Friday, April 17, 2020

Manual Stimulation: Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World (Famicom)

No joke, the English version of Taito's Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World, called Panic Restaurant,  is one of my favorite side-scrolling platformers around.

Which isn't to suggest it's one of the best side-scrolling platformers around. It's not. It's probably not even one of the best platformers released for the Famicom or NES.

Still, I adore it. Why? For starters, I've never been shy about admitting I love games that feature food. Well, that's pretty much all you encounter while playing Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World, which is set in and around a restaurant ("Eaten").

Food's about all you encounter while flipping through the Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World instruction manual, too. Food and people who make food (like the cute chef showcased on the manual's cover and on pretty much every interior page), I mean.

Thankfully, the Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World manual follows in the glorious footsteps of many other old Taito game manuals and depicts all of the above-mentioned food and food-making with the most brilliant of illustrations.

The illustration that serves as the backdrop of this booklet's "story" page (see above) is a perfect example.

None of the other drawings that fill the Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World booklet are as massive as the one that sits behind its story text, but most are just as adorable.

I particularly enjoy the one that depicts the protagonist headbutting an anthropomorphic loaf of bread.

I also like the rest of this manual's design elements--such as the ample pops of pink and red, the cartoonishy bold header fonts and call-outs, and the film-strip effect that playfully introduces the game's many enemy characters.

I kind of wish the map that shines a light on the restaurant containing Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World's six levels were a little larger, but I'm also happy it exists at all.

Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World's six levels conclude with six boss battles, as you might imagine. They're all silly and fun, but I think my favorite is the microwave that spits chickens at you.

To end this write-up on an intriguing note: the legendary Kenji Eno designed Wanpaku Kokkun no Gourmet World, which saw release in both Japan and North America in 1992. (It found its way to Europe two years later.)

Eno later produced a trio of acclaimed survival-horror games--1995's D, 1996's Enemy Zero, and 1999's D2--as well as several other titles before his untimely death in early 2013.

See also: the Bubble Bobble, Yume Penguin Monogatari, and Pizza Pop! Famicom manuals

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