ISSUES 7, plus three issues of the spin-off Asylum

JUN 1993 TO JAN 1994

Josh Lesnick (aka MJ Lesnick)

Andy Britton, Noah Dziobecki, Matt Fullelove, Joon Yee Chuah, Jess Ragan, Todd Lintner, Jeremy Statz, Ara Shirinian, David Lopez, Eric Longdin, Russ Perry, Jr., Chris Johnston, Pat Reynolds, Sean Pettibone

Legend of the Mystical Ninja
Super NES
Review by Josh Lesnick

Everybody enjoys great Konami beat 'em ups. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, X-Men... all games where tremendous fun is found within wrecking havoc. Yeah, Konami knows how to make a great fighting game, and Legend of the Mystical Ninja isn't one of them.

LOMN isn't anything like the other Konami games I'd mentioned. This is one of the first games they brought to the Super NES, and it wasn't that bad (actually, it was). The heroes are Kid Ying and Dr. Yang, two ridiculous looking ninjas who have to find and rescue the princess of a ninja band of cute little kitty-kitties. This is, without a doubt, one of the more humorous games out there, with even a few "laugh out loud" moments. The opening scene was cool and had a bit of Mode 7 (although it was about as hard to understand as the Cool World movie), but the rest of the cinemas were all still shots, although some got pretty funny.

About the gameplay. Your ninja is equipped with some of the deadliest weapons out there... a pipe (oooh!), a big, gold thing (don't ask), and- are 'ya ready?- a yo-yo! Oooh! I'm shaking! If you're looking for violence, buy Streets of Rage, because this is cartoon action, a Gundam-type adventure with cuteness everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I like cute games; it's just that not many others do. Some Americans gripe their butts off about cute games, but I don't. I love violence a lot, but still, I am a cartoonist, y'know.

Anyway, the main part of the game is a lot like River City Ransom, except the enemies appear constantly and usually take but one hit to pummel. The challenging part of the game is during the two-dimensional side-scrolling missions, where Ying and Yang have to avoid about a million obstacles while hacking enemy butt. At the end of these levels, there are bosses. The boss characters start out a little too easy in the first few levels, then suddenly become impossible in the last two levels. I didn't even try to beat the game.

The main part of the game is too easy and repetitive. You just wander around, find a bonus room, win hundreds of dollars playing a "Mole Patrol" game, and buy armor until you're indestructable. After the shopping spree, you go to the side-scrolling level and either blow right through it or drop into a pitfall ten million times, causing you to ram your head through the monitor. One of the bosses has to be fought over a giant pitfall, thus, one goddamn hit will waste you whether you're a smidgen away from killing him or not.

Furthermore, when you finally lose all your lives, you are asked if you want to start at the beginning of the level or continue from a logbook entry. When you start at the beginning of the level... guess what? You start with no money, no armor, no crap, no matter how long and hard you've worked to earn it all! Konami, what on Jupiter got into you morons? Can't you see this is pointless!?! It drives me mad, I tell you! Mad! AAAAAHHH! Oh, my beautiful ice cream bar... how I love to lick your creamy center!

Where was I? Yes, the game... I already bashed it enough. For its time, I found Legend of the Mystical Ninja to be half-decent, and I see it the same way now. The technique in this game is great, until there's no apparent technique possible. I would have loved this if it didn't cheat. If Konami had removed every single pitfall from the game and started you out with $10,000, I woulda loved it. Decent game, but tedious and frustrating... not a classic.

Ys Books 1 and 2
Role-Playing Adventure
NEC (Falcom)
Review by Josh Lesnick

"Now, J-Man, why you writin 'n article 'bout such an old game?"

Ha, ha. That's the stupidest question I ever heard in my entire life. All games have their place in Video Apocalypse, especially if it's one of the greatest RPGs ever. Also, the Duo deserves some sales, in my opinion, so what better way is there to inspire some than to review one of its pack-in games?

For those of you who were either asleep, interplanetary, or under complete hypnosis over the past two and a half years, Ys may be new to you. Fact is, Ys (pronounced "EE-s". with a short, sharp S, or "EE-soo") was the best video game of its time. Its long quest, spectacular cinemas, and challenging gameplay convinced Ed Semrad of EGM fame that the game deserved no less than a perfect ten.

Of course, some people may think that this game is so old, all its good qualities are considered standard in this age of gaming. Of course, the same people also believe that Ross Perot has a perfectly normal accent. Although I often consider myself as a technology head who believes newer means better, exceptions are made frequently, and Ys is a major exception. The amount of RPGs that followed that just couldn't compare to this dynamite release (including the sequel, Wanderers from Ys) is almost ludicrous. In fact, Ys is now number two on my Top Ten list of favorite games!

The game opens as Adol, a young swordsman, arrives by boat at the town of Esteria. Here a mysterious woman named Sara greets him and asks him to come to her shop. After arming himself, he pays her a visit, and is told that he must set out on a quest to find the six books of Ys. So, Adol begins his quest. What else is a hero to do?

One short experience with this game is not enough to get you into it. The first day I played it I began to think all the hype around Ys was some bad joke. The graphics were kind of microscopic and battles consisted of simply running into enemies at an angle. As the week went by, though, I found new places, more mysteries, and gradually got more and more involved in the quest. Finally, after being stuck in Darm Tower for a while, I conquered the boss of Book 1, and found the following cinema intermission pretty rewarding. I was beginning to like the game a lot.

Ys has an odd resemblence to Tetris. The gameplay is overly simple, but the fun and strategy is tremendous. Controlling a little stick man and running into tiny enemies to waste tehm may seem ludicrous, but it is actually good, mindless fun, the type of fun you'd find in Smash TV or some such game. By slashing the enemies, experience is gained (and the amount of experience the enemies give is cut in half after a level is gained) and money is earned, which is used to buy the usual stuff, like powerful weapons, armor, and healing items. Strategy can be found almost everywhere. The bosses are programmed well, and finding ways to avoid their attacks and locating their weak points can be mind boggling. Caves, towers, and shrines hide many treasures and secrets. Unlike some other RPGs, talking to people is useful, and important clues are often displayed in a slower message speed so you don't miss the info. Solve the mystery of Feena, a girl held captive in the shrine! Discover the purpose of the six books of Ys! Hey, what's not to like (besides its sequel)?

One thing that stunned me was the voice talent for the evil wizard Dalles. It was Jim Cummings- he does Darkwing Duck's voice! No kidding! Do you see any similarities between the two? Didn't think so. Feena's voice sounds cool. She sounds like a bimbo. All the actors, on the whole, are okay. They get a little too much into their parts, but that's better than the crap I heard while playing Last Alert (we're talking cue card reading here).

The music has to be credited, as does its writer, Yuzo Koshiro. Hey, did you read Danny Han's editorial concerning the fact that companies fail to give the games "credit where credit is due"? Well, this is a perfect example. Not once throughout the entire game is Yuzo's name mentioned, not even during the ending credits! Why? Anyway, the music is just about the best stuff ever... something you've come to expect from the Streets of Rage maestro. He'll be back for Actraiser 2! JOY, JOY!

Of course, I will do as I did with Cosmic Fantasy 2 and Dragon Slayer and clue you in on all the awesome music tracks that can be played on a normal CD player! Tracks 3-23, 23, 26, and 27 contain all the background music. 11 is my favorite, and track 27, the ending theme, severly kicks ass. Tape 'em!

Cool Spot
Virgin Interactive
Review by Josh Lesnick

Cool Spot is a game about a... uhhh, cool spot. The cute l'il guy from the 7-Up cans (as if you didn't know) stars in this game, and it's his duty to rescue his friends, who have been trapped by some human whose name I forget (like, oh well). Apparently, this human wanted to find out if the 7-Up dots could really leave the cans. Well, it's up to our hero to keep this guy from finding out! After a coooool day of surfing, our hero found his comrades trapped in cages... what's our hero to do?

There are eleven stages for Spot to complete, the last four unfortunately being redone versions of other stages. In order to complete a stage, Spot not only has to battle his enemies and free his pals, he has to get enough cool points to open the cage his pal is trapped in! Yikes!

Cool points are gained by grabbing spots (one point) and 7-Up icons (seven points, get it?). There are enough of these in each level and bonus rounds to get Spot 100 cool points, giving him 100% coolness! Yeah! Getting all the cool points scores 'ya 10,000 points and a 1-Up! Also, gaining a certain number of cool points can get you to the bonus round, where you can get some continues!

Spot's enemies include crabs, mosquitos, toy robots, cute little mice, Rush Limbaugh, spiders, toy racers, toy bombers, worms, fish, Tipper Gore, Hillary Clinton, Ross Perot, Howard Phil- (EDITOR'S NOTE: The crew chosen to list the enemies in Cool Spot has just been sacked). Spot must fire his sode bubbles in sixteen total directions to destroy them! And KILL!

I found this game had one amazing quality: No frustration! I really mean it! I never had the temptation to cause unbearable pain to my Genesis while playing Cool Spot! How do you do it, Virgin? Of course, there is level four. Hooray, the game was so nice and peaceful... but what's this? NO! NOOOOOOOO! It can't be! It is! PITFALLS!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Bill! Biiiiilllll!!! Whyyyy?! Well, life goes on. Level four consists of precise jumps, yet they're not too hard to make thanks to the perfect play control. In this game, if you land on the center of a platform, instead of slipping off or falling through the floor like in most other games, you connect! THANK YOU! After a few plays, I got better at the level and eventually mastered it. Another record set... this is the least frustrating pitfall level I have ever played... all turned out well after all.

There are climbing stages, too. These stages are pretty fun, but the haphazard scrolling is enough to drive a person insane! On a vine, the instant you change direction to fire at an enemy, the screen suddenly shifts in that direction! Eyyyyeuuuu! Still, this is a minor problem.

The graphics are the best. Spot's got enough personality to make Sonic look like a robot! The standstill animations are great, especially the one where Spot yawns, and he has so much attitude in his walk! The squeaky voice is also perfect, just like in the commercials!

The music in Spot is awesome and really fits the mood. I love the way the song from level one suddenly turns psycho in the middle. The "Wipeout" tune is sampled decently, also.

There are three difficulty levels in Cool Spot. These determine the amount of enemies, amount of lives, and the amount of spots you must get to reach certain goals.

EASY: Five lives, thirty spots to complete each round, 75 spots for the bonus round. Go for this one... it's the most fun, and there's no point playing the harder levels because the endings are the same.

NORMAL: Four lives, sixty spots to complete each round, 85 spots for the bonus round. OK if you want more enemies to shoot, and thankfully, not very frustrating.

DIFFICULT: Three lives, ninety spots to complete each round, 99 spots for the bonus round. FORGET IT, this level is evil. If you really enjoy confronting impossible to avoid enemies, be my guest, but don't, I repeat, DON'T, expect to win that "cool prize". You must get all six continues, but not use them! GEEZ, Dave, what is this cool prize?? A Buick?!!).

David Perry and his team have really done it this time. Who said American games suck? Yes, I did, but this technology head has made an exception, and that is Virgin. GREAT job, dudes! Screw Sonic 3... I'm waitin' for Cool Spot 2!

Day of the Tentacle
Intel PC
Review by Josh Lesnick

I'll just lay it straight on you people... two words describe Day of the Tentacle: FUCKING BRILLIANT.

Only a few seconds into the game, and I was already in awe of the long "talkie introduction" which featured a full description of how the mess started. Purple Tentacle, the pet of Dr. Fred, drank toxic waste and grew arms, then set out to take over the world. Dr. Fred found out and had his tentacles tied up. Then Bernard, the computer geek from the original Maniac Mansion, and his two friends, Hoagie, the moronic headbanger, and Laverne, the totally zoned out med student, go and rescue them, accidentally setting the purple tentacle free. Now they must go back in time to prevent Purple from ever growing his arms so none of this could've happened, but trouble set in and Hoagie and Laverne got sent centuries away from the present. The entire intro is done with real voices and cartoon music that really fits the mood, and it's not even CD-ROM!

Great cartoon artwork and spectacular animation courtest of Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer really work wonders here. Chuck Jones is an inspiration and it shows. The characters are huge and great facial expressions and movement. You're literally playing an interactive cartoon, with hilarious antics crossing your every step!

The challenge is there also. Unlike other computer RPGs, you don't end up getting stuck and having to start over if you forget to pick up a toenail. Everything takes place in one area (albeit through different time zones) and despite that a hell of a lot goes on! There's a lot to discover and the game will take hours and hours to conquer.

Killer graphics, perfect soundtrack, great challenge... what else is there to say? If you own a PC, BUY IT... NOW!!!!!

Super NES
Review by Josh Lesnick

Okay, let me mention the game's good points... ummm... there. Now the bad points: THIS GAME SUCKS THE SWEAT OF A DEAD MAN'S PENIS!!! There's NO CONTROL. You lose complete control when you jump (it's worse than the ORIGINAL Super Mario Bros.)... you slip when a hill is tilted at the slightest degree, and half my deaths occured for NO KNOWN REASON!!! And that's not all! Along with the nonexistant control, you get enemies that are unavoidable unless have psychic powers! And Bubsy being fragile to only one hit makes it all the worse! But wait... there's more! Totally pointless power-ups, hundreds of yarnballs that do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and a voice you're forced to hear over and over and over every time you die until you put a brick through the fucking monitor all help make Bubsy THE WORST GAME OF 1993!!! Thank you so much, pro'zine editors, for hyping this game up way beyond its worth and getting tons of innocent consumers to waste their $$$ on this piece of shit. May your bladders explode.

Shining Force
Role-Playing Adventure
Review by Ara Shirinian

Shining Force is the most original RPG ever released for the Genesis. First off, you don't control a party of companions, you control an ARMY. This is no exaggeration. You start off alone, and eventually gain up to 29 other members by the end of the game. The interface is identical to the one in the previous Shining game (Shining in the Darkness): there's eight chapters, with a number of towns and battle scenerios in each.

You've got an overhead view for the majority of the game. In the battle scenes, you have all your characters and the bad guys together on a grid (squares instead of hexes). Don't worry, you only see the terrain, not the grid lines. The terrain is VERY varied, ranging from quarries to inside a chapel. You control all of your characters seperately... when your main character dies, you get returned to your last save spot with half your gold. In some battles the enemies also have a commander, so if you kill that guy the rest of your enemies die. During a battle, whenever any character (yours or the enemy's) performs an action like using an item or attacking, you get an awesome side view animated sequence of the action. When your characters get new weapons, the weapon that they hold during the action sequences change as well. When you cast a spell, that is graphically represented, too. The backgrounds also change with the terrain. After level ten, a character can be promoted to a new class, and the character's clothes change along with the promotion.

The sound and graphics are extremely polished, especially for a Genesis game. The game's length is about average- not too long and not too short. It is pretty linear, but you can miss a lot of characters if you just try to bolt through the whole thing. Okay, so is there anything bad about this game? Well, just a few things. The animation during the action sequences is choppy. But that didn't bother me, and it doesn't detract at all from the game. Also, this is kinda weird, but there's no armors in the game; only weapons. This is really no big deal, though. It does simplify things plenty if anything.

Shining Force does require patience and oodles of strategy on your part. If you liked Shining in the Darkness, you won't be disappointed. At any rate, you should rent this before you buy it, as this isn't the traditional Sega RPG.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Konami (LucasArts)
Review by Josh Lesnick

This game got a lot of praise from the prozines, and I have no earthly idea why... probably through the usual spiel of pointless hype generated simply simply by the word "Konami" on the cover (people, Konami is NOT that great); but Konami didn't even program the game... LucasArts did, and not very well. The game has play elements that drive its fun factor way up but also makes you put up with enough obnoxious crap to bring it back down again.

The object of the game is to rescue your neighbors while plowing the monsters that get in your way. You take the role of two overly cheerful teenagers who are armed to the teeth with water pistols, bazookas, soda bombs, and weed whackers. You start with ten neighbors to save, and if a monster kills one of your neighbors, the neighbor remains dead and you start the next level with nine; and so forth. The game goes on until you lose all your lives or your neighbors. Enemies include zombies (of course), werewolves, large ants, evil dolls, and Orville Redenbacher (well, he SHOULD be in the game).

Well, this is all a great idea, but it's quickly ruined by tons of pisseroffers throughout the game. The control isn't the best... it's just too hard to aim and shoot at a zombie who's speeding toward you at nine hundred miles an hour. Why did they make the enemies so fast?!? That giant baby is ridiculous! You're left helpless the instant he takes off at light speed. The three quarters perspective makes it even worse; about half the shots fired upon your enemy LOOK as if they connect but don't, and thus seem to pass right through them. Also, almost all of the enemies are intolerably hard to kill. They're either so fast or take so many hits- or both- that there's no point in even trying to fight them. Plus, you have an interminable amount of different weapons, and you have to select them DURING PLAY, which becomes a real pain in the ass when you see those werewolves speeding toward you at Mach 700 and need to change to the fork and knife weapon, which can be accomplished by holding A and pushing B nine hundred times, or something like that.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that when a monster does kill your neighbor, there is no way, and I mean NO WAY, for you to stop it. Words cannot stress how much it SUCKS when you see your neighbor on the radar, walk up to him, and before you can react a monster pops up right next to him and lashes out at him. Thus, neighbor rescues rely on pure luck, and you have to put up with this crap for 55 LEVELS. Needless to say, by level twenty I was down to three or four neighbors, and I was already bored... and pissed. There's a password feature, but it doesn't help jack because you can't keep any of your weapons.

Who knows; maybe Zombies Ate My Neighbors is more fun with two players, but as it is I found it complete torture. Rent it if you must, buy it if you're a masochist.

Rocket Knight Adventures
Review by Josh Lesnick

????? Has the word "Konami" blinded us gullible gamers once again?! I'd just about say this game is hopeless. There's no point in playing it. You play the part of a possum named Sparkster, who has to rescue this princess from a big evil guy (gee, that's... really original!). Your means of attacking include a sword which fires a beam. The beam does fair damage, but hitting the enemies with the sword itself does triple damage. There's also a rocket attack that propels you off the walls and into enemies.

As it is with all Konami games, there is no way you can finish the game without playing it a hundred times and memorizing the entire playfield first. Once that tedious, frustrating task is completed... boom! It's easy... and boring! And very, very stupid! Some of the fights are ridiculous; they require no technique, just split second reflexes, like the level where Sparky is chased by that huge robot. You just fire your rocketpack everywhere, and the instant your finger slips... BOOM! Possum roadkill. The boss at the end of this stage is stupid, too. You control this giant robot, fighting another robot by moving back and forth while punching it. There's no point in even moving... just stand there and attack at the exact split second about five times and that's it! Some battle! There's a railway car level as well; it must have been the 80th railway car scene I've seen in a video game, and I tell you, it is the WORST railway car level to ever appear in a game... yes, even worse than Taz-Mania's. You crouch when you see warning signs (of course, when you play the first time you have absolutely no idea what those signs mean until you get your head bashed in up ahead), and then spend fifteen minutes fighting bomb chucking pigs who all look and fight exactly the same and keep appearing and appearing until you literally drop dead of boredom. Then you reach the boss and... surprise! He's got an incredibly predictable pattern!

The whole game went on- actually, it DRAGGED on- like this for hours. There must've been four or five instances where I thought I completed Rocket Knight Adventures but actually didn't, and y'know what? IT SUCKED. I know this wasn't the most well-written review to appear in Video Apocalypse, but a crappy game doesn't DESERVE a good review. I have to get one thing off my chest now... KONAMI SUCKS!!! THEY SUCK RHINO! THEY SUCK VELOCIRAPTOR!!! THEY HAVEN'T MADE AN ORIGINAL GAME IN YEARS, THEY WON'T RELEASE THAT RPG THEY MADE IN JAPAN, THEY COULDN'T PROGRAM A GOOD GAME TO SAVE THEIR FRIGGIN' LIFE... THEY SUCK! THEY SUUUUUUUUUUHONKEYFARTUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! Thank you.

Sega (Climax)
Review by Josh Lesnick

Like Gunstar Heroes and Alisia Dragoon, Sega's pretending this game doesn't exist, although this time I really don't mind. Just because I happen to be the biggest RPG chugger this side of the moon doesn't mean I have to like EVERY RPG. Hell, this isn't really an RPG... it's a quest game, like Zelda 3 meets Equinox. And it's OK.

A lot of people love this game, and I can sort of see why. It's got a plot, but it's no Final Fantasy 2. It has challenge, but most of it results from that dumbass three quarters view which seems to defy the laws of perspective. I swear to the cow that the jumping around on tiny platforms, falling, and starting at the beginning will piss you off to no end, and attacking and avoiding the enemies is a real chore. You walk up to an enemy and keep trying to swing the sword, only to find yourself being struck by an apparently unavoidable attack. I also hate the way level gaining is done... it's just like being a mutant in the Final Fantasy GameBoy series. That is, it tells you nothing! There's no EP reading... you just sort of gain new abilities from nowhere. I hate that. I don't know why... I just do.

The worst thing about the game is the control. It'd be perfect if you could move in more than four directions, but no, there's only four, and they're all DIAGONAL! Gross!

The worst thing about this game is that one damned brick wall. I honestly had NO idea what to do when I got to that port town (the third town, I believe). Maybe I'm just an idiot, but it seemed no one would give me any clues... I couldn't get anywhere, and I was pissed!

As you can see, I believe this game is far from being a 100% (that's right, you cheery saps at GameFan!), but a lot of people like it, so I guess it just ain't for everyone. Go ahead and try it out (rent it), but as for me, I'd rather be playing Shining Force.

by Josh Lesnick

What is censorship? Some define it as rules set limiting the amount of sex, violence, and offensive language in any entertainment feature to make sure that there will be no complaints from any portion of the audiences that could cause controversy. Me... I define it as a work of Satan.

Okay, that was a lie. I'm not even that religious, so I can't define it that way. What censorship is, is simply a fanaticism that caused paranoia over the most ludicrous things. In the age of censorship, the fear of seeing boobs in any entertainment feature a young child under the age of 14 may get his or her hands on is about as high as the fear of thermonuclear war; I have no need to say that these two things are completely different. Thanks to censorship, we have explitives deleted on TV, movie ratings, paranoid parental pseudo-critics, and, recently, parental advisories on music CDs.

Censorship plays such a big role in the American video game industry that we'd need to take up a full issue of Video Apocalypse to talk about it. Nintendo has become so well known for their censoring of games that everyone is assuming Mortal Kombat will be butchered in its Super NES incarnation. Nintendo really hasn't said anything yet, but since they removed all the ladies from Final Fight and reduced the blood in Street Fighter II, they've pretty much created a reputation for themselves. Sega's most controversial incident in the censorship field was their constant griping with Razorsoft over the nudity in Stormlord. The fairy statues and princesses bore no clothes whatsoever, and Sega wouldn't have it. Razorsoft tried to overcome this burden, but in the end, small grey suits were placed on the gals. As for TTi, their position on this is questionable, as they are a new company, but the older Turbografx owner, NEC, has been well known for their odd, unnecessary deletion of Bonk's transformation in Bonk's Revenge.

There are quite a few pro-censorists, a group composed mainly of parents and holy rollers. I seriously doubt they outnumber the anti-censorists, which probably include almost the entire population of people aged fifteen to thirty.

Pro-censorists have arguments that sound good at first, but no one has ever in the least bit convinced me that censorship does anyone any good. The parents are mortified that their children may rest their eyes on this "sleaze". Violence and sex in entertainment has always been considered a bad influence as well as the cussing and rudeness of some fictional characters. Once someone dares to cross the line of censorship, tremendous outcry from outraged parents and holy rollers causes controversy galore. To prevent this, some entertainment companies lean toward a more conservative approach.

Nowadays, this conservative approach is causing as much controversy as the liberal approach would. Game players were outraged at the ridiculous, unnecessary delay of Street Fighter II, which was a product of Nintendo's blue-nosed attitude. More and more people are writing to gaming magazines, asking why so many companies are making so many unneeded changes and causing such horrendous delays. People are also beginning to realize that this is completely different overseas, where nudity and violence isn't all that much of a rarity.

Personally, I think it's time the age of censorship came to a close. The American public can handle everything that's withheld from them, and it can be proven.

by Josh Lesnick

Sometimes, I just don't know where these rules come from.

The people of the United States have slapped a crappy prejudice onto electronic games. For some oddball reason, they look at them as toys, and nothing more. I'd like to try to explain why this is, but I just don't know. Why are video games looked at as kids' toys? Maybe I can explain... let me think...

You use a game controller to move a sprite onscreen. Moving pictures... moving pictures is animation. Video games involving moving sprites- moving pictures- can be considered a loose form of interactive animation, and animation, my friends, is the other form of entertainment tragically looked upon as something just for eight year olds.

That's part of the puzzle, but now I'm stumped again, because I haven't the faintest idea why this is the case. The older American cartoons were, for the most part, not for kids only. One of the Warner Bros. directors even stated, and I quote, "Our cartoons were never made for children".

But I guess it was always the kids that have enjoyed seeing the goofy cartoon characters more than adults. The way cartoons are done here must have just evolved around this. Thus, throughout the ages, fewer and fewer American cartoonists have had the gall to make "15 and up only" cartoons. Comic books (which all include a bunch of realistically-drawn characters) don't seem to have this problem, but, with the exceptions of Aeon Flux and other Liquid TV programs, people have problems with the idea of animation for adults.

These thoughts must have split somehow and entered video game territory. Combine that with the fact that they're created for enjoyment and seem to get nothing accomplished, and some idiots are certain that electronic games must be filed under the "toys" category. There, I think I solved the mystery. Good thinking on my part!

Now, let's get on with this! What problems can this atrocity bring upon the video game industry?! Because video games are assumed to be for eight year olds, the American video game industry has to worry about something the Japanese don't. These are two words I'm beginning to hate more than Bill Clinton: worried parents.

Worried parents. Worried, paranoid, obnoxious jerks that have no life. People who can't find anything better to do than to bitch about how Bart Simpson can ruin a child's attitude. People who just have to let everyone know how many apparent deaths there were in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, as if anyone gave a crap. These are the people who can cause controversy, bad media, and tons of other acts of hell and chaos just by protesting over how they think the sound of a slur like "DAMN!" can ruin a child's mind just like that. Nintendo and Sega don't like controversy and bad media. They take the safe way out. The conservative way out. Conservative has gotta be my least favorite word.

In a nutshell, kids enjoyed animation, which gave rise to the assumption that animation was for kids only. This evolved into the assumption that video games were toys, which caused lots of kids to buy them, including kids with worried parents. To prevent controversy from these worried parents, game companies turned conservative.

The root of the problem, discrimination in animation, can be scratched out. Anime' fans will fight that battle. Right now, I'd like to see some statistics on the ages of video game players. I'm sure players ages fifteen and up are on the rise. If the trend continues into the next millenium, video games may be considered the way they were supposed to be considered: Not toys. Not toys at all.

Not even close...

by Josh Lesnick


#1 Day of the Tentacle This sure found its way to number one in a huff! It looks like it'll be staying here for a while, too! I love computer games!
#2 Cosmic Fantasy 2 I sure hope the Sega CD version will come out...
#3 Cool Spot Personally, I think this is the best action/platform game... ever.


#1 Bubsy One word easily describes this game; a word I find myself saying often while playing it: "FUUUUCK!"
#2 StarFox Faster than a speeding slug, more powerful than Dan Quayle, we have the best geometry lesson gamedom has ever seen!
#3 Sonic 2 Not a horrendous game, but the first was better by a light year. Ed, this is not a ten!!
#4 Street Fighter II: Anything THREE YEARS OLD... and people are still stuck in the past. This SUCKS.
#5 Batman Returns (Sega CD) OOOO! SCALING! PRETTY SCALING! Game? What game?


#1 Day of the Tentacle The music makes you feel like you're watching an old Warner Bros. cartoon!
#2 Dragon Slayer Synthetic, yes, but still awesome work from the never recognized mastermind Ryo Yonemitsu.
#3 Ys Books 1 and 2 Ys set the standard for background music. Plus, it's one of the first Koshiro soundtracks.
#4 Lemmings I guess this isn't exactly the best background music ever, but it sure as hell is catchy, don't y'all agree?
#5 Gate of Thunder Wow! The music almost sounds real! Could it be? Naaaaah... Great work from Nick Wood and Syn.


#1 Cosmic Fantasy 2 A LONG, tear-jerking cinema and a cool ending song (with words and all) make this the most rewarding game ever!
#2 Final Fantasy 2 That's another reason why I love RPGs: the endings are always better.
#3 Day of the Tentacle The antics never stop! It's brief and there's no voice, but it is hilarious.
#4 Gate of Thunder Wow! A shooter with a cool ending! The music is the best... kind of like the beginning of a U2 song.
#5 Cybernator Not one, but two endings! Either the really tragic, tear-jerking one, or the "happy joy hug yo babe" one! Nice musak!


#1 Cool Spot AN ending would've been nice. What's the point of listing the credits when they're in the instruction book?
#2 Karnov Remember the game? Remember how much of a pain in the ass it was? Remember the ending? THERE IS NONE!!!
#3 Phantasy Star 3 There are plenty of endings: They all SUCK!
#4 Actraiser Yaaaawn! Wake me when the philosophy class is over, willya??
#5 SoulBlazer Yaaaawn! Wake me when the philosophy class is over, willya?? The games are great, Enix; work on the endings!

by Josh Lesnick

Ed Phlegmrad is a buttcheese! Those of you who read the latest ten pound issue of EGM (at least, the latest as of December 8th) are probably aware of the GENEROUS plug they give GEA! Listing the wrong address was but a fraction of the disrespect... they decided to plug it in their LETTERS column under a letter from some jerk named Frank Dong who described fanzines as "unstable" and "only good for a couple of issues". WHAT?! Does anyone know this imbecile? How many fanzines do you know that stopped after a few issues?! I can think of about five... and four of them plan on making a comeback! Gimme a fuckin' break. This is but the second time those EGM geeks gave thought to mentioning the word "fanzine" in their twisted publication. Do any of you remember that l'il note that mentioned somethin' about a fanzine that published false photos of the Super NES CD!?! You know, that letter that gave people the impression that this fandom is full of dishonest idiots? Just let me get my hands on that Semrad geezer's neck... SNAP! All gone!

I'm angry! Fuckin' angry! AAAAAAH! Abandon all hope, ye who cross my path!!! I'm going to kill! KILL! KIIIIILLLL!!! AH HA HA HAAA! Kill, kill, blood makes the grass grow... moo hoo ha ha aaaaahh... Er, sorry. Where was I? I wanted to talk (yet again) about overhyped games. EGM has struck again with their glowing review of Aero the Acroschmuck, a game which could possibly rival Bubsy as the biggest asshole for a mascot character, except he doesn't keep saying "What could possibly go wrong?" over and over again. Then there's Mortal Kombat II. Here me, for the Cow's sake, this game sucks the (now let's not get into that)... AARGH! If anyone sees anything that sets this piece of batcrap apart from the original, please tell me and I'll shoot you in the head. Fatalities just don't thrill me anymore. Wow! That guy just ripped his opponent in half... wheeeeee! Also, unlike what EGM sez, each character has ONE fatality, big deel! I still can't tell the difference between any of the characters, and the technique and control is still nonexistant! The popularity of this game (which couldn't have taken over a week to make) already shot up and it sickens me. Todddammit!!! SPEW!


Dear Mr. Lesnick,

I am deeply offended by your assault on what I hold dear. My dear wife glanced at that dreadful "genitalia" comic and went stark raving mad. Her poor body was battered by convulsions as she writhed with (I hope) horror and revulsion.

My dear sir, if you continue printing such material I shall be forced to enlist the aid of my business associate, Mr. Smithe. He has the ear of Senator Helms, who shall certainly talk to Tipper Gore. She, in turn, will get her husband Al Gore to discuss this matter with President Clinton. He shall call Janet Reno, who will send the FBI to raid your home. Anything so much as plugged into a wall socket shall be confiscated.

To avoid this retribution, I suggest the following steps be taken in the future:

1) Remove all profanity (sucks, boobs, liberal, etc.). God forgive me for repeating them to you.

2) That obscene character of yours is obviously the work of Satan. Perhaps a more appropriate character, such as a rabbit, would help lessen the shock your demon causes.

3) Family Circle is a comic. Your scribblings are beyond the guard of reason. Remove them.

4) One more negative word about censorship and I'll personally lead the assault on your compound. The FBI is much more capable of raiding the Texans than the ATF.

I suggest your comply.

"Bart" McCarthy
Eugene, Wisconsin

Thanks, Erik- uh, I mean BART! (you didn't hear that, people), for the oh-so-thought-provoking letter. I thought about what you said and I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm afraid once my 'zine is passed to Mr. Clinton, it'll stop right there. Somehow, issue two made it to him, and from what I heard he started whacking off and then asked for a date with Ryuken. Josh Means... the work of Satan? Sorry again... he's a product of my savior, the Cow God! Finally, Family Circle is not a comic, you putz; it's a magazine... The Family Circus is a comic. Are you affiliated with the Parents Interested In Schoolchildren Sanity? By the way, what does your wife look like? She sounds hot.

by Josh Lesnick

This certificate hereby states that I, MJ, will never bash and profusely knock on a game system, a game company, or game publication for no apparent reason. The following steps will be taken to ensure better reading in the future:

1) I will not write articles that literally act inhumane toward Sega's CD system or judge its games, considering that I haven't even played them yet.

2) No more nasty letters will be written to gaming publications that have respect for fanzines, no matter how much their articles piss me off. 4) I will not call anyone on the EGM staff brain donors, except Quartermann.

5) I will never again judge a game I haven't even played yet; for example, Exile and Time Gal.

If at any time I fail to follow these steps in any way, Steve Harris, Ed Semrad, Dave Halverson, Andy Cockburn, and Al Nilsen will all gain the right to barbecue my head.

I ensure that all of the above will be followed through to ensure better reading in Video Apocalypse :)


From the ever so beautiful town of Krakow, our friend Albert returns, pondering the evils in the CD-ROM industry. Prepare to be awed and enlightened by the rants of...

by Albert Sczjovinsky

by Albert Sczjovinsky

I believe that CD gaming is definitely the wave of the future, even though there are a few shortcomings. I'll leave it to the rest of you to whine about how the technology isn't being used well enough, for I, being the observant person I am, have found a way evil companies are using this technology to rip us off. How? I shall tell you right now, for that's what I'm here for...

I'm fully aware of the spectacular, well done games for my Turbografx CD system (and not the TurboDuo, an idea obviously ripped off of the poor sap who designed the Turbografx), including Cosmic Fantasy 2 (the first time I played a game with a number in the title that didn't rip off another game), and Exile, but there are some game which don't even include games! What happens is some sort of selection screen comes up and you can play music, but there's no game!

I was walking down the lanes of one of my favorite department stores, and I found a huge variety of CD games, and a lot of them were from companies I never heard of. I decided to pick one up. The game, called U2 Zooropa and manufactured by a company called "Island", was suspiciously low-priced. I got home and popped it into my Turbo CD, and- what is this??? There's no game! There were some music tracks, and they were good, I suppose, but where's the game? Isn't that what I bought a Turbo CD for?? At first I thought this problem was sort of minor, and it applied to this "game" only, so I went back and bought another one, from Columbia, titled Billy Joel: River of Dreams. I stuck it in the machine, and... same problem.

I simply could not believe this! I went back and bought a load of these things, and shockingly, none of them had any games on them. If you people out there are thinking that this is the work of not-so-popular companies, think again! Prepare to be shocked... Virgin has taken part in this maniacal scheme... I tried out a game called Paula Abdul: Spellbound and... well, you guessed it. Just plain sickening. These companies even try to fool us with movie labels. I found a game based on one of my favorite movies, Wayne's World, manufactured by Reprise, and it too had all the problems I've been telling you about.

It came to me that none of these games had labels telling me which systems they worked on. I tried them on the Sega CD; slightly different effect, but the same garbage. I even found a game which clearly had the word "GENESIS" printed on it. The game was called We Can't Dance... it didn't work.

I tried calling these companies to complain, but do you know what they did...?!? They called me an idiot!!! Me, an idiot?!! The nerve of them!!!!! I think a lawsuit is the only way to go now, and while I work on this, I thought I should warn you all with this editorial. I hope you found it informative, and once again, kept you from getting ripped off. Until next issue, everyone, play safe!!!


by Josh Lesnick

1. What is your name?

A. Pat Nicely
B. Seymour Butts
C. Death
D. Other _________________________

2. What is your quest?

A. To become the studliest gamer ever.
B. To become the awesomest gamer ever.
C. To become the hairiest gamer ever.
D. I seek the Holy Grail.

3. What is your favorite color?

A. Blue
B. I don't know that!
C. What do you mean...? An African or European swallow?

4. Sex?

A. Why, sure, MJ, I'd love to
B. Maybe later...
C. NO.

5. What are your hobbies, besides gaming?

A. Gaming
B. RPG Gaming
C. RPG Collecting
D. Telephone Booth Collecting
E. Eating Toothpaste
F. Traffic Directing
G. Masturbation
H. Clam Chowder
I. Answering Reader Surveys

6. What do you think about Video Apocalypse?

A. It simply rules
B. It kicks butt
C. It's the best thing since sausage biscuits
D. I sacrifice goats for it
E. Ice cream sandwich

7. What do you think of its editor?

A. He's a stud
B. He's cooler than Jack Nicholsen
C. He's a sexpot
D. I sacrifice goats for him

8. Where do you want to be in two years?

A. Leading the nation
B. The Barney Show
C. Des Moines

9. Who's your favorite superhero?

A. Superman
B. Death
C. Powdered Toast Man
D. Rush Limbaugh
E. The Cow
F. Incontenentia Buttocks

38. What's your favorite food?

A. Pizza Hut
B. Hamburger Hut
C. Taco Hut
D. Fruit Bats
E. Orangutans
F. Breakfast Cereal

786. Do you have a pet? Y N X FLUBBY

25675. If so, what is it?

A. Dawg
B. Qat
C. Dead Parrot
D. Cindy Crawford

666. What's your religion?

A. Atheist
B. Satanist
C. Cowist
D. MJist
E. Chowderist
F. SPAMist
G. Fungusist
H. Istist
J. None of the Aboveist

KILL. Do you like Rush Limbaugh?

A. No
B. I deserve to die

Thanks for filling out this survey... now that you're through, wad it up, eat it, and go to sleep dreaming about lettuce. Peace be witchu.

As most of us know, when it comes to cartoons, "crappy" and "American" are basically synonymous. I mean, look at this... Smurfs, Little Clowns of Happytown, Tom and Jerry Kids, Super Mario Bros. Super Show... these 'toons are literally torture. Really, who needs iron maidens, stretchers, or Whitney Houston when you have DiC?

Despite this, I can't help but enjoy watching the new fall season of toonage every year. It just amuses me the way cartoons have gone nowhere for so long. It's even more ludicrous the way that in only nine years, I manage to write comics that kick the asses of the so-called "professionals" who've had "education" and "experience" in the cartoon field.

So because of this, I decided to let you in on the fun, since only a big dumb idiot would be stupid enough to wake up at 7AM every Saturday and Sunday just to waste his or her time seeing this gar-baaage (hey, take me, for instance), and give you an overview of what you'll be missing... thank goodness. Each 'toon review will have a rating which reads "Is this worth watching?", followed simply by "YES" or "NO". I bet you can guess what most of these will be gettin'... Anyway, read on (on second thought, you may just want to run out and grab a chili dog until this is over) as I present to ewe...

by Josh Lesnick


This is Disney's Raw Toonage, without Bonkers. It's your basic "enemy chases good guy around and gets clobbered at every pathetic attempt" type of cartoon, which comes out LAME-O, of course, though not as bad as Tom and Jerry Kids (how COULD someone come up with a cartoon worse than Tom and Jerry Kids?!). You know, Raw Toonage was kinda half-decent last year, although it had only one really hilarious bit entitled "Badly Animated Man" (actually, it was EXTREMELY hilarious... hell, I'd say it was the best cartoon skit last year...). But I digress. Marsupilami goes to show (yet again) that Disney can't do on TV what they can in the theatres...



Well, it's great to see all the ORIGINAL ideas these cartoon producers are coming up with! I saw flashes of The Jungle Book pop up... well... throughout the entire 'toon, actually. After a while I decided to turn off the TV and instead stare at the lineoleum, watching it curl up...



Gee, you don't suppose this cartoon is a product of the hype surrounding the "blockbuster" that came out recently, do you? Oh, nooooo. This is basically what DiC lives by: As long as they keep endorsing popular characters, they don't have to worry about how crappy the cartoon is. This one is even WORSE than the older cartoon series that came out a few years ago. DiC, go to hell!!!



WHAT THE... Just the idea of making the HBO series into a Saturday morning cartoon (thus "kiddifying" it) sounds lame enough. This is about as scary as a rabid hamster. Truly lives down to its expectations.



I guess the first episode was kinda cool... I mean, the animation is decent and the artwork kicks. 'Tis a pity the episodes are exactly the same. What is with those cinema bars, anyway? I dunno... it's actually above average... watch it once.

IS IT WORTH WATCHING...? Not really.





I'm sure we all had a bad feeling about this one since the beginning. That's good, 'cause I can't say I was let down. When will these people learn that a cover of an old 'toon will never work unless the look and feel is duplicated, like, exactly?! Now everyone's so beady-eyed... Sparky's lost that cool accent, Spridle never beats up on the villains anymore, Trixie looks like a complete bimbo... this isn't Speed Racer! This is... pathetic, that's what it is!!! You'd think these animation companies would learn a few things after the turnout of Tom and Jerry Kids.



Bohbot Entertainment, everyone... Bohbot Entertainment. Mighty Max isn't the worst cartoon ever, but I don't see what's so interesting about a kid who travels through time and space whenever he wears his hat. Rob Paulsen does the part of Max (surprise, surprise).



THIS is what you call an improvement?!! No, I'm sorry, but replaying all the old episodes inside this weirdo cube which keeps scrolling, twisting, and turning in and out until you throw up all over the place does NOT do the Transformers justice in my opinion. After watching the yahoo computer effects for about fifteen minutes, I felt like grabbing my TV set and throwing it against the floor. Don't even THINK about wasting your time with this one.



Wait, an ORIGINAL cartoon by Hanna-Barbera?! Oh, it's based on a comic book... never mind. Well... it's made by Hanna-Barbera... isn't that enough? Let's face it: The Flintstones sucked (never trust a 'toon that needs a laugh track), I don't even wanna talk about Tom and Jerry Kids, and need I mention the satanic presence of the SMURFS? SWAT Kats is a few steps above the rest of the H-B tripe intellectually... that isn't saying much, now is it?



When I heard of this cartoon, I expected yet another plot containing environmental drivel, but there wasn't any, which goes to show you that I tend to get "Exo" confused with "Eco". Actually, it was cool to see a futuristic, spaceships-at-war plot, but being an avid watcher of anime', I found this US creation pretty tame.



You know, this really isn't a bad idea... making a cartoon about two dogs who act like... dogs! Hey, I could think of a million funny ideas for this, but... this is Hanna-Barbera, so of course, they don't try hard enough. Yaaaaaawn.



The promo featured in GameFan looked pretty cool... WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED!?! The animation is stiff, the jokes are stupid, and Andy Heyward's name is in the credits! Even worse than Super Mario Bros... yes, it's possible.



...HOW...MANY...TIMES...WILL...THIS...PREMISE...BE...USED??!?!?!? The Turtles were cool, the animated series sucked, Battletoads sucked, Moo Mesa sucked, and here come the Biker Mice... and they SUCK just as bad!!! Look what you started, Mr. Eastman!!!!



Here's a new version of the series which ran during Raw Toonage last year. The old version was ho-hum, but I did like they way every episode had completely different settings with the same characters taking part in each skit. Now it's ho-hum... and the settings NEVER change. Disney proves once again that great animation does not a good cartoon make. So far the Disney Afternoon is 0 for 7.



"MJ, stop repeating yourself!!!" I know what you're thinking, but believe me, this isn't the same 'toon. The above version tries (and fails) to be funny, whereas this here version is more of a cyberpunk adventure with a large cast of characters (which can also be found in the lackluster Archie comic). And you know what...? This one actually held my interest!!! AND IT'S A DiC CARTOON!!! Hmm... maybe I've just lost my sanity after forcing myself to watch all the other worthless slime the entire morning, but I say you give'ta'try.



ACH DU LIEVER MEIN WIENERSCHNITZEL!!!! Time to party down, we FINALLY have come across a clear winner. Winner, heck... it's the best cartoon ever; I mean it, damn it! It has something for everyone... sarcastic squirrels, insane mice, bully pigeons, huge chickens, sexy nurses, and three... um... old fashioned black 'n white cartoon things that act a lot like the Marx Brothers, the best comedic group ever. So you're avoiding this cartoon, thinking it's just a Tiny Toons rip-off... EEEEH! Tiny Toons was never this chaotic and never will be. Are you annoyed by the constant song and dance?!?!?!? Oh, yah! Go watch The Little Mermaid, or Garfield and Friends, or Barney and Friends, or the Smurfs... THOSE are bad songs, gottit? Is there ANYTHING wrong with this 'toon?............No. Watch it. Watch it now. Who needs Ren and Stimpy? They suck. Watch this or I'll rip your throat out.


And that brings us to the end of this column. I suppose I should write a nice closer summarizing all that I have said... but I won't. Goodbye.


Hosted by