Super Dodge Ball
Box Shot
Super Dodge Ball
Platform: NES
Publisher: Technos
Designer: Technos
Genre: Sports?
Players: 2 (simultaneous)
Published Date 1989
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

Every once in awhile, you'll find a video game that will challenge your mind, expand your thought horizons farther than every imagined, and produce such epiphanies that you will emerge a far better person once it is completed.

Super Dodge Ball is not that game. In fact, it's pretty far from it on the overall intellgiance scale.

But you know what? It doesn't matter. It's fun as all hell.

The only thing I remember about the game dodge ball itself are not-exactly-pleasant memories from sixth grade involving most everyone running away from the few athletic types who took gym seriously (as you might be able to guess, I was usually the one running like hell.) Thankfully, the game is very little like this.

Much like a volleyball game, the court is divided in halves. Each team has a total of six members: three that actually play the game in their side, and three that stay beyond the boundaries of the other's team side, waiting to catch any balls that fly outside the playing area. Since this was made by Technos Japan and was mostly part of the Kunio-kun series over there, the characters very much resemble those in River City Ransom - short and pudgy, with rather overstated eyes. The object is simple - if you have the ball, try to wail it as hard as you can at the opposing team, usually by running, jumping, and pressing on the B button repeatedly to slam it down on the hapless opponents. On the other hand, if the other team has the ball, you've gotta run like hell to avoid it, or, if you're daring, try to catch it with the A button. Much like any good video game, each character has a life bar, and you'll die (though not permanently) if it runs out. Gym class wasn't quite like this.

This is all well and good, but the real charm comes with the "super moves" that each character has. Usually accomplished with rapid button bashing, this causes the ball to do a number of physically impossible things, such as splitting into three smaller balls to hit more people; curving backwards in midair to surprise a hapless opponent; or hit them SO hard that they literally go flying off the screen and loop around to the other side. This intensely exagerrated hyperboly is actually what makes Super Dodge Ball as fun as it is, especially in two-player mode - just wailing on each other to see your poor characters get beaten to snot or running like hell to avoid some ultra powerful bizarre attack.

The only real flaw comes in the limitation of the NES' power - there's simply too much going on the screen at the same time for the poor system to process correctly. As a result, there's a whole TON of flickering, and the actual gameplay is fairly choppy. You can get adjusted to it, but it's still a bit annoying (as a side note, this was released in Japan for the Turbografx 16/PC Engine and Neo*Geo, though I've never played either.)

One player mode is all fun, even though it's pretty simple and you can only play as the Americans (which makes you wonder - could you only play as the Japan team in the Japanese version?) So grab at least one friend, gather them around your TV, and enjoy. Despite its utter simplicity, Super Dodge Ball is some of the most laugh-out-loud fun you can have with a NES.