We’ve now come to issue 18 of Nintendo Power for November of 1990, with our cover game being Dr. Mario, plus Little Nemo and Castlevania III get some mention as well. I’d like to say that while Nintendo Power doesn’t have the hard hitting game journalism of a EGM or even a GamePro, at this point in the game’s history, it’s my favorite magazine to read. Not just recap (though it is easier to recap, with the exception of the top 30) but to generally read. The magazine in general is visually attractive and, as I’ve mentioned previously, this magazine has some of the best art of the era – whereas EGM’s internal art (with the exception of advertisments) is taken from screen caps, and GamePro’s art is crap, Nintendo Power’s art (with the notable exception of when they cover Ninja Gaiden games) is a feast for the eyes.
Letters: Not a lot of feedback letters this issue. Instead, they did a call for everyone’s biggest Nintendo nightmares, and this is the best of the best… I guess. We do get a notable letter though from a woman whose son strengthened his eyesight by playing NES games, and having to track the action on screen. That’s pretty awesome. I’d love to see some research done on this (hint, hint, scientific community – though it might be less expensive to do the research if you use Wiis and Virtual Console games instead of X-Box 360s, PS3s, or actual Wii games or NES/SNES/Genesis games).
Solar Jetman Strategy Guide: Basically, rather than this being a shooter, this is a sort of salvage adventure game. Yes, there are enemies and you can kill them, but your main goal is salvaging all the various pieces of damaged or destroyed warpships that have crashed on various planets. The game looks interesting, but I don’t know if it’s my kind of thing. We have maps of all the planets, and strategies for all of them except for the last 4. I do like that they at least have maps for all the planets so you can, in theory, find everything, even though you’ll still have to get through the levels without the strategies on the last few.
Howard and Nester: This issue, Howard & Nester are spending the night in Maniac Mansion. Not much in terms of strategies here, except possibly warning you that there’s a mummy hiding behind the shower curtains. Otherwise it’s just Nester comedically panicing (and the Tentacle feeling a little depressed that nobody likes him because he’s a giant sentient tenticle).
Little Nemo – The Dream Master Guide: I played a lot of this game as a kid, but I had some trouble getting past a couple levels because of jumps I couldn’t quite handle. We get maps for levels 1 though 6 as well as notes on the levels to come after that, including a glimpse of the final boss, the Nightmare King.
Councelor’s Corner: We have questions on where the Warp Whistles are in Mario III (a question that was answered in their strategy guide – though I didn’t bother using the Warp Whistles). We’ve also got questions regarding finding some of the towns and some of the bosses from Crystalis. We also have questions on how to level up in Tombs and Treasure (there’s apparently more to it than getting enough experience points), and some questions about finding hidden items and what other items do.
Dr. Mario Guide: The NES has another puzzle game, and this one’s a bit of a classic. Anyway, we get strategies for the game, to help be well and thrive at playing the game. (HMO commercial humor). We also, basically, get some puzzles offered to us.
Game Boy Coverage: Duck Tales has been ported to the Game Boy, and we get maps of some of the levels. Also, Dr. Mario is also coming out for the Game Boy. We’ve also got a Robocop game for the Game Boy – and Robocop can jump now! The Play Action Football franchise is getting a portable version as well. We also get a Game Boy version of the Classified Information column.
Castlevania III Guide: We’ve got another Castlevania game, one featuring Trevor Belmont and multiple paths to choose from. We get maps of the various stages and information about which stages lead to which companion characters (Grant, Alucard and Sylphia). Anyway, we get some of the maps in the course of the guide, as well as on the back of this issue’s Mega Man poster, particularly with the maps labeling what candles have what items. Basically, they give us enough maps to take us to the castle, but not further.
Top 30: Another pair of months, another top 30 list to count down.
- Super Mario Bros 3 (22,365 pts.) – No Change (6 issues)
- Final Fantasy (8,494 pts.) – No Change (2 issues)
- Mega Man 2 (4,093 pts.) – Up 3 (11 issues)
- Tetris (3,694 pts.) – Up 3 (5 issues)
- Ninja Gaiden II (3,487 pts.) – Down 1 (2 issues)
- Ninja Gaiden (3,053 pts.) – Up 8 (9 issues)
- Super Mario Bros 2 (2,842 pts.) – Down 2 (14 issues)
- Zelda 2 (2,789 pts.) – No Change (14 issues)
- Legend of Zelda (2,637 pts.) – Up 1 (15 issues)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2,624 pts.) – Down 7 (10 issues)
- Crystalis (2,452 pts.) – New!
- Baseball Stars (2,284 pts.) – Up 8 (4 issues)
- TMNT II: The Arcade Game (2,283 pts.) – New!
- Super C (2,188 pts.) – Down 1 (3 issues)
- Batman (2,058 pts.) – Down 6 (7 issues)
- Tecmo Bowl (1,971 pts.) – Up 4 (10 issues)
- Battle of Olympus (1,841 pts.) – Down 7 (3 issues)
- Metroid (1,783 pts.) – Up 4 (14 issues)
- Shadowgate (1,708 pts.) – Down 6 (4 issues)
- Double Dragon (1,620 pts.) – Down 5 (2 issues)
- Metal Gear II (1,514 pts.) – No Change (3 issues)
- Wizardry (1,245 pts.) – New!
- Adventures of Lolo II (1,162 pts.) – No Change (2 issues)
- Mega Man (1,139 pts.) – Returning (13 issues)
- Punch-Out!! (1,072 pts.) – Down 1 (2 issues)
- Kid Kool (1,058 pts.) – New!
- Tombs and Treasure (1,056 pts.) – New!
- Castlevania II (1,037 pts.) – Returning (7 issues)
- Mega Man III (1,030 pts.) – New!
- Bionic Commando (990 pts.) – Down 11 (10 issues)
Absent from the list: Dragon Warrior (6 issues), The Magic of Scheherazade (3 issues), Nobunaga’s Ambition (4 issues), Al Unser Jr. Racing (1 issue).
Classified Information: We’ve got some alternate ways to fight Bowser in Super Mario Bros 3 (including being able to fight him again after you beat him the first time if you’ve got the P Wing, and a way to get to the sound test & music player in Ninja Gaiden II. There’s also a way to grind for extra lives in Double Dragon if you’re playing 2-player.
Now Playing: Basically, this is run-downs of new games that are coming out for the NES but aren’t getting more guide-ish preview, just a text preview. Of note is Pipe Dream, and the RPG Destiny of the Emperor, based on the Yellow Turban Uprising version of Romance of the 3 Kingdoms. We’re also let know the next strategy guide issue will be focused on 4-player games. While I’m not going to be doing a multi-player review of the game, I’ll be going back to my more standard Quality Control scheme there of picking a title rather than using the guide’s game by default.
Oh, and of note in their NES Achivement page – the top score for Tetris on the Game Boy – Steve Wozniack. Awesome.
Pak Watch: Of the upcoming NES titles of note, we’ve got Deja Vu, another Shadowgate style adventure game, this one with a The Fugitive style theme. There’s also Mega Man III, along with the next The Simpsons, which is just titled after the show. Meanwhile, we get our first glimps of EarthBound (aka Mother), Sim City for the SNES, and Star Tropics, as well as Shadow of the Ninja, and Quantum Fighter Kabuki. There’s also WWF Wrestlemania Challenge featuring the Ultimate Warrior. Hoak Hogan! Can The NES handle the Distrusity of The Warrior? We’ll have to wait until the game comes out to find out. SNNOOORRRKKK!
Celebrity Profile: This issue it’s focused on Kadeem Hardison, who I’ve never heard of before in my life.
Howard’s Letter: Well, basically, after the next guide, Nintendo Power’s going monthly, rather than having an issue, than a guide, alternating. Wahhh! I liked being forced to review classic games, without being hamstrung by my Quality Control selection criteria. Oh, fine. I guess I’ll live.
As far as my Quality Control pick goes – I’ve always loved the Castlevania series, but I’ve never played Castlevania III before, so I’m going to be picking that for my game of choice. Look forward to my review!