PATN Week 13 – Balloons. Beaches. Bad Street Brawlers.

This week, I didn’t have a whole lot to say about these next few games. They were either not bad enough to warrant much harassing or just a classic with a very simple structure. I realized that as I go along, it’s going to be harder and harder not repeating myself. It’s clear I’m going to need a thesaurus to talk about graphics and sound and gameplay. There’s just not usually a lot of depth. But, I will do my best and hopefully keep this entertaining throughout my time here. And believe me, we’re just getting started.

I knew from the getgo that Bad Street Brawler was going to be pretty awful. It sounded like it was supposed to be gritty and tough, but it came across as a cheap clone of games like Bad Dudes or Double Dragon. Only it’s one dude, and from the opening title screen he looks like some dude in his parents basement about to do a vlog about his perceived badassery on Youtube. Stage one, right away you punch a puppy and then promptly a little person. Sometimes you get gorillas or what I can only assume are gorillas or very pink and furry thugs. You punch them relentlessly, but be sure to make your way left because there is a pesky timer. Sometimes random dudes come off the side of the screen and throw you health, but it’s not quite clear what it is. When you defeat a level, there’s a cut scene of you throwing objects you lifted off these thugs (or furry thugs) and throwing them into a garbage bin. Okay. As you progress, they throw in new moves with one odd caveat: the old moves disappear. Suddenly you can’t punch anymore, you can only drop kick or stooge punch (which is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds). This game came out in 1989 by Milton Bradley and it just has all the trappings of shovelware. It’s not the worst game I’ve ever played by any stretch, but it surely isn’t winning any medals either. The backgrounds are basic, the controls mediocre (press up to jump!) and the music repetitive. Any game that never changes from the title screen music, even when paused, is just aces in my book. I wish I had more to say about it, but it’s just mostly uninteresting drivel. Avoid it! This just in…this game was made for the POWERGLOVE. I should have realized it when I was playing it, but no mention was made in the game. That means you’d have to move, punch and jump all with the power glove. I should really get one, for I didn’t even think about the games that were meant for it.

Balloon Fight is one of the first Nintendo games ever made, and while it’s a port of the arcade experience, it’s pretty spot on since it was by Nintendo from the very beginning. I’m starting to see why Nintendo succeeded, because here is a shining example. You play as a little guy with a few balloons to hoist up his britches into the air, and try and fly into others so you can knock their balloons off. Sure, this game has Joust to thank for its concept, but for some reason, Nintendo knew just how to push that certain button that would make the game charming as hell despite the similarities. The little flapping motion you make, the way the other creatures fill their balloons before they take to the skies. There’s even a little side game where you can try to capture all the balloons as you try to avoid the obstacles in your path.The quality is in the little details. Even then, the controls were tight and nuanced. This is a game that is easy to play and difficult to master. It’s not trying to hard to be something it’s not, it does what it does best and makes it work. I feel a level of workmanship in these titles that I generally don’t with most others. There’s a reason why the brand of Nintendo worked, and it’s in games just like this, that know that in order to gain a crowd, you have to be concerned with the minutiae, because while it stays mostly in the background, it really makes the game Shine. I am looking forward to playing this title with someone soon, because I know that’s really where the gameplay will take off. So to speak. Play it!

49198_frontI once had Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003, and I have to say it was one of the most strangely addictive games I’ve ever played. It was relaxing, it looked nice and it had just enough strategy to keep it interesting. You could create your own player and enjoy the wonderous computer generated courses laid out for you on the Gamecube. This next game has an element of that, namely some sort of timing bar that determines how well you hit the shot, but it’s far less obvious exactly how it’s supposed to work. For the most part, Bandai Golf Challenge Pebble Beach (that’s a mouthful) is about as perfunctory a golf game as I’ve ever seen. Boring, if somewhat pleasant, music. Top down courses with minimalistic text giving you options for clubs, a place to see your score and a general overview of the course (see scroll left or right on the playing field). It’s hard to review this kind of game. It came out in 1988, and it shows. There’s really nothing flashy about it, I could see it appealing to a golf nut, but I don’t think for very long. The control scheme seemed odd: while following what seemed to be the markers for success, you did great on drives, but that sadly did not translate on the short game. I wildly hit balls out-of-bounds over and over until I just tapped it very quickly, despite the suggestions from the power meter. I have a feeling that I will run into many more golf games in the future (some under “G”, some like this under other names) and I have a feeling I will have a much better time with it. Avoid it!

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One thought on “PATN Week 13 – Balloons. Beaches. Bad Street Brawlers.

  1. Re: golf. Links came out in 1990 for Amiga/PC. I never owned any console systems, but in the PC world, I remember Links as being the game-changer. Especially the 1992 PC only version that added the third dimension and had a Pebble Beach expansion course.

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