Monday, October 31, 2011

Manual Stimulation: PC Denjin (PC Engine)

Let's get this second installment of "Manual Stimulation" off to a colorful start by looking at the front and back covers of this crazy shmup (which was renamed Air Zonk when it was released in North America in 1992):



Sadly, there isn't much to see on the manual's first two pages--well, other than the info someone scribbled in the lower-right corner of the second page. I wonder what it says?



On the next two pages, though, we're formally introduced to the game's protagonist. Random aside: I especially like that little "Haw" illustration in the lower-right corner of the first page. (You can click on any of these scans to take a closer look at them, by the way.)



On the next two pages, we're introduced to PC Denjin's many power-ups. Note: my favorite has always been the one that provides ol' "Genhead" (is that supposed to be a reference to another great PC Engine shoot 'em up, Gunhed?) with a fistful of missles.



I know it's been a while since I've played this game, but I honestly don't remember ever seeing a helicopter come out of PC Denjin's head...



And here, as I'm sure all of you who understand English can see, is where we shake hands (well, kind of) with all of PC Denjin's friends. They fight alongside the punk-ish protagonist at various points in the game, in case you've never played it. Anyway, my personal favorite "friend" is the cow, although I quite like the dog and the baseball, too.



Yep, PC Denjin has enemies, too. Who would've thunk? Also, please note the baddie who looks more than a bit like "Pizza the Hut" (from Spaceballs).



Well, shoot. The folks who produced this manual included five tips, or five somethings, that I can't understand. Drat! Even worse: They followed it up with a cartoon/comic that I also can't understand.



I may not be able to understand what's going on in this cartoon/comic, but at least the clay (or are they plastic?) renditions of PC Denjin and his best buds look cool.



Did you know that PC Denjin's ending credits allow gamers to sing along, karaoke-style, with the game's theme song? Well, you do now! (Er, at least I think that's the case. Like I said, it's been a long time since I've played through this one.) Anyway, if you can understand Japanese, you can practice the song before you arrive at that magical moment thanks to the lyrics that are shared on the manual's second-to-last page.



There are two things worth noting on the manual's last page (above), by the way. First, yes, the previous owner was evil and cut out the lower-right corner. I'm guessing there was some sort of symbol on the reverse side that could be sent in to the folks at Hudson for a prize.

Second, the little PC Genjin in the corner seems to be saying something about the in-the-works-at-the-time-but-eventually-canned RPC Genjin--a turn-based RPG that was going to be set in the PC Genjin world. Way to stomp on a man's heart, Hudson!

See also: 'Manual Stimulation: Barunba (PC Engine)'

15 comments:

Motherplayer said...

Ahhhh its stuff like this that helps you remember how fun manuals can be.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Motherplayer! Yes, that was the main reason I decided to start this series -- more people need to remember how wonderful game manuals used to be (and still could be if anyone still cared).

Retr0gamer said...

Still remember getting a good laugh from the Earthworm Jim manuals. I heard Batman Arkham City doesn't even come with a manual. It's a sad day if this takes off, like the time we lost the PC big boxes and all the crazy goodies you got in them.

Bryan Ochalla said...

I've never seen the Earthworm Jim manuals, Retr0gamer. I'll have to search for them on the Internet soon, I guess :)

Anyway, yes, you're right -- it's sad that companies no longer want to produce manuals, period, let alone fun ones like this one.

apricotsushi said...

I love your idea for the title "Manual Stimulation" ;)

By the way, what's written in the bottom right corner is the previous owner's name and class!! It says (from left to right) "3rd year, class 3, Daigo Nabeshima"

How cute! I can't tell you if he was an elementary/junior/or high school kid, but I'm guessing middle school/junior high?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Anne!

Ah, I'm glad you like the name of this series :) I know it's a little cheeky, but I couldn't help myself.

Thank you, by the way, for telling me what was written on the manual's opening page. Hope you don't mind me asking, but is that what the manual asked the owner to write there -- their name, year in school, etc.? If so, that's very interesting! I've never seen something like that included in a North American game manual before.

Anyway, yes, I would guess the kid was at least a bit older than elementary-school level, wouldn't you? Not that this game is all that adult or anything...

Famicom Freak said...

I sure got stimulated sir! Well done with the manual scans! Love the little comic strip on it. Sexy!

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're very welcome, Famicom Freak! And, yes, that comic strip is the best part, isn't it?

apricotsushi said...

It actually looks like a sticker you see quite often in Japan, so that makes me think he stuck it in there himself! The typed letters say "year, class, name" and then he just filled in his details. But you can check–maybe it's not a sticker but actually printed in the book! If so, that's pretty neat.

His handwriting looks too good to be an elementary school student, and he can write the kanji for his first name. His last name is in hiragana rather than kanji, so that makes me suspect that he might not be in high school yet... (kanji have different readings so he might be "spelling it out" so that people don't get confused)

Retronick said...

I've only ever played this game's North American counterpart, and when I go back and look at the Japanese version I'm completely dumbfounded at how much has been lost in translation. Our manual doesn't have half as many pages (or ANY color), no comic strip, no exploding poop or poop under glass. And No cross-dressing Zonk when you fuse with the cow >:(.

The intro also got stripped and we're missing part of the story there. Not to mention that I've never seen the helicopter coming out of his head until now either. I might have to pick up this version of the game now...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hello again, Anne! Actually, I just re-checked, and it was printed in the book, not a sticker. Pretty cool, eh? The funny/weird thing is, I also just checked out the manual for PC Genjin 3, which was released around the same time, and that manual doesn't include the same area/space. Huh! I guess Hudson really expected this game to be picked up by teens, eh?

Anyway, thanks again for sharing your insights. I really find this kind of stuff fascinating :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Retronick! Yeah, all sorts of stuff was cut from PC Denjin's manual and in-game content when it was brought to our shores. I actually find the changes to the cow fusion/power-up to be the most bizarre. Was it really that risque? Sigh.

Pauli Kohberger said...

Oh my gosh this is such an amazing post I LOVE GAME MANUALS LIKE THIS

It helps that Genhead has an adorable design! He looks like a punky takeoff of Astro Boy!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Paul! I'm glad to hear you like the post -- and the manual, of course.

Anyway, yes, he does look like a punky takeoff of Astro Boy, doesn't he? Never thought of him that way before...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ack! Sorry for calling you Paul (without the "i" at the end) in my last comment, Pauli! I'll just blame it on my horrible eyesight :)