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 Back in Time : August 1991

'Back in Time' is a monthly feature where we look back at the classic video gaming magazines twenty years ago this month. This month it's August 1991 when Sonic the Hedgehog continued to leave a blue blur across the review pages, the CES hit Chicago, the classic computer game, Boulderdash, made its way onto the NES and forthcoming movie licence, Terminator 2, adorned several front covers...

C&VG 117

For the 11th issue of Mean Machines, Julian Rignall reported back from the CES show in Chicago, the biggest electronics show in the world. Among the upcoming games on display were Sega’s upcoming titles, including Toe Jam and Earl, Decap Attack, Donald Duck, Mercs, Phantasy Star III, Shining in the Darkness, Streets of Rage and Golden Axe II. A pretty darn good selection of games for Sega. Topping the charts this month were Shadow Dancer on the Mega Drive, Super Marioland on the Gameboy, Nintendo Cup on the NES and Mickey Mouse on the Master System.

EA’s Hockey arrived on UK shores for the Mega Drive and, following in their John Madden success, the game came away with high praise. “Programmers Park Place have done it again,” explained Julian, “and Ice is to that violent high-speed sport what John Madden is to American Football… The action is fast and furious, and it’s packed with subtle and not-very-subtle-at-all touches… another superlative sports simulation from EA, and ranks as an utterly essential purchase.”

The Commodore 64 classic, Boudlerdash, made its belated appearance on the NES, coming away with an impressive haul of 92%. Rich commented that “Boulderdash was never a game to impress graphically, but Data East have spruced up the original with more variety in the dackdrops and better sprites. Combine this with the classic playability of the older 8-bit versions and we’ve got an extremely impressive title.”

In a special lookback to pre-Mean Machines days, the Master System platform game, Psycho Fox, is given the ‘Classic Game’ treatment with 90%. “Sporting a weird storyline and even weirder graphics, Psycho Fox is one weird game,” stated Julian, “but it’s challenging, playable and very addictive too. Easily one of the best platform games available on the Master System, and is a vital addition to any self-respecting player’s collection.”

Kabuki on the NES also gained a 90% rating and ‘Mega Game’ status. “Kabuki’s quite a novel game,” explained Rich. “Well, have you ever seen a game where the main character dispatches his foes by lashing out at them with his massive hair-do?”

MartianDreams
Martian Dreams review - ACE

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Sega Power 21

It was a special Terminator 2 front page special in ACE issue 47 as they looked at the film and an in-depth preview of the upcoming game from Ocean Software. ACE also reported back from the CES show on the latest happenings and forthcoming titles in the world of gaming. Main headline news was the break up of Sony and Nintendo over the proposed CD-Super Famicom and the imminent release of the Philips CD-I.

There was blue fever running through the industry as the effects of Sonic the Hedgehog were still being felt as further reviews of the spiky mammal emerged. Receiving another praising, Sonic added an ‘ACE Trailblazer’ accolade to its ever growing list of awards with a 925 rating. “In its attempt to create a game that would do for the MegaDrive what Mario has done for Nintendo,” Gary Whitta commented, “Sega deserves credit for not coming up with just another uninspired clone, but a game that’s genuinely original in its approach to the platform genre and still immense fun to play.”

Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat also flew in on the PC to pick up a ‘Trailblazer’ with a rating of 900. “Definitely NOT for boy racers who can’t handle more than up-down-left-right-fire,” explained Gary, “but if you seek a more challenging and longer-lasting experience, you can’t go wrong.”

Origin’s latest worlds of Ultima release, Martian Dreams proved to be another RPG hit on the PC with a 928 rating from Steve Cooke. “Definitely one of the better RPG scenarios of recent years and the message is clear – this is one tall story that’ll have you over the moon in more ways than one.”

Boulderdash
Boulderdash NES review - Mean Machines

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ST Action 40

Over on the 16-bit computers, Amiga Action dished out a slew of accolades with its 23rd issue. Granted, many were for the Super League Accolade Recommended rating of 75%-84%, but there was an impressive handful of Super League Accolade rated games of 85% or over.

Gaining an impressively high rating of 93% out of the reviewer, Psygnosis’ shoot-em-up Amnios easily lifted a Super League Accolade. “the multi-direction scrolling is smooth and fast. Even with the screen chock-a-block with moving sprites the game doesn’t slow down. On top of this the gameplay is superb… Put simply, Amnios is the best shoot’em-up that has been released for a long time.”

P. P. Hammer from Demonware received an 88% overall score for its addictive little platform title. “Straight down to facts,” the reviewer declared, “the sound isn’t brilliant…. The graphics are better and have some nice touches. So why do I keep coming back to have just one more go, and another, and another and so on? Basically the game has a certain something that makes it so addictive.” Other impressive Super League Games included Manchester United Europe (87%), Deuteros (87%), Toki (86%), Prehistorik (85%), Proflight (85%) and R.B.I. Two Baseball (85%).

Amiga Action 23 - PP Hammer
PP Hammer

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Crash 91

In the land of the 8-bit computers, the ‘New Look’ Crash also took a look at the upcoming Terminator 2 game, this time on the humble Spectrum. The Crash team (Richard, Nicko and Mark), along with former staffers, Stuart Wynne, Robin Hogg and Phil King, all came up with the definitive top 100 Speccy games ever produced. With the first part this month (100 to 76), notable entries included 3-D Deathchase (no. 98), Manic Miner (no. 95), Laser Squad (no. 90) and Gauntlet (no. 83). In the reviews pages, only Prince of Persia on the SAM Coupe made any impression with a fantastic 96%. “Prince of Persia is undoubtably the best SAM Coupe game yet,” stated Nick Roberts, “its combination of superb gameplay and great graphical content really shows off what the SAM can do!”

Landing a ‘Zzap! Gold Medal’ award in issue 76 of Zzap!64 was Turbo Charge from System 3. The third person arcade racer garnered a top rating of 96% from Stuart Wynne. “The racing shoot-‘em-up format has never been faster or more graphically stunning,” enthused Stuart. “Disk and cart versions, in particular, benefit from great intermission screens, but even with a C2N this eye-burning speed merchant is unmissable.”

Amstrad Action offerd a double dose of Master Games with issue 71. First up was Hero Quest with a 91% from Frank O’Connor. “In many ways it’s better thatn the board game, commented Frank. “it’s more accessible, much faster and at the end of the day, much more fun. One of the best games of the year and THE board game conversion.” Turrican 2 went even better with a 95% as Frank stated that the run-‘n’-gun platformer “is a quantum leap in game design on the Amstrad. Rainbow Arts have pulled out all the stops, used real imagination and made Turrican 2 the single best shoot-em-up on the Amstrad ever.”

Zzap64 76 TurboCharge
Turbo Charge - Zzap64


Notes:
• C&VG and Mean Machines were published byEMAP.   Scans were kindly provided by Mort atThe Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Zero was published byDennis Publishing.  Scans were kindly provided by Mort atThe Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Amiga Power was published byFuture Publishing .  Scans were kindly provided by Amiga Magazine Rack.
• Amiga Action was published by Europress Interactive.  Scans were kindly provided by Amiga Magazine Rack.
• ST Action was published by Europress Interactive.  Scans were kindly provided by Andynick atMagazines From the Past.
• Games-X was published by Europress Interactive.  Scans were kindly provided by Andynick atMagazines From the Past.
• Sega Power was published byFuture Publishing .  Scans were kindly provided by Andynick atMagazines From the Past.
• Crash and Zzap!64 were published by Newsfield Publication .   Scans were kindly provided by Mort at The Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Amstrad Action was published byFuture Publishing.  Scans were kindly provided by mipeha.

This is an Out-of-Print Archive feature presented by Nreive ofRetroaction magazinefame.  Special thanks to Andynick atMagazines From the Pastfor providing info and cover scans for several magazines this month.

 
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