Friday, March 13, 2015

Manual Stimulation: Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (GameBoy)

In the "Another Year of the GameBoy" post I published about this Japan-only GameBoy title a couple of days ago, I spent a sentence or two gushing about its lovely instruction manual.

It didn't feel right to do that and then show off just two of its pages, so I scanned the whole she-bang yesterday with the intention of sharing the resulting images in another installment of my "Manual Stimulation" series as soon as possible.

Well, it seems "as soon as possible" is today, which is pretty amazing considering the amount of time that usually passes between when I decide to write such a post and when I actually publish it.

Anyway, enough about that. On to the Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (aka For the Frog the Bell Tolls) instruction manual!

Things definitely get off to a nice start with this one, don't you think? My only complaint is that I'd like to see the illustration included in the page above without a bunch of text covering it up.

Thankfully, most of the rest of the illustrations that appear in this game's manual are not as obstructed, with the pair above being good examples.

Ignoring the muscleman in the spread above, I've got to say that I really like how the designers at Nintendo handled the call-outs (the multi-colored boxes filled with explanatory text) that are included throughout this booklet.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just in case you haven't seen enough game and system photos as of late...

Please accept my apologies for the recent deluge of "photo posts." I'm a busy and stressed guy at the moment, and this is the easiest way for me to keep this blog up to date while also dealing with all of the stuff in my life that actually pays the bills.

Don't worry, though, I'll soon--as in, later this week--begin a month-long break from the certificate program that's been eating into my free time, and that will make playing and writing about games a lot easier (not to mention more enjoyable).

In the meantime, why not take a gander at the following photos, a few of which were published to my Flickr photostream in recent weeks, one of which was published to my Instagram account during the same timeframe and the rest of which have yet to be published anywhere.

The photo above was taken around the time I wrote my last "A Decade of DS" post, naturally. And, yes, I bought the European version of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales because I prefer its more minimalistic cover art to what the designers at Square Enix concocted for the North American release of the game. 

This photo, on the other hand, was taken shortly after I received my copy of Koei's Pop Cutie! Street Fashion Simulation and before I began playing it (for another of my recent "A Decade of DS" posts).

You may remember that I mentioned in my last post--about the beautiful light pink and white Vita that arrived on my doorstep just over a week ago--that I've already bought a retail Vita game, with the game in question being the original Danganronpa.

Why did I sit my copy of Danganronpa on top of my copy of Catch! Touch! Yoshi! for Nintendo DS? Because I wanted to show just how small the boxes of Vita games are--a fact that quite honestly shocked me during my first run-in with NIS America's highly acclaimed title.

In yet another recently published post, I blathered on about the Hobonichi Techo I picked up after landing my new-as-of-six-weeks-ago job. Although I included a whole bunch of photos in that post, I didn't include the one seen above, which showcases both the "Onett" (yes, of Mother 2 and EarthBound fame) cover and the Mr. Saturn pencil board I bought alongside this Japanese planner.

My "A Decade of DS" post about Maestro! Jump in Music may not have been as joyous as I expected it to be (before I actually played the game), but it still produced the snapshot shown above, which I originally shared with the world via Instagram.

Finally, this photo was nabbed shortly after my pal, Jess, bought and sent me the sparkly purple PSP-3000--more of that story can be read here--that seems to be itching to launch the wondrous Qix clone (kind of, but not really) that's known outside of Japan as Patchwork Heroes.

Did any of these photos stand out for you in particular? If so, why? Also, if you have a Flickr or Instagram or similar account that often highlights photos of games or systems, please let me know about it in the comments section below.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Another Year of the GameBoy: Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru

I know most folks have known about this early-1990s GameBoy title for ages now, but I was completely unaware of its existence until an English fan translation of it was released a couple of years ago.

In case this is the first you've heard of it, it's a Japan-only game that's often referred to as The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls or For the Frog the Bell Tolls and that plays (in a way) like a bastardized, black-and-white take on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

That's because, like Nintendo's weirdo follow-up to the original Zelda title, Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru is an adventure that features both overhead and side-scrolling segments.

The main thing that keeps this GameBoy cart from feeling like a lame copy-and-paste job is that battles in the bird's-eye-view portions are hands-off affairs--as in, when the protagonist, Prince Sablé, bumps into an enemy, the fighting begins and ends (behind a cloud of dust, even) without any input from the player.

Don't worry if that sounds about as appealing as watching paint dry, as it's actually pretty adorable--and even kind of enjoyable.

Anyway, with all of that out the way, let's get to the "meat" of this particular post--which is the photos I snapped of my acquired-sometime-ago copy of For the Frog the Bell Tolls.

Boy, that illustration that serves as the centerpiece of this game's box art is a beauty, isn't it? I kind of wish it took up the entirety of the front side of the packaging, though. At least it's still pretty enticing even in its current state.

Moving to Kaeru no Tame's instruction manual, it's quite a looker, too. I love how the page showcased in the snapshot above combines a look at the game's map with a few of its (main?) characters.

The page above, on the other hand, gives me serious Kid Icarus vibes--which, of course, is a very good thing.

I have to say, I'm not entirely sure why I'm sharing this photo of For the Frog the Bell Tolls' cartridge. After all, its label art isn't all that different from what's found on the front of the game's box.

Oh, well, you really can't have too many photos of such lovely Japanese pick-ups, can you?

So, have any of you played this one? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Do you like its odd gameplay, or do you wish it were a bit more interactive (à la the Zelda series)? Also, what do you think of this title's obsession with food-inspired names?

See also: previous 'Year of the GameBoy' posts