Monday, February 3, 2014

A Bit of Weird: Super Dodge Ball

Super Dodge Ball is to the NES what NBA Street was to Playstation. Both games seemed intensely awesome while I was playing them, but looking back both are pretty limited in their scope. Also, it bears noting that Super Dodge Ball is vaguely racist, based on the different fields that it is played. Despite that fact, I loved this game back in the day and think that it deserves mentioning.

The principal of the game is that you control the National US dodge ball team and are pegged to fight against eight (or nine) other teams. There are a few versions of gameplay: versus mode, bean ball mode, and world cup mode. Most frequently I played in world cup mode, just because it catered to my sense of completionism. I have never played in bean ball mode, which pegs the team members of the USA team against each other in a fight to the death, as it were, but my cousin really enjoyed it. Similarly, versus mode (in which two players fight against each other with selected teams) was also not really ever anything I enjoyed given that my uncle would beat me every single time. I guess it is fair to say that I was a bit of a woosie around the time that I was playing this game, and losing was a heavy blow to my already-fragile ego. Because of that world cup play was where I mostly spent my time.

You start off by selecting where you want all of you team members to be placed on the game field. I never really placed them with anything special in mind, but now that I am playing the game again, I see that it may have been to my advantage to do so. After selecting where your players are going to be standing during the game, you move on to actually playing. Each of the teams that you play against have specific strengths and weaknesses, all of which are elucidated in their profiles following. With each hit, a portion of the player's health is degraded, up to the point where they "die" and become angels that float off to heaven. Similarly, there are some teams taht are worse at recuperating after a hit, and hence easier to beat. Here are the teams that you play against:

Team Pro All Stars: This is the other American team that you start off playing against. They don't have a great deal of strength, but are great at playing defensively. Their scene is set with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

Team England: This team has pretty high stamina, but is easily damaged when hit with the ball. The tower bridge is in the background of this level, and the theme music that is playing sounds similar to the Beatles. They are also not terribly agile, and are easily defeatable because of that.

Team India: The game places you in the foreground of the Taj Mahal, and the opposite team is gifted with significantly lower stamina than normal, but also with much stronger shots. They do not seem as capabable as the English team, and certainly are not able to do much other than inflict high damage with each new hit.

Team Iceland: This and Kenya are probably the most pain-in-the-ass teams. They are super strong in all areas except for speed, which is compromised for all because of the fact that you are skating on a bunch of thick ice. They have pretty poor teamwork, but are tough to play against given that they are so unfairly skilled in comparison to your team.

Team China: This team was literally the best at being able to intercept throws and hence cancel out any damage that you would have inflicted. It was infuriating. The background of this level was Tiananmen Sq.

Team Kenya: Not surprisingly, this team is super agile and fast. That being said, their level (like the Iceland level) features an interesting feature: it is a swamp, and essentially slows down the response of any of the players. They shoot and respond quickly, and are agile about stealing the ball from the enemy team.

Team Japan: This team has super strong leadership and it pretty steadily championed by their captain until he is eliminated. He (and the rest of the team) is very quick and take pretty powerful shots at the opponents. Once he has been eliminated, though, it seems like the players don't know how to behave or respond, and are quickly eliminated. Pretty easy to beat, all things considered. The background here is Mt. Fuji

Team USSR: The title of the team obviously dates the game, but despite that fact this is the strongest, most well-rounded team in the game. They are set in front of the Red Square, and don't really have any kind of limitation when it comes to agility, speed, or strength.

If you win the game against Team USSR without losing any of the players on your team, Team Shadow takes your place. They are much, much stronger than teams past.

Right, this game is pretty simplistic and doesn't really have a lot going for it, but is interesting nonetheless. I enjoy it just because of the fact that when I play it I see that it set the stage for a lot of other sports games. Would I go back and play this endlessly now? No, not likely. But it was definitely good while it lasted.

You can play Super Dodge Ball online here. Happy gaming!