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 Back in Time : July 1992

'Back in Time' is a monthly feature where we look back at the classic video gaming magazines twenty years ago this month. This month saw the release of the hugely anticipated SNES arcade conversion of Street Fighter II, RoboCod swam over to the 8-bit computer of the C64, the Amiga returned to Monkey Island, Sensible Soccer went out for its second half of critical aclaim and Nintendo gamers had one more magazine dedicated to their machines...

CVG128

For Mean Machines issue 22 Julian ‘Jaz’ Rignall crossed the pond to get the latest happenings and news from the CES show in Chicago. The most anticipated game on preview was Sonic the Hedgehog II, although grabbing some shots of the game in action proved quite difficult when the bouncers ushered Jaz away from the screens, leaving only blurry and distant shots. Other titles on preview included Street Fighter II, which just happened to be Mean Machines' main review…

…Right here. Yup, Street Fighter II had arrived on the SNES with great hype and anticipation and with an overall rating of 98%, it seemed the hype for the one-on-one arcade beat-‘em-up was justified. “It’s ALL here!,” exclaimed Richard Leadbetter. “We’ve got the Street Fighter II coin-op in the office, and the only tiny differences seem to be in the animation and the speed of the game – the amazing playability of the original remains intact. I would go as far as to say that Street Fighter II is even more playable and exciting than the classic Super Mario World – making it one of the greatest video games in the world today!” Strong claims indeed.

Codemasters’ top down minitaure car racer, Micro Machines, and one of the NES’ best games ever, scored a top three finish with an overall rating of 93%. “What sets Micro Machines apart is the superb playability,” commented Radion Automatic. “The vehicles handle smoothly and realistically, sometimes with a frenzied turn of pace. One of the best NES releases in months.”

Super Aleste (aka Space Megaforce) blasted its way onto the SNES via importers and shot down a massive 93% rating. “If you’d asked me this morning what my favourite up-the-screen blaster was on my system, I’d have answered Gunhed on the PC Engine,” explained Julian. “Now that’s changed ‘cos I’ve played Super Aleste – the fastest, loudest, best looking, most maniacal blastathon yet seen!”

Other ‘Mega Games’ featured in this month’s Mean Machines included Dragon’s Fury (Mega Drive, 92%), Top Gear (SNES, 92%) and Prince of Persia (Master System, 92%). Just missing out on accolades were Olympic Gold (Master System, 81%), Talmit’s Adventure (aka Marvel Land) (Mega Drive, 84%) and Tiny Toon Adventures (NES, 86%)


Micro Machines
Micro Machines review

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Amstrad Action 92

The ELSPA charts in Commodore Format issue 22 showed that the Commodore 64 scene was dominated by releases, budget games and compilations. Rainbow Islands, Golden Axe and Championship 3D Snooker (all at £3.99 each) topped the charts. The highest positioned new full release was Ocean’s WWF Wrestlemania at number 13.

RoboCod graced the front cover, a demo of the game adorned the cover tape and the issue’s main review focused on the game. The 16-bit designed platform adventure made its way onto the humble C64 with a good response from James Leach who gave it a corking rating of 90%. “At this point, you might wonder if there is anything at all about RoboCod which is below par,” commented James. “The answer is, er, not really. I’m pretty sure that it’s the biggest game ever to be seen on the 64.”

Not to be outdone by the full price hijinks of RoboCod, Code Masters’ very own DJ Puff’s Volcanic Caper very nearly matches the former game’s rating with its own 88%. “Yes, DJ Puff’s Volcanic Caper is really jolly good,” stated James. “It takes cuteness into new realms. The characters are as good as anything you’ll sdee on the 64.”

In ‘Old Coders Never Die… The Only Fade Away’, Gary Penn looked at what happened to the developers that made the C64 the most popular 8-bit computer in the world. While some programmers did indeed seemed to have disapeared (Steve Brown, Jeff Minter) others moved onto the next generation of computers and consoles (Andrew Braybrook, Geoff Crammond, Rob Hubbard).

Take a maze like grid, fill it with computer bugs that you have to blast away with your well placed bombs and you have Bug Bomber, a single or multiple player action game that received an 86% rating from James. “Bug Bomber is a super game,” stated James. “It’s quick, lively and although all the sprites are small, they’re well animated and move around nicely. Tricky indeed, but, as I say, it is really the most excellent fun. And the absolute best thing is that you can play against up to three other players.”

With the release of Euro Football Champ – which finished with a slightly disapointing 76% - CF looked back at the best football games on the C64. Topping the Premiere League of football games was MicroProse Soccer, followed by Emlyn Hughes International Soccer and Kick Off II. The higest positioned management game was Tracksuit Manager at number 5.

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James_Pond_2_RoboCod

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The One

Amiga Power issue 15 time and touching down into the top spot of the Amiga games chart was John Madden American Football, with The Manager and Epic following on in second and third place respectively.

For the 91% rated review of Wizkid, Mark Ramshaw spoke to the Wizkid himself. “The most refreshing thing in years,” Mark summed up in the ‘Bottom Line’ box, “and so individual it’s as much fun to play as it obviously was to write. If you don’t buy Wizkid, your life really will be a bit poorer.”

Stuart Campbell awarded Sensible Soccer 93%, the joint highest rating given away in any Amiga Power issue. “This is true instinctive control, this is true perfect playability, this is true football simulation as well as being a fabulous game,” commented Stuart on the game. “The scale of the graphics actually gives you a chance to use tactics, planning and skill. And if there’s one thing that makes Sensible Soccer stand out from the crowd (and especially from KO2), it’s that – from the first kick to the end of the penalty shoot-out, this feels like real football, not like some crazy pinball game or a dull slog up and down the middle of the parl.”

LeChuck was back for some revenge and a 90% rating in Lucasfilm Games’ classic adventure Secret of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. “Monkey Island 2 is, by and large, a sheer delight to play,” wrote Gary Penn. “Certainly, compared to a great many other Amiga releases, similar adventures in particular, Monkey Island 2 is quite excellent – a better game than its illustrious predecessor even.”

For the ‘If I’d Known Then…’ feature, the Amiga Power crew spoke to Jeff Minter about some of his Amiga games. Some of the highlights included Llamatron (Jeff’s ultimate homage to Eugene Jarvis’ Robotron), Super Gridrunner (a modern take on the classic Centipede) and Revenge of the Mutant Camels (sequel to the 1983 cult hit).

Other worthy games that made it into the ‘Games of the Month’ section included Jaguar XJ220 (85%), Hook (84%), Dune (81%), Hostile Breed (82%), Lure of the Temptress (88%) and Risky Woods (82%).

The Secret of Monkey Island 2

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Sega Pro 9

Sega Force issue 7 and first up for review was Prince of Persia on the Master System. The MS port of the classic platform adventure proved that there was life in the 8-bit machine yet with a massive 94% rating. “For a Master System title it’s a stunner,” commented Adrian Pitt. “The backdrops and sprites are immensley detailed. Puzzles are in abundance, tricks and traps keep you well and truly on your toes. Mega Drive owners will buy MS Powerbase Converters just to play this!”

In the Cart Charts, Desert Strike topped the Mega Drive list followed by World Cup Italia ’90 and EA Hockey, Sonic the Hedgehog raced to the Game Gear number 1 spot with Mickey Mouse and Super Monaco Grand Prix trailing behind, while Asterix, Sonic and Enduro Racer were the top three on the Master System.

It was time for some wacky platform action with Taz-Mania on the Mega Drive, which duly received a ‘Sega Force Smash’ accolade and a 96% rating. “Taz-Mania’s a stormer,” raved Mat. “From the moment you flip on that ‘on’ switch, the thrills ooze out of your console. It’s so blindingly addictive, you’ll soon leave that Sonic cart on the shelf, gathering dust.”

Following on in the wacky platforming mayhem theme was Chuck Rock on the Mega Drive with an equally impressive 93% rating. “Playing Chuck’s an experience and a half,” admitted Paul Mellerick. “It moves incrediblely well, and with use of various shaped rocks, lifts itself high above the crowd. It looks like Sonic’s crown’s slipping fast! Hurry up with Sonic II, Sega!”

‘Sega Force Smash’ accolades also went to Olympic Gold (MS, 94%. MS 82%) and Corporation (MD, 91%), while near hits included Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (GG, 88%),

Batman (Mega Drive, 86%), The Terminator (Mega Drive, 84%), European Club Soccer (Mega Drive, 81%) and Zero Wing (Mega Drive, 86%).

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TOTAL 7

After being advertised in the last Newsfield edition of Zzap!64 back in December 1991, Europress Impact’s long awaited Nintendo magazine was now finally here. Renamed from its original title of Nintendo Force, N-Force covered all the Nintendo formats from the NES to the Game Boy to the SNES. Lucy Hickman led the team of new Nintendo enthusiasts, which included Nick Roberts, Doug Green, Chris Rice and Carl Rowley.

Kicking of the reviews section was Street Fighter II, which was one of a handful of games reviewed by Marshal M. Rosenthal (the US correspondent) that wasn’t given any ratings what so ever. “Streetfighter 2 is a nice piece of work with well defined graphics, strongly drawn backgrounds with sharp edges and good definition,” commented Marshal. Other unrated reviews included Krusty’s Super Fun House (SNES) and Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES).

In ‘Critical Acclaim’, N-Force spoke to Acclaim’s Larry Sparks and looked at why he believes the deleopment company will become a force in the land. With the likes of WWF Wrestlemania, Terminator 2, Wizards and Warriors III and more in the pipleline, he wasn’t too far from the truth.

The popular dual stick arcade hit, Smash TV, arrived onto the SNES with a ‘Super’ prefix. Receiving an ‘N-Force Knockout’ accolade with 91%, Super Smash TV proved to be a smash hit with the N-Forcers. “This is one hell of an arcade conversion,” enthused Nick Roberts. “All the looks, all the sounds and all the playability of the coin-op in your own home.”

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja was next to receive the ‘N-Force Knockout’ treatment with a massive 95%. “With The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Konami have produced a winner,” stated Gunns. “Oodles of character, excellent graphics, marvelous ditties to get your toes tapping throughout, more depth than the Grand Canyon but, most striking of all, is the fantastic humour – it kept me tittering for hours.”

Konami were at it again with the brilliant blasting action of Contra Spirits, which racked up a 92% rating. “The game starts with a pretty standard horizontally-scrolling blast-‘em-up with a handful of power-ups and lots of gonzos,” commented Nick. “After disposing of the BIG end-of-level git, you’re thrown into a 3-D extravaganza, with the whole landscape rotationg around the main characters… Simply the best game of its kind I’ve ever seen.”

The ‘N-Force Knockouts’ didn’t end there though as further accolades were dished out to The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (NES, 90%), Tiny Toon Adventures: Bab’s Big Break (GB, 90%) and WWF Wrestlemania (SNES, 90%). Just missing out on the ‘Knockout’ action were Beetlejuice (GB, 86%), Battletoads (GB, 86%), Dragon’s Lair (NES, 86%), Prince of Persia (GB, 87%), Trog (NES, 88%), Castlevania IV (SNES, 88%) and Lemmings (SNES, 88%).

LofMN
Legend of the Mystical Ninja


Notes:
• CVG, Mean Machines, The One were published by EMAP.   Scans were kindly provided by Mort at The Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Zero was published byDennis Publishing. Mort at The Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Commodore Format and Your Sinclair was published by Future Publishing .  Scans were kindly provided by Mort at The 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.
• N-Force and Sega Force  were  published by Europress Impact.  Scans were kindly provided by Mort at The Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Sega Pro was published by Paragon Publishing.  Scans were kindly provided by Andynick at Magazines From the Past.
• MegaTech was published by EMAP. Scans were kindly provided by Andynick at Magazines From the Past.
• GB Action was published by Europress Interactive.  Scans were kindly provided by Andynick at Magazines From the Past.
• 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 at Magazines From the Past for providing info and cover scans for several magazines this month.

 
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