There are a whole host of reasons to like the PC Engine version of Taito's Mizubaku Daibouken (known as Liquid Kids outside of Japan). One of them is that its gameplay, graphics and music are remarkably close to those that appear in the arcade original, released in 1990. Another is that its instruction manual is really cool.
The only bummer associated with Mizubaku Daibouken's manual: The front and back covers (below) are the only ones that appear in color.
The rest are in black and white. (Well, and a bit of gray.) I don't consider that to be a huge negative, though; on the contrary, all of the illustrations that appear in the Mizubaku Daibouken manual are so nice that after a bit you basically forget about the lack of color.
Anyway, the manual gets off to a rollicking start thanks to a two-page comic that seems to tell the game's backstory.
The, er, rollicking continues on the manual's next two pages, which show off the game's many environments. (Am I crazy, or does the tree-based one call to mind the "Tree Trunk Galaxy" in Super Mario Galaxy 2?)
Yes, Mizubaku Daibouken's manual eventually answers the all-important question: How in the hell do I play this thing? Even then, though, it does so using cute little illustrations.
Excuse the interruption, but I just have to say that I love that this game features a pig power-up (upper-right corner of the scan below). Actually, it's not really a power-up--as far as I can remember, you just get points for touching it--but you know what I mean.
Yep, more illustrations and more power-ups on the next two pages. Note that Mizubaku Daibouken features cake. Everything is better with a slice of cake, isn't it?
Unfortunately, like pretty much everything in life, Mizubaku Daibouken's manual eventually comes to an end. Not before shining a spotlight on a few of its enemies, though. I find it kind of strange that the manual's designers didn't use the space to highlight the game's bosses, but maybe they were trying to keep them a surprise?
Oh, and in case you're wondering: Yes, the little character with the parasol pulled down over his/her/its face (lower-right corner) is the coolest in the game. Without question.
See also: Previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts