Ball Blazing Fantasy
Let's get the standard stuff out of the way.
Just like Kenturais Pong Worz, the graphics are superb. A sleek presentation from the very beginning, as the developer logo pops into view(with animation, no less), to the main title screen, boasting unique fonts. When the game starts, you're greeted with well defined artwork, and vivid colour, framed by a simplistic but easy to understand interface in the lower corner, both in Story mode and Tornament mode.
The story mode is a collection of puzzle-like levels which require patience, skill, and other things I DO NOT HAVE to finish. I managed to make it a few levels in before dying a horrible horrible death. The game focuses both on controlling your character, a marble, and avoiding enemies scattered throughout the levels, collecting shards of a mineral as you travel. The levels get progressively harder, introducing new enemies and concepts quickly. I can't say more than that, because I absolutely BLOW at it. Unlike most reviewers who claim to have finished every game they review, I could not possibly have finished this game to write the review. Deal. Overall though, the sheer polish of the game, and the rather generic initial premise of the game (avoid the enemies and collect stuff. Sound familiar?) combine to make something easy to pick up, but incredibly hard to master.
The tournament/practice modes are far more interesting to an action fan like myself. It's like a marble version of classic air hockey. The challenge of this game is one of control, where you're often fighting intertia to hit the "puck" marble. Different fields have different hazards, and there are two different "players" to choose from on each side, with different attributes. The Tournament mode pits you against different opponents over the different terrains. You can decide whether to include "life forms" or not(life forms are lethal to the touch, but only take you out of play for a few seconds in the tournament and practice games), you choose your player, and you go.
Sound was provided by SBMIDI and some PC speaker effects, which is unfortunate for me, because it means I can't hear any of it under Windows 2000. Even worse, for some reason the game slowed to a crawl while playing it in vdmsound, so I can only comment on the MIDI, which was an amalgamation of pop tunes, such as Paranoid Android by Radiohead and the theme to Das Boot(sue me, I can't recognise the midi versions of the others -- I'm not even sure about Das Boot!! I'm a pop culture failure!!!)
In the end, this is a game which lives or dies by it's polish. There isn't really much in terms of game concept -- you move a ball around. Sometimes you hit things with the ball. There are other things you don't want to hit. Thankfully, this game delivers, providing solid graphics, good controls, plenty of options on how to play the game, making it a joy to do so.
--SJ Zero is the
director of QB in society at Blake University.
|Graphics:||Polished graphics, though some of the life form
graphics leave much to be desired. The graphics are only 320x200
though, so keep that in mind.
|Sound:||PC Speaker effects and pop culture music. They
didn't work in Windows 2000, but I'm sure they would have been fine.
|Gameplay:||Reasonable, but not great. The basic formula is
extremely simple, perhaps too simple, forcing the developer to make the
game much harder than it had to be far too soon.