LAURENT KERMEL - Video Game Den : Super Famicom : 3 JIGEN KABUTO : BALLZ )
3D SAN JIGEN KAKUTŌ BARUZU
( 3D BallZ )
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game cartridge
3次元格闘ボールズ
©1994 Accolade Inc.
©1995 Media Rings Corporation.
Created by PF.Magic
Release: 1995-04-28 (¥9800)
Cartridge SHVC-ABZJ-JPN
Fighting game

American Version
country
Released in America as
3D BALLZ - FIGHTING AT ITS BALLZIEST
( SNS-ABZE-USA )
3D Ballz is an unusual fighting game developed by PF.Magic and published in Japan by Media Rings (by Accolade in America). Like any fighting game ought to, a list of playable fighters are available for the player to take control over - however, unlike most fighting games, they range from a a Caveman, a Ballerina to a Mad Clown and a Rhinoceros. All in all, the game features a grand total of eight characters and four different bosses. Interestingly, each character is built out of a set of colored balls (or, I should say, "Ballz") that give an unusual 3D feel to the game. Each fighter can punch and kick or use special moves directly related to their personality - for instance, the rhinoceros can charge right into his opponent and spear him with his horn, and the caveman can roll his opponent into a ball and hit him with his club as he would do with a baseball bat. Other special moves can be unleashed by pressing both shoulder buttons, or when two fighters enter close range combat. 3D Ballz also features a traditional versus mode where two players can fight head to head.
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Ballz was originally developed by PF Magic and published by Accolade for the Sega Genesis (1994). As a side note, the game was called BallZ 3D : Fighting At Its Ballziest in the US, but was interestingly called BallZ 3D : Fighting Of The BallZ is the UK (I wonder how this title actually made it to the shelves). It then later came out for the Super Famicom (1995). Interestingly, a 3DO version was also released in 1995 as a director's cut. As a side note, PF Magic was of course responsible for other games and would usually mark their titles with the characteristic letter 'Z' : Catz & Dogz (1995), Oddballz(1996), Babyz (1999) etc... most of their games also use the ball technique featured in Ballz and all the virtual pets from Catz and Dogz are clearly made out of disc/sphere primitives. PF Magic later became part of Ubisoft Entertainment.

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3D Ballz is sadly the kind of title that feels more like a technical demo than a game. It nevertheless displays some amazing technical candies and the pseudo-3D is made out of cleverly designed sprite scaling that leads to some incredible Mode-7 moments. The music tracks are also technically amazing but the tunes and melodies are sadly forgettable. The rest of the game, and especially the gameplay, is sadly poorly designed. The worst offender is probably the terrible and unfair way how the CPU controlled characters behave - because of this unfortunate flaw, the one player versus mode often becomes a frustrating and cheap experience. 3D Ballz is unique and very original, no doubt about it, but the gameplay and controls are terrible and the overall design tasteless. This is a real shame and the game had a lot of potential... unfortunately it just leaves you craving for more...




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