Five favorites: CD cover art

For what it’s worth, coming up with a list of my five favorite pieces of PC Engine CD-ROM2 cover art was a lot harder than I thought it would be. (Also, it was a lot harder than coming up with my five favorite pieces of HuCard cover art–which I wrote about in this post.)

After much sweating, swearing and handwringing, though, I settled on the following:

Crest of Wolf (Hudson/Westone, 1993)–I tend to like cuter, more colorful imagery when it comes to cover art, but I’m making an exception in the case of this side-scrolling beat ’em up (which was called Riot Zone in North America)–mainly because of the skeleton with the bloody sickle, interestingly enough.

Gate of Thunder (Hudson/Red, 1992)–To be honest, I’m not even sure what this image is supposed to represent. Is that the “Hunting Dog” speeding toward the viewer, or is it some sort of hostile mother ship? I don’t know why I’m asking, because I’ll continue to lust after this piece of strikingly colored cover art regardless of the response.

Puyo Puyo CD (Compile/NEC Avenue, 1994)–OK, I know this choice is going to lose a few of you, but stick with me. Clearly, this piece of cover art isn’t as technically impressive as those mentioned above. It’s brighter and cuter than both of them combined, though, and that counts for a lot in my book. I’m especially fond of the cherry-red logo, which pops, shockingly, from the comparably subtle background imagery.

Sylphia (Tonkin House, 1993)–If you’re looking for a bit (or a lot) of drama in a piece of box art, look no further than the one created for this mythologically focused shmup. There’s the titular fairy in the foreground and a dragon and some Corinthian columns in the background. Oh, and swirling around all of it: Magic! Really, could you ask for anything more?

Ys I&II (Hudson/Falcom, 1989)–I had a really hard time deciding between the Japanese and the North American cover art for this classic RPG. In the end, I chose the latter because of its beautiful dawn-breaks-after-defeating-Darm backdrop. That said, you certainly can’t go wrong with the classy Japanese cover.

Contenders: Ai Cho Aniki, J.B. Harold Murder ClubMagical Saurus TourMonster Lair (North American version), NexzrRed Alert, Valis II and III and Winds of Thunder.


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8 responses to “Five favorites: CD cover art

  1. Very nice list. Sylphia is a great pick, and it’s good to see Crest of Wolf get an unexpected nod. Like you said, the skeleton-with-sickle image is very cool. For the record, I, too, like the Puyo CD art.

    I’ll have to consider what my own favorites are now. A few come to mind immediately, but there are so many amazing PCE CD covers.

  2. Yes, consider away and let me know what your picks are whenever they come to you.

    I should have prefaced my post, by the way, with a disclaimer that said that I’m not as knowledgable about PCE CD cover art as I am about HuCard cover art.

  3. Shape Shifter (US) is my favorite, and it’s the best example of a piece of US artwork trouncing the JPN cover.

    The rest of my current top five would be Blood Gear, Ys Book I & II, Dungeon Explorer II, and La Valeur.

    I could go on and on with honorable mentions, but just a few others that I really like are 3×3 Eyes, Basted, Brandish, Dragon Knight II, Kaze Kiri, Legend of Xanadu, Macross 2036, and Record of Lodoss War.

    Incidentally, for such a shitty game, Astralius has a pretty intriguing cover.

  4. Ah, some very interesting choices! I considered putting Kaze Kiri on my list, by the way, so I guess it should have appeared in the “contenders” section of my post. I also really like the Legend of Xanadu’s cover art quite a bit.

    Oh, and I agree with you about Astralius’ cover art. I’d like it more if the image took up the entire cover (and wasn’t “framed”), but it’s still pretty interesting as is.

    One more thing: I have a bit of a sick fascination with Astralius, despite its horrible reputation. I think it’s because I remember reading about it in GameFan and TurboPlay magazines back in the day — back when it *supposedly* was going to be released in the US — although I think some of it is due to the game’s unique focus on instruments and music.

    I know it’s terrible, but I really think I’m going to have to buy it someday and give it a try anyway…

  5. At least it (Astralius) won’t cost you much. It really is practically impossible to enjoy, though (except for the shark area).

  6. Oh, I’m completely expecting it to be as horrendous and you and everyone else says it is, but I’m going to have to try it at some point anyway.

  7. Good luck even getting to the sharks!

    I don’t know what my top five covers are, but some I love are Macross 2036, Legend of Xanadu, Himitsu no Hanazono, Dracula X, Gotzendeiner, Dragon Knight III, Asuka 120%, Valis II, Doukyuusei, Kisou Louga II, Faussete Amour, and all the Quiz Avenue games. I would love the cover to Exile II if they had gotten Sadler’s hair color right.

  8. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Zigfried! 😉

    It’s interesting to see everyone’s choices when it comes to favorite HuCard/CD cover art. There are a few overlaps among the three of us, but other than that the selections are completely different.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

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