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 Club, Magical Saurus Tour, Monster Lair (North American version), Nexzr, Red Alert, Valis II and III and Winds of Thunder.