Can you believe it's been nearly a year since I bought a copy of Engacho!, NAC Geographic Products' amusingly gross WonderSwan puzzler? (A few photos of the game's packaging can be seen here.)
I can, but then again I've bought a lot of games in the last year (he says as his husband groans in the background).
More unbelievable, in my opinion, is that I've yet to play the damn thing. Of course, that would require me to buy a WonderSwan system of some sort, and for whatever reason I haven't been able to make myself do that yet.
While I ponder why that is, why don't all of you do something a bit more enjoyable--like take in the beauty that is this game's instruction manual.
OK, so it's clear from the cover of the Engacho! manual that "beauty" may not be the best word to use here. You have to admit, though, that it's pretty darn colorful--and the illustrations are quite amusing (if not exactly attractive).
Moving along to the interior of this title's surprisingly lengthy manual, right off the bat we get a glimpse of its nose-less protagonist. Sadly, I can't tell you his name--or the names of any of the characters highlighted on the next few pages--as I still don't know a lick of Japanese. (Don't worry, I'm working on it.)
Should any of you who understand Japanese be able and willing to lend a helping hand with this information, by the way, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Next up in the Engacho! manual: the ever-thrilling explanation of controls. It's a fairly necessary section in such booklets, of course, so I won't complain too much that it's lacking in excitement.
Here we get a look at the game's intro screens--which, sadly, are in black and white. Couldn't the folks at NAC Geographic Products have re-released this one after the WonderSwan Color hit the streets? I guess not. Oh, well, at least the sprites are worthy representations of the hand-drawn originals.
Get used to seeing black-and-white screenshots accompanied by a select handful of illustrations, by the way, because that pretty much sums up the remainder of the Engacho! instruction manual.
That's not to say the rest of the manual isn't worth your attention, but I also wouldn't say it's the stuff of dreams.
The pages below explain the rules of the game, by the way. Rather than bore you by sharing said rules here, I'm going to direct you to my review of the PlayStation version of Engacho!, which I think does a pretty good job of covering them.
Last, but not least (some will argue that assertion, I'm sure--and I wouldn't blame them), the folks at NAC Geographic Products touch on this puzzler's "battle" mode, which I can only assume is some sort of two-player experience that involves connecting a pair of WonderSwan systems, as well as its save functionality.
After taking in all of the above, I doubt many of you are feeling overawed by the Engacho! instruction manual. Still, it deserves a few points for its length and for including a number of nice (if overused) illustrations.
See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts