Video Game Magazines
Files posted by Areala
A short, fifteen-page guide to the original Tomb Raider which gives a run-down of Lara's moves, the traps she can encounter, and the locations of the extra weapons she can acquire. I'm not entirely sure where this came from. It may have been a freebie that came with the purchase of Tomb Raider Gold on the PC, it may have been included with a magazine...I just don't know. It's nothing special, but now all of you can enjoy it too!
Nintendo Games Secrets is a historical landmark in the world of video game publishing, being the first title produced by Prima for their newly-birthed "Secrets of the Games" imprint in 1990. From the humble roots of this black-and-white, mostly-text guide written by then-GamePro staff writer Rusel DeMaria, Prima rose to become one of the preeminent publishers of gaming strategy guides, eventually acquiring their closest rival, BradyGames, in 2015.
Prima's "Secrets of the Games" imprint played an enormous role in the company's success throughout the 90's, with multiple volumes covering NES, Genesis, Game Boy, TurboGrafx-16, and Super NES games in this format, as well as stand-alone guides for specific games like Secret of Mana, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
If you browsed a bookstore in the early 90s, and you were into video games, chances are good you drooled over one of these Prima books and tried to convince your parents to buy one for you. Maybe you succeeded, maybe you didn't, but either way, I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. I have thirteen more of these in my collection, so expect to see more in the future.
Testing the waters with my own ability to scan stuff using my old, slow flatbed.
Brady's unofficial pocket guide to the original PS1 release of Resident Evil. This doesn't cover the Director's Cut, which got its own pocket guide release later.
A very bare-bones walkthrough presented almost entirely in text with the occasional screenshot and a few maps. It covers both Jill and Chris's scenarios, and presents a single optimized route through the Spencer mansion and surrounding environs for each character. Walkthrough text is presented in both black and red; red sections are meant to be skipped if you are attempting a sub-one-hour play in order to unlock the infinite Rocket Launcher for subsequent playthroughs.
My copy of this has some minor water damage to a few of the pages early on; I did the best I could, but the quality isn't stellar because I have zero Photoshop knowledge. Anyone with the means and/or desire to clean this one up, feel free.
As with other Brady Games pocket guides, this one is a bare-bones walkthrough explaining a single path through the game mostly through text with some black-and-white screenshots thrown in for good measure. Tomb Raider III introduced a non-linear stage concept, where after completing the India portion of the game, the next several missions (taking place in the South Pacific, the Nevada desert, and London) could be attempted in any order before Lara headed to Antarctica to confront her final adversary.
While the middle stages can be attempted in any order, the path chosen by the guide's author is objectively the worst one possible. In the Nevada segment, Lara is captured by the US Military and stripped of her weapons, ammo, and supplementary items like medkits and flares. While she can and does reacquire her weapons, the additional ammo and usable items she had gathered up to that point in the game are permanently lost. Because of this, experienced players know to head straight for Nevada after India, thus allowing them to re-supply in London and the South Pacific. The walkthrough in this guide, however, leaves the Nevada missions for last, making the Antarctica levels harder than necessary.
Oh well. Nobody's perfect.
Interestingly enough, this is one of the few Brady Games pocket guides which is not an unauthorized release.
This is a version of the original Totally Unauthorized Guide to Resident Evil pocket guide, adapted by David Cassady and Debra McBride for use with the Director's Cut of the game. It's based on a pre-release edition of the software, but like its predecessor it contains walkthroughs for both Chris and Jill's playthroughs, along with maps, enemy descriptions, and item and weapon locations.
Gone from the previous edition is the "speed run" text in red, so you'll have to figure out the optimal strategies for that sub-one-hour time yourself.
No mention of the terrible mess made of the soundtrack in the Director's Cut version either, but you don't buy a strategy guide to learn about the music, so that's not surprising.
A mammoth resource back in the day for creators looking to make their own levels for DOOM, DOOM II, and (to a much lesser extent) Heretic. Although the information on the various WAD authoring and editing tools is quite outdated (there are much, much better programs available for modern systems that also work under the enormous variety of source ports), if you're looking to mess around with the internal workings of DOOM then there's still plenty of information about level creation that is valid today. The book also spotlights a number of great WADs, points out some of the gimmicks in their level design, and explains how to use those same tricks and gimmicks in your own levels.
This is a massive book, nearly 950 total pages in size, including an 8-page color Gallery right in the middle. It also contains a number of pages which are completely blank; to help lower the file size, I elected not to include these blank pages in the scan.
This file also doesn't include the CD which came with the book, but those interested in checking it out can find it over at Archive.org.
A 1989 NES book published by Bantam, likely pushed out to capitalize on the success of Jeff Rovin's How to Win at Nintendo Games from St. Martin's Press. This is mostly text with the occasional screenshot or box artwork thrown in, but either their screen capture tech was too primitive, or Bantam's monochrome printing process wasn't set up to handle pictures, because the screenshots from this book look awful.
Also, the margins in my copy of this book are seriously wacky. You'll see text running almost straight to the edge of the page in some sections, while others give plenty of space for the text. This is an issue with the printing of the book, not me being a klutz with the cropping tool, but I still apologize for how the text waffles and flies all over the place as you're scrolling through.
That said, the book is amusing for Sandler and Badgett's witty asides and commentary on the games they are covering. It's one of the very few books from this era to cover Friday the 13th, and it also features write-ups with mock artwork for several NES titles which never came to fruition. I've never seen these games mentioned in any other publication of the era, so it's an important historical artifact from that perspective alone, confirming that Matchbox at one time was working on creating NES software (or at least paying someone else to do so).
In any case, this kicked off a successful series for Bantam, who followed this up with three additional volumes on NES games, along with books related to Game Boy, Genesis, Game Gear, and Super Nintendo hardware, many of which went through multiple print runs and editions.
After the original Nintendo Games Secrets became a best-selling success, a sequel was all but assured. Sure enough, one year later, Prima released this book onto store shelves, giving kids a reason to do their chores and accumulate the $10 US (or 14 so-called Canadian "dollars") necessary for its purchase.
More of the same, but also a little less of the same. This volume omits Rusel DeMaria's "Introduction to Video Games" and "A Parents' Guide to Gaming" which were present in Volume 1. It also focuses only on software, so there are no previews of any upcoming peripherals. Added are some cartoon segments which combine over the course of the book to present an overall narrative which, we are assured, will be continued in Volume 3. (Spoiler alert: it is not.)
At 328 pages vs. the original book's 360, this feels like a step back. On the other hand, while there are plenty of other books out there which covered major titles like Castlevania III, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, and Mega Man 3, there are nowhere near as many which covered the likes of The Immortal, Dungeon Magic, or Ultima: Quest of the Avatar, so you have to give it props on game selection at least.
Third book in the series, which is shorter even than volume 2. Though that's not surprising, since volume 3 came out a whopping three months after volume two was already on store shelves. When on earth did DeMaria and Meston sleep?
In any case, this might be my favorite volume of the NES series, since it covers a whole slew of games you almost never see mentioned in other books of the day. Seriously, where else did you find coverage of Pirates!, Faria, Hillsfar, The Last Ninja, The Rocketeer, Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Beetlejuice, or The Uninvited?
Despite promising a continuation of the comic begun in the pages of volume 2, that never happens. I guess we'll never learn everyone's ultimate fate. Oh well. We bought these for the tips and strategies, not the fan fiction.
The 1995 update to the long-running "Ultimate Unauthorized" series of books, this time written by Jason Rich as opposed to Corey Sandler and Tom Badgett. Very minimal illustrations and screenshots, almost all text, it's a travesty that at this point in the series they were charging $10.95 for this book when there were so many better offerings out there. About the only good things one can say is that it does cover a ton of titles, and the paper quality is superior to other books of its type.
Otherwise, pity the poor reader who wound up with this book instead of one of the many better selections out there. I felt guilty chopping up some of the other books I've scanned, just because going through them brought back so many good memories and it seems a shame to destroy one even if the end result is that it's preserved for others to enjoy.
This one though? I feel zero guilt. It merely existed on my shelf, and now I can recycle it to make room for something worthier.
Follow-up publication to Tricks of the Nintendo Masters, which was itself followed by Winner's Guide to Sega Genesis.
Like other publications of the time, this one is almost entirely text-based, with only some neat art pieces for the interior pages to break up the words. Unlike other publications of the time, this one contains a forward by sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card, author of the Ender's Game series of books among others.
At only 148 pages, it's much smaller than many of its contemporaries despite being the same price. The Ultimate Unauthorized Nintendo Game Strategies books offered over 100 more pages for the same cover price, and also included screenshots. In addition, the authors either were told not to give too much away, or just plain couldn't get too far into some games. The strategy section for Metal Gear, for instance, goes up to the point where Snake can locate the rocket launcher. It tells you to contact Jennifer on a specific frequency before you enter a certain room, then offers this nugget: "Which room? You figure it out." I'm sorry, I thought that's what I was paying you for...?
Another me-too cash grab which is all-too-blatant when viewed through adult eyes.
This copy was fairly beat up on the covers, and had some writing on the front title page which I simply blocked out in GIMP. I edited it up slightly, but again, my background is in writing, not graphic design, so my apologies if the obvious edits are distracting.
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! ❤️
Prima's official guide to making the Empire look like a bunch of scruffy-looking Nerf-herders (at least until the sequel) makes its Retromags debut!
Probably what's most impressive about this book is the amount of artwork taken from the movies which is packed between the covers. There are sidebars galore, with all kinds of info on the major players from A New Hope, sprite rips of all the various enemies you will face in the game, and some huge, multiple-page-spanning composite maps of each level. Oh, and the cheat codes. Because, trust me, you're going to need those to get anywhere in this merciless game.
All in all, this is a pretty cool book which can be expensive to find in good condition. Even if you don't care for the game itself, it's something every fan of the Original Trilogy can flip through for a little nostalgia hit.
As Old Ben Kenobi might put it: "An elegant guide from a more civilized, pre-Special-Edition age."
A fairly comprehensive guide to Mortal Kombat 3, mainly focused on the Arcade version, but also applicable to numerous home ports as well.
What makes this guide especially interesting is that it's also a guide to Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II, with complete character breakdowns and move lists for those games too. So this is really a three-in-one deal. Not bad for the money!
Screenshots are very clear despite being black-and-white, and there was even an offer to get a supplementary update to the book for when the arcade MK3 received its newest upgrade (which wound up being the Ultimate MK3 board revision).
All apologies for the Walden Software sticker on the back, covering up some of the text. That sucker was on there like cement, and peeling it would have damaged the cover worse than leaving it on. It, like this book, is a relic of a bygone era. Consider it special bonus content, just for you!
Final Fantasy III / Final Fantasy VI is, hands down, my favorite Final Fantasy title. And this right here just might be my favorite strategy guide of all time. Presented in full colour, flush with screenshots, along with copious artwork by artist Yoshitaka Amano, and a section at the end featuring some gorgeous full-size in-game maps, Olafson's guide is written more like a story as opposed to a walkthrough.
At $12.95, this was an absolute showstopper of a book. It may be less complete overall than Nintendo's own game guide, as it doesn't contain things like monster stats, weapon and item lists, Gau's Rage tables, or other in-depth information one might expect to see in an RPG guide. But the sheer quality of Olafson's prose guides the reader through the story so well it feels like playing the game. It's one of the few guides I've read from cover to cover multiple times. It's just that good.
This book is generally very expensive on the second-hand market. Copies on eBay routinely sell for $50 or more, and copies in excellent condition can fetch upwards of $100. For Final Fantasy III fans, it's a highly-sought collector's item. If you've ever looked at a listing and wondered why, I hope a flip through this book explains everything. If every guide followed Olafson's example, strategy guides would be regarded as works of art instead of simple cash grabs.
Much like the previous Super Star Wars Official Game Secrets, only for the second game in the trilogy. Prima didn't get the rights to do the guide for Super Return of the Jedi, so the series for them ended here. Tons of black-and-white sprite artwork, along with preliminary sketches, movie poster reproductions from around the world, and a slew of stills pulled straight from the movie and promotional materials.
While it does contain full stage maps and walkthroughs for every area, it does not include any of the cheat codes. So if you're looking for those, keep looking, sucker! Otherwise, this is about as comprehensive as you could have hoped for back in the day. And, naturally, any Original Trilogy fans should have this in their collection just for the extra nerd cred.
Back in the pre-Internet days, Shay Addams ran an adventure gaming newsletter, later magazine, called "QuestBusters" which specialized in hints and solutions for computer RPG and adventure games. Shay parlayed his experience in the CRPG community into writing books which collected the hints and tips for a number of popular games. This, as far as I'm aware, is the second of three such books in the QuestBusters series, published in 1994.
All text, no screenshots, only the occasional piece of pen-and-ink artwork or hand-drawn map. But before GameFAQs, especially if you didn't have access to an online portal like CompuServe, this was the best you could do.
Come get some!
The man with the mightiest boot in all of FPS-dom is in town with a few days to kill. But who wants to waste all their time bumping into walls and burning through jetpacks to find all the secrets, easter eggs, and crazy loot? So do yourself a favour: use this official strategy guide, with all its excellent walkthroughs and maps, to make those alien bastards pay for shooting up your ride.
This is a fun guide, with some extra developer commentary packed into the Appendix, and the obligatory CD-ROM on the back cover, stuffed with level maps, shareware, the entire first episode of Duke Nukem 3D, and other goodies.
The CD-ROM isn't a part of the .cbz archive, but you can download your own ISO of The Exclusive SYBEX/3D Realms Duke Nukem Companion CD to play around with, because your Retromags Goddesss loves you and ripped her copy so you could have the complete experience.
What are you waiting for, Christmas?
What's that? You want more ultimate, more unauthorized, more Nintendo, more strategies? Of course you do! Here's another 250+ pages of them!
Much like Volume 1, there's quite a bit left to be desired in this book. The images are still all in black and white, and still very low quality when compared to those in Prima's "Game Secrets" series. And there are some mistakes here and there (the image from Magmax showing up in the entry for Seicross being probably the most egregious offender). But look at all those money saving coupons in the back!
Well, they've long since expired, but you get my point. If you loved the first book, you're going to love the second. If the first volume did nothing for you, then I'm afraid I have some bad news...
Edit: check out the discussion thread for this file for some more great info about the artwork by Bill Mayer used on this and other covers in this series, courtesy of @TresHombres:
This book totally rules! Heh, heh, heh...
Yeah, so, you can, like, totally play the Beavis and Butt-Head game normally. Like, that's what Mr. Van Driesen would do. He'd call it "self-learning" or "acshulization" or some other stupid word that probably isn't, like, real and stuff.
Or you could use this book to, like, totally score with chicks and stuff. Like chicks, this book has nice tips. And it works with, like, all three different games. But, like, if you only have one or two of them, that's, like, fine too. You probably needed to save your money for, you know, GWAR tickets.
But, like, if you need to beat the game--
(Heh, heh...I said 'beat'...)
--like, fast and stuff? Like, cuz a chick said she'd show you her boobs, but you had to, you know, beat the game first? I guess you could, uhhh, read the book and, I dunno, use the passwords and maps and things to see GWAR. And then score. Or at least, like, play with your butt-ons and stuff.
Beavis is into that. He once played with his butt-on so much that Mr. Buzzcut made him do pushups until blood came out his nose. That was cool! Huh-huh-huh...
Yeah, yeah, anyway, like, just read the book, uhhh, you know, FOR us. Cuz we're busy. Scoring. Yeah, scoring! With a chick! You, uh, you don't know her. She's from, like, Canada or some other state.
Enjoy! (Bungholes...) ❤️
Promising to be a complete walkthrough for ten games set in or around the world of Ultima, this is slightly misleading. After all, the book is only 320 pages, and surely there's a Hellsteed of a lot more going on, especially in the later games, than could be encapsulated by even the best team of editors and writers in so small an area.
Your suspicions are correct. There's a lot going on in the first few titles, and the guide devotes a mere few pages at best to the first two Ultima games (five pages for Ultima I, seven for Ultima II), along with Akalabeth, the precursor to the Ultima series. Ultima III is where the guide ramps up, with 21 pages worth of maps, gameplay tips, and charts. Fully half the book is given to Ultima VII and Ultima VIII content.
This book also comes with a double-sided, fold-out color poster which shows the overworld maps for all the games. This poster is bound in between pages 145 and 146, but sadly my copy of this is missing, so I wasn't able to include it (and I'm not sure I have the skills necessary to stitch together a giant poster from multiple image files in any case). All apologies.
Update: user @Xuio has graciously provided a high resolution scan of both sides of this poster map for us. You can download it here:
After three successful books covering Nintendo games of all genres, Rovin turned his roving eye to a sports-centric edition of his best-selling series, and thus, How to Win at Nintendo Sports Games was born. While some games, like Ice Hockey, were covered in previous volumes, even these titles get an expanded treatment, often re-measured against other games about the same sport. There's also a short section on some Game Boy sports titles, and a very short "Sports Shorts" section with a half dozen tips for sports-themed carts.
As with all of Rovin's other material in this series, this is all-text, all the time. Of course, the upside to this was they were inexpensive as well: four or five dollars as opposed to the ten or twelve other, more graphically complex guides could command.
Jeff Rovin and his sons branch into the portable gaming market with this book. Like the others in this series, this is an all-text, all-the-time format.
My copy of this book had a few pages where the print seeped dangerously close to the margins. I don't know if this was a problem solely with my copy, or if every book looks like this, but if it looks like the margins jump around at some point, it wasn't anything I did on my end while creating the file, I promise. There was also a corner gouged from one corner on the second-to-last page in my copy which shall remain immortalized in this scan. I try to take good care of my books, but accidents happen, alas.
Volume 2 of the series which keeps on giving gave everybody more of what they already got last time, and we were all delighted by that, thank you very much!
While this series wasn't specifically aimed at children, the ad in the back for a bunch of books in the "Truly Tasteless Jokes" series seems...well, tasteless. Then again, it's not like Rovin had half a dozen of these guys under his belt for St. Martin's Press to advertise, and crass humour likely sold just as well as video game books, so who knows: maybe they made a fortune off the cross-promotion.
Now I want to get one of those dirty joke books and see if they advertise Rovin's material in the back.