Monday, September 03, 2018

Manual Stimulation: Pizza Pop! (Famicom)

As a youngster, I regularly turned up my nose at Jaleco's NES offerings.

For me, they were way too rough around the edges. I preferred comparatively "cleaner" games like the ones made by Nintendo, Konami, and Capcom.

That's not to say there weren't exceptions. I bought and played the hell out of the company's Racket Attack, for example. (Don't take that to be an endorsement; it's not. The game's terrible, even if I have a soft spot for it.)

And I remember renting and enjoying its home port of City Connection on a few occasions, too.

Despite my anti-Jaleco bias, I'm sure I would've given Pizza Pop! more than a second look back in the day had it not been a Japan-only release.

Sadly, that wasn't the case, and so I had to wait until a few years ago to finally experience this wacky platformer (via emulation, of course).

Was it worth the wait? In some ways yes, and in some ways no. On the positive side, Pizza Pop! looks and sounds great. I particularly love its cartoonish aesthetic, though its boppy, poppy backing tunes are a ton of fun as well.

On the negative side, though, there's the fact that this game seems to revel in being annoyingly cheap (from a difficulty perspective).

Something that was without a doubt worth the wait, or at least worth what I spent on it, is this game's instruction manual. Why? For starters, it's full of color. This is especially true of its story spread (pages two and three, above), but it's also true of the ones that follow.

Sadly, that's one of the only places you'll find any unique illustrations in the Pizza Pop! booklet. You will encounter a number of screenshots throughout, however. They don't really make up for the lack of drawings, but in this kind of situation you've got to take what you get.

This manual's biggest missed opportunity, as far as I'm concerned, is that its pair of "character" pages (12 and 13, below) feature in-game sprites rather than line-art depictions of the game's enemies.

Oh, well, at least the baddies that fill the Pizza Pop! stages are a good-looking bunch.

What do you think of this latest entry in my "Manual Stimulation" series? Also, if you've played Pizza Pop!, what did you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

See also: some photos of Pizza Pop's packaging

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