Video games, Where I Read

Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Montly #60

Magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly - Mortal Kombat II V7 #7 (of 12) (1994_7) - Page 1We’re now at EGM #60 for July of 1994, with our cover story being more stuff on Mortal Kombat II. I have to say that the art isn’t fantastic. It’s great – but not fantastic. The issue weighs in at 194 pages.

Editorial: This issue’s editorial is from Danyon Carpenter, eulogizing over the death of the last 8-bit console system, the NES, as well as contemplating the glut of systems on the market.

Letters: Speaking of gluts, we have a letter about the growing glut of bad games on the market as we come to the end of the 16-bit generation, and the dawn of the 32-bit generation. Though, as a general rule of thumb, while we get some good games in the transitional period on occasion, a lot of times major developers have their best teams working on the launch titles for the new upcoming hardware, so they can try and get something good out of the new system. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Meanwhile, the developers and teams who aren’t putting out launch titles (and thus don’t have dev kits for the new systems) can’t be necessarily quite as ambitious, as whatever they put out won’t necessarily do as well on the market once the next gen starts building up steam. Oh, and then there are companies like LJN which put out shovelware on a regular basis anyway.

We also get a letter complaining about all the coverage of fighting games, and from the tone of the letter (the writer says that if they don’t publish it that they’re “the biggest bunch of wussies on the planet”) the writer probably is in middle school. Also, it’s reasonable to say that the writer is pretty lucky that this letter didn’t come around during the end of EGM’s first run, they didn’t pull any punches then. Anyway, we also get questions about PC ports of console games (reasonable, since they’re currently going the other way), and about the JVC X’Eye (aka the Wondermega). We also got a letter about revival of classic games for newer systems (like Tempest 2000 for the Jaguar). There’s also a letter about the pricing for cartridges, and how they can range from $60 to $80 for cartridges (because cartridges have funky micro-chips in them that can cause variations in the cost depending on the chips needed for certain titles).

Review Crew

  • World Heroes 2 Jet (SNK/Alpha, Neo-Geo): Danyon gives the game a 9, and Ed, Al, and Sushi give it 8s, with the general consensus being that it’s the best World Heroes game yet. Frankly, I never really was able to get into the World Heroes series as much as I was able to get into Tekken or King of Fighters (or, to a certain degree, Street Fighter). It think it’s because, for a large part, most of my Fighting game playing is done single player, as I’ve never really had anyone around me who was into fighting games (except for at my last job where we had an X-Box in the break room). Overall: 33/40 and it gets the Editor’s Choice Gold Award. On a side note we get a 2-page ad for Breath of Fire done in the western comic style, and apparently the game got ported by Squaresoft though it was originally developed by Capcom. Interesting.
  • Pocky & Rocky 2 (Natsume, SNES): 8s across the board for the return of our favorite Miko & Tanooki, plus a few other characters as well. Overall: 32/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  • Double Dragon V (Williams, SNES): A fighting game, based on the TV show, based on the series of brawlers. The game is considered across the board as being very generic (and they’re not too impressed with the TV show either). The game gets a 6 from Ed and 5s from Danyon, Al, and Sushi. Overall: 21/40.
  • Fievel Goes West (Hudson Soft, SNES): Action platformer based on the Don Bluth animated movie. Ed and Danyon give it 7s, finding it a good and challenging platformer, one that is perfect for veterans… who won’t buy the game because it’s got the licence for a kiddy movie. The kids, on the other hand, will get turned off by the game’s difficulty. Al and Sushi aren’t as impressed, and are outright disappointed because of problems with the gameplay and awkward control, and they give the game 5s. Overall:22/40.
  • King of the Monsters 2 (Takara, SNES): Port of the Neo-Geo kaiju fighting game. The game gets decent ratings, an 8 from Ed, and 7s from Danyon, Al, and Sushi, though they mention that the game is pretty button-mash heavy.
  • The Jungle Book (Virgin, Genesis): Platformer based on the several year old Disney movie. Danyon gives the game an 8, considering it a good solid platformer much like Cool Spot. Ed and Sushi give the game 7s, particularly due to cheap hits, and levels that were easy to get lost in. Al generally likes it but only gives it a 6. Overall: 28/40.
  • Streets of Rage 3 (Sega, Genesis): The 3rd (and final) installment of Sega’s hit brawler series). Ed gives it an 8, and Danyon, Al, and Sushi give the game 7s, as while they like the modified controls for a 6-button controller, as well as enhanced graphics, but they’re not so fond of the decreased sound quality, particularly for the music. Overall: 29/40.
  • Micky’s Challenge (High Tech Exp., Genesis): Another Disney licenced game, and surprisingly not one from Virgin or Capcom. That said, this one is a puzzle game instead of an action game or a platformer. Danyon & Ed give it 7s, finding that the game plays well, even if the music and sound isn’t fantastic. Sushi gives the game a 6 and Al gives it a 5, finding the game enjoyable, though very easy and very short. They’re also not too fond of the music. Overall: 25/40.
  • Rebel Assault (JVC, Sega CD): A port of the FMV-heavy Star Wars rail shooter. Ed gives the game a 7, as while the graphics aren’t quite as good as the PC version, while he does like the musical score. Danyon, Al, and Sushi have similar responses and give it a 6 and 5s, respectively. Overall: 23/40.
  • Jurassic Park (Universal Interactive, 3DO): Adventure game based on the movie. Ed, Danyon and Sushi give the game 8s, and Al gives it a 7, all for the same reasons – good gameplay, good graphics, and good music. Overall: 31/40.
  • Jungle Book (Virgin, NES): Okay, maybe the rumor’s of the NES’s demise are slightly exaggerated. Ed, Danyon, and Sushi are very impressed with the graphical quality of the game, especially considering that this game is on the NES, as well as the sound quality. The game gets a 8 from Ed, and 7s from Danyon and Sushi. Al gives the game a 5, thought he generally finds it a good NES game. Overall: 27/40.
  • Micky’s Challenge (High Teck Exp., Game Boy): Port of the Genesis game, and I see they’re using the Super Game Boy to take their screen shots now. The game was given a 8 from from Ed, and 7s Danyon and Sushi, considering it a good portable puzzle game for a younger audience, with Sushi finding the game challenging on hard. Al, on the other hand, found the game too easy and gave it a 5. Overall: 27/40.
  • Asterix The Gaul (Sega, Game Gear): Action platformer featuring the French comic character. Ed isn’t a fan of the comic, but he enjoyed the game enough to give it a 6, though the game has some control problems. The rest of the Crew isn’t as impressed, with the poor controls being complimented by the poor sound and generic gameplay to provide poor scores. Danyon and Sushi gives the game 5s, and Al gives the game a 4. Overall: 20/40.

Gaming Gossip:

  1. Sega & MGM/UA are working togeather for future games based on their films. Technically, this gets Sega the Bond licence, however, Rare is the one who puts out Goldeneye (the film coming out in 1995), and for the Nintendo 64, not the Dreamcast, so I’m going to call Miss! for now, though some other games could come out in the interveining period.
  2. Crystal Dynamics is trying to get the rights to Samurai Showdown. Considering that’s like EA trying to get the rights to Street Fighter from Capcom, I’m going to call Miss! here as well. Crystal Dynamics may want the rights, but as Shane “ManGod” Bettenhausen says it’s nice to want things.
  3. Bandai’s dumped their portable SNES system for a portable CD gaming system… which never comes out. Miss!

So, 3 swings, and 3 misses. That’s a strike out.

The PS1's Japanese Launch Lineup (as of this issue)

The PS1's Japanese Launch Lineup (as of this issue)

Press Start: We have a look at the “final” design of the PS1 (in that it’s the version that comes out at launch). We also have the list of Japanese launch titles (not yet complete), including Castle of Cagilostro based on the Lupin III movie and Princess Maker III from Gainax, neither of which get a US release, and since the system is Region Locked, you’ll either have to mod the system or use some other method to play it. Unfortunately, currently modding your system is forbidden by the DMCA and you can go to prison for 12 years if you do that (because the ESA says modding your console helps terrorists), so good luck getting modchips so you can play your legally imported copy – which means buying either an import PS1, PS2, or PS3 with Backwards compatability. No, I’m not bitter at all. I am, however, a member of the ECA (Entertainment Consumers Association), which supports legalizing console modding (you bought the bloody thing after all) for purposes of playing legally purchased import games. We also have more information on the Super Game Boy.

Arcade Action: SNK has Super Sidekicks 2, Taito has the light gun game Under Fire (which reminds me a lot of Lethal Enforcers).

International Outlook: First up is the SNES version of Samurai Shodown. There’s also the FMV action game Kamen Rider ZO. Gunstar Heroes is getting a Game Gear port. Bandai’s got a Sailor Moon brawler for the Genesis (though, funny, I don’t remember the Sailor Scouts ever throwing anything close to a punch. There’s also Live A Live from Square, which can best be described as viscious, evil, and nasty. There’s also an in-depth look at Wild Guns from Natsume.

Next Wave: We have Clay Fighter Tournament Edition (apparently it did well enough to get a tournament edition). Konami’s got Contra: Hard Corps, as well as Sparkster for the SNES and Biker Mice of Mars. Rocket Science Games has Loadstar and Cadillacs & Dinosaurs. The Genesis is getting Urban Strike, and Shining Force 2. Interplay also has Starfleet Acadamy for the SNES.

Feature – Mortal Kombat II: We get a look at the past versions of Mortal Kombat 1, as well as the prior arcade versions of MK2, what’s in the current arcade version, and what to expect in the SNES and Genesis versions to come.

Feature – Sega Saturn: We get a look at the Sega Saturn and some of its upcoming titles, particularly Virtua Fighter.

Feature – Contra: Hard Corps: We get an in-depth preview of Contra: Hard Corps – the series debut on the Genesis. We now have 4 playable Contra Warriors, each with their own special weapon.

Feature – Super Street Fighter II: We get a preview of the changes made for the SNES version of Street Fighter II‘s latest revision, including Tournament Mode & Survival & Time Trial.

Feature – Behind The Scenes At Nintendo: Ed got a tour of Nintendo of America’s offices. We start off of a tour of the Game Counselor’s section – over the several years that have gone on since Nintendo started the tip line, they have a not unsubstansial knowledge base.

Feature – Koei’s Upcoming Titles: We have a look at Koei’s RPG set in the golden age of piracy, Uncharted Waters: New Horizons. There’s also Nobunaga’s Ambition: Lords of Darkness

SNES Coverage: We have more screen shots of Pocky & Rocky 2, Fievel Goes West, and King of the Monsters 2. We also get a look at the isometric flight sim Air Strike Patrol, which has some problems with the enemies having the player much overmatched. We also have a look at the shump Aero Fighters from MC O’River (a developer I’ve never heard of before) which is apparently pretty easy, and apparently has some really stupid smack talk.

Genesis Coverage: We have a peak at the action platformer Tinhead, which has some problems with trial & error gameplay. We also get a look at the Genesis version of King of the Monsters 2, which has some problems with game balance in single player (with the computer operating under different rules from the player).

Sega CD Coverage: We have more screen shots of Rebel Assault, along with the action RPG Revengers of Vengence, which doesn’t have great action control. Domark has Flying Nightmares, which they haven’t played enough yet to say much on (since it isn’t particularly finished yet).

Neo-Geo Coverage: We get to see more of World Heroes 2 Jet.

3DO Coverage: We get a preview of Shockwave, a sci-fi flight sim, which apparently has some problems with pacing in the missions. There’s also Megarace which is decent, though the announcer character is annoying. It’s also got the awful looking fighting game Way of the Warrior.

The first piece of Game Development software I've seen advertized in a gaming magazine.

The first piece of Game Development software I've seen advertized in a gaming magazine.

CD-I Coverage: We have a look at the very gritty action game Burn Cycle, which is very much incomplete. Surprisingly, we also get an ad for game development software. There’s also the puzzle game Mega Maze.

Game Boy Coverage: We have screen-shots of Micky’s Ultimate Challenge.

Game Gear Coverage: We have a look at the portable version of Sonic Spinball.

Lifestyles: Kevin J. Anderson (ugh) continues the Jedi Acadamy Trilogy. Also, the live action Street Fighter movie is coming out (double ugh). Meanwhile, in comics, DC is having it’s second mega-event, timeline changing crossover Zero Hour. Oh, and we’re getting a live-action Flinstones movie (triple ugh) starring John Goodman as Fred Flinstone.

That wraps up this issue of EGM. Tommorow I’ve got another issue of Nintendo Power for you.