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 Back in Time : September 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 September 1991 and the Super Famicom was beginning to make head roads on the gaming scene with titles such as U.N. Squadron, while two classics, Streets of Rage and Road Rash, hit the Mega Drive and God sims were big time with the excellent Mega lo Mania dominating the Amiga, and in the 8-bit scene, we said our farewells to one of the longest running C64 magazines...

C&VG 118

Issue 12 of Mean Machines was full to the brim with quality console gaming action, with U.N. Squadron taking the lead with the cover review on the Super Famicom. Released in Japan as Area 88, the aerial blaster was awarded a ‘Mega Game’ with a rating of 94%. “It’s not a true arcade conversion,” explained Julian Rignall, “instead it incorporates levels from the coin-op and adds a whole load of new features, making this a much bigger and more varied game.” Sega’s Mega Drive was next up to receive the ‘Mega Game’ plaudits as Road Rash was given an overall rating of 91%. “Road Rash combines all the thrills of high-speed racing with a fair dose of extreme violence,” stated Richard Leadbetter, “just my sort of game… definitely the most action-packed and exciting offering to date.”

The space quest simulation game, Starflight, landed on the Mega Drive and surprised everyone by taking an impressive 94% rating. “Normally, I wouldn’t touch space trading games like this with a specially disinfected ten-foot barge pole,” commented Julian. “But Starflight isn’t a normal space trading game. It’s got loads in it, with alien races to meet, a zillion planets to explore and loads of hostiles to blow up... I can’t think of many Megadrive games better than this.”

Other 90% rated ‘Mega Games’ included Spider-Man vs the Kingpin on the Mega Drive, Streets of Rage, also on the Mega Drive, Choplifter II on the Game Boy and R-Type on the Super Famicom. As predicted, Sonic the Hedgehog raced to the top of the Mega Drive charts, while Super Mario Land landed top of the Game Boy chart, World Cup won first place on the NES and Spider-Man clung onto the Master System top spot.

UN Squadron review


ACE 48

Raze issue 11 was also full of its own accolade games, with the ‘Rave’ award given to a good handful of games. The famous God sim, Populous, mad its way onto the humble Master System and managed a respectable 90%. “The game has been tweaked somewhat to improve the gameplay on the Master System,” explained Les Ellis. “With all these additions and improvements, this classic game has taken a step closer to immortality with this excellent conversion.”

Shadow Warrior (aka Ninja Gaiden) slashed onto the NES with a 90% rating. “What it all boils down to is some dangerously addictive gameplay, which surprised me because the horizontal ninja format is a little tired,” stated Julian Boardman. “However, Shadow Warrior’s combination of magic, timing and athleticism make it one hell of play. Add to that the quality graphics and superb cinematic screens between levels, not to mention the splendid sound, and it becomes clear what a quality game this is.”

It was Raze’s turn to playtest Sega’s newest mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. The blue hog managed to add to his pile of accolades received so far with a might fine rating of 95%. “Possibly the most playable game yet on the Mega Drive,” stated Julian, “and we don’t have to put up with any more Nintendo owners going on about that pesky plumber all the time. Now we’ve got our own breed of hero to wave in their faces, and this guy deserves the adoration.”

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants became animated on the NES in the first of  many games from the hit television series. Les Ellis the game 94% and stated “the game captures all the superb elements of the cartoon series… Playing the game is like watching the programme; funny, clever, thought provoking, and above all entertaining. The structure of the game is superb. From the outset, you are intrigued as to Bart’s situation, and how you can help him.”

Bart vs The Space Mutants


Amiga Power 5

Amiga Power issue 5's cover disk featured a playable demo of Psygnosis’ Barbarian II (not the Palace hack ‘n’ slash game) and a handful of PD games, including Amigoids and Metagalactic Llamas. Topping the Amiga charts this month was F-15 Strike Eagle II, which jumped up from number seven, followed by Full Contact and Manchester United Europe.

Game of the Month pick was undoubtedly Mega lo Mania from Sensible Software, which was reviewed by Mark Ramshaw over four pages and given 90%. There was also a mini-interview with the Sensible lads within the pages. “Mega lo Mania has to be congratulated for being the most accessible strategy game yet,” stated Mark. “Even if you’ve only ever had eyes for arcade blasts, once you’ve played this for 15 minutes you’ll be hooked.”

Next up, AH-37 Thunderhawk flew in to pick up an 86% rating from Jonathan Davies. “Thunderhawk really is a jolly impressive game, and one that continues to be fun to play even once you’ve explored all its possibilities over and over again. The Simpsons: Bart vs the Space Mutants also managed to garner reasonable ratings on the Amiga with 83%. “A hot, pure and simple,” explained Matt Bielby. “A few false starts, some slippage and the odd weak licence has meant a disappointing Amiga showing from Ocean this year – here’s where it all comes right.”

In ‘Peter Molyneus, what have you started?’, Matt Bielby spoke to, erm, Peter Molyneux about his upcoming sequel to the most famous God sim of all time and asked whether it would be different enough from the Populous clones to make an impact. In ‘Second Opinion’, Sean Kelly from Gremlin takes a critical eye over some of his more memorable Amiga gaming experiences. Games that got the nod of approval included The Amazing Spiderman, TV Sports: Football, Populous and, of course, Gremlin’s very own Switchblade 2.

DMA Design took part in the ‘If We’d Known Then…’ feature, looking at their past (the hugely successful Lemmings, Menace, Blood Money and cancelled game Gore) and foretelling their future games. More Lemmings games then, as well as Walker (working title for a shoot-‘em-up) and a 3D gun game called Hired Gun...

Amiga Power 5



It was the 115th issue of Sinclair User and despite the page count being obviously less than a century of issues previously, there was still plenty of Spectrum action. Hitting the top of the full price charts was Hero Quest from Gremlin, while the budget charts’ top spot was taken by Bubble Bobble from the Hit Squad. Prince of Persia on the SAM Coupe impressed with a 94% rating and an ‘SU Gold’ award. “This will be the game that all Sam software will be judged by,” assured Steve Keen. US Gold’s Spectrum conversion of the arcade game, Alien Storm, met with an ‘SU Silver’ award and 87%. Also gaining an ‘SU Silver’ award was Manchester United Europe with 85%.

“Britain’s longest-running Commodore 64 magazine” was no more as issue 83 of YC turned out to be the last issue published. The wacky, irrelevant, and sometimes a little childish, magazine had become one of the first victims of the early nineties flux of magazine. In the final issue, YC included one of the most famous football management games of all time on the covertape: the very first edition of Football Manager. Other games included Goldtrain and Tank Battlezone. In the ‘Land of Make Believe’ article, Jeff Davy looked at the return of Virtual Reality, while Code Masters were profiled in ‘Cheapsters For Your Love’.

The first ‘YC Fun One’ award of the issue went to the well deserved conversion of the classic 16-bit futuristic sports game, Speedball 2. Given 90%, Richard Taylor commented that any gamer should take “a look at this, even if like me, you don’t like this kind of game. It really is bloody addictive stuff.”

Taking centre stage – and centre page spread – Terminator 2 was given the ‘YC Fun One’ treatment as Jeff looked at the film, the game, the comic books and the music. “This clocks in as one of the best ‘game-of-the-film’ adaptations on the C64,” commented Jeff as he rated the game 94%. “The action is fast and furious, it moves fast, the comic-strip-esque graphics fit the game very well and the sound is consistent throughout.”

Action Pack 6 time with Amstrad Action issue 71's covertape, which included the full game of Heavy on the Magick, Lightforce and demo of Robozone. No movement in the Amstrad CPC charts as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and Panic Dizzy held on to the Full-Price and Budget chart top spots respectively. The only ‘AA Rave’ game with 85% went to Builderland which was described by Frank O’Connor as a “brilliant Lemmings variant with some really original features.”


• C&VG, Mean Machines and Sinclair User 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.
• Raze was published by Newsfield Publication .    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.
• Sega Power was published byFuture Publishing .  Scans were kindly provided by Andynick atMagazines From the Past.
• Amstrad Action was published byFuture Publishing.  Scans were kindly provided by mipeha.
• YC was published by Alphavite .    Scans were kindly provided by Mort atThe Def Guide to Zzap!64.

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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