Thursday, September 11, 2014

Manual Stimulation: Parasol Stars (PC Engine)

I've held off on publishing a "Manual Stimulation" post devoted to this popular single-screen platformer until now for one simple reason: it's nowhere near as impressive as it should be given how charming and colorful the on-screen action is.

Sadly, the cover of Parasol Stars' manual is both of those things (charming and colorful) and then some. All of that is washed away, though, as soon as you flip it open.

That said, I guess you could say the bubble-inspired header that tops every interior page of this PC Engine manual is a nice, although hardly stellar, addition to the proceedings.

Other aspects of its layout are similarly appealing, such as the scroll that shares the game's story and the stars that call attention to descriptions of its many stages.

Aside from the above, though, it seems kind of wrong for a manual like this one to feature black-and-white screenshots, don't you think?

It does feature a few illustrations, at least, although they pale in comparison to the ones found in similar Taito efforts, such as the manuals the company produced for some of its other arcade-to-PC-Engine ports like Don Doko Don, The New Zealand Story and Mizubaku Daibouken.

You know what I really wish this manual's designers had done? Included either actual screenshots of or illustrated depictions of every one of Parasol Stars' collectable items. I mean, the cherry, eclair and popsicle highlighted in the scan above are nice, and I want to see all of them!

The final pages of the Parasol Stars' manual veer back toward boring, but at least they pass along--or at least I assume they pass along--some vitally important information that's related to getting the most enjoyment possible out of this precious platformer.

(Specifically, said info makes players aware of the fact that grabbing three matching "miracle icons" within each world allows them to access a number of bonuses, including some special Bubble Bobble-themed and Chack'n Pop-themed stages near the end of the game.)

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts


RetroKingSimon said...

Ooof! I see what you mean, what a shame, it could've been so much better :( Still, least they put the effort in where it really matters! said...

Yes :( It's especially baffling when you consider what the folks at Taito did with other PCE manuals. Not that all of them are great, mind you--Chuka Taisen's is pretty boring, too, as is Jigoku Meguri's. Oh, well, like you said, at least the game itself is awesome :)