Sunday, October 14, 2018

Manual Stimulation: Crazy Climber (WonderSwan)

I've long ignored Crazy Climber for WonderSwan because it looked just a little too antiquated for my liking.

Granted, the original arcade version of the game came out all the way back in 1980, so this portable port from 1999 was bound to have an old-fashioned air to it, too.

If this is your first foray into the world of Crazy Climber, you're probably wondering: wasn't it updated or modernized at all between 1980 and 1999?

You'd think so, but as far as I can tell, the answer to that question amounts to "not really."

Maker and publisher Nichibutsu improved the looks of most of its console ports and sequels, but even Crazy Climber 2000 (from--you guessed it--the year 2000, and released for the original PlayStation) features the same "scale a skyscraper using two joysticks" (or directional pads) gameplay as the quarter-muncher that birthed the series 38 years ago.

So what prompted me to do an about-face and pick up a copy of this nichiest of niche titles? One catalyst was that I found out it's played holding the WonderSwan system vertically. (I've always been a sucker for that.) Another was its cartoonish and colorful box art.

Speaking of Crazy Climber's lovely cover illustration, I've got admit I kind of assumed it meant the game's instruction manual would be stuffed with similarly eye-popping imagery.

Boy, was I wrong. In fact, except for the manual's last spread, it's nearly devoid of art. The only exception is the awkwardly drawn hands found in the lower-left corner of page seven.

Don't take that to mean I'm disappointed with my purchase. I'm still glad I own this version of Crazy Climber. Hell, I'm still glad I own this booklet. Its cover and second-to-last page alone make it worth every penny.

If you're wondering what the illustrations on the second-to-last page are supposed to represent, by the way, that would be the game's "characters." I put it in quotes because some of the depicted objects obviously don't fit the typical definition of the word.

Anyway, you encounter all of these so-called characters as you (attempt to) make your way to the top of each of Crazy Climber's mammoth buildings.

Most aim to do you harm. The lone exception: the "lucky balloon." It kindly hauls you up a handful of floors without asking for anything in return.

One last comment before I declare this post complete: click on any of the scans you see here to take a closer look at them.

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts about Engacho! and Lode Runner for WonderSwan

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