While this is the 27th issue of Nintendo Power, it is the third of the first three articles I have posted to this section. I don't think I ever had a physical copy of this magazine, but it is August 1991, Volume 27, list price $3.50 US, Canada $4.50 (initially--probably higher now, even without inflation). It's from a bygone era of Nintendo Power, not just the layout with the NES days and mascot Nester and all that, it's the days when the cover was often photographed with models or clay.

The cover feature is Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (not "Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge"), Mega Man's first outing on the Game Boy (and by extension, all handhelds). One of the features of early Nintendo Power magazines is "Powerline", which is a brief preview of the magazine you'll be reading.

As it is August 1991, it is the dawn of the Super NES, which would mean the ultimate demise of the original NES and take up more and more of its space, eventually vanishing by the mid-1990s. Already the NES had to share its space with the Game Boy, and that would continue on for the next 15 years (approximately) with its backward-compatible successors. Starting off, we have Player's Pulse, then goes straight into the first big feature, Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (here called "Ninja Gaiden Episode III") with 12 pages covering all seven areas with some small, drawn maps. (That was probably pretty much all they had). If some of these features were just a little longer and more detailed, they could make an entire strategy guide.

You can of course find the actual game rips on VGMaps.com, but I wonder where the original drawn and colored version of this is.

Next, already by this point, "Howard & Nester" has given way to the Howard-less "Nester's Adventures" with different artwork, the featured game being Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for the Nintendo Entertainment System...unfortunately, despite it already getting a cover issue for Volume 26's cover, it still wouldn't ultimately release until November.

After four pages of "Classified Information" (tips and tricks for various games), the magazine has a 14-page on Dragon Warrior III which we now refer to as Dragon Quest III following the unification of the names in the mid-2000s (trademark conflict). Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior was Enix's counterpart to Square's Final Fantasy and it seems a little strange in retrospect that they had the first four Dragon Quest games on the NES while skipping three Final Fantasy games for localization, meanwhile, Dragon Quest went dormant in the West for about a decade. "NES Achievers" followed the Dragon Warrior III section, there was a section on Darkman, a poster for Star Wars, and finally...a special feature on Game Boy games, of which Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Adventure got just six pages and had to co-star with Final Fantasy Legend II (eight pages...FFLII was actually the second game of the SaGa series), two pages of Days of Thunder (racing game), a special "Game Boy Classified" page, a special "Now Playing" section for the Game Boy (no reviews, just a chart): Bill & Ted's Excellent Game Boy Adventure, Bill Elliot's NASCAR Fast Track, the Data East port of Crystal Quest, Days of Thunder, Fastest Lap, Final Fantasy Legend II, the Game Boy version of Klax, Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (again, called "Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge"), Mr. Do!, and The Punisher. None of these got particularly stellar reviews, not even the ones reviewed in the section which scored a little better.

Don't be fooled. They only want you to photocopy and scribble on the paper template attached.

Every month Nintendo Power would run a sweepstakes. Typically, as I have explained this before, grand prize is some huge prize based on a game, second prize is just the game, third prize is 50 t-shirts. They didn't all follow this formula, but this month, the grand prize was "the" (possibly just "a") phone booth from the Bill & Ted movies installed in your room with a years' worth of phone bills paid for you (actually just a $1200 gift certificate for use with the phone company--likely GTE or a "Baby Bell" company). Cracked.com ran a brief article about the kid who had won the phone booth and was pictured in the magazine later that year, Kenneth Grayson, and covered a 2011 Reddit AMA where him or someone claiming to be him said that he had to buy a phone for it (though was reimbursed) and eventually put the booth in storage.

In those days, games that were covered in the magazine earlier didn't get a separate review for "Now Playing" and some just never saw anything, just a listing. So in this case, Captain Planet, Where's Waldo, Triumph, and Super Jeopardy got mini-reviews...and some didn't see anything.

Some of these were covered previously, some would never see coverage. Sorry, Big Bird.

They cover a one-page section in new non-game Nintendo merchandise you can get at "World of Nintendo" stores. They weren't stand-alone retail stores like the modern "Nintendo New York" store is, they were store-within-a-stores at big toy stores (Child World, Toys R Us) or department stores (Sears, JCPenney, Macy's).

The next section, "Top 30", would be a long-running feature of the magazine ("Power Charts" by 2005) and was a ranking of games by Nintendo Power readers, with "Newcomers" in red, "two to nine times" in green, and blue for "ten times or more". With the dawn of the Super NES (there was a preview in this issue with Super Mario World though I didn't talk about it), pretty much all the NES games that anyone cared about were already released, but the list would not match up with if you tried to collect a top 30 NES games list today. Naturally, Super Mario Bros. 3 takes the top spot, but the top five include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, Mega Man 3, Final Fantasy, and Dragon Warrior II. Many popular titles that would rank higher today either are very low (Mega Man 2 takes 13, The Legend of Zelda takes 20, its sequel takes 25, and DuckTales is 29) or don't chart at all (Castlevania and its sequel gets snubbed, as do Super Mario Bros. and Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!); meanwhile, stuff that DOES get on include Dick Tracy at #26 and The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Space Mutants at #8.

This was a combination of player polls, the "pro's choice", and sales...which explains why Dick Tracy was on the list, but it doesn't count for abysmal tastes elsewhere. If it were only players, then The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Space Mutants would've ranked even higher (5), but so would other popular games, and Castlevania, Super Mario Bros., and Punch-Out!! still get shafted.

From "Celebrity Profile", a section on a Nintendo-loving celebrity...I could think of one major drawback when it when comes to child actors in Hollywood...which almost certainly happened to Culkin.

In the "Pak Watch" section (at this point in the back), there's previews of (among others) "Zelda III" (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past), Nightshade (an obscure adventure title that was original, but highly flawed), and the notorious Bio Force Ape. Bio Force Ape was cancelled and eventually found and dumped in 2010, but not before a hoax involving a German-accented butter monster (the original thread from 2005 can be seen here though unfortunately the embedded pictures have Photobucket watermarks) made the rounds.

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