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 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 one of the first games 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.

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.

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 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.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of the game

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 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.

References[edit]

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