Review by BimmyandJimmy
"What a strange game, but god I love it."
If you're any person who calls him or herself a retro gamer, chances are you've probably played the 1982 arcade classic plat forming game Joust, a family friendly game about wiping out an entire species of people just because they look different from you in every way. OK, it may not sound politically correct but who cares, it was just a fun little game from the golden age of arcade games, and because it was such a hit, many versions and clones of this game came out throughout the 80s and one of these games was the NES classic game Balloon Fight. However, Balloon Fight isn't just your average Joust game, in fact, I'm going out on a limb here and I'm just going to say that this game is better than Joust in every way imaginable.
Seeing as how the game takes place in the middle of the night, obviously the main color in this game is black, complete with bright stars in the distance. Actually, I kind of like it how it takes place at night, it gives it a sort of dangerous kind of vibe to the game. Don't let it fool you though; the game has a nice display of color on everything else in the game as well as texture to boot. The enemies have a nice variety of color, even though they all share the same character sprite. It's simple but it works well.
While most of the game is pretty much dead silence with only the occasional sound effect added to prevent monotony, Balloon Fight still has a nice display of musical scores that compliment well with the game. They are so catchy that they will be in your head for days. Even though the sound is pretty limited, Balloon Fight still manages to find a way to use them all constantly to create a fast paced and intense game, kind of like in the same fashion of any good arcade game.
Well, judging by the game's title, it's kind of obvious what the main idea of the game is. Basically, it's you against an army of other balloon wearing guys in a fight to pop all their balloons and kick them off the stage once they land on the ground below to score points for a high score. Really, it's that basic and anyone can figure it out. Despite how simple it is, ironically, this game is just constant insanity in every sense of the word. I mean, really, the whole idea is just weird. In what other game can you say that you have to fight and push each other while floating in the air with balloons? It's like the world's most intense mosh pit, especially when you consider everything that is out there to kill you, such as lightning bolts that bounce around the screen and some weird fish that will eat you alive if you get too close to a lake below.
I guess what I like most about Balloon Fight over Joust is how smooth the controls are. In Joust, the game feels too slippery and hard to maneuver, which is especially aggravating when the computer is constantly hanging over you like white on rice. In Balloon Fight, while it feels a little slower, the controls are much easier to handle and it makes the game actually feel a little more exiting this way.
Like with any other good platformer arcade game, Balloon Fight has some fun bonus games to rack up more points with. Well actually, it's more like one game since all you do is pop balloons that spout out pipes or something like that. The only difference is that they constantly get faster as the game progresses. It's pretty basic, but luckily, the game also has a bonus balloon adventure game where you must race to the end of the stage without getting killed, and holy mother of god is it hard because the screen is constantly moving, there are a ton of stars to dodge, and worse of all, they start to move pretty early in the run. It's a nightmare and I have never once beaten it before, but damn is it fun.
Again, this is a two player game, but lucky it's co-op which makes it far better and much more heated than just taking turns playing the game one by one. This mode also gives you multiple points to let you be an ass and purposely pop the other player's balloons or push them away from landed enemies so you can steal the points, you know, all in good fun. Either than that, the stages after the seventh heat basically repeat each other but with faster enemies and with more lightning bolts that fill the sky, so it can get a little boring after a while, but will still draw you in every once in a while with its fun gameplay.
GET IT OR PASS IT:
Well, it is a fun game, but it really is just an arcade style of game, so if that's what you're looking for, then by all means pick it up, but if you looking for something a little more substantial, then I would just stick to something else seeing as how the game tends to just repeat itself.
You know, it's kind of ironic that I like a game called balloon fight, but kind of hate balloons in real life, what how they build a static charge on you or how loud they are when they burst, but then again the world is a strange place, filled with strange people. Either way, it doesn't diminish the fact that this game is a classic in my eyes and forever will be.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/10/12
Game Release: Balloon Fight (US, June 1986)
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