Bad Video Game Box Art: NES Edition
This list is starting off with a disclaimer: Mega Man for NES is not included here because I get what they were trying to do. Back in the Atari days, when imagination ruled, game graphics were meant to be a representation of the intended art and that continued into the early NES days. Take a look at something like Yar's Revenge:
That cover art was and still is great, but the game only looked vaguely like it. Instruction manuals also had elaborate enemies, some with backstories, that were nothing like how they appeared in the game. Besides, nobody complained that Kuros didn't look like Fabio in IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II.
Considering what year the following titles were released, they really have no excuse for such atrocious art. RetroSquat presents, in no particular order, some bad NES box art:
Astyanax (Jaleco, 1990)
There are way too many instances of scantily clad warriors fighting angry dragons on game boxes, but only one features our hero forcibly and successfully clamping down on a spotted green forearm. The fourteen year old that doodled this in his algebra Trapper Keeper put a lot of stairs in this picture. He or she also forgot to draw the hula hoop on the goddess in the snow globe.
Worst part of the box: Astyanax's double jointed sword wielding wrist.
Best part of the box: The fairy.
Vice Project Doom (Sammy, 1991)
Don't even try to tell me that isn't supposed to be Shannen Doherty holding on to a buff Mel Gibson. Why is he wearing a blue version of shirt with the torn off sleeve that Indiana Jones wore in Temple of Doom? Why are there twelve spaces between the words 'Project' and 'Doom?'
Worst part of the box: Shannen's eyes are super creepy.
Best part of the box: The caution tape is on point.
Shatter Hand (Jaleco, 1991)
Oh, Jaleco... Why so literal? I get that there was a model posing for the box art. I get that they made our hero look like he both shattered the logo as well as the skin off of his hand. What I don't get, besides the ski googles, is why the artist didn't fix those teeth. The dedication to the source material is commendable.
Worst part of the box: Those teeth
Best part of the box: The Def Leppard/Winger inspired Logo.
Power Blade (Taito, 1991)
Is this the same guy from the Shatter Hand box with a new hair do? Crazy sunglass-goggles? Yep. Sleeveless shirt? Yep. Random fire effects behind him? Yep. Teeth that never had a razor sharp piece of popcorn kernel stuck in them? Unfortunately, I can't tell. What I can tell is that the perspective of his hand in no way matches the perspective of that boomerang, mate.
Worst part of the box: No contrast between elements.
Best part of the box: His mouth is closed.
Wizards & Warriors III (Acclaim, 1992)
Now that's how you draw a knight and dragon, Jaleco. Unfortunately, the Bruce Campbell/Twilight werewolf dude's eyes come off way too questionable. Is that supposed to be Kuros? If Acclaim couldn't afford Fabio again, then maybe they should have put some armor on him for once. Three games in the series and Kuros never wore the distinctive in-game armor on any of the covers, making him look like three different people.
Worst part of the box: The Confusing title. Kuros...Visions of Power: Wizards & Warriors III?
Best part of the box: The knight and dragon image at center bottom looks darn cool.