Ballz: A Unique Fighting Game with Spherical Characters
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Ballz is a two-player 2.5D action fighting video game that was released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, the Super NES (SNES), and the 3DO in 1994. Developed by PF Magic and published by Accolade, Ballz offered a distinctive gameplay experience with its spherical characters and pseudo-3D graphics. In this article, we will explore the development and features of Ballz, its characters, and its impact on the gaming industry.
Unique Features and Gameplay:
Ballz offered three difficulty levels and a total of 21 matches for players to engage in thrilling battles. The game’s defining feature was the spherical composition of its characters. This design choice not only provided a unique visual style but also allowed for a pseudo-3D experience within the game’s 2.5D environment.
The gameplay mechanics in Ballz were designed to be accessible and enjoyable for players. Each character had their own set of moves and abilities, adding variety to the matches. The game supported a two-player mode, enabling friends to engage in competitive battles, adding to the game’s replay value.
Ballz featured an eccentric lineup of fighters, each with their own distinct characteristics and fighting styles. Here are some of the notable characters in the game:
Boomer: A humorous clown from the circus, known for his air jumps and tricks.
Bruiser: A powerful bodybuilder with buffed-up muscles and devastating blows.
Crusher: An enraged rhinoceros who charges at opponents with great force.
Divine: The only female fighter, a graceful ballerina who combines elegance with combat skills.
Kronk: A caveman wielding a club, using it to strike opponents like a baseball.
Tsunami: A sumo wrestler who utilizes his weight and leaping ability to dominate his opponents.
Turbo: A superhero with the ability to glide and deliver powerful ranged attacks.
Yoko: A mischievous monkey is known for breaking the wind, and using unorthodox tactics against opponents.
Zombie (Director’s Cut version): A fearsome undead fighter with slashing attacks.
Bosses in the Game:
In the one-player mode of Ballz, players encountered challenging bosses after completing a series of matches. Each boss represented a significant obstacle for the player to overcome and earned the player a different colored belt upon defeat. The bosses in Ballz were:
Guggler: An ostrich boss who pecks and tosses opponents with her beak. Defeating her earns the Red Belt.
Bounder: A kangaroo boss who uses punches, kicks, and acrobatic movements. Defeating him earns the Green Belt.
T-Wrecks: A giant dinosaur boss with aggressive attacks and devastating ground shock waves. Defeating him earns the Blue Belt.
Lamprey: A mystical genie boss with magical powers and the ability to transform into various creatures. Defeating him earns the Black Belt.
The Jester: The ultimate boss of Ballz. The Jester is a challenging character to defeat, possessing incredible agility, physical attacks, and the ability to disassemble himself. Upon his defeat, he grants the player’s wish to play as the boss.
Impact and Legacy:
While Ballz was not a monumental success, it introduced innovative character design and gameplay mechanics. PF Magic, the developer of Ballz, later found success by reusing the game’s graphics technology in a popular line of virtual pet titles, including Petz, Dogz, Catz, and Oddballz.
The game’s unconventional character lineup and its distinctive use of spheres left a lasting impression on players who experienced the game. Ballz remains a unique entry in the fighting game genre, remembered for its peculiar characters and pseudo-3D visuals.
Ballz, the 2.5D fighting game with spherical characters, brought a fresh and distinctive approach to the genre. Developed by PF Magic and released in 1994, Ballz offered players an engaging and entertaining experience with its unique character design and accessible gameplay. Although not a massive commercial success, the game’s influence can be seen in subsequent titles and the developer’s own successful virtual pet series.