Friday, October 14, 2016

Surprise! The Year of the GameBoy Continues: Burning Paper

This latest "Year of the GameBoy" post focuses on a title that's long given me a lot of joy--and has long caused me to wrinkle my nose in disgust due to the fact that almost everyone overlooks it.

What's so great about Burning Paper, which was developed by Pixel and published by LOZC G. Amusements in 1993? Its name is a good starting point, I think--even if you know nothing about its gameplay.

Speaking of which, Burning Paper reminds me a lot of one of my favorite PSP titles, Patchwork Heroes (aka Hyakumanton no Bara Bara), when it comes to how it plays.

In that game, you control a brave citizen who volunteers to save his comrades from approaching warships by hacking them to pieces.

In Burning Paper, on the other hand, you're plopped into the boots of a guy who bears a shocking resemblance to the iconic Bomberman. For whatever reason, he's been tasked with protecting a series of buildings from an advancing horde of nasty-looking beings. (OK, so most of them are kind of cute. Still, it's clear they're up to no good.)

I'm sure all of this is explained in the game's instruction manual, but at the moment my grasp of the Japanese language isn't advanced enough for me to make sense of its "story" page.

(Regarding Burning Paper's manual, by the way, it's actually pretty impressive. I especially like all of the little illustrations that are sprinkled throughout--scroll down a couple of inches to see a few of them. And keep your eyes peeled for a "Manual Stimulation" post devoted to this booklet)

Going back a bit, Burning Paper's gameplay is at least somewhat explained in the game's opening cinematic. In a series of four static images, a scientist who could pass as a close relative of Mega Man's Dr. Light creates a concoction that appears to cause an adverse reaction (to put it mildly) to some nearby creepy-crawlies.

Thankfully, mister Bomberman wannabe is on hand and comes to the rescue. Or something like that.

Regardless, each and every stage in Burning Paper begins with the above-mentioned and familiarly besuited protagonist stuck atop a high-rise. These high-rises are covered in posters. Don't ask me why--again, I don't have a clue.

As a variety of vermin--including bugs, mice, moles and a bunch of other creatures I can't properly categorize--amble their way toward your lofty position, you use some sort of laser (provided by the faux Dr. Light, naturally) to cut pieces out of the placards below. Get the timing right, and the falling scraps crash into the oncoming baddies and send them into the Great Beyond.

It's a lot of fun, and more than a bit frantic. Plus, it looks rather nice and sounds lovely.

Actually, I'd say it sounds more than lovely. In fact, its soundtrack is pretty amazing considering I'd never heard of Pixel or LOZC G. Amusements before I became acquainted with Burning Paper.

Combine all of the above with the fact that, as I've hopefully made clear with the photos you see here, this title's outer box, cartridge and instruction manual are beautifully designed, and it should be easy to understand why the lack of Burning Paper love from the GameBoy-loving masses (if such a thing can be said to exist in 2016) confounds and confuses me.

Who knows, though, maybe posts like this will help bring it to the attention of more people who still get a kick out of old-school oddities.

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