about the Street Fighter II, it’s come out on Home Consoles in Japan, and it’s due to come out in the US… eventually.
Letters: We start off with a question about how much memory can be stored on a CD. They’re talking about the disk game version of The 7th Guest taking up 2 disks holding 8000 Megabits of memory like it’s a really big deal. By the way, that’s about 1 Gigabyte – and they do (sort of) clarify the size of the game. We also have discussion on buying your own arcade machine, and the specialized retailers you need to go to get one, specifically referring to getting Street Fighter II: Championship Edition. This kind of makes me wonder somewhat, why people haven’t tried working on some sort of version of Mugen or variant of Mugen that would allow you to, basically, take your game you built in Mugen, and play it through MAME, with a MUGEN “chipset” (much like they have files for the chipsets for various Neo-Geo and Capcom boards).
We also get a question about when the Jaguar’s coming out (it’s still being worked on), and why Cyber-Cop and Corporation look the same (because they’re the same game). We also get an suggestion from one of the magazine’s British readers that the magazine should include a classified ad section. Now, the GamePro staff kind of poo-poos this by joking about whether they should include personals, but this actually a pretty good idea. The internet simply isn’t available enough in 1992 to have a national forum or bullitin board service for putting up “For Sale or Trade” kind of posts for people who want to sell their console or that sort of thing. It’s a decent idea, though it’s going to have some problems of it’s own. You’re more likely to be screwed than you are over eBay or something .
Hardware Helpers: Lots of controller reviews and previews this issue, but nothing, in general, of mentions. Lots of controllers with Turbo, arcade sticks, etc.
Hot At The Arcades: Atari is trying to cash in with the success of Pit Fighter, with it’s digitized characters (instead animated sprites), with Guardians of the ‘Hood, a brawler with digitized characters, and animated backgrounds. There’s also a forwards scrolling, behind the back G.I. Joe shooter from Konami.
Upcoming Sci-Fi Games: Well, in a desperate attempt to make GamePro TV seem topical on the Sci-Fi Channel, we have a feature article on upcoming Sci-Fi games, specifically with brief 1-2 paragraph previews of the games. Of note (in terms of games that interest me), is Alien 3, the Alien vs. Predator brawler, anime based Contra-style shooter Metal Jack, Super Star Wars, a Star Trek: The Next Generation semi-adventure game, a port of Battlezone titled Battlezone 2000 for the Lynx, Wing Commander for the Sega CD. The SNES is getting a Shadowrun game.
The Sci-Fi Channel: Being that GamePro TV is getting a slot on the Sci-Fi channel, a slot that would not even last much of a year, GamePro is giving some hype to the Sci-Fi channel, in the hopes that the Force will be with their show, so it will live long and prosper, and everything will generally be more delicious than a jelly-baby. That’s right, I put Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Star Trek references in the same sentance. For the record, as someone who grew up watching the Sci-Fi channel religiously, I’d just like to say I think the switch to “SyFy” for the network’s name is stupid. However, I did like the “I am Sci-Fi” advertisements, particularly the one with Moby that parodied “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. For that matter, if they brought those back and did one (or a couple) with WWE superstars (to justify ECW’s presence), that would be great, particularly if they had the announcers plugging some of the Sci-Fi channel’s programming – Stargate Universe, Caprica, etc.
On Location – Spectrum Holobyte: We’re going behind the scenes (somewhat) of the Star Trek: games that are coming out on home consoles, by going behind the scenes of the company that makes them. This installment of what will become another series covers the making of the digitized images of the characters for the game.
NES Coverage: We start off with a review of Felix The Cat. Basically, the game is a bit of an non-violent mastcot platformer. Yes, you still need to dispatch enemies and beat bosses, and there is a life-bar, but from the way it’s described, there isn’t as much tension to the game as a Super Mario Bros. game, but it’s still fun, getting 5s for Fun Factor and Graphics, and 4.5s for Sound & Control. Next is the 4th game in the Contra franchise, Contra Force, which takes the series in more of a squad-based strategy direction. However, the game has problems with slowdown (with too many characters on screen), a major change in the pacing (with the action being slowed down), and lower graphical quality leading to 2.5 for Fun Factor, a 3 for Sound and a 3.5 for Graphics, thought it does get a 4 for Control. LJN has Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six, which has limited continues and no passwords, which is a big strike against it in my book. GamePro’s reviewer isn’t so hard on it though, and gives it 4s for Graphics and Fun Factor, a 3.5 for Control and a 3 for sound.
Special Feature – Batman Games: We start this little thing off with Batman Returns for the Atari Lynx. The game apparently has some problems with getting too many enemies on screen at once – not because it causes slowdown, but because you get swamped and overwhelmned. Otherwise, though, the game looks and plays well, getting a 5 for Graphics, a 4.5 for Sound, and 4s for Control & Fun Factor. We also get short coverage of Batman Returns for the Sega CD, Genesis, Game Gear, Genesis, and NES, as well as Batman: The Animated Series for the Genesis. Batman: Revenge of the Joker is also getting ported to the Genesis.
Genesis Coverage: We start off with Alien 3, which gets a 3 for control and 4.5s for Graphics, Sound & Fun Factor. I have played this game before, and I loved it. Tengen has put out RBI Baseball 4 for the Genesis, which is, I believe, the last game in the series. The game gets a 3.5 for Sound, 4 for Control, and 4.5s for Graphics & Sound. Speaking of major Fox franchises, next up is Predator II. They say the game isn’t too hard, and they draw comparisons with Ikari Warriors & Commando, though I think Predator II is much harder then those games, particuarly since you get Predator’s sniping at you from the first level, with the insta-gib plasma caster, and you can’t shoot back at the Predator. Anyway, the game gets a 4 for Fun Factor and 3.5s for everything else. Next up is the racing game Super Monaco GP II, a Formula 1 racing game, which gets a 4 for Sound & Fun Factor, and 4.5s for Graphics & Control. Next up is the sci-fi light gun game Death Duel, one of the first games that takes advantage of the Menacer, though it’s gameplay is criticized for being kind of monotonous and limited, and gets 3.5s for Sound & Fun Factor, and a 4.5s for Graphics & Control.
Special Feature – Sega CD: They’ve been talking off and on about upcoming titles for the Sega Cd for months now, now we get an in-depth feature. Or Not. This is more of a slightly more in-depth preview of two of the upcoming titles for the system, specifically Batman Returns and NFL Sports Talk ’93 featuring Joe Montana. Montana would be dropped from the series in ’95, where the series became NFL ’95, and would follow that theme until the turn of the millenium, when it then became the 2K series, which remained Madden’s solid rival… until EA got the exclusive licence.
SNES Coverage: We start off with the miniature themed platformer Harley’s Humongous Adventure. They give it a 5 for Graphics, a 4.5 for Control, and 3.5s for Sound & Fun Factor. They also have space dogfighting game WarpSpeed – though, I can’t tell from the screen shots if it’s an actual dogfighting game of a turret based game. The game itself gets 3s for Graphics & Sound, 3.5 for Fun Factor and a 4.5 for Control. We also have a review of the Universal Soldier (which they did a preview of a few issues ago), which from the review is the side-scrolling platforming shump equivalent to a “bullet hell” shooter. The game gets a 3 for Fun Factor, 3.5s for Graphics & Sound, and a 4 for Control. Speaking of shumps, we’ve got Strike Gunner S.T.G, a more traditional style shump, which changes things up by having you choose your your special weapon at the start of each level rather than having enemies drop them over the course of the level – with the balancing element that once you use a weapon in one level you can’t use it again in any other of the 10 levels in the game (there are 15 weapons to choose from, by the way). Appparently the game doesn’t have any problems with slowdown, though apparently the music and sound is bad. Thus, the game gets a 2.5 Sound and 4s over everything else. There’s also Space Football, which is sort of like Everywhere-else-in-the-world football (also known as Soccer), combined with Battlezone. As you can expect from a Battlezone clone, it gets a 2 for Sound, 4s for Control & Fun Factor, and a 4.5 for Graphics. There’s also Death Valley Ralley preview, which puts you as the Road Runner against Wile E. Coyote.
Behind The Scenes At Accolade – Part 4: We’re finishing up the creation of Bubsy with the actual programming of the game, from coding the controls (and their sensativity), along with the physics for the game, along with making sure the collision detection on the game works properly. QA (Quality Assurance) also gets some brief coverage. Now, I haven’t done that for games before, but I did do QA for printers, so I know the general prinicipal. The QA guys, basically, perform a certain test, which can be “jump off a ledge to your death”, “jump from one platform to another”, “get hit”, “hit an enemy” over and over and over again, trying to catch most if not all of the bugs in the game. It’d tedious as hell, and they don’t necessarily catch verything, but they do what they can.
Feature Preview – TurboDuo: NEC has combined the TurboGrafx-16 and the TurboGrafix CD units into one big module, with just one power cable, and just one connector to your TV – plus it has some graphical upgrades as well. We’ve also got some line-up notes which I’m not going to into too much.
TurboGrafx Coverage: First up is ShapeShifter, a fantasy action-platformer slasher CD-ROM game, with a few RPG elements. The game gets a 4 for Control, 4.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor, and a 5 for Sound. There’s also the cartridge shump Soldier Blade, which the reviewer considers to be a system seller, and gives 5s for Graphics & Fun Factor, and a 4 for Sound and 4.5 for Control. There’s also Jackie Chan Action Kung Fu, a martial arts action-platformer – they give it a decent score – a 3.5 for Sound and 4s for everything else, though they don’t say much of anything about the game’s quality aside from the scores.
International Outlook: We get coverage of the shump parody Parodious, and more serious shump Rayxander III, and the mecha Contra-style action game Genocide.
The Sports Page: We start off with Muhammed Ali Heavywieight Boxing for the Genesis, which apparently has pretty good multi-player controls, with the game getting 5s for Sound & Fun Factor, and 4.5s for Graphics & Control. They also have George Foreman HO Boxing is coming out for the SNES and features some damage modeling on the characters portraits during the fights, which is a nice touch, and the game gets 5s for Graphics & Control, and 4.5s for Sound & Fun Factor. There’s also TKO Super Championship Boxing on the SNES, which gets a 4 for Graphics and 3.5s for everything else. Finally, the NES is getting the Punch-Out! spiritual-spinoff Power Punch II, which gets a 2 for Sound, 3.5 for Graphics, and 3 for Control & Fun Factor. We also get some general notes on the upcoming football games for various systems. We also get an interview with Jerry Glanville of the Atlanta Falcons about him lending his name to Razorsoft’s upcoming (as of this issue’s publication) football game Pigskin Footbrawl, which is takes a sort of fantasy approach to things.
Neo-Geo Coverage: The Neo-Geo is getting yet another shump in Andro Dunos, which gets 4s across the board.
Game Boy Coverage: First up is Bionic Commando Apparently the level maps themselves have been changed up from the NES version, though the overworld map is about the same. The game gets a 5 for Graphics & Fun Factor, a 4 for Sound (as there apparently is a limited selection of music), and a 4.5 for Control. We also have a port of Double Dragon III, with, apparently, some omitted moves and poor graphics. The game gets a 2.5 for Graphics, 3s for Sound & FunFactor and a 3.5 for Control. There’s also Dr. Franken from Kemco, which I believe got mentioned on an episode of Angry Video Game Nerd – and not in a favorable light. GamePro liked it though, giving it a 4.5 for Graphics and a 5 for Fun Factor, but 3.5s for Sound & Control.
Game Gear Coverage: The Game Gear has gotten a port of Smash TV, like everything else has – and going from the pictures this one doesn’t look as hot. According to the scores the controls aren’t so hot either. The game gets a 2.5 for Control, 3.5s for Fun Factor and Sound, and a 4 for Graphics. There’s also a port of Chuck Rock, which looks recognizable more than the Game Gear version of Smash TV did. It also gets a good score – though they describe the concept as “unique” – which I take issue with as it’s one of a glut of Caveman platformers that came around after Bonk and Hudson’s Adventure Island were successful. Anyway, the scores are 4 for Sound & Control, and 4.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor. We also get a preview of Sonic II for the Game Gear.
Lynx Coverage: The Lynx is getting Switchblade 2, which GamePro gives a graphic of a straight razor for, for some odd reason. Okay, it kinda looks like a Switchblade if you look at it sideways, but if you look at it head on it looks like a straight razor. The game gets a 3.5 for Graphics, and 4s for everything else.
Short ProShots: Of note in their short previews here is Dragon Quest/Warrior IV… and that’s pretty much it. Really. This is a fairly dead month. It’s October, which means the issue is hitting on September, the long term previews are going to be in the next year, as the bigger stuff that would be getting longer previews would be coming out much closer. Anyway, we get our SwatPro segment and move on to…
Game Busters: This installment covers the final boss fight for Toejam and Earl, as well as the ending cutscene for the game, which isn’t very much.
ProNews Reports: Westwood and Virgin have teamed up to bring their hit games like Battletech 3050 and Eye Of The Beholder, and later Dune II to home consoles. EA renewed it’s licencing agreement with Sega, and Galoob was vidicated in Nintendo of America’s suit against them alleging charges of infringement. Yay!
Anyway, that wraps up the issue. Tomorrow we’ve got another movie review, of another classic film – Marathon Man. Is it safe? You’ll have wait until tomorrow to find out.