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Cover Art Theatre

A few weeks ago we looked at some NES pulp cover art. Part of the fun/embarrassment was the weirdly over-dramatic pictures, but another part was comparing the portrayal of the heroes to their in-game representation.
So I got to thinking (and scanning) and came up with five more NES covers who kind of oversell the protagonists' awesomeness:
Target: Renegade
Cover Art: Playing off the word "TARGET", the buff shirtless karate man from the cover is dead center in some bad guy's crosshairs! (or rather, his unseen nemesis has zoomed in on the wrinkle between Renegade's pinky and his palm, but whatever).
In Game: Shirtless Karate Man has been replaced with a Billy Lee clone, down to the blue jeans and blue vest. But at least there's product placement "RUDDY'S CHEESE EMPORIUM"
Xevious
Cover Art: Speedy starfighter flies through near-earth orbit, zooming in on a multifacetted space station. Lots of sharp uses of deep blue and light orange!
In Game: Little plane thing drifts around, seemingly a few dozen feet above the ground.
Rally Bike
Cover Art: Red motorcycle guy zips along twisty roads, from California's Golden Gate Bridge to the Big Apple!
In Game: You're the RED oval shape, decorated with some stripes, semi-circles and black lines/dots to indicate you're a dude on a motorcycle. Really, it's only apparent when you lean to the left or right.
Shinobi
Cover Art: Daring ninja is caught mid-kick, whilst brandishing a sword and preparing to fling a shuriken.
In Game: Guy with no mask and a sensible haircut wanders around town in dark blue pajamas, occasionally placing a pinwheel into the air in front of him.
Castlequest
Cover Art: The Purple & Scarlet Pimpernel battles in a running swordfight with a giant demon's minions, dashing across endless stairs and facing off against evil knights and misshapen beasts to rescue a captive princess!
In Game: Toddler in pimp-hat thrusts butter knife at pudgy gray thing.
Well, I'd go on, but...
It doesn't get any better than this!
— carlmarksguy, 2015-06-19
1
Nice comparisions. How I miss those hand-drawn covers of pre-digital tiems. Somehow they were rougher and more fantastic. Too bad that the bearded guy isn't on the cover of Castlequest. It might have given some kind of explanation why he is so invincible. ;)
2
Yeah, this entire article was an excuse to rip on how Castlequest's cover art writes a check its gameplay can't cover. Serious Hydlide-level deception, there :) Do modern games all have in-game graphics as cover pictures? That's like the early NES games like SMB w/ the over-pixelized version as their cover
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