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Nintendo Power's Five Worst Reviewed Games of 1994
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 08, 2016   |   Episode 94 (Show Archive)  

The year is 1994. Jimmy and Billy Lee fought the T-1000 at the box office in Double Dragon, the Crash Test Dummies sang Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm for no reason and, sadly, Kurt Cobain committed suicide. But we're not here to bum you out with celebrity deaths, because it's time to count down Nintendo Power's five worst reviewed games of 1994.

Beethoven's 2nd
You know how the dog dies at the end of Marley & Me? Well, that didn't happen at the end of Beethoven, so instead of riding off into the sunset with one quality movie, Universal Pictures decided to milk that poor dog until it could give no more. The result was seven sequels and a television series. I'm not sure how those sequels faired, but they couldn't have been worse than Beethoven's Second by Hi-Tech Entertainment. Nintendo Power hated the "very poor animation and play controls," as well as the "lack of depth and low challenge." GamePro agreed, calling it a "dog." "The controls in this mangy side-scroller need a flea dip," they said right before giving it a 2 out of 5.
Ranma 1/2
Thanks to cable television and the internet, today's kids will never know a time when anime wasn't readily available. But that wasn't the case in 1994, when the best you could do was bootlegged VHS tapes of Dragon Ball and the occasional rerun of Speed Racer. Ranma 1/2 was one of the early attempts to bring popular anime series to the West by way of easily accessible video games. Nintendo Power was not impressed with this blatant Street Fighter II clone. They gave it a 2.3 out of 5 and concluded there's "nothing new." For what it's worth, most other magazines liked the game. The charming visuals and unique characters were enough to earn an 86% from N-Force, as well as 84% from Die Hard Game Fan, SNES Force and Game Players.
Mario's Early Years
Proving there's a first for everything; Super Mario finally makes his way onto Nintendo Power's worst reviewed list. To be fair to the chubby plumber, this game (or, rather, a trio of edutainment titles spanning letters, numbers and pre-school fun) is not part of the core Mario franchise. It's from Software Toolworks, the same company that gave us Chessmaster 2000 and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Nintendo Power complained that "such simple activities without any game play elements will become tedious even to the youngest player over a short period of time." They also hated the digitized voices. Nintendo Power gave the game a 2.1, easily the magazine's lowest scoring Mario game.
Beauty and the Beast
After seeing what Virgin and Capcom were able to do with Aladdin, Disney fans were understandably disappointed by Beauty and the Beast. This Hudson Soft side-scroller sees the titular Beast racing through a castle to find true love. It's a lot like a really clumsy version of Prince of Persia. But the solid premise wasn't enough to sway Nintendo Power. "The graphics look particularly dated," they complained. "Play control doesn't feel solid and hit detection seems off." It's a shame Nintendo Power never got a chance to review Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Quest.
Ultima: Runes of Virtue II
Having already been wowed by the incredibly well-received Game Boy game of the same name, Nintendo Power was poised to fall in love with Ultima: Runes of Virtue II on Super NES. Unfortunately, FCI did not deliver. "Poor play control makes playing this game a chore rather than the pleasure it should be," complained Nintendo Power. They hated the awkward overhead perspective and wished it looked more like The Legend of Zelda or Illusion of Gaia. Giving it a 2 out of 5, the magazine felt there were too many better action/adventure games on the market and recommended people stick with the Game Boy release.
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