Review by Genjuro Kibagami

Reviewed: 04/14/04

It deflates too quickly.

Hwaaaaaaaah!!!! Super Balloon Pop Alpha Slaaaaaash!!!!

Being the fey fighting fan that I am, I was just hoping that the NES game Balloon Fight would be some sort of awesome fighting game with all these guys thrashing each other’s asses midair with balloons or something. You know, maybe something along the lines of the Choaniki game for SNES. And maybe there’d be cool fighters like Baron Von Ballooner or Shin Evil Orochi Blood Helium Dude SSJ3. Well, unfortunately it’s a simplistic action game with loony balloon duels. But the game does prove to be fun, but not for very long.

You play as a teeny tiny tot with blue hair wearing a goofy red shirt. I will call him Bert (like that happy bird guy from Monster Party) because he has no actual name and I want to prevent pure frustration. So Bert here wants to fly like the big boys despite his small stature. From experience, I can tell you that flapping your arms wildly then jumping off a roof doesn’t work. Bert here was smart enough to tie two red and round balloons on his head to provide him with the floating needed. Then with the press of a button, you can force Burt to work those arm muscles and climb higher and higher to the skies’ limit. But then we meet Bert’s competition.

There are packs of malicious duck-men among the clouds, and they’re not about to give up the sky to a stupid child. So these duck-men have attached balloons (I guess they’ve been eating a few too many Twinkies to use their wings) to their own heads in order to fly up to Bert and peck his precious balloons. While controlling Bert, you have to beat these duck bastards at their own game. Using your stumpy legs, you’ll have to fly over the duck-men, drop down on their balloons in order to pop them, and then kick them upside the head to knock them out cold. However you have to be quick about that last step. Without their balloons, the fat fowl will open up a parachute and slowly glide to the surface. When they’ve touched the ground, the ducks will blow up their balloons to once again take to the skies making it important to take out these swarms of ducks fast.

Your opponents aren’t the only danger lurking on screen. While dodging the pointy beaks of your fowl friends, you’ll need to keep an eye on certain other things. For example take the murky ice-waters laying innocently at the bottom of the screen. It may seem like a calm and cool place to take a breather, but you’ll be quickly put into a world of hurt should you float too close to the water’s surface. In an instant, a bulbous orange fish will leap from the bowels of the lake with his jaws wide open. Slime will pour from his leathery mouth as he rolls his tongue out to chop down poor Bert. Be wary, young balloon fighter guy! This fish looks big enough to eat a few chubby snerds! Another obstacle to keep your beady little eyes upon are the smoky clouds lingering about. Just when you least suspect it, a bolt of lightning will spring forth from the vapor and then . . .


Your body will illuminate and show your frail skeleton off for all to see. How embarrassing! And when you think you’ve seen it all, flippers appear in the stages. Knock into these babies and you’ll be push far off into the distance. While this may not sound so terrible, just remember that the screen will be littered with duck-men. It’s quite easy to fly ass first into a beak.

Now I realize from my awesome descriptions that this game sounds amazing, but it all comes to an end far too soon. Unfortunately Balloon Fight has a mere ten unique stages before the levels simply repeat over again. The game tries to keep you playing, but none of its tactics work. There’s a cute mini-game every three levels involving Bert popping balloons that spew forth from silver chimneys, but it’s not too fun. Two player mode offers you and your friend the chance to cooperate on levels while competing for the high score, but that becomes stale far too quickly. Then lastly, the game boasts the Balloon Trip option. Here you try to maneuver Bert through all sorts of obstacles we’ve seen throughout the game in order to collect balloons thrown in here and there. But sadly, that mode sounds far better on paper than it truly is.

Graphically Balloon Fight is nothing special. All the sprites are too small with little detail. The color palate is also very limited. The backgrounds are uninspiring and nothing out of the ordinary. The animation is also sub-standard for the time. As for the sound department, this title have very few pieces of music, and the tunes present are extremely brief. In addition there’s quite a lack of sound effects as well as a lack of quality to them.

Well, Balloon Fight wasn’t the sweet 2D balloon fighting game I had hoped for, but it’s still an simplistic action game that proves to be entertaining. Unfortunately that time of entertainment could have been far longer had there just been more than ten different stages. But despite all of this, I came honestly claim that Balloon Fight stabs its competition in the full-contact balloon combat genre and leaves it there to gush a pool of blood all over the floor.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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