This is an ongoing list of video games played and beaten in order to truly determine what video game is the best of all time. If you are interested in understanding the rules start here.
When I decided to get back into collecting in order to not only fuel my habit for re-living my childhood, but also to provide a nice swath of games to someday show my kids, I set out to not just get games I had, but to really focus on games I thought were fun. Are some of those games informed through my own childhood, of course! I know contra is a good two-player game because I lived it, but Super Dodgeball is a game I never played growing up. To be fair the NES was really my brothers console, and by the time I was old enough to start requesting games (birthdays, etc.) the console only had a year before the Super Nintendo came out. I had to play games already in the house.
I grew up loving River City Ransom, it was by far the favorite game on the NES. One that me and my friends would play through over and over. What I didn't know as a kid, was that this was just one adventure with those characters. Enter Super Dodgeball.
When I saw this game on Ebay, and after watching about 2 minutes of gameplay, I knew I was going to buy it. It had the character designs from River City Ransom playing Dodgeball, not much more I needed to know. When I decided to rank it on my list was my first time playing it. I went in completely blind, and after coming out on the otherside I have some thoughts.
I think the game itself has a great "pick-up and play" mentality. Its a "sport" that everyone already knows the rules of. You throw a ball at the other players, and hope to not get hit yourself. A team is comprised of 6 players; 3 who are on the field, and 3 who stand out of bounds who can be used to retrieve balls for you. The game ends when either your team or the opponent has their 3 field players KILLED by dodgeballs. I do mean killed here, because when a player's health bar is depleted they turn into angels and float away. This truly is the ultimate game of survival! The controls are relatively simple to understand and within seconds you are off and playing.
That is not to say that their isn't some depth here. Each character has a unique special throw (used when sprinting and throwing the ball). Hell they even have their own stats that help determine their health, damage done, etc. You can mix your 6 characters around, so that it isn't always the same when you play, but with this comes my two biggest gripes with the game.
The most obvious issue for me, is that you can not pick your team in single player. Now I understand from a difficulty standpoint that the teams get increasingly harder, so being able to start by playing as the Soviets would give you an unfair advantage early on, it completely tanks the re-play value for the game. Sure, you can pick teams in vs mode for 2 players, but any dreams you might have of taking a non USA team to the championship are dashed right away. The game is at its strongest when you are toying with different characters and their unique super moves, to be limited to the same 6 upon every playthrough is a little disheartening. Even in the hectic bean bag mode, you are still relegated to the same team.
I also found the game incredibly easy on normal. I expected upon playing the game for the first time that it would mirror something similar to Super Spike V-Ball, where the first couple of battles would settle you into learning how to play, but then by the time you reached the top, you better know your stuff. I never felt I developed a strategy besides: 1) Catch ball. 2)Throw a super ball at opponent. 3) Win. I never utilized the 3 people in the back row, I never cared who I was controlling, and I never felt threatened by the other team. This isn't a brag saying "look how good I am" but rather that I wanted a little more of a challenge, even if it just involved having to pass more.
I'm torn about how I feel about this game. I don't regret buying it, and I think when my boys become of age that they can play video games, they will get more out of this game then I can by playing vs mode and discovering team favorites. However, I came in prepared to expect a love that I originally got from playing River City Ransom, and left after 30 minutes having fun, but not really making an impact on me. I think this game could have been more and with something as small as a team selection screen for either the world championship mode or the bean bag mode, could have made me want to re-play it more to test out some other moves. Alas, I never asked my brother if he has heard of this game, but maybe there was a reason it wasn't in our home collection, a game beaten on a rental perhaps doesn't hold much excitement for a home purchase.
Are you curious to see it in action? Well here is my full playthrough of the game. I might have had more enthusiasm for it back then.
Is this the greatest game of all time: No
Where does it rank:
1) Super Mario Bros
2) That's You!
4) Blast Corps
5) Simpsons Road Rage
6) Knowledge is Power
Next game up: "When Vikings Attack" for the PS3