Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #45
For this week’s EGM Recap we’re going to take a step back to fill another gap in the archive (hopefully I’ll be able to alternate these until all the gaps are filled). This issue I’m going back to April 1993 for issue #45 of Electronic Gaming Monthly. This issue’s of average size, about 183 pages, and our cover story is the game adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppela. Of all the Coppela films to get a video game adaptation, this is the one that needed it the least.
Editorial: Ed Semrad gives his thoughts on Winter CES, and he’s going to be a little outspoken here – you see, his game of the show isn’t Starfox, which was a cover story the previous issue, it’s Slipheed for the Sega CD.
Letters: We have letters urging people to contect Renovation and have them licence Time Gal for a US. Ask, and you shall recieve. Also, finally, in their Psycho Letter of the Month feature (which I normally don’t cover), we’ve got Phil Muschnik’s letter, which is, more accurately, his column from the New York Post about violence in video games, printed verbatim. The column is mainly focused on the Madden games, and the ad copy on the back of the games advertising and promoting the ability for players to get injured in the game, as well as clothesline tackles and other things which are technically against NFL rules, though Muschnik doesn’t spare the NFL itself from his ire – criticising NFL Films “NFL Rocks” video tape, which features (he says) illegal hits set to rock music. It’s a semi-valid concern. The promotion of the hard hits in football has lead to young football players doing harder hits earlier, leading to an early prevalence of Multiple Concussion Syndrome among football players in High School and College. That said, Muschnik goes a little far by saying Nintendo and Sega can, quote, “go to hell” end quote for allowing such things to be depicted. If the blame is going to be laid anywhere, it’s at the NFL. They started glamorizing sick tackles and hard hits, and everyone else followed their lead. The Madden series has always aimed to be a football simulation, more than anything else – a reflection of the game as it’s played, and as we – the fans see it on our TV screens every Sunday or Monday night. Anyway, after that intellectual discussion, we have people complaining about Bubsy’s lack of pants. *sigh*.
The Review Crew: Since we’re going back to before the format change, our Crew is Steve Harris, Ed Semrad, Martin Alessi, and Sushi-X.
- Bomberman ’93 (TTI, Duo): Bomberman got a sequel! Ed gives it a 9, finding the game addictive with a lot of strategy to it. Steve, Martin, and Sushi give the game 8s, saying it’s like the last bomberman game, with some tweaks and improvements. Overall: 33/40 and it it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Shadowrun (Data East, SNES): It’s a RPG based on the awesome FASA RPG. Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, saying that they enjoyed the quest gameplay, though they thinks it could have used more action and been paced faster. Steve and Martin give the game 6s, as they think the graphics are average and the sound is poor. Overall: 26/40.
- Family Dog (THQ, SNES): It’s an adventure platformer based on the cartoon show. Ed gives the game a 7, commenting it took him a bit to get the hang of the controls, but once he got used to it he thought it was fun. Sushi gives the game a 5 and Steve & Martin give it 4s, finding the control to be poor, and once you’ve mastered the controls the game becomes incredibly easy (without actual difficulty in the levels). Overall: 20/40.
- B.O.B (EA, SNES): Action shooter. Ed and Martin give the game 7s, saying that the character has some appeal to it and while the action is slow, the weapon variety is good too, and Martin in particular finds it to be satisfactorily challenging. Steve and Sushi give the game 5s, as Steve likes the game mechanics and found it addictive, though they didn’t find it very enjoyable. That said – Sushi comments that the only thing you can do in the game is jump and shoot – as a negative. You could say the same thing about Contra. Overall: 24/40.
- Super Turrican (Seika, SNES): Action game. Ed give the game a 9, applauding the soundtrack and the hidden powerups. Martin and Sushi give the game 8s, with Martin applauding the sound while finding the game itself repetitive, while Sushi really likes the game due to its smooth control, even though it doesn’t have the “flair” of other, similar games. Steve gives it an 7, saying lots of really postive things about it, and nothing negative (or even backhanded). Overall: 32/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Outrun 2019 (Sega, Genesis): Ed thinks it’s a good racing game, though he feels that their is better, though this is probably the best they can get until we start getting Sega CD racing games. Sushi gives the game a 6, finding a good idea, but the game isn’t challenging enough. Steve and Martin give the game 5s as they’re not impressed with the graphics or the sound. Overall: 23/40.
- Battletoads (Tradewest, Genesis): Ed and Martin give the game 8s, finding it a faithful port, with all the controller smashing, coronary inducing gameplay that it entails. Sushiand Steve give it 7s, as they’re not impressed with the graphics (and Sushi saying outright thathee thinks the graphics look 8-bit. Overall: 30/40.
- Fatal Fury (Takara, Genesis): This port just doesn’t do very well at all, with the consensus being good graphics but poor control. The only disagreement is in the scores – Ed gives it a 5, Steve and Martin give it 4s and Sushi gives it a 3. Overall: 16/40.
- Time Gal (Renovation, Sega CD): Dragon’s Lair style action game. Steve, Ed and Sushi give the game 8s, as they like the animation, they like the sound quality, and they like how the time you have to react speeds up. Martin doesn’t like it as much though, and gives it a 6. Overall: 30/40.
- Sim Earth (T.T.I., Duo): Ed and Sushi give the game 6s, saying that it’s good for SimCity fans but not for other gamers. Steve and Martin, on the other hand, just hate it and give it 4s, finding it dull and boring. Boo. Hiss. Overall: 20/40.
- Fatal Fury 2 (SNK, Neo-Geo): Ed, Martin, and Sushi give the game 8s, finding even better than the first Fatal Fury game. Steve gives it a 7, for (basically) the same reason. Overall: 31/40.
- Tiny Toon Adventures 2 (Konami, NES): The game gets 7s from Ed, Martin, and Sushi, and a 6 from Steve, as they find it’s a good game for the beginning gamer, who doesn’t necessarily have enough experience for more advanced platformers. Overall: 27/40.
- Fire & Ice (Tecmo, NES): Puzzle-platformer. Ed gives it a 8, finding the progession of difficulty really good, and Martin gives it a 7 for the same reason. Steve gives it a 7 as well, but he finds it much more repetative Ed and Martin did, and Ed gives it a 6, finding it much too simple. Overall: 28/40.
- Kid Dracula (Konami, Game Boy): It’s a cutsy platformer featuring a vampire – I see the beginnings of the backslide that leads us to Twilight. Ed and Martin give the game 7s, finding it well designed for the GB, and appropriately paced to avoid blurring. Steve gives it a 6, finding it not revolutionary but still fun. Sushi gives it a 5 as… well, it’s a Game Boy game and he finds it kind of easy. Overall: 25/40.
- Milon’s Secret Castle (Hudson, Game Boy): It’s a port of the NES game. Ed gives it a 7 as he likes puzzle maze games. Steve and Martin give the game 6s as they find it a good and faithful port. Sushi finds it pretty boring and gives it a 5. Overall: 24/40.
- Spider-Man (Flying Edge, Game Gear): Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, as Ed likes the game’s graphics and control and Sushi finds it generally solid. Steve and Martin give the game 6s, as they find it above average and fun. Overall: 26/40.
Gaming Gossip: Another issue, another batch of rumors.
- The Sega CD is going to get a price cut. I can’t find anything to confirm or deny it, so Hit! (tenatively).
- People are working for modems for home consoles so you can play fighing games online! Hit! It doesn’t work well. To be honest, we’ve only really nailed down a way to play fighting games online just now!
- Mortal Kombat will get a home release in August. Miss! Sorry, it instead comes out on September 13th, 1993 – “Mortal Monday”.
- Sonic The Hedgehog is getting not 1, but 2 cartoon shows! Hit
So, we’re 3/4 this time, which is a nice improvement (though part of this is because of the addional volume to it.)
EGM Express: The Turbo Duo is getting a new SKU – the Duo-R. Basically, they’re dropping the price, and to do this they’re dropping the headphone jack and volume control, as well as changing the color and getting rid of the cover lock. Other than that it’s pretty much the same. Speaking of the Duo, Fighting Street 2 is going to be both a disk and card game, in that you’ll need both to play the game. We also have the specifications of the Super FX chip. This segues into the war between Sega and Nintendo over Polygonal games as demonstrated by Sylpheed from Sega and Starfox from Nintendo. Oh, and Konix is putting out the Multi-System. No, really, it’s back, and it’s a CD-ROM system. I’m kind of shocked, but not too much. The Phantom Game Console made it 4 years before finally dying as vaporware (Announced in 2002, dying in 2006). It’s been 3 and 3/4ths years thus far since it made it’s first appearance in EGM #1, so if it makes it for another year or two it will out-last the Phantom before finally withering on the vine.
Leading Edge: We have the soccer game Super Side Kicks, the light gun game Dragongun where you shoot dragons… with a gun. Atlus also has the shooter Wing Force. I wonder when we hit the point where Atlus, creator of platformers and Shumps becomes Atlus, porter of JRPGs.
The Game Doctor: We have questions about Japanese names for various consoles, the PAL and NTSC video differences, and how the SNES determines how fast it will run.
International Outlook: Of not this issue is Breath of Fire from Capcom (their first RPG), Culture Brain has SD Art of Fighting which Chibi Art of Fighting characters. Attention SNK: I want a Super Deformed King of Fighters game! Anyway, Mastiya has a Ranma 1/2 CD game and that pretty much covers it.
Next Wave: EA’s got Jungle Strike, the sequel to Desert Strike. Square’s got Final Fantasy Adventure 2 for the SNES (which gets re-titled as Secret of Mana, Art of Fighting for the SNES. The Duo is getting Gradius II.
Feature – Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Okay, so apparently Coppela was heavily involved in this game. I almost wonder if this game soured Coppola on the game industry as much as this film, Frankenstein, and Godfather III soured Coppola on film, as I get the impression that Coppola hates the film industry now, and from what I heard about what he was saying about the first Godfather game before it’s release I think Coppola doesn’t like video games either. The captions for the pictures are a little off. To be specific, they mistake Elisabeta for Mina in one picture, and have Chesare, Hopkins character in the past wanting to help Dracula (which, if you’ve seen the movie, you know things turn out differently. We also get some screen shots of the Sega CD, SNES, and Genesis versions of the game.
SNES Coverage: We get some screen shots of Batman Returns, Super Turrican, Run Saber, the puzzle game Troddlers, platformer Rocky Rodent, shump Syvalion Attack Fighter, Toys.
Genesis Coverage: We have a new X-Men action game, a sequel to Blaster Master. We also get a preview of Cool Spot, Shining Force, and the arcade-y flight sim G-Loc Battle. Renovation has the fantasy shump Element Master. There’s also screen shots of Tony LaRussa Baseball and Splatterhouse 3. On the CD-Rom front, we have After Burner III.
Duo Coverage: We get screen shots of Sim Earth and comedy shumps Cotton, and Magical Chase.
Neo-Geo Coverage: We have screen shots of Fatal Fury 2.
NES Coverage: We get some screen shots of Fire & Ice, Crash ‘n the Boys Ice Challenge (a spin-off of River City Ransom) and Duck Tales 2.
Game Boy Coverage: We’ve got the racing game Race Drivin’ and the Humans (a Lemmings clone).
Game Gear Coverage: McDonald’s has advergame in Mick & Mack: The Global Gladiators, where Mick & Mack try to save the earth (nevermind all the polystyrine trash generated by McDonalds, and that there aren’t any recycling bins for any of the plastic products used by McDonalds – and some of them are recyclable).
Special Street Fighter II Comic – Part 1: It’s not canon and the art is ugly. For the record, the writing is by Len Strazewski and the art is by Don Hillsman (who has gone on to inking work for some major DC and Marvel books). Frankly, he should stick with the Inking, because his pencils are pretty bad. Our writing is from the creator of Prime and, well, I’ve read last issue and it’s iffy. We’ve got a romanace going between Ryu and Chun-Li, I’m guessing because Ryu is the main character and Chun-Li is (at this point) the only woman in the series. This issue’s a little better, with Sagat and Balrog fighting amongst themselves, with Balrog taunting Sagat for being defeated by Ryu, and Sagat having none of this. However, M. Bison chews them out. Rather weak.
EGM Lifestyles: Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny did a Nike Commercial togeather, one that would lead to the movie Space Jam (which I liked). Issue #100 of Spider-Man is coming out, and it’s got a holographic cover. Remember the way things were before the comic bubble burst! We’re also getting a 3rd Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie (and it’s not as good as the second – which wasn’t very good either.)
Game Over: We get the ending cutscene of Chakan: The Forever Man. In short, to give an opening for a sequel, Death screws Chakan again, by making him eliminate all the evil in the Universe. That’s a dick move.