|The manuals of the different versions are based on the same first edition, but they all display differences on second looks. I consider the US version for the C64 to be the "canonical" manual, and all others derivations.||<- docu|
|US / C64||US / PC||US / PC / Luxury Edition||Europe / Standard Editions||Spain||Sweden||Australia||Europe / Amstrad PC Collection||Europe / Spectrum Gold Collection|
|The base manual, 18 x 13 cm, printed on decent standard paper. It contains 12 pages, and 4 screen shots. The text on the screen shots, where it was hard to read, is replaced by text typeset white on black.||The PC version got an upgrade: it's the same size, but a full 28 pages long, and printed on glossy quality paper. The layout has changed, due to the addition of demo mode information, but the content starts nearly identical to the C64 version. The second half adds detailed tips and instructions, see the html version.||
There is a second (or first?) edition of the PC manual. It got the luxury treatment, bound
in a sturdy full colour cardboard booklet, nearly the size of the
album sleeve. The back is identical to the back of the sleeve, and the inside even has (monochrome)
copies of all the fold out pages. The content is otherwise identical to the simple manual; in fact both
the cover and the content seem to be slightly downsized reproductions of the other booklet and sleeve.
Unfortunately someone had the very strange idea of printing a red computer logo over every single page of the manual. Ugly, distracting and pointless, but at least they can claim multicoloured print...
But here comes the mysterious bit: this booklet is too large and thick to fit into the original sleeve: so where does it come from? Was there a first edition where this large manual was shrink-wrapped with the album package? Was there a different sleeve with more space? Contact me if you know!
|Europeans got a nice space poster instead of a booklet, 36 x 36 cm, on good glossy paper. While it looks very different and has no screen shots, it does contain the full text of the US C64 version and an instrument diagram. There is only a specific C64 edition, keyboard controls for CPC/Spectrum are added on a small leaflet.||
Spain got a translated and re-set US manual, printed on rather flimsy
paper in gray instead of black. The resizing (10 x 17 cm) allows the manual to fit in
the small tape sleeve. As far as I can tell, the contents are very similar,
but they did include tape loading operations, making me doubt there ever
was a Spanish disk version. They also completely left out screen shots,
but did put in the replacement text where used in English.
Also, status and repair symbols are not mentioned, and the diagram explaining the instruments is missing, probably because the printer couldn't handle it.
|Sweden's PSI 5 captains needed to be smart. They only got a severely truncated manual. It provides a terse description of how to start, and what each screen shows. It just about allows you to play, but lacks any atmosphere, detail, or graphics. See for yourself in this slightly smoothed machine translation.||
Australians got short changed. At first, the manual looks identical to
the US one, but it's printed on thinner paper, and is only 8 pages long.
No page numbers are given, presumably to hide the cuts ;-) It leaves out
the Controls sections, a few lines about keyboard shortcuts,
explanation of some of the status symbols in scanning and repair, and
all of the training mission and playing tips.
On top of that, the text replacements in the screen shots are black on white and inserted somewhat amateurishly, and the explanations of the on screen instruments have just been omitted.
This must have made a frustratingly difficult game even worse for aspiring Australian space captains. OziSoft should rather have saved on the oversized plastic sleeve. The disk re-release doesn't improve it, either.
|The Amstrad PC collection includes a black and white version of the colourful standard poster. It's mostly identical, but the starting instructions and keys have been adapted, and for once, the "for C 64" reference was removed. The other 3 games have to share the back side.||
The gold collection shows it's on a budget. All 6 games are documented on
one poster. Psi 5 clearly wins the prize for largest manual, since it
contains the full poster text, but no screen shots. At least the instruments
diagram is in there.
The picture above is a cut and paste job, since the game instuctions are distributed over both poster pages originally.