Saturday, July 01, 2017

Manual Stimulation: Tumblepop (GameBoy)

Given my nearly lifelong love of Taito's Bubble Bobble and its many copycats and clones, it might strike some of you as strange that it took me a couple of decades to come across and check out Data East's Tumblepop.

What can I say? It completely bypassed my radar between its arcade release in 1991 and when I finally became aware of the GameBoy port discussed here a few years back.

Speaking of which, you know what prompted me to take notice of this portable single-screen platformer? The brilliantly colorful art that's splashed across the cover of the Japanese version. (See it in all its glory in my "Yet Another Year of the GameBoy" post about Tumblepop.)

Admittedly, it's a bit of a bummer that the Japanese GameBoy port's manual cover isn't as vibrant as its box cover, but it's also not exactly shocking.

I say that because most Japanese GameBoy manuals were printed using just one or two colors of ink. Here, Data East's artists went with blue and green.

HAL Laboratory's, on the other hand, went with red and blue while producing Ghostbuster 2's Japanese GameBoy manual, and Asmik's designers went with blue and orange while making the Pitman manual.

At any rate, the pops of green and blue that are found throughout the Tumblepop booklet's interior are far more impressive than the cover art seen above, if you ask me.

I also really like the unique style that was employed to craft the many character illustrations that accompany those pops of color. The clown showcased on the scan below is a good example.

Thank goodness Data East allowed its designers to create these pieces of art, as the Japanese Tumblepop instruction manual is surprisingly meaty. Without an illustration here and there, flipping through it would be a lot less interesting.

As for why this how-to booklet is so thick, I have a feeling it's because this portable Tumblepop port has both a "Vs." mode and a "Construction" mode, the latter of which lets players make their own stages.

Tumblepop's "Construction" mode, below, requires more of an explanation than its "Vs." mode, apparently.

I'm OK with that, though, as some of the space allocated to explain the game's "Construction" mode includes line drawings of the various elements and components available to players who dare to try it out.

I'm especially fond of the item illustrations highlighted on the following pair of pages, which serve as the final ones of the Tumblepop instruction manual.

What do you think of the focus of this installment of "Manual Stimulation"? Also, what do you think of this version of Data East's Bubble Bobble wannabe--those of you who've played it? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section of this post.

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts about Astro Rabby, Taiyou no Tenshi Marlowe and Totsugeki! Ponkotsu Tank

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