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.