Thursday, August 30, 2018

Manual Stimulation: Lucky Monkey (GameBoy)

Does Lucky Monkey not ring a bell? Maybe you know this adorable platformer by its Western name, Spanky's Quest.

I'm not a huge fan of either title, to be honest. Not that it matters--developer and publisher Natsume could've called this 1991 release (in Japan, at least) Monkey Game and I'd still love it to pieces.

Why do I love it? For starters, it's cute--and as you should be well aware by now, I tend to like cute games.

Also, a lot of Lucky Monkey's enemies are anthropomorphic vegetables or fruits--something else that's long caught my attention.

I'm attracted to more than Lucky Monkey's looks, though. I'm pretty fond of its soundtrack, too, which reminds me of the one conjured up for another Natsume joint, Shippo de Bun (Tail 'Gator outside of Japan).

And then there's the gameplay. I called it a platformer earlier, and while that's undoubtedly the best way to describe the action in Lucky Monkey, it's hardly a Super Mario Bros. clone.

Here, you take the eponymous simian through a series of tower-themed stages. To clear a stage, he (I think?) has to defeat all of its food-based baddies using balls that have been stashed away somewhere or other.

Actually, I'm not sure they're balls. After all, if you bounce them off the monkey's head a few times, they explode and shower the surrounding area--which includes some enemies, hopefully--with shrapnel.

So that's what you're getting from Lucky Monkey the game. But what are you getting from Lucky Monkey the manual?

Well, as you'll hopefully see as you go through this post, you're getting a rather nice example of a Japanese GameBoy instruction booklet.

I wouldn't call it a standout, mind you, but I wouldn't call it a turd either.

One of my favorite components of the Lucky Monkey manual: the little illustrations of the protagonist that line the top of each page.

The handful of (admittedly simplistic) other drawings that pop up now and then are worth ogling, too.

Also deserving of a thumbs-up, in my opinion: the blue-and-orange color scheme this booklet's designers employed during the printing process.

In the end, this one obviously could be quite a bit more thrilling, but even it its current state it's far from disappointing.

Or at least that's my opinion of Lucky Monkey's instruction manual. What do all of you think about it?

See also: photos of Lucky Monkey's packaging

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