Video games, Where I Read

Where I Read – Nintendo Power #50

Just in time for the 25th Anniversary of the US launch of the Nintendo Entertainment system, my Where I Read for Nintendo Power has reached issue 50, for July of 1993. It shouldn’t be a surprise to say that this issue’s cover game is a notable one – Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy – the first portable outing for the series.

Our letters column for this issue has an interesting question – when they added two more face buttons on the SNES controller (in addition to the two shoulder buttons), why did they call them X & Y instead of C & D? According to the official answer, it comes from CAD, and relates to the fact that X & Y are the secondary buttons, as opposed to the main A & B buttons. I don’t know enough about CAD to say how definite that is (aside from X & Y being the axis for any two-dimensional plane), but it sounds good. If anyone who knows more about CAD wants to chip in with more information on what could be referenced here, I’d appreciate it. We also have a couple good-bad Legend of Zelda jokes, from Alex in Victorville, CA:

Q: How did Link help his team win the basketball game?
A: He used his hookshot!

Q: What did Zelda tell Link when he couldn’t unlock the door?
A: Triforce. (Get it, “try force” – I’ll get my coat)

WWF Royal Rumble Guide

So, just to get the age of game across here – it still has WWF in the logo instead of WWE. It’s got the Big Letter logo instead of the Scratch logo. The Undertaker has a goatee only, no moustache. Also, it bears mentioning that of the five wrestlers pictured here – Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Rodney “Yokozuna” Anoai, Curt Henning, and Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall, two are dead (Henning and Anoai), one is out of the business due to being an alcoholic (Hall), one basically can’t actively wrestle after having too many concussions (Hart), and one’s retiring Real Soon Now (The Undertaker). Hey, at least it doesn’t have Chris Benoit in it, if it did then the game wouldn’t exist anymore. 😉

The game itself has four gameplay modes – single player career, tag team career, three-man tag, and battle royal. It’s interesting to note that when wrestlers use a chair as a foreign object, they hold it upside down. Of course, like most steel chairs on WWE programming, they can only withstand a couple swings before becoming unusable for anything really. It’s also interesting to note that while the game has a tag team mode, only two real “tag teams” are represented here – Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, and both those are situations where one wrestler was the other’s “bodyguard”, not that they were a regular tag team and neither team ever held the Tag belts. I bring thus up because earlier games usually had one tag team in it that had held gold, usually the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom, or occasionally Demolition.

We get a list of wrestlers here, and their signature moves – which is a new touch for WWE games. However, the game doesn’t include submissions, something that WCW’s first game did include. I don’t recall if this game includes rope breaks on pin attempts though. Still, from a feature standpoint, they’re behind their competition.

Run Saber Guide

This is a sort of run and slash action-platformer like Strider. We get maps of the all the stages before the last one, including boss strategies. Of note – according to wikipedia, the boss for level 2, a massive reclining undead woman, was originally just a massive reclining woman in the Japanese version, but Nintendo of America had them change it to avoid their “No Violence Against Women” policy – the same policy that lead to the stripper-riffic women from Final Fight being changed to transgender men in the US release of that game. Yeah, their priorities weren’t in the right place.

E.V.O.: Search For Eden Guide

Before Will Wright gave us Spore, we got this ambitious title from Enix for the SNES. Basically, you control a creature of your own creation, and earn Evolution Points by surviving, by eating creatures and so forth. Evolution points can be spent on various genetic mutations that will help you do better later on. For example, as a fish, you can evolve a lure similar to the lure of the angler-fish, to help draw in food.

Edutainment Games

We get a run down of various edutainment games as we approach back-to-school season. Several of these games, like the Miracle Piano Teaching System, have previously been covered by the magazine, and nothing is really in-depth.

Bubsy Guide

This game is a little interesting, as while the game was originally licensed when it was released on the SNES, the Genesis version was initially unlicensed (a licensed version was released later). We get maps for levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16 (the final stage). We don’t get any boss information though, it’s entirely possible that the game doesn’t have any bosses until the end, or that the bosses are on the levels we don’t get maps for.

We also get a gallery of the covers of all of the last 50 issues of Nintendo Power. Thus far I have to say that I like the cover of issue 2, the Castlevania II cover, the most. Our Nester’s Adventures strip covers TazMania and is has no useful advice at all.

50 Year Retrospective

This is, as it says, an in-depth retrospective. Apparently they consider the Castlevania II cover their “worst” cover, because it gave kids nightmares. Personally, I would say any piece of cover art good enough to cause nightmares would be a sign that it’s quality. Anyway, the official history here downplays the magazine’s role as a piece of advertising, instead describing it as a way to give a lot of information about Nintendo games for fans, and not including advertising as a way to avoid any awkward conflicts of interest, never mind that this is a house organ, and thus will probably skip on saying anything too negative about their products.

At the very least, they attempt to leave the American kusoge (shitty games) out of the magazine, and to be fair, with the Quality Control picks I’ve played, while some are bad, I haven’t seen anything as bad as Deadly Towers, or the far, far worse Dragonlance: Heroes of the Lance in the magazine, at least not very often.

While the Starfox comic continues, I’m still not going to cover it because it’s still not good.

Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Guide

So, this guide covers enough of the overworld map to get you to the first three dungeons of the game, and maps of those dungeons. That’s unfortunately it. Most other guides usually give a glimpse and maybe a few hints of what’s to come later, but this has none of that, unfortunately.

Gargoyle’s Quest II Guide

This is a sequel to the spinoff game based on Ghouls & Ghosts/Ghosts & Goblins. We get strategies for all the bosses right off, as well as a full two-page spread of the overworld map. We don’t get maps of the dungeons, but I’m okay with that. Frankly, I wouldn’t have minded if, with Legend of Zelda, we had gotten no maps of the Dungeons, and just gotten a complete overworld maps and a few useful notes on the dungeons (for example, in this dungeon you can only defeat some enemies with jars, and you can only lift those jars after you find the Power Bracelet in this dungeon).

T2: The Arcade Game Guide

This is a port of the arcade light gun shooter… for the Game Boy. Yeah, no good can come of this. Mind you, I liked the arcade game, but light gun games really need to be played with a light gun – either one hard locked to the machine (T2, Operation: Wolf), or a couple on cables, possibly dual wielded.

The Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt Guide

Moving to the NES, we have a licensed game based on the Addams Family animated series. I watched this show a fair bit as a kid, and I have to say that the animated format probably worked better for the Addams Family than the live action format, at least outside of big features like the two films with Raul Julia. We get a map of the hub area and notes on the individual levels, but no full maps.

Mighty Final Fight Guide

So, what do you do when you want to port one of the best fighting games of the last 5 years to the NES, when the system can’t handle it? You put out a Super Deformed version! Thus, we have Mighty Final Fight, a version of Final Fight with Chibi characters. Plus, it has a level up system, and we have Guy in the game! We get maps of the levels and notes on beating the bosses. Frankly, I like this game’s visual style, and I’m probably going to make it my Quality Control pick.

Bubble Bobble 2 Guide

Remember Bubble Bobble? Good. Now you’re getting more of it. We get notes on a smattering of levels from the game and their World’s bosses – 3, 11, and 15 in World 1, 21, 24 and 36 in World 2, 42, 45 and 59 on World 3, and after that is the final world.

We also get a mini-merch catalog, which includes the opportunity to get every single back issue of Nintendo Power for just $50. That’s actually a pretty good deal. There’s also a Member’s Only shirt, and the Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Adventures graphic novels.

Top 20

For our Top 20 this issue, Star Fox now holds the top spot on the SNES, bumping down Street Fighter II (original version) and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. On the Game Boy, Super Mario Land has once again been bumped off the top spot, and not by Metroid II. Instead, Super Mario Land 2 has claimed the top of the charts, pushing Samus and Kirby further down the charts. On the NES, Mario 3 retains the top spot, followed by the original Legend of Zelda (who has been on the Top 50 for the magazine’s full run), and Mega Man V. It bears mentioning that every NES Mega Man game is on the charts and every Metroid game released as of this issue is on the charts. We are missing Zelda 2 from the charts on that franchise, and the original Super Mario Bros and Super Mario World are absent from the charts from that franchise.

Now Playing

Now for the best of the rest. Ultima V: the False Prophet is getting a SNES release. Unlike the PC games you can’t carry your character over from the last game. Seika is releasing Super Turrican, JVC has the Wizardry clone Dungeon Master, There’s also a Game Boy game based on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Pak Watch

As my favorite wrestling commentator, Jim Ross, is fond of saying, business is about to pick up. Capcom is preparing to release Street Fighter II Turbo, with the ability to play as the bosses, as in Champion Edition, plus a speed boost. However, Midway has their own major fighting game on the way, albeit in a bowdlerized fashion – Mortal Kombat. By bowdlerized, I mean that many of the finishing moves have been toned down, though the people writing this column attempt to downplay this – and fail. Ultimately, this game, more than Sonic vs. Mario, is what truly divides the Genesis vs. SNES camps.

Konami also has a fighting game of their own, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters. This one also has its own differences between the Genesis and SNES versions. The SNES version has more characters from the animated series (like Bebop and Rocksteady), while the Genesis version includes more characters from the comics (like Casey “10 Minutes For High-Sticking” Jones). Finally, Capcom is taking Mega Man to the next level with Mega Man X for the SNES.

Finally, for my Quality Control pick. While Super Turrican in the Now Playing section caught my eye, I’m going to go with Mighty Final Fight.