Ballz 3D: Battle of the Balls Review

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At least once in your life, you sit down and have a think about what you will do next. You ponder the age-old questions such as, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” and the more important question: “What video game will I play next?” You then come to the conclusion that the only thing you have left to do is play Ballz 3D: The Battle of the Balls. Now, was it a good choice to play the last game on your list? Well, let’s find out!

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Ballz 3D is a 3D fighting game for the Megadrive, SNES and the 3DO. It was developed by PF Magic, a company that I didn’t recognize, but apparently created some games that I played earlier in my childhood. The game was then published by Accolade, the same people who brought us such “classics” as Bubsy 3D. Enough of this history lesson, though! Let’s get onto the actual game!

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Let’s start with the gameplay: it is clunky and feels bad to play. Bad controls are a big no-no for games, especially fighting games, where instantaneous feedback is required. The controls are strange, and the developer didn’t bother to utilize the 6 button controller layout. Many times when playing, I couldn’t get the advanced moves to work, even when following the instructions.

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The graphics are not very good. I like the idea behind it, but the Megadrive let’s it down by delivering less-than-useful hardware that won’t deliver on this idea. I feel like if the graphics were more streamlined (or at least toon-shaded), it would have been better. But, they went for pre-rendered graphics instead, which was a bad move. Though I do really like how in the instant-replay, you can move the camera. That’s a nice touch that is available in this game.

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The music is poor quality, as well. Why does the title music have “voices”? It makes no sense, and just hurts your ears after recording 5 minutes of the audio looping. I am pretty sure this isn’t a problem with only the Megadrive version, as it uses Sega-PCM, which is a sample based system, rather than a SMPS one. This means that the samples are MP3, and thus can be used in the CDO and SNES versions.

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And, before you ask: no. There is no story. I won’t bother insulting your intelligence by pretending there is one. The closest we get to a plot is the terrible game description inside the manual. And, no. It’s just immature.

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Even though I dislike almost every aspect of this game, I do think this could have been amazing. If it was developed on better hardware, and the developers were given more time to finish the game, it could have been a classic. But, it was rushed on broken hardware. While playing, you can tell that it was a unique idea, that was ruined by poor execution.

So, should you get this game? Well, despite everything negative I’ve said about it, I would recommend it. “What!?” I hear you shout. It is a great talking point, and is great to have on your shelf. Imagine being able to say to people, “Hey, I’m going to play Ballz – and it’s in 3D!” That is awesome. It may not be a game you want to play, but it will go down in history as a funny game that may or may not be good. I say that as you may actually end up enjoying it. The only way to find out is by playing it…

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