On to Nintendo Power’s 5th anniversary. As a reminder, this is not the fifth year Nintendo published a magazine. Prior to this they had the Nintendo Fun Club newsletter – which I will get to in due time. Our cover game is Super Castlevania IV for the SNES, which is, I believe, the first time a third party SNES game has made the cover of Nintendo Power. With the magazine’s 5th year, we’re now also getting a new comic strip, adapting the Legend of Zelda. They’re also bundling one of four strategy guide with your subscription. Hmm… I may review those. So, on to issue #32 for January of 1992.
This issue they’re asking for photographs of your NES game related sculptures. Probably the best one in my opinion is a sculpture of Mega Man, with another of the slimes (hand painted, by the way) from Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest being a close second.
Mega Man IV Guide
As I’ve mocked before, we have our fourth Mega Man game, with a Soviet villain, despite the fact that we’re in the age of glasnost, and with the fall of the Soviet Union being right around the corner. Of course, Dr. Wily is still behind the whole thing, but you have to wonder about who had the bright idea of having the bad guy be a Soviet. We get maps for the stages for Ring Man, Dive Man, Toad Man, Skull Man, Dust Man, Drill Man, Pharaoh Man, and finally facing Dr. Cossack. What we don’t get is the recommended order for them, and the recommended weapon to use against each. Now, I don’t know if, once you’ve beaten Dr. Cossack, if you go straight to Dr. Wily’s castle, or if you have to fight more Robot Masters. I don’t think so, the levels for the other robot masters look the right length – if you had to fight 8 more Robot Masters, then the levels for each Robot Master would be noticeably shorter.
Monster in my Pocket Guide
That is possibly the most Freudian title for anything that I’ve seen in my life. The fact that it was meant as the name for a line of very small monster toys actually makes it worse. We get maps of some of the levels in the game, and notes on moves, but no power-up notes (if there are power-ups at all) in this game. We also get a few notes on bosses – but we just don’t get a lot of information on this game.
Tecmo Super Bowl Guide
Tecmo Bowl has gotten a sequel, yay! Anyway, this version of the game has a full 28-team NFL (well, that’s a full league for 1992 anyway). The “guide” follows the 49ers to their win at the Super Bowl. Being that Nintendo of America is based out of Seattle, you’d think they’d use the Seahawks.
Legend of Zelda – A Link To The Past Comic
We get the first installment of their comic based on the not-yet released Legend of Zelda game. The art is by Shotaro Ishinomori, creator of 8 Man, Kamen Rider, Android Kikaider, and Cyborg 009. It looks really good, though the design for Link reminds me of Gitaro. Also, Ganon/Ganondorf is known as Agahnim, which gives him more of a mysterious middle-eastern sorcerer feel. Anyway, Link is telepathically called by Zelda to rescue her from Ganon. Link runs to the castle, dodges some guards, and sees Ganon kill his uncle. Link takes up his uncle’s sword and shield, rescues Zelda, and escapes. Zelda tells him that he must get keep Ganon from opening the seal of the seven sages. Ganon then enters, kidnaps Zelda again, and destroys Link’s Sword. Before she is whisked away, Zelda tells Link that he must get the legendary Master Sword to triumph.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 – Back From The Sewers Guide
This is a sequel to the last Game Boy TMNT game. There aren’t any gameplay changes from the last game in the series. There isn’t much more in terms of level design either – just go right and hit everything in your way, with no obstacles to worry about (as opposed to Double Dragon, or even Streets of Rage), with the sole exception of level 5, which is the last level they map.
This is not based on the Tim Burton film, starring Michael Keaton. Well, not directly. It’s based on the animated series based on the film. We get maps of each of the “hub stages” and what needs to be done to clear each of the rooms you’ll need to go through.
Prince of Persia Guide
The original “Arabian Nights” themed swashbuckler has been ported to the Game Boy. I wonder if it managed to keep it’s fluid animation. We get maps of the first four stages in the game.
Super Mario Adventures Comic
So, we have a Mario Bros. comic, from Charlie Nozawa on the art and Kentaro Takekuma on writing duties. Takekuma did Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga and Nozawa basically just did this series. Anyway, Mario and Luigi are hired to deal with a plumbing problem in the castle’s basement – basically a rat’s nest of pipes. However, unfortunately for them, a large number of green Koopa pipes start springing up. The story’s pretty cute I got a chuckle out of it, which is about as much as you can ask for.
Super Castlevania IV Guide
Finally we get a 16-bit Castlevania game. Not only does it take advantage of the SNES’s graphical abilities for Mode 7 in, say, the Revolving Tower stage, but it also includes the ability to jump on and off of stairs, as well as the Eight Way Whip. We get maps of stages 1 through 3.
Legend of Zelda – A Link To The Past Guide
Okay, maybe I was a little ahead of myself when I said that the game wasn’t out yet. Anyhoo, we’ve got a partial guide for the game. We get notes on all the new things you can do here, and a few basic story notes, but nothing particularly helpful. This is really less of a guide and more of a preview.
True Golf Classics – Waialae Country Club Guide
Ah, the days of the early 90s, when a golf game would have all the holes for one specific golf course. We get notes for all the holes on the course, though not detailed maps for all the holes.
Super Off Road Guide
Another console generation, another racing game. This one’s guide actually recommends that you cheat in the guide – saying that if you plug in the second controller and hit start on it, but let it be idle, you’ll always be able to advance to the next race. We have advice on the power-ups. We get maps of the first 16 tracks in the game.
We get advice on beating the Pharaoh Boss in Actraiser, which was very nearly my Quality Control game for last week.
This issue they have changed the format of this column entirely. Previously, this column was basically the Also-Rans for the month, the games which were releasing that month that weren’t big enough to merit a strategy guide. Here, instead, we have some Nintendo Game Counselors (George & Rob) discussing the new-releases in a very stream-of-consciousness fashion. I’m going to say right now – as someone who hasn’t read Nintendo Power recently, but who does listen to a lot of video game podcasts, if they were to do a podcast in this format, I’d definitely listen to it. That said, as before, I’m going to stick with the games that catch my interest. Anyway, they were very impressed with Mega Man IV, though they weren’t too fond of Blues Brothers, as the camera was locked on one character (Jake) so if Ellwood went too far ahead or fell behind he’d get stuck – plus the story is entirely nonexistent. By the way, that’s a refreshing change – Nintendo Power is now unafraid to say negative things about Nintendo games. They also mention their displeasure with F-15 Strike Eagle.
Now, they did like Hammerin’ Harry. The game seems familiar, and reminds me of a more recent PSP game, Hammerin’ Hero which was released by Atlus. (*Does some research*) That explains it – they are related. Hammerin’ Hero is the 7th game in the series. George & Rob were a little more split on L’Empereur, Koei’s first strategy game outside of the realms of feudal Japan & China. George wasn’t too much of a fan of this game, but he also doesn’t like this genre too much. Rob on the other hand enjoyed the game. The last review of note is Pit Fighter, which they hated. We do get a disclaimer at the end though, saying that George & Rob’s opinions don’t represent those of Nintendo Power & Nintendo of America. In other words, they’re not standing behind them, and if they say stuff that annoys a 3rd party, they’ll lose their feature.
I’ve got the slash there, because starting with this issue we have 3 Top 20s – one for the NES, one for the SNES, and one for the Game Boy for a total of 60.
This issue they’re profiling Bill Laimbeer, who is lending his likeness to the upcoming Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball, and is even appearing in a commercial for the game, wearing an appropriately Sci-Fi outfit. This is actually the second time he’s done acting or done anything genre-related. Specifically, when he was 17, he was on Land of the Lost as a Sleestack.
The titles of note in this column this issue are the semi-sequel to Contra, titled Contra Force (the next numbered installment, Contra IV, for the SNES had already been announced). Asmik has a new mecha shooter in Xardion. FCI’s also planning on porting Ultima VI.
That wraps up this issue of Nintendo Power. For my Quality Control pick for this issue, I’m going with Super Off Road, mainly because I haven’t really covered any racing games on previous issues of Nintendo Power.