Together Codemasters and Camerica released a bunch of unlicensed NES games before Camerica's video game adventure crashed and burned as the company ran out of
money just after having launched the Aladdin Deck Enhancer in 1993. Codemasters rereleased most of the games in Europe after Camerica's fall. Most of the games
received either an upgrade or was altered in some way for the European market. On this page I will try to make a guide of what updates there are known to exist
out there, some are quite easy to spot while others are well hidden under the plastic shell of the NES cartridge.
Big Nose Freaks Out!
Big Nose was released by Camerica in 1992 and then saw a rerelease in 1993 as one of the first and only 6 Aladdin Deck Enhancer games to be released before
Camerica ran out of money, leaving stacks 'n stacks of Aladdin Deck Enhancers behind. Oh well a quick comparison of the Aladdin and Normal version game shows
that it seems to be the exact same game, the Aladdin game's copyright screen even says 1992.
So if you want to own both copies you'll be the happy owner of two differently shaped plastic shells with the same game inside :-)
Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy
This game was released both in the US and in Europe. Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy was one of the first games, along with Micro Machines, to be published by in
America and Canada by Camerica. This release is also known as version 1 of the game.
In this version you'll have to collect 100 stars to beat the evil wizards spell. Unfortunately the speed in this version is really bad - so bad it'll probably
put you to sleep before you even get anywhere in the game.
The following year, 1992, Codemasters released their first batch of games for the European Nintendo market, though they didn't use the existing design they had
used for the games published by Camerica. Instead they invented a new type of cartridge, called a Plug-Thru system, which kinda looks like a Game Genie except
that the adapter is grey and not black.... and isn't a Game Genie obviously.
This version is known as version 2 of the game, featuring a slightly different intro, such as the Dizzy logo now being red instead of purple, the game now
featuring 250 stars instead of 100, but also a slightly different game layout as well as a fixed "items carried bar" where new items no longer enters the
last section of the item bar. Meaning you'd have to press B three times to use the key in the beginning of the game instead of just once. If you're still confused
about what I man then check the video.
Last but not least, and the most noticeable difference is the increased speed! When Camerica released the
Aladdin Deck Enhancer, also invented by Codemasters, in 1993 - the "Aladdin version" of course was the updated version 2, thank god.
Now comes the scary part where you aren't able to tell the difference. Codemasters decided to scrap the Plug-Thru design sometime during 1992 and went
with a new black cart, looking much like the design they used for the Aladdin Deck Enhancer. Dizzy version 2 was then rereleased with the black cartridge design.
However to be able to conquer Europe with their Dizzy game, Codemasters suddently felt the need to make the game multi lingual, and version 3 was born, Dizzy
could now also be played in German and French, but also seems to have a lot more graphical glitches, dissapearing sprites, than any of the other versions.
Version 3 also has a few graphical changes, maybe to make room in the rom for the extra text. Also version 3 now says "presented by Codemasters" instead of
Version 3 is by far the hardest one to find and the cartridge is completely identical to the black cartridge with version 2, as already mentioned, so you'll
have to buy Dizzy cartridges until you're lucky to have both versions, if you just gotta catch 'em all.
Here's the by far hardest to find Codemasters release, complete that is, closely followed by Super Adventure Quests and Mig 29. The Camerica version was
released in 1992 while the Codemasters version was released sometime during 1993.
The game received a minor update, which was the Camerica logo being removed from the titlescreen of the game. Strangely though Codemasters also choose to remove
their own logo from the titlescreen, what were they thinking?. The copyright screen was also slightly updated with the year changed from 1992 to 93. I've played
both versions a little and they seem
to be identical except for the titlescreen change of course.
The built-in teasers such as the Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy intro is still to be found in the Codemasters release, though they didn't remove Camerica's logo
from the teaser, not that it matters either as that version of Dizzy never was released in Europe, we only got the updated "Aladdin Deck Enhancer" version as
well as another language updated version as already mentioned above.
Linus Spacehead's Cosmic Crusade (Cosmic Spacehead)
Linus Spacehead first appeared on the Quattro Adventure cartridge released in 1991. But in 1992 his second quest was available, called the Cosmic Crusade. This
time around the game was released multi-lingual. Also in the US and Canada the game could be played in English, French, German and Spanish. While I can
understand the English, French and Spanish languages I do think it's nice to see a game released for the Amish people (they sound german to me)... if they even
know what a Nintendo is.
So anyway, this game is completely different from the first Linus game which was nothing more than a rip off of an old Dizzy game called Bubble Dizzy. This
game uses the same game style as Maniac Mansion and so on, but also has small platform stages to provide some variation. A quite good game I might add, but
while I rather would've seen it released with battery backup, it instead features a password save option. The same version of the game was released for the
Aladdin Deck Enhancer in 1993.
Now comes the cool part. Codemasters also decided to do a European version, it may be a little hard to find as it was one of their last NES releases.
But in the mean time Linus had received a name change and was now called Cosmic Spacehead for some reason. The game was still released multi-lingual
which made a lot more sense here of course and the entire intro was of course changed because of the changed game character name.
As a little added bonus the European version also includes a small arcade game called "2 Player Pie Slap". Other than that no other differences are known to
exist at this time.
Definately the most popular Camerica game ever released. It was the first Nintendo compatible game to be released by Camerica early August 1991 and the press
wrote "The Micro Machines game leads Camerica's collection of Gold Series Video Games, developed as 16-bit-quality games for play on Nintendo's 8-bit system",
while 16-bit may be a over the edge, I'd say yes to quality for this release as it is by far the best Codemasters/Camerica game.
Micro Machines was launched through the Home Shopping Network and sold 12.000 copies within the first two hours of being advertised, which
meant the game was sold out. Another batch of 13.000 carts were available by Labor Day and was also sold through the Shopping Network.
The first release of Micro Machines refuses to run on a PAL NES deck for some reason, it just restarts and returns to the titlescreen. The Gold Cartridge version
is also known to have been released with a few label changes, so another version of the Gold Cartridge could possibly run on a PAL console. In 1993 the Aladdin
Deck Enhancer version
was released with a revised copyright screen, now saying 1992, and this version would now run on a PAL NES deck.
This version was the one used in Europe a year earlier for the release of Codemasters Plug-Thru Micro Machines cartridge. It was in 1993 rereleased using
codemasters new "black" cartridge type, still the same version of the game though and still saying "Presented by Camerica".
For some reason one of the banners on the red F1 racer on the box/label changed for the rerelease in Europe - while it originally wrote "Nova Nova" it now had
been changed to "Teva Teva" for some strange and unknown reason.
MIG 29 Soviet Fighter
Released by Camerica in 1992, followed by a Codemasters release in 1993. This one seems to have been a quick release by Codemasters after Camerica went belly-up,
the game claims to be presented by Camerica even though it's the Codemasters release, go figure. I believe it's save to say that there's no difference between
the releases other than of course the differently shaped pieces of plastic containing the ROM.
Quattro Adventure (Super Adventure Quest)
This one is believed to be the hardest to find Codemasters release, while the Camerica release on the other hand is is one of the most common Camerica
releases. Quattro Adventure, or Super Adventure Quests, contains 4 quite nice game, being Linus Spacehead, Super Robin Hood, Boomerang Kid and last but
not least Treasure Island Dizzy.
Both the Gold Camerica cart and the Aladdin Deck Enhancer features the same program version it seems, but something scary happened when I was loading the
Aladdin version, a face appeared on the screen - only to dissapear again a few seconds later and the screen then went grey. After a reset I was presented
with the menu screen, but I wonder what that face was doing there, am I being watched?
For the European release the menu screen color was changed to blue and now saying "Super Adventure Quests" as it's the European name for Quattro Adventure, so
they got it right this time around, unlike the Quattro Sports/Super Sports Challenge - which kinda was fixed by later renaming the box to saying "Super Sports
Challenge Quattro Sports".. All copyright screens had also been changed from 1991 to 1993 for some reason.
Quattro Sports (Super Sports Challenge)
Codemasters made a total of three compilation carts for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Each had four games, which probably is why they are are called
Quattro something (clever!!), one had sports games, another had adventure games and the third had arcade type games. As with all other Codemasters developed
NES games Quattro Sports was released by Camerica in America and Canada.
The sports cartridge featured Baseball Pros, BMX Simulator, Soccer Simulator and Pro Tennis. The first release had a purple menu screen and supposedly featured
a bug in Pro Baseball, something about being able to play 10 innings, but I know absolutely nothing about baseball. Anyway the same version was later used for
the Aladdin Deck Enhancer release of the game.
Now comes the odd part though. Codemasters decided to change the title of the compilation for the European market to Super Sports Challenge and I believe this
was one of their first releases if not the first. A while back I managed to find a Codemasters Plug-Thru cartridge with an orange label having nothing
but text on it, saying "Codemasters presents Super Sports Challenge". If I remember correctly I think I have seen a similar cartridge with a yellow label
which was Quattro Adventure, or Super Adventure Quests as it was called in Europe.
Anyway this cartridge seems to be extremely rare, the menu color was now green and wrote "V2" in the bottom right corner. It's unknown at this time what they
changed or fixed.
Then in 1993 a new Plug-Thru cartridge was released with better artwork on the cartridge, however it was soon after replaced with a Codemasters black
non-plugthru cart. Now the titlescreen was blue and had a "V3" written in the lower right corner. But again it's unknown what was changed. The funny thing
is that even though the game title was changed for the European release, the titlescreen still wrote "Quattro Sports" even at version 3.
The release of Ultimate Stuntman was done in 1991 by Camerica. Codemasters however decided to wait until 1993 with the European release and it seems like it
was a bit sloppy release too as they didn't bother to remove Camerica's logo from the game. Not much to say, the two releases are completely identical, or at
least so it seems.
So the only thing you'll be getting by buying the European version of Ultimate Stuntman is a differently shaped piece of plastic, but it's nice looking!.
Unreleased in Europe
Codemasters also produced a handful of games they choose never to release in Europe, being both of their Big Nose games, Big Nose the Caveman and Big Nose
Freaks Out!, both coded by Optimus Software. Also the Quattro Arcade which features some pretty nice games, CJ's Elephant Antics and Go! Dizzy Go! and some
less interesting games, Stunt Buggies and F-16 Renegade went unreleased in Europe and is one of the harder to find, complete, Camerica games.
Bee 52 never saw the light of day in Europe either even though it's probably one of the best Codemasters games. Stunt Kids wasn't released here either but I'm
sure it hasn't been missed.