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Capcom - For SNES
Demon's Crest
Action-Platformer | 16 MB
Release: November 1994
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Fans of Ghouls 'N' Ghosts ought to get a kick out of this one. The newest side-scrolling adventure game from Capcom is called Demon's Crest, reportedly a continuation of Gargoyle's Quest on the Game Boy. Play as a malicious gargoyle named Firebrand and fight on through seven impressive stages. Crest's spritework and character designs are splendid to look at, but the true winner here is its gameplay. Harkening back to their classic arcade side-scrollers of yore, Capcom revitalizes an old formula with brand-new play mechanics such as ledge-clinging and a neat hovering ability to hit a total homerun. Not a speck of slowdown to be seen, either! Reserved for mature players due to the gore factor.


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Rare - For SNES
DK Country
Action-Platformer | 32 MB
Release: November 1994
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Hold onto your bananas! Ever since our first look at Donkey Kong Country at CES this summer, we knew this game was shaping up to be a special one. Upon its official release on November 21st, players across the nation will go ga-ga for this ape. Created on supercomputers by some of the industry's finest wizards, this return of DK features fully rendered graphics and outstanding color compositions. Over 100 levels are packed in this sucker, and each one better than the last. Tons of collectables, hidden areas, and mini games will keep you coming back to discover more. Superb play control with lots of variety, CD-like sounds, and best of all - no need for extra hardware! Play it Loud, Nintendo!


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Virgin - For SNES
The Lion King
Action-Platformer | 16 MB
Release: October 1994
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It's time to take your place in the Circle of Life. Brought to you by Virgin Games, The Lion King is, as one would guess, based on the blockbuster Disney film. Play as the young lion cub, Simba, in a swathe of levels which take players through the full story of the theatrical release. The hand-drawn animation showcased within this cart is as stellar as Aladdin. Just check out the stampede level, oh goodness! Disney licensed games have been on a hot streak lately, and Lion King follows suit in the gameplay arena. Platforming and game control is programmed well, although our team noticed a stark difficulty spike early on. Good luck on that ostrich level, sheesh. Worth renting for the tots.


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SEGA - For GENESIS
Shining Force II
Strategy Role-Playing | 16 MB
Release: October 1994
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Marketing for this much-awaited sequel claims, "Evil shines darkest before dawn." We have no clue what this means, but we're huge fans of Sega's brilliant Shining Force series anyway! II improves upon a number of facets of the original. Start from the bottom and build experience through tactical warfare, recruiting a customizable 25-30-person army in the process. From mages to knights, each of the named characters are entertaining and imaginative, although the overarching, lackluster story does run at a snail's pace. Stellar battle scenes, too! Force II is a major toughie, however, so we would restrict our recommendation to experienced players.


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SEGA - For GENESIS
Sonic & Knuckles
Action-Platformer | 16 MB
Release: October 1994
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Sonic & Knuckles is the heavily marketed Genesis release hitting department stores as we type these words. For all intents and purposes, this could be termed "Sonic 3.5" and it would remain just as accurate. The cart itself contains seven additional, tougher levels to complete the story of Sonic 3, although on first glance this package merely appears a minor expansion to 3. More interestingly, you can also unlock the full potential of S&K by trying out Sega's all-new Lock-On technology, a fancy term for plugging either Sonic 3 or Sonic 2 into the top of this cart to expand on those two games with Knuckles-infused action! That alone deserves commendation.


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Sony - For GENESIS
Mickey Mania
Action-Platformer | 16 MB
Release: November 1994
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Take a trip through Disney history courtesy of Sony Imagesoft in Mickey Mania. Available on both Sega Genesis and the Sega CD, Mania exhibits a totally unexpected rockstar experience in what appeared at first a mundane side-scroller. Play through seven legendary Mickey cartoons with Sony's top-notch graphical touches. Forget those old Mickey Mouse games, Mania blows them out of the water. Featuring incredible animation taken straight from the TV screen in partnership with a fantastic soundtrack and voice clips, fans of the Mouse cannot afford to miss this one. Not to mention, pin-point accurate controls. Players of all ages ought to give it a go!


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Namco - For SEGA-CD
StarBlade
3-D Shooter | CD
Release: October 1994
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Technosoft and Namco's StarBlade is now available for the Sega-CD. This title is an excellent port of the titular arcade cab from '91, complete with eye-popping polygonal graphics and a first-person cockpit perspective. The story here is of no importance, simply look out for deadly foes and fire at them before they blast you! No need to worry about steering your ship. Your job is to man the blaster cannons. Aim with the directional buttons and fire, fire, fire! Choice sounds on this disc: CD-quality explosions, radio chatter, etc. StarBlade is a ton of fun for an afternoon, but there is little depth to merit a purchase instead of a rental. Impressive, for '91 anyway.


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Panasonic - For 3DO
Guardian War
Role-Playing | CD
Release: November 1994
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3DO owners have been clamoring for a halfway decent RPG since the console's launch date last year. The folks over at Microcabin have sought to remedy this issue with Guardian War, a quirky tactics game developed from the ground-up for 3DO. Panasonic agreed to publish this title in the U.S. - and we are thrilled they did! In this 70+ hour adventure, you control a golem tasked with saving the Powers Kingdom. Echoing Shining Force, you must use a strategic mind to conquer battle areas. Use spells and even equip different bodies to outsmart the opponent. These 3-D cinemas and battle animations are like nothing you've seen before. Killer music, too. Worth it.


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Capcom - For 3DO
Super SF2 Turbo
Fighter | CD
Release: November 1994
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Street fighting finally crawled its way to the world of 32-Bit, and it is about dang time! Capcom's translation of the hottest SF2 iteration, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, is undoubtedly the absolute best version for home consoles. This disc utilizes the superior processing power of the 3DO to ensure lightning-quick gameplay and far faster access times than any fighter for Sega-CD. The graphical display is arcade-perfect in all regards without a single compromise made to downgrade the presentation. Using the six-button controller (Sold separately, of course! -Jet) is a must. Players who risk trying this one with the dreadful squishiness of the stock joypad will be left in tears.


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Konami - For Game Boy
Contra: Alien Wars
Action-Shooter | 1 MB
Release: October 1994
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Contra: The Alien Wars is the sparkling new Game Boy entry in Konami's action-packed shooter lineage. Taking direct inspiration from the same-named SNES cart (Can you say, carbon copy? -Jet), it's the duty of the player to guide your elite warrior through the dangerous city streets, taking out scores of alien baddies, mini-bosses, and giant mechanized monstrosities. This downsizing of a console classic contains all the fun of the original, with our main gripe being the stark color loss. The Super Game Boy adds some life to it, but you may as well play the original at that point. In our view, Alien Wars is a fine pickup.


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SEGA - For Game Gear
Sonic: Triple Trouble
Action-Platformer | 2 MB
Release: November 1994
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Joining Sonic & Knuckles on store shelves this holiday season is the newest in an increasingly long line of Game Gear Sonic titles. Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble features the return of the famous blue hedgehog alongside everyone's favorite flying fox. The evil Dr. Robotnik is up to no good again, twisting the mind of Knuckles against our heroes! Traverse a plethora of new zones - from snow-capped mountains to underwater factories - and try your best to collect the secret emeralds. Sega brought excellent graphics and sounds as usual for their flagship franchise, but little separates this from the previous entries. A fun one, nonetheless!


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Taito - For Game Gear
Bubble Bobble
Puzzle-Platformer | 2 MB
Release: November 1994
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A classic Taito puzzle game returns with Bubble Bobble for Game Gear. Once limited exclusively to the NES, this puzzler is now available for Sega players to enjoy on-the-go. Battle through an abundance of levels, destroying silly enemies and collecting various foodstuffs to boost your points. Despite its relative simplicity, at least compared to the more advanced assortment of games in our 16-Bit era, we believe Puzzle Bobble will strike a chord with all audiences due to its arcade-like addictive nature. Taito truly harkens back to a time when gameplay was prioritized over graphics. A top-notch choice for portable fans.


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