I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the NES was, in general, a bastion of '80s video game innocence (though I won't back up this argument with real evidence, because that would require research).
However, there were a few games which had some classic "pulp novel"-style covers, full of cheesecake and beefcake. Some of these were unlicensed games, though I'll also look at a NES game ported from a computer game (brought to us by an oddball company I've mentioned before
So, without further ado, let's look at the men and women, dudes and dames of the pulpiest, sassiest and shootiest cover art (that I chose to highlight this week, anyway)...and as an added bonus, I'll compare the hero's and heroine's cover art to their in-game representation!
Skull & Crossbones, unlicensed game by Tengen
Summary: Giant pirate fondles poker chips, whilst tiny kidnappings and swashbucklings occur around him!
The Dude: Hat, eye-patch, beard. Not a bad match for his in-game sprite!
The Dame: In the cover art, she's a Old West school-marm with aerobics headband, and her hands tied together. In the game, she's wearing a blue evening gown and chained to a wall.
Or maybe the Wizard has switched robes/gowns with her, between cover art and game...and also traded in his dignified van dyke beard for a huge droopy mustache and pointy horns!
Rolling Thunder, unlicensed game by Tengen
Summary: Lady takes a nap whilst three golf balls hit the wall behind a guy who is shooting a gun AND singing opera!
The Dude: The cover art's sweaty blond adonis shouts and shoots like a pro...whereas the in-game character is a gangly poindexter in hiked-up khaki pants.
The Dame: The cover art shows a swooning tossle-haired model with strategically-placed jumpsuit tears. In the game, each level has a cut-scene where a vaguely anime-ish lady is harassed while the enemies cheer. Did I mention this was an unlicensed game?
Rocket Ranger by KEMCO + SEIKA
Summary: I...I just don't know, man. We're going to have to look at this one piece at a time.
The Dude: The cover art's rakish and cloven-chinned fellow cuts the atmosphere with his outstretched hand. But in game, we're treated to a closeup of his purple-pants-covered business end...what is this, a skiing game or something?
The Dame: The cover art shows flowing brown hair and a low-cut red blouse...well, aside from the general mauve-ness the in-game screen, that's actually pretty accurate! (And, lest you think that your Rocket Ranger looks like Larry Fine when he takes his helmet off, that's her standing next to her scientist father).
That's the pulpiest of the pulp I could find for now...
I think that's about it for this week and...wait -- Special Bonus Picture:
's opposition: Space Nazis in a flying space jalopy!
(perhaps they're from the planet Illinois? Somebody ask Joliet Jake!)
Did I miss any gloriously cheesy NES pulp cover art? Let me know in the comments section below!
— carlmarksguy, 2015-05-29