Video games, Where I Read

Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #63

The cover for EGM #63This week we continue with our EGM recaps with issue 63 for October of 1994. Our cover story for this issue is Donkey Kong Country for the SNES, one of Rare’s latest games.

Editorial: Well, last issue, Steve Harris teased an announcement this issue about Capcom’s responce to their lower review for Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Well, this issue we learn Capcom’s response – they blacklisted (at least where Advertisements are concerned) EGM to “make a statement” in the words of Capcom’s director of marketing. Steve Harris says that the only statment coming from Capcom here is that they don’t have faith in their products, and I can’t help but agree. Further, I’d expand on that by saying that any game publisher or developer who engages in the journalistic equivalent of the Tarkin Doctrine only succeeds in making them look like the bad guy to the gaming press. If they blacklist a blogger or web site, then they’re picking on the little guy. If they’re blacklisting an established bastion of games journalism, then they’re making a Nixon-esque enemies list. Further, this is only aggrivated when they’re doing the blacklisting for a review that isn’t particularly bad. The Street Fighter II series had been pushing perfect scores in EGM for most of its run. This is the first game that didn’t, and thus they get upset over it.

Letters: We get letters about how game developers choose what new concepts to turn into games, about the fate of the 32X once the Saturn comes out, and about old Tengen games for the NES with the Seal of Approval. That last one I don’t need to explain, if you’ve been following the EGM recaps, and have learned the sad tale of the Tengen/Nintendo feud. Also, EGM now has an E-Mail address, through Compuserve. Obviously, this E-mail address is now out of date, so I’m not going to share it here.

Review Crew: Once again, as a reminder, our crew is Ed Semrad, Danyon Carpenter, Al Manual, and Sushi-X.

  1. Final Fantasy III (Square, SNES): Final Fantasy III/VI has gotten released – and I really need to get around to beating that game. The game gets 9s across the board, with the crew having nothing bad to say about the game. Overall: 36/40 and the game is Game Of The Month and recieves the Editor’s Choice Platinum Award.
  2. Mortal Kombat II (Acclaim, SNES): This version of the latest installment in the MK series gets a 9 from Ed and 8s from everyone else. The consensus from everyone is that it’s an arcade perfect port, though the controls are looser than the arcade version. The main disagreement is, I suppose, between Ed and everyone else over how much of a problem this is. Overall: 33/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  3. Demon’s Crest (Capcom, SNES):. This is a semi-port/sequel of Gargoyle’s Quest (the spinoff of Ghouls & Ghosts). Al gives it a 9, everyone else gives it 8s. The consensus is that this game is fantastic – and they’re surprised Capcom isn’t promoting it. Now, I don’t know how much of this is, Capcom isn’t sending them promotional materials, or that Capcom isn’t advertising it at all. Overall: 33/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  4. Mortal Kombat II (Acclaim, Genesis): The Genesis version of MKII doesn’t do as well – the game gets an 8 from Ed, and 7s from the rest of the crew. They find it similar to the arcade version, but inferior to the SNES in most respects. Overall: 29/40.
  5. Contra Hard Corps (Konami, Genesis): It’s the Genesis turn to get a Contra game. Ed gives the game a 8 and the rest of the crew gives it 7s. The main complaints are that the game is a run-and-gun bullet hell shooter, which means there are a lot of cheap deaths. Overall: 29/40.
  6. Earthworm Jim (Playmates, Genesis): It seems appropriate that I’m recapping this issue after seeing video games live, which feature Tommy Tallarico, the composer of the music for this game. The game gets an 8 from Sushi and 9s from everyone else, with no complaints leveled against the game at all. Overall: 35/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  7. Switch (Data East, Sega CD): The odd Japanese puzzle game has gotten a US release. Ed gives the game a 7, finding it very funny and enjoying the variety of jokes in the game. Danyon found the game to be not so much of a game, though they did find it rather amusing and gave it an 6. Al and Sushi give the game 5s, found that the game got pretty boring after playing it for a while. Overall: 23/40.
  8. Agressors of Dark Kombat (ADK, Neo-Geo): When I first looked at the title, the first thing that kame in my head is Mortal Kombat ripoff. The game gets 7s across the board, due to the game’s sense of humor and devestating combo moves. Overall: 28/40.
  9. Star Control 2 (Crystal Dynamics, 3DO): The PC strategy game gets a port to home consoles. Ed and Danyon give the game 9s, finding it a solid strategy game and superior to the PC version, as does Sushi, who gives it an 8. Al isn’t much of a strategy game fan, but he still found it enjoyable enough to give it a 7. Overall: 33/40 and it recieves the Editor’s Choice Gold Award.
  10. Wolfenstein 3D (Atari, Jaguar): The first FPS is on the Jaguar, with blood, attack dogs, and Nazis intact. Sushi gives it an 8, and everyone else gives it 7s, with the main complaitns being about the scrolling being a little too fast. Overall: 29/40.
  11. Little Devil (Phillips, CD-I): Ed gives the game an 8, and everyone else gives the game 6s. While the animation is good, there are soem significant complaints about the control. Overall: 24/40.
  12. Mortal Kombat II (Acclaim, Game Boy): Ed finds that this port plays better than the port of Mortal Kombat I, and gives the game an 8. Everyone else isn’t so impressed, and they still think that the game doesn’t work well on a 2-button controller, with Danyon giving the game a 6, and Al & Sushi giving the game 5s. Overall: 24/40.
  13. Bubble Bobble (Taito, Game Gear): Bub and Bob are back! Al gives the game a 7 and everyone else gives it 8s. The consensus is that the game is still solid even on a system like the Genesis. Overall: 31/40.

Gaming Gossip: According to Q-Mann, several publishers are working on a 6-button controller for the 3DO so wew can get some fighting game ports for that system, which would be pretty impressive. Acclaim’s working on a Batman Forever licenced game, and Sega’s working on a Congo licenced game – both of which turn out to be rubbish.

Press Start: Aura Systems is working on a vest for use in virtual reality games, called the Interactor. We also get previews of other upcoming controllers.

Arcade Action: Kaneko has The Great 1,000 Mile Rally, which looks iffy to me, mainly because of the camera angle. Taito has the fighting game Global Champion, SNK has Samurai Shodown II, which I haven’t played, but I’ve been meaning to play – once I get Samurai Shodown Anthology or something. Operation Wolf is getting a 3rd installment, and an arcade version of Mad Dog McCree II is on it’s way out.

International Outlook: Of note this issue is Goemon 3 for the SNES, a Sailor Moon S fighting game, Battle Robot Legend from Banpresto for the SNES, which sounds like a Super Robot Wars game to me. We also get a feature preview of Shining Force CD which unfortunately didnt’ get a US release, and as yet CD games haven’t shown up on the Virtual Console, whether they were released in the US or not.

Next Wave: Of note for the upcoming titles the US is getting are 3DO ports of Samurai Shodown and Super Street Fighter II Turbo.

Special Features: We have a behind the scenes look of the 3DO FMV game Corpse Killer. We also get a look at Donkey Kong Country particularly screen shots of several levels and the game’s power ups. There’s also a look at some of the upcoming titles for the Jaguar, including Rayman and Wolfensten 3D.

Team EGM: To be honest, sports games haven’t aged very well, so I’m going to scale back my recaps of this section to games that interest me. This means that annual sports franchises won’t be getting listed. The 3DO is getting a port of Road Rash and Need for Speed (and it doesn’t look half bad).

SNES Coverage: We have more screen shots of Demon’s Crest, along with Final Fantasy III (with particular focus on the new Active Time Battle or ATB system). We also get an interview with Square’s then publicity director, Yusuke Hirata, and a few screen shots of Chrono Trigger. There’s also a preview of Virtual Bart, Animaniacs from Konami, Indiana Jones Greatest Adventures JVC which has some problems with cheap hits. Activision has the platformer Radical Rex, and Capcom has a Bonkers licenced platformer. There’s also a preview of Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. EA also has the semi-fighting game Shaq Fu (ugh). FCI has a the combination action-platformer/shooter Metal Morph, and a port of Ultima: The Black Gate. Spectrum Holobyte has the puzzle game Wildsnake, and JVC has a sequel to Zombies Ate My Neighbors titled Ghoul Patrol.

Genesis & Sega CD Coverage: We have a look at Lethal Enforcers II, which takes the series to the old west. The Genesis is also getting another first person shooter in Battle Frenzy – the FPS boom is on. We also have a look at the isometric shump Viewpoint, Accolade has the fighting game Ballz which is a fighting game with characters made out of a collection of Balls (and which I suspect lead to Vectorman). The Sega CD also has Star Wars Chess.

Neo-Geo Coverage: We have our first look at King Of Fighters ’94, with profiles of all the teams. Though, unfortunately, at this time the game has some slowdown problems. It’s also really hard. We also get screen shots of Agressors of Dark Kombat.

3DO Coverage: We get a look at the semi-RPG Guardian War, and the D&D licenced game Slayer, and the space sim, Burning Soldier.

CD-I Coverage: We get a look at the cyberpunk game Burn Cycle, and the fighting game Mutant Rage Body Slam.

Game Boy Coverage: We get a look at the Game Boy version of Samurai Shodown, which compensates for the system’s graphical limitations with Super Deformed characters.

Game Gear Coverage: We get some more screen shots of Bubble Bobble, and a Star Trek: The Next Generation simulator game.

Lifestyles: We’re getting a bunch of new audio books on the US market – or rather, audio dramatizations of novels and comics. Of particular note is the BBC’s adapatation of Knightfall. I hadn’t heard about the Dark Empire and Neuromancer ones though. We also get a look at new (and now defunct) comic publisher Tekno-Comics, and at the upcoming (and horrible) live-action Street Fighter movie. (By the way, it’s a crime that the live action Street Fighter movie got a Blu-Ray release, and not any of the anime films).