Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #58
We move on to issue 58 of EGM, for March of 1994. Our cover story is Super Street Fighter II Turbo. The cover art is great, except for the face, which doesn’t quite work based on the perspective. The issue clocks in at 232 pages.
Editorial: This month’s editorial by Ed Semrad is around, basically, the growing pains over the upcoming rating system for video games, with Sega and Nintendo fighting over whose system they would use. Sega’s is modeled after the ESRB’s ratings and would have both system’s games come out evenly. Nintendo’s appears to be designed in a more convoluted fashion, and would make just about every single game on the Genesis look awful. Ed describes this as being over “the most trivial of things” which, due to 20/20 hindsight, and California’s law over the rating system going to the Supreme Court, and Left 4 Dead 2 being banned in Australia, I’m having a bit of a chuckle at that phrase. To be fair though, Ed probbly couldn’t see this coming. Though, considering the outrage over Night Trap and Mortal Kombat, he probably should have seen this coming. We all should have seen this coming.
Oh, and we’ve now got our first ad for the Shadowrun game for the Genesis, which probably had gameplay and mechanics a little closer to the paper and pencil game, though the ending of the game isn’t as good. We also get an ad for the album Video Games Greatest Hits by Tommy Tallarico, who would later bring us Video Games Live. The ripped up grunge jeans and the letterman’s jacket are clashing horribly… and if Tommy wanted this picture to disappear out of the public eye, I probably wouldn’t blame him.
Letters: Our letter of the month this month… actually is a pair of newspaper articles over the Capcom v. Data East lawsuit over Fighter’s History 2. In short, Capcom’s lawsuit has been thrown out, so now everyone who is currently making fighting games can do so. They can even use similar controller motions (QCB; Down, Forward, Down-Forward, etc.). Anyway, we also get questions about whether Mortal Kombat for the Sega CD is still coming out (yes, it is), and if there are arcade machines that are handicapped accessible (there aren’t when this issue was published, and I still can’t find one that will work for people in wheelchairs, and considering the cost of building an arcade cabinet, I can’t see the companies that put out arcade games making ones. That said, I could see a handicapped compatible home cabinet for a dedicated Mame computer. However, nobody’s designed one yet. Maybe I should do that.
Review Crew: Now that we’re getting back to the “new” issues of EGM, a quick reminder of The Crew – Ed Semrad, Danyon Carpenter, Al Manuel, and Sushi-X.
- Fatal Fury 2 (Takara, SNES): Ed is impressed. Not only does he consider the port to be on par with the Neo-Geo version, but he also likes that you can play as the bosses (albeit with a code), and he gives it a 9. Danyon, Al and Sushi give the game 8s, with their only complaint (specifically referring to Danyon and Al) is with the music being not as good on the SNES. Overall: 33/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- The Flintsones (Taito, SNES): Flintstones, it’s the Flintstones. They’re the 70s stone-age family. Now on your SNES, they’re bringing the mediochrity. Okay, maybe not. Ed gives the game an 8, due to some significant lag problems. Everyone else gives it 7s, also because of the lag. Overall: 29/40.
- Rocko’s Modern Life (Viacom, SNES): Another gross-out Nicktoon is getting a game. Ed gives it a 9, finding it very challenging and finding the control frustrating, though it looks gorgeous. Danyon gives it an 8 as he found the later levels to be frustrating and obnoxious. Al and Sushi give the game 5s, with Al finding the game tedious, and Sushi finding the puzzles frustrating because of the poor controls. Overall: 26/40.
- Liberty or Death (Koei, Genesis): I think this is Koei’s first strategy game for the Genesis. Ultimately, this is the kind of game that you either like, or you hate, at least if you’re a video game critic. Ed and Danyon like it and give it 7s (though Ed feels that it doesn’t give him the same feeling of control that Nobunaga’s Ambition or Romance of the Three Kingdoms give him). Sushi and Al don’t like the genre and give it 4s. Overall: 22/40.
- Grind Stormer (Tengen, Genesis): Shump. Ed gives it an 8, commenting that it’s as good as some of the games from the “golden age” of Shumps for the Genesis. Sushi gives it a 7, finding it a good game, despite the fact that the power-ups and enemies are pretty much by the numbers. Danyon and Al give the game 6s as the sound effects and music get old fast, plus there are also some screen flicker problems. Overall: 27/40.
- The Incredible Hulk (US Gold, Genesis): Ed gives the game a 7, commenting that he likes the sound and graphics, but picking up items can be unnecessarily difficult, among other control problems. Danyon, Al, and Sushi are less forgiving, giving the game 5s for unnecessary difficulty, and poor control. Overall: 22/40.
- Tomcat Alley (Sega, Sega CD): Rail shooter with the trappings of a flight sim. Ed gives it a 7, as he likes the graphics, and particularly likes that the FMV takes up the whole screen instead of a small portion of it. Danyon gives it a 6, since he’s not enthused with the Sega CD getting Yet Another FMV Game, he still enjoys playing it, and he is pleased to see a lack of footage re-use. Al and Sushi, though, give it 5s, finding it generally not their style, though they liked the video (and the lack of loading screens). Overall: 23/40.
- Super Wing Commander (Origin, 3DO): Ed, Danyon and Sushi give this 8s, finding this to be an excellent improvement on the PC Shooter (not just a good port, but an improvement on it), and Al gives it a 7 for basically the same reason, though he had some difficulty keeping himself orientated. Overall: 31/40.
- Might & Magic III (TTI, Duo): Sushi gives this a 5 and everyone else gives this 4s, basically because the enemy pacing is too poor, and they’re just not to fond of First Person RPGs. Overall: 17/40.
- Black Bass: Lure Fishing (Hot-B, Game Boy): Sushi doesn’t like the Game Boy much, and doesn’t like Fishing Games either, and neither does Al (at least the Game Boy anyway), so they give it 4s. Danyon feels that the franchise is showing its age big time, and it isn’t handling the years very well and gives it a 5. Ed, on the other hand, loves it and gives it a 7. Overall: 21/40.
- Aladdin (Sega, Game Gear): Ed gives it a 9, finding the control a little rough, but otherwise having fun playing the game, and everyone else gives it 7s for the same reason. Overall: 30/40.
- Poker Face Paul: Blackjack (Sega, Game Gear): The general consensus is that this is a decent Blackjack game, but being that all it is is blackjack, it’s not worth it considering the number of casino games for various hand-helds with a wider variety. The only disagreement is in the scores – Danyon gives it a 6, everyone else gives it 5s. Overall: 21/40.
- Ninja Gaiden III (Atari, Lynx): Again, the text of the reviews generally agrees – including the complaints, with the scores being different – it’s a solid, quality port of Ninja Gaiden III, but because of the size of the screen and the blurring problems, it can make it difficult to see what’s going on. Ed gives it an 8, everyone else gives it 6s. Overall: 26/40.
Gaming Gossip: Mmm… yummy rumors! Serve me another helping, Q-Mann!
- So, Nintendo’s working on an add-on for the SNES that will let you play Game Boy games on your TV screen. Hit! This will be the Super Game Boy.
- THQ dropped the Ultraverse Licence, but Sony picked it up. I can’t find anything to confirm this… and I can’t find any Ultraverse games coming out from Sony… but that doesn’t mean that Sony dropped those projects and the licence later… Hit!. You’re lucky I’m so generous, Q-Mann.
- Midway is looking to pull their exclusive license with Acclaim. Hit! they do pull the licence, start developing for themselves, and do decently until they died earlier this year.
Short list this week, and Q-Mann did good on what he served up, getting one for 1.
Press Start: Speaking of the Super Game Boy, we get our first look at it, as well as some notes on the 32X, and the possiblity that the Saturn might be backwards compatible with it.
Arcade Action: Sega’s got a Jurassic Park light gun game, Namco has Suzuka 8 Hours (a motorcycle racing game). In Japan, Konami has a new Parodious game.
International Outlook: Of note this issue is the platformer Spark, the Visual Novel The Blue Crystal Rod, a sequel/spinoff of the Tower of Druaga series, Laserdisk game Triad Stone, Adventure Island 4, Estopolis 2, the prequel to Lufia, and Samurai Spirits for the Game Boy. We also get an in-depth preview of Ranma 1/2: Super Battle, which adds Tag Team fighting to the game (a first for fighting games).
Next Wave: Of note this issue is Double Dragon V, a fighting game based on the animated series, The Final Option starring Steven “I Won’t Job For God” Segal (both for the SNES by the way), Godzilla for the Duo. Koei has Uncharted Waters: New Horizons for the SNES, Sega has the strategy RPG Dark Wizard for the Sega CD.
Special Feature – ACME ’94: ACME, by the way, stands for Arcade Coin Machine Exposition. Super Street Fighter II Turbo preview. We get some character notes again, including notes on the new hidden boss, Goukui/Akuma, and on the new super-moves. We also have notes on World Heroes 2 Jet, Mortal Kombat II, and Virtua Fighter, the first fighting game to feature 3d movement and polygonal graphics. We also get a preview of Fighter’s History 2.
Special Feature – Sunsoft’s Upcoming Lineup: Sunsoft is putting out a Justice League fighting game, with 8 playable heroes, and 4 playable villains. We also have a brawler based on the recently concluded Death & Return of Superman arc. There’s also a Scooby Doo adventure game, and the christmas themed platformer Daze Before Christmas.
Special Feature – Core Design’s Upcoming Lineup: Core Design (which developed a lot of games for Virgin, Sony Imagesoft, and others), has got some new stuff coming out, including the mecha simulator Battle Corps, and the behind the back shooter Soul Star for the Sega CD, as well as the cart racer Chuck Rally.
Special Feature – Ultraverse Licenced Games: Now we get to the category of “games which definitely will be vaporware”. We have a brawler based on the Prime comic book, a platforming shooter based on the originally titled Firearm (apparently the character’s catchphrase is “Shake, Rat & Roll” – I know this is the ’90s but this is rediculous). I’m tempted to hunt down some of these comics just to see if they’re really as bad as they look, but I don’t know if it’s worth the SAN loss. Anyway, there’s also a game with the licence for The Strangers, which is a promicing concept for a comic (random strangers get superpowers), but has already been redeemed by Heroes and The 4400.
SNES Coverage: We now get into the standard game previews with a semi in-depth look at Super Metroid – covering such features as the auto-map (which now comes standard standard with every MetroidVania game that has come out since), as well as being able to combine the effects of your weapons. They controls for the super burst aren’t quite right yet, but the game isn’t quite done yet (it’s only 95% complete, apparently), and that may be an easy thing to fix. Kraid is huge! Anyway, Virgin’s got a Jungle Book game, which should look good – most Disney licenced games during this period animated incredibly well. We get some more looks at the Flintstones game from Taito – which gives us a peek at some of the more Japanese touches, like a Pachinko mini-game. Capcom also has their own fantasy brawler in Knights of the Round.
There’s Spectre, a tank game that’s kind of similar to Battlezone, but with really cheap AI. Namco is also putting out a home version of Suzuka 8 Hours, which is, apparently finished and is just waiting for release – though it’s apparently got some sound and control problems. Imaginee has the puzzle game Super Loops 2, which tasks you with forming, basically, closed shapes on screen with various pieces. Koei’s got a new installment of their business simulator Aerobiz: Supersonic. Natsume has a new wrestling game in Natsume Championship Wrestling. They like that the game is more timing based instead of mash based (similar to the Fire Pro games), though they’re not too fond of the control taking a while to learn and the graphics needing some polish. We also get another preview of SOS, and they’re not too enthused about passiveness of the backgrounds, and (to a certain degree), the overall time limit.
Genesis Coverage: We have a preview of Streets of Rage 3. Apparently the music isn’t as good in the first two, and I must admit when I played the first two I had the sound down. I should probably play them again with the sound up. Anyway, they also suggest that the mid-boss for level 1 maybe should be removed. We also get a look at the isometric Battletech game. It kind of looks like Desert Strike but with a giant robot. Oh, and apparently for the ice level they have spiked walls. Why is beyond me. Konami’s got a new Double Dribble game, which currently has some control problems and there’s Jeopardy Sports Edition.
Sega CD Coverage: We get a preview of Mortal Kombat CD (I can’t believe I nearly spelled “Kombat” with a C). We get all the moves, plus the fatalities. They really like it, even at 60% complete. There’s also a preview of the sequel to Out of this World – Heart of the Alien – it’s only 60% complete, but they like it thus far. There’s also the Viking-themed RPG/Adventure game Heimdall, which apparently has some access time problems. There’s also a preview of the oddball Japanese game Switch, which is getting a US release, and which I wouldn’t mind playing.
Neo-Geo Coverage: We have the action platormer Spinmaster, where you defeat your enemies with a Yo-Yo, and the odd Frisbee game Windjammers.
3DO Coverage: We have the shooter Patank, which apparently has some control problems, and enough caroming off the enviroment problems to inspire the staff member playing the game to pop in Tommy while playing.
NES Coverage: Jungle Book is getting a NES version as well, which has some frustration problems.
Game Boy Coverage: We have a preview of Chase HQ II, which is alright with the exception of some problems with small icons and cheap bosses. There’s also a Sports Illustrated For Kids game, which has some control problems.
Game Gear Coverage: We have a Sonic The Hedgehog Kart racing game, in Sonic Drift. The shark, it has been jumped. There’s also Choplifter III, which has some issues with sluggish control. There’s also a Pac-Man puzzle game in Pac Attack.
Lynx Coverage: We have more screen shots of Ninja Gaiden III.
Lifestyles: Toyfair has come and gone, and we’re getting Street Fighter Action Figures which are, basically, G.I. Joes with a Street Fighter theme. Also, Todd McFarlane will be starting his Image Toys line, featuring Spawn Action figures, as well as later Anime action figures. (They had the Kaneda figure and the motorcycle at Kumoricon, but I didn’t have the cash to get them). Anyway, we’re also getting Stargate action figures.
Well, that wraps up this issue of EGM. I’ll be having another Nintendo Power issue tommorrow, so watch this feed, dear readers!