Balloon Fight (NES)

Balloon Fight Box Art

Balloon Fight

System: NES

Release Date: June 1986

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Action

Balloon Fight is one of those games that I can’t really tell if I like or not. When I booted it up, I was like, oh, it’s Joust. But then I thought, but I don’t think I like the controls, even though they’re similar to Joust. Then I did a little research and saw that Balloon Fight was modeled after the arcade version of Joust and everything made sense.

The big fish gobbles up some of my points.

There’s no underlying reason for flying around and popping other people’s balloons and kicking them into water, except to do it to your enemies before they do it to you. You have to hit your enemy at a slightly higher elevation in order to pop their balloon. Then they parachute down. You can hit them again to knock them off the stage, but if they land on the ground, after a moment, they’ll reinflate their balloon and be back in the skies. You need to kick them away before this happens.

Getting the jump on the needle nose guys.

When the level begins, you can get a jump on the others and knock them away before they can inflate their balloon. You also have the advantage of starting with two balloons, allowing you to make one mistake before you die. You flap your arms to move around the stage. The A button flaps once, while the B button can be held for continuous flapping. Once you kill an enemy, a bubble floats up that you can pop for 500 points.

Lightning is an instant kill.

As the levels increase, the enemies become more aggressive. You also have to be careful not to get too close to the water, or a giant fish might jump up and eat you! The fish can also gobble up your enemies as they parachute down, taking away your points. If you take too long to defeat all the enemies, clouds on the level begin to shoot out lightning. If you get hit by the traveling electric blob, you will die. Amass the most points you can, as this is another arcade style game with no end.

Navigating lightning in Balloon Trip.

There are one and two player modes, as well as the Balloon Trip mode, which tasks you with moving continually to the left, collecting balloons and avoiding electric blobs. Your goal is to go as far as you can without dying. If you collect a bubble, the screen and electric blobs will stop for a moment, allowing you to plot your next move.

Graphics: 1.0

The graphics are pretty poor. I would say they’re on the level of Popeye.

Sound: 1.5

I like the bonus level song which is also used in Balloon Trip. The sound effects are annoying, though.

Gameplay: 2.5

I like the gameplay, but I don’t like how extra floaty the controls are.

Difficulty: 2.0

I didn’t really feel like it was difficult because of the AI, but because the controls weren’t tight.

Fun Factor: 2.0

It’s alright. I kept wanting to try Balloon Trip, so it wasn’t unfun.

Overall Grade: 1.8

Balloon Fight earns a C-. It wasn’t a great time, but it was almost average.

Balloon Fight Video Review on YouTube