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European Mega Drive box, the only version of the cover art for the original game that depicts in-game characters fighting.)
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Ballz is a two-player 3D action fighting game for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, the Super NES (SNES) and the 3DO. It was developed by PF Magic and published by Accolade in 1994. The 3DO version was released as a director's cut in 1995. Ballz offered three difficulty levels over a total of 21 matches. Its distinguishing quality was that each of the characters were composed completely of balls, with a pseudo-3D look.
Development and publishing
The opening PF Magic developed for the game stated "To be the champion, you gotta have Ballz!". Due to its racy double-entendre ("balls" may be used as a slang term for testicles), Nintendo demanded the wording be changed for the SNES version. The SNES version of the game states "...you gotta play Ballz", while the Sega version uses the original intro. The game was also notably bizarre for its lineup of fighters, which included a farting monkey, a jumping clown, a sumo wrestler, a caveman, a bodybuilder, a ballerina, a rhinoceros and a "superhero".
These are the characters in the game's lineup of fighters:
- Boomer: A clown from the circus. His air jumps and the tricks up his sleeves make him the most humorous fighter.
- Bruiser: A bodybuilder who gets quite a workout. His buffed-up body and powerful blows make him a formidable fighter.
- Crusher: An enraged rhinoceros who prefers to charge at his opponents directly.
- Divine: A ballerina dancer who twirls around gracefully. She's the only female fighter and will sometimes give a spanking.
- Kronk: A caveman from the dawn of civilization. He uses his club to cut his opponents down to size and hits them like a baseball.
- Tsunami: A sumo wrestler who enjoys leaping on top of his opponents.
- Turbo: A superhero who glides along the arena and blows as strongly as a hurricane. He is the only fighter who uses ranged attacks.
- Yoko: A monkey who often breaks wind. He enjoys ganging up on you and slapping you silly.
- Zombie: Only appears in the director's cut version of the game. He stalks and slashes at his enemies.
These are the bosses who appear in One-Player mode. Each boss defeated earns a different colored belt, and these change the fighter's coloring scheme.
- Guggler: The first boss in the game. Guggler is an ostrich who pecks at her opponents and tosses them around with her beak. Her "jump and kick" ability also makes her a boss to be reckoned with. Defeating her wins the Red Belt.
- Bounder: The second boss of the game. Bounder is a kangaroo who wears boxing gloves and uses punches and kicks. He often jumps around and balances on his tail while using his legs to fling opponents across the arena. Defeating him wins the Green Belt.
- T-Wrecks: The third boss in the game. T-Wrecks is a gigantic dinosaur who relies on an aggressive temperament as an attack. He will grab opponents in his jaws and creates devastating ground shock waves with a powerful tail. Defeating him wins the Blue Belt.
- Lamprey: The fourth boss of the game. Lamprey is a mystical genie whose swift attacks and magical powers make him a formidable foe. He possesses the ability to turn himself into any creature, such as a bull, a scorpion, or a snake. Defeating him wins the Black Belt.
- The Jester: The ultimate boss. The Jester is the one who challenged the fighters to duel in the tournament at the start. He dons a black-and-white outfit and can be seen juggling balls in the opening. As the final boss, he is the most difficult character to beat. He can disassemble himself and move about the floor, and has physical attacks that are very strong. The damage he does can take off much of the player's health. After being defeated for the first time, he reassembles and comes back for more. When the Jester finally falls, he grants the fighter's wish - to play as the bosses.
Ballz did relatively poorly in the marketplace. Some attribute this to botched marketing. Accolade gave it little print advertising, but even the ads it ran for the game gave little clue as to what type of game Ballz was. One just had an image of a Christmas Tree made of balls and contained the caption "Tell your mom you want Ballz for Christmas."
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Super Famicom version of the game a 28 out of 40. Ballz was ranked third on ScrewAttack's "Top 10 Worst Fighting Games" claiming that "It makes grown men weep like babies!" One specific target of ScrewAttack's criticism was the soundtrack, which was described as being like "a bad porno soundtrack".
Ballz was also ranked seventh in a 2011 list of Top Ten Fighting Games We'd Like to Forget, compiled by Game Informer. The author of the list, Dan Ryckert, widely criticized it for including what he claimed to be "sexual innuendo" references, and having its design representing more of a 2-D look.
- NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: 3次元格闘 ボールズ. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.333. Pg.30. 5 May 1995.
- Ryckert, Dan. Top Ten Fighting Games We'd Like to Forget. Game Informer (April 2011). Retrieved 2011-06-02.