Anyway, it’s time to get started with Nintendo Power’s 4th year. This is issue #20, and our cover story is Mega Man III, and I have to say the cover art isn’t as good as some of the stuff from the previous year, particularly Rush. However, US cover art for the core Mega Man series has never looked good in general. Anyway, this issue is of average length, at 107 pages. This issue also gives us a start-of-issue “editorial” section which is, basically, re-stating the Table of Contents – except we haven’t actually gotten the Table of Contents yet (where as GamePro, which puts it up after the Table of Contents). Anyway, I’ll finally be discussing the scores they’re giving this time, as with this issue, I can finally tell what the heck their scores are! Previously they had a kind of really rough mercury thermometer thing going on, which made it difficult to tell what score they were trying to give. Now they’ve changed the scores to more solid numbers, so I can actually tell what they’re supposed to be.
Letters: The Woz Loves Tetris. No, seriously. Steve Wozniak has written a letter saying how much he enjoys playing Tetris, complete with a photograph of his high score. Also, our servicemen in Iraq for Desert Shield love their Game Boys too, which make sense because they can take a bigger beating than a Rolex and Samsonite luggage combined.
Mega Man III Strategy Guide: Mega Man III is coming out (soon), and Mega Man has a new helper – Rush! We also have the reccomended order for the Robot Masters which are, in their reccomended order: Magnet Man, Hard Man, Top Man, Shadow Man, Spark Man, Snake Man, Gemini Man and Needle Man. We also get maps for the stages of all 8 Robot Masters. After beating the Robot Masters, you end up having 8 more to fight, including Metal Man, Quick Man, Heat Man, Wood Man, Flash Man, Bubble Man, Air Man and Crash Man. Then, finally, you get to fight Dr. Wily. Of course, we don’t get maps of Wiley’s stage, because that’d be too easy. Scores: Graphics & Sound: 4.5. Play Control: 4.2. Challenge & Lasting Interest: 4.2. Theme & Fun: 4.0.
Why Your Game Paks Never Forget: Basically, this is an article to explain how Memory works. I’ve gone on at length on how Memory works in my various and sundry EGM recaps, so I’m not going to go in depth on this article. It doesn’t explain everything, and it fails to explain at least one acronym (PRG – which is, apparently, their acronym for programs). Anyway, we get a breakdown of the various MMCs (Memory Managment Chips) that GamePaks use, 1 through 3 and 5 (4 apparently doesn’t exist), and what they have different about them. They don’t explain too much on the MMC1, but apparently it allows for vertical and horizontal scrolling in Metroid. MMC2 was only used in Punch-Out!, but it allows for the game’s massive sprites and the degree of expression on the characters. MMC3 allows for split-screen scrolling like in Mario 3 (basically, the additional layer that you use to find the hidden warp whistles), and angular scrolling, like in NES Play Action Football. MMC5 allows for more subtile color work, like in Castlevania III (remember the stained glass in the window in the videos – it allows them to do that).
The Immortal Guide: This is an sort of RPG, but with an isometric camera angle, and you can only see one room or area at a time. We get notes on the controls, the traps, and the first 5 levels of the dungeon, along with notes on levels 6 and 7. I enjoy playing Fantasy games, but this seems a little iffy for me, so I’m going to pass on this. Scores: Graphics & Sound: 4.3. Play Control: 3.7. Challenge & Lasting Interest: 4.2. Theme & Fun: 4.3.
Classified Information: Well, apparently there was a 10 lives code for Castlevania. No, it’s not the Konami Code. It’s entering “Help Me” as your name whenever you play (including when you enter your password).
Deja Vu Guide: The developers of Shadowgate have another adventure game. This one is Deja Vu. We get a run-down of the game’s user interface, and, like with Shadowgate the advice that you save early and save often. The mini-guide is written in a fun faction, with lots mock Noir analogies. For example, “The questions are pounding in your skull like an all-night construction job.” Anyway, we get notes for the first 16 areas of the game. The poster for this issue also has a map of everywhere you need to go in the game, as well as a Bart vs. The Space Mutants poster on the other side. Scores: Graphics & Sound: 3.8. Play Control: 3.8. Challenge & Lasting Interest: 4.3. Theme & Fun: 4.5.
Gremlins II Guide: It’s a top down action game based on the film featuring you as Gizmo, based on the plot of the movie. We get a run down of your weapons (tomatoes, the match, the paper clip, and two different bows), various items you can get, and the type of level hazards you can run into. We also get maps of the first 5 stages in the game. The game does have you jumping diagonally, which is tricky on the standard control pad, but should be okay if you’re using an arcade stick or playing on a controller with a stick on the Wii or on an Emulator. Scores: Graphics & Sound: 4.4. Play Control: 3.7. Challenge & Lasting Interest: 3.9. Theme & Fun: 4.1.
Game Boy Coverage: We get maps and item information on the Dragon’s Lair platformer for the Game Boy. There’s the strategy game Mercenary Force, the shump Burai Fighter, the racing game F1 Race, and a port of Scrabble.
Howard & Nester: This issue Howard and Nester is playing Solar Jetman, and this time they’re actually working togeather to find treasure on an uncharted planet – the treasure (guarded by hostile aliens)? A Bow Tie that Howard had lost and that the aliens were worshipping.
Miracle Piano Teaching System: Now you can learn how to play the piano on your NES for under $200!
Councelor’s Corner: We have advice for Destiny of an Emperor, the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms RPG, as well as Dungeon Magic, Crystalis, and advice on Swords & Serpents.
Now Playing: The titles of note that they didn’t give feature coverage to are Conquest of the Crystal Palace and… that’s it.
Top 30: We’ve got a few big movers, and a bunch of new stuff.
- Super Mario Bros 3 (10,556 pts.) – No Change (7 issues)
- Final Fantasy (8,250 pts.) – No Change (3 issues)
- Crystalis (5,433 pts.) – Up 8 (2 issues)
- Mega Man II (3,743 pts.) – Down 1 (12 issues)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3,346 pts.) – Up 5 (11 issues)
- Legend of Zelda (2,787 pts.) – Up 3 (16 issues)
- Tetris (2,690 pts.) – Down 3 (6 issues)
- Super Mario Bros. 2 (2,647 pts.) – Down 1 (15 issues)
- Dragon Warrior II (2,582 pts.) – New!
- Back to the Future (2,210 pts.) – New!
- Blaster Master (2,186 pts.) – Returning (11 issues)
- Ninja Gaiden II (2,104 pts.) – Down 7 (3 issues)
- Battle of Olympus (2,060 pts.) – Up 4 (4 issues)
- Castlevania II (1,708 pts.) – Up 14 (8 issues)
- Batman (1,678 pts.) – No Change (8 issues)
- NES Play Action Football (1,583 pts.) – New!
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1,471 pts.) – Down 9 (14 issues)
- Tecmo Bowl (1,454 pts.) – Down 2 (11 issues)
- Fester’s Quest (1,399 pts.) – Returning (2 issues)
- Super C (1,354 pts.) – Down 6 (4 issues)
- Castlevania III (1,342 pts.) – New!
- Destiny of an Emperor (1,341 pts.) – New!
- Adventures of Lolo II (1,250 pts.) – No Change (3 issues)
- Operation Wolf (1,203 pts.) – Returning (2 issues)
- Shooting Range (1,141 pts.) – New!
- Double Dragon II (1,180 pts.) – Down 6 (3 issues)
- Knight Rider (1,126 pts.) – New!
- Swords & Serpents (1,059 pts.) – New!
- Solar Jetman (1,039 pts.) – New!
- Wizardry (1,038 pts.) – Down 8 (2 issues)
Absent from the list: Shadowgate (4 issues), Baseball Stars (4 issues), Punch-Out (2 issues), Bionic Commando (10 issues), Mega Man III (1 issue), Tombs and Treasure (1 issue), Kid Kool (1 issue), Metal Gear II (3 issues), Metroid (14 issues), TMNT II: Arcade (1 issue).
Celebrity Profile: This issue it’s New Kids on the block, one of the first artificially manufactured boy-bands that would pave the way for the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and 98 Degrees. The group has their own game coming up from Absolute, where you use the band’s music to fend off “haters” of the band. I can think of several jokes to crack about this, but I won’t.
Pak Watch: Some of the notable upcoming titles include G.I. Joe from Taxan (though I like the Capcom one better), mecha shump Metal Storm, Parker Bros’ Monopoly game, and the SNES, with Pilotwings, Super Mario World, and F-Zero set to be launch titles. There’s also, back for the NES, the Shadowgate-style adventure game Uninvited.
Letter from Howard: So, they’ve tweaked the format again (as you can tell), and they hope we, the readers like it. It certainly like what we’ve gotten so far. They’re shooting for Quality, instead of Quantity of games covered, which sounds right. They’re planning on having more technical articles in the future, which is a nice change, in my opinion.
As for my Quality Control pick. Well, I’m going to go with Deja Vu this issue. I enjoyed Shadowgate, as hard as it was, and I enjoy reading Noir. Hopefully this won’t be as insta-gib as Shadowgate was, but we’ll see when we get there.