Specific Ratings

Learning CurveC+
Replay ValueB

Pros and Cons

  • A whopping 28 pages!
  • Talks about both "seizures" AND "leakage"
  • Custom soundtrack feature!
  • The cop from Keystone Kapers? On the front cover!
  • A race car? ALSO on the cover!
  • A faceless boxer? HE'S THERE ON THE COVER TOO!
  • Black and white pictures inside.
  • Very little actual instruction inside.
  • No music programmed into the instruction book.

Activision Anthology -- Manual Only (Game Boy Advance)

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For an instruction booklet, it's pretty light on any actual instruction.


When one picks up the manual to Activision Anthology, there is a certain amount of heft that can be felt compared to most other Game Boy Advance instruction manuals. At 28 pages, it's quite meaty, but unfortunately it's mostly appetizer, and the main course is almost comedically insufficient.

Despite that, the art on the front cover practically demands that you take this manual seriously. It has a cop ready to knock you down with a billy club, a faceless boxer ready to make you wish you were faceless too, a race car, a hockey player, a cowboy, and a helicopter.... WITH A GUN THAT SHOOTS BLUE FLAMES. All of these symbols of immortal power are being virtually thrust out from the page by a trail of rainbows behind them.

That's right, they're not even afraid that people will call them gay - they're riding the rainbows of manliness.

As soon as you open the manual, you'll discover why the cover was so hardcore - in the first two pages, you are given huge warnings about the seizures, injuries and leakage that can occur. When those guys on the cover are through with you, seizures, leakage and injuries will be the LEAST of your worries.

As you continue to read, you'll unravel the mysteries of how to properly use the Activision Anthology game cartridge that is supposed to accompany this manual. I don't want to spoil anything, but the manual mentions the word "rack" in big print on page 8, so you can imagine just how good the rest of the manual gets as you progress.

One thing I want to mention is before you get too engrossed in the manual, check out the custom soundtracks feature. Just put a music CD into your CD player or load up an MP3 and give yourself some accompaniment while reading. Unfortunately, this feature comes with a price - there is no music programmed into the manual. A cost cutting measure to be sure, but I suppose that's better than having bad music.

Once you reach the halfway point in the manual, text is apparently no longer sufficient and you will be blown away by the sheer number of images included on each page (up to 9). Each image is worth a thousand words, and so there are literally 9,000 words on some of these pages! Sadly, the pictures are far too small, and they're in black and white, so much of the detail is lost - but that only makes the mystery all the more real... these pictures are like a stone tablet found in a long forgotten ruin and inscribed with an ancient language.

Puzzle over how these pictured games may have looked in full color, and in motion, and wonder what feats the single button joysticks were capable of allowing you to perform.

By the time you get to the end, you'll probably need to take a break and perhaps take a cold shower to wash off some of the hardcoreness that rubbed off on you while you were reading. But you'll definitely be coming back two or three times, eager to solve the mystery of who wrote it.

Even with its faults, it's definitely recommended for hardcore fans of Game Boy Advance instruction manuals.

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