Friday, April 20, 2012

Manual Stimulation: The New Zealand Story (PC Engine)

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 alsoPrevious 'Manual Stimulation' posts


Sean said...

Interesting. I agree, it would have been way better to have done the manual in color. That page with the aww-inducing character illustrations in particular would have looked good (thoughe ven in black and white I quite like the look of them). I remember you did a post about this game earlier (or maybe just mentioned it in another post), I have been trying to find a copy ever since but so far have had no luck!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Sean! Yeah, a bit of color would have been great. Even as is, though, I also like it quite a bit. As for whether or not I've written about this game before: Yep! I think it was one of my "Second Chances" posts (a series which I sadly haven't added to in some time). It's a fun little game, so hopefully you'll find a copy of it soon!

Viewtiful_Justin said... that a robot octopus?! Sweet.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Yes, I think it is, Justin! Not that I would know from playing the game. It's tough as hell and I kind of suck at it. Still, I can't help but give it a go now and then.

Unknown said...

These illustrations are the cutest! I love the romancing birds on the first story page :)

So, uh, oddly enough, that weird double-barreled thing is supposed to be a "metal balloon." Don't shoot the messenger! I'm just translating what it says. I guess it's like an amped up version of the "big ballon" shown above it. The world may never know why it has two "bubbles."

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Anne! Thanks for translating what the double-barreled thingy is. A metal balloon? Uh, OK! How is such a thing supposed to fly/float? Oh, well, we are talking about a game in which the lead character is a kiwi bird who wears tennis shoes and shoots guns and arrows and such, so maybe I should cut it some slack :)

RetroKingSimon said...

NZS is one of my all-time favourite games and one (of many) reason is the awesome cute characters shown here! Shame it's not in colour but it's still a great booklet :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

I didn't know you were such a fan of NZS, Simon -- or at least I don't think I knew that. Anyway, I can understand it, as it's certainly a great little platformer.

Anonymous said...

That "giant baby" is a mechanical tumbler doll.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, thanks for setting me straight on that, anon!