King & Balloon

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King & Balloon
King & Balloon arcade flyer.jpg
Japanese arcade flyer for King & Balloon.
Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s)
Platform(s) Arcade, MSX
Release date(s) Arcade
  • JP June 1980
  • NA 1980
MSX
  • JP February 28, 1984
Genre(s) Fixed shooter
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright, cabaret, and cocktail
Arcade system Namco Galaxian
CPU 1x ZiLOG Z80 @ 3.072 MHz,
1x ZiLOG Z80 @ 2.5 MHz
Sound Discrete,
1x DAC
Display Vertical orientation, Raster, 224 x 256 resolution

King & Balloon (キング & バルーン Kingu & Barūn?) is a fixed shooter arcade game which was released by Namco in 1980, and licensed to GamePlan for U.S. manufacture and distribution.[1] It runs upon the Namco Galaxian hardware, based on the Z80 microprocessor, with an extra Zilog Z80 microprocessor to drive a DAC for speech; it was the first game from the company to have speech synthesis. The King speaks when he is captured ("HELP!"), when he is rescued ("THANK YOU"), and when he is carried away ("BYE BYE!").[2] The balloons also make the same "droning" sound as the aliens from Galaxian, released in the previous year, and the cannon's shots also make the same sound as those of the player's ship (the "Galaxip") from the very same game.

The U.S. version of the game features a more "English"-sounding voice for the King; in the original Japanese version of the game, the King can be heard "Japanicizing" the words, saying "herupu" ("help!"), "sankyū" ("thank you"), and "baibai" ("bye bye!").

It was later featured in Namco Museum Encore, for the original PlayStation, which was a Japan-only release. It made its North American console debut on Namco Museum Battle Collection for the PSP, in which the player could choose the King's voice (original Japanese or later English) after unlocking the manic settings. It also appeared in Namco Museum Virtual Arcade, for the Xbox 360.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of the game

The player controls two green men (who are likely soldiers in the King's army) with an orange cannon that fires at squads of descending balloons. It is their duty to protect the King and prevent him from being captured and carried away by one of the balloons. Unlike most shooter games, the player's cannon is immortal and can be destroyed an infinite number of times; it is the King that must be protected. The game ends when the King is carried away by the balloons three (or four) times, depending on if the player had earned an extra life.

As in Galaxian, the game only goes up to round 48. If the player completes round 48, the game will say the player is still on round 48. The round selector in Namco Museum Battle Collection goes higher than 48, but if Round 57 or higher is selected the player will be sent back to the attract mode (even though the game's music will be heard and the START button will be active). The PSP version also has a glitch where the number in the round selector goes further than that of the furthest round that the player has currently reached.

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