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Vs. Balloon Fight Gameplay (Part 2)

Vs. Balloon Fight was an arcade game developed by SRD Co.[1] for the Vs. Dualsystem arcade system. This game is the first installment of the Balloon Fight series.

Gameplay Edit

The player controls either of the Balloon Fighters, and clears phases by defeating all of the Balloon Birds. By rapidly pressing either of the buttons and steering with the joystick, the player can fly in order to pop the enemies' Balloons with their feet. Both the players and the enemies need to avoid the Balloon Fish, which will eat anything that flies too close to the water at the bottom of the stage.

This game's main gimmick was that it used two screens, one for each player. Either two players can play separate games on the same system or play together, with each player having their own free-moving view of the stage. To take advantage of this, the stages scroll vertically to cover approximately twice the height of the screen.

Controls Edit

On the original cabinets this game runs on, each player is given two sets of controls, each with a joystick and two buttons. These are all interchangeable, as both joysticks and all four buttons function identically, allowing the player to decide whichever position is more comfortable.

  • Button- Flap Arms (Fly)
    • There is no auto-flying button, unlike the NES remake or Balloon Kid.
  • Joystick- Move Horizontally, Scroll Camera Vertically
    • You can also walk on the ground.

Differences Edit

While this game shares sprites and music with the NES version, there are a number of key differences between the two.

VsBalloonFightTitle
  • The arcade title uses a stylized logo, where the NES version uses a tile-based font, likely to save space on the cartridge.
  • There are 30 unique phases in the arcade version with 15 which repeat, but in the NES version, there are only 12 phases, 9 of which repeat.
  • Phases are taller in Vs. Balloon Fight, which was impossible in the NES version due to both players sharing the same screen.
  • Arrows, large clouds, and the "end" ticket on the last Balloon of a Bonus Stage do not appear in the NES version, although sprites for the latter two exist in the game's data.
  • The Fish is noticeably more aggressive in the arcade version, as it targets on to characters while below the water, as opposed to swimming back and forth while not seen.
  • The maximum number of lives in the NES version is 2, while Vs. Balloon Fight allows for up to 7 extra lives depending on the arcade owner's settings. However, the NES version is capable of giving more than two lives through the use of external cheating devices or hacking.
  • Balloon Trip mode is exclusive to the NES version.
  • Vs. Balloon Fight includes a song for the name entry screen which does not appear in the NES version in any form. The NES version also does not have a visible high score list outside of the invisible Balloon Trip ranking.
  • The Game Over jingle is trimmed to just the second half in the NES version.
  • When you get hit by a Spark, Vs. Balloon Fight shows your Balloon popping, where the NES version does not.
  • Bonus Stages have a variety of different layouts in Vs. Balloon Fight, where every Bonus Stage in the NES version uses the same layout.

Scoring Edit

Vs

Vs. Balloon Fight Gameplay

The point system from this game is the same one used in the NES version of Balloon Fight and most of its ports.

Object/Item/Character Points
Balloon Bird- Pink 500
Balloon Bird- Pink Parachute 1000
Balloon Bird- Pink Downed 750
Balloon Bird- Green 750
Balloon Bird- Green Parachute 1500
Balloon Bird- Green Downed 1000
Balloon Bird- Yellow 1000
Balloon Bird- Yellow Parachute 2000
Balloon Bird- Yellow Downed 1500
Player 1 or 2's Balloons 1000
Giant Bubble 500
Green Balloon 300
Orange Balloon 500
Red Balloon 700

Availability Edit

Up until the re-release on the Nintendo Switch, this game was only available to play on an actual cabinet or through unofficial emulation. Due to the nature of the Vs. Dualsystem, the family of hardware this game was designed for, the game was distributed as a kit including twelve ROM chips, a PPU, the art for the cabinet, and a set of instructions on how to install it. This game can either be played on an upright cabinet or the smaller cocktail style cabinet, which has been referred to by the community as the "red tent."

InstructionCard

For the red tent, Nintendo provided a small instruction card to put on the system, which provided a basic explanation of the game and the controls. As for the upright cabinet, there was a full-size two-piece marquee with the game's name and some art alongside an explanation of the game's controls. While scans exist online of the instruction card, no high-quality scans of the marquee have surfaced, leading to reproductions being made based off of the low-resolution pictures which appear online. However, this reproduction only replicates the left half of the marquee, and is likely not accurate to the original due to the extremely low quality of the source image.

Main article: Vs. Balloon Fight/Switch

On December 27th, 2019, HAMSTER re-released Vs. Balloon Fight on the Nintendo Switch as part of their Arcade Archives series. This version is available digitally for $7.99. It also features some quality-of-life improvements through its emulation, such as the option for rapid-fire on the flight buttons. The re-release also features online leaderboards for the regular mode, a high-score mode, and a caravan mode which limits the player to five minutes.

Trivia Edit

  • Tingle's Balloon Fight re-implements the ability to set how many lives you start with, with the maximum being five extra lives (Six including the starting life), just like this game. However, Tingle's Balloon Fight has a *x4 or *x5 when the extra life count is at 4 or 5, whereas it shows 4 or 5 Balloons as your life count in Vs. Balloon Fight.
  • When being ported to the NES, even though the scrolling stage feature was lost, there were some leftover sprites in the code from this version, such as the "End" ticket and blank tile spots that have been crossed out, possibly where other sprites would or did go at one point.
    • The tiles used for the ceiling is also present in the NES version, although they are likely unused because they would make the phases too cramped.
  • If you stay on one stage for too long, an Arrow will fly from the side of the stage and pop your Balloons.
  • You can have up to seven lives (Including the current/starting life) if the dip switches inside the cabinet define that you can earn back one life at a certain point mark.
  • Oddly, one Japanese flyer shows three screenshots, each showing elements that are not in the final game, such as a frame of a Spark that is red, a large platform in the middle of the water, Balloon Birds facing the screen when parachuting, and a large, blue, missile-like object. It is unknown what this could have been for.
    • This flyer has a date of October 3rd, 1984 on it.
    • Similar screenshots appeared on a flyer for the U.S. version, though the same flyer also shows some final screenshots as well.
  • Each side is assigned a player number, which means that playing on the Player 1 side will always let you play as the red-ballooned Balloon Fighter, and the Player 2 side will always play as the blue-ballooned Balloon Fighter, even when playing alone. This also affects the side the player spawns on.

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. https://www.nintendo.com/nes-classic/balloon-fight-developer-interview/
Games
Console Games Vs. Balloon Fight, Balloon Fight (NES), Hello Kitty World, Balloon Trip Breeze
Handheld Games Balloon Fight (G&W), Balloon Kid, Balloon Fight GB, Balloon Fight-e, Famicom Mini: Balloon Fight, Tingle's Balloon Fight
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