Monday, September 19, 2016

Manual Stimulation (Parodius Da!, PC Engine)

Before we begin to prattle on about this PC Engine game's instruction manual, let's take a second to bow our heads in honor of the fact that the world's unlikely to get another game in Konami's wacky Parodius series.

That's a shame because all of the Parodius games Konami made and released between 1988's Parodius: Tako wa Chikyū o Sukū for MSX and 1996's Sexy Parodius for the original PlayStation (and arcades)--we'll just ignore all of those pachinko games the company put out over the last decade--were more than worth the price of admission.

This 1992 release may be my favorite of them all. Granted, the PC Engine port of Parodius Da! is missing a few of the arcade original's stages, but its chaotic omake bonus level makes up for it.

Its fabulous manual eases some of the disappointment associated with this semi-downgraded port, too.

Don't take that to mean it's all that and a bag of chips. It doesn't sport nearly as many adorable illustrations as the Famicom version's booklet. And it doesn't kick off with a multi-page comic strip like the Super Famicom release's manual. Still, it's cute and colorful enough that most folks should enjoy flipping through it now and then.

The "story" spread above helps prove that point, I think. Hell, so does the regrettably tiny depiction of Takosuke (the series' iconic octopus character) hoisting and shooting a machine gun.

The illustrations on the following pages, which show off and explain the game's power-up items and abilities, are interesting in that they're in a style that's quite different from the rest of the art that appears in the Parodius Da! instruction manual.

That's not a bad thing, mind you. Still, I can't help but wish they were sillier or livelier--like the ones included in the Famicom booklet I linked to earlier.

Somewhat strangely, the designers who created the Parodius Da! manual devoted two whole pages to explanations of the game's bell power-ups. I suggest that's strange because these explanations presumably took the place of artistic representations of its enemies and bosses.

Oh, well you can't have everything, right? And at least we're treated to one last top-notch illustration before the booklet wraps up with some pithy stage descriptions.

Want to see how the Parodius Da! PC Engine case and HuCard stack up to its manual? Check out my latest "Nice Package!" post, which features photos of of both--as well as some additional commentary on the game itself.

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts about Rainbow Islands, Pop'n Magic and PC Genjin

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