Literature / Worlds of Power
Worlds of Power
was a series of novelizations
of Nintendo Entertainment System
games published in the early 1990s by Scholastic Books. They were written by several authors using the pen name "F.X. Nine". The books averaged about 120 pages long, and featured strategies for the featured game as an added incentive, either in a trading card on the inside cover or at the end of each chapter. At the end of each book was a list of recommendations for other books the author "thought you might like".
The quality of the books varies, as does the faithfulness to the game's plot. Blaster Master
and Bionic Commando
are generally regarded as the best adaptations, with the former even becoming canon to the game series.
There were eight books in the series, each named after the game on which it was based:
There was also a Junior Worlds of Power
series, aimed at an even younger demographic. They were physically bigger, but only about 70 pages long. There were only two books in the series: Mega Man 2
and Bases Loaded II
This series contains examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: Considering how simple the games' plots were, a lot had to be added. Many of the stories add a great deal of backstory, or even additional characters:
- Blaster Master adds Eve, a Human Alien from another planet, as the original owner of the SOPHIA III vehicle. These details would later become canon in Blasting Again. Other elements of the novel would also be used in Zero.
- One of the stranger examples is the Castlevania II book, which adds elements such as the heroes needing to rescue a woman named Linda Entwhistle who is apparently Simon's girlfriend, Dracula as a lackey for Thanatos, Master of Death, and an encounter with a friendly troll named Freddie. Strange because the kid who accompanies Simon is a fan of the Castlevania games and he specifically enters the world of the games, not just a fantasy world based on a video game in the reader's world.
- Adaptational Badass:
- While the Bionic Commando hero is awesome as-is, the book had him be a ninja, a top-ranked spy, and gave his bionic arm several enhancements such as a Truth Serum and the ability to generate intense heat.
- Kilt was The Unfought in the video game and didn't have much presence aside from an appearance in a neutral zone, but in the book he's an active threat who communicates with other characters frequently and co-pilots the Albatross alongside Master-D.
- Adaptational Wimp: Dracula was dead in Castlevania II and still ends up more threatening than his Worlds of Power counterpart, who's thwarted repeatedly by bad puns and jokes.
- And I Must Scream: Similarly to many Goosebumps books, characters frequently want to scream but can't, usually out of fear:
If Tim Bradley could have screamed, he would have let out a long, loud one. Unfortunately, he was so paralyzed with fear that he could barely move, let alone make a sound.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Master-D kills the Hand when Jack finds himself cornered; it's justified in that the Hand had previously tried to kill him and he was out for revenge.
- Badass Boast: In the Bionic Commando book Master-D gets one when he kills the Hand and confronts Jack Markson, and Kilt gets one posthumously when the self-destruct sequence activates.
- Big Eater: Most of the protagonists love to eat, especially Jack Markson and Timothy Bradley.
- Bowdlerize: To placate the parents, rarely did the villains actually die. Enemy soldiers would be taken out with tranquilizer bullets, animals and boss enemies turned out to really be robots, and there's a separate world for monsters that they're sent back to when they're defeated by meddling heroes, to name a couple.
- Canon Foreigner: Several examples, usually to give the heroes love interests or partners:
- Bionic Commando adds Heather Willis, a female spy and fellow agent who planned to marry Joe before he was captured, and Tiger, a Tagalong Kid who wants to go to America and draws a map of Stage 5 for Jack.
- As mentioned above, Blaster Master added Eve, who would later become a character in the games themselves.
- Castlevania II adds Linda Entwhistle, a girlfriend for Simon, a monster named Thanatos who Dracula is subservient to, and a friendly monster named Freddie.
- Cliffhanger Copout: Chapter 4 of the Bionic Commando book ends with Jack suffering a flashback and forgetting how to work the grappling hook on the bionic arm as he leaps down an elevator shaft. Chapter 5 begins with it activating and saving him from the fall.
- The Comically Serious: Simon Belmont's seriousness and inability to get jokes is played for humor at times, leading Timothy to be surprised when he makes a joke of his own.
- Composite Character: The enemy bionic soldiers from Bionic Commando are comprised into one opponent named "The Hand."
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: In the Bionic Commando book, Jack has trouble accepting the bionic arm at first, feeling as if it's not part of his body at all.
- Darker and Edgier: Bionic Commando gets fairly brutal with deaths on both sides once it hits its home stretch, and Jack's arm is cut off by ninja stars in the opening scene.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Tim taunts and attacks Thanatos, Master of Death, and alongside Simon is able to send him back to his home dimension.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- While Master-D's identity isn't mentioned in the novel for obvious reasons, the book does mention him hiding out in Brazil, Columbia, and New York, which is where some actual Nazis went after the war.
- Castlevania II keeps in lust as one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Humanity Ensues: While running Mega Man through a duplicating machine to better his odds against Dr. Wily's more powerful batch of robots, Dr. Light accidentally turns him into a human instead.
- Humanoid Abomination: In Castlevania II, Thanatos is described as a humanoid monster, but his innards have galaxies and stars within:
Tim had a glimpse beyond jagged fangs and rotting molars... a glimpse of stars and nebulae, of shadows between planets and worlds being born and worlds dying.
- I Should Write a Book About This: Once Tim hears the plot of Castlevania II from Simon he thinks it'd make a fantastic video game.
- Improbable Age: Ryu Hayabusa of Ninja Gaiden has his age lowered from adulthood to 13, making his travel to America and his whole journey rather improbable.
- In-Name-Only: Before Shadowgate has nothing to do with Shadowgate. It's ostensibly a prequel.
- Lame Pun Reaction: Timothy Bradley's jokes are so lame they actually drive off Dracula when he possesses Simon early on:
"Arrgh!" cried Dracula's voice. Simon's body jerked back as though physically struck. "A pun! I abhor puns! If there's anything I can't stand more, itís stupid, silly jokes!"
- Lemony Narrator: Castlevania II's narrator slips into this at times:
Gosh, he was really in kind of a jam, and it wasn't the grape kind either.
- Lighter and Softer: Yes, they've been bowdlerized from E and E10-equivalent games. Wildlife is non-fatally diverted away in Ninja Gaiden, or turn out to be robots for no real reason.
- Morality Chain: Catlevania II has Dracula's curse cause Simon to have to resist the Seven Deadly Sins, leading Timothy to rein him in when he has a bout with gluttony or anger.
- Named by the Adaptation: Master-D in Bionic Commando is short for Master Destructo.
- Revised Ending: In Ninja Gaiden, Ryu's dad doesn't die in the book like he did in the game.
- Seven Deadly Sins: In Castlevania II Simon has to avoid these, as indulging in vices would make him susceptible to possession. Greed and pride are swapped for deceit and blasphemy, but lust stays as-is.
- Shout-Out: Castlevania II has references to Metallica and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Shown Their Work:
- The Bionic Commando book mentions the Nazz, the prototype name for the Badds in the instruction manual, and the booby-trapped elevator scene mentioned in-game over the enemy communication devices. Master-D is also named accurately, as is Hal, a soldier you talk to near the very end of the game.
- The Mega Man 2 book's descriptions of stages generally follow the layout of the game, and the Guts-Dozer, dragon, and the Wily alien hologram also feature.
- Spared by the Adaptation:
- Subverted, as Kilt survives to the end of the Bionic Commando book past what killed him in the game, with his in-game death being given to his traitorous lackey The Hand. Then he gets blown up when the Albatross explodes and dies anyway.
- Played straight in Ninja Gaiden, as Jo Hayabusa miraculously survives and even climbs out of the collapsing ruins with a makeshift crutch and splint. He joins Ryu and Irene for a victory laugh at the end of the book.
- Sweet Tooth: Timothy Bradley loves candy of all kinds, but chocolate is his favorite.
- Tagalong Kid: Many of the books, though not all, have the main character actually be some middle school student who goes on an adventure with the hero.
- Took a Level in Badass: Timothy Bradley goes from generally being The Load to using Simon's whip correctly and taking down Death, and helping to destroy Dracula in the finale.
- Totally Radical: Used in a number of these books, usually to make the viewpoint character more relatable to kids.
- Trapped in TV Land: Happens in the Castlevania II book, in which the Kid Hero gets transported to the world of the video game itself, which is treated as specifically the world of a video game, unlike, say, the Warriors & Wizards book, which treats Kuros's homeland as a fantasy world or other time period.
- Weaksauce Weakness: In Castlevania II Dracula can't stand bad puns or jokes, which are enough to stop him from possessing Simon.