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  • Shadowrun (Super Nintendo)

    The City. Shadowrun (1994) SNES


    Shadowrun for the Super Nintendo is an adaptation of the pen and paper RPG of the same name and is based on the first novel in the Shadowrun universe. Shadowrun is interesting because it combines fantasy with a near future cyberpunk environment. I would say that this game is underrated but that isn’t quite right. This game was highly rated but didn’t sell all that well. This was more due to what the demand was predicted to be and how many units were shipped vs actual poor demand.

    Shadowrun is an action RPG and is played from an isometric point of view. The cyberpunk elements are definitely influenced by William Gibson’s Neuromancer but magic exists in this world also. There was also a Genesis adaptation but it was not a port. Though it was also an action RPG based on the same story, it was developed by a different company and is quite a different game.

    If you want to play the original SNES version, you’ll have to track down an original (and they can be quite expensive) or use the miracle of emulation. The good news is that there have been a few sequels that were released much later, the first of which was a 2012 Kickstarter effort titled Shadowrun Returns. It ties together the stories of the original Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games. These games are tactical turn based RPGs which is a better way to go as far as I’m concerned. There was also a 2007 first person shooter based on this franchise for the Xbox 360 and Windows. The RPGs are much better though.

    At any rate, though the Super NES original is a little better than the Genesis version, both are worth playing. Whether you like RPGs, cyberpunk and/or fantasy, these games have something you will probably enjoy.

  • Tecmo NBA Basketball


    Source: Electronic Gaming Monthly – May 1993

    I’ve never been a really big sports fan when it comes to video games with a few exceptions. I always enjoyed Winter Games and Summer Games on the Commodore 64 as well as the original Tecmo Bowl on the NES. While Tecmo Bowl was probably Tecmo’s most famous sports games, it made several others as well including Tecmo NBA Basketball and Tecmo Super NBA Basketball. The first was for the original NES while the second was for the Super Nintendo. The NES version was released in late 1992 while the Super Nintendo version was released in early 1993. A Sega Genesis port of Tecmo Super NBA Basketball would follow a year later.

    Tecmo NBA Basketball (NES)

    If you were looking for a basketball game in that era, this was a pretty good one. Both the 8-bit a 16-bit versions offered mostly the same features with the 16-bit versions obviously having better graphics and sound. These were the first basketball games to have licenses from both the NBA and the NBPA players unions (though the Intellivison game NBA Basketball had an NBA license in 1980). Tecmo Super NBA Basketball featured all 27 teams from that time (1993) and over 320 real players. For the time, this was a very comprehensive game and definitely the one to have if you were looking for real teams and players.

    Tecmo Super NBA Basketball (Super NES)

    You’ll have to track down originals if you want to play this one (or use emulation). Old sports games, particularly licensed ones, rarely get re-released. One of the 16-bit versions is best but if you are an NES fan then that one is ok too. I think I’ll stick with Tecmo Bowl though.

    The ad above is from the May 1993 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly.

  • Breath of Fire (Super Nintendo, GBA)



    Source: Nintendo Power Advance, Issue Number 3

    Breath of Fire is a role playing game that was developed by Capcom. The English translation and localization was handled by Square Soft and the game was released in North America in 1994. Breath of Fire is a typical example of a Japanese RPG from the 16-bit era.

    Like most RPGs, Breath of Fire is fantasy based. You play the role of a boy named Ryu who is one of the last of an ancient race of beings that can transform into dragons. He has misplaced his sister and is searching the world for her. Along the way you will fight many battles (thankfully turn based) and meet up with others with similar quests.

    While originally developed for the SNES, Breath of Fire was also released for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. This version was almost identical to the SNES original. It had some minor graphical improvements but the biggest practical change was that you could save anywhere instead of only at certain places.

    Breath of Fire received generally positive reviews and ultimately spawned numerous sequels on various systems. In addition to the Game Boy Advance port, Breath of Fire was also re-released via the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2016. If you want an original copy, you’ll probably have to pay a fairly high price…something close to original retail for a used copy anyway. Emulation, as always, is an option too.

    The image at the top is the intro to the strategy guide in issue number 3 of Nintendo Power Advance for the Game Boy Advance version of the game. Other images are screen shots from the Super Nintendo version.