Where I Read – Nintendo Power #21

Magazine Nintendo Power - Star Tropics V4 #2 (of 12) (_2) - Page 1We move on to issue 21 of Nintendo Power. Our cover story is StarTropics. The cover art is much better than last issue, with an interesting mix of drawn art with papercraft art. Again their editorial is hyping the coverage in this magazine (re-stating the table of contents). Though, they do say one contraversial thing… only it’d probably only be contraversial if the internet was more wide spread – they say that the NES port of Ultima: Quest of the Avatar is better than the PC version. I’m going to have to take issue with that. Not a big issue, but a slight one.

Letters: We get more letters about invincible NES Control Decks and Game Boys. We also have a woman with a pet racoon that she named Tanooki. For the record – Exotic Pets Are Bad!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II – The Arcade Game Guide: I’m surprised this wasn’t on the cover, considering that at this point, Turtlemania is running wild, brother! Anyway, we get some small screen shots comparing the NES and Arcade versions of the game. Basically, the sprites on the arcade version look a little bigger, and you’ve got 4-player multi-player. We get maps of some of the early areas of the game, including notes on what enemies come out when and, just as helpfully, how many there are for single player and multi-player (as, in two-player you get more enemies than in single-player). Also, we get the number of hit-points for the bosses, and again, the bosses (well, some of them) have more HP in two-player than in single-player. Anyway, we get maps of the first 7 stages. We also get some two-player strategies, including the basic stuff, like “Who uses the health power-up”, and slightly more advanced stuff, like “Which Turtles go well togeather.” We also get the 10 turtle cheat for the game. Score: Graphics & Sound – 3.9, Play Control – 4.1, Challenge & Entertainment – 4.3, Theme & Fun – 4.0.

Howard & Nester: This time we’re in Mega Man III, and Howard & Nester go up against robot duplicates of Nester created by Dr. Wily.

Quantum Fighter Kabuki Guide: I’m probably going to pick this as my Quality Control game, mainly because I’d heard of it before and it had caught my interest. This is an action platformer where you play as a super soldier who has to go inside this computer so he can save humanity, taking a Kabuki character as his avatar. Very cyber-punky. We get a run-down of the weapons and maps of the first 5 levels in the game. Score: Graphics & Sound – 3.6, Play Control – 3.6, Challenge & Entertainment – 3.5, Theme & Fun – 3.7.

Classified Information: We have ways to practice the mini-games in TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan, and an easter egg in The Immortal that gets you an additional spells, as well as few other notes on other games, but those were the two that I really felt were notable.

StarTropics Guide: This is another of the first NES games I bought, in it’s box, with my own money. We get coverage of the first few quests in the game, as it is more of a Zelda style RPG (with the inclusion of jumping), and advice on killing some of the first bosses. We also get maps of all the overworld areas. On the other side we have a picture of a very nice figurine for Metal Storm (which is their game next issue). Score: Graphics & Sound – 3.8, Play Control – 3.3, Challenge & Entertainment – 4.3, Theme & Fun – 4.3.

Game Boy Coverage: We have maps and coverage for Gremlins 2. We also have notes on the players available for NBA All-Star Challenge. Our Game Boy Classified Information Column doesn’t have anything of note particularly. The best is a way to skip the boss fights in Mercenary Force.

Magician Guide: Taxan has a side-scrolling RPG! We get notes of some of the spells you can use, and some of the regions in the game as you advance through it. From the sounds of things it’s very, very linear. Score: Graphics & Sound – 3.6, Play Control – 2.8, Challenge & Entertainment – 3.8, Theme & Fun – 3.8.

Power To The Player: We get some notes on how, precisely, their review system works. Basically, they grade the game based on 8 criteria, with two criteria going to each rating, and this in then averaged out. Clever. We also get notes about which ratings tend to be more important to what categories (for a turn-based RPG control isn’t as big a deal as an action-platformer like Mega Man).

Some very nice Ultima IV art. I wouldn't mind getting this framed.
Some very nice Ultima IV art. I wouldn't mind getting this framed.

Ultima: Quest of the Avatar Guide: Ultima IV has gotten a port to the NES. We get a over-world map with all the important locations marked off, including the moongates and notes on what moongates will take you where. We also get information on what questions will take you to what class in the Tarot Card quiz at the start of the game. Because this game introduces the Virtue System, we also have notes on how to demonstrate those virtues, and where the runes for those virtues are (and you need to get the runes in order to enter the shrines so you can become the Avatar. We also get a map of the last dungeon (though not necessarily the intermediary dungeons). Score: Graphics & Sound – 3.3, Play Control – 3.4, Challenge & Entertainment – 3.5, Theme & Fun – 3.7

Councelor’s Corner: We get notes on finding the Jailor’s Key in Dragon Warrior II. Oh, and we still have more questions on Legend of Zelda. You know, since you’re not doing the Special Strategy Guide issues anymore, you might as well do a full official strategy guide for Legend of Zelda (and probably another for Metroid, for good measure). Oh, and Nintendo Power is doing a contest where you can read a trip to FASA’s now defunct Battletech mech center. It definitely looks really cool, IMHO, and I really wish that someone would revive the concept. Second place winners get the rules for battletech. Not bad, if I don’t say so myself. The 3rd place prize (unfortunately) isn’t Battletech related – you get the standard Nintendo Power jersey. I’d have created a new shirt design myself (maybe something with Nester in a Mechwarrior’s attire).

The Battletech Center in Chicago. When I was a kid I totally wanted to go here.
The Battletech Center in Chicago. When I was a kid I totally wanted to go here.

Now Playing: Well, it’s time for me to pick the best of the rest. We have Shadow of the Ninja from Natsume, and the Civil War strategy game North and South.

Top 30: They’ve changed up the list in a good way. They’re now listing the number of months (by which we mean issues), each game in the Top 10 has been on the list. They’re not giving notes on how the games have shifted around the list yet, but it’s still a nice assist. Or they would be if the dates weren’t totally inaccurate. Okay – they’re not totally inaccurate, they’re only counting how long they were on the list for this stretch.

  1. Super Mario Bros 3 (12,556 pts.) – No Change (8 Issues)
  2. Final Fantasy (7,457 pts.) – No Change (3 Issues)
  3. NES Play Action Football (4,515 pts.) – Up 13 (2 Issues)
  4. Mega Man II (4,318 pts.) – No Change (13 Issues)
  5. Castlevania III (3,913 pts.) – Up 16 (2 Issues)
  6. Crystalis (3,901 pts.) – Down 3 (2 Issues)
  7. Dr. Mario (3,581 pts.) – New!
  8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (3,174 pts.) – Returning (2 issues)
  9. Tetris (2,585 pts.) – Down 2 (7 issues)
  10. Legend of Zelda (2,541 pts.) – Down 4 (17 issues)
  11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2,535 pts.) – Down 6 (12 issues)
  12. Destiny of an Emperor (2,445 pts.) – Up 11 (2 issues)
  13. Mega Man III (2,397 pts.) – Returning (2 issues)
  14. Tecmo Bowl (2,300 pts.) – Up 4 (12 issues)
  15. Ghostbuster 2 (2,185 pts.) – New!
  16. Super Mario Bros 2 (2,168 pts.) – Down 8 (16 issues)
  17. Dragon Warrior II (2,042 pts.) – Down 8 (2 issues)
  18. Ninja Gaiden II (1,837 pts.) – Down 6 (4 issues)
  19. Maniac Mansion (1,800 pts.) – New!
  20. Wrestlemania (1,541 pts.) – Returning (2 issues)
  21. Zelda II (1,429 pts.) – Down 4 (15 issues)
  22. Wizardry (1,386 pts.) – Up 8 (3 issues)
  23. Battle of Olympus (1,287 pts.) – Down 10 (5 issues)
  24. Fester’s Quest (1,213 pts.) – Down 5 (3 issues)
  25. Rescue Rangers (1,169 pts.) – New!
  26. Mega Man (1,127 pts.) – Returning (14 issues)
  27. Batman (1,059 pts.) – Down 12 (9 issues)
  28. Shadowgate (1,055 pts.) – Returning (5 issues)
  29. Solstice (1,049 pts.) – New!
  30. Pinbot (963 pts.) – New!

Absent from the list: Blaster Master (11 Issues), Super C (4 issues), Adventures of Lolo 2 (4 issues), Shooting Range (1 issue), Solar Jetman (1 issue), Swords & Serpents (1 issue), Knight Rider (1 issue).

Celebrity Profile: Vlad Divac, center for the LA Lakers gets a profile this week. Not only is he a NES fan, he’s helped get another Laker to be a gamer as well, A.C. Green to be specific.

Will Wright and Shigaru MiyamotoPak Watch: In terms of the upcoming titles, we’ve got Hudson’s Adventure Island 2, Double Dragon III, and a Star Wars game. The SNES launch titles are getting some coverage as well, including SimCity (woo!) and we get a screen shot of Shigeru Miyamoto and Will Wright demonstrating the game. I don’t know if they’d met before, but if they hadn’t… that’s a history making moment. It’d be like Hironobu Sakaguchi and Richard Garriott meeting. I don’t know if they have met, but if they haven’t then they should totally do a panel togeather for GDC or something. If anyone from GDC is reading this blog post… make it happen! Anyway, we also have Wolverine and Terminator II titles coming up, and Nobunaga’s Ambition II.

Letter from Howard: Howard got to meet cosmonaut Nikolai Rukavishnikov at FAO Shwartz in New York City for the launch of Solar Jetman. Nikolai took part in the Soyuz 16 mission, which helped lay the technical groundwork for the the last Apollo mission – the Apollo-Soyuz mission, which had a Apollo module and a Soyuz module linking up, and allowing astronauts from the US and the USSR to do science togeather. Or, if you like, to do SCIENCE! togeather.

Well, that wraps up this issue of Nintendo Power. My next Quality Control game will be Quantum Fighter Kabuki – a game I’ve wanted to play for quite some time, but now I’ve finally got an excuse. Yay!

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