King & Balloon
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|King & Balloon|
Japanese arcade flyer
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Cabinet||Upright, cabaret, and cocktail|
|Arcade system||Namco Galaxian|
|CPU||1 × Z80 @ 3.072 MHz,|
1 × Z80 @ 2.5 MHz
|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. 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 one of the first games to have speech synthesis. An MSX port was released in Japan in 1984.
The player controls two green men with an orange cannon, stationed on the parapet of a castle, that fires at a fleet of hot-air balloons. Below the cannon, the King moves slowly back and forth on the ground as the balloons return fire and dive toward him. If a balloon reaches the ground, it will sit there until the King walks into it, at which time it lifts off with him. The player must then shoot the balloon to free the King, who will parachute safely to the ground. At times, two of more diving balloons can combine to form a single larger one, which awards extra points and splits apart when hit.
The cannon is destroyed by collision with balloons or their shots, but is replaced after a brief delay with no effect on the number of remaining lives. One life is lost whenever a balloon carries the King off the top of the screen; the game ends when all lives are lost.
As in Galaxian, the round number stops increased at round 48.
The King speaks when he is captured ("HELP!"), when he is rescued ("THANK YOU"), and when he is carried away ("BYE BYE!"). The balloons 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.
In the original Japanese version of the game, the King speaks English with a heavy Japanese accent, saying "herupu" ("help!"), "sankyū" ("thank you"), and "baibai" ("bye bye!"). The U.S. version of the game features a different voice for the King without the Japanese accent.
A rare glitch in the game is in the PSP port of the game, in the Namco Museum Battle Collection. Sometimes a glitch will happen, overlapping the "continue" option repeatedly, until it reaches level 72 (far away from the limit). When you press "1P START" at the glitch level 72, the game will encounter a glitch, rendering the high score as "Z" and another glitch features. After a split second, the opening animation will play over the level, resulting in a blank screen with the copyright info below. The level can't be played, and the sounds are just a repeated synth drone. You must press Start and then "Quit Game" for quitting level 72.
King & Balloon was later featured in Namco Museum Encore for the PlayStation, as 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 U.S. version) after unlocking the manic settings. It also appeared in Namco Museum Virtual Arcade for the Xbox 360, as well as Namco Museum Megamix for the Wii.
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