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Acclaim - For SNES
Mortal Kombat II
Fighter | 24 MB
Release: September 1994
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One year after the legendary Mortal Monday, on an otherwise tame September day, Mortal II slammed down on the shelves. Ladies and gentlemen, this is it. Forget all other version of this game and pick up the Super NES translation. It is a perfect rip of the arcade cab. From the silky-smooth character movements, to the colorful graphical details, to the wide assortment of fatalities and combos, MK II on SNES captured it all in splendid fashion. Seven new fighters are here with loads of new moves and violent finishers to boot. Beneath a deceptive surface of edgy humor and gore, this fighter has excellent playability. A genuine improvement from the original in every way.


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Square - For SNES
Final Fantasy III
Role-Playing | 24 MB
Release: October 1994
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Behold, the king of role-playing games! Long, long ago, a legendary war left the world a total wasteland bare of all magic. 100 years have passed, and an evil force seeks to revive spells to enslave our world. Square's much-anticipated Final Fantasy III is an unambiguous home run, securely blowing all other RPGs away. FF III features a story above and beyond any other on console; intricately woven, emotional, and full of twists and turns. The interface is a marked step-up from FF II, the battles are outrageously exhilarating, and the photo-real sprite work is incredible. Millions of copies have already sold in Japan, and for good reason! Get lost in the world of Final Fantasy.


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Interplay - For SNES
Illusion of Gaia
Action-Adventure | 16 MB
Release: September 1994
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Your father was lost in a heroic expedition to discover ancient relics within the Tower of Babel. It's your duty to adventure forth and find him - oh and save the world from the deadly Chaos Comet! Illusion of Gaia is a welcome treat for action-adventure game fans anxiously awaiting the next Zelda. This epic successor to Soul Blazer propels you into the world to search for clues, decrypt puzzles, and explore enormous lands. Gaia's graphics are bright and stunning, and its gameplay will have you hooked in no time. Our only gripe is with the super slow introductory sequence, but once you get started the pace notably improves and the challenge comes into view.


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Acclaim - For GENESIS
Mortal Kombat II
Fighter | 24 MB
Release: September 1994
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Time for Sega players to thrash opponents to a pulp in the Genesis conversion of Mortal Kombat II. Compared to the original, MK II exceeds expectations with an abundance of new combos, all twelve fighters, and some deadly stages. Carnage is sure to ensue as tournament competitors battle their mortal nemeses to the point of fatality! Play control is on-point with the six-button joypad. And yet, this cart feels a touch unfinished. Some colors and background pieces are missing, and the sound is downright crud. Where are the digitized voice effects and announcements? Players with both home consoles are advised to choose the more complete SNES copy for a full-on arcade experience.


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Playmates - For GENESIS
Earthworm Jim
Action-Platformer | 24 MB
Release: October 1994
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The Jim has landed! One of the galaxy's bravest superheroes is... an earthworm?! Indeed, Earthworm Jim from Playmates and Shiny Entertainment is an undeniable pick for ingenious innovation. The Animotion technique from David Perry is downright gorgeous. An abundance of stylized creatures looks right out of a fresh cartoon for the 90s. Ten topsy-turvy levels take Jim from a sprawling, fiery underworld to a seriously warped laboratory. Whip enemies up close or use the eight-directional blaster to take 'em out from a distance. EJ looks fantastic, controls perfectly, and is rife with raunchy humor. Talk about raising the bar for an entire genre of video games! Well done.


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Konami - For GENESIS
Contra Hard Corps
Shooter-Platformer | 16 MB
Release: September 1994
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Contra returns to the gaming landscape with Hard Corps on Genesis! Listen, Konami, we need to have a talk. Our crew loves the pure Contra action you chose to instill in this cart. With four playable characters and power-ups aplenty, we know players will trek through the twelve chaotic stages over and over again. We even commend you for the astounding effects programmed into Hard Corps, including pseudo-3-D scaling and rotation. And yet, did you have to take the name so literally? This game is hard as nails! So many bullets and objects fly at you from all angles, it's easy to get hit and lose a life. Test your skills if you dare, reader, this one epitomizes frustration.


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GameTek - For SEGA-CD
Brutal: Paws
Fighter | CD
Release: September 1994
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Bruce Lee is crossed with the Looney Tunes in GameTek's Brutal: Paws of Fury. Now, this is another fighting game (Wait, hold the groans!), but with several variations to spice things up. From Prince Leon, a royal Kenyan lion, to Foxy Roxy, a vixen with an attitude, the fighters featured in Brutal are all carton animals! Don't let that fact alone rustle your fur, each martial artist brings his or her own storyline and unique animated cutscenes to the forefront. The added fun of learning special moves as you play through the tournament is a swell piece of originality, too. That said, our team found disappointingly poor play control even when accelerating the sluggish brawls in Turbo mode.


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ALG - For 3DO
Johnny Rock
FMV-Shooter | CD
Release: September 1994
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Johnny Rock, a famous nightclub singer, has been murdered! It's up to you to delve into this mess and crack the case wide open. Who Shot Johnny Rock? is a classic FMV shooter from American Laser Games released in arcades several years back. Set in film noir-like rendition of 1930s Chicago, players will investigate the local, criminal underworld to find out who might be the mysterious culprit. Take aim with your powerful Tommy gun (sold separately!) and take out any villains standing in your way. Survival will likely depend on memorization like other such video shooters, but luckily no need to reload here. Overall, we found this interactive experience worth the price of a weekend rental.


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CD - For 3DO
Star Control II
Strategy-RPG | CD
Release: August 1994
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Calling all science fiction fans: Star Control II demands your attention! It is your job to learn how to remove a slave shield placed around our planet by a hostile alien race. Follow a thrilling story chock full of exploration, problem-solving, and some deadly skirmishing. This title features some superb graphical renderings and animations to accompany the engaging gameplay and expectation-defying storyline. Choose from either the standard role-playing mode or a bare-bones melee combat experience, in which one or two players can duke it out in space dogfights. Great CD-quality sound as well, despite some subpar voicework. A surefire recommended purchase for 3DO owners.


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Acclaim - For Game Boy
Mortal Kombat II
Fighter | 2 MB
Release: September 1994
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Mortal Kombat rears its head on the portable scene with the teeny-tiny Game Boy release. As with the console versions, MK II exhibits a marked improvement upon its less-than-perfect predecessor. Its gameplay and play control are kicked up a notch to the point that the game is serviceable! Character animation is fluid, and fatalities are a cinch to pull off. On the downside, due to a modification to fall speed, jump-kicks can no longer result in crazy combos. This iteration also suffers from familiar Game Boy issues including lack of color, absent 2-player mode, and unpleasant music. No Super Game Boy bonuses here, either. Surprisingly, it is still the best portable GB fighter.


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Capcom - For Game Boy
Mega Man V
Action-Platformer | 4 MB
Release: October 1994
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Capcom hits us once more with a new entry into the Blue Bomber saga with Mega Man V on Game Boy. By our count, this is the twelfth mainline game in this franchise and the formula remains about identical to the beginning. This time around, an armada of nasties called the Star Droids are wrecking destruction. Our Mega hero must save the day! Our titular hero uses a new contraption developed by Dr. Light called the Mega Arm, a weapon to reel bosses and smash them into submission. MMV plays precisely as the previous games do: Traverse a stage, defeat a boss, gain their power, rinse and repeat. It's a fine adventure, but, alas, a rehash of an old tune. Try it on the Super Game Boy!


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Acclaim - For Game Gear
Mortal Kombat II
Fighter | 4 MB
Release: September 1994
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Featuring all the blood and gore from the home systems, Mortal Kombat II on Game Gear is a fine treat for fighting game fans to enjoy on-the-go. As in the Game Boy version, Rayden, Baraka, King Lao, and Cage are absent, and those eight playable fighters have slightly limited movesets. Playability is on-par with decent controls for the three-button movement scheme. Despite huge sprites and a pounding soundtrack, MK II on the Sega portable is hindered by animation skips and an arduous combo mechanic. Be sure to grab a friend with their own Game Gear brick, as two-player mode requires a second system. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy playing against the computer!


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