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Prima Guides

79 files

  1. 1080 Degree Snowboarding - Prima's Unauthorized Game Secrets

    1080 Degree Snowboarding - Prima's Unauthorized Game Secrets

    223 downloads

    0 comments

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  2. 3D Action Gamer's Bible

    Another entry in Prima's ubiquitous "Secrets of the Game" series. This one talks about first-person shooters, and contains minimal, text-only walkthroughs and cheat codes for Ultimate Doom, Doom II, Heretic, Hexen, Duke Nukem 3D, and Quake. Beyond the walkthroughs for the solo campaign, you get some tips and tricks for deathmatch, a chapter dedicated to using level editors for some of the aforementioned games along with general tips for making your own levels as interesting and fun as possible, and a final roundup of cheat codes for some other 3D action titles such as Dark Forces and Magic Carpet.
    All in all, this isn't a terribly compelling book considering the lack of even a single screenshot to add zest to the presentation. There are even a couple of times where it directs the reader to visit a game's FAQ on Usenet or some of the various fan websites in order to get more information, which is an odd thing to tell the person who just paid $20 for your book, but OK...
    The games it covers all received better, more full-featured strategy guides, complete with artwork and screenshots galore, so all that information can be found elsewhere with better presentation. If you want to design levels for these sorts of games, there were specific books written for that purpose for Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem 3D, while larger and more advanced level design bibles like 3D Game Alchemy and Tricks of the Doom Programming Gurus exist to better fulfill that niche.
    It's not a bad book, per se, and it's great from a historical perspective to have it preserved, it's just not all that exciting or interesting to either peruse or use. But now that it's out there, you can explore for yourself!
    Enjoy! ‚̧ԳŹ

    132 downloads

    2 comments

    Submitted

  3. Battle Arena Toshinden - The Unauthorized Edition

    Battle Arena Toshinden - The Unauthorized Edition

    223 downloads

    0 comments

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  4. Beyond the Beyond - Unauthorized Game Secrets

    Beyond the Beyond - Unauthorized Game Secrets

    400 downloads

    0 comments

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  5. Blast Corps Unauthorized Game Secrets

    Blast Corps Unauthorized Game Secrets

    264 downloads

    0 comments

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  6. Body Harvest - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    Body Harvest - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    350 downloads

    1 comment

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  7. Bomberman World - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    Bomberman World - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    313 downloads

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  8. Buck Bumble - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    Buck Bumble - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    221 downloads

    1 comment

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  9. Centipede - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    Centipede - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    226 downloads

    0 comments

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  10. Complete Final Fantasy III Forbidden Game Secrets

    Holy cow, you guys, this book.
    This is one of the most ridiculous guides I've ever owned.
    Back in 1994, Final Fantasy III was released in the US, and like many people, I went absolutely ga-ga over the game. It's my favorite entry in the series, and I've beaten it multiple times and on multiple platforms, including the Game Boy Advance version with the extra content. In my obsessive quest to learn everything I could about the game though, I bought every magazine and book I could find about it, including Nintendo's own official guide and Peter Olafson's full-colour guide. And then...there's this one...
    Part strategy guide, part fanfic, Complete Final Fantasy III Forbidden Game Secrets is a nearly 500-page tribute to absurdity and lies.
    The author's name, "Hayaku Kaku", is written as 'śó©„ĀŹśõł„ĀŹ' in Japanese. This isn't actually a name, it's a fragment meaning "fast write", and it's a clue to why this guide is so bizarre. See,¬†Final Fantasy III¬†(or¬†Final Fantasy VI¬†as it's now known) is a massive game, and as noted in the introduction, not one you can finish over the course of a three-day rental. Writing a guide to a game that large requires an exceptional lead time if you're planning to match the game's release date, and from the contents of the book, it's easy to ascertain that the author (in this case, Bill Kunkel, aka "The Game Doctor" himself, with assistance from another writer named Ken Vance) was working off pre-release materials.
    One of the necessities for squeezing all of the story into the cart, as related by translator Ted Woolsey in an interview, was re-naming the bulk of the enemies, items, spells, and Espers in the game, in order to fit into the character limits imposed by the game. What's odd about this book is that it gets almost all of the character names and spell/Esper names correct, even when it comes to the bizarre spellings imposed by Woolsey to comply with the aforementioned character limits ('Fenix' instead of 'Phoenix', etc...). But the items? Almost all the item names in this guide are completely incorrect--it's likely the item list was among the last things Woolsey worked on, since the majority of his effort was likely focused on the game's massive story. If that's the case, it's almost certain Kunkel and Vance were working off incomplete information and a near-zero knowledge of the Japanese language. More credence is given to this theory since one of the screenshots includes the original Japanese "Bar" sign, which was censored by Nintendo, and read "Cafe" in the US edition of the game.
    'Spears' are translated as 'spheres' for some reason. Item names, as noted, often bear no resemblance to their final forms. What's more, the explanations of item abilities and magic spells often read as though someone gave them a very basic, machine-like translation from the original which were never edited for clarity. (Edit: see the update below, but this is exactly what happened).
    The maps, maps, and more maps hyped on the back cover are likewise odd. These are not maps, exactly...more like someone took pictures of the screen, printed those pictures out, then placed a sheet of tracing paper over them and drew over every building, tree, hill, stream, and other feature, but never bothered to fill in any of the information. Thus, what you get are a bevy of hand-drawn maps that show the entire area...but are almost completely worthless for all the work put into them, since they don't point out any useful features.
    Even as a walkthrough or secrets guide, the book is deficient. It will point out what items can be found in each area (well, most of them at any rate...Kunkel and Vance didn't find a lot of the off-the-beaten-path goodies), but it does not explain where any of them actually are in relation to the map, or what steps might be necessary to uncover them. In addition, a lot of the walkthrough is just plain incorrect in literally dozens of places. It's impossible for anyone well-versed in the game to go more than 2-3 pages without finding another mistake, whether it's a simple mistranslation or flat-out misinformation like: claiming you can earn experience in the "Beastfield" (the Veldt), when in fact, battles there don't earn you any XP; claiming it's possible to get Shadow back into the party via betting items at the Coliseum if you didn't wait for him on the Floating Continent; claiming Locke gains the ability to pick locks as the story continues; saying Celes can use her 'Runic' ability to learn spells faster; a screenshot of a character suffering the 'Imp' status effect incorrectly labeled as 'zombified' by the caption; claiming the 'Quartr' spell reduces the target's HP by 1/4th, when it actually results in a 75% reduction...the list goes on and on.
    Speaking of lists, while the book impressively details the Items, Magic, and Espers available in your quest, it also omits an awful lot of other useful lists which other guides did not. These include a list of Gau's available Rages (and the enemies he needs to fight in order to acquire them), a list of items bet & won at the Coliseum, and a list of enemies from whom Strago can learn his different Blue Magic spells.
    Also omitted are seemingly obvious things you'd want to point out in a strategy guide: while it explain that calling the Merton esper in combat causes a raging inferno to scream across the battlefield, it neglects to mention this afflicts both the enemies and your party. Now, sure, you're going to learn this as soon as you use it the first time, but knowing an attack could nuke my team BEFORE I use it is kind of the point of a strategy guide, right? Likewise, there's no indication that the Cursed Shield (or the "Bloody Shield" as this book refers to it) can be un-cursed, or that you can equip a Ribbon in order to remove nearly all the negative effects your character will suffer while trying to do so. The book assumes Cid will die, when it is in fact possible (and rather easy) to keep him alive.
    I seriously could go on for pages about everything wrong with this guide. There are a lot of books over the years which I have no problem labeled shameless cash grabs, but the level of hyperbole this book builds on its back cover compared to the results it delivers between the pages is a disconnect of truly epic proportions. Download this and read it to understand the nightmare which was the world of video game strategy guides in a pre- (or at least very young) Internet age, marvel at its inconsistencies, and boggle at the fact they were willing to charge $14.95 US (or 2.89 gold flemkes in "East Domo").
    In an old forum post at the J2Games website, which is no longer accessible since they removed their forum, Bill Kunkel spilled the beans about writing this book, and how much of a nightmare the project was. I almost feel sorry for him, and got the impression from reading it years ago that this project very quickly spiraled out of control in terms of the time they assumed it would take to write, and the results here speak for themselves. The good Game Doctor is no longer with us, but it's a shame his spirit is forever associated with this absurdity.
    Enjoy! ‚̧ԳŹ
    Update: I discovered, to my delight, that Kunkel's recollections about working on this game guide in that old forum post on J2Games were collected in one of the chapters in his autobiography, Confessions of the Game Doctor. I've corrected some things in the above writing which I got wrong due to my own faulty memory (chief among them: his co-author was not Rusel DeMaria, but Ken Vance), but I'm reproducing this part of the book so you can see exactly what went into the creation of this guide.
    It was actually worse than I remembered!
    So, there you have it. A strategy guide written by two guys who cribbed all the relevant information about the game by having a local Japanese professor translate bits and pieces of Japanese guide books which Prima imported instead of actually playing through the game (something they apparently didn't even have access to).
    You really can't make this up.

    401 downloads

    7 comments

    Updated

  11. Dark Rift - Official Secrets & Solutions

    Dark Rift - Official Secrets & Solutions

    193 downloads

    0 comments

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  12. DOOM II Official Strategy Guide

    A reasonably decent guide to DOOM II, written by Ed Dille in the voice of an annoyed drill instructor trying to whip a new recruit (that's you, the reader) into fighting shape. It includes a number of strategies for co-operative play, which game guides often lacked back in the day, especially for First-Person Shooter titles. No Deathmatch strategies beyond "always be running, don't stand in one place, and fire the biggest guns you've got", but the amount of time spent discussing fire team formations and other co-op strategies is really cool to see. Also includes a short interview with John Romero which is worth reading by itself, although much of the information in it you'll already know if you've read Masters of DOOM.
    This should have been a black-and-white guide, but Prima for some reason chose to go with a spot colour printing approach, infusing red ink into virtually every page, and even into the black-and-white screenshots. It's an interesting look, but it also jacked the price of this guide up to $20 US when it really should have been $15 or thereabouts. Prima must have realized this price might turn some people off, because they released a stripped-down, 96-page budget hint book called The DOOM II Survival Guide which contains the basic item, enemy, weapon, and map info from this book, but none of the level strategies, multiplayer info, interview, or cheat codes.
    But here's the big, bad mama in all its glory. Enjoy! ‚̧ԳŹ

    422 downloads

    4 comments

    Updated

  13. E3 2004 Directory Official Exhibit Guide

    E3 2004 Directory Official Exhibit Guide

    155 downloads

    1 comment

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  14. Fear Effect - Prima's Official Art Book

    Fear Effect - Prima's Official Art Book

    419 downloads

    0 comments

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  15. Fighting Force 64 Hint Book

    Fighting Force 64 Hint Book

    212 downloads

    0 comments

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  16. Game Boy Game Secrets, 2001 Edition

    Another solid game compilation guide, this time from Prima, who seemed to do better at these kinds of things than Brady much of the time. This covers a slew of great games that most people would be interested in playing: top-notch stuff like Link's Awakening DX, Donkey Kong Country, two Wario Land titles, and even contains a bit about the Game Boy Camera peripheral. It's nothing mind-blowing, but the production value is high, there are plenty of full-color screen captures, and the writing for the walkthroughs is on point and descriptive. Well worth the download, IMO.
    Donated by ModernZorker.
    Enjoy! ‚̧ԳŹ

    447 downloads

    2 comments

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  17. Gaunlet Dark Legacy Prima Official Strategy Guide (2001)

    Gaunlet Dark Legacy Prima Official Strategy Guide (2001)

    159 downloads

    1 comment

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  18. Granstream Saga, The - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    The Granstream Saga - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    374 downloads

    0 comments

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  19. Heretic: The Official Strategy Guide

    Written by Ed Dille, who was responsible for a number of guides for Prima, including Doom II: The Official Strategy Guide. In fact, a number of the Deathmatch and Co-op tactics in this book are lifted straight from that guide. In fairness, Heretic runs on a slightly modified Doom engine, and the goals revolve around shooting things until they're no longer moving so there's no real need to re-invent the wheel here.
    What hasn't carried over is Dille's frustrated drill instructor persona, replaced here by one of Mustafa, a powerful wizard and historian out to offer you, his novice trainees, the information to succeed in their dangerous quest. He's dialed it down a notch here, which will either be welcoming or disappointing depending on how you enjoyed the style of the Doom guide.
    Aside from that, every level gets its own map and walkthrough, and the book ends with a series of appendices describing everything from running Heretic from the command line to setting up a service like DWANGO for modem-to-modem play. Oh, how far we've come...
     
    Enjoy! ‚̧ԳŹ

    204 downloads

    1 comment

    Updated

  20. Hybrid Heaven - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    Hybrid Heaven - Prima's Official Strategy Guide

    358 downloads

    0 comments

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  21. Jade Cocoon - Story of the Tamamayu - Prima's Offical Strategy Guide

    Jade Cocoon - Story of the Tamamayu - Prima's Offical Strategy Guide

    590 downloads

    1 comment

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  22. Kagero - Deception II - Prima's Offical Strategy Guide

    Kagero - Deception II - Prima's Offical Strategy Guide

    296 downloads

    0 comments

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  23. Legend of Legaia - Prima's Official Guide

    Legend of Legaia - Prima's Official Guide

    528 downloads

    2 comments

    Submitted

  24. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Game Secrets

    This was the first book Zach Meston wrote for Prima without Rusel DeMaria's name associated with it. If the introduction is to be believed, DeMaria handed the project to Meston and told him to go forth and kick ass, which is what Meston did.
    This is the first of two versions of this book published. This one contains the walkthrough for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but also contains a supplementary section that reprints the entries on The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link which previously appeared in their NES Game Secrets series. For $9.99, you get full walkthroughs for three awesome games, making it a great value for the money. Unsurprisingly, this book was a massive seller for Prima, reprinted over twenty times.
    The second version, which was released in 1997, altered the title slightly, redid the cover art, and dropped the Zelda and Zelda II portion of the book, replacing it instead with the walkthrough for Link's Awakening which used the same format as similar walkthroughs from their Nintendo Game Boy Secrets line, and again sold a ridiculous number of copies. Don't worry; I'll have that one up for you here shortly.
    Enjoy! ‚̧ԳŹ

    406 downloads

    5 comments

    Updated

  25. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Unauthorized Game Secrets

    This is the second edition of Prima's A Link to the Past strategy guide. This book was a massive best-seller for Prima. It was re-printed more than twenty times (this particular edition is a 22nd printing from 1997, which, it should be noted, is well into the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 era) and sold in excess of 125,000 copies.
    The first edition of the guide contained strategies and walkthroughs for The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Those were dropped for this edition, but replaced with a walkthrough for Link's Awakening on the Game Boy. This lowered the page count, but not the cover price. Cheeky of you, Prima...
    Enjoy! ‚̧ԳŹ

    412 downloads

    3 comments

    Submitted

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