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Spoiled By The Manual
Sometimes a Video Game instruction manual, in the progress of describing gameplay controls or mechanics, will reveal information that was otherwise intended to be a surprise for the player as he plays the game.

For example, an illustration may depict characters that join the player's party late in the game, describe enemies or bosses he may fight in a particular area, or discuss how to control the player's Global Airship.

This is related to Trailers Always Spoil and Spoiler Opening. See Interface Spoiler where the spoiling is done by an interface element instead of a manual.

Examples

  • Super Smash Bros.. has the following:
  • In the instructions for Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, there is a pic of the character selection screen. With every secret character unlocked.
  • The European reprinted manuals for a number of Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games were more complete but would often spoil details like the name or layout of later levels or enemy types, including bosses. Off the top of my head:
  • The series Final Fantasy has a few:
    • The manual of the SNES American release of Final Fantasy IV - in the equipment section in the back, it lists the classes of all the characters, to designate what each can equip. Particularly blatant in the case of Edge and FuSoYa, since you know there's more game coming after each Disc One Final Dungeon because you haven't met a ninja or Lunarian yet.
    • Final Fantasy VI came with a physical map of the World Map (both of them), with every dungeon labeled.
    • Final Fantasy X manual contains information about three party members and four aeons that aren't present early on and whose eventual appearances are supposed to be surprising at varying degrees.
    • Final Fantasy XII explains that Basch and Ashe will join your party, even though they're both supposed to be dead after the prologue.
    • The Final Fantasy XIII game manual reveals that Lightning's party will be joined by The Sixth Ranger Fang and land on Pulse. But then again, they aren't very big spoilers, as it's been in every trailer and review.
  • The manual for The World Ends with You discusses the controls for all three of your partners, somewhat spoiling the "Your Princess Is in Another Castle" moment where it looks like the game's over after week 1 because you haven't even met one of them yet.
  • Tales of Symphonia's manual spoils the identities of four eventual party members, and eagle-eyed gamers can spot clues that there is another world involved.
  • The manual for Metal Gear Solid 2 reveals the game's use of a Decoy Protagonist.
  • The American manual of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 doesn't tell the player about Death Egg Zone on its level list, but reveals what Dr. Eggman's Giant Mech/Death Egg Robot looks like on page 4.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age sets up three members of the hero's four-member party, and his alliance with Alex, an Adept of the fourth element... who is not with them on the box art. A random sailor you encounter very briefly and don't see again until almost halfway through the game is. Hint, hint. Also spoilered in the manual proper when it includes instructions on how to navigate with Piers's ship, and the map and relationship chart that come with the game also spell out that Piers is playable and Alex is not.
    • Also subverted, in that the Feelies make a big fuss about Sheba's power of precognition... and it never even comes up in the game, aside from one line insisting it's her destiny to travel with Felix (and she later admits she was lying about that).
    • Speaking of Feelies, a similar relationship chart was created for Golden Sun: Dark Dawn and pulled (and leaked on the Internet) at the last minute because it spilled the beans on Matthew's ancestry... and Amiti's, which was supposed to be a big unresolved plot point!
  • The manual for The Legend of Dragoon spoils the fact that Lloyd is a Wingly. Not that it's hard to figure out, but it's not actually revealed until the third disc. It also spoils the complete endgame party.
  • Mega Man X5, the intended Grand Finale of the X series (it was supposed to lead into Zero until Capcom went ahead and made X6 without Keiji Inafune's knowledge or consent, forcing him to change around the plot), had Zero dying at its close... for good. In spite of this, X6 brought him back with the half-baked explanation that Zero was in hiding, repairing himself (although Zero notes in a discussion with Dr. Light that he has no knowledge of who really repaired him while in his near-death state). The fact that Zero was alive was spoiled by the game manual speaking of another playable character, a "resurrected Hunter" whose profile, weaponry, and skillset fits Zero to the bill. Never mind that the back of the game case has the words "Zero is missing" in big, honking letters.
    • Lampshaded in the case of Mega Man X: Command Mission, where Colonel Redips's name was intentionally misspelled as "Rideps" in the manual to prevent giving away the plot twist that he was The Mole (by disguising as "Spider") and the ultimate Big Bad.
  • Tecmo's Deception has the manual give away the fact that Fiana is an acquirable summoned monster.
  • The manuals of Command & Conquer and Red Alert give you the full tech-tree, including the factions' super-weapons. It thus doesn't come as much of a surprise to the player that in the campaigns, Nod develops nukes, GDI has a Kill Sat, the Iron Curtain project is about temporarily making things invulnerable and the Allies develops a teleporter.
  • Subverted in Ghost Trick. The manual is carefully written to never make any claims regarding who you really are, ensuring that it is completely accurate even after all the Plot Twists.
  • Nightfire has the general plot of every mission (and pretty much the entire plot of the game) spoiled with a quick look at the manual.
  • The page describing the ship's manifest from Star Control 2 displays artifacts required to complete the game, such as an Illwrath cloaking device. Subverted: there is no such device obtainable in the actual game.
    • It's also averted in a broader sense; the manual is written to give the impression that you'll be rejoining and resuming the war from the previous game, hiding the fact that the war was lost nearly twenty years ago.
  • The manual for The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle shows a screenshot of the password screen. The problem? Inputting the password in the screenshot takes you to the last level of the game!
  • Disney Princess Enchanted Journey's manual reveals the Big Bad, while the game doesn't tell you there is one until the final battle.

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