Five favorites: HuCard cover art

Hundreds of games were released during the PC Engine’s lifetime, so it’s no simple task to come up with a list of the system’s best HuCard cover (or box) art.

As a result, it took more than a bit of hemming and hawing before I was able to settle on my five favorites:

Hany in the Sky (Face, 1989)–It could be argued that one of Face’s other bizarro releases, Hany on the Road, is just as deserving of a place on this list, but I went with Hany in the Sky because of its daring use of color–you don’t often see pink and teal box art–and its abstract nature.

Makyo Densetsu (Victor Musical Industries, 1988)–Don’t hold the following admission against me: I’ve never been a big fan of this game, better known as Legendary Axe in North America. I am a big fan of the game’s box art, though, in part because it brings to mind classics like Castlevania, Golden Axe and The Legend of Zelda.

PC Genjin (Hudson Soft/Red, 1989)–This piece of cover art is the polar opposite of the one above. Whereas Makyo Densetsu‘s cover art is dark and moody, PC Genjin‘s is bright, cheerful and, well, cute. (I especially like the blue dino in the background.) That’s not the only reason this game’s cover art is among my favorites, though; I’m also a big fan of its mixed-media sheen, for instance.

Parasol Stars (Taito, 1991)–Well, this particular piece of box art sure is colorful, isn’t it? It’s also more than a bit busy. Still, I like it. A lot. Not only does it do a great job of mirroring the game’s content, but it does so using a rather groovy and retro-tastic style.

War of the Dead (Victor Musical Industries, 1989)–I’ve never played this game, so I don’t know if it’s great or if it’s crap, but I want to play it regardless simply because of its cover art–which reminds me, in more ways than one, of some sort of long-lost Resident Evil spin-off (or maybe knock-off?). I think that about says it all, don’t you think?

Contenders: Columns, Deep Blue, Dungeon ExplorerGekisha Boy, Kato & Ken Chan, The Kung Fu and Power League.

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9 responses to “Five favorites: HuCard cover art

  1. Not a big fan of Legendary Axe? Darn right I hold that against you! 😉

    Seriously though, nice choices. I get the same “long lost RE spin-off” feeling from the War of the Dead cover as you do. I have that game but haven’t had a chance to play it yet. One of my Duomazov bros (Duomitri) has a review of it posted on GameFAQs.

    I’ll think on this for a bit and then post my own selections. Question: Should I restrict my choices to Japanese HuCard releases?

  2. Don’t get me wrong, IvaNEC–I like the gameplay of Legendary Axe well enough. I just don’t really like its graphics. Still, maybe I’ll pick up a copy of the Japanese version at some point and give it another try.

    I can’t wait to read your eventual review of War of the Dead, by the way. I’ve long been curious about it, but I haven’t picked it up yet because I’m worried it’ll be difficult to conquer without a grasp of Japanese.

    Finally, thanks for posting your own selections. I can’t wait to see what you choose! Oh, and I’d say feel free to include both Japanese and North American releases on your list, if you feel like it. I honestly couldn’t think of any NA HuCard cover art that deserved a spot on the list, but maybe I forgot about one or two non-stinkers 🙂

    I may include one or two NA box arts on my next list, though — which will focus on my five favorite CD cover art.

  3. I like how the NA artwork for Legendary Axe is basically the exact same picture, just redrawn to look a little less cool. (And the game itself is only so-so).

    Interesting comment on the War of the Dead art. It does look like Resident Evil!

  4. Your post prompted me to check out Legendary Axe’s cover, as it’s been a looooong time since I’ve looked at it. You know what? It looks better than I remember it looking! Yes, it’s not as nice as Makyo Densetsu’s cover art, but it’s still pretty cool — especially as far as TurboGrafx-16 cover art goes!

  5. Pingback: Five favorites: CD cover art | i was a teenage pc engine fan

  6. I think I’ll do up a feature on cover art for Duomazov sometime, to give credit to my favorites and to try to articulate why they are my favorites, among other things. I have added this to my ever-growing list of article ideas.

    While trying to determine my five favorite HuCard covers, it occurred to me that there is actually a decent amount of “acceptable” US art. Many of the covers are simplistic, some are goofy, but the number of massive disasters isn’t quite as high as people often make it out to be. Granted, there are more laughably awful US pieces than JPN ones. But on the other side of things, there weren’t all that many masterworks in the annals of JPN HuCard art, either. (CD art is another story…)

    Anyway, my five favorites that I can think of right now are Shubibinman 2, Double Dungeons (US), Columns, Hany on the Road, and The Legendary Axe (US). Chikudenya Toubee was the contender that came closest to making it. Looks like we both think pretty highly of Columns and just went in slightly different directions with the Hany and Axe choices. 🙂

  7. Well, I certainly hope you get around to writing up that feature at some point. I’d be all over it, of course 🙂

    As for the NA box art not being as bad as it’s often made out to be … well, I agree to a point. I actually think most of it is *horrible*, but I definitely do not like the art style that’s most often used. The style seemed to give most of the TG-16 box arts a “cartoony” feel that I think cheapened a lot of them.

    That said, there are a few gems, in my opinion. Legendary Axe and Monster Lair are two examples, although I know there’s more.

    You know what’s funny (to me) about my love of the Columns cover art? I don’t really like the game, but I want to buy it at some point just because I like the cover art.

    One more thing before I say adieu: I had never heard of Chikudenya Toubee before you mentioned it in your comment — probably because it is a digital comic. Now that I know about it, though, I agree that it should be a contender for “best HuCard cover art.” For some reason, it gives me a strong Castlevania vibe (which always is a good thing) …

  8. Oh, a lot of the US pieces definitely have a cheap and cartoony feel about them. The decision-makers certainly didn’t do themselves any favors with that style. But I don’t find the whole lot of them revolting. There are some gruesome ones, but there are quite a few that are just basic and bright and not a great deal worse than simple JPN HuCard covers that people inexplicably find “charming” or “atmospheric.” And, thankfully, they gradually got away from that basic cartoonishness as time went on; there are plenty of US covers that don’t display that style.

  9. Yeah, I guess some of us (me, not you) are maybe too hard on TG-16 box art in general. Also, you’re right that later releases were *much* better than earlier ones.

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