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NES cover art
|Developer(s)||Nintendo Research & Development 1|
|Platform(s)||Arcade, NES, PC-8801, X1, Sharp Zaurus, Game Boy Advance|
|Release||Arcade (Vs. Balloon Fight)|
|Arcade system||Nintendo PlayChoice-10 hardware|
|Display||Raster, 256 × 480 pixels, 320 colors|
Balloon Fight (バルーンファイト Barūn Faito) is an action video game developed by Nintendo. The original arcade version was released for the Nintendo VS. System as Vs. Balloon Fight, and its Nintendo Entertainment System counterpart was internationally released in 1986. The gameplay is similar to the 1982 game Joust from Williams Electronics. The home Nintendo Entertainment System version was ported to the NEC PC-8801 in October 1985, the Sharp X1 in November 1985, the Game Boy Advance as Balloon Fight-e for the e-Reader in the United States on September 16, 2002, and as part of the Famicom Mini Series in Japan on May 21, 2004. It was later released through Nintendo's Virtual Console and is currently available to play on Nintendo Switch Online.
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The player controls an unnamed Balloon Fighter with two balloons attached to his helmet. Repeatedly pressing the A button or holding down the B button causes the Balloon Fighter to flap his arms and rise into the air. If a balloon is popped, the player's flotation is decreased, making it harder to rise. A life is lost if both balloons are popped by enemy Balloon Fighters, if the player falls in the water, gets eaten by the large piranha near the surface of the water, or is hit by lightning.
There are two modes of play: the 1-player/2-player game where the goal is to clear the screen of enemies, and Balloon Trip where the goal is to avoid obstacles in a side-scrolling stage. The original arcade game does not include Balloon Trip, but all the level layouts are completely different so as to take advantage of vertical scrolling in addition to some minor gameplay differences.
Defeat all of the enemies on screen to clear the stage. This mode can be played alone or co-operatively with a second player. Each player starts with three extra lives. The 3DS Balloon Fight port comes with the Download Play option, that allows you to play along with a friend that has another 3DS system.
Enemy Balloon Fighters float around the screen and the player must hit their balloons to defeat them. The enemy can also fall into the water or be eaten by the fish while flying close to the water's surface. If an enemy is defeated or falls into the water, a bubble will rise up the screen which can be hit for extra points. As play progresses through the stages, the number of enemies and platforms increases.
Every three stages is a bonus stage, where the goal is to burst all of the balloons that float up the screen from the chimneys at the bottom.
A single-player game where the goal is to avoid the lightning sparks and collect the balloons, aiming to move up the ranks and compete for the high score. The player starts with one life.
Ports, sequels, and references
The home Nintendo Entertainment System version was ported to the NEC PC-8801 in October 1985, the Sharp X1 in November 1985, the Game Boy Advance as Balloon Fight-e for the e-Reader in the United States on September 16, 2002, and as part of the Famicom Mini Series in Japan on May 21, 2004. It can also be played in Animal Crossing for the GameCube.
Nintendo released a Game & Watch version of the same name, based on the NES version's Balloon Trip mode. The protagonist is "a Balloon Man". Unlike Balloon Fighters, Balloon Men use rocket suits instead of flapping their hands to elevate while holding balloons.
A sequel to Balloon Fight called Balloon Kid was released on October 1990 in North America and on January 31, 1991 in Europe for the Game Boy, which expands from the game's roots and revamped it into a full platforming adventure. This title was not released in Japan on the Game Boy, but colorized versions titled as Hello Kitty World (published by Character Soft) for the Famicom and Balloon Fight GB for the Game Boy Color were later released only in Japan.
Balloon Fighter and Flipper trophies are obtainable in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and the Flipper is also a usable item, replacing the Bumper from the previous game. The Balloon Fighter was considered for a playable role during the development of Super Smash Bros. Melee, but the Ice Climbers were chosen instead. The original background music for the Balloon Trip in Balloon Fight can be heard in Melee's Icicle Mountain stage as alternate music. The giant fish makes a cameo appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It appears on the Ice Climber-based stage, the Summit, in which it tries to attack the players from the sea. In addition, a remixed version of the main theme, titled "Balloon Trip" is available for the Summit stage as well. Stickers of the Balloon Fighter and the Balloon Fight Enemy can be collected in Brawl. In addition, the Villager from the Animal Crossing series uses the Balloon Fighter's helmet as one of his special moves in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. In the 3DS version of the same game, a stage based on Balloon Fight appears with the original 8-bit graphics; the same stage returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Balloon Fighter appears as a Spirit in said game.
In the WarioWare, Inc. series, some of 9-Volt's games are based on Balloon Fight. In WarioWare: Smooth Moves, there is also a minigame functioning as a three-dimensional version of Balloon Trip; players use the Wii Remote only for the microgame version, and also use the Nunchuk in the complete 3D Balloon Trip.
The original tech demo for Yoshi Touch & Go was called Yoshi's Balloon Trip. Balloon Fight is the theme for Touch Mode in Tetris DS, although the mode itself has almost nothing to do with the game other than the music and decorative graphics.
On April 12, 2007, Club Nintendo released Tingle's Balloon Fight for the Nintendo DS, an exclusive game featuring Tingle, a Nintendo character who originated from The Legend of Zelda series. The game is a remake of the home version, featuring the "Balloon Fight" and "Balloon Trip" modes. The levels are expanded slightly to utilize both screens, similar to the arcade game except based entirely around the NES levels. A gallery that contained concept art was also included, where each piece could be unlocked by completing specific in-game tasks.
The Balloon Fighter appears in Super Mario Maker as an unlockable Mystery Mushroom costume as part of an update.
Balloon Fight has been re-released as part of Nintendo's Virtual Console. On June 8, 2007, Balloon Fight was released in Europe, followed by a release in North America on July 16, 2007, and Japan on November 12, 2007. The game was released on Virtual Console for Nintendo 3DS as part of that system's Ambassador Program in September 2011.
In Nintendo Land, there is an attraction called Balloon Trip Breeze, that is very similar to Balloon Trip from the original Balloon Fight.
The game was released on the Wii U Virtual Console service on January 23, 2013 in North America until February 23, 2013 as part of a promotion celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Nintendo Famicom. Balloon Fight became the first Wii U Virtual Console title to be released. On November 11, 2016, the game (alongside 29 other games) was included in the NES Classic Edition (Nintendo Classic Mini in Europe).
List of Balloon Fight games, ports and sequels
|Name||Released in Japan||Released in the United States||Released in Europe||Genre||System|
|Vs. Balloon Fight||November 1984||1984||Action||Arcade|
|Balloon Fight||January 22, 1985||August 1986||March 12, 1987||Action||Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom|
|Balloon Fight||October 1985||Action||PC-88|
|Balloon Fight||November 1985||Action||Sharp X1|
|Balloon Fight (PlayChoice-10)||1987||Action||Arcade|
|Balloon Fight||1986||1986||Action||Game & Watch|
|Balloon Kid||October 5, 1990||January 31, 1991||Action/platformer||Game Boy|
|Balloon Fight GB||July 31, 2000||Action/platformer||Game Boy Color (Nintendo Power)|
|Balloon Fight||September 2001||Action||Sharp Zaurus|
|Balloon Fight-e||September 16, 2002||Action||Game Boy Advance (Nintendo e-Reader)|
|Famicom Mini Balloon Fight||May 21, 2004||Action||Game Boy Advance|
|Tingle's Balloon Fight||April 2007||Action||Nintendo DS|
|Balloon Fight||November 13, 2007||July 16, 2007||June 8, 2007||Action||Wii Virtual Console|
|Balloon Fight||August 31, 2011||August 31, 2011||August 31, 2011||Action||Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console|
|Balloon Fight||January 23, 2013||January 23, 2013||January 23, 2013||Action||Wii U Virtual Console|
|Balloon Fight||November 10, 2016||November 11, 2016||November 11, 2016||Action||NES Classic Edition|
|Balloon Fight||September 18, 2018||September 18, 2018||September 18, 2018||Action||Nintendo Switch Online|
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A gallery of concept art was also included in the game. As specific events are completed, greater levels are reached, and the top scores grow higher, more of the gallery images will be unlocked.
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