Thursday, 16 February 2017

Cover-Art: PC Engine - Part 4

Oops, it looks as though chastising myself last time I did one of these posts ended up doing little good, it's been nearly as long between posts as it was that time! Oh well, never mind. This will (probably) be my final look at the often-amusingly differing standard of PC Engine/TurboGrafx cover art anyway, partly because four posts offers a fairly comprehensive overview of the subject, but also because it seems there just isn't that many TG16 games (and resultant covers) for me to mock! So behold, here is (probably) my last selection of fine(?) PC Engine covers:

Neutopia (1990)

The Engine might not have been home to quite as many RPG's as its contemporaries but it did have Neutopia, and it was pretty cool too! Both of its regional covers are successful in indicating its genre but, unusually, I think I actually prefer the US version featuring a brave knight shielding himself from a ferocious dragon's fiery belch. It may not be 100% game-accurate but it would certainly be more likely to catch my eye in a game store than the rather dreary Japanese effort. It has a cool logo, I can't argue that point, and the hero is probably quite accurate (although he has brown hair in the game), but it's dark and murky image of a generic knight does little to capture my imagination... (full review here)

Be Ball / Chew Man Fu (1990)

I'd never even heard of this game until a couple of years ago so if I'd stumbled upon it in a game store prior to that, I'd have had no idea what sort of game it is. Both covers feature balls - something that's also covered by the Japanese version's name - so I guess a puzzle game would've seemed likely, and that is more or less correct. The cover that greeted our Far Eastern friends far better represents the gameplay though, which involves pushing (or pulling) large balls around various mazes. It features the heroine, various enemies, and even the walls are indicative of each world's theme. The US version has none of this so the winner is clear, but it does still look pretty eye-catching so I guess it's not a total loss! (full review here)

Soldier Blade (1992)

It's a source of much anguish (and embarrassment) for me that I still haven't gotten around to playing this stonking shooter properly yet. It's widely regarded as one of the best around, but I can't say the same for it's lacklustre cover art which shows a close-up of the ship you play through the game as against a cloudy backdrop with an evil enemy poking its eye out from beneath one of the white puffers. Amazingly it's more or less the same for Japanese and US versions (probably not a good candidate for this feature then - oops!). The latter is better defined but the former has a better font/logo so I guess this one's a draw...

Raiden (1991)

This influential vertical-scroller has been ported to a number of systems in its day and this Engine version is as good as any of them. It's covers are pretty different too, but I'm not overly enamoured by either to be honest. The Japanese one is eye-catching with its nice orange sunset but features a generic-looking jet fighter which doesn't match the red (or blue) one from the game (though is does cunningly bear the game's logo!) and little else, while the US one is much more accurate with its red fighter flying over ships and stuff, all set to take on the approaching enemy craft, but there's just something about the art style I don't like. It does have a sizeable version of the cool Raiden logo emblazonment across the top though, so thanks to that it edges it for me! (arcade version reviewed here)

Deep Blue (1989)

Gah, I reviewed this pesky game a while back which I quickly realised is among the Engine's weakest titles. It's a shame too, it has a decent premise and looked nice from screenshots. Both covers do a pretty good job of demonstrating what kind of game it is as well; namely, in case you haven't played it, a horizontal shooter set underwater amongst all manner of fish and sea beasties. The US version is probably slightly more accurate but also less splendid in terms of artistic quality so I'll still go for the Japanese effort which must've looked pretty appealing on store shelves. What a shock those poor Japanese gamers must've gotten... (full review here)



  1. And many, many more of those cute arts with anime girls changed into something else.
    Or even worse: I am a big fan of Mashin Hero Wataru series (we were "made" in the same year, and I have model kits from this series that are older than most of "new wave retro gamers" that I know) but the Keith Courage in Alpha Zones makes me really, really sad as a living being (still the game itself looks just the same).

    As always I am impressed by your fine and refined taste
    Thank you for your great post

    1. Many thanks kind sir :) I know what you mean, Westernised versions of games are almost always horrifyingly bad compared to the Japanese originals. One example that makes me sad is the wonderful Magical Flying Hat Turbo Adventure which was turned into Decapattack for the Western market. Boo hoo :(