Are you man(ual) enough? - By Jeffery "Staples" Hanson
Hey everybody! Welcome to Manual Transmission, the only column that gives you the latest and greatest on the exciting world of Dreamcast instruction manuals!
I thought I’d start off this week with a juicy rumor: Acclaim’s William DeSaul has apparently accepted an offer to work at Take 2 as an associate producer. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say! DeSaul isn’t a bad writer, but his editing skills and feel for page layout have always been sub-par, at best. Acclaim’s manuals, especially the recent ones, have been really disappointing: skimpy B&W twenty-page rags featuring only the barest essentials and no extras whatsoever. I know what you’re thinking: "but Jeff, what about Fur Fighters?" True, Fur Fighters’ manual is probably Acclaim’s best yet, but William had only a minor role in the project, mostly polishing up the Controls section, since he was hard at work on pushing Jeremy McGrath out the door. Associate editor Nick Santos, a rising star with a really unique style, did the majority of the work on FF. (You may remember him from his underrated work on Stargate for the Genesis.) Anyways, enough gossip: MAIN MENU!
Review: Ultimate Fighting Championship Manual
With poor art direction and sloppy writing, UFC is one of the worst manuals to hit the Dreamcast yet (yes, even worse than Incoming!). The number of spelling and grammar errors is simply unacceptable! Check out these quotes from the Tips section:
7. Watch you opponent carefully and learn the pattern of their attack. This will help you find the weak point in there technique and overcome their attacks.
8. When you are on the ground and trying to strike your opponent, try to vary your punches to confuse your opponent, making it harder for him to counter your strikes and move into a more dominate position.
Terrible! To top things off, the registration card is very poorly placed. I'd have thought Crave would have learned from their Super Magnetic Neo debacle. About the only positive thing I can say about UFC is that there are two and 3/4ths pages worth of lined note-taking space -- perfect for jotting down those complicated moves.
Shame upon whoever wrote and edited this piece of garbage. While the author not surprisingly "forgot" to list his name in the credits, I wouldn’t be surprised if Crave’s Dan Jankens was the mastermind behind this atrocity. Since inside sources at Crave DID confirm that Jankens is heading up production on the Starlancer manual, I suppose we can expect more of the same! Now if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I’m going to cross Starlancer off my "must buy" list...
First Look: Ready 2 Rumble 2
I got my hands on an early draft of the Ready 2 Rumble 2 manual, and SWEET BEANS is it looking impressive. Sure, it’s pretty much just a resized port of the PS2 manual, but you wouldn’t know it from the clean layout and thoughtful Dreamcast-related tidbits. Say what you will about Midway’s games: they sure know to make great instructions! Mike and Sandy at Midway Creative Services in San Diego are two of the most talented people in the biz, I must say. Want more details? Well, of course it’ll be in full-color like the original, and Sandy promised that they’d fit in more than one page of specials moves space this time to accommodate the game’s increased depth. She also hinted at a tasty rewrite of the warranty information and a drastic layout change in the credits section, but it’s really too early to say. Oh, and in case you were worried about Midway slapping an ad on the back cover, Mike assures me that they’ll do everything in their power to prevent this. After R2R’s great back cover collage, this is welcome news. I can’t wait!
Exclusive Monster Breeder Insider Leak!
Make sure you've got the drawstrings on your Sunday sweat pants tied tight for this one, kiddies, 'cause I got a RARE super-early sneak peek at a rough draft of the upcoming Monster Breeder manual. MINT! Don't bother to ask how I got a hold of this sucker… no dice! Click on the thumbnail for the full-sized scan.
Leaked rough draft of the Monster Breeder manual... hmmm... looks like they'll be going with a 10lb off-white paper stock, eh?
I really hope they choose Hundenswacher as the font for the page numbers. Remember how cool those suckers looked back in the Sunsoft SNES days? Sweetness.
Richard Ampower to Sega?!
I really hate to publish two rumors in the same column, but this one was too big to overlook: Nintendo’s Executive Editor Richard Ampower may be jumping ship to Sega! WHY, OH GOD, WHY!?! Sega’s design department is more than adequately staffed, so why fix what’s not broken in the first place? Apparently, Sega wants to bring Ampower in to bring a little more "punch" to their instructions and totally re-haul their entire format, which they consider to be “drastically inefficient.” We all know what that means: less pages and cheaper staples, all in the name of cost-cutting! Grrr!
To top it all off, everybody knows Ampower is primarily an editor. He simply cleans up the Japanese translations to make them presentable and doesn’t do much actual writing of his own. And as far as design goes, pfah! Ampower wouldn’t know proper margin width if it hit him in the face. I hope this nasty (and hopefully untrue) tale will be put to rest by my next column.
KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child - A port of the PC version. Blah. Let’s hope it isn’t as bad as Hidden & Dangerous, where they forgot to rewrite the technical support section! If you haven’t see it yet, here’s a piccy:
PATHETIC! Whoever let that blatant error go to press should have their hands three-hole punched. Anyway, continuing:
Quake III Arena - Too early to say, although it should look really nice (assuming Ampower doesn’t bungle things up). But Sega, spring for full-color this time, willya?
Worms Pinball - Ugh, budget title. They’ll probably print it on burlap to save money. Pass!
Silent Scope - WAIT! I know, I know, Konami has had its ups and downs, but with my man Todd at the helm (pulling double duty by editing AND writing) I’m willing to bet this’ll be well worth your while. Pre-order!
Quick Tip of The Week:
Don’t pull out those registration cards! Yes, they’re annoying, but you’ll KILL the value of your manual. If you absolutely must remove them to prevent damage while flipping pages, CAREFULLY bend the staples upwards and slide it out. Then gently replace the card when you’re done reading. And take care not to bend that back cover corner when you’re slapping it back in the jewel case, pardner!
Space Channel 5 - Ul-la-la indeed! If this were full-color and of a heavier paper stock, I wouldn’t be able to put this one down! BAM!
Jet Grind Radio (Import) - Those Japanese sure know how to pen their prose!
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure - I don’t know why, but I just can’t put it down! This is the one I’ve been bringing to work lately, to read during the dull stretches. Rent this one if you haven’t seen it already, REALLY tight stuff for a Capcom game.
Well, that’s about all from the Manual Transmission Newsdesk this week… keep flippin’ those pages!
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