Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Manual Stimulation: Banishing Racer (GameBoy)

Given the brilliance of Banishing Racer's box art, its instruction booklet must be similarly magnificent, right?

To be completely honest, I find the Banishing Racer manual a bit disappointing.

I say that mainly because I love every other aspect of this Japan-only GameBoy game, published by Jaleco Entertainment during the summer of 1991. To me, Banishing Racer's cover art, in-game graphics, soundtrack, and even story are marvelous.

The kookiness that's on full display in each of the above-mentioned areas is barely noticeable while flipping through the game's instruction manual.

The story spread of the Banishing Racer manual is a welcome exception, thanks to the portraits that sit behind the text.

Speaking of which, that's not City Connection's Clarice on the left, is it? I know it doesn't look like her, but you never know--maybe she got her hair done between when that game wrapped up and this one began.

I know it's not always easy to spruce up the pages of a game manual that tell readers how things work, but surely this one's designers could've offered up something more than a simple--and small--rendering of the GameBoy hardware?

Here comes my favorite page of any game manual that's worth its salt--the page that showcases the game's items.

Unfortunately, Banishing Racer features just three items. A bit of a head-scratcher considering the game is a side-scroller, don't you think?

The Banishing Racer instruction booklet wraps up with a look at the game's five stages, each of which consist of three areas.

These stages are based on real-life American cities, by the way. Your journey starts in San Francisco and then takes you and your adorably anthropomorphic car character through Las Vegas, Denver, and Detroit, before concluding in New York City.

See also: 'Five more overlooked Japanese GameBoy games you need to play as soon as possible'

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Manual Stimulation: Donkey Kong (GameBoy)

If I could only play one GameBoy game from here on out, of course I'd choose Tetris. Donkey Kong would be my second choice if such naughtiness were allowed, though.

For me, GameBoy Donkey Kong--that's what the manual cover below suggests this version is called, right?--is one of the most perfect portable gaming experiences to be made available to the public.

Does this game's Japanese instruction manual similarly represent perfection? Not in my mind, but don't take that to mean it sucks.

Sure, it pales in comparison to the Burning Paper, Ghostbusters 2, and Snow Bros. Jr. manuals, but it's still more appealing than many others--as the remainder of this post should make clear.

OK, so the first few pages of the Japanese Donkey Kong booklet don't quite make the case for it being any kind of standout among GameBoy manuals.

At least they feature a few illustrations and a good bit of color, though, right?

Things get a little more exciting on the sixth and seventh pages of this particular Donkey Kong manual.

I especially like how the drawings on the next couple of spreads depict the surprisingly athletic moves Mario makes in this 1994 release.

I also like how these pages mix in the odd screenshot to nice effect.

I do wish the artists and designers who worked on the Japanese Donkey Kong instructional manual had whipped up a few illustrations that depicted the game's handful of items, most of which are highlighted on the next handful of pages.

They could've offered up a more interesting representation of the game's map, too. Instead, readers get some black-and-white screen grabs. Yawn.

Hey, did you know the folks at Pax Softonica--or Pax Softnica, as the company's also known--developed GameBoy Donkey Kong?

That name may not ring a bell, but I'll bet these titles do: Balloon KidMole Mania, and Mother (aka EarthBound Beginnings). Pax Softonica made each of those games--and many more. Pretty impressive, eh?

Also impressive, though not nearly as much: the enemy sprites they conjured up for their handheld take on Nintendo's famous Donkey Kong IP.

I don't know about you, but I've always had a soft spot for that ladybug, in particular.

The GameBoy iteration of Donkey Kong wraps up by naming the people (primarily?) responsible for the game's creation. That's not something you often see in Nintendo-published titles, so I think it's pretty cool this one is an exception.

See also: Balloon Kid, Hoshi no Kirby, Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa and Moguranya manual scans