Where I Read – GamePro #44
Our GamePro recaps continue with our coverage of issue #44 for March 1993. Our cover story is the best games of 1992. Well, normally this would come out in the first issue of 1993 but it works. Our cover art is, I presume, of Shinobi, featuring a ninja of ambiguous gender. The isue’s 193 pages long, but they’ve also got a Sonic The Hedgehog 2 strategy guide in there, so that will probably pad it out some. Oh, and like usual, the Editorial column re-states the table of contents. *Sigh*
Mail: We get questions on Pro Action Replay in Street Fighter II Turbo, and why Turbo Technologies is being so slow in releasing titles for the Duo. They get into this on the Retronauts episode on the TurboGrafx, but basically, the problem is that TTI US has to go through a lengthly negotiation process with NEC and Hudson in Japan before localizing it, making it difficult to port games over. This kind of explains why the TurboGrafx and later the Turbo Duo basically were the Shump and WorkingDesigns RPG system, with the addition of LaserActive games like Mad Dog McCree once they got a CD-ROM drive in the system. Yeah, there’s Bonk too – but it bears mentioning that the TurboGrafx systems just didn’t have the same degree of 3rd party support (at least in the US than the Genesis and SNES had. We also get complaints about games costing $50 to $60 bucks in the US, and more in the UK. Get used to it. It’s going to cost that much until at least the present. Cartridge games are, frankly, expensive to manufacture, and the cost of making disk games hasn’t gone down much either (plus the hardware itself is expensive to make). Plus, in the UK, you’ve also got the VAT.
The Cutting Edge: This month we’re covering the 3DO. Basically, it’s a disk system. It’s also going to die on the vine, but they can’t see that coming – and we don’t necessarily get the tough question of, “The Market’s got 5 Home Console Systems, how can it support 6?” However, EGM’s for questions like that – this is an entertainment magazine (or that’s their story and they’re sticking to it). I, for one, feel more video game magazines should ask the tough questions, even if it costs them exclusives or gets them blacklisted (because if a publisher blacklists everyone, the performance of their games will suffer).
Hot at the Arcades: Mad Dog McCree is getting a sequel, and we’re getting an arm wrestling arcade game. No, really.
Reader’s Choice Award Winner: Well, we didn’t get a list of nominees for this, so I really couldn’t do picks before hand. So, instead, I’ll just do analysis on the winners.
- Action/Adventure Game Of The Year: Sonic The Hedgehog 2 gets the win, beating Contra III and Turtles in Time. I can’t really argue with this one. Sonic is a good game, and I’d definitely say it’s better than the other two games.
- Role-Playing Game of the Year: Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past gets the win, beating Dragon Warrior IV and Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun. I can’t think of any other significant RPGs from the year that might of been overlooked, so this one’s fine for me.
- Sports Game Of The Year: Madden ’92 gets the win, over NCAA Football from Nintendo and NHLPA Hocky from EA. Not too surprised from this, Madden’s been one of the top football series for quite some time.
- Puzzle Game Of The Year: Lemmings for the SNES gets the win over Krusty’s Fun House and Faceball 2000. Considering that one of those games got legs and the other 2 didn’t, I don’t have much to complain about.
- Shoot-Em-Up Game Of The Year: Super Smash TV wins over Axelay and Air Zonk. I’m rather disappointed here, because Gates of Thunder came out for the Turbo Duo around this time, and it got really good reviews. The game at least deserved a nomination. Frankly, I’d rather Gates of Thunder got the nomination instead of Air Zonk.
- Head To Head Fighting Game Of The Year: Raise your hand if you’re surprised that Street Fighter II is taking the win. Nobody? Didn’t think so. The runners up are World Heroes and Art of Fighting.
- Excellence in Graphics: Street Fighter II takes this one as well, over Death Valley Rally, and Sonic 2. Not too surprising here, though I like Sonic 2 more, graphically. Super Street Fighter II Turbo was the best, graphically, in my opinion, with the HD Remix being even better.
- Excellence in Sound: Super Star Wars – gets the win, again unsurpring considering Lucasfilm’s role in making the game (and it’s two sequels). MLBPA Sports Talk Baseball and Taz-Mania are the competition, but I have to side with the Star Wars game here. I’m surprised that none of these games are disk games though.
- Handheld Game Of the Year: Sonic The Hedgehog for the Game Gear takes the gold, over Super Mario Land 2, and Batman Returns for the Lynx. Again, not surprised.
- 8-Bit Game Of The Year: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project gets the win here, over Mega Man V, and Batman: Return of the Joker. I’m afraid I don’t have enough experience with these 3 games to decide how valid this ruling is.
- 16-Big Game Of The Year: I imagine this was a close one. The nominees were Legend of Zelda: Link To the Past, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and Street Fighter II, and Street Fighter II gets the win.
NES Coverage: First is the semi-enviromentally themed game Zen: Intergalactic Ninja. The game’s apparently got some cheap hits to it, the graphics are decent (though they think the animations need some work). They like the control though, and like how some of the animations in game are (particularly, it’s got the ledge hanging mechanic from Kabuki). It gets a 3.5 for Sound, a 4.5 for Control, and 4s for Graphics and Fun Factor. Next is Tiny Toon Adventures II, which is based around, basically, a theme park, where you play as various members of the cast trying to survive a series of death traps around the park, and defeat the mysterious, sinister force behind it (*cough*MontanaMax*cough*). The game gets a 3.5 for Sound, a 4.5 for Graphics, and 4s for Control & Fun Factor. We’ve got yet another game based on a cartoon series in The Jetsons: Cogswell’s Caper, which has the Jetsons family trying to stop the exploitation of planet M38 by Spacely Sprocket’s competitor, Cogswell Cogs (a lot of enviromentally conscious games, though none addressing particular issues or suggesting particular solutions). They have some significant problems with the game’s animation and the sound (there’s only one music track). The game gets a 2.5 for Sound and 3s for Graphics, Control & Fun Factor.
Genesis Coverage: We have a Disney platformer on the Genesis in World of Illusion, which gets very solid scores, with a 4 for Sound and 5s for Graphics, Control & Fun Factor. Batman Returns has come out as well. They like the game and give it decent scores, though they think it’s missing that certain something, though they do have a minor factual error, saying that Batman was from Dark Horse Comics. The game got a 3.5 for Sound, and 4s for Graphics, Sound & Fun Factor. Terminator 2: The Arcade Game has come to the Genesis, and they’re keeping the “Arcade Game” portion because to distinguish it from the NARC clone, and because (since it’s a light gun game) it supports the Menacer. The game gets 4.5s for Graphics & Sound, and 5s for Control & Fun Factor. The Genesis is also getting a Superman themed action game, which requires him to learn his powers to prevent it from over-powering the game. The game gets a 3.5 for Sound, a 4 for Graphics, and 4.5s for Control & Fun Factor.
Shadow of the Beast has also gotten a sequel (meaning more art from Roger Dean). The game gets a 5 for Fun Facotr and 4s for everything else. Super Battletank has gotten ported to the Genesis without Mode 7, and apparently it’s suffered for it, as it’s also sufered for being on a 3 button controller instead of a 6-button controller (with shoulder buttons) like on the SNES (thus allowing for the traversing of the turret). Thus, the game gets a 2.5 for Control, a 3 for Sound, 3.5 for Graphics and a 4 for Fun Factor. EA’s also got the strategy game PowerMonger, that gets 4s across the board. We also get a preview of Shinobi: Return of the Ninja Master, and the Battletoads port.
Feature – Behind The Scenes of Flashback: So, we get a look at the very large mixing board, and a lot of shots of people clustered around computers, and shots of the Gold Records from Delphine Entertainment’s music division. We also get information about a sequel to Flashback coming out in the future. We wrap this up from some of the upcoming “Flashback” comic book from Marvel comics, with Jim Moore (who I’ve never heard of) as the artist, and Mike Harris, who worked on the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, and some issues of Punisher and Wolverine and other more gritty books.
Sega CD Coverage: We get a review of Make My Video: Kriss Kross. The game gets a 4.5 for Graphics and 5s for Sound, Control, and Fun Factor…. I disagree strongly with this. There are also promos of the games with Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch and INXS. Sega CD also has the action platformer Wolfchild, which gets 5s for Sound & Control, and 4.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor. There’s also Chuck Rock, which I’ve described at length fairly often, and which is a port of the Genesis version, but with some graphical tweaks, and an opening cutscene, and some sound tweaks. The game gets a 3.5 for Control, and 4s for Graphics, Sound, and Fun Factor.
SNES Coverage: Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster Busts Loose is out, and it gets a 4.5 for Control, and 5s for Graphics, Sound, and Fun Factor. There’s B.O.B. (and I think my GamePros are getting really close to catching up to my EGMs, yeah, they are). Anyway, it gets a 3.5 for Control, a 4 for Control, and 4.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor. The game gets a 4 for Sound, 5s for Graphics, Control, and Fun Factor. There’s also the turn-based city-building strategy game Utopia, which is pretty sandboxy, with no defined end, as opposed to Civ. The game gets a 5 for Fun Factor, and 4.5s for Graphics, Sound, and Control. Mindscape also has the Mad Max style action game Outlander, with driving and run-and-gun stages, the game gets a 5 for Fun Factor, a 4 for Graphics, 4.5 for Sound, and a 3.5 for Control (due to “clunkyness” and “sluggishness”).
We also have the action-platformer Congo’s Caper, which gets 5s for Control & Fun Factor, and 4.5s for Graphics & Sound, though they don’t get into the specifics. We also get a review of Street Combat, which is the re-skinned version of the first Ranma 1/2 fighting game. They’re not a fan of the loss of the comedy, and the general character from the original version, finding this version slightly more generic, though the gameplay is left intactc. It gets 3.5s for Sound & Fun Factor, and 4s for Graphics & Control. We also have a preview of Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavanger Hunt, and the upcoming Lethal Weapon game.
Turbo Duo Coverage: Well, last year the Duo got Gates of Thunder, this year we’re getting Lords of Thunder. The game gets 5s across the board (which, from what I remember from EGM’s scores, fits in okay, as they gave it perfect 10s as well). There’s also Bomberman ’93, which gets 5s for Control & Fun Factor and 3s for Graphics & Sound (though it looked pretty good to me).
Feature – Pinball Games: First up is CrueBall, which has you playing pinball while listening to Motley Crue music in a very metal enviroment, with enemies on the tables that you kill with the ball, which gets 5s across the board. The Duo has Time Cruise, with a science fiction theme, with 5s for Graphics, Control, and Fun Factor… and a 1.5 for Sound. We also have a look at a couple Real world pinball tables, including Al’s Garage Band Goes On A World Tour and the one that really has me interested, Doctor Who, featuring the first 7 Doctors!
OverSeas Prospects We have Fatal Fury coming out for the SNES in Japan and Street Fighter II is coming to the Genesis. Meanwhile, in the UK, re-mixes of Video Games are catching on. I wonder if they’ll start a musical sub-genre.
The Sports Pages: We’re starting with a racing game in Jaguar XJ220 for the Sega CD. The game gets 5s for Graphics and Control, and 4.5s for Sound & Fun Factor. EA’s also got Lotus Turbo Challenge for the Genesis, where you’re running along one of 2 licenced cars on one of 8 tracks. There aren’t many sound effects to speak of, but otherwise they like it. It gets a 5 for Control, a 4.5 for Fun Factor, a 4 for Graphics and a 3 for Sound. The SNES has Cyber Spin racing, which is a top-down racing game. They’re not a fan of the control or the sound, particularly finding the control frustrating, and they give it a 2 for Control and a 2.5 for Sound. It gets a 3 for Fun Factor and a 4 for Graphics.
There’s also a review of PGA Tour Golf II for the Genesis, which they like, and they give it a 5 for Control, and gets a 4 for and 4.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor. There’s also Roger Clemens Baseball for the Genesis. The game gets a 3 for Sound, 4s for Graphics & Control, and a 4.5 for Fun Factor. The review gets followed up with an interview with Roger Clemens (which would have been slightly awkward if they didn’t like the game). There’s also previews of Majors Pro Baseball for the Game Gear, Tony La Russa Baseball for the Genesis from EA, Accolade has Al Michaels Announces HardBall III for the Genesis. Moving on from baseball to football, EA’s got Mutant League Football, and a port of Arch Rivals for the Game Gear.
Neo-Geo Coverage: We have a review of Fatal Fury 2 for the Neo-Geo, which they really liked – they gave it 5s across the boards (and as a KoF/Fatal Fury Fan, I agree with this).
Feature – The Super Vision: We have a new hand-held contender, the Super Vision… only it’s not a contender, considering that it doesn’t do much to distinguish it from the Lynx, TurboExpress, Game Gear, and the Game Boy. We get reviews of Olympic Trials, which gets a 3.5 for Fun Factor and 3s for everything else. Next is the puzzle game Chimara, which gets 3.5s for Graphics & Sound, 4s for Control & Fun Factor. We’ve also got P52 Sea Battle, which gets a 2.5 for Sound, 3.5 for Graphics, and 4s for Control & Fun Factor.
Game Boy Coverage: The Game Boy has now gotten Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, they generally like it, though the Sound isn’t so hot (which is to be expected for the Game Boy), and it gets a 3.5 for Sound, 4s for Graphics & Control, and a 5 for Fun Factor. There’s also a port of T2: The Arcade Game, which I can’t see working very well. They like it though, giving it 4.5s for Graphics & Sound, and 5s for Control & Fun Factor.
Game Gear Coverage: The Game Gear has gotten Sonic 2, and they find it a faithful port, giving it 5s for Graphics & Fun Factor, a 4.5 for Control, and a 4 for Sound. There’s also Double Dragon, port, which gets 4s for Sound & Control, and 5s for Graphics & Fun Factor.
Lynx Coverage: The Lynx has Dinolympics. No, it’s not in any way related with Animalympics. The game is, basically, like a cross of a Track & Field game, Lemmings, and a Caveman Game, which gets 4s across the board.
Short ProShots: We have a Terminator game from Mindscape for the NES, Elemental Master and Speedway Pro Challenge from Renovation for the Genesis, Mechwarrior from Activison and Inindo: Way of the Ninja from Koei from the SNES.
GameBusters: We get tips for the ending and the final cut-scene of Out Of This World.
ProNews: Renovation has a Dragon’s Lair style adventure game in Road Avenger, Nintendo’s working on cracking down on Game Counterfeiters, and The Edge is playing Super Battletank on the Zoo TV tour.
Well, that wraps up this week of Game Pro. I’ll be having another review tomorrow on the site.