ISSUES 15, plus two unpublished issues

JUN 1992 TO AUG 1994

Todd Lintner

Keith Previc, Josh Lesnick, Sean Pettibone, Erik Schimek, Jess Ragan, Jeff Bogumil, Pat Reynolds, Dan Thomas MacInnes, Lizette Roman, Ulrich Kempf

Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Master System
Review by Todd Lintner

When a game company releases the first game in a series, it is usually a springboard for a concept, and due to the limited technology available at the time, is usually the worst in the series as each sequel should get better and better. Not so with Alex Kidd. This one is probably the best of the four Master System entries. It was Sega's early attempt at their own Mario, a mascot to use in ads and to package in systems. The Kidd is cute enough, but the reason it didn't take off is that the sequels hardly took any inspiration from the lively original. Here, you get shops, a selection screen, and a plot that figures heavily into the game. It scrolls vertically and horizontally, and with frequent terrain changes: one moment you're climing down a mountain, and the next, Alex is underwater, dodging deranged fish. This was also the first video game that used Paper, Rock, Scissors to fight your enemies. Only a few have imitated this, though: Princess Tomato for the NES, and Marvel Land and AK (not Arnie Katz!) in the Enchanted Castle for the Genesis. Also, the Kidd can use vehicles: a helicoptor, a motorbike, and a boat.

The graphics are good and have a nice look to them. The music is fine, with a tune I still can't get out of my head since playing it four years ago. But the gameplay is where Alex Kidd really shines. There isn't much in the way of technique; just punch and time your jumps carefully. But then again, Mario didn't have much technique either.

Great sequels to Alex Kidd in Miracle World could have sold the system, as proven by Nintendo and Mario, NEC/TTI and Bonk, and Sega and Sonic. Sega really screwed this one up.

I really don't have anything else to say about this cart, other than you should have this one in your library already. It really stands the test of time quite well.

My Hero
Master System
Sega (Coreland)
Review by Keith Previc

This may be a way old game for the Master System, but it's hardly a classic. This game has absolutely nothing of merit- no graphics, no playability, no nothing.

Programmed by Coreland in 1985, My Hero is a forerunner to games like Double Dragon. However, where Double Dragon went right, My Hero went wrong. You are limited to four moves: punch, high kick, low kick, and jump kick. The first three are useless because they are too slow and have no range at all. Using them will allow the evil gang members, who rush at you from the sides of the screen at surprisingly high speeds, to immediately overwhelm you (you die from one hit, as do the enemies). This leaves you the sole option of jumping along the two-dimensional sidewalk, hoping the bad guys will walk into your foot. So basically, you jump forever until you finally reach the gang leader, Mohikan. You actually get a life meter for the battle with him, but you're still limited to those four crappy moves. Street Fighter II it ain't.

My Hero also seems to find the most annoying middle ground for a difficulty level. It's not easy as you die almost constantly, but it's not hard either as you can quickly make it to Mohikan, after which the rounds start repeating and you get more of the same. Oh, joy!

The graphics are bright but not detailed. Animation is almost nonexistant, and the music and sounds are even worse.

I hate to heap so much criticism on any one game, especially on such an old game, especially on such an old game that cannot be fairly judged by today's standards. Nevertheless, it had to be said. My Hero is definitely not my hero.

Role-Playing Adventure
Sega (Climax)
Review by Todd Lintner

Unfortunately, I've only rented this cart so far, and I spent most of the time playing it instead of taking notes for review. The perspective is very cool, though without Mode 7 or other fancy tricks, people will probably take it for granted. It contains some devious puzzles, which require just as much thumb dexterity as problem solving, might drive some die-hard RPGers away, but they're missing a lot of fun. The showcase adventure game for the Genesis- just as Zelda: A Link To The Past was for the Super NES. So why isn't this game getting more coverage? Sega advertised Shining Force to death, but this game? Nothing.

Rocket Knight Adventures
Review by Todd Lintner

See Sparkster jump. See Sparkster slash. See Sparkster rocket around. See Sparkster hang by his tail. See Sparkster act so damn carting cute I get real annoyed and fling the cartridge out the window.

Yes, I'm not too fond of Rocket Knight Adventures. Not because of what you might think, because the graphics, sound, and control are all top-notch. It even offers a fair amount of challenge. But I'm getting sick of platform games. There are some new ideas in here, but I really couldn't care less. Those of you who don't share my apathy for games with smart-alecky, cute Sonic knock-offs that are only made so the comapny can make some bucks off marketing it should do yourself a favor and rent this one.

NOTE: I still like platform games, but only those done well! I have high hopes for Electronic Arts' James Pond 3.

Mortal Kombat
Arena (Probe)
Review by Todd Lintner

It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood.
-Macbeth, III iv. 152-53

Being my usual safely out of the mainstream self, I didn't rush out on Mortal Monday (9/13) and blow money on this shallow fighting game. And I'm glad I didn't, because after renting Mortal Kombat, it's safe to say it ranks up there with Bubsy as the most overhyped game of 1993. True, Street Fighter II's media blitz was overpowering, but at least that game deserved some of its hype.

By now, your eyes have glazed over as a result of reading too many plot descriptions, so I'll just bitch about the flaws. First, I'd like to remind Probe that there is a six button controller out there for the Genesis. While it is somewhat compatible, there is no mention of this in the documentation, let alone the alternate button set-up! And even with the new controller, you cannot pause! Please- there are eight functional buttons on the Arcade Pad! Mortal Kombat only needs five of them!

Maybe that was because Probe tried to insert some hectic arcade atmosphere in the game. At least they knew what it was lacking, because Mortal Kombat on the Genesis completely loses it. The best voice samples are gone, and even the score fonts look amateurish. The characters don't look or feel as real as they did in the arcade, looking more like the sprites e're accustomed to seeing. That was the only thing that made MK rise above mediocrity in the 'cades, and when it's gone, you're left with a fighting game that is lacking in both fun and technique.

Bubsy (Programming of the Bad Kind)
Review by Todd Lintner

After numerous delays, Bubsy comes to the Genesis. By now, many gamers have developed a chilly attitude toward Bubsy after seeing the roasting the Super NES version got in both pro'zines and fanzines. Bubsy is one of the most disappointing games of 1993, considering the high amount of pre-release hype it received.

Although it may be a bit better on the Genesis, this incarnation still isn't good. The controls, especially jumping, are at times haphazard, but most of the time they are easily corrected by "oversteering" with the joypad. However, in a move that will mystify gamers for generations to come, Bubsy suffers from being too real. If this is an "interactive cartoon", why does gravity drag Bubsy down inclines and squash (and kill) him if he falss from an arbitrary height? The slippery control and unnecessary inertia dragged down another platform game of recent memory, Electronic Arts' Rolo to the Rescue.

It seems Accolade used the game's 16 megs of memory well. The multi-scrolling graphics are very good save for a lack of pizazz, and the music and sound fx are suitably cartoony. The voice of Bubsy, which sounds like a cross between Bugs Bunny and some damned Smurf, is OK, but hardly ever intelligible.

Accolade gave the game a good face, but the gameplay is unfortunately quite shallow, with little technique, and the controls don't help at all. In the end, Bubsy is just another average, me-too platformer. It doesn't have the flash of Rocket Knight Adventures or the tough, rock-solid gameplay of Aero the AcroBat. With more on the way (Socket, Awesome Possum), Bubsy just doesn't cut it.

Shinobi III (aka Shinobi Why?)
Review by Sean Pettibone

"I'm far too fucking cool to read the instruction booklet," I thought to myself, so I'll skip the plot save for my basic summation that as most guys in tight little suits and shuriken belts do, you're out to stop the evil Zeed or something and save the world.

This is a huge disappointment. This is disappointing not because it is a bad game, but because it is 1993, and this cart parallels the original 1990 debut on the Genesis in terms of graphics, sound, and innovations. A few scattered bonus rounds don't cut it- it's boring and offers nothing new for the player.

A bland color palette, lame-o scrolling, and stiff animation sum up the visual presentation. "Do you hear something?" covers the audio, and "What the hell did I rent this for?" will most likely describe your overall feeling after dragging yourself through five minutes of this. Hang up the ninja suit- this sucks.

Bandai Gaming News
Video Game Newsletter
Bandai America, Inc.
Review by Todd Lintner

Oh, the infinite stupidity of Bandai Gaming News' writers will never cease to disgust me. First of all, let me establish that BGN is not a fanzine. People so negative and airheaded could not possibly be fans. They do not want to be called a fanzine anyway, so if I may be so bold, I will think up a new name for this ass-kissing, pseudo-fan type of newsletter. Let me call it a "corpzine", a word that should be in the vocabulary of electronic gaming fandom, if it isn't already. Sega Visions and Nintendo Power could also fall under this category by definition, but they don't go out of their way to bash 'zines and fan-eds. What it is is a bunch of obnoxious jerks, all employed by Bandai as game testers or the like (nothing against game testers) to further spread the propaganda of the dying Nintendo dynasty to unenlightened youth. I wouldn't go so far as to call them Nazis, but they're close in principle. As for the material, well, it definitely doesn't "kick ass!"

by Todd Lintner

As you probably already know, putting down the competition is a favorite subject here at MASTERminds. This month I will offer an essay on the future of the Turbografx-16, and no doubt many of my biases will shine through (I, Segaphile). Actually, the masses should accept my word as gospel truth because, as anyone can tell you, I am the voice of reason, biases or no biases. Look at Lance Rice. He wanted so badly for the Turbo to make it, because he knew the PC Engine had the stuff to beat or seriously challenge the Genesis in those early days. But NEC brought few of those incredible Japanese games over, settling for mediocre titles such as China Warrior, Pac-Land, Drop Off, and many others. Even after Lance announced that he was fed up with NEC and shifting the focus of The Subversive Sprite over to the Mega Drive/Genesis, he still covered the PC Engine/Turbografx-16 and had tremendous faith that NEC would come through. Alas, they never did, and wisely gave control of the Turbo titles over to TTi, a company formed with NEC and Hudson Soft's help. Because of this, we are now seeing Hudsom titles coming to the United States more, such as a new Adventure Island and Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu. But the question on everyone's mind is: Is this too little, too late?

Sadly, the answer to that question may be "yes". With the Super NES and Genesis fighting each other for first place, the Turbo will get few new buyers; even though the prices on the base unit, CD player, and Turbo Express have been slashed, Sega and Nintendo have all the big licensees and third parties, not to mention Sonic and Mario, who can be brought back for countless more adventures. The only people who will buy the basic Turbografx unit will be young, uninformed buyers. Unfortunately for TTi, Nintendo has already snapped most of them up. And then there are the people who just like playing video games occasionally, and don'y want to spend $300 on a CD-ROM. So they might go for the Turbo, if their ads infiltrate the boob tube more; the cheapies don't read gaming mags. An even bigger obstacle that TTI has to face in order to reel in these soft-core gamers is the stereotype that the media and culture have about video games. When video games appear on sitcoms or whatever (they rarely do), it's always Nintendo, Nintendo, Nintendo. Never a mention of Sega, let alone TTi. To a certain extent, this has affected the sales figures of the Genesis as well. But Sega always has those legions of die-hards who bought their Master System, as well as well-informed gamers who read the magazines.

No, what really counts now is the games. Most of the Turbografx owners bought their system back when it looked like things could go either way. All those promises and glowing coverage in Video Games and Computer Entertainment looked like a sure thing. I suspect that most of these gamers do not currently possess the CD, and if they do, it would be because of the price cuts and lack of card games. As of now, the Turbo CD has only sixteen games (counting Magical Dinosaur Tour), years after it went on the market. Sega's CD system debuts in the fall, with twenty CDs due by year's end [HA!!!!]. Now it looks like if Turbo owners want games, they'll have to buy the CD-ROM and Super CD enhancement. Even then, most of the games are high-powered shooters, with no big third-parties and no identifiable games, except for Populous and Sim Earth, games most people have already played extensively and have tired of. Although I may sound callous and gloatful, I feel for you Turbo players, I really do. After all, I bought a Master System.

Neutopia and Dungeon Explorer are back with sequels, if only to generate some excitement in the Turbografx camp, with little, if any, improvements or innovation. Bonk is also back, in three different games: a stupid RPG, an interesting shooter, and the true sequel, in which the only real improvement is the ability to shrink and enlarge the title character. Sega is looking better every minute, with their CD-ROM backed by biggies such as Sierra and JVC. The Sega CD has hot licensed properties, hot original games, and hot computer translations. What is TTi going to put out for their Super CD and TurboDuo? A glut of no name shooters, a couple RPGs, and not much else. ICOM, the only American publisher making games for the Turbo, has Ghost Manor, which I don't have really high hopes for. TTi is, however, finally bringing out Syubibinman 2, also known as Overhauled Man 2 (which might become Keith Courage 2). The Duo is a good machine with some good software, not to mention a great price, but Sega has great US computer publishers and their own wiz programmers to back them up.

However, consider this: In a letter dated January 12th, 1991, Lance Rice told me of some great games coming out for the Turbografx-16 in 1991. One of them, Silent Debuggers, came out, but some never were released, including the cool sounding Cyborg 297 and Super Big Strategy, and the rest were delayed until 1992. If TTi does the same with their releases, goodbye Turbo!


MASTERminds, as usual, was very good. I love the cover!!! Assuming I don't get anything better (which I won't, unless I use one of my own) I'm gonna give it "cover of the month" in Fantazine #3; that is, unless you object. Once again, MASTERminds proved to be one of the few 'zines I can actually read all the way through without getting bored.

Hey, I sweated blood for those "wuss codes" for Flashback before any of the mags. Did Game Informer really run them before I did? I wouldn't know; I use GI as toilet paper. I did beat EGM to the punch with them, though, and if you really beat that game on Expert (I'm on Earth right now, and I've destroyed my controllers out of frustration with that difficulty level) then I'm impressed.

Also, thanks for the second slam on Chad Okada! I love it! The way the Neo-Geo's going, he'll be out of a job before long anyway; maybe he'll start his own fanzine then!!!

Speaking of idiots, I've heard that Aaron Buckner's gonna start another 'zine up this summer. As the founder of T.H.W.A.R.T. (Totally Humiliate and Wreck Aaron's Reestablishment Tactics), I urge you to avoid his new 'zine like the plague. This asshole has my money, as well as several others', and never gave any of it back when Mindstorm bit it. Unless he sends out a lot of free 'zines, I don't want him around.

Anyway, keep up the great work with Mm. See 'ya!

Pat Reynolds
Grand Rapids, MI

Thanks for the cover accolades. Everybody liked it, but Sean thought it would have enhanced the whole issue if it wasn't for that asterisk. I do regret putting it there now. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but I know now it was a simple case of wussing out. It's not like MASTERminds is available on newsstands where innocent young eyes could see it.

I didn't think Flashback was that hard in Expert mode. Just take your time, remembering to backtrack for recharge and save stations. I'll admit, the Earth stages is probably the hardest. What sucks (besides Primus, KMFDM, and the Bosstones) is that the endings are identical to those of the other skill levels.

There seems to be a lot of animosity toward Buckner in fandom. While I don't know if Aaron deliberately took your money, there is other shit he's done to hate him for. But as for money, even Lance Rice still has my $1.25 that I sent him days before reading of his (temporary) retirement in CyberBeat, and I know it wasn't done out of malice. Still, T.H.W.A.R.T. will get a lot of support if you promote it to the right fan-eds (Ulrich and Sean, to name a few). Good luck.


Great cover! That oughta assure you coverage in Fandom Central and Fandango!

RE: Ed Sez... the threat of legal action toward 'zines is a bit frightening. Chad Okada seemed okay until the GameLord thingie- as Pat pointed out, there is no indication of a copyright on Okada's nom de plume, so that came down to a case of basic bullying on his part. GamePro is full of pricks if they couldn't see Paradox #2 as a joke. I guess after all the smiley faces, they had to show somebody that they're serious. I hear that Nathan Hauke of the Video Game Revolution has been chastised/threatened by the big N over things he's said, and I've heard of a 'zine threatening another, in the legal sense, over similar names. Disturbing. And in Electronic Games #10, Arnie Katz warns of the fine line between freedom of speech and slander. Hmm, yes- when do opinions become attacks? Another fan-ed was told that a statement he printed to the effect of "T*HQ Games Suck" could get him sued for slander. What?! That's his opinion (and that of many others too... perhaps we should take a poll and mail them the results?). All this is disturbing.

I'm glad you liked the logo idea. I asked Pat to hide my name in it, but he'd already finished it. Bummer!

It figures! I leave Mad Town and they start playing Bob and The Church of the SubGenius. That could have been my route to Enlightenment and Slack. Guess I'll have to rent the video someday.

I sent Dorkin a couple addresses to help with his Ranma 1/2 plea. I hope they pan out for him. I'd love to see a Milk and Cheese game.

Is Los Tres Cerditos revenge for my using Japanese in my last letter? And isn't "Besame el posterior, tu lobo loco" "kiss my ass you crazy wolf?" You've been eating salsa on your Green Jelly again, haven't you?

As to the presence of Transbot and others on the Brit charts, I think I can explain. In the UK, games are more expensive than they are here, and those old games are much, much cheaper and get bought out.

Hey, could you get me a copy of Cyberbeat? I never quite got a copy, so I'll take you up on your offer from the review of issue three (I wouldn't send your original out- you might not get it back, and you know how the post office can be).

I've only heard a little Bosstones (like One Day) [I assume you're talking about Someday I Suppose, the song they liked so much it appeared on two consecutive releases- fastidious ed.], but they do a great cover of Metallica's Enter Sandman. Shorter, faster, and fun as hell. Ten points to anyone who can tell me what he's mumbling in the bridge (where Metallica did "now I lay me down to sleep..."). I know it's an old song, but I can't hear or place it at all.

I think Dimples' cold has affected his clairvoyance- it is not EG fandom that will eat itself, but pop. Do I get a prize for recognizing the reference? Have I missed any yet? [Yes! But I'll wait until my full-length reply to elaborate- interjecting ed.]

Anyway, before I close, I'd like to say that I don't like the looks of the Genesis 2 and Sega CD 2. Blah! I don't know why it seemed important enough to say that, though.

So, let me know about those games (like I said, I may buy others later, so keep me informed as to which are still around). Happy editing!

Russ Perry, Jr.
Omro, WI

I guess even a multimedia guy like yourself can't catch every obscure reference that finds its way into my discertations. The whole prefunctory material for Dimples last issue was a play on a line from T.S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land". It was my attempt to be "Gothic". And my Bosstones review was to fashionably tie me in with Evan Dorkin. See, everything I do in this 'zine, including all those references, is a calculated attempt to make myself look much more cool than I really am.

And will you shut up about the Milk and Cheese game?! I don't send this 'zine to anyone at Sega, so the only thing for you to do is to write them yourself. I encourage all of you to do so.

Some of you crazies have asked about my Los Tres Cerditos. In actuality, it was a project for my Spanish 3 class. We had to act it out on videotape, too, and I'm sorry to say I don't have the tape. My rendition of the first pig was on par with the best of Olivier, to be sure.

Everybody's been clamoring to hit upon my cache of CyberBeats. I only have issues three and five, people. Nevertheless, I'll play the good Samaritan and dole out copies to all that asked for them.

As for the Bosstones, I only have three of their releases (Don't Know How To Party, Devil's Night Out, and the Ska-Core EP), none of which contain Enter Sandman, so I can't help you. BUT... a friend who volunteered to man the phones at a recent WORT fund drive rummaged through their record library and found the disc that Enter Sandman was on. We later found the EP, but only on CD, and I haven't evolved to the CD age yet. It doesn't have the song listed on the outside cover, but he assures me it's on the disc. I have also seem their other full-length album, More Noise and Other Disturbances, but again, it's only on CD.

And incidently, I think the new Genesis and Sega CD look fine, especially if they reduce the price of the systems. Whether the Sega CD is still worth buying is another question entirely.

by Todd Lintner

Holy Cthulhu, Batman! I thought that EG fandom was a forum for opinions, friendly jibes, and a devil-may-care attitude! Now we have lawyers and corporate lackeys perusing the genre, giving out games and threatening legal action!

It's called the carrot and stick, Robin. It's relatively cheap to get good publicity with free games and a modicum of cooperation with the little sniveling, purblind snots who publish their rags. They suck up like there's no tomorrow when the slightest hint of free software is in the air. For those who continue to malign the industry, a tersely written letter threatening legal action will invariably quiet them down.

Holy Shiite, Batman! I wrote that T*HQ doesn't deserve to have a "Nintendo Seal of Quality"!

You had better hope that no one saw that, Robin. That was slander, pure and simple. By the way, did you protect the copyrights by using the appropriate symbol following the names Nintendo and T*HQ, with a note at the bottom of the page describing their significance?

(Gulp!) No, Batman.

Quickly... take the Batcopter and fly it to Argentina. They do not have an extradition treaty with the United States, so you should be safe there for awhile. Be sure to change your name, and be on the lookout for assassins.

by Todd Lintner

In an internal memo dated October 1st, 1992, Sega of America officials discussed the possibility of using a ritual sacrifice to guarantee success during the holiday season. Despite their $35 million advertising campaign, Sega officials felt an additional "punch" was needed to overcome to forces of Nintendo. Besides a sacrifice, other forms of appeasing the gods were mentioned, such as smearing goat dung on top officials and parading them through the streets, and binding a young secretary to a rock and throwing her into the Pacific.

It was later decided that sacrifice would benefit Sega the most. In a public statement, Sega of America officials declared, "Our studies have shown that human sacrifice is more effective in getting favors from gods than, say, throwing a young lass into a volcano." Now that the method to be used has been decided, a candidate needed to be chosen. Another memo was circulated in Sega of America, this one offering a pyramid to be built in the honor of the person if he/she would volunteer for the duty as sacrificee. As of press time, there have been no takers.

In the case that a volunteer had not been found by midnight, November 1st, Sega officials have worked out a backup plan that calls for Sega game characters to draw lots. An unbelievable as it may seem, Sega is so desperate for a decent sacrifice that they are delving into their vast array of game characters. MASTERminds has learned that Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, Toe Jam, and Earl are exempt from the lottery. MASTERminds has also learned, contrary to published reports, that the lottery has already been held and the unlucky winner was none other than Alex Kidd.

Sega's legal department has already drawn up a will for 'ol Big Ears, leaving the bulk of his estate to Sega Enterprises, and the rest, consisting of a few six-packs of "Sonic Tonic" to his old pal Wonder Boy. Sega also plans to take out full page ads in the New York and Los Angeles Times, expressing their regrets while also assuring stockholders that this move will put an end to the Super Nintendo's surging popularity.

Throughout the whole ordeal, it hasn't occured to anyone to ask the Kidd himself how he feels about his impending death. No one answered at his residences in the High-Tech and Shinobi Worlds, and his phone was busy at his sprawling mansion in Miracle World. Kid Chameleon, a character who was originally planned to be called Kevin Kidd, and therefore a distant cousin, said that Alex was feeling "real crappy" and that he is beginning to look forward to that fateful day.

His mother and father confirm that their only son isn't that happy-go-lucky spud that he once was. After the disappointing sales of his only Genesis outing, Alex put on thirty pounds and started chain-smoking. He slimmed down for what was to be his comeback, Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, but gained it all back and then some when Sega introduced Sonic the Hedgehog as their new mascot. Since then, he has been a recluse in Segaland, coming out only to practice his Janken at the local pub on Friday nights.

Meanwhile, Sega officials have finalized their plans, including which god to sacrifice to. Originally, it was to be Zeus, but negotiations broke down after he lost his temper and hurled a lightning bolt at Al Nilsen, singing his eyebrows off. Now, it is the eternally popular Goat God who will receive Alex's reeking carcass. The official executioner will be none other than Tom Kalinske, president and CEO of Sega of America. He will use an ancient Nordic axe to detach Alex's head from his body, most probably just below the medulla. After some unintelligible incantations, the axe will fall and Nintendo will cease to exist.

by Todd Lintner

In a news release that has shocked artists worldwide, the Vatican formally announced that Michelangelo's famous ceiling painting in the Sistine Chapel has got to go. In a statement dated 11/11/92, Pope Paul II announced that after much consideration, he was having the ceiling repainted. Knowing the questions that would pop up from art critics the world over, the Pope said simply, "Michelangelo, although he may have been an artistic genius, was a big, fat fairy." The search for a painter, it seems, started late last year. The Pope knew it was getting old, and to appeal to "young people", started reviewing popular media. Unfortunately, all the materials reviewed were deemed pornographic, and let to the crucifixion of twenty members of the media elite and the hobbling of five others. Seeing that that venue was closed to him, the Pope started looking at each individual case, out of fifty prospective artists that had been recommended to him by the papal counsel. After enough probing, there were enough skeletons found in their prospective closets to warrant the excommunication of all of them; half were later drawn and quartered. His Holiness was just about to say to Hell with it when a dinky, torn American newsletter arrived on His desk.

To keep the identity of all concerned a secret, the Pope is not releasing the name of the newsletter. The only thing that has come from the Papal offices in Vatican City is the scale drawing and a photo of a handsome young lad.

"As soon as His Holiness saw the drawing, he knew it was the work of an angel. Sainthood may not be all that far away for this lucky young man," an unnamed papal official has said.

Work on the painting is said to take place as soon as the young man graduates from high school. In gratitude, the Vatican is lavishing gifts upon him, not the least of which is a programming spot at Sega, and an opportunity to become the next big mascot after Sonic.

Art critics around the world were cynical after hearing of a painting that would unseat Micelangelo, but after seeing the rough sketch, became ecstatic.

"It's the work of a master. Look at the delicate strokes, and poignancy of the POWER HOUSE GYM caption. I hear he will embellish further, and I can hardly wait!" Gerrand Gerron, curator of the New York Museum of Art, was quoted as saying.

Papal officials confirmed that rumor yesterday at a press conference, saying that the youth was commissioned to add "an extra something" to his work. In an exclusive phone interview with the Pope, MASTERminds was able to divine that the "extra something" would be none other than a caricature of a bloody Sinead O'Connor, positioned to the right of the fearless fighter, so it would look like "he had just kicked her ass," in the words of the Pope.

Tons of paint and painting supplies are being stored in nearby Vatican paintings, awaiting the day they will be lavished across the small ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Originally, the youth was supposed to only paint the ceiling, but he may paint over Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment," which hangs over the altar. It is 60' by 30', and took Michelangelo years to paint, but it may be painted over anyway because, in the words of one papal official, "As long as we have him here, why not have him paint the altar wall, too?"

Yes, the future is looking good for a certain young man. In a seperate yet interesting announcement, the Pope said he was sending a Crusade to kill certain members of the newsletter in which the youth first appeared.

by Billy Ray

Sci-Fi Round-Up

Sci-fi and anime' go together like Milk and Cheese, so it was only a matter of time before the Sci-Fi Channel got around to showing some. Sure enough, on June 19th and 20th, they broadcast three full-length movies that are normally distributed by Streamline Pictures: Robot Carnival, Lensman, and Vampire Hunter D. For those of you unfortunate enough to not have cable (or anyone who just wasn't paying attention), here's a recap.

Robot Carnival

For this 1991 animated masterpiece, nine well-known Japanese animation directors, including Katsuhiro (Akira) Otomo, joined forces to produce nine unrelated segments ("vignettes," if you will) that explore variations on the theme of robots. I think the animators accomplished what they set out to do, but the question is: Why would they want to do this?

Almost all of the segments are very well animated and have nice music and sound, but even though they shine in that respect, in a way they lack a lot of needed substance. In fact, the stories are so subtle, most of the segments don't even have any dialog (easy translating, huh, Streamline?).

The absolute low point is the piece entitled "Cloud", which is completely abstract and artsy-fartsy, but this is made up for with "A Tale of Two Robots", which shows what giant mech combat would be like in 19th century Japan, complete with humorous dialog. Similarly, some of the better segments balance out the impression given by the overall collection.

I suppose it's a good thing the Sci-Fi dudes showed this one, because I wouldn't want to have intentionally spent my yen to see it. Of course, it probably appealed to some people, but I say if you want to see animated vignettes, go see Fantasia. I don't believe it... a Disney plug in Anime Theatre! Hurry up and spin-on to Lensman!

Lensman (ah, much better!)

In the far future, a war rages between the evil Boskone Empire and the Galactic Patrol which includes the Lensman, elite warriors with specially powered lenses bonded to their hands. The story involves Kimball Kinnison, a young man from a farm planet seeking adventure and finding it in a big way when a dying Lensman somehow manages to transfer his lens to Kim. Kim is assisted by Buzkirk, his half-bison alien friend; Galactic Patrol agent and nurse Chris MacDougal; Worsel, a winged, lizard-like alien Lensman; and several other colorful characters throughout the movie's many fight scenes, chase scenes, and riots in various futuristic locales. The movie is rather long, and to tell the truth, the plot here is pretty straightforward, too, but hey, it's got some of the same elements that made Star Wars a hit, so it is indeed entertaining. Computer animation supplements the regular animation (which is no slouch to begin with).

Incidentially, three Lensman comic book series were produced by Eternity a few years ago. One, subtitled "The Secret of the Lens", is an adaptation of the movie with greatly altered story content. Another, "War of the Galaxies", adapted the 24 episode TV series which itself was imported by Harmony Gold Productions in 1989. The third, "Galactic Patrol", is more or less original material and ties into "The Secret of the Lens".

Vampire Hunter D

Gratuitous sex and violence! Enough blood and gore to make Mortal Kombat look like a wussie game! Not only is this the undisputed best film of these three, but also one of my all-time faves. In the year 12090, the harsh rule of the vampire, Count Magnus Lee, is challenged by the strongest vampire hunter of them all, the mysterious "D" (it stands for something significant). Many secrets are revealed about D as he carries out his mission to protect the shapely yet tough country girl, Doring Lang (what a name! Which way to Metropolis?) by hacking the Count's gruesome minions into bits of gooey monster meat in gaudy technicolor.

The funny thing, though, is that the Sci-Fi Channel editors didn't touch the blood spurting, brain exploding, amputations, flesh shredding, maggot spewing, horse eating, knife in the eyeball, or any of the other thousand of graphic examples of senseless death and destruction, but they did censor three very inoffensive (at least, I think so) cases of nudity, and one "bad word". Just what kind of uptight, half-baked value system are we using here? Well anyway, I guess what they didn't edit is more important than what the did edit ('cause there wouldn't BE any movie left if they took out the violence!).

A final note: Since all three films were imported by Streamline, they are naturally not subtitled, but instead were dubbed by Streamline's usual cast of voice actors (listen for familiar voices from Zillion). I agree that subtitling is the way to go, but as usual, Steamline has done a good job, so don't worry about it too much.


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