Review by KasketDarkfyre

"A solid game from the original NES home library"

Back in the early days of NES gaming, there were different series that gave you certain games to play that followed into a particular genre. These different genres came in the form of the Action Series, Sports Series, Adventure Series as well as many others. Balloon Fight is one of the first games for the NES and has only been rivaled in fun by games such as Bubble Bobble and its ilk. If you’re looking for an older NES title that still retains the fun and excitement that games from that era tend to have, then you’re looking at the right title to have for your NES collection.

Balloon Fight is one of those games that hardly makes any sort of sense, but is rather a game that you simply play to have fun with. Although there are no lasers or guns, grenades or explosions, this is still a game that will keep you up for hours on end with simple game play and plenty of stages to defeat. While the game itself is simple to play, one of the most noteworthy elements to the game play is the fact that both you and a friend can play this game at the same time. This idea isn’t a new thing by today’s standards, but an action game nearly twenty years ago that featured simultaneous play was unheard of.

The play in Balloon Fight isn’t anything extremely difficult to play, but it can be a little difficult to control. The premise of the game is to keep the enemies on the ground by popping their balloons and then simply running along and kicking them away before they can refill a new balloon. Although this sounds like a game that is extremely simple to play, you have to learn how to control your balloon fighter and how to move around the stages. Each of the stages are comprised of three to five enemies each, all of which have a different point value and get progressively faster as the stages continue on.

One of the other portions of the game is the Balloon Trip which allows you to float through the air and try to avoid obstacles that get in your way. As you progress through this stage, you have a certain amount of enemies that you have to take out before you lose your balloons or otherwise. This small bit of fun takes you away from the actual game and allows you to simply enjoy yourself with a different form of the game. However, once you’ve completed it, there really is no reason to return to this mode other than to hone your skills as a Balloon Fighter.

The secondary mission of the game is to gain as many points as you can before you run out of lives. This is a simple thing to do and you will find that the more adept you are at moving around the stage, the more points you will incur. As the stages continue to pass, the enemies will become more in number and you will have to do some fancy flying in order to defeat them. To make matters a little more interesting, you will find yourself battling other obstacles such as thunderclouds and rocky cliffs. Luckily, you will encounter a bonus stage every so often that will allow you to pop balloons without being molested by the enemy.

Control is the part of the game that you will have to get used to because it is a little unorthodox in the way that it is executed. To run along the ground, you simply have to use the directional pad in the direction you wish to go, but in order to fly, you have to hit the buttons on the controller to get your riders arms to flap. Once you are in the air, you will float and rise or sink according to what direction you happen to be facing in at the time. The coolest feature to this is that the stages are continuous in nature, which will allow you to fly out one end of the screen and end up on the opposite side without having to stop flying.

Balloon Fight is a simple game to play, but the visuals are top notch in terms of what you have to look at and the character designs. The balloons are drawn in perfectly and seem to wiggle against the air currents and you will find that the enemies look like thieves with pointy beaks. When you’ve popped several of the different enemies balloons, you will watch them parachute to earth, where they will stop and start to refill new balloons. The different stages are all laid out plenty of ledges and cliffs to land on and run along, keeping with the outdoor theme that the Balloon Fight is supposed to convey.

The music is pretty simple and consists of two tracks that revolve around either the actual stages or the bonus stages. While the music is simple, it has a foot tapping quality to it that makes it worth listening to and isn’t an annoyance after about the first thirty minutes. You can hear the tones of the floating enemies when you pop their balloons and there is the occasional crackling of static when a lighting spark hits the air. Again, all of this is simple but it is an enjoyable experience if you want something to accompany you with your flight through the air.

Balloon Fight is one of the more enjoyable games from the original NES library that features a couple of different modes and head to head play. While it isn’t the most depth filled game that I’ve played, there is plenty here that anyone would enjoy if they like the freedom to move around the stages. Visually, the game is solid in all areas and the audio accompaniment is worth having on full volume to get you into the spirit of things. A solid game from a solid library, this game is well worth picking up from the game store and adding to collection, even if you’re not a big fan of this type of free floating game.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/28/03


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