Truth be told, I've never had the highest opinion of Namco's PC Engine releases. Or maybe I should say I've only recently gained an appreciation for them.
What gave me pause in the past? My main issue with the company's PC Engine output was that most of it was made up of watered-down arcade conversions. Although that kind of thing doesn't bother me now--in fact, in many cases I appreciate the differences between the quarter-munchers and their console counterparts--it definitely irritated me when I was younger.
Thankfully, I've since gotten over such closed-mindedness--to the point that I'm now a pretty big fan of the games Namco produced for NEC's Famicom competitor.
Valkyrie no Densetsu is a good example of how things have improved between me and the folks who developed Namco's PC Engine offerings. Until a few months ago, I turned my nose up at this 1990 release. It's not exactly a looker, as the saying goes, and when it comes to old games like this one, that often means the difference between it being played or ignored.
The good news regarding Valkyrie no Densetsu is that it looks a good bit better once it's in motion. It's also surprisingly fun--in an overly linear, original Legend of Zelda kind of way.
Even if that weren't true, though, I'd probably want to own a copy of this colorful HuCard. If you need a reason why, just look at the scans shared throughout this post.
The pair of spreads above really show off how far Namco's artists and designers were willing to go to create quality instruction manuals back in the day.
I especially like the image of the eponymous Valkyrie taking on one of the game's caveman-like baddies that covers the pages that immediate precede this chunk of text but, really, all of the art included on this manual's many piece of papers is awesome if you ask me.
Even pages that otherwise might be considered boring are better than your run-of-the-mill how-to booklet, thanks to the use of color and callouts and whatnot.
Not that you could call much of the Valkyrie no Densetsu instruction manual "boring." Consider the following spread--which reminds me of the similar products Nintendo created for titles like The Legend of Zelda and Kid Icarus.
Somewhat-related aside: I've always been a softie for illustrations of common game items like bottles and keys and weapons and armor.
Finally, we have a map of the areas players have to traverse if they want to conquer the PC Engine version of Valkyrie no Densetsu.
Or at least that's what I think the pages above are supposed to depict. I can't say for sure because I've never made it past the HuCard's first few stages.
How about you? Are you a hardcore Valkyrie no Densetsu fan who has seen its end credits many times over, or is this the first you're hearing of this not-quite-classic (outside of Japan, at least)? Regardless, please share your thoughts on this title's manual if you have the time and interest.
See also: 'Nice Package! (Valkyrie no Densetsu, PC Engine),' 'Second Chances: Valkyrie no Densetsu (PC Engine)' and previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts