I’ve voiced my dissatisfaction with the gameplay featured in Namcot’s horizontal shmup, Barunba, before (in this post, for example), but what I haven’t expressed previously, as far as I’m aware, is my fondness for that much-maligned HuCard’s instruction manual.
That fondness begins, of course, with said instruction manual’s cover image (below, right), which shows Barunba‘s always-grinning protagonist gunning his way through a plethora of what appear to be crimson-tinged baddies.
I have to admit, I originally thought the protagonist was piloting his bubble-shaped ship through the innards of another human being, a la Psygnosis’ Microcosm. (I didn’t realize the red blobs in the background were the exteriors of a couple of creatures rather than their interiors, obviously.)
Anyway, the manual’s first two pages can be seen below. I’m guessing they detail the main character’s (and his ship’s) colorful back story, or something like that.
The next pages, on the other hand, seem to describe the many components of the game’s globe-shaped ship.
Barunba‘s main madman is exposed in the next set of pages. Who’s that brute behind him? It’s unlikely I’ll ever find out, as I find the game as boring as unadorned oatmeal.
Speaking of boring, you may as well skip the manual’s next few pages. Thankfully, they’re the only yawn-inducing ones.
You know, if Barunba‘s in-game sprites even partially resembled the illustrations shared on the following pages it would be a far more interesting experience, in my opinion. But would it be a more enjoyable one? Probably not.
Alas, these are the manual’s last few pages. They wrap things up on a high note, though, thanks in large part to that image on the right, which shows the game’s protagonist (what is his name, anyway?) battling a boss who looks as though he could be related to Metroid‘s Ridley.
So, there you have it: Ample evidence that just because a game sucks its instruction manual doesn’t have to follow suit.
Note: This post will soon be published on my general gaming blog as part of that site’s “Manual Stimulation” (ha ha) series. Don’t worry, any future installments that relate to the PC Engine will be published here first.