There's a lot to like about the PC Engine port of The New Zealand Story. First, there's its premise, which tasks players with traveling the world as a sneaker-sporting kiwi named Tiki in order to rescue said kiwi's kidnapped sweetheart, Phee Phee. (Just go with it.) Also, there's its crazily colorful graphics, which both call to mind and are a far cry from developer Taito's similar efforts--Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands, etc.--from the same era. Finally, there's its instruction manual, the front and back covers of which can be seen below.
Sadly, this manual's front and back covers are the only pages that feature any color whatsoever.
That's not to say this manual's inside pages should be ignored. On the contrary, a good number of them feature absolutely adorable black-and-white illustrations like the ones included on the following pages (which I believe share some of the game's backstory).
Notice that I said "a good number" of the pages that make up The New Zealand Story's manual feature adorable illustrations. The rest, like the ones below, are pretty boring.
Taito's graphic designers attempted to spice things up a bit by including a screenshot on one of the manual's pages (below, on the right). Unfor- tunately, it's a rather terrible screenshot, don't you think? Maybe they should have invested in a color manual after all.
Thankfully, more adorable drawings featuring Tiki and a few of the game's many minions can be found on the following pages.
Riding balloons and other wacky vehicles (such as one that's shaped like a duck or goose)--as Tiki is doing on one of the pages above--is my favorite thing to do in The New Zealand Story, by the way.
Oh, look, another yawn-inducing pair of pages (above)! No worries, the next few are full of more awww-inducing drawings.
The pages above depict some (all?) of the enemies that appear in The New Zealand Story, with my favorites being the spotted frog on the left-hand page and the little bird on the right-hand page.
After that, we get to see some of the title's bosses. Don't worry, I have no idea what that baby-like thing is supposed to be either. (I've never seen its in-game counterpart, as The New Zealand Story is one tough cookie.) Oh, and the right-side page (above) also shows some of the vehicles I men- tioned earlier. If anyone can tell me what that double-barreled one is supposed to be, I'd greatly appreciate it.
The New Zealand Story's manual ends on a rather ho-hum note, if you ask me, with the left-hand page shining the spotlight on a handful of the game's weapons (the laser gun is my favorite) and some of its collectible fruit, too. (A Taito platformer just has to have collectible fruit, you know.) The right-hand page, on the other hand, features--appropriately enough--a bunch of undiscernable text.
See also: Previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts