Shining in the Darkness (3)

The name Greg Martin may not mean anything to most gamers, but if you've been playing since the days of the NES then you will definitely have seen — and no doubt appreciated — his work. Martin created the amazing western covers for plenty of Sega and Nintendo games, such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 3, Pocky & Rocky, Adventure Island 3, Duck Tales 2, The Flintstones, Landstalker and Shining in the Darkness.

Sadly, it has been announced by one of Martin's friends that he has recently passed away, laying down his airbrush for the final time.

Martin began his career working at Hanna Barbera, but it is his game covers which perhaps showed him at his best. Each cover was massive in size — around 24 to 30 inches — and all done with an airbrush. These masterpieces would often take Martin an entire week to complete, and — for many players of the era — were the first indication of a game's quality when you walked into your local games store. Back in the early '90s, an eye-catching cover made all the difference, and Martin's art graced many a solid-gold classic.

While Martin's work is certainly stuck in a certain era — it's hard to imagine these covers gracing any modern game — they define the period perfectly. Many of us in the Nintendo Life office can vividly recall staring at these very same covers in awe, not even realising that the same talented hand which gave Sonic life was also responsible for Talmit's cheeky grin on the cover of Marvel Land, or the fantastic cover to Woody Pop (which is arguably the best thing about the entire game).

Which Greg Martin cover is your favourite? Share your tributes by posting a comment below.

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