I’ve been playing this little game for some time over on my other blog, and while writing up my last post (about Exile: Wicked Phenomenon‘s cover art) I thought, “Why not play it here, too?”
How does one play this game? Well, I post the cover art for a particular game–in this case, the Japanese and North American versions of Exile 2–and then I pontificate about which one I prefer. In a perfect world, said pontification prompts passersby to share their preferences, too.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the art that appeared on the cover of the Japanese version of Exile 2:
And here is the art that appeared on the cover of the North American version of the game (called Exile: Wicked Phenomenon):
I know I heaped a bit of praise onto Working Designs’ daring cover art in my last post, but I actually prefer the image that appears on the Japanese iteration of the game. It gives off a Castlevania kind of vibe, for starters, and it also seems to be a better fit with the title’s “Syrian assassin” storyline.
The following ad–for Working Designs’ Exile: Wicked Phenomenon–appeared in a number of issues of TurboPlay magazine in the early 1990s.
Turbo fans whose memories have yet to fail them will recall that the image also appeared on the cover of said game, which was released in North America 1993.
Anyway, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it piece of art among gamers–a fact not lost on Working Designs’ Victor Ireland, who at some point told the folks at Hardcare Gaming 101:
“The Exile 2 cover is polarizing. People love it or hate it. It’s basically aping a style of diorama that was really popular to advertise games in Japan. NCS/MASAYA did quite a bit of it, and I wanted to bring that to the US as well. So, I chose Exile 2 as the game to try this on.
“When we ran the ad, EGM or Gamepro (I can’t remember) sent us a survey they did months later with their readers that had that ad listed as the ‘most remembered’ ad from the whole magazine, which, I think, justified the experiment. We tried it again for Vasteel, but the results weren’t that great, so we only used part of one of the space scenes on the back cover of the jewel case.”
Personally, I think the image is pretty cool. It’s certainly more interesting than most of the dreck that was passed off as TurboGrafx-16 cover “art” back in the day.
The folks at the long-defunct Working Designs made a lot of great decisions during the 16-bit era. Among them: Their decision to localize (for North American TurboGrafx-16 owners) Telenet’s PC Engine RPG, Cosmic Fantasy 2.
One of their not-so-great decisions: Using the following piece of art to promote said RPG.
The ad above appeared in the April/May 1992 issue of TurboPlay magazine. Unfortunately, the art featured in the ad also appeared on the game’s cover.
Is it any wonder the game wasn’t able to achieve the sales or status of, say, Lunar: The Silver Star, another of Working Design’s 16-bit-era releases?
You know, I’ve always wondered why the folks at Taito (and, later, Working Designs) didn’t do more to play up the fact that Parasol Stars, one of my all-time favorite PC Engine games, was supposed to be the third game in the famed Bubble Bobble series.
Sure, they mentioned that fact in a subtitle (as seen in the ad, which appeared in an old issue of the American TurboPlay magazine, below), but said subtitle is so small and subtle that it’s all but lost in the cacophony that surrounds it.
Maybe the brass at Taito decided against trumpeting Parasol Star‘s connection to that classic series because it wasn’t created by Fukio Mitsuji, the man behind both Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands (aka “The Story of Bubble Bobble 2”)? I guess we’ll never know.