Where I Read – GamePro #49
Editorial: It’s actually about something this issue! To be specific, Sega’s debuted their rating system for games, which will end up (with a few revisions) becoming the industry standard. Nintendo, seeking to get the upper hand in the Console War, actually attacked Sega for this, saying that it was an illegitimate justification for selling violent games.
Letters: We get questions about whether they ever had to give out a 1.5. They did, once, to Andre Agassi Tennis, which goet a 1.5 for Control, but they otherwise try to avoid putting games that rate that low in the magazine. I suspect they put that one in there because they interviewed Agassi when he was promoting the game. We also have props coming in for their poster artist, Francis Mao. There are also questions about why there is so much empty space in game cartridges (the explanation GamePro gives is for cooling, though I’m a little iffy on that), and a question which gamers will spend much contemplation on in the console generations to come – how do I easily switch between two consoles that use the same connector? They also messed up the code to enable Champion Edition on Street Fighter II Turbo.
The Cutting Edge: We a look at the 3DO, and some of the FMV games being made for the system.
Hot at the Arcades: I have a look at the The Punisher and Caddilacs & Dinosaurs arcade games from Capcom, Jaleco has F1 Grand Prix Star II, and Irem has the submarine shump In The Hunt. In the gimmicky FMV and VR front, we have a VR version of Wolfenstein 3D, and American Laser Games has Crime Patrol.
Exclusive Review – Street Fighter II Turbo: To be absolutely honest, do you expect this to get less then all 5s from GamePro? I didn’t. Their only complaint is with the AI, but really – fighting game AI has almost always been cheap.
Feature – Summer CES Coverage: Well, another season, another CES, and more screen shots of upcoming games. We have shots of (of note), Mega Man X, Mortal Kombat (which was their Best Of Show), the Nintendo and Genesis Jurassic Park games, Super Empire Strike Back (which also got Best Of Show). The Sega CD is getting Stellar Fire and Lethal Enforcers. There’s also Star Trek: The Next Generation, Top Gear 2, World Heroes, TMNT: Tournament Fighters, Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions, Rabbit Rampage, Aladdin, Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, Super Mario All-Stars, Sonic Spinball and Sonic Chaos. Other than this, we have Dune II, Silpheed, Mega Man 6 for the NES from Capcom (which also gets Best in Show), along Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy (again, also getting Best In Show). We also had some new hardware, including the redesigned Genesis and the Sega CD, as well as the re-designed NES. AT&T also has the Edge, a unit designed for online multi-player over dial-up, and TTI has some wireless control pads for the Duo).
Genesis Coverage: First up is Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, which I’ve played, beaten, and enjoyed. The game gets 5s for Graphics & Control, and 4.5s for Sound & Control. They don’t have any particular objections though, even though Yuzo Koshiro is no longer doing the score for the game. Next is the review of Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, which they covered pretty heavily in the magazine. They give the game 5s for Graphics & Fun Factor, a 4.5 for Control, and a 4 for Sound, though they don’t say anything particularly critical about the game, aside from the one-hit-deaths. EA has TechnoClash, a top-down fantasy shooter which has some issues with sluggish controls and movement, which gets a 5 for Fun Factor and 4s for everything else.
There’s also a port of Fatal Fury, which has some problems with excessive difficulty (this is the game that coined the SNK Boss), muddled sound (particularly the voice samples), and sluggish control but looks great, so it gets a 4 for Graphics, a 3 for Sound and 3.5s for Control & Fun Factor. There’s also the shump Lightening Force, from Techno Soft, the developer of the Thunder Force series of shumps, and which this game apparently has certain similarities. Aside from the engrish in the title they like it. The game gets 5s for Graphics & Fun Factor, a 4 for Sound, and 4.5 for Control. Now, while they give it 5s for graphics, the game does have problems with slow-down with too-much lag on screen.
Strategy Guides: We get guides for Flashback and for Starfox.
Sega CD Coverage: We get a review of Ecco The Dolphin CD. They don’t have anything particularly bad to say, except that it “takes some patience” (their words), and they give it 5s for Graphics & Sound, and 4.5s for Control & Fun Factor. There’s also the fighter flight sim After Burner III. The game gets a 5 for Sound and 4 for Control (which is surprising, considering that flight sims were always a little tricky on a D-Pad), and 3.5s for Graphics & Sound. Just going to take an aside here but I’d say that the After Burner series is probably the one of Sega’s old franchises that hasn’t been revived for modern consoles that I’d like to see revived – especially considering the success of the Ace Combat series and Tom Clancy’s HAWX.
SNES Coverage: We have a review of Zombies Ate My Neighbors which is appropriate considering that it’s Halloween the week I’me reviewing this. The game gets 5s for Control Fun Factor, a 4.5 for Graphics and a 4 for Sound. There’s also a review of Goof Troop, which gets a 4.5 for Fun Factor an 4s for everything else. There’s also Operation Logic Bomb from Jaleco, which gets a 4.5 for Sound and 4s for everything else, though they don’t level any particular complaints. Enix has the very interesting RPG EVO: The Search For Eden, where you don’t play as a fantasy warrior, but as a creature trying to evolve into a higher form. Unfortunately, while the concept is very novel – novel enough to interest me in playing it, the staff of GamePro aren’t so keen – it gets 3.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor, and 3s for Sound & Control. Koei also has a World War 2 strategy game, PTO: Pacific Theater of Operatiosn. Ahh, the halcyon games where Koei would make games that weren’t in some way related to Romance of the Three Kingdoms or the Sengoku period of Japanese history. No, seriously – while this game was the brainchild of Koei USA, this was, in my opinion, a bold move on their part. That said, GamePro doesn’t necessarily think it was executed well, at least from a presentation standpoint, and gives it a 2 for Sound, a 3 for Graphics, a 4 for Control and a 4.5 for Fun Factor.
NES Coverage: Yoshi’s Cookie has gotten a port to the NES, gets a 2.5 for Sound, a 3 for Graphics, a 4 for Control and a 4.5 for Fun Factor.
Neo-Geo Coverage: SNK has put out it’s counter to Saturday Night Slam Masters in Three Count Bout. As with most Neo-Geo games, the presentation is great, with a 4.5 for Graphics and a 5 for Sound, but the button-mash heavy control and cheap AI (remember, it’s called a SNK Boss for a reason) gets it a 3 for Control and 3.5 for Fun Factor.
Duo Coverage: The Duo gets another turn-based strategy game in Vasteel, which does… okay – 3 for Sound and 3.5s for everything else.
Overseas ProSpects: Of note is Flashback 2, which ultimately was titled Fade To Black and actually didn’t come out until the Saturn/PS1 era.
The Sports Page: The Genesis has Jack Nicklaus’ Power Challenge Golf from Accolade, which gets a 5 for Control and a 4 for Fun Factor, but 3s for Graphics & Sound. After an interview with Jack (who talks about how the game improved his swing), we go to the SNES and Nigen Mansell’s World Championship, an F1 racing game that gets 5s across the board. The SNES has Super Black Bass for the SNES, which gets 4s for Graphics & Sound, but 3.5s for Control & Fun Factor. Vic Tokai’s King Salmon for the Genesis fares much better, with 4.5s for Sound & Fun Factor, and 4s for Graphics & Control. There’s also a mini-guide for NBA Jam and a list of the upcoming football games, of which there are very many.
Lynx Coverage: The Lynx has a new combat racing game in Battle Wheels. The game gets 3.5s for Sound & Fun Factor, and 4s for Graphics & Control.
Game Boy Coverage: There’s a new Spider-Man game for the Game Boy Spider-Man 3: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers. Why couldn’t Alistair or Spenser Smythe be the villain of Spider-Man 3 – he’s much better than a one-trick pony like Sandman? Anyway, this game gets a 3.5 for Sound and 4s for everything else. There’s also the fighting game Raging Fighter from Konami, which scores well despite some problems with ambitious controls for the Game Boy – the game gets a 3.5 for Sound, a 4 for Control, and 4.5s for Graphics & Fun Factor. There’s also New Chessmaster, which gets 3.5s for Graphics & Sound (but you’re not expecting much for a Chess game), and 4s for Control & Fun Factor. Sunsoft’s Speedy Gonzalez also does pretty well, getting a 5 for Fun Factor, 3.5 for Sound, and 4.5s for Graphics & Control.
Game Gear Coverage: The Game Gear has gotten a port of Streets of Rage 2, which GamePro thought did well for itself, getting a 3.5 for Sound (not surprising on a portable, and probably expected), a 4 for Fun Factor, and 4.5s for everything else. There’s also Surf Ninjas, which is probably the crassest tie-in I’ve ever seen in my entire life, with regards to how the game and the movie relate to each other. The game gets a 4 for Graphics and 3s for everything else. We’ve also got Jeopardy, which brings us our first 2s in a while – a 2.5 for Graphics, a 2 for Fun Factor, a 3 for Control and 3.5 for Sound – particularly due to anal retentiveness with the spelling.
GameBreakers: We get strategies for the final boss fight of Batman Returns, as well as all 5 of the game’s possible endings (there aren’t a lot of differences).
ProNews: We’ve already got into Nintendo of America (particularly Howard Lincoln) attacking Sega for instituting a ratings system. Well, they’re also hiking prices for games which use new technologies, like the Super FX Chip – so I hope you already got your copy of Starfox. I also hope that you’re looking on getting more games that use the technology, as this slow the tech’s adoption by US game developers. There’s no such price spike in Japan, so Japanese Game devs may still include it – such as with Konami’s planned Castlevania V (aka Rondo of Blood).
Well, that wraps up this issue of GamePro. Tomorrow I’ll have another movie review. Unfortunately, it won’t be a horror movie review – at least not here. Look to Bureau42.com on Halloween for my review of At The Mouth of Madness by John Carpenter!