We’ve got another hole in our EGM coverage to fill this week, though it’s one that’s a little more recent. This week we’re recapping Issue #51 for October of 19993. Our cover story is Super Street Fighter II, and this issue weighs in at 229 pages. This also the debut their new visual look for the magazine, and they kind of herald or provide fanfare for the new look with an two-page spread of an image from Blade Runner.
Editorial: Ed Semrad has the editorial this month with his promotion to EiC, as Steve Harris has moved back a bit to just publisher instead of wearing both the publisher and Editor-in-Chief hat. This month the topic of writing is Nintendo delaying Project Reality (aka the Nintendo 64), shoving it back to 1995 – which doesn’t look very good considering how often both of Nintendo’s disk systems got shoved back over the past 3-4 years before finally dissipating like the cloud of vapor they were in the first place. At this point in Nintendo’s history they’ve become the master of the tease.
Letters: The editors of EGM were at CES and able to meet with readers, and the readers love that. Considering how good acclaim from people in general feels, the EGM staff probably loved it too. We also have some questions about playing the PC Engine version of Street Fighter II on the Turbo Express. Well, you will be able to do that, but you will need an appropriate adapter, but it can be done. However, you will need to use Select to toggle between punches and kicks. More questions wondering whether Phantasy Star 4 will come out in time or not (it will). We also have a question wondering if we’ll get more Menacer titles? Probably not – Sega only released 6 menacer games for it overall. There are also questions about getting compilations of the magazines (fortunately, Retromags is around for that – at least unless Steve Harris is able to get an archive of all the EGM magazines togeather, gets them scanned, and puts out a multi-DVD set, much like what’s been done for various Marvel titles.
We get a short little ad for Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle for the SNES, and I’m going to take a moment to say that the game’s US cover art sucks Hard. It looks like Ryoga’s umbrella is coming out of his hand, and Genma in his panda form looks like a big furry pig. Did you not have any pictures of pandas in your office?! What makes it worse is we have actual pictures of the characters from the anime in this ad, and previous ads had art from the manga (albeit carefully selecting pictures that didn’t have any visible nipple shots). Anyway, getting back to the letters, we get a letter asking about how they score different versions of the same game for different systems – with the letter taking a bit of a pro-Genesis bent. The EGM staff is very politic about this, basically making it clear that in the final analysis, the Genesis and SNES are equal from a hardware standpoint. The SNES supports more on-screen colors, meaning that it can have more colorful and more vivid graphics. The Genesis has a faster processor and can handle more sprites on screen, so it’s less likely to have on-screen slowdown (see Gunstar Heroes – that would probably run into on-screen lag on the SNES.)
There’s also a question about why we didn’t get Bandai’s portable SNES – in short, Nintendo doesn’t like third party versions of their hardware. We also have questions about whether we’ll get a Sega CD version of Mortal Kombat – the staff says it’s not off the table (and the game does see the light of day). We also get questions about why more games don’t support Sega’s six-button controller (be patient, it hasn’t been out very long, and not all games need 6 buttons. Hell, Mario only needs one button – using the fire flower is optional). We also get a few complaint letters about not getting more Sega CD games, and complaining about the lack of a release for Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle in the US (relax, it’s coming out).
Review Crew: The Crew is currently in a bit of a state of flux. Steve has left the crew, with Ed moving to the top spot on the list, and Danyon Carpenter has taken his place, while Martin remains for one more issue, before he’s replaced as well. Fortunately, Sushi-X is still here.
- Super Bomberman (Hudson Soft, SNES): The game gets 9s across the board. The game gets lauded for its excellent multi-player and enjoyable single player mode. Overall: 36/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Platinum Award.
- Goof Troop (Capcom, SNES): The Disney animated series based on Goofy’s family is getting a Zelda-style adventure game with two-player simultaneous multiplayer. Ed finds the puzzles not too difficult, and the multi-player enjoyable, but ultimately found the game monotonous towards the end and gives it a 7. Everyone else gives it 8s, with Martin and Danyon comparing it favorably to Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, though Danyon isn’t a fan of how the enemies respawn on the previous screen as soon as you move on to the next screen, meaning that you’ll have to fight them again if you forgot something or generally had to back-track. Overall: 31/40.
- Operation Logic Bomb (Jaleco, SNES): This is a sort of Metal Gear style action game. From the text of Ed’s review, he really liked it… but he gives it a 6, and doesn’t say why. A “6” generally implies an average game, and he doesn’t say anything to imply that. Danyon and Ed give the game 8s, with Danyon finding it a bit too easy “like too many games these days”, while Martin and Sushi (who gives it a 9) compare it favorably with Alien Syndrome. Overall: 31/40.
- Battle Cars (Namco, SNES): Car raceing combat game (as you can tell from the title). Unfortunately, Martin is burned out on this genre (I’d hate to see what he’d say about the Twisted Metal games) and gives the game a 7. Sushi also gives the game a 7, but less because of burn-out and more because of the game’s poor weapon selection, and the not so hot sound and graphics. Danyon doesn’t have the weapon selection problems, but isn’t a fan of the shuddering while taking a high-speed turn and the difficulty of some of the bosses and gives the game an 8. Ed gives the game a 9, finding the controls easy to learn, and the two-player mode enjoyable, while considering the boss fights punishing. Overall: 31/40.
- World Heroes (Sunsoft, SNES): One of the Neo-Geo’s first fighting games. This game could have been a contentder, it could have been somebody, if only it had been released earlier. However, it was released after Street Fighter II Turbo came out, among many other fighting games, so it’s very behind the times. Danyon, Martin, and Sushi give the game 6s, finding the graphics, sound, and gameplay generally lacking from the Neo Geo version (which isn’t surprising, considering the massive amounts of memory on your average Neo Geo cart). Only Ed gives it an 8, who doesn’t have the same problems the rest of the crew had, and generally likes it. Overall: 26/40.
- Plok! (Tradewest, SNES): An action platforming game where you play as a character that can shoot his limbs at opponents. Ed likes the graphics and sound in the game, but he considers the challenge too high for most players and gives the game a 7. Danyon and Sushi give the game 8s, finding the limb throwing idea fun and unique (sort of, Decap Attack was already out at this time), as well as lauding the large and different levels, and Martin gives the game a 9 for about the same reasons. Overall: 32/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- NHL ’94 (EA, Genesis): Ed gives the game a 9 for continuing to keep the quality level of the NHL franchise high. Everyone else gives it 8s, as while the game is just an iteration of the series, it adds enough things including multi-tap support) to keep the game interesting nd to make (in their opinion) the purchase of another NHL game worth it. Overall: 33/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Ranger X (Sega, Genesis): Mecha action-shooter. Danyon gives the game an 9, lauding it for it’s difficulty, variety of weapons, and it’s vibrant colors, though he finds the control to be a little quirky. Ed gives it an 8, also liking the game’s visuals, though he felt the control problems were more of a big deal than Danyon did. Sushi and Martin give the game 7s for the same reasons that Ed gave the game an 8 – the control. Overall: 31/40.
- Strider Returns (U.S. Gold, Genesis): A Strider spinoff from someone other than Capcom. Ed gives the game an 8 for the game’s great audio quality, but very poor graphics, which is unfortunate, and Sushi gives the game a 7 for the same reasons. Martin and Danyon give the game 6s, with Martin liking the digiized voices, while Danyon didn’t even like the sound quality very much. Overall: 27/40.
- Technoclash (EA, Genesis): This is a sort of sci-fi Gauntlet. However, as Ed and Danyon say, the game doesn’t play as well as Gauntlet. Both found a lot of unnecessary cheap deaths with, among other things, shots blending into the background of the levels, though Danyon also found the levels repetative. They both give the game 7s. Martin and Sushi, on the other hand, give the game 6s, with Martin literally saying he had nothing good to say about the game, and Sushi finding the game just hard to play (aside from the enemies) and considering the difficulty way too high. Overall: 26/40.
- Slipheed (Sega, Genesis): This is a behind-the-back polygonic shump. Ed gives the game a 9 for its intense visuals and cinemas, and decent gameplay, though apparently the backgrounds aren’t particularly on a plane the player can interact with. Everyone else gives it 7s, citing the same criticisms that Ed had – they just find them more of a problem than Ed did. Overall: 30/40.
- John Madden Turbo Duo CD Football (T.T.I., Duo): Danyon and Sushi give the game 8s, condsidering it as good, if not better, than the Genesis version of Madden, though Sushi has a problem with the scrolling. Ed and Martin, on the other hand, give it 7s, with Ed having a problem on the play select screen, and Martin finding the graphics choppy enough to make the game more difficult to play. Overall: 30/40.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (Absolute, NES): A semi-adventure game kind of thing for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sushi gives the game an 8, though he warns that he’s somewhat biased because he’s a Trekkie, and he enjoyed the the adventure of the game, particularly being able to play as the captain and give orders to the various departments. Everyone else gave it 6s, with even other Trek fans, like Danyon, not being too enthused about the game, with Danyon complaining about the lack of personality of the characters – not simply in terms of the portraits not being animated, but in terms of the dialog as well. Ed and Martin also found that the various options aren’t very well explained, and Martin wasn’t too enthused about the spaceship control (it wasn’t inverted, as you’d expect for a flight sim style control setup, and at this time nobody thought about including the options to change that). Overall: 26/40.
- Final Fantasy Legend 3 (Square, Game Boy): The 3rd installment of the SaGa series, and it’s final portable installment, is now out. The game gets 8s across the board, lauding the game for its length, intriguing characters and story. Even Sushi is able to forgive the Game Boy’s intrinsic faults. Overall: 32/40 and recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Jurassic Park (Sega, Game Gear): The Genesis version of the game is getting ported to handhelds, with the omission of the raptor levels. Martin and Sushi give the game 8s, finding the game actually plays better than the Genesis version, even though it’s been downgraded to 8-bit, and the raptor levels were gone. Ed and Danyon give the game 7s, with Ed having some problems with cheap hits in the Jeep levels. Overall: 30/40.
- Strider Returns (US Gold, Game Gear): The game gets 7s across the board, though the game is still considered inferior to the original Strider. Overall: 28/40.
Gaming Gossip: Well, Quartrmann, here we go again.
- Street Fighter III will be out “sooner than you think”. Miss! Street Fighter III doesn’t come out for 4 years. Street Fighter Zero/Alpha on the other hand, comes out in 1995, within 2 years.
- Various developers are trying to circumvent Sega’s “facist” rating system – that’s Q-Mann’s words. I can’t find any confirmation on this, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so I’m going to give it a Hit! Though, if it was not due to the inconsistancies in Sega’s rating system, I’d have given it a “Miss” for the facist comment.
- Howard Phillips, formerly of Nintendo Power, has been sacked from THQ Hit! Fortunately, he’s now working (as of this issue of EGM) for Absolute. As of writing this post he’s currently working as an independant consultant. I’d like to most sincerely wish Howard luck with that. Oh, and if you’re working in the game industry and you’re in a position to hire him, please do so, and tell him I sent you. No, it won’t get you anything, but it will get me the warm-n-fuzzies.
Batting Average: 2 out of 3, they say, ain’t bad – .667
EGM Express: Atari has unveiled the Jaguar. Unfortunately, as we saw in later issues, the launch doesn’t work out so well. The EGM staff also raves about the Activator, though the peripheral is, ultimately, a flop. EGM staff also got to try out the 3DO, and when they tried it at 3DO’s headquarters, everything went well and their planned pack-in game, Crash N’ Burn was fun. However, again, as we learned in later issues, the launch was a catastrophic failure.
Arcade Action: We’ve got preview coverage of Namco’s latest racing game – Ridge Racer, which will be a launch title for the Playstation when it comes out. We also have a preview of Virtua Fighter, Sega’s new fighting game franchise (which is probably their strongest franchise at the writing of this blog entry – considering how badly they’ve fucked up the Sonic franchise).
International Outlook: The notable Japanese titles this issue are Taito’s brawler Ninja Warriors, Rockman Soccer (aka Mega Man Soccer) – both for the SNES – a port of Fatal Fury 2 for the PC Engine CD-Rom, a Record of Lodoss War RPG for the Sega CD (which I really want), along with the Nihon Falcom RPG Popful Mail. We also get a preview of the first Dragonball Z fighting game. It surprises me to no end that none of the Dragon Ball Z fighting game that came out while the series was on the air ever got a stateside release. The only DBZ fighting games we did get were made domestically and came out long after the series was off TV. DBZ was about as popular in the US (and Japan) then as Naruto is now.
Next Wave: On to the upcoming titles in the US. Of note is Lethal Enforcers, Sonic Spinball, WWF Rage in the Cage for the Sega CD, Lufia for the SNES, along with Secret of Mana from Square and Genghis Kahn II from Koei. Joe Montana Football is coming out for the Sega CD as well. Konami is briging their western themed shooter Sunset Riders to the SNES.
Feature Preview of Super Street Fighter II: Well, we have pictues of all the new stages of the game, along with bios for all the new characters and notes on a few of the gameplay changes (in case of a draw, a winner will be chosen by the highest score).
SNES Coverage: First up is mascot platformer Arty Lightfoot – the game looks cute, but you die in one hit. There’s also the fantasy themed brawler Legend, which has some control difficulties – though I’ve played it and it’s okay. Nothing great though – it’s a lot like Golden Axe. We also get some screen shots of World Heroes, which was reviewed earlier in the issue. Ahh, we also get a preview for Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle, with all the characters motivations for being in the tournament – though the translation is rather iffy, in my opinion. There’s also Pac Man 2: The New Adventures which couldn’t make Pac Man look more pathetic. Next up is Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions, which has Daffy playing as Duck Dodgers In The 24 & 1/2th Century! and going up against Marvin the Martian. Might & Magic II is also finally coming out for the SNES – unfortunately it’s got some scrolling problems when you’re navigating dungeons. If you hadn’t got enoug Pacman, there’s Pac Attack, a falling block puzzler. There’s also the shump Super Nova, which changes things up by allowing you navigate your own path through the levels. The fantasy platformer Skyblazer is next, followed by comedy platformer Lester the Unlikely.
Genesis Coverage: The Genesis starts off strong with Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition:, which includes playable bosses but doesn’t have any of the new characters from Super Street Fighter II. We also get short bios for the characters from Eternal Champions – we’ll get a full move list in a later issue. Next is Mazin Saga: Mutant Fighter, which we get some level maps for. We also get some general notes on Gauntlet IV, and Disney’s Aladdin. There’s also the Robocop vs. Terminator game, which is rather repetative (unsurprisng, most Robocop games have been that way). There’s also a preview of Tom Mason’s Dinosaurs for Hire action game. There’s also a Wimbleton tennis game, and the mascot platformer Awesome Possum (which looks like it could get very annoying). There’s also Cliffhanger and Last Action Hero licenced action games. Further, Tecmo Super Bowl, has finally made it to the Genesis. For the Sega CD, we get more images of Silpheed.
NES Coverage: We get more images of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Turbo Duo Coverage: We get images of John Madden Football, including some of the FMV Cutscenes.
Game Boy Coverage: We get a preview of the We’re Back licenced platformer.
Game Gear Coverage: Getting covered this issue is the handheld port of Desert Strike and Cool Spot.
Lifestyles: Batman: The Animated Series is getting it’s first novel, one re-telling the origins of Two-Face. Timothy Zahn’s 3rd book in his own Star Wars trilogy is coming out, and Apple has put out their first PDA, the Newton. Unfortunately,t hey wouldn’t have a similar device that catches on until the iPod Touch and the iPhone. Further, San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone (and the rhyming was unintentional), and we get some buzz on various titles, including the Death of Superman storyline (and Superman’s return – and the chain of events that will lead to Hal Jordan going psycho and getting killed off).
Various Show Notes: We start off with the games that Nintendo showed off at their Shoshinkai Show (which would later become Space World), including R-Type III, Mega Man X, Bastard!!, Hokuto No Ken 7, Wolfenstein 3-D, a Dragon Quest 1 & 2 Compilation game, a Macross shump, and Fire Emblem. At the JAMMA Trade show, we get Sega’s Star Wars flight sim, an Dragon Ball game that uses the Activator, and Alien 3: The Gun. That wraps up this issue of EGM. Tomorrow we’ll have another recap of an Nintendo Power issue. See you then!