Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nintendo Power, Volume 38 (July 1992)

 Here's a Nintendo Power that I remember reading as a kid. At the time I didn't have a subscription or even any games, but By God these things were still so much fun to read. Let's see what memories it brings back now that I've gotten ahold of this issue again.

GET MORE POWER? Sign me up! I think at the time I first read this I probably would have gone for Mario Mania for the free guide, since I was obsessed with Mario. When I eventually did get a subscription (15 months after this) I went with the Game Boy Player's Guide because that was the system I had.

In other news, Samus sure is awesome-looking. Here we see a Nintendo that doesn't neglect their Metroid fanbase. How much longer till we get a new -real- Metroid game, Nintendo? HOW MUCH LONGER?

These old NP issues have such cool covers. You can almost taste the magic within!

...there isn't much magic in this issue, though. Hmm. It has Street Fighter II, but that's about it. They can't all be winners.

Super NES and Genesis battle it out in the letters section! It turns out that Super NES was indeed the "real" next-generation, but it took a little while for the system to fully display its technical superiority. One thing I find odd is that the second letter mentions Street Fighter II as something the SNES has, as if the Genesis doesn't. Did Genesis seriously not get a version of Street Fighter II?

Okay, just looked it up. The Genesis didn't get SFII until 1994 when they got a port of Super Street Fighter II. At the time of this issue, SFII was a Super NES exclusive and SFII Turbo would be the same. Wow, that's surprising. That balances out the Genesis version of Mortal Kombat being the superior version.

Not much to say here except that this is pretty cool. Beating 50 games was a pretty big deal back then because games were difficult.

Moving on to the game coverage... what the? Panic Restaurant? I've never heard of this. Generally games that got the NP Bump did fairly well, but it's safe to say this didn't. I don't even remember reading about it.

We get the usual stage-maps, but I'm a boss-thusiast so I jump right to reading about the bosses. They're all food-themed, and Ice Scream here (if that's the boss' name) looks like a mean piece of work. At least she's multiracial.

Here's Gold Medal Challenge, a game about winning Olympic events. All I can think of is how I'd totally play this if it had Kurt Angle as a playable character. It's a few years too soon.

It's interesting how NES games still have front-billing in this magazine despite the SNES being out for nearly a year at this point.

Might and Magic for the NES. Looks like an interesting RPG in that you form a party made up of different classes, then build them up while exploring a D&D-esque world. I played the third game in this series on the SNES and didn't get too far in it. As I recall it was overcomplicated, which I suspect might be the case with this game too since this game didn't take off. It's full of mazes upon mazes and they've got traps aplenty. It's also first-person, which in this era means more difficult navigation. Slower-paced roguelike games of this sort belonged on the PC in the late 90's, not the younger-skewed NES in the early 90's. I definitely wouldn't have been into it at the time.

Case in point...SO MUCH READING. I can't say I've ever seen this much text in a Nintendo Power article before, but they just have THAT much to cover because there's so much to the game. I bet the people who were able to get into this had a blast, at least.

Fourth anniversary? But it's only volume 38! Shouldn't it be 48? Well, for the first ten issues the magazine came out every two months, which must have been torturous for subscribers. I remember one month between issues being difficult to deal with at times. Well, at least from 1994 to 1996, the first few years I subscribed. Some time late in 1996 the magazine got a lot less colorful and interesting and never quite regained the same magic.

Aside from the password extravaganza, we've got Classified Information. Back then codes were a pretty big deal, as a lot of these games weren't very player-friendly without them. I like how extra lives used to be called "men". Took me a while to get that. I can remember reading about Mega Man 2 and how it was a good idea to use your "first man" to get an idea of the enemy attack patterns before you go all-in with a special weapon. I had no idea what they meant by "first man" at the time, then I was informed that it meant "first life".

Us kids called them extra lives, so I don't know what Nintendo Power was on about. If the game was Metroid, did that mean you had extra women? Well, that game didn't have lives, but my point stands because I can't think of any other games with female main characters.

Time for the Zelda comics, which were a definite highlight. I think they might be the best comics the magazine ever did. The Mario comics were great too, but they're a bit on the silly side. The Star Fox comics were decent but the source material wasn't as interesting. The Metroid comics COULD have been great but they were cut very short for some reason. ...because of course they were. Why do you hate Metroid, Nintendo?

In any case, the Zelda comics are beautifully done and tell some pretty interesting tales. They also cover a lot of aspects of A Link to the Past while taking major liberties with the story.

In this issue, a robe-clad Link visits Ganon's Pyramid. It looks a bit different from how it does in the game. I wonder if that moon overhead was the inspiration for the moon in Majora's Mask. If so, the artist of this comic deserves some cred. Also, in this comic Link puts on a Zora mask to blend in with the bad guys. Yep, Majora's Mask definitely drew inspiration from this comic.

Speaking of story liberties... Link BLOWS UP THE PYRAMID. This sorta happens in the game when he drags the Super Bomb up there to open the way to Ganon, but that's much later in the story and it's just a small dent in the structure. Here, we have Link outright destroying the pyramid right after arriving in the Dark World. If I remember correctly, in these comics the final fight with Ganon takes place in his tower rather than the pyramid.

Wave Race?? As in, Wave Race 64? That's right, it looks like one of the N64's most beloved games was actually a sequel. This Game Boy iteration doesn't look particularly impressive; this was still the pre-Link's Awakening era where Game Boy games weren't particularly expected to be on par with console games.

This month's Mario comic has a bit of a surprise: Princess Toadstool and Luigi have switched outfits, completely subverting gender roles. Luigi is all dainty and in need of rescuing, while Toadstool is UNLEASHING HELL.

Man, Toadstool is NOT fucking around! Luigi kinda is, but he gets a good attack off on Roy Koopa before prancing away like the prettiest of princesses.

Super Ghouls and Ghosts is as good a candidate as I've ever seen for some Counselor's Corner coverage. The walls of text return here, and I'm starting to wonder if walls of text were an NP trend at the time. Maybe they were in the process of switching lead editors or something.

It's also odd that this segment repeatedly refers to The Red Emperor as "The Final Red Emperor". I guess since he shows up twice, it's a way to differentiate, but the guy uses that phrase so often it comes across like the official boss name.

Hulkster sighting! Who will be the champ? FIND OUT THIS SUNDAY AT WWF SUPER WRESTLEMANIA!

Magic Sword is a game that I played in the arcades around this timeframe. Didn't get too far in it. The Super NES version looks pretty good. I can't help but notice that the artwork for this article bears a striking resemblance to the artwork for Nintendo Power's Secret of Mana coverage ("The Days of Mana") a couple years later. Especially the guy standing in front of the tower. I wonder who this artist is, because they're pretty damn good at what they do.

This month's poster fold-out features TONS OF MAGIC SWORD MAPS. Considering all of the levels are straight lines, I'm not sure how necessary this was.

This game, like Might and Magic earlier, has deadly traps in some of the treasure chests. What was the obsession with putting traps into chests back then? Treasure chests are supposed to be a reward to get excited about!

 Finally we arrive at the main event, Street Fighter II. While Ryu and Ken are generally given top billing in every game of this series, here we have Guile in the spot that Ryu would normally be in. Makes sense since NP had him on the cover, plus 'MURICA.

'MURICA. This hair gel don't run!

Hailing from India, we have Dhalsim. He can breath fire, and stay out from behind him when he's got gas unless you want to get torched. has THAT not been a special move all these years? Reverse Yoga Flame!

I liked playing as Dhalsim back then due to the inherent cheapness of his extended reach. Regardless, here we have the bosses, and they were intriguing. Particularly Sagat, with his Muay Thai techniques. Where's M. Bison?

George and Rob's video game musings fell out of favor with the NP fanbase after a while, resulting in them getting canned. Funny thing is, I think this would fly much better today in this era of quick semihumorous reviews.

I don't think I've ever seen a game score lower than 2.0 on any category in this magazine. Scores above 4.5 are also exceptionally rare, considering that 5.0 is the highest score. I can't remember for sure if I ever saw a 5.0 either, but I think A Link to the Past and Super Mario 64 both hit that mark in one category.

The Mario games have a firm grasp on the top spot in all of these lists, but Zelda is very competitive and I believe it became the overall top dog once Link's Awakening entered the fray.

Super Mario Kart: A game of the future.

Whoa, the next issue has my first game, Kirby's Dream Land. Not a whole lot to this issue, but it was fun to revisit regardless. Makes me want to play some Street Fighter II.

Other Nintendo Power posts


  1. Well, it looks like this has Magic and Magic... which admittedly isn't very much magic.

    It's true that Genesis didn't get the original Street Fighter II and both consoles later got Super Street Fighter II, but that wasn't the first one Genny had. Genesis got Street Fighter II Championship Edition in 1993. It was pretty much the Genesis counterpart to the SNES's Street Fighter II Turbo, in that both games allowed you to play as the four bosses bringing the character total to 12. Turbo is a slightly more updated game though.

    Over-complicated was a big reason those games weren't fun. Ugh, and first person too, yikes.

    I never saw either of these comics in the issues, but a few years down the line I picked up a collection of both the Zelda and Mario comics from Wal-mart for real cheap, they were awesome. Wish I still had those. You've got a good issue here for the comics as Toadstool in the Luigi garb was the highlight of the entire Mario comic.

  2. Asking Nintendo Power whether to get an SNES or Genesis is an, um, interesting idea.

    Beating NES games with your feet is an amazing feat.

    Like you, I can't remember any of these games. Seeing the name Taito gave me Lufia flashbacks though. Hey I don't think NP ever carried Lufia, and it gave Lufia 2 just a little space.

    Thanks for giving me the rundown on Might & Magic. Great name but the game totally slipped my mind too. You're right that the level of text here shows how tough the game must have been.

    Thanks for reminding me the LTTP comics took liberties with the main story. When I was a kid I was like "but..but", but now I think it's cool to have two different versions of the same great story.

    Toadstool as Luigi is so awesome. This may be a lesser NP but it's reminded me of a lot of happy things.

    Does the NP indicate who the illustrators are in the back? As a kid I would've never cared to look but now for historical purposes I'm curious.

    I wonder if they kept out M. Bison due to copyright claims. Boy, does Balrog look like Mike Tyson or what?

    It's impressive how international SF2's very first crew is. Yeah, putting Guile front and center was definitely an appeal to Gulf War patriotism.

    Would George and Rob have a YouTube channel today? I'd forgotten about them.

    You're right about what a tight band these games were in, somewhere between 3 and 4. The funny thing is the use of tenths arguably means there's a "real" 1-10 system between "3.0" and "4.0".