Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #59
Our EGM recaps continue this week with a recap of issue #59, for June of 1994. Our cover story is what will become the first 3D Fighting game, Virtua Fighter – currently in arcades, and later for the Saturn. This issue is clocking in a 229 pages.
Editorial: The European Computer Trade Show has come and gone, and EGM has left with the award for best US game magazine, a reward that is well deserved in my opinion. Of the game magazines I’ve recapped thus far, EGM has been the better of the three. Now, once I finish EGM, GamePro, or Nintendo Power, I’ll have to move on to something else, and that could change things up some, but anyway, let’s move on.
Letters: We get a letter asking about the US release of Final Fantasy V, and apparently, according to their sources in Square, it will be getting a release outside of the Final Fantasy name, with Final Fantasy VI getting the US release as Final Fantasy III. Though, ultimately, Final Fantasy V doesn’t get released in the US as anything other than Final Fantasy V, and gets its first legitimate release as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology for the Playstation. Also, unfortunately the Duo is basically now dead. They’re not selling new systems anymore, and only selling new games in mail-order. If you can’t increase your install base, you’ve stagnated your market share. You’re dead, Jim. We have requests for more RPGs for the Neo-Geo and more RAM for the Genesis (to which I say, to quote Shane Bettenhausen, “It’s nice to want things.”)
Review Crew: Once again, our crew is Ed Semrad, Danyon Carpenter, Al Manual, and Sushi-X.
- Super Metroid (Nintendo, SNES): Samus Aran is back, and she’s got a larger world to explore, plus we’ve got an auto-map. Score! The game gets 9s across the board, though oddly the only complaints are that the auto-map makes the game too easy, and the world is apparently smaller (when it definitely is not, though there is less back-tracking). Overall: 36/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Platinum Award.
- Saturday Night Slam Masters (Capcom, SNES): Capcom’s wrestling game. Ed gives the game an 8, saying he liked the game, though some of the moves are hard to pull off mid-match (for the record, I still have problems pulling off a Dragon Punch. Everyone else gives the game 7s, finding it a good arcade port, and a good multi-player game, but not a great sit-down-and-play single player game. Overall: 29/40.
- Fighter’s History (Data East, SNES): The fighting game that Capcom wanted to stop from coming out has been released. Ed gives it an 8, saying it plays well, through there are some problems with the backgrounds not quite feeling right with the characters. Danyon gives it a 7, and Al and Sushi give it 6s, but they all like the game and don’t particularly have anything negative to say about it. Overall: 27/40.
- Virtua Racing (Sega, Genesis): This isn’t the first polygonal racer to get a home release, but this is probably one of the most significant relases ever since Atari’s attempt at a similar racer back in the days of EGM #1 (particularly this has more tracks than Atari’s game, which had 2). They like the game, with Ed, Danyon, and Al giving the game 8s, and Sushi giving it a 7 as they all find it technically sound but not a perfect arcade port, though Ed didn’t enjoy it as much as the arcade version. Overall: 31/40.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (Sega, Genesis): General adventure game. Ed and Danyon give the game 7s as they’re fans of this genre, and fans of the show. Al’s a fan of the show but not this genre and gives it a 5. Sushi gives it a 6, finding it fun on the away team sections, but finding combat in general a bit too difficult for his taste. Overall: 25/40.
- Bubba N’ Stix (Core Design, Genesis): This is a puzzle platformer. The game gets 7s from Ed, Danyon, and Sushi, and Al gives it a 6, for about the same reaons – they find it a solid puzzle platforming game, though Al found the controls a little weak at first. Overall: 27/40.
- Mortal Kombat (Arena, Sega CD): Ed and Al give the game 7s, with them not finding the game much better than the cartridge versions of the game, except for better music quality, and with the game playing slightly faster than the cartridge versions. Danyon and Sushi aren’t as impressed, with Sushi giving the game a 5 and Danyon giving the game a 6 – finding that the game hasn’t necessarily aged very well. Overall: 25/40.
- Incredible Machine (Dynamix, 3DO): The PC physics-based puzzle game has gotten a console release. Danyon, Al, and Sushi give the game 7s, and Ed gives it an 8, with the main complaints being that the controller moves the curser too slowly, with a mouse generally being the preferred method of controlling the game. Overall: 29/40.
- The 7th Guest (Phillips, CD-I): The FMV-laden adventure game has gotten a console release. Ed gives it a 9, saying outright that this is the best version of The 7th Guest for any system. Danyon and Sushi give it 8s and Al gives it a 7, though they all basically agree with Ed on this one. Overall: 32/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
- Godzilla (TTI, Duo): Kaiju fighting game. Ed’s a big Godzilla fan and had fun playing this, and gives it an 8. Al kind of liked it, but felt that the system’s controller (a 2-button controller) put far too many limitations on gameplay, and gave it a 6. Danyon and Sushi gave the game 5s, with Sushi being a fan of the franchise but still not liking the feel of the game, and with Danyon not being a Godzilla fan. Overall: 24/40.
- Mega Man VI (Capcom, NES): Ed, Al, and Sushi give the game 7s, but they’re really quite done with 8-bit Mega Man games, particularly since Mega Man X is coming out, and they really feel that the series should either move to 16-bit, or let the Mega Man X series carry the torch from now on (which ultimately is what happens). Danyon, on the other hand, gives it a 6 and says that the series should just be put out of its misery now. I wonder what he thinks of Mega Man IX? Overall: 27/40.
- Lamborghini Challenge (Titus, Game Boy): Racing game. Danyon and Sushi give it 7s, and it sounds like Sushi has started to like the Game Boy. Whodathunkit? Ed and Al give it 6s, with Ed finding the blurring particularly bad. Overall: 26/40.
- Side Pocket (Data East, Game Gear): Pool game. Ed and Danyon give the game 7s, with Ed finding it brings the right something different to the Game Gear’s software library, though Danyon finds the sound repetative. While I haven’t been in a pool hall, I have been in a place with multiple pool tables going at once, and repetative sound is par for the course. Al observes that the friction for the pool table is too low and gives it a 6 (that’s a significant problem for a pool game – particularly if it has puzzles). Sushi finds it a good game for pool fanatics and gives it a 5. Overall:, 25/40.
Gaming Gossip: Alright, let’s see what Q-Mann’s got for us this issue.
- Nintendo has plans in the works for a VR system for under 200. Hit! However, this system is the Virtual Boy, so it’s not like it’s going to be ultra successful, unfortunately. And, ultimately, it will spell the end of Gunpei Yokoi’s time at Nintendo.
- NEC’s Tetsuo system is still in the works, and is not actually dead yet. Hit! It does indeed get a release as the PC-FX… and doesn’t survive very long.
- Acclaim is planning to buy out Valiant Comics. Hit! With this buy-out, they’ll get the rights to, among other characters, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.
- Apparently 3rd parties haven’t gotten 32X Dev kits yet. Miss! Well, sort of. Id and Digital Pictures have gotten Dev Kits, and Id was working on the 32X port of Doom.
- Time Warner has bought out Atari (and thus Tengen). Hit!
- Speaking of Tengen – Tengen & Nintendo have settled their differences! Miss! The Tengen brand is going away, and is being replaced with the Time Warner Interactive
So, we have 4 hits out of 6 at-bats. Not bad. Not great, but not horrible either.
Press Start: We get another look at the Sega Saturn, and we’ve now got some information on the 3rd party developers for the system, including Game Arts, Koei, Sunsoft, Treasure, and Data East. We also get some information on Nintendo’s VR system, which is apparently doen to counter 3DO’s REAL system. We also get some images from the Sony Playstation Tech Demo, including glimpses of something that looks like Wipeout, as well as some notes on their 3rd party developers, including EA (which means they get Madden), Ocean, Namco, Konami, Capcom, and Acclaim. Square is still up in the air though, as is Enix. While EA’s loyalty ultimately decides who wins this generation in the US, in Japan it’s Dragon Quest Uber Alles, so whoever gets Dragon Quest wins this console generation. Apparently there’s also a Sonic 4 in the works as well, though this may refer to Sonic & Kunckles. We also have screen shots for the SNES version Super Street Fighter II. We also get a look at a few new controllers.
Arcade Action: Sega’s got another racing game in Daytona USA, SNK has the side-scrolling action game Top Hunter, Midway has the light gun game Revolution X, and Namco has Nebulasray a lightgun game. Alright, now we’re getting into the games which were coming out when I was growing up… but I didn’t get to play because I didn’t own a PS1, or a Saturn, or a N64.
International Outlook: We have Shinging Force CD, which is an extremely up-rezed version of the Shining Force Gaiden games… which didn’t come out in the US then, and still hasn’t come out in any form now. C’mon Sega, get off your behinds! We also have Karate Club from Electro Brain. There’s also Mother 2, the only game in the series to get a US release as Earthbound. Sunsoft has Ninja Boy Sasuke. We have another notable title getting mention here as well – Tactics Ogre, from Quest (not to be confused with Ogre Battle). Konami UK is working on Sparkster for the SNES, featuring the protagonist of Rocket Knight Adventures. We also get a feature preview of Final Fantasy VI (which I really need to beat).
Next Wave: We have the US release of Hideo Kojima’s latest game, Snatcher (unfortunately we don’t get Policenauts, a port of Flashback for the Jaguar.
Feature – Virtua Fighter Preview: We’re getting out first 3D fighting game. We get a glimpse of Dural, who could probably make Rugal Bernstein cry like a little girl, as well as profiles of all the characters and their signature moves.
SNES Coverage: We get a preview of Stunt Race FX, a polygonal racing game which uses the Super FX chip, but apparently has some speed issues (which is significant in a racing game). There’s also the fighting game Double Dragon V, and the far superior fighting game Fatal Fury Special. There’s also Super Bomberman 2, the port of World Heroes 2. We have a preview of Illusion of Gaia from Enix, which looks promicing, and Shien’s Revenge for the SNES, which looks very interesting (but, then again, I’m a sucker for ninja games and anime). There’s also Spike McFang which… I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. A kiddy action game featuring a vampire? I dunno. There’s also the golf game Kirby’s Tee Shot, which uses some polygonal graphics for the courses. There’s also a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers brawler. Yep, it’s the ’90s.
Anyway, we also have the Mecha Action game Generation 2 from Kemco, and a port of Eye of the Beholder by Capcom. Interplay has a Lord of the Rings RPG based on Fellowship of the Ring and which (I’ve played this one) has some problems with pixel-bitching. There’s also a Beauty and the Beast game, and an Eek the Cat game, both of which sound very forgettible. Capcom has Soccer Shootout, a soccer game with mini-games for various drills. We also get a really nice ad for Super Godzilla, featuring a nice painting of Godzilla fighting Ghidorah. Were it not for all the ad copy in the picture, I wouldn’t mind hanging it on my wall. US Gold has World Cup ’94
Genesis Coverage: We have more coverage of Virtua Racing, as well as the Demolition Man action game from Virgin. Apparently the game splits up the action scenes between side-scrolling and top down sequences. There’s also Outrunners, which I played the arcade version of at a local pizza parlor, and enjoyed, though the AI’s pretty weak. The Genesis is also getting a port of World Heroes which is pretty close to the arcade version. We also get some more coverage of Star Trek: The Next Generation. There’s also a preview of Shadowrun for the Genesis, which goes a bit more in depth on the decking system (which is the way you want to go if you really want to make money in game). There’s also the semi-action RPG Star Quest from Namco. There’s Sylvester and Tweety in Cagey Capers from Tekmagic, who is a new developer for the licence, and is doing a game where you’re playing as Sylvester, which is… different. Normally in these type of games you play as the hunted character, be it Jerry, or the Road Runner, or Bugs Bunny. There’s also Mario Andretti Racing from EA. Dynamix has the action-adventure game Rise of the Dragon.
3DO Coverage: We have a review for the Jurassic Park rail shooter.
CDI Coverage: This system is getting an animated adventure game called Litil Divil. I can’t find anything about the plot.
NES Coverage: We have a preview of StarTropics 2, which adds time-travel to the mix.
Game Gear Coverage: We have a preview in Spider-Man & X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge.
Lifestyles: ACME Skateboards (their real name) is featuring skateboards with the licences for, say, Rob Liefield’s Youngblood. DC has also been licencing out their characters for ties. Blockbuster Video is starting a World Video Game Championship, ASG is also working on a sort of juke-box multi-cartridge unit for your video gaming. Unfortunately it doesn’t work very well. Meanwhile, the collector’s market bubble is starting to burst, due to all the excesses of holographic covers, and variant covers, and this, that, and the other thing. The speculators, who didn’t give a damn about comics anyway – who were just out to make a buck, have left the market, leaving retailers with loads of comics they can’t move. Ironically, it was the speculators, who pumped up 3rd party publishers like Valiant, Malibu, Mirage, and others, that started this glut in the first place. So, this lead to companies like Valiant going under. Unfortunately, from the sounds of things, the Ultraverse, which I’d previously derided, was actually pretty decent, and the bubble bursting basically scuttled that. Image survived because they branched out, and they still had some good stuff… and they had Rob Liefeld. Mirage survived because they had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which basically was a licence to print money. Anyway, we also get a preview of Disney’s new upcoming film, The Lion King, and some coverage of Tiger Electronics’ LCD games.
That wraps up this issue of EGM. Tomorrow we’ll have another review of an issue of Nintendo Power.