Video games, Where I Read

Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #52

EGM #52 CoverAnother week, another hole I’ve discovered I can fill in my EGM Archive. In this case, it’s issue #52 for November of 1993. This issue is quite epic in its length – 324 pages long, and our cover story is Sonic CD. Oh, and there’s a Super Street Fighter II Strategy Guide that will probably pad this issue out a little.

Editorial: Christmas 1993 is coming up. So, there are so many consoles out, how do you decide? Basically they do a run-down of all the consoles on the market, and pick them all apart except for the SNES and Genesis. Not much else other than this.

Letters: Well, we get people not happy with Major Mike being off to the side for his reviews. We also get more letters about Project Reality (which the EGM staff dismisses as vaporware), Nintendo has a new top-loading version of the NES, which they also poo-poo. Personally, I like the Top Loading chassis, as that way I don’t have to worry about the pins getting bent as much. We also get a letter from a producer at Sunsoft covering issues with the World Heroes games, with the original letter being 3 pages long, and they had to shorten. I wonder what happened to the original letter. If Ed Semrad or Steve Harris reads this (as he was still the EGM publisher at the time), and they know what happened to the original letter, and want to do a full rebuttal to all the points in the letter that aren’t in their response here, please let me know. In the course of their response, they do take a moment to slip a shot in at GamePro and their frequency of Perfect Scores (across the board 5s), which I can’t argue with in the slightest (nor the lack of criticism in their critical reviews). As far as their criticism that the scores were two low, they refer them to Famicom Tsushin’s score, which is an overall 24 (7, 5, 6, 6), which is lower then their score.

I’m just going to take a moment to say that in the present day, nobody in the game journalism industry would respond so publically to gripes about review scores, by putting the responses in the letters column, up front. I’m not certain if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sunsoft blacklisted them after this. Anyway, the popularity of the Neo-Geo is increasing, and so we’re getting more letters about that system. Additionally, we get letters about TTI’s decision not to release the Duo port of Street Fighter II in the US. Now, EGM says that TTI couldn’t get the rights, but what I’ve heard as an expansion of that, is that TTI could get the rights, but that they were more expensive than what the Home Office back in Japan though they were worth. Now, what we don’t know is whether or not Capcom expressed a willingness to develop the game themself for the Duo (because lord knows, the Duo could have use 3rd party publishers). Nonetheless, this is a nail in the coffin of the Duo. We also get mixed thoughts about the various versions of Mortal Kombat, with particular complaints voiced about the sound quality in the Genesis version (fear not, the Sega CD is getting a port as well). We also get a request for more elaborate game endings. Just wait for Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. They’ll ending your ass off! We also get complaints about Europe and Japan getting nudity and risque content in their video game advertisments, and we don’t. You pervert! Video Games are for Kids (or thus speaks Congress).

Review Crew: We’re after the format change, so once again our crew is Ed Semrad, Danyon Carpenter, Martin Alessi, and Sushi-X.

  • Gunstar Heroes (Sega, Genesis): Treasure’s crazy run-and-gun shooter has come stateside. Everyone gives it 9s, for being great in every respect – Graphics, Gameplay, Character designs, music, all of it. Overall: 36/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Platinum Award
  • Clay Fighter (Interplay, SNES): Interplay has a 2D fighting game of their own with digitized characters, only clay-mation characters. Ed and Martin give the game 8s, becuse of the good control and timing, though Ed finds the jokes get old quickly. Danyon and Sushi give the game 7s, because of the limited number of characters, and a general lack of replay value. Overall: 30/40.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Konami, SNES): The game gets 9s from Ed, Danyon and Sushi, and an 8 from Martin, wti the the general consensus that this is a very, very solid fighting game in every single respect – and possibly comprable to Street Fighter II (my words as someone whose played the game, not theirs) Overall: 35/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  • Mario’s Time Machine (Mindscape, SNES): It’s another edutainment game! Ed, Danyon, and Sushi give the game 7s, finding it an enjoyable edutainment game, as does Martin, who gives it a 6 for similar reasons, adding that this game is more likely to get someone to learn something than Mario Is Missing. Overall: 27/40.
  • Actraiser 2 (Enix, SNES): Ed, Martin and Sushi give the game 9s, finding it a worthy successor to Actraiser, though they found the lack of overhead sequences disappointing. They like it, despite some cheap deaths in the game. Danyon gives it a 8 as he has some problems with the control in the flying sequences and the absence of the overhead sequences hurts it. Overall: 34/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  • Aladdin (Sega, Genesis): Ed and Martin give the game 9s, applauding the solid control and the excellent graphics, particularly mentioning the game’s animation preserving the film’s sense of humor. Danyon and Sushi give the game 8s, as they like the game, but Danyon has some problems with the game’s scrolling, and Sushi’s having some problems with the game’s control. Overall: 34/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  • Pink Goes To Hollywood (TecMagick, Genesis): The Pink Panther has gotten a platformer! The game gets 7s across the board. In particular, Sushi comments that the Genesis version controls better than the SNES version of the game, and the game’s graphics (particularly the game’s animations). Overall: 28/40.
  • Street Fighter II Champion Edition (Capcom, Genesis): Well, it’s a port of Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition for the Genesis. Martin gives the game a 9, and everyone else gives it 8s, for generally similar reasons – the graphics are good, the music is good (though the voices aren’t so hot), and the game controls great with the new Genesis 6-button controller for the Genesis, though if you’re using the old 3-button controller than you’re in trouble. Overall: 33/40 and gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  • Gauntlet IV (Tengen, Genesis): The Genesis has a game with multi-tap support! The game gets 8s across the board, with the main complaints being about the difficulty of the game, with it otherwise being applauded as a faithful port of the arcade game (and, really, if it’s a port of an arcade game and it’s faithful – it’s probably going to be really hard. They want your quarters to get in it’s belly! Overall: 32/40.
  • Formula 1 Grand Prix (Domark, Genesis): Racing game. There are some complaints about “do we need more racing games” (which I find kind of silly), but the game gets 8s from Ed, Danyon, and Martin, who find it plays pretty well, though they have some problems with choppyness. Sushi gives it a 7, also finding the control good, and finding the controls better than other reacing games, but he still finds it “so-so”. Overall: 31/40.
  • FIFA Soccer (EA, Genesis): We have our first licenced soccer game! Danyon and Martin give the game 9s, with Martin saying outright that this game is to soccer (OtherPlacian Football) which Madden is to (US) Football. I can’t argue with that. Sushi gives it a 7, though he thinks it’s good (he’s just not a soccer game guy). Ed gives the game an 8 for similar reasons (he thinks it’s good, he just doesn’t like soccer). Overall: 33/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  • Sonic CD (Sega, Sega CD): Ed and Danyon give the game 9s, as the control is good, the glitchyness is gone, and the control is awesome, with Danyon considering it a game of the year canidate. I’m surprised this been included in any previous Sonic video game collection. Martin and Sushi give the game 8s, with Martin finding as good as Sonic 2, but yeah barely, with particular complaints about the graphics in the bonus stages. Sushi also found that bonus stage to be a problem, but otherwise he loved the game. Overall: 34/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award
  • WWF King of the Ring (LJN, NES): Ed gives the game an 8 and Sushi gives it a 7, with the graphical limitations of the NES causing some problems, though they still enjoys it. Danyon and Martin give the game 6s though, as there’s not a lot of sound, and there are some significant flicker problems. Overall: 30/40.
  • Quarterback Club (LJN, Game Boy): It’s a collection of football mini-games with licenced quarterbacks. Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, saying that they really liked it. Danyon gives it a 6, and Martin gives it a 5, as while they like the concept, they feel it doesn’t work on the Game Boy. Overall: 25/40.
  • Star Wars (US Gold, Game Gear): The 8-bit Star Wars game has been ported to the Game Gear. Ed, Danyon, and Martin give the game 8s, considering the game on par with not only the home 8-bit games, but with the 16-bit games as well. Sushi gives it a 7 for the same reasons. Overall: 31/40.
  • Bart vs. The World (Flying Edge, Game Gear): Bartamania is still running wild, and now it’s trying to save The World! Ed, Martin, and Sushi give the game 7s, as they think the graphic and control are good, and finding it a general improvement of the Game Gear version of Bart vs. The Space Mutants. Danyon gives it a 6, as while he thinks the graphics are good, he’s not fond of the control in the slightest. Overall: 27/40.

Gaming Gossip: Another week, another set of rumors to check.

  • Sega apparently approached the MPAA to use their rating system for games, but the MPAA turned it down. Hit! You know, if the MPAA had said yes, there’d be much less bitching about the exisiting rating system being “uncomprehensible” despite the fact of it being the MPAA’s rating system with the serial numbers filed off – as people know what an R means, a PG-13 means, a PG means, a G means and (on the high end) what NC-17 means.
  • .

  • Data East is getting sued by Capcom because Fighter’s History is too close to Street Fighter IIHit!. They also lose too, which allows for many other Street Fighter clones to come.
  • Midway is going to make their own home video games. Hit! And they keep making their own home video games until they died this year.
  • Ermac = ERror MAChine. Judges? Hit! You’re half right. It’s actually short for “Error Macro” but that’s close enough for government work.

Batting Average: 5 for 5. Excellent!

Press Start: Codemasters has a new Game Genie in the works, but one that you don’t have to enter codes for it – it’s able to find the codes on it’s own. Though, apparently some manufacturers are opposed to the Game Genie because it hurts sales? How does that work, unless what it does is it negates the false difficulty settings of some of the games, allowing people to actually beat them (or at least would allow them to beat the game early)? While people were selling back their games around this time, we don’t have a situation where we have Gamestop or Babbage’s selling boatloads of used games, and, in the eyes of game publishers and developers “KILL1NG TEH 1NDOSTRY!!!!!!!!!!1111!!11!!!1!1”

Sega’s 32-bit game system has been officially titled the Saturn. We also have a couple new arcade sticks coming out. Pioneer’s got a new game system in the LaserActive, which features games that cost over $120. Yeah, that system doesn’t last long, and they smack it down because of the price point. Commodore’s working on a 32-bit gaming system as well… shame that Commodore is on, basically, it’s last legs, and I believe the system is vaporware.

Arcade Action: Konami has a new brawler in Metamorphic Force, which is insanely over the top, Data East has the Metal Slug style action game (but before Metal Slug) Miracle Adventure from Data East. Data East also has the ninja themed brawler Night Slashers.

International Outlook: We’ve gotten our first look at the N64, through some demo footage (no gameplay yet, since we haven’t seen the controller yet). There’s also another music program for the SNES called Sound Factory, and Banpresto is doing Super Puyo Puyo, which is the same game as Dr. Robotniks’ Mean Bean Machine. Nintendo is also putting out Fire Emblem: Monsho no Nazo which has the first Fire Emblem, plus a second adventure of about the same length. Enix has Gaia Fantasy which will eventually be released as Illusion of Gaia. Oh, and the SNES has Goemon II coming out as well, as well as cutesy shump Twinbee Adventures.

Next Wave: The upcoming titles for a US release include a port of Out of this World for the 3DO (which should look and sound awesome). Electrobrain has Asterix The Gaul for the SNES (for the record, if they had an energy drink themed off the magic potion from Asterix’s village – or if Jones Soda Company did an Asterix themed soda set, I’d totally get that). Anyway, THQ has Lawnmower Man for the SNES. The Lost Vikings and Star Trek: The Next Generation are getting ported to the Genesis. Bullet-Proof Software has the RPG Orbitus. The 3DO is also getting a new Battlechess game.

Feature – Sonic Games: We’re starting off with Sonic CD and we get images of some of the stages and the animated cut-scenes, which all generally look cool. We also get a preview of Sonic Spinball for the Genesis, Sonic Chaos for the Game Gear.

Feature – Elite Games: Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the space sim. Instead it’s referring to the developer in England who designed the Super FX chip.

Feature – Virgin Interactive: We get a look at the upcoming Jungle Book game, the RTS Dune II, adventure game Dune CD, Robocop vs. Terminator, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.

Codemaster's Offices (circa 1993)

Codemasters' Offices (circa 1993)

Feature – Codemasters: EGM goes to Codemasters offices in Britain (with pictures of the building), and we get a look at some of their upcoming titles such as Dizzy for the SNES, as well as the Game Gear 2.

Feature – Super Street Fighter II Strategy Guide: We get everybody’s new and altered moves.

SNES Coverage: We get more screen shots of Clay Fighter, and a move list, as well as coverage of the SNES version of Aladdin, which they find not as good, graphically, as the Genesis version – though they still think it reflects the movie well. We also get a look at the SNES version of Sunset Riders – which they like with multiple players, but they’re not a fan of the one-hit-wonder deaths. We also have a look at Tecmo Super Bowl, which has more plays and teams then the original Tecmo Bowl, but the players are still pretty small. We also have look at the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D, which got censored all to hell by Nintendo of America (though, to be honest, they should have seen this coming as soon as the thought of a SNES version came into their heads). We also get a good look at Secret of Mana.

THQ has Sports Illustrated Football/Baseball, the first sports game with the Sports Illustrated licence, the first sports game to have Football and Baseball on the same cart, and… I think it’s the last to have both. I wonder if it says something about the game. We get a look the port of Art of Fighting, ported by Takara, which they like, but they feel needs some polish. Chase HQ has been ported as Super Chase H.Q., which they like, though they think there are some really cheap bosses in the game. THQ also has a Ren & Stimpy licenced game, which has some control problems. We get a look at Jim Power: The Lost Dimention in 3-D, which gets reviewed later and they aren’t too hot on. There’s also Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, which is a good RPG (they say), though there are some problems with the combat (it doesn’t auto-target if you waste a guy).

Early Mega Man X Design

Early Mega Man X Design

Enix has another RPG in Paladin’s Quest, JVC has a RPG in Magic Boy, Kemco has the racing game Top Gear II, Renovation has the action RPG Arcus Odyssey (which yes, was developed by WolfTeam). We’ve also got Championship Pool from Mindscape (ahh, the halcyon days where, when you wanted to show off how awesome you could do physics, you did a pool game)), though they’re not too fond about how menu-heavy it is. We also have screen shots of Mario’s Time Machine, action platformer Time Slip. Oooh! We get our first look at Mega Man X. Take a look at this early version of the new Mega Man design. We also get screen shots of Pink Goes to Hollywood.

Genesis Coverage: We get screen shots of Gunstar Heroes, more shots of Eternal Champions, a look at Castlevania: Bloodlines, and a look at Zombies Ate My Neighbors. There’s also a different Ren & Stimpy game for the Genesis from the one coming out for the SNES. McDonalds has another advergame in TreasureLand Adventure. Sega’s got a Home & Alone 2 licenced game. We’ve also got a really bloody 2D fighting game from THQ called Time Killers. EA’s got the fantasy actiong game Blades of Vengance, which apparently has some problems with boss re-use (as minions). There’s also Virtual Pinball, which is a port of Bill Budge’s Pinball Construction Set, which considering Sony’s push towards user-generated content we saw at E3 (The Play, Create, Share, Initiative) I’m surprised hasn’t been re-made for Sony consoles. Being that I like pinball, I’d totally get it (Mr. Budge, if you’re reading this, that wasn’t a joke). We also get a look at Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Psygnosis has a mascot platformer called Puggy (note – if you’ve got Roger Dean on staff doing art for you, cute isn’t necessarily your thing). Oh, and we get a new ad for Shadowrun for the SNES that looks pretty good.

New Shadowrun ad

New Shadowrun ad

Sega CD Coverage: Dynamix has the starfox style shump Stellar Fire, Joe Montana’s NFL Football. We also have a look at the Sega CD version of Lethal Enforcers. JVC’s also got AH-3 Thunderstrike.

Duo Coverage: We’ve got Beyond Shadowgate coming out. It looks… slightly less cheap than the NES game – not in terms as cost, but in terms of cheap deaths.

Neo-Geo Coverage: We’ve got Fatal Fury Special, the first SNK Dream Match game, based in the Fatal Fury Franchise, as it’s the one that has done the best so far (until it’s metamorphosized into the King of Fighters series).

3DO Coverage: We get a review of the driving/racing game Crash ‘N Burn from Crystal Dynamics.

NES Coverage: The NES is scraping by with a hockey game, Jaleco’s Pro Sport Hockey, which has some really cheap AI problems (you score 1 goal, the AI scores 2 goals effortlessly). The NES is also getting a version of TMNT: Tournament Fighters.

Game Boy Coverage: The Game Boy is getting another Mega Man game, titled (wait for it) Mega Man IV, along with a Addams Family game.

Game Gear Coverage: We more images of the Star Wars game for the Game Gear, as well as Desert Speed Trap featuring the Road Runner, a port of Ecco the Dolphin, Fantastic Dizzy from Codemasters (which they’re looking to port to the SNES).

Lifestyles: We’re getting a bunch of Street Fighter themed merch, video games are on the cover of Time Magazine. Hero Magazine is getting it’s own TV show, titled Hero TV. I can’t find any word on the show, so I don’t know if the pilot wasn’t picked up or what? We also get a article on Demolition Man, and an article hyping the EGM/Hero Tour.

Well, that wraps up this issue of EGM. I’ll have another recap of Nintendo Power tommorow, and unless another gap gets filled in my EGM archive, I’ll be progressing ever-foreward next week.