Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #46
We’re taking another slight step back with the EGM recaps to fill another hole in the archive. In this case, we’re covering Issue #46 for May of 1993, with a cover story of Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition for the Genesis.
Editorial: Our editorial this week comes from Ed Semrad, and covers Review Scores, and basically re-iterating that they stand behind their review scores, even though various publishers won’t necessarily be happy with them, and that they will say what they think in their editorials, even if game publishers and developers won’t like it, instead of re-iterating the table of contents (take that GamePro).
Letters: So, the first question of the issue is “Is Street Fighter 2 coming out for the Genesis?” Well, if someone ripped the cover off your copy of this issue, yes. We also get letters saying how awesome Starfox is. Oh, and apparently their April Fool’s day joke the issue prior was a mock schedule for Atari Jaguar games (including Virtua Pong and Yar’s Revenge 2). We also get more letters in response to Phil Mushnick’s letter (this would be the Rupert Murdoch-owned NY Post’s Phil Mushnick) in the April issue. I still haven’t found the April issue, so I don’t know what he said, so I can’t re-but it on my own. However, apparently Muschnick’s main targets appear to be EA and the Madden games, and also appear to be from the perspective of someone who had never played a video game before (particularly considering the responses we get this issue all reiterate that last point). Anyway, Muschnik’s letter made the “Psycho Letter of the Month” column (which I usually don’t cover). Anyway, one of the other points that I’m picking up second hand from this column is that Muschnik feels that the Madden games encourage kids to be violent in sports – considering the enouragement given in terms of “sick hit” football videos that I recall from Middle School and High School (including ones featuring prominant ESPN broadcasters who, let’s just say, thought they were “Awesome Baby”) I’d say that it’s not Madden’s fault, or EA’s fault, but the sports media’s fault – which Muschnik is part of. Oh, and we get another letter about the changes between the Japanese Ranma 1/2 game and the US Street Combat game, a question about mature content in Japanese games being carried over to the US (particularly nudity), and the RPG Dark Wizard for the Sega CD, which is apparently supposed to come out July ’93.
Review Crew: A slight reminder, as we’re filling a gap in the archive, that our crew is Steve Harris, Ed Semrad, Martin Alessi, and Sushi-X.
- Flashback (US Gold, Genesis): This is an action adventure game like Out Of This World, with a story that kind of does a combination of John Carpenter’s They Live! and the Phillip K. Dick story Paycheck. Steve, Martin and Sushi gave it 9s, lauding it for being just as good as Out Of This Workd. Ed, on the other hand, found it to be a little too short and gave it an 8. Overall: 35/40 and it recieves the EGM Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Battle Grand Prix (Hudson, SNES): Car combat racing game – but with a top down perspective instead of a behind the back Mode 7 perspective like in F-Zero. Ed and Sushi gave the game 6s, with Ed having problems with the split screen perspective (even in single player they have the computer visible in split-screen mode), as does Sushi. Steve and Martin gave the game 5s, with Martin having the same problems with the camera angle that Ed and Sushi had, while Steve just finds the game average. Overall: 22/40.
- Dream Probe (Renovation, SNES): Basically a fantasy platformer like Valis. Ed gave it a 6, finding the game enjoyable, but it has some problems with slowdown when the rather large boss sprites get on screen, along with some repetitive music. Everyone else gave it 5s, with Martin and Sushi having the same problems with the graphics, while Steve found it easy and repetitive. Speaking of which, I should probably get around to giving the Valis games a try. Overall: 21/40.
- The Lost Vikings (Interplay, SNES): Blizzard’s action puzzle game is getting ported to the SNES now. Ed, Martin, and Sushi gave the game 8s, applauding the soundtrack, the graphics, the controls, just about everything (though the puzzles get really hard later on). Steve, on the other hand, gave the game a 6, because he didn’t find the game fun, particularly having to get all 3 vikings to the end got repetitive. Overall: 30/40.
- Bubsey (Accolade, SNES): I shouldn’t have to describe this game to you, GamePro’s been covering the crap out of it for months. Ed gave it a 9, and found it to be one of the best platformers of the year thus far. Martin and Sushi gave the game 8s, liking the graphics, the music and the control, with Sushi saying it’s just short of getting a 9. Steve gave it a 7, saying that the game doesn’t need enough finesse to get through it (which is a different way, I guess, of saying that the game is too easy). Overall: 33/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Cool Spot (Sega, Genesis): 7up’s other mascot character (the first one was Fido Dido), gets a platformer. Ed and Sushi give the game 9s, with Ed commenting that the soda promotion elements (like Cool Spot shooting soda bubbles) are implemented well. Steve and Martin give the game 8s, with Steve liking the personality they were able to convey through the character (remember, before Mario RPG and Mario 64, Mario didn’t have much of a personality to him, and Sonic was one of the first platform characters to convey some personality), though Martin found it repetitive. Overall: 34/40 and it receives the Editor’s Choice Award Gold (the second Genesis game this issue to get it).
- Mutant League Football (EA, Genesis): *whistles* If Muschnik didn’t like Madden, he’s going to hate this (and for god’s sake, don’t tell him about Blood Bowl – it’s not a video game, but still!) Anyway, Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, with SEd liking the violent variation on football, though Sushi had some difficulties with choppy graphics. Steve felt that the new play mechanics combined with the Madden Engine bogs down gameplay, and Martin found that the more extreme stuff got dull, so they gave it 6s. Overall: 26/40.
- X-Men (Sega, Genesis): Action platformer with the Marvel characters. Sushi loves this type of game, and particularly liked that he could switch between the X-Men on the fly, and gave it an 8. Ed gave the game a 7, saying that the game isn’t a fantastic effort, and that he wished there were more characters to choose from. IIRC, it’s got Cyclops, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Gambit. The only other X-Men who might have different play styles would be Colossus and maybe Psychlok & Beast. Other than that you’re getting into Banshee (which wouldn’t work well for this style of game), and neither would Jean (who isn’t that physical, she’s generally support), as is Storm. Anyway, Martin & Steve found the control to be choppy and the graphics & sound to be weak, so they gave it 6s. Overall: 27/40.
- After Burner III (Sega, Sega CD): Sushi liked After Burner in the arcades and thinks this is a satisfactory port, needing only a flight stick, and he gave it a 7. Ed gave it a 6 because he found it enjoyable, though the music was weak, and he generally expected more. Martin gave the game a 5, finding the game fun, though it’s weak in comparison with Starfox. Steve found the game to be a significant disappointment and gave it an 4. Overall: 22/40.
- Make My Video – C&C Music Factory (Sony Imagesoft, Sega CD): You know the make my video “game” with Marky Mark – this is the same thing but with C+C Music Factory. Sushi gave it an 6, as it’s not much of a game, instead it’s a big more of a video editing suite with stock footage, and Martin & Ed gave it 5s for just about the same reason. Steve can’t stand C&C Music Factory and gave it a 3. Overall: 19/40.
- Magical Chase (Hudson, Duo): This is a sort of a Fantasy Zone style shooter, where you gain money by killing enemies which you then spend to upgrade your weapons and powers (combined with a light-hearted look and feel, with the main character being a young cute witch riding a broomstick). The game got 7s across the board, with applause for the cute premise, and solid graphics and gameplay. Overall: 28/40.
- Riot Zone (TTI, Duo): Hudson is finally trying to cash in on the success of the Final Fight and Streets of Rage series with a brawler of their own. Ed gives it a 6, finding the music great but otherwise feeling that the game doesn’t bring much new to the brawler table (and most games really won’t until they start introducing combo systems). Everyone else gives it a 5 for the same reasons. Overall: 21/40.
- Duck Tales II (Capcom, NES): You remember that Duck Tales game I reviewed a month or two ago? It got a sequel, and it did pretty well. 7s across the board, with the general consensus being that you should probably get your NES out of storage and hook it up for this game, which says a lot in its favor. Overall: 28/40.
- Super Side Kicks (SNK, Neo-Geo): Soccer game. Steve and Sushi gave it 7s, liking the graphics and sound, and with Steve in particular mentioning that the controls were pretty simple and straightforward to use. Ed and Martin gave it 6s due to the cheap AI in single player but enjoyable 2-player gameplay. Overall: 26/40.
- Yoshi’s Cookie (Nintendo, Game Boy): Falling blocks, or rather cookies, puzzle game. Ed, Martin, and Sushi gave it 7s, agreeing that it’s just as addictive as Tetris, and with comments that two-player system link is fun as well. Steve gave it a 6, finding it a bit too derivative of Tetris. Overall: 27/40.
- Double Dragon (Virgin, Game Gear): Well, Double Dragon’s come out everywhere else, it’s coming to the Game Gear now too.. Ed found that the brawler forumula is executed well on the Game Gear in this game, and gave it a 7. Steve and Sushi gave the game 6s, with Sushi wishing there was some more technique and strategy to the game, while Steve generally found the game dated in most regards. Martin gave the game a 5, lamenting the poor graphics, sound, and control. Overall: 24/40.
Gaming Gossip: What’s that smell? It must be fresh (at the time this issue came out) gaming gossip.
- Street Fighter II Champion Edition is coming to the Genesis! Hit! That’s a weak one though, Q-Mann. If you hadn’t spent a whole paragraph on this I would have skipped over it entirely. C’mon. It’s on the cover of the bloody damn magazine!
- Sega will be putting bringing Silpheed stateside, and Bubsy is already getting a sequel, and R-Type is getting a 3rd installment. Hit!
- 3DO’s planning to market an “enhancement board” for PC owners to carry the same functionalilty of the home console to the PC. Hit! However, if you want this to actually work, you had to be using a Creative CR-563 CD-ROM drive. No other CD-ROM drive would work with the card. There’s a term for decisions like that one: Stupid. By requring one specific model of CD-ROM Drive for your card, you’re limiting your market base, and if that card goes out of business you’re kind of in trouble.
The Rundown: 3 at bats, 3 hits, though the first one was a bit of a bunt.
EGM Express: The FM-Townes has a new model with the same hardware (pretty much), except there are some operating system upgrades, and it doesn’t have a connector for a second floppy drive. What does that mean? Well, until games for the new platform come out you can’t play the older games on it. Yeah. Also, we get various one paragraph blurbs from Sega’s PR Rep regarding Phantasy Star IV (still early in the design process), Sonic III (Bigger, better, and this is a family magazine so we can’t say “badass”), and the the Sega CD (no price cut, sorry).
Leading Edge: NBA Jam is now in arcades. Capcom’s got the over the top wrestling game Saturday Night Slam Masters, and the shooter/brawler combo The Punisher.
The Game Doctor: We get another question about whether if you can play Duo games on a Sega CD with a memory upgrade. I’d just like to say that the good Doctor has the patience of a saint.
International Outlook: Ys IV: Mark of the Sun is coming to the SNES. This is the official 4th installment of the series – and it unfortunately didn’t get a US release. So, after Wanderers from Ys, we don’t get another Ys game in the US until Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim. Banpresto has what appears to be a Super Robot Wars themed fighting game in The Great Battle III. There’s also Mega Man 6, mecha action game Esperanza.
Also, Data East is doing a drawing to promote the upcoming Shadowrun game, the some of the prizes being an black satin jacket emroidered with the Shadowrun logo. Me, I’d prefer a biker jacket with the a patch with the Shadowrun logo on it, maybe even with some additional Shadowrun themed patches. Hmm… if I could get enough designers togeather to come up with patches, and then I’d make 2 of these – one for me, one to auction off as a fundraiser for the Electronic Frontier Foundation or some other similar charity.
Next Wave: Phantasy Star IV is coming out, and I should really get around to beating all 4 Phantasy Star games. I’ve got Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, so I’ve got all 4 of them. LJN is putting out WWF Royal Rumble, and Acclaim has Alien III. EA’s got General Chaos, and Sega’s got Golden Axe III coming out. Activision has the dogfighting game Super Air Diver and the shump Bio Metal. Working Designs is bringing out Exile II: Wicked Phenomenon.
Feature Articles: We’re starting off with our feature coverage of Street Fighter: Championship Edition, which has everyone’s move lists along with some combo notes. We also get some information on the upcoming six-button controller for the Genesis, along with some 6-button arcade sticks, and how the game will handle existing 3-button controllers. We also have an interview with Jez San of Argonaut Software, which designed the SNES’s Super FX chip and Starfox. This leads to a featured preview of Starfox for the SNES, with some of our first glimpses of the game.
SNES Coverage: With a smooth segue, we’ve got coverage of the Edutainment game Mario is Missing. Culture Brain also has the fighting game Ultimate Fighter, which is in no way related to the UFC, but instead is a bit of an amalgam of a fighting game and a brawler. There’s also Taz-Mania, which, unlike the previous platformer, is more of a behind the back race game. Activision’s got an Alien vs. Predator brawler, which just about cuts the human side of the fight entirely. Jaleco has the fighting game Brawl Brothers, ASCII has the fantasy adventure Spellcraft, Atlus has a platformer based on the animated TV series Widget, titled Super Wiget.
Genesis & Sega CD Coverage: Desert Strike has gotten a sequel in Jungle Strike, with the son of the bad guy from the first game joining forces with a drug lord to destroy Washington DC. There’s also the action game Cyborg Justice. American Sammy has Sorcerer’s Kingdom to expand the Genesis’ RPG library. EA’s got the fantasy shooter 2Galt. Atari Tengen’s brought out RBI Baseball ’93. The Genesis is also getting an American Gladiators licenced game. The Sega CD is (no surprise) getting Mad Dog McCree. We also get some scren shots of Make My Video: C+C Music Factory.
TurboDuo Coverage: Bonk 3 is coming out, and now has a two-player co-operative mode. We also have some screen shots of Riot Zone, which was reviewed earlier. We also have a look at Gradius II, which looks gorgeous, and I’d love to get my hands on.
NES Coverage: Well, being that both franchises started on home consoles on the NES, it’s not surprising that Battletoads vs. Double Dragon is coming to the NES. We also have a preview of gambling game Casino Kid.
Game Boy Coverage: Taito’s got the mixed martial art fighting game Ring Rage, and there’s also the fighting game Battletoads in Ragnarock’s World.
Game Gear Coverage: We get more screen shots of Double Dragon.
Street Fighter II Comic: This part 2 of a comic that started last issue, and one that, frankly, doesn’t look very good at all, and in which the characters aren’t in any way similar to the characters from the game (for starters, Ryu is romancing Chun-Li).
EGM Lifestyles: Sendai Publications is starting a spinoff magazine related to comic books, video games, and other media titled Hero Illustrated. If I can build up an archive of that I might consider doing coverage of that magazine next. The Barcode Battler has become a big hit in Japan, and in the US Valiant Comics has re-introduced their older character of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, which later becomes a hit video game character long after the comic stops running. There’s also some pictures of Last Action Hero, which I really need to see eventually.
That wraps up this issue of EGM. Tomorrow will be the last of the Dedicated Strategy Guide issues of Nintendo Power befor it becomes, basically, a standard monthly magazine.